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Cholinergic System

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Acetylcholinergic system


The cholinergic system is composed of organized nerve cells that use the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the transduction of action potentials. These nerve cells are activated by or contain and release acetylcholine during the propagation of a nerve impulse. The cholinergic system has been associated with a number of cognitive functions, including memory, selective attention, and emotional processing.

Current Knowledge

Acetylcholine Synthesis and Metabolism

The synthesis of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter used by nerve cells in the cholinergic system, requires choline, a natural amine found in the lipid bilayer of the cell membrane, and acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA), a thioester used in metabolic reactions and an acceptor and donor of acetyl groups. These molecules are catalyzed by choline acetyltransferase, an enzyme found only in acetylcholinergic cells, in order to produce acetylcholine.

In the metabolism of acetylcholine,...

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References and Readings

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© 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

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Jackson, C.E. (2011). Cholinergic System. In: Kreutzer, J.S., DeLuca, J., Caplan, B. (eds) Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology. Springer, New York, NY.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-0-387-79947-6

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