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Neurosci Lett. 2013 Jun 17;545:50-3. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2013.04.015. Epub 2013 Apr 24.

Cholinergic modulation of olfactory pattern separation.

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Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, New York University Langone School of Medicine, USA.


Pattern separation plays an important role in perception and memory. In olfaction, pattern separation is critical component of piriform cortical odor processing contributing to behavioral perception of overlapping odor mixtures. Previous work has demonstrated that odor discrimination ability is modulated by acetylcholine. Here, we extended this previous work by using a distinct, well characterized complex odor stimulus set that has been shown to differentially involve pattern separation processes within piriform cortex. We find that the cholinergic muscarinic receptor agonist oxotremorine facilitates the acquisition of odor discrimination. Furthermore, the muscarinic receptor antagonist scopolamine impairs acquisition of odor discrimination even if the antagonist is limited to the piriform cortex. Finally, acetylcholine effects are most robust during discrimination acquisition, with minimal effects during expression.

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