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Neuromodulator Acetylcholine increases the capacity of the brain perceive the world


Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter secreted by specific neurons in the brain. These neurons are typically active when an animal is in a heightened state of arousal. Members of TDLC worked synergistically to unveil a surprising effect of acetylcholine: When acetylcholine is very active, the neurons in the visual cortex of an animal become more independent of each other. This increased independence boosts the capacity of the visual cortex to represent visual stimuli. The results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are the result of the synergy between theoretical studies on neural coding developed by Victor Minces and Andrea Chiba in UCSD, and experimental data gathered by Lucas Pinto and Yang Dan at UC Berkeley.

Reference: V. Minces, L. Pinto, Y. Dan, & A.A. Chiba (2017). Cholinergic shaping of neural correlations. Procedures of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 114-22 p. 5725-5730.


Leanne Chukoskie