Synaptic Release of Acetylcholine Rapidly Suppresses Cortical Activity by Recruiting Muscarinic Receptors in Layer 4

The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Rajan DasguptaMichael Beierlein


Cholinergic afferents from the basal forebrain (BF) can influence cortical activity on rapid time scales, enabling sensory information processing and exploratory behavior. However, our understanding of how synaptically released acetylcholine (ACh) influences cellular targets in distinct cortical layers remains incomplete. Previous studies have shown that rapid changes in cortical dynamics induced by phasic BF activity can be mediated by the activation of nicotinic ACh receptors (nAChRs) expressed in distinct types of GABAergic interneurons. In contrast, muscarinic ACh receptors (mAChRs) are assumed to be involved in slower and more diffuse ACh signaling following sustained increases in afferent activity. Here, we examined the mechanisms underlying fast cholinergic control of cortical circuit dynamics by pairing optical stimulation of cholinergic afferents with evoked activity in somatosensory cortical slices of mice of either sex. ACh release evoked by single stimuli led to a rapid and persistent suppression of cortical activity, mediated by mAChRs expressed in layer 4 and to a lesser extent, by nAChRs in layers 1-3. In agreement, we found that cholinergic inputs to layer 4 evoked short-latency and long-lasting mAChR-dependent ...Continue Reading


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