Compartmental ordering of cholinergic innervation in the mediodorsal nucleus of the thalamus in human brain

Jean Philippe A. Brandel, Etienne C. Hirsch, Louis B. Hersh, France Javoy-Agid

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26 Scopus citations


The cholinergic innervation of the mediodorsal (MD) nucleus of the thalamus was visualized immunohistochemically in human brain postmortem, using an antibody against human choline acetyltransferase (ChAT). The ChAT staining of the MD nucleus was more intense than in the surrounding thalamic nuclei but weaker than that of the striatum. No ChAT-positive cell bodies were detected. The ChAT-positive neuropil was unevenly distributed, with patches of dense immunoreactivity with a weaker surrounding matrix. In adjoining sections stained for ChAT immunoreactivity and for acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity, the zones enriched in AChAT-immunostained neuropil corresponded to AChE-rich regions. The three-dimensional reconstruction of the richest zone in AChE/ChAT activity evidenced a cylindrical organization throughout the rostrocaudal axis of the MD nucleus. Counts of ChAT-positive varicosities confirmed an inhomogeneous Distribution; the density of varicosities was 30% higher in ChAT-rich regions than in surrounding matrix. These findings suggest that the activity of intrinsic neurons within the nucleus may be differentially regulated by cholinergic systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-125
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 7 1990


  • Choline acetyltransferase
  • Human brain
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mediodorsal nucleus
  • Thalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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