This paper describes a hypothesis related to the neurochemical background of sleep-waking mental activity which, although associated with subcortical structures, is principally generated in the cerebral cortex. Acetylcholine, which mainly activates cortical neurons, is released at the maximal rate during waking and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep dreaming stage. Its importance in mental functioning is well-known. However, brainstem-generated monoamines, which mainly inhibit cortical neurons, are released during waking. Both kinds of influences contribute to the organized mentation of waking. During slow wave sleep, these two types of influence decrease in intensity but maintain a sufficiently high level to allow mental activity involving fairly abstract pseudo-thoughts, a mode of activity modelled on the diurnal pattern of which it is a poor reply. During REM sleep, the monoaminergic neurons become silent except for the dopaminergic ones. This results in a large disinhibition and the maintained dopamine influence may be involved in the familiar psychotic-like mental activity of dreaming. Indeed, in this original activation-disinhibition state, the increase of dopamine influence at the prefrontal cortex level could explain the al...Continue Reading
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Behavioral functions of the mesolimbic dopaminergic system: an affective neuroethological perspective.
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Basal Ganglia are a group of subcortical nuclei in the brain associated with control of voluntary motor movements, procedural and habit learning, emotion, and cognition. Here is the latest research.
Basal Forebrain- Circuits
Basal forebrain is a region in the brain important for production of acetylcholine and is the major cholinergic output of the CNS. Discover the latest research on circuits in the basal forebrain here.