Morphologic alterations of chohnergic processes in the neocortex of aged rats

David M. Armstrong, Louis B. Hersh, Fred H. Gage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


In the present study we observed enlarged cholinergic processes in the neocortex of aged Fischer 344 rats. These swollen ChAT-positive profiles appeared either as a single axon enlargement or, in many instances, the bulbous processes coalesced to form grape-like clusters of immunoreactivity. The latter structures looked similar to the immunoreactive profiles observed in the cortex of patients with Alzheimer's disease and in the rat septum following fimbria-fornix transection. Together, these data provide evidence that morphologic changes occur within processes of cholinergic neurons in the aged rat. Moreover, the similarity in appearance between the axonal alterations in the aged rat and in patients with Alzheimer's disease suggests a common pathologic process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-205
Number of pages7
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue numberC
StatePublished - 1988

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NIH Grants AG05893, AG05344, AG05386 and AG06088 and grants from the Office of Naval Research, the Margaret and Herbert Hoover Foundation, and the State of California Department of Health Services, Alzheimer's Disease Program and the John Douglas French Foundation. We also thank Ms. Roxanne Sheffield for her invaluable technical assistance.


  • Aged rat
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Choline acetyltransferase
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Neuritic plaques

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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