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Cholinergic modulation of a specific memory function of prefrontal cortex


Deficits in prefrontal cholinergic function are implicated in cognitive impairment in many neuropsychiatric diseases, but acetylcholine's specific role remains elusive. Rhesus monkeys with selective lesions of cholinergic input to prefrontal cortex (PFC) were unimpaired in tests of decision making and episodic memory that require intact PFC, but were severely impaired on a spatial working memory task. These observations are consistent with a specific role for prefrontal acetylcholine in working memory.

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Figure 1: Cholinergic lesions.
Figure 2: Task performance.


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We thank D. Gaffan for advice and support, and C. Bergmann, G. Daubney, C. Rae and K. Murphy for technical assistance. This research was supported by a grant from the Wellcome Trust (M.G.B.).

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P.L.C. conducted behavioral testing, data analysis and wrote the manuscript. D.A.K. conducted the majority of the behavioral testing. M.G.B. designed the experiments, supervised all of the procedures and assisted with manuscript preparation.

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Correspondence to Mark G Baxter.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Supplementary Figures 1 and 2, Supplementary Tables 1–3, Supplementary Methods, and Supplementary Results (PDF 9946 kb)

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Croxson, P., Kyriazis, D. & Baxter, M. Cholinergic modulation of a specific memory function of prefrontal cortex. Nat Neurosci 14, 1510–1512 (2011).

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