Neurotransmitters and memory: role of cholinergic, serotonergic, and noradrenergic systems.

Article date: 1987/6/1

PubMed ID: 2886134

Journal name: Behavioral neuroscience (ISSN: 0735-7044)


In Alzheimer's disease (AD), pathological changes are found in the basal forebrain cholinergic system (BFCS), serotonergic raphe (RA), and noradrenergic locus coeruleus (LC) systems. The present study was designed to determine the extent to which selective damage in each of these systems individually could produce an impairment of memory, one of the clinical symptoms of AD. Rats were given selective lesions by injecting ibotenic acid into the nucleus basalis magnocellularis and medial septal area (i.e., BFCS); 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine into the medial and dorsal RA; and 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) into the LC or by ip injections of (2-chloroethyl)N-ethyl-2-bromobenzylamine HCl (DSP4). Levels of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), norepinephrine, and serotonin verified lesion effectiveness and selectivity. Chronic changes in serotonergic-2 and beta-adrenergic receptors were also determined. Rats were tested in a delayed spatial alternation in a T-maze. BFCS lesions impaired choice accuracy with intertrial delays of 5, 30, and 60 s. RA lesions or DSP4 injections impaired choice accuracy only when the intertrial delay was 60 s. LC lesions (by 6-OHDA) did not impair choice accuracy at any delay. The results suggest that the pathological changes in the BFCS and RA are sufficient to produce the types of memory impairments associated with dementia, but the quantitative effects of pathology in these two systems are different.

Author List: Wenk G, Hughey D, Boundy V, Kim A, Walker L, Olton D

Publication Types: Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

Substances mentioned in the article: Neurotransmitter Agents; Receptors, Adrenergic; Receptors, Cholinergic; Receptors, Serotonin; Choline O-Acetyltransferase;

Mesh terms: Animals; Brain/physiology; Brain Mapping; Choline O-Acetyltransferase/physiology; Locus Coeruleus/physiology; Male; Memory/physiology; Neurotransmitter Agents/physiology; Raphe Nuclei/physiology; Rats; Rats, Inbred Strains; Receptors, Adrenergic/physiology; Receptors, Cholinergic/physiology; Receptors, Serotonin/physiology; Septal Nuclei/physiology; Synaptic Transmission;

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