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Eur J Neurosci. 1993 May 1;5(5):475-85.

Effects of intracortical infusion of anticholinergic drugs on neuronal plasticity in kitten striate cortex.

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Department of Physiology, Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt, Germany.


During a critical period of postnatal development the mammalian visual cortex is highly susceptible to experience-dependent alterations of neuronal response properties. These modifications are facilitated by the neuromodulators noradrenaline and acetylcholine. To identify the cholinergic mechanisms responsible for this facilitation, muscarinic and nicotinic antagonists were infused into the visual cortex of kittens while the animals were subject to monocular deprivation. Subsequently the ocular dominance of cortical cells was assessed by single-unit recording. Ocular dominance changes were suppressed by scopolamine and pirenzepine but not by gallamine, hexamethonium and mecamylamine. This blocking effect was concentration-dependent, and control experiments revealed that it was not due to suppression of neuronal responses to light. It is concluded from these results that acetylcholine facilitates neuronal plasticity in the visual cortex through mechanisms activated by muscarinic M1 receptors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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