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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 636574, 7 pages
Research Article

Long-Term Effects of Maternal Deprivation on Cholinergic System in Rat Brain

1Faculty of Sport and Physical Education, University of Belgrade, Blagoja Parovića 156, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
2Institute of Clinical and Medical Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Pasterova 2, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
3Institute of Anatomy “Niko Miljanić”, Faculty of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Dr. Subotića 4, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia

Received 8 December 2013; Revised 27 January 2014; Accepted 28 January 2014; Published 10 March 2014

Academic Editor: Igor Jakovcevski

Copyright © 2014 Branka Marković et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated an association between early stressful life events and adult life psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia. In rodents, early life exposure to stressors such as maternal deprivation (MD) produces numerous hormonal, neurochemical, and behavioral changes and is accepted as one of the animal models of schizophrenia. The stress induces acetylcholine (Ach) release in the forebrain and the alterations in cholinergic neurotransmitter system are reported in schizophrenia. The aim of this study was to examine long-term effects of maternal separation on acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity in different brain structures and the density of cholinergic fibers in hippocampus and retrosplenial (RS) cortex. Wistar rats were separated from their mothers on the postnatal day (P) 9 for 24 h and sacrificed on P60. Control group of rats was bred under the same conditions, but without MD. Brain regions were collected for AChE activity measurements and morphometric analysis. Obtained results showed significant decrease of the AChE activity in cortex and increase in the hippocampus of MD rats. Density of cholinergic fibers was significantly increased in CA1 region of hippocampus and decreased in RS cortex. Our results indicate that MD causes long-term structure specific changes in the cholinergic system.