In Vitro Cell Cultures as a Model of the Basal Forebrain

  • B. H. Wainer
  • H. J. Lee
  • J. D. Roback
  • D. N. Hammond
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 295)


The basal forebrain has attracted considerable attention because of its putative role in complex functions such as learning, memory and behavioral state control as well as its vulnerability in neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). The finding that nerve growth factor provides trophic support for the cholinergic basal forebrain neurons has stimulated further interest in understanding trophic interactions of basal forebrain neurons as well as in possible trophic factor therapeutic stategies for disease states. Our laboratory has utilized primary cell cultures and developed immortalized central nervous system cell lines to study the trophic interactions that establish and maintain the septohippocampal pathway, a basal forebrain component which plays an essential role in cognitive function and is prominently affected in AD. The results of our primary cell culture studies have demonstrated the importance of trophic signals elaborated by the hippocampus in mediating the development of septal cholinergic neurons. Nerve growth factor plays an important role in this process, but it cannot account for all of the trophic signals elaborated by authentic hippocampal target cells. The development by this laboratory of clonal cell lines of septal and hippocampal lineage offers the prospect of investigating both the response to and elaboration of neural trophic signals at a more precise level of resolution than can be achieved with primary cultures. The technology and information that is generated from the engineering of such cell lines will also serve as a strategy to study trophic interactions in other brain circuits in future years, and to investigate possible changes or dysfunctions that occur neurological disease.


Nerve Growth Factor Cholinergic Neuron Basal Forebrain Clonal Cell Line ChAT Activity 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. H. Wainer
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • H. J. Lee
    • 1
  • J. D. Roback
    • 2
  • D. N. Hammond
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacological and Physiological SciencesThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of PathologyThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Department of PediatricsThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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