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Two distinct profiles of fMRI and neurophysiological activity elicited by acetylcholine in visual cortex

Daniel Zaldivar, Alexander Rauch, Nikos K Logothetis, Jozien Goense
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2018 December 3
30510000
Cholinergic neuromodulation is involved in all aspects of sensory processing and is crucial for processes such as attention, learning and memory, etc. However, despite the known roles of acetylcholine (ACh), we still do not how to disentangle ACh contributions from sensory or task-evoked changes in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Here, we investigated the effects of local injection of ACh on fMRI and neural signals in the primary visual cortex (V1) of anesthetized macaques by combining pharmaco-based MRI (phMRI) with electrophysiological recordings, using single electrodes and electrode arrays. We found that local injection of ACh elicited two distinct profiles of fMRI and neurophysiological activity, depending on the distance from the injector. Near the injection site, we observed an increase in the baseline blood oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) and cerebral blood flow (CBF) responses, while their visual modulation decreased. In contrast, further from the injection site, we observed an increase in the visually induced BOLD and CBF modulation without changes in baseline. Neurophysiological recordings suggest that the spatial correspondence between fMRI responses and neural activity does not change in the gamma, high-gamma, and multiunit activity (MUA) bands. The results near the injection site suggest increased inhibitory drive and decreased metabolism, contrasting to the far region. These changes are thought to reflect the kinetics of ACh and its metabolism to choline.

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