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Beyond NeurotransmissionNeuromodulation and its Importance for Information Processing$
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Paul Katz

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198524243

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524243.001.0001

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Neuromodulation and memory function

Neuromodulation and memory function

(p.318) 9 Neuromodulation and memory function
Beyond Neurotransmission

Michael E. Hasselmo

Christiane Linster

Oxford University Press

Neuromodulation plays an important role in a variety of memory processes. Several modulators appear to regulate the storage of new information in cortical networks. This raises the fundamental question: Why is it necessary to modulate learning? Why not just maintain learning dynamics continuously? This chapter provides examples of memory processes in which modulation is necessary in order to alter dynamics for different aspects of learning and memory. Activation of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors appears to set appropriate dynamics for encoding of new information in cortical networks, whereas removal of modulation may set appropriate dynamics for consolidation (transfer of information from hippocampus back to neocortex). Acetylcholine and norepinephrine seem to act together to enhance responsiveness to external stimuli, while maintaining an appropriately sparse representation. Finally, activation of GABAB receptors is likely to be important for rapid changes in retrieval dynamics which enhance convergence to specific stored representations.

Keywords:   memory processes, information storage, cortical networks, modulation, muscarinic acetylcholine receptors, external stimuli

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