November 24, 2020

Cholinergic upregulation by optogenetic stimulation of nucleus basalis in mice

A network of acetylcholinergic (ACh) cell groups in the basal forebrain innerve the forebrain and are proposed to contribute to a variety of functions including attention, and cortical plasticity. This study examined the contribution of the ACh-nucleus basalis projection to the sensorimotor cortex on recovery on a skilled reach-to-eat task following photothrombotic stroke in the forelimb region of the somatosensory cortex.

Mice were trained to perform a single-pellet skilled reaching task and their pre and poststroke performance, from Day 4 to Day 28 poststroke, was assessed frame-by-frame by video analysis with end point, movement and sensorimotor integration measures. Somatosensory forelimb lesions produced impairments in endpoint and movement component measures of reaching and increased the incidence of fictive eating, a sensory impairment in mistaking a missed reach for a successful reach.

Upregulated ACh activity, as measured by electroencephalogram (EEG) recording, elicited via optogenetic stimulation of the nucleus basalis improved recovery of reaching and improved movement scores but did not affect a sensorimotor integration impairment poststroke. The results show that the mouse cortical forelimb somatosensory region contributes to forelimb motor behavior and suggest that basal forebrain ACh upregulation could serve as an adjunct to behavioral therapy for the acute treatment of stroke.

bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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