Telencephalic cholinergic system of the new world monkey (Cebus apella): Morphological and cytoarchitectonic assessment and analysis of the projection to the amygdala

Jeffrey H. Kordower, Raymond T. Bartus, Frederick F. Marciano, Don Marshall Gash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


While the cholinergic projection from the nucleus basalis to the cortical mantle has received considerable attention, a similar projection to the magnocellular basal nucleus of the amygdala has not been studied in such detail. The present study analyzed the cholinergic basal forebrain projection to the amygdala in the Cebus apella monkey by using combined tract‐tracing and immunocytochemical techniques. As a foundation for this assessment, the morphological and cytoarchitectonic organization of the cholinergic telencephalic system of the New World C. apella monkey was examined by using choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) immunocytochemistry. Although there were minor differences, the telencephalic cholinergic system of Cebus monkeys is similar to that seen in Old World nonhuman primates. ChAT‐immunoreactive neurons were observed throughout the Ch1‐4 regions of the basal forebrain, with subdivisions of the Ch4 region similar to those previously described (Mesulam et al., '83a). Most cholinergic neurons were hyperchromic and magnocellular; however, some neurons were parvicellular. Like most species, cholinergic neurons were also observed throughout the striatum. However, unlike in rodents, cholinergic perikarya were not observed within the cortex or hippocampus. To analyze the cholinergic fiber projections from the basal forebrain to the amygdala, monkeys received an intra‐amygdaloid injection of the retrograde tracer horseradish peroxidase conjugated to wheat germ agglutinin. Retrogradely labeled neurons that colocalized ChAT or acetylcholinesterase (AChE) were found predominantly in the anterolateral portion of the CH4 region. Fewer double‐labeled neurons were found in the anteromedial and intermediate portion of CH4 and in the CH3 region. Neurons that exhibited retrograde labeling were only occasionally discerned in the posterior portions of the CH4 region, in the medullary laminae of the globus pallidus, or lodged within the internal capsule. These data are discussed in terms of the putative role this cholinergic input might play in cognitive processing in primates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)528-545
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 22 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Cebus
  • acetylcholinesterase
  • basal forebrain
  • choline acetyltransferase
  • primates
  • tetramethylbenzidine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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