Intact spatial learning following lesions of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons

Mark G. Baxter, David J. Bucci, Thomas J. Sobel, Megan J. Williams, Linda K. Gorman, Michela Gallagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


The role of the basal forebrain cholinergic system in learning and memory has held considerable interest since the discovery of cholinergic neurodegeneration in the basal forebrain in Alzheimer's disease. Contrary to expectation, selective removal of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons projecting to either hippocampus or neocortex fails to impair learning in a spatial task widely used to study hippocampal/cortical function. If cholinergic neuron contribute to learning and memory by integrated regulation of hippocampal and cortical processing, combined removal of hippocampal and cortical cholinergic projections might be necessary to produce impairment. However, this combined lesion failed to impair spatial learning. These data argue against the view that basal forebrain cholinergic deficiency plays a prominent role in disorders of learning and memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1417-1420
Number of pages4
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • 192 IgG-saporin
  • Acetylcholine
  • Aging
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Basal forebrain
  • Immunotoxin
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Spatial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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