Neural topography and chronology of memory consolidation: a review of functional inactivation findings.
Unilateral ibotenic acid lesions of the rat nucleus basalis magnocellularis produce approximately 60% depletion of choline acetyltransferase activity in ipsilateral frontal and frontoparietal neocortex. This depletion, which represents the loss of most of the extrinsic neocortical cholinergic input, is stable for at least 6 months. Embryonic ventral forebrain neurons survive transplantation to such cholinergically denervated neocortex. Cholinergic cells abound within these transplants and appear able to reinnervate the cholinergically depleted host cortex, as assessed histochemically and by measurement of choline acetyltransferase activity. Outgrowing fibres may extend beyond 2 mm from the grafts and often appear to be organized in an appropriate laminar pattern within the host cortex. Peptidergic neurons are sparse within the grafts and their fibres frequently appear unable to grow into the host tissue. Control grafts of non-cholinergic embryonic hippocampal cells survive well but have no effect on cortical depletions of acetylcholinesterase or choline acetyltransferase activity. Reconstruction of the extrinsic cholinergic input to the cortex by transplantation provides a useful tool for understanding the functions of this pathway.