Center of Experimental Morphology

Departamento de Anatomia - Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade do Porto

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Nerve growth factor retrieves neuropeptide Y and cholinergic immunoreactivity in the nucleus accumbens of old rats

Research Area: Uncategorized Year: 2013
Type of Publication: Article
Journal: Neurobiol Aging.
Number: 34(8 Pages: 1988-95
The nucleus accumbens (NAc) contains high levels of neuropeptide Y (NPY), which is involved in the regulation of functions and behaviors that deteriorate with aging. We sought to determine if aging alters NPY expression in this nucleus and, in the affirmative, if those changes are attributable to the cholinergic innervation of the NAc. The total number and the somatic volume of NPY- and choline acetyltransferase-immunoreactive neurons, and the density of cholinergic varicosities were estimated in the NAc of adult (6 months old) and aged (24 months old) rats. In aged rats, the number of NPY neurons was reduced by 20% and their size was unaltered. The number of cholinergic neurons and the density of the cholinergic varicosities were unchanged, but their somas were hypertrophied. Nerve growth factor administration to aged rats further increased the volume of cholinergic neurons, augmented the density of the cholinergic varicosities, and reversed the age-related decrease in the number of NPY neurons. Our data show that the age-related changes in NPY levels in the NAc cannot be solely ascribed to the cholinergic innervation of the nucleus

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