Decreased density of forebrain cholinergic neurons in experimental autoimmune dementia

V. Dubovik, M. Faigon, J. Feldon, D. M. Michaelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Sera of Alzheimer's disease and Down's syndrome patients contain antibodies which bind specifically to the high molecular weight neurofilament protein of Torpedo cholinergic neurons. We have recently shown that prolonged immunization of rats with this antigen results in the accumulation of IgG in neurons in the septum and hippocampus of the immunized rats and in cognitive impairments. This animal model is termed experimental autoimmune dementia. In the present study we examined whether the anti-cholinergic high molecular weight neurofilament subunit immune response of the experimental autoimmune dementia rats affects forebrain cholinergic neurons. This was performed immunohistochemically utilizing a monoclonal antibody to nerve growth factor receptor, a specific marker of cholinergic neurons in the forebrain. The results obtained revealed significant decreases in the density of cholinergic neurons in the medial septal nucleus and diagonal band of the experimental autoimmune dementia rats. These decreases are specific to the anti-cholinergic high molecular weight neurofilament subunit immune response of the experimental autoimmune dementia rats and are not observed in control rats which were immunized with chemically heterogeneous high molecular weight neurofilament subunit. The decrease in density of forebrain cholinergic neurons in experimental autoimmune dementia rats may mimic pathogenic processes in Alzheimer's disease and supports a role for anti-cholinergic high molecular weight neurofilament subunit antibodies in the degeneration of cholinergic neurons in the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
JournalNeuroscience
Volume56
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1993

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