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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 11 (1999), Issue 4, Pages 187-195

Induction of a Transient Dysexecutive Syndrome in Parkinson’s Disease using a Subclinical Dose of Scopolamine

M. A. Bédard,1 S. Lemay,1 J. F. Gagnon,1 H. Masson,2 and F. Paquet1

1UQAM and Laboratoire de Neuropharmacologie Cognitive, CHUM, Notre-Dame, Montréal, Canada
2Université de Montréal and Service de neurologie, CHUM, Notre-Dame, Montréal, Canada

Received 1 April 1999; Accepted 1 April 1999

Copyright © 1999 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is often associated with a subcortico-frontal syndrome (SCFS) that is mainly characterized by executive dysfunctions. The complete biochemistry of these dysfunctions remain misunderstood although many studies have suggested a role of the dopaminergic lesions. However, cholinergic lesions in this disease may also account for the SCFS occurrence. The present study has assessed the effects of an acute subclinical dose of scopolamine in normal controls and in PD patients who were devoid of cognitive deficit. Results indicates that PD patients but not normal controls developed a transient SCFS for the duration of the drug action. In contrast to other populations with cholinergic depletions—such as Alzheimer’s disease—cholinergic blockage in PD exacerbates specifically the dysexecutive syndrome without inducing amnesia or sedation. Such a discrepancy between these two neuropsychological profiles are discussed in terms of the specificity of the underlying cholinergic lesions.