Recent Advances in Histochemical Techniques for the Study of Central Cholinergic Mechanisms

  • L. L. Butcher
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 24)


Although generally not affording the degree of quantification available with corresponding chemical and biochemical techniques, histochemical methods, as applied to the study of the brain and spinal cord, offer the advantage of preserving intercellular and intracellular geometry in relation to the chemical events that occur in the central nervous system. This absolute requirement of maintaining structural integrity while assaying neurochemical processes introduces into histochemical investigations procedural difficulties not encountered in other types of studies. For example, use of tissue homogenization and centrifugation to facilitate access to subcellular compartments and their contents, because such procedures destroy anatomical relationships, is of little or no value in histochemical experiments. It is not surprising, therefore, that whereas valid and reliable chemical and biochemical techniques currently exist for various neurochemicals having significance for cholinergic function — including prominently A Ch (e.g. Ref. 46), Ch (e.g. Ref. 46), A Ch hydrolase (A ChE, EC (e.g. Ref. 75), and Ch O-acetyltransferase (CAT, EC 2.3.1. 6)(e.g. Ref. 33) — histochemical procedures for these same substances, with the exception of AChE, are either non-existent or are in their infancy.


Substantia Nigra Cholinergic Neuron Globus Pallidus Histochemical Method Neuronal Somata 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. L. Butcher
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Brain Research InstituteUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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