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Behav Neurosci. 1999 Aug;113(4):691-702.

Basal forebrain stimulation induces discriminative receptive field plasticity in the auditory cortex.

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Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, University of California, Irvine, USA.


Learning alters receptive field (RF) tuning in the primary auditory cortex (ACx) to emphasize the frequency of a tonal conditioned stimulus. RF plasticity is a candidate substrate of memory, as it is associative, specific, discriminative, rapidly induced, and enduring. The authors hypothesized that it is produced by the release of acetylcholine in the ACx from the basal forebrain (BasF), caused by presentation of reinforced but not nonreinforced conditioned stimuli. Waking adult male Hartley guinea pigs (n = 16) received 1 of 2 tones followed by BasF stimulation, in a single session of 30 pseudo-random order trials each. RFs from neuronal discharges before and after differential pairing revealed the induction of predicted plasticity, as well as increased responses to the paired tone and decreased responses to the unpaired tone. Thus, highly specific, learning-induced RF plasticity in the ACx may be produced by activation of the BasF by a reinforced conditioned stimulus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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