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Cholinergic modulation of response properties and orientation tuning of neurons in primary visual cortex of anaesthetized Marmoset monkeys

Lookup NU author(s): Wolfgang Zinke, Dr Mark Roberts, Dr Kun Guo, Dr Scott McDonald, Dr Robert Robertson, Professor Alexander Thiele


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Cortical processing is strongly influenced by the actions of neuromodulators such as acetylcholine (ACh). Early studies in anaesthetized cats argued that acetylcholine can cause a sharpening of orientation tuning functions and an improvement of the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of neuronal responses in primary visual cortex (V1). Recent in vitro studies have demonstrated that acetylcholine reduces the efficacy of feedback and intracortical connections via the activation of muscarinic receptors, and increases the efficacy of feed-forward connections via the activation of nicotinic receptors. If orientation tuning is mediated or enhanced by intracortical connections, high levels of acetylcholine should diminish orientation tuning. Here we investigate the effects of acetylcholine on orientation tuning and neuronal responsiveness in anaesthetized marmoset monkeys. We found that acetylcholine caused a broadening of the orientation tuning in the majority of cells, while tuning functions became sharper in only a minority of cells. Moreover, acetylcholine generally facilitated neuronal responses, but neither improved signal-to-noise ratio, nor reduced trial-to-trial firing rate variance systematically. Acetylcholine did however, reduce variability of spike occurrences within spike trains. We discuss these findings in the context of dynamic control of feed-forward and lateral/feedback connectivity by acetylcholine. © The Authors (2006).

Publication metadata

Author(s): Zinke W, Roberts MJ, Guo K, McDonald JS, Robertson R, Thiele A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Neuroscience

Year: 2006

Volume: 24

Issue: 1

Pages: 314-328

ISSN (print): 0953-816X

ISSN (electronic): 1460-9568

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2006.04882.x

PubMed id: 16882027


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Funder referenceFunder name
070380Wellcome Trust
070380/Z/03/ZWellcome Trust
BBS/B/09325Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council