Anatomical analysis of frontal cortex sites at which carbachol induces motor seizures in the rat

J. A. Stivers, L. R. Skirboll, R. Long, Jacqueline Crawley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


High amplitude spiking representative of seizures, accompanied by an unusual motor behavior pattern of rearing and forelimbic clonus resembling "boxing," was elicited by microinjection of the cholinergic agonist, carbachol, 4 μg, into the medial prefrontal cortex of the rat. A rating scale devised to score the behavior revealed a motor pattern elicited by carbachol from the medial anterior cortex which was similar to that described by Racine [24] for electrical stimulation of the amygdala. Topographical analysis of the areas surrounding the medial anterior cortex region revealed that the motor manifestations of seizures were elicited over a wide region of the anterior cortex, with scores significantly lower at carbachol microinjection sites greater than 1 mm rostral, 2 and 3 mm caudal, and 2 mm lateral to the standard medial prefrontal cortex site. Unilateral microinjection of carbachol yielded motor seizures primarily from the contralateral forepaw, suggesting involvement of a crossed pathway. Retrograde tracing with fast blue dye, combined with immunostaining for choline acetyltransferase and NADPH-diaphorase, found that the cholinergic neurons innervating the standard microinjection site were the dorsolateral tegmental cells, as previously reported, which have been shown to also contain substance P and corticortropin releasing factor. In addition, cholinergic neurons of the nucleus basalis of Meynert region were found to innervate the standard microinjection site. These findingsimplicate cholinergic innervation of the rostral cortex in classical limbic seizures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-136
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Acetylcholine
  • Carbachol
  • Dorsolateral tegmentum
  • Nucleus basalis of Meynert
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Seizures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology


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