Acetylcholinesterase-rich pyramidal neurons in alzheimer's disease

Stephan Heckers*, Changiz Geula, Marek Marsel Mesulam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The distribution of acetylcholinesterase (AChE)-rich pyramidal neurons was studied in the cortices of 7 Alzheimer's Disease (AD) patients and 4 normal-aged subjects. Both groups showed a characteristic distribution of these neurons with the highest density in motor and premotor areas, moderate density in association cortices, and low density in limbic-paralimbic areas. Three areas (Brodmann areas 6,22, and 24) were chosen for quantitative analysis. The number of pyramidal neurons that display an AChE-rich staining pattern was significantly reduced in AD patients. Nerve cell density was not significantly different in adjacent Nissl-stained sections. The density of AChE-rich (cholinergic) fibers was also decreased in all three cortical areas of the AD patients but was not correlated with the number of AChE-rich neurons. Loss of AChE-rich neurons was more pronounced in areas with high counts of tangles. These findings show that layer 3 and 5 pyramidal neurons in AD display a reduction of AChE activity. This phenomenon can not be attributed to the well known loss of cortical neurons or cholinergic innervation in AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-460
Number of pages6
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992


  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Histochemistry
  • Human cerebral cortex
  • Pyramidal neurons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Acetylcholinesterase-rich pyramidal neurons in alzheimer's disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this