Neuropathological and immunochemical studies of brain parenchyma in acetylcholinesterase knockout mice: Implications in Alzheimer's disease

Stephen G. Rice, Lee Nowak, Ellen G. Duysen, Oksana Lockridge, Debomoy K. Lahiri, Patricio F. Reyes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


The 'cholinergic hypothesis', based on the correlation of the reduction of cholinergic activity in Alzheimer's disease (AD) with cognition and memory, is currently the most widely-held view for AD. Drug treatments for AD focus mainly on inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), and to some extent butyrylcholinesterase (BChE). In addition to changes in AChE in AD, there is a rise in the level of the sister enzyme BChE. However, the role of the two cholinesterases is poorly understood in vivo. We characterized several proteins immunohistochemically in brain sections from AChE nullizygote (AChE-/-) and wild type AChE+/+ mice. Previous studies had shown that AChE-/- mouse tissues are devoid of AChE activity and that the overall cholinesterase activity is significantly decreased in the knockout group [16]. Despite the differences of cholinesterase activity, we found no significant structural alterations between the experimental groups. Immunohistochemical examination revealed no neuronal, dendritic, astrocytic, synaptic, microglial, and endothelial differences between AChE-/- and AChE+/+ mice. Similarly, the histochemical examination showed no morphologic alterations between AChE-/- and AChE+/+ mice. Our studies show that neither the absence of AChE nor the presence exclusively of BChE is associated with neuroglial and vascular pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-489
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007



  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Butyrylcholinesterase
  • CD34
  • Cholinergic hypothesis
  • Glial fibrillary acidic protein
  • HLA-DP
  • Neuron specific enolase
  • Synaptophysin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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