The Nucleus Basalis of Meynert and Its Role in Deep Brain Stimulation for Cognitive Disorders: A Historical Perspective

Philippos Koulousakis, Pablo Andrade, Veerle Visser-Vandewalle, Thibaut Sesia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review

10 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

The nucleus basalis of Meynert (nbM) was first described at the end of the 19th century and named after its discoverer, Theodor Meynert. The nbM contains a large population of cholinergic neurons that project their axons to the entire cortical mantle, the olfactory tubercle, and the amygdala. It has been functionally associated with the control of attention and maintenance of arousal, both key functions for appropriate learning and memory formation. This structure is well-conserved across vertebrates, although its degree of organization varies between species. Since early in the investigation of its functional and pathological significance, its degeneration has been linked to various major neuropsychiatric disorders. For instance, Lewy bodies, a hallmark in the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, were originally described in the nbM. Since then, its involvement in other Lewy body and dementia-related disorders has been recognized. In the context of recent positive outcomes following nbM deep brain stimulation in subjects with dementia-associated disorders, we review the literature from an historical perspective focusing on how the nbM came into focus as a promising therapeutic option for patients with Alzheimer's disease. Moreover, we will discuss what is needed to further develop and widely implement this approach as well as examine novel medical indications for which nbM deep brain stimulation may prove beneficial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-919
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Volume69
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Acetylcholine
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • deep brain stimulation
  • nucleus basalis of Meynert
  • CEREBRAL-BLOOD-FLOW
  • FOREBRAIN CHOLINERGIC NEURONS
  • NERVE GROWTH-FACTOR
  • ALZHEIMERS-DISEASE
  • SUBSTANTIA INNOMINATA
  • ELECTRICAL-STIMULATION
  • FRONTAL-CORTEX
  • PATHOLOGICAL-CHANGES
  • RECEPTOR SUBTYPES
  • SENILE-DEMENTIA

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