Nonenzymatic role of acetylcholinesterase in neuritic sprouting: regional changes in acetylcholinesterase and choline acetyltransferase after neonatal 6-hydroxydopamine lesions.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is postulated to play a nonenzymatic role in the development of neuritic projections. We gave the specific neurotoxin, 6-OHDA to rats on postnatal day (PN) 1, a treatment that destroys noradrenergic nerve terminals in the forebrain while producing reactive sprouting in the brainstem. AChE showed profound decreases in the forebrain that persisted in males over the entire phase of major synaptogenesis, from PN4 through PN21; in the brainstem, AChE was increased. Parallel examinations of choline acetyltransferase, an enzymatic marker for cholinergic nerve terminals, showed a different pattern of 6-OHDA-induced alterations, with initial decreases in both forebrain and brainstem in males and regression toward normal by PN21; females were far less affected. The sex differences are in accord with the greater plasticity of the female brain and its more rapid recovery from neurotoxic injury; our findings indicate that these differences are present well before puberty. These results support the view that AChE is involved in neurite formation, unrelated to its enzymatic role in cholinergic neurotransmission. Further, the results for choline acetyltransferase indicate that early depletion of norepinephrine compromises development of acetylcholine systems, consistent with a trophic role for this neurotransmitter.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Slotkin, TA; Ryde, IT; Wrench, N; Card, JA; Seidler, FJ

Published Date

  • May 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 31 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 183 - 186

PubMed ID

  • 19452616

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC2775534

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1872-9738

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States