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Current Research

Cholinergic cells, which are widely dispersed in the basal forebrain, provide the major part of acetylcholine found in the cerebral cortex. Patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and in related dementia's have a significant decrease of acetylcholine in the cortex and pathological changes in cholinergic basal forebrain neurons.

Our laboratory is interested in how the basal forebrain is organized to modulate distributed neuronal processes within sensory and higher order cognitive systems in the cerebral cortex (publ.: 28, 29, 30). Our studies in the past utilized a combination of tracer and immunocytochemical methods both at the light and electron microscopical level to identify elementary synaptic circuits and transmitter interactions in the basal forebrain (GABAergic/cholinergic, catecholaminergic/cholinergic, glutamatergic/GABAergic). Such transmitter interactions may be important in learning and memory, and their impairment may contribute to attentional deficits seen in neuropsychiatric diseases, including Alzheimer's disease. Our current research goal is to establish a functional correlate of the morphologically identified circuits by using a combination of extracellular electrophysiology, juxtacellular labeling, EEG monitoring and computational anatomical studies in rodents complemented with structural and functional imaging studies in humans. Understanding the cellular mechanism of behavioral conditions that lead to basal forebrain activation may help the development of site-specific treatment strategies to ameliorate the cognitive symptoms in these disorders.

Click Here for a list of selected publications.

6

 

Study of the synaptic connections of single electrophysiologically and chemically identified neurons (publ.: 35, 36, 29)

 

 

Study of connection and transmitter interactions in BF (publ.: 42,43,44,26,27)

   

 

 

 

Computational analysis of the large-scale organizations in BF  (publ.: 33, 32, 31)

 

 

Probabilistic mapping of BF neurons (publ.:18)

 

 

 

* In collaboration with the Institute of Medicine, Julich and C. & O. Vogt Institute for Brain Research, Germany