Sex differences in the cholinergic basal forebrain in the Ts65Dn mouse model of Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease

Christy M. Kelley, Brian E. Powers, Ramon Velazquez, Jessica A. Ash, Stephen D. Ginsberg, Barbara J. Strupp, Elliott J. Mufson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


In the Down syndrome (DS) population, there is an early incidence of dementia and neuropathology similar to that seen in sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD), including dysfunction of the basal forebrain cholinergic neuron (BFCN) system. Using Ts65Dn mice, a model of DS and AD, we examined differences in the BFCN system between male and female segmentally trisomic (Ts65Dn) and disomic (2N) mice at ages 5-8 months. Quantitative stereology was applied to BFCN subfields immunolabeled for choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) within the medial septum/vertical limb of the diagonal band (MS/VDB), horizontal limb of the diagonal band (HDB) and nucleus basalis of Meynert/substantia innominata (NBM/SI). We found no sex differences in neuron number or subregion area measurement in the MS/VDB or HDB. However, 2N and Ts65Dn females showed an average 34% decrease in BFCN number and an average 20% smaller NBM/SI region area compared with genotype-matched males. Further, relative to genotype-matched males, female mice had smaller BFCNs in all subregions. These findings demonstrate that differences between the sexes in BFCNs of young adult Ts65Dn and 2N mice are region and genotype specific. In addition, changes in post-processing tissue thickness suggest altered parenchymal characteristics between male and female Ts65Dn mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-44
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Down syndrome
  • basal forebrain
  • cholinergic
  • female
  • male
  • stereology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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