JOURNAL ARTICLE

The effect of the augmentation of cholinergic neurotransmission by nicotine on EEG indices of visuospatial attention

H N A Logemann, K B E Böcker, P K H Deschamps, C Kemner, J L Kenemans
Behavioural Brain Research 2014 March 1, 260: 67-73
24316088
The cholinergic system has been implicated in visuospatial attention but the exact role remains unclear. In visuospatial attention, bias refers to neuronal signals that modulate the sensitivity of sensory cortex, while disengagement refers to the decoupling of attention making reorienting possible. In the current study we investigated the effect of facilitating cholinergic neurotransmission by nicotine (Nicorette Freshmint 2mg, polacrilex chewing gum) on behavioral and electrophysiological indices of bias and disengagement. Sixteen non-smoking participants performed in a Visual Spatial Cueing (VSC) task while EEG was recorded. A randomized, single-blind, crossover design was implemented. Based on the scarce literature, it was expected that nicotine would specifically augment disengagement related processing, especially manifest as an increase of the modulation of the Late Positive Deflection (LPD) by validity of cueing. No effect was expected on bias related components (cue-locked: EDAN, LDAP; target-locked: P1 and N1 modulations). Results show weak indications for a reduction of the reaction time validity effect by nicotine, but only for half of the sample in which the validity effect on the pretest was largest. Nicotine reduced the result of bias as indexed by a reduced P1 modulation by validity, especially in subjects with strong peripheral responses to nicotine. Nicotine did not affect ERP manifestations of the directing of bias (EDAN, LDAP) or disengagement (LPD).

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