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J Neurosci. 1993 Sep;13(9):3956-63.

Acetylcholine synthesis and release following continuous intracerebral administration of NGF in adult and aged Fischer-344 rats.

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Department of Physiology, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.


NGF promotes the survival and enhances the neurotransmitter phenotype of basal forebrain and striatal cholinergic neurons in brain of rat. The objective of the present study was to determine whether stimulations of the cholinergic neuronal markers ChAT and high-affinity choline uptake are reflected in enhanced synthesis and release of ACh. Enhancement of ACh release in brain of adult and aged rats could result in increased cholinergic neurotransmission, and altered animal behavior. NGF (1.2 micrograms/d) was administered intracerebroventricularly for 2 weeks by osmotic minipump to male Fischer-344 rats aged 4 and 24 months. Cholinergic neuronal functional parameters were measured in frontal cortex, hippocampus, and striatum. In young adult rats, increased ChAT and choline uptake activities were accompanied by enhanced ACh synthesis, basal and depolarization-induced release of both endogenous and newly synthesized transmitter, with the largest effect generally being observed in striatum. In aged animals, the responses to NGF were less uniform. Whereas the pattern for changes in ChAT activity was similar to that seen in younger animals, choline uptake activity was increased only in frontal cortex and striatum. Coincidentally, ACh synthesis was also increased only in these two brain regions. ACh content of synaptosomes was not affected by age or NGF treatment, and the ACh levels in microwaved samples of striatum and basal forebrain were not affected by NGF treatment. However, profound deficits in both basal and evoked release of newly synthesized ACh were observed in the aged rats. NGF treatment had no significant effect on the basal release of newly synthesized ACh in aged rats.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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