Cholinergic Dysfunction and Memory; Implications for the Development of Animal Models of Aging and Dementia

  • M. J. Pontecorvo
  • C. Flicker
  • R. T. Bartus
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 30)


Aged humans show a pattern of cognitive impairments in which recent memory deficits are superimposed on a more global cognitive deterioration which typically includes deficits in attention, decreased processing speed, cognitive rigidity and interference from previous associations (1, 10). Research extending over the last decade has shown that this pattern of impairments, particularly the decline in recent memory, is a common characteristic of aging in many mammalian species including humans, nonhuman primates, rats and mice (2, 3, 17, 22). In humans these impairments are exacerbated by senile dementia of the Alzheimer type (SDAT), which affects 10% of all persons over 65 years of age and 30% of those over 85. Although the neurochemical changes responsible for the cognitive loss in aged or demented subjects are not completely understood, extensive evidence (5, 9, 11) suggests that a dysfunction of central cholinergic transmission plays an important role.


Retention Interval Passive Avoidance Globus Pallidus Basal Forebrain Nucleus Basalis 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. J. Pontecorvo
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. Flicker
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. T. Bartus
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of CNS Research Medical Research DivisionAmerican Cyanamid Company Lederle LaboratoriesPearl RiverUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryNew York University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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