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Brain Res. 2005 Aug 2;1052(1):47-55.

Age-related changes in cholinergic neurons in the laterodorsal and the pedunculo-pontine tegmental nuclei of cats: a combined light and electron microscopic study.

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1
WebSciences International, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA.

Abstract

In aged cats, light microscopic studies revealed significant decrease in the soma size of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT)-positive neurons in the laterodorsal and pedunculo-pontine tegmental nuclei (LDT and PPT), compared with adult control animals. In addition, a significant reduction of the total dendritic length and total dendritic segment number of ChAT-positive neurons was detected in both the LDT and PPT of aged cats. However, in contrast to the changes of soma and dendrites, no significant changes in the number of ChAT-positive neurons in aged were found comparing to that in the control cats in both the LDT and PPT; nor were there differences in the staining intensity of the somata of neurons in the adult and aged cats. Electron microscopic analysis highlighted degenerative changes in cholinergic neurons in the LDT and PPT of aged cats which included somata with intracytoplasmic vacuoles, darkened mitochondria, depletion of dendritic microtubules and severe demyelination of axons. These data indicate that profound atrophic changes occur in cholinergic systems of the LDT and PPT as a consequence of the aging process. These alterations likely reflect the cellular bases for the age-related changes in REM sleep that occur in old animals.

PMID:
16002054
DOI:
10.1016/j.brainres.2005.06.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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