Hippocampal muscarinic receptor function in spatial learning-impaired aged rats

Michael L. Chouinard, Michela Gallagher, Robert P. Yasuda, Barry B. Wolfe, Michael McKinney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Efficiency of coupling of hippocampal muscarinic receptors to phosphoinositide (PI) turnover was investigated in behaviorally characterized young and aged Long-Evans rats using hippocampal minces and the method of partial receptor alkylation of Furchgott. Densities of the m1, m2, and m3 receptor proteins were determined using specific antibodies and immunoprecipitation. Spatial learning ability was quantified using a water maze. There were no differences in the levels of muscarinic receptor proteins between young and aged (27 months) rats or in rats with impaired spatial learning. The dissociation constant (KD) for the agonist oxotremorine-M and and the KD/EC50 ratio, an indicator of receptor-effector coupling efficiency were similar in young and aged rats. However, the maximal PI turnover response to oxotremorine-M was decreased in impaired aged rats and this parameter was highly correlated with the spatial learning index (R = -0.825; p < 0.001). A reduction in effector stimulation in the absence of changes in receptor protein or coupling efficiency suggests that dysfunction in the hippocampal muscarinic receptor systems occurs at the level of phospholipase C or beyond.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)955-963
Number of pages9
JournalNeurobiology of aging
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Acetylcholine
  • Aging
  • Hippocampus
  • Muscarinic receptors
  • Phosphoinositide turnover
  • Spatial memory
  • Water maze

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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