Cholinergic neurotransmission is essential for perirhinal cortical plasticity and recognition memory

Neuron. 2003 Jun 19;38(6):987-96. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(03)00358-1.


We establish the importance of cholinergic neurotransmission to both recognition memory and plasticity within the perirhinal cortex of the temporal lobe. The muscarinic receptor antagonist scopolamine impaired the preferential exploration of novel over familiar objects, disrupted the normal reduced activation of perirhinal neurones to familiar compared to novel pictures, and blocked production of long-term depression (LTD) but not long-term potentiation (LTP) of synaptic transmission in perirhinal slices. The consistency of these effects across the behavioral, systems, and cellular levels of analysis provides strong evidence for the involvement of cholinergic mechanisms in synaptic plastic processes within perirhinal cortex that are necessary for recognition memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Entorhinal Cortex / drug effects
  • Entorhinal Cortex / physiology*
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Muscarinic Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Muscarinic / physiology*
  • Recognition, Psychology / drug effects
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*
  • Scopolamine / pharmacology
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*


  • Muscarinic Antagonists
  • Receptors, Muscarinic
  • Scopolamine