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PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e31073. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031073. Epub 2012 Feb 15.

Selective cholinergic depletion in medial septum leads to impaired long term potentiation and glutamatergic synaptic currents in the hippocampus.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacal Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, United States of America.


Cholinergic depletion in the medial septum (MS) is associated with impaired hippocampal-dependent learning and memory. Here we investigated whether long term potentiation (LTP) and synaptic currents, mediated by alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazole-4-propionate (AMPA) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the CA1 hippocampal region, are affected following cholinergic lesions of the MS. Stereotaxic intra-medioseptal infusions of a selective immunotoxin, 192-saporin, against cholinergic neurons or sterile saline were made in adult rats. Four days after infusions, hippocampal slices were made and LTP, whole cell, and single channel (AMPA or NMDA receptor) currents were recorded. Results demonstrated impairment in the induction and expression of LTP in lesioned rats. Lesioned rats also showed decreases in synaptic currents from CA1 pyramidal cells and synaptosomal single channels of AMPA and NMDA receptors. Our results suggest that MS cholinergic afferents modulate LTP and glutamatergic currents in the CA1 region of the hippocampus, providing a potential synaptic mechanism for the learning and memory deficits observed in the rodent model of selective MS cholinergic lesioning.

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