Distribution of choline acetyltransferase-containing neurons of the hypothalamus

H. Tago, P. L. McGeer, G. Bruce, L. B. Hersh

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141 Scopus citations


A system of small to medium size choline acetyltransferase (ChAT)-containing neurons has been identified in rat, monkey and human hypothalamus. A highly sensitive polyclonal anti-human placental ChAT rabbit serum, combined with a nickel ammonium sulfate second antibody intensification method, was used to identify these relatively weakly staining ChAT-positive neurons. The most prominent hypothalamic group consisted of small neurons in the infundibular (arcuate) nucleus. Fibers extended towards the infundibulum. Other ChAT-positive cells were not identified with specific hypothalamic nuclei but were scattered loosely in the surrounding matrix. They fell into two broad complexes: a medially distributed one close to third ventricle and running rostrocaudal to caudoventral; and a lateral one distributed principally in the region of the medial forebrain bundle. The most laterally placed hypothalamic ChAT-positive neurons slightly overlapped with the large, intensely staining cells of the medial basal forebrain cholinergic complex. The identification of these cells helps to account for previous biochemical and pharmacological studies which have strongly indicated the presence of intrinsic cholinergic neurons in the hypothalamus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-62
Number of pages14
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 7 1987

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the Medical Research Council of Canada, the Mr. and Mrs. P.A. Woodward's Foundation, the B.C. Medical Services Foundation, the Alzheimer's Support Association of B.C. and the National Institutes of Health (AG05893). The authors thank pathologists in hospitals of the Vancouver area for their help in obtaining human brain tissue, Dr. James Wong, Health and Welfare, Canada, for the monkey brains, J. Suzuki for technical assistance and E.G. McGeer for valuable suggestions regarding the manuscript.


  • Choline acetyltransferase
  • Hypothalamus
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Primate
  • Rat
  • Tuber cinereum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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