Cholinergic signaling dynamics and cognitive control of attention

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The central cholinergic system is one of the most important modulator neurotransmitter system implicated in diverse behavioral processes. Activation of the basal forebrain cortical cholinergic input system represents a critical step in cortical information processing. This chapter explores recent developments illustrating cortical cholinergic transmission mediate defined cognitive operations, which is contrary to the traditional view that acetylcholine acts as a slowly acting neuromodulator that influences arousal cortex-wide. Specifically, we review the evidence that phasic cholinergic signaling in the prefrontal cortex is a causal mediator of signal detection. In addition, studies that support the neuromodulatory role of cholinergic inputs in top-down attentional control are summarized. Finally, we review new findings that reveal sex differences and hormonal regulation of the cholinergic-attention system.




Parikh, V., & Bangasser, D. A. (2020). Cholinergic signaling dynamics and cognitive control of attention. In Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences (Vol. 45, pp. 71–87). Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH.

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