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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Spatial learning in rats: correlation with cortical choline acetyltransferase and improvement with NGF following NBM damage.

Rats display an acquisition deficit in a circular water maze following excitotoxic lesions of the nucleus basalis magnocellularis (NBM). Experiments were therefore performed to determine if acquisition behavior on this task could predict the degree of cortical cholinergic deafferentation and if the acquisition deficit could be pharmacologically reversed. Performance on acquisition was highly correlated with the lesion-induced reduction in cortical choline acetyltransferase ( ChAT) activity. Accuracy of spatial behavior was highly correlated to percentage ChAT depletion (r = 0.75). Neither lesioned rats nor controls displayed a retention deficit after a 9-day interval, nor did either group display a passive-avoidance retention deficit. To test the causal relationship between cholinergic dysfunction and spatial behavior, the central nervous system cholinergic enhancer nerve growth factor (NGF) was intraventricularly infused for 4 weeks. NGF infusion resulted in improved acquisition of the water maze task compared to NBM-lesioned rats receiving vehicle infusion and untreated rats with NBM lesions. These studies indicate that the decrease in cortical ChAT activity is likely to be responsible for the observed acquisition deficit and that pharmacological manipulations can be successfully used to improve behavior following NBM lesions.[1]


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