Cholinergic Neurotransmission Influences Covert Orientation of Visuospatial Attention in the Rat

JM Phillips, K McAlonan, WGK Robb, Verity Joy Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Rationale: Both monkey and human studies have suggested that attentional orienting may be mediated by the cholinergic neurotransmitter system. Objectives: The purpose of the present study was to examine whether the cholinergic agonist (nicotine) and/or antagonist (scopolamine) influence covert orientation in the rat. Methods: Rats carried out a visual reaction time task to measure covert orienting of attention following systemic administration of nicotine or scopolamine. Results: Nicotine reduced reaction times, abolishing the validity effect by differentially speeding the reaction times for invalidly cued targets. Conversely, scopolamine increased the validity effect by disproportionately lengthening reaction times to invalidly cued targets. Conclusions: Taken together, these data indicate that cholinergic transmission represents an important neurochemical substrate of visuospatial attention, specifically influencing disengagement or movement of attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-116
Number of pages5
JournalPsychopharmacology
Volume150
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2000

Keywords

  • nicotine
  • scopolamine
  • attention
  • orienting
  • rat
  • THALAMIC RETICULAR NUCLEUS
  • RADIAL-ARM MAZE
  • ALZHEIMERS-DISEASE
  • STRIATAL DOPAMINE
  • CHOICE ACCURACY
  • BASAL FOREBRAIN
  • NICOTINE
  • LESIONS
  • SCOPOLAMINE
  • ACETYLCHOLINE

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