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J Neurosci. 2016 Aug 10;36(32):8487-99. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0780-16.2016.

Cell-Specific Cholinergic Modulation of Excitability of Layer 5B Principal Neurons in Mouse Auditory Cortex.

Author information

1
Department of Otolaryngology and Neurobiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261.
2
Department of Otolaryngology and Neurobiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261 thanos@pitt.edu.

Abstract

The neuromodulator acetylcholine (ACh) is crucial for several cognitive functions, such as perception, attention, and learning and memory. Whereas, in most cases, the cellular circuits or the specific neurons via which ACh exerts its cognitive effects remain unknown, it is known that auditory cortex (AC) neurons projecting from layer 5B (L5B) to the inferior colliculus, corticocollicular neurons, are required for cholinergic-mediated relearning of sound localization after occlusion of one ear. Therefore, elucidation of the effects of ACh on the excitability of corticocollicular neurons will bridge the cell-specific and cognitive properties of ACh. Because AC L5B contains another class of neurons that project to the contralateral cortex, corticocallosal neurons, to identify the cell-specific mechanisms that enable corticocollicular neurons to participate in sound localization relearning, we investigated the effects of ACh release on both L5B corticocallosal and corticocollicular neurons. Using in vitro electrophysiology and optogenetics in mouse brain slices, we found that ACh generated nicotinic ACh receptor (nAChR)-mediated depolarizing potentials and muscarinic ACh receptor (mAChR)-mediated hyperpolarizing potentials in AC L5B corticocallosal neurons. In corticocollicular neurons, ACh release also generated nAChR-mediated depolarizing potentials. However, in contrast to the mAChR-mediated hyperpolarizing potentials in corticocallosal neurons, ACh generated prolonged mAChR-mediated depolarizing potentials in corticocollicular neurons. These prolonged depolarizing potentials generated persistent firing in corticocollicular neurons, whereas corticocallosal neurons lacking mAChR-mediated depolarizing potentials did not show persistent firing. We propose that ACh-mediated persistent firing in corticocollicular neurons may represent a critical mechanism required for learning-induced plasticity in AC.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT:

Acetylcholine (ACh) is crucial for cognitive functions. Whereas in most cases the cellular circuits or the specific neurons via which ACh exerts its cognitive effects remain unknown, it is known that auditory cortex (AC) corticocollicular neurons projecting from layer 5B to the inferior colliculus are required for cholinergic-mediated relearning of sound localization after occlusion of one ear. Therefore, elucidation of the effects of ACh on the excitability of corticocollicular neurons will bridge the cell-specific and cognitive properties of ACh. Our results suggest that cell-specific ACh-mediated persistent firing in corticocollicular neurons may represent a critical mechanism required for learning-induced plasticity in AC. Moreover, our results provide synaptic mechanisms via which ACh may mediate its effects on AC receptive fields.

KEYWORDS:

acetylcholine; auditory cortex; neuromodulation; persistent firing; synaptic excitability

PMID:
27511019
PMCID:
PMC4978806
DOI:
10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0780-16.2016
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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