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J Neurophysiol. 1993 Oct;70(4):1385-400.

Cholinergic and noradrenergic modulation of the slow (approximately 0.3 Hz) oscillation in neocortical cells.

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Laboratoire de Neurophysiologie, Faculté de Médecine, Université Laval, Quebec, Canada.


1. The pedunculopontine tegmental (PPT) cholinergic nucleus and the locus coeruleus (LC) noradrenergic nucleus were electrically stimulated to investigate their effects on the recently described slow oscillation (approximately 0.3 Hz) of neocortical neurons. Intracellular recordings of slowly oscillating, regular-spiking and intrinsically bursting neurons from cortical association areas 5 and 7 (n = 140) were performed in anesthetized cats. 2. Pulse trains to the PPT nucleus produced the blockage of rhythmic (approximately 0.3 Hz) depolarizing-hyperpolarizing sequences in 79% of tested cortical neurons and transformed this slow cellular rhythm into tonic firing. The latency of the cortical cellular response to PPT stimulation was 1.2 +/- 0.5 (SE) s and its duration was 15.9 +/- 1.9 s. The PPT-elicited suppression of the slow cellular oscillation was accompanied by an activation of the electroencephalogram (EEG) having a similar time course. Fast Fourier transform analyses of EEG activities before and after PPT stimulation showed that the PPT-evoked changes consisted of decreased power of slow rhythms (0-8 Hz) and increased power of fast rhythms (24-33 Hz); these changes were statistically significant. 3. The blockage of the slow cellular oscillation was mainly achieved through the diminution or suppression of the long-lasting hyperpolarizations separating the rhythmic depolarizing envelopes. This effect was observed even when PPT pulse trains disrupted the oscillation without inducing overt depolarization and increased firing rate. The durations of the prolonged hyperpolarizations were measured during a 40-s window (20 s before and 20 s after the PPT pulse train) and were found to decrease from 1.5 +/- 0.2 to 0.7 +/- 0.1 s. The values of the product resulting from the duration (in seconds), the amplitude (in millivolts), and number of such hyperpolarizing events within 20-s periods were 51.5 +/- 5 and 5.1 +/- 1.9 before and after PPT stimulation, respectively. 4. The PPT effect was suppressed by systemic administration of a muscarinic antagonist, scopolamine, but not by mecamylamine, a nicotinic antagonist. 5. The PPT effect on cellular and EEG cortical slow oscillation survived, although its duration was reduced, in animals with kainate-induced lesions of thalamic nuclei projecting to areas 5 and 7 (n = 3) as well as in animals with similar excitotoxic lesions leading to extensive neuronal loss in nucleus basalis (n = 2). These data indicate that the PPT effect is transmitted to neocortex through either thalamic or basal forebrain relays.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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