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Contribution of Cholinergic and GABAergic Mechanisms to Direction Tuning, Discriminability, Response Reliability, and Neuronal Rate Correlations in Macaque Middle Temporal Area

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alexander Thiele, Jose Herrero



Previous studies have investigated the effects of acetylcholine (ACh) on neuronal tuning, coding, and attention in primary visual cortex, but its contribution to coding in extrastriate cortex is unexplored. Here we investigate the effects of ACh on tuning properties of macaque middle temporal area MT neurons and contrast them with effects of gabazine, a GABA(A) receptor blocker. ACh increased neuronal activity, it had no effect on tuning width, but it significantly increased the direction discriminability of a neuron. Gabazine equally increased neuronal activity, but it widened tuning curves and decreased the direction discriminability of a neuron. Although gabazine significantly reduced response reliability, ACh application had little effect on response reliability. Finally, gabazine increased noise correlation of simultaneously recorded neurons, whereas ACh reduced it. Thus, both drugs increased firing rates, but only ACh application improved neuronal tuning and coding in line with effects seen in studies in which attention was selectively manipulated.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Thiele A, Herrero JL, Distler C, Hoffmann KP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Neuroscience

Year: 2012

Volume: 32

Issue: 47

Pages: 16602-16615

Print publication date: 21/11/2012

Date deposited: 24/07/2014

ISSN (print): 0270-6474

ISSN (electronic): 1529-2401

Publisher: Society for Neuroscience


DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0554-12.2012


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Funder referenceFunder name
Academic Research Collaboration
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
German Academic Exchange Service
ZEN program of the Hertie Foundation
G0700976Medical Research Council