Cre-expressing neurons in visual cortex of Ntsr1-Cre GN220 mice are corticothalamic and are depolarized by acetylcholine

Sofie Charlotte Sundberg, Sarah Helen Lindström, Gonzalo Manuel Sanchez, Björn Granseth
  • The Journal of Comparative Neurology, September 2017, Wiley
  • DOI: 10.1002/cne.24323

A genetically modified mouse makes it possible to specifically study a certain type of nerve cell

What is it about?

We show that a genetically modified mouse have a molecule that can be used to turn on and off genes in about 90% of a specific type of nerve cell. We use this to show that this nerve cell is waked-up by acetylcholine acting on both muscarinergic (as in fly agaric mushroom) and nicotinergic (as in tobacco) acetylcholine receptors. This could be important for switching the brain activity from internally generated (day-dreaming) to sensory driven (attentive) states.

Why is it important?

The function of this specific type of nerve cell is presently unknown. Our experiments show that it might have a role in attention. Attention is important for allocating the limited processing power of the brain to tasks that are important.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Sarah H Lindstrom, Dr Björn Granseth, and Gonzalo Sanchez