1. Home
  2. Knowledge Base
  3. References
  4. Basal forebrain cholinergic neurons are vital for cortical desynchronization and behavioral arousal observed after nicotine consumption

Basal forebrain cholinergic neurons are vital for cortical desynchronization and behavioral arousal observed after nicotine consumption

Sharma A, Sharma R, Mackey C, Sahota P, Thakkar M (2017) Basal forebrain cholinergic neurons are vital for cortical desynchronization and behavioral arousal observed after nicotine consumption. Neuroscience 2017 Abstracts 241.1 / LL2. Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC.

Summary: Purpose: Nicotine is an addictive constituent of tobacco which severely affects behavior. Sleep disruptions including reducing total sleep time, increasing sleep fragmentation and reducing sleep efficiency are very common in nicotine users. However, the underlying neuronal mechanism of how nicotine promotes desynchronization and disrupts sleep is unknown. We have shown that the basal forebrain (BF) is a key brain region, mediating nicotine’s effects on sleep-wakefulness (SFN 2015; Poster#166). The BF contains multiple neuronal phenotypes including cholinergic, GABAergic and glutamatergic subtypes. Thus, this study was designed to examine the neuronal subtype responsible for nicotine effects on sleep-wakefulness. As a first step, we focused on BF cholinergic neurons because BF cholinergic neurons are wake-promoting, express nicotinic receptors and supply acetylcholine to the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and amygdala. We hypothesized that lesions of BF cholinergic neurons will attenuate nicotine induced cortical arousal/desynchronization. Methods: To test our hypothesis, adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were implanted with sleep recording electrodes and were divided into two groups: Lesion: Selective lesion of the BF cholinergic neurons was performed by bilateral administration of immunotoxin, 192-IgG-Saporin (SAP; 0.28 µg/0.5µL/side) in the BF; Sham (controls): Rats were bilaterally infused with saline (0.5µL/side). After injections, animals were left undisturbed for 3 weeks. Day 1: saline was administered subcutaneously at light/sleep onset. Day 2: Nicotine (0.3 mg/Kg) was administered at the same time. Sleep- wakefulness was examined for next 6 hours. On completion, animals were euthanized and the brains were processed for choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) immunohistochemistry to verify BF cholinergic lesions. Results: Our preliminary results: As compared to controls, lesioned rats, with a 64% reduction in cholinergic neurons, displayed attenuated nicotine induced cortical desynchronization and behavioral arousal. Conclusions: Our results suggest that the BF cholinergic neurons mediate nicotine induced cortical arousal/desynchronization that may be the cause of sleep disruptions in nicotine users.

Related Products: 192-IgG-SAP (Cat. #IT-01)