The cholinergic system and hippocampal plasticity

Bettina Platt, Benjamin David Drever, Gernot Riedel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

187 Citations (Scopus)


Acetylcholine is an essential excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and undertakes a vital role in cognitive function. Consequently, there is ample evidence to suggest the involvement of both nicotinic and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in the modulation of synaptic plasticity, which is
believed to be the molecular correlate of learning and memory. In the hippocampus in particular, multiple subtypes of both nicotinic and muscarinic receptors are present at presynaptic and postsynaptic loci of both principal neurons and inhibitory interneurons, where they exert profound bi-directional influences on synaptic transmission. Further evidence points to a role for cholinergic activation in the induction and maintenance of synaptic plasticity, and key influences on hippocampal network oscillations. The present review examines these multiple roles of acetylcholine in hippocampal plasticity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-514
Number of pages10
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number2
Early online date2 Dec 2010
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • acetylcholine
  • hippocampus
  • slice
  • synaptic plasticity


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