Cholinergic fiber aberrations in nucleus basalis lesioned rat and Alzheimer's disease

R. P.A. Gaykema, C. Nyakas, E. Horvath, L. B. Hersh, C. Majtenyi, P. G.M. Luiten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


-Innervation density and morphological aberrations of cholinergic fibers were studied with choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) immunocytochemistry and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) histochemistry in 30-35 month-old aged rats and rats with long-term bilateral lesions of the magnocellular basal nucleus (MBN). In addition, AChE histochemistry was performed on human cortical sections derived from autopsy brains of normal aged and Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. A limited but variable number of morphological alterations were observed in ChAT-immunoreactive fibers in the cortex and the hippocampus of the aged control rats. The aged MBN-lesioned rats displayed a severely reduced number of cholinergic fibers in the denervated areas of the neocortex, whereas the surviving fibers showed a strongly increased number of aberrations. Fiber anomalies were also observed in the cortex of the aged human subjects and Alzheimer patients, the latter showing a higher incidence of such aberrations. Only a part of these distended profiles were seen in close association with senile plaques as detected in the AChE-stained material. These findings suggest that experimental MBN lesions combined with aging share with AD the induction of large quantities of fiber malformations. Implications of possible mechanisms in both conditions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-448
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1992

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Jan Gaasnt d Willeke vaRno onf or their skillful assis-tanceH. ansJ. A. Beldhuiiss acknowledged for his heclopmfuml ents on statistical evaluaTtihoins.r esearcwha sp artially supported by the NIH grants AG058a9n3d A G08013to L.B . Hersh.


  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Age-related deficit Alzheimer's disease
  • Choline acetyltransferase
  • Cortex
  • Ibotenic acid lesions
  • Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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