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Neuroscience. 2007 Oct 12;149(1):232-41. Epub 2007 Jul 28.

Inactivation of prefrontal cortex abolishes cortical acetylcholine release evoked by sensory or sensory pathway stimulation in the rat.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Dalhousie University, 5850 College Street, Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 1X5.


Sensory stimulation and electrical stimulation of sensory pathways evoke an increase in acetylcholine release from the corresponding cortical areas. The pathways by which such sensory information reaches the cholinergic neurons of the basal forebrain that are responsible for this release are unclear, but have been hypothesized to pass through the prefrontal cortex (PFC). This hypothesis was tested in urethane-anesthetized rats using microdialysis to collect acetylcholine from somatosensory, visual, or auditory cortex, before and after the PFC was inactivated by local microdialysis delivery of the GABA-A receptor agonist muscimol (0.2% for 10 min at 2 microl/min). Before PFC inactivation, peripheral sensory stimulation and ventral posterolateral thalamic stimulation evoked 60 and 105% increases, respectively, in acetylcholine release from somatosensory cortex. Stimulation of the lateral geniculate nucleus evoked a 57% increase in acetylcholine release from visual cortex and stimulation of the medial geniculate nucleus evoked a 72% increase from auditory cortex. Muscimol delivery to the PFC completely abolished each of these evoked increases (overall mean change from baseline = -7%). In addition, the spontaneous level of acetylcholine release in somatosensory, visual, and auditory cortices was reduced by 15-59% following PFC inactivation, suggesting that PFC activity has a tonic facilitatory influence on the basal forebrain cholinergic neurons. These experiments demonstrate that the PFC is necessary for sensory pathway evoked cortical ACh release and strongly support the proposed sensory cortex-to-PFC-to-basal forebrain circuit for each of these modalities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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