Send to

Choose Destination
Brain Res. 1990 May 28;517(1-2):157-67.

Cholinergic cell loss and cognitive impairments following intraventricular or intradentate injection of colchicine.

Author information

Department of Psychology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08903.


Bilateral injections of colchicine (3.5 or 7.0 micrograms/0.5 microliters/site) into either the dentate gyrus or the lateral cerebroventricles (i.c.v.) of Sprague-Dawley rats produced specific behavioral, histopathological and neurochemical alterations. Colchicine, administered via either route, produced impairments in the performance of a radial-arm maze task which did not subside during 8 weeks of testing. Intradentate colchicine decreased (1) the thickness of both blades of the dentate granule cell layer, (2) the size of the overlying molecular layer, (3) hippocampal volume, and (4) the number of cholinergic neurons in the medial septum/vertical limb of the diagonal band (MS/VLDB). I.c.v. administration of colchicine did not alter any index of hippocampal morphology but did significantly decrease the number of cholinergic neurons in the MS/VLDB. An analysis of the time course of cholinotoxicity revealed that both intradentate and i.c.v. colchicine decreased choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) activity and high affinity choline uptake (HAChU) in the hippocampus at 1 and 3, but not 9, weeks following surgery. Furthermore, i.c.v. colchicine decreased ChAT activity in the septum at both 3 and 9 weeks following surgery. Neither route of administration altered ChAT or HAChU in the frontal cortex, olfactory bulb or striatum. The decreases in presynaptic cholinergic parameters were paralleled by a reduction in acetylcholinesterase staining in the hippocampus which appeared to recover within 9 weeks. These data suggest that intradentate colchicine produces either (i) transsynaptic degeneration of cholinergic neurons due to a loss of their target sites (granule cells in the dentate gyrus), (ii) a direct cholinotoxic effect, or (iii) a combination of these mechanisms. The i.c.v. injection of colchicine appears to exert a direct toxic effect on cholinergic neurons and/or nerve terminals that results in the death of these neurons. Colchicine may be a useful tool for investigating the behavioral and neurobiological properties of the septohippocampal cholinergic pathway and its response to injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center