Immunocytochemical demonstration of axonal and perikaryal acetylcholinesterase in human cerebral cortex

M. M. Mesulam*, C. Geula, R. Cosgrove, D. Mash, S. Brimijoin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The adult human neocortex contains a dense net of axons and perikarya which yield an acetylcholinesterase-rich enzymatic reaction pattern in histochemical experiments. We employed a monoclonal antibody to human acetylcholinesterase and a method for the concurrent visualization of histochemical and immunohistochemical reaction-products to explore the relationship between immunological and enzymatic markers of acetylcholinesterase. We observed that the cortical axons and perikarya with a histochemically determined acetylcholinesterase-rich enzymatic activity also contain acetylcholinesterase-like immunoreactivity. This was especially informative for the intracortical acetylcholinesterase-rich perikarya of layers III and V since these neurons require prolonged incubations for histochemical detection and since they are not conspicuous in other animal species. The availability of a reliable immunohistochemical method makes it possible to investigate the distribution of the acetylcholinesterase enzyme molecule independent of its enzymatic activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-238
Number of pages6
JournalBrain research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 25 1991


  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Human cortex
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Neuronal acetylcholinesterase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology


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