Localization of nerve growth factor receptors in cholinergic neurons of the human basal forebrain

Franz Hefti, Jukka Hartikka, Ana Salvatierra, William J. Weiner, Deborah C. Mash

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238 Scopus citations


Nerve growth factor (NGF) receptors were visualized in the basal human forebrain using an immunohistochemial procedure with a monoclonal antibody previously shown to recognize human melanoma cell NGF receptors. The receptors were found to be exclusively located in the medial septal nucleus, the diagonal band of Broca, and the nucleus basalis. This location coincided with that of cell bodies of ascending cholinergic neurons of the basal forebrain. In addition, NGF receptor-positive cells were costained for acetylcholinesterase. These findings indicate that cholinergic neurons of the basal forebrain but none of the other neurons located in this area express receptors for NGF. Results suggest that NGF acts as a trophic factor for cholinergic neurons in the human brain in a similar way as has been established in recent years for the rat brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-41
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 15 1986


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • cholinergic neuron
  • nerve growth factor
  • nucleus basalis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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