Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 184–200 | Cite as

Neuromodulation by Glutamate and Acetylcholine can Change Circuit Dynamics by Regulating the Relative Influence of Afferent Input and Excitatory Feedback

  • Lisa M. Giocomo
  • Michael E. HasselmoEmail author


Substances such as acetylcholine and glutamate act as both neurotransmitters and neuromodulators. As neuromodulators, they change neural information processing by regulating synaptic transmitter release, altering baseline membrane potential and spiking activity, and modifying long-term synaptic plasticity. Slice physiology research has demonstrated that many neuromodulators differentially modulate afferent, incoming information compared to intrinsic and recurrent processing in cortical structures such as piriform cortex, neocortex, and the hippocampus. The enhancement of afferent (external) pathways versus the suppression at recurrent (internal) pathways could cause cortical dynamics to switch between a predominant influence of external stimulation to a predominant influence of internal recall. Modulation of afferent versus intrinsic processing could contribute to the role of neuromodulators in regulating attention, learning, and memory effects in behavior.


Memory function Neuromodulation Learning Acetylcholine Metabotropic glutamate receptors Presynaptic inhibition 



Work supported by NIMH MH60013, NIH DA16454 (Program for Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience-CRCNS), NSF Science of Learning Center SBE-0354378 and Silvio O. Conte Center Grant MH71750.


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Program in Neuroscience, Center for Memory and BrainBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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