Electron microscopic evidence for a cholinergic innervation of GABAergic parvalbumin-immunoreactive neurons in the rat medial septum

J Neurosci Res. 1998 Oct 15;54(2):248-53. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-4547(19981015)54:2<248::AID-JNR12>3.0.CO;2-0.


The presence of interconnections between cholinergic and parvalbumin (PARV)-containing gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic septohippocampal projection neurons is still a matter of debate. To search for contacts of cholinergic collateral axon terminals in the septal-diagonal band region the immunotoxin 192IgG-saporin was applied, which was proved to selectively destroy cholinergic basal forebrain neurons. Seven and 10 days after administration of the immunotoxin, choline acetyltransferase immunoreactivity had disappeared, and numerous neuronal somata and dendrites as well as axonal terminals revealed characteristics of electron-lucent degeneration. Electron-dense degeneration was never observed in dendrites and synaptic boutons. Degenerating terminals were found in contact with PARV-immunopositive and PARV-negative neurons. Because only cholinergic cells were degenerating, the terminals should be collaterals from cholinergic neurons. In addition to such contacts, PARV-immunoreactive boutons were seen in contact with PARV-positive and PARV-negative cells, but were not identified at degenerating postsynaptic profiles. As suggested in other studies, cholinergic boutons contacting GABAergic PARV-containing septal projection cells may influence hippocampal theta activity. Furthermore, multiple synaptic connections of both neuronal populations forming the septohippocampal pathway may contribute to their high rate of survival after fimbria-fornix transection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Choline O-Acetyltransferase / analysis*
  • Hippocampus / chemistry
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neural Pathways / chemistry
  • Neurons / chemistry*
  • Parvalbumins / analysis*
  • Presynaptic Terminals / chemistry
  • Rats
  • Septum Pellucidum / chemistry*
  • Septum Pellucidum / cytology
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / physiology*


  • Parvalbumins
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Choline O-Acetyltransferase