Cholinergic innervation of the primate hippocampal formation: II. Effects of fimbria/fornix transection

José R. Alonso, Sang U. Hoi, David G Amaral

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30 Scopus citations


The distribution of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT)-immunoreactive and acetylcholinesterase (AChE)-positive fibers and terminals was analyzed in the hippocampal formation of macaque monkeys subjected to transection of the fimbria/fornix. Cases with either unilateral or bilateral transections were prepared, with post transection survival times ranging from 2 weeks to 1.5 years. The fimbria/fornix transection resulted in a dramatic decrease in the number of cholinergic fibers in most regions of the hippocampal formation. Some hippocampal regions, however, showed relatively greater sparing of ChAT- or AChE-positive fibers. In practically all regions of the hippocampal formation, residual AChE-positive fibers were more abundant than ChAT- immunoreactive fibers. In animals with unilateral lesions, the distribution patterns and density of AChE and ChAT staining on the side contralateral to the lesion were generally similar to those of sections from unlesioned control brains. The largest decreases in the densities of positive fibers were observed in the dentate gyrus, CA3 and CA2 fields of the hippocampus, subiculum, parasubiculum, and medial and caudal parts of the entorhinal cortex. Fibers were relatively better preserved in the rostral or uncal portion of the hippocampus and dentate gyrus and in the rostral portion of the entorhinal cortex. The presubiculum demonstrated remarkable sparing that contrasted with the almost complete loss of fibers in the parasubiculum. Interestingly, animals killed approximately 1.5 years after the fornix transection showed essentially the same pattern of fiber loss as the cases with shorter survival periods. This indicates that the residual ChAT- immunoreactive fibers, many of which reach the hippocampal formation through a ventral cholinergic pathway, are not capable of reinnervating the denervated portions of the hippocampal formation. This appears to distinguish the monkey from the rat, for which substantial sprouting and reinnervation of cholinergic fibers have been reported after similar lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-551
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 25 1996


  • acetylcholinesterase
  • choline acetyltransferase
  • entorhinal cortex
  • fornix lesion
  • hippocampus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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