Persisting behavioral and neurochemical deficits in rats following lesions of the basal forebrain

Robert F Berman, R. D. Crosland, D. J. Jenden, H. J. Altman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The effects of excitotoxic lesions of the nucleus basalis magnocellularis on cortical cholinergic activity and passive avoidance performance were examined in rats at 6, 14, 84 and 180 days after lesioning. Lesioned rats showed significant impairment of passive avoidance retention at every time point tested, with no evidence of behavioral recovery compared to unoperated and sham-lesioned (i.e., vehicle-injected) control rats. Cortical choline acetyltransferase (CAT) activity was reduced relative to controls at all time points examined, with the greatest reduction (i.e., 28%) occuring at approximately 14 days after lesioning. The levels of CAT activity at 180 postlesioning remained reduced compared to control animal levels, but less so than at 14 days after lesioning, indicating partial recovery. No changes in cholinergic muscarinic binding were observed at any time following lesioning. The results indicate that the behavioral and neurochemical effects of NbM lesions persist for at least 6 months following lesioning, but that partial, gradual recovery of cholinergic activity occurs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-586
Number of pages6
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Basal forebrain
  • Choline acetyltransferase
  • Cholinergic system
  • Excitotoxic lesions
  • Muscarinic cholinergic receptors
  • Passive avoidance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology


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