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Cholinergic pairing with visual activation results in long-term enhancement of visual evoked potentials

, : Cholinergic pairing with visual activation results in long-term enhancement of visual evoked potentials. Plos One 4(6): E5995-E5995

Acetylcholine (ACh) contributes to learning processes by modulating cortical plasticity in terms of intensity of neuronal activity and selectivity properties of cortical neurons. However, it is not known if ACh induces long term effects within the primary visual cortex (V1) that could sustain visual learning mechanisms. In the present study we analyzed visual evoked potentials (VEPs) in V1 of rats during a 4-8 h period after coupling visual stimulation to an intracortical injection of ACh analog carbachol or stimulation of basal forebrain. To clarify the action of ACh on VEP activity in V1, we individually pre-injected muscarinic (scopolamine), nicotinic (mecamylamine), alpha7 (methyllycaconitine), and NMDA (CPP) receptor antagonists before carbachol infusion. Stimulation of the cholinergic system paired with visual stimulation significantly increased VEP amplitude (56%) during a 6 h period. Pre-treatment with scopolamine, mecamylamine and CPP completely abolished this long-term enhancement, while alpha7 inhibition induced an instant increase of VEP amplitude. This suggests a role of ACh in facilitating visual stimuli responsiveness through mechanisms comparable to LTP which involve nicotinic and muscarinic receptors with an interaction of NMDA transmission in the visual cortex.


PMID: 19543405

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005995

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