Basal forebrain grafts in the rat neocortex restore in vivo acetylcholine release and respond to behavioural activation

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Acetylcholine release in the frontal cortex of awake rats after acute or chronic lesions of the nucleus basalis magnocellularis and grafting of cholinergic-rich basal forebrain tissue was studied by in vivo microdialysis. Three to four weeks and five months after a unilateral quisqualic acid lesion of the nucleus basalis, and five months after lesion and cortical implantation of a basal forebrain cell suspension, acetylcholine release was characterized during a range of pharmacological and behavioural manipulations. Neostigmine (5 microM) was added to the perfusion fluid in order to inhibit the degradation of acetylcholine. The extracellular levels of acetylcholine in normal animals increased three- to four-fold when KCl (100 mM) was added to the perfusion medium and was reduced by 80% after addition of tetrodotoxin (1 microM). The nucleus basalis lesion resulted in a 60% reduction in baseline acetylcholine levels compared to normal and the response to KCl-evoked depolarization was significantly reduced. There were no differences between the acute and chronic lesion groups during any of the manipulations performed. Rats with grafts showed baseline levels of acetylcholine about 70% higher than normal, and responded to both KCl (two-fold increased acetylcholine release) and tetrodotoxin (85% reduced levels). All groups showed lower acetylcholine levels during halothane anaesthesia (on average 70-85% reduction). Sensory stimulation by handling resulted in a two-fold increase in acetylcholine release in normal animals, whereas the absolute responses in the lesioned controls were significantly weaker. Rats with grafts increased their acetylcholine release after handling to an extent not different to normal or lesioned controls. Immobilization stress induced an almost two-fold increase in cortical acetylcholine levels in normal rats, whereas the effect in the lesion-only groups was very weak. The grafts responded to the immobilization with an enhanced acetylcholine overflow that was significantly higher than in lesioned controls. The results showed that the reduction in frontocortical acetylcholine release induced by excitotoxic lesions of the nucleus basalis did not recover spontaneously over several months. Intracortical cholinergic-rich grafts obtained from the fetal basal forebrain provided a source of acetylcholine release with firing-dependent properties which could be modulated by behaviourally stressful stimuli. The ability of the grafts to respond to behavioural manipulation strongly suggests that the host brain can functionally influence graft neuronal activity during ongoing behaviour. Host control of graft activity may play a role in the recovery of the lesion-induced deficits seen with these types of grafts.


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Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Neurovetenskaper


Sidor (från-till)353-362
Utgåva nummer2
StatusPublished - 1993 jul
Peer review utfördJa