Cholinergic Hypofunction and Dementia: Relation of Neuronal Loss in Different Parts of the Nucleus Basalis to Cortical Neuropathological Changes

  • V. Bigl
  • T. Arendt
  • A. Tennstedt
  • A. Arendt
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 30)


The severe deficiency in cases with senile and presenile dementia of the Alzheimer’s type (SDAT) of the cholinergic cortical projection system from the population of large neurons in the basal forebrain referred to collectively by many authors as the Nucleus basalis of Meynert (NbM) (11) is now well established (18, 2). Loss or almost complete disappearance of these neurons in SDAT is reflected in the concomitant reduction of cholinergic cortical parameters (6). The NbM is involved in a number of behavioral reactions and lesions of the NbM show some similarities to the impairment of learning and memory (9) as well as the reduction of total electrical activity described in patients with SDAT (15). Residual cortical cholinergic activity seems to correlate well with the residual intellectual capacity revealed by psychometric tests (13).


Neuronal Loss Basal Forebrain Nucleus BASALIS Neuritic Plaque Cholinergic Innervation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Bigl
    • 1
  • T. Arendt
    • 1
  • A. Tennstedt
    • 2
  • A. Arendt
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Neurochemistry Paul Flechsig Institute of Brain ResearchKarl Marx UniversityLeipzigGDR
  2. 2.Pathological InstituteDistrict Hospital of Neurology and PsychiatryMuhlhausen-PfafferodeGDR
  3. 3.Department of Neuropathology Pathological InstituteKarl Marx UniversityLeipzigGDR

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