The basal forebrain (BF) is a complex brain region that plays an important role in modulating cortical activity. The BF contains cholinergic and various non-cholinergic corticopetal neurons and interneurons. The corticopetal BF projections, especially the cholinergic component, have been implicated in memory, sensory processing and attention. In spite of intensive efforts by many laboratories over the last two decades, it remains enigmatic how the BF is organized to support both general arousal as well as specific functions like attention. Novel 3D reconstructions and numerical analyses suggest that the distribution of the various cell types is not random but displays a general pattern of association. Within the cholinergic space (i.e. the volume occupied by the cell bodies of cortically projecting BF cholinergic neurons) different cell types occupy high- density cell clusters that are regionally specific. It is hypothesized that these cell groups (clusters) in various locations in the BF together with specific prefrontal and posterior cortical areas may provide the neural basis of a distributed functional network that orchestrates localized cortical modulation. Specific projects in this application are variants on the theme of anatomical segregation of functional domains in basalo-cortical networks.
Specific Aim 1 will define and validate BF cell clusters across individuals of rats and will assess the intersubejct variability of clusters.
Specific Aim 2 will define the cortical projection target of BF cell clusters.
Specific Aim 3 will test the hypothesis that the BF is topographically organized such that specific prefrontal cortical areas target specific BF cell groups, which in turn innervate specific limbic, posterior sensory or associational cortical areas.
Specific Aim 4 we will characterize the biophysical and anatomical properties of local processing with special reference to NPY-cholinergic interaction, using in vitro paired recordings with intrinsic (GFP-NPY) labeling for NPY neurons and in vivo (Cy3-192IgG) pre-labeling for cholinergic neurons. We hypothesize that NPY neurons suppress cholinergic firing. The data acquisition in these projects represents a complete transition from cell populations to electron microscopy reconstructions of single synapses and investigations of their functions. The project will employ highly innovative approaches to data analysis, that bridge several important methodological gaps relating to cross-scale integration of neuroanatomical data collected at the cellular and systems levels. The proposed study will lead to more realistic description of basalo-cortical networks at the brain-wide scale that can guide and constrain behavioral studies on cholinergic function, in particular mechanisms of sensory integration and attention. Concomitantly, it will facilitate the understanding of the aberrant processing in basalo-cortical networks that characterizes several neuropsychiatric disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, and drug abuse.

Public Health Relevance

Cholinergic cells, which are widely distributed in the basal forebrain BF), provide the majority of acetylcholine found in the cerebral cortex. This highly complex brain region has been implicated in a range of behaviors, including cortical activation, attention, motivation and memory, but the functional details are not well understood. Patients with Alzheimer's disease and in related dementias have a significant decrease of acetylcholine in the cortex and show pathological changes in cholinergic basal forebrain neurons. Part of the difficulty in understanding the role of the BF, as well as the processing characteristics of these disorders lies in the anatomical complexity of the region. The overall goal of this application is to improve our knowledge of the functional structure and connections of the BF. The results will lead to more realistic animal models for addressing function in behavioral studies. Concomitantly, it will facilitate the understanding of the aberrant processing in basalo-cortical networks and may help the development of new treatment strategies to ameliorate the cognitive symptoms in these disorders.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01NS023945-20
Application #
8214523
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BDCN-N (02))
Program Officer
Corriveau, Roderick A
Project Start
1986-08-01
Project End
2015-01-31
Budget Start
2012-02-01
Budget End
2013-01-31
Support Year
20
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$331,388
Indirect Cost
$117,013
Name
Rutgers University
Department
None
Type
Organized Research Units
DUNS #
130029205
City
Newark
State
NJ
Country
United States
Zip Code
07102
Zaborszky, Laszlo; Csordas, Attila; Mosca, Kevin et al. (2015) Neurons in the basal forebrain project to the cortex in a complex topographic organization that reflects corticocortical connectivity patterns: an experimental study based on retrograde tracing and 3D reconstruction. Cereb Cortex 25:118-37
Li, Chiang-shan R; Ide, Jaime S; Zhang, Sheng et al. (2014) Resting state functional connectivity of the basal nucleus of Meynert in humans: in comparison to the ventral striatum and the effects of age. Neuroimage 97:321-32
Butler, Tracy; Zaborszky, Laszlo; Pirraglia, Elizabeth et al. (2014) Comparison of human septal nuclei MRI measurements using automated segmentation and a new manual protocol based on histology. Neuroimage 97:245-51
Gyengesi, Erika; Andrews, Zane B; Paxinos, George et al. (2013) Distribution of secretagogin-containing neurons in the basal forebrain of mice, with special reference to the cholinergic corticopetal system. Brain Res Bull 94:1-8
Butler, Tracy; Zaborszky, Laszlo; Wang, Xiuyuan et al. (2013) Septal nuclei enlargement in human temporal lobe epilepsy without mesial temporal sclerosis. Neurology 80:487-91
Butler, Tracy; Blackmon, Karen; Zaborszky, Laszlo et al. (2012) Volume of the human septal forebrain region is a predictor of source memory accuracy. J Int Neuropsychol Soc 18:157-61
Nadasdy, Zoltan; Varsanyi, Peter; Zaborszky, Laszlo (2010) Clustering of large cell populations: method and application to the basal forebrain cholinergic system. J Neurosci Methods 194:46-55
Grothe, Michel; Zaborszky, Laszlo; Atienza, Mercedes et al. (2010) Reduction of basal forebrain cholinergic system parallels cognitive impairment in patients at high risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Cereb Cortex 20:1685-95
Hur, E E; Edwards, R H; Rommer, E et al. (2009) Vesicular glutamate transporter 1 and vesicular glutamate transporter 2 synapses on cholinergic neurons in the sublenticular gray of the rat basal forebrain: a double-label electron microscopic study. Neuroscience 164:1721-31
Toth, Attila; Gyengesi, Erika; Zaborszky, Laszlo et al. (2008) Interaction of slow cortical rhythm with somatosensory information processing in urethane-anesthetized rats. Brain Res 1226:99-110

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