Effects of nucleus basalis lesion on muscarinic receptor subtypes

Nenad Bogdanovic, Atiqul Islam, Lars Nilsson, Lena Bergström, Bengt Winblad, Abdu Adem

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16 Scopus citations


The cholinergic system in the central nervous system is an important component of the neural circuitry of learning, memory and cognition. A decline of cholinergic innervation in the human brain is a characteristic feature of dementia of Alzheimer's type. In this study, changes in cholinergic markers were studied after a unilateral lesion of the nucleus basalis magnocellularis (nbM). Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) histochemistry showed a loss of cortical AChE-containing neurons, and choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) immunohistochemistry demonstrated a loss of cholinergic cells in nbM. The localizations of muscarinic Ml and M2 receptors using [3H]pirenzepine ([3H]PZ) and [3H]AF-DX 384, respectively, were studied by quantitative autoradiography 1, 2, 4 and 6 weeks following unilateral ibotenic acid lesion of nbM. A significant decrease in [3H]PZ binding sites was observed at postlesion week 1 in the parietal and temporal cortices. The decrease in [3H]AF-DX 384 binding sites on the lesioned side was observed throughout frontal, parietal and temporal cortices after postlesion week 1, with a significant increase after 6 weeks, possibly as result of loss of presynaptic receptors and upregulation of postsynaptic ones. Moreover, laminar distribution after nbM lesion shows that M1 and M2 receptor binding sites are more affected in superficial layers (I,II,III) than in the deep layers (IV,V,VI), depending on ligand, postlesion period and cortical region. Furthermore, nbM lesion causes a higher deficit of M2 receptors than of M1 receptors. These data suggest the existence of a presynaptic population as well as a postsynaptic population of M1 and M2 receptors which are differently affected after unilateral nbM lesion.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)225-232
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1993


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cortical layers
  • Ibotenic acid
  • Muscarinic receptor subtypes
  • Nucleus basalis magnocellularis
  • Rat


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