Diverse Spatiotemporal Scales of Cholinergic Signaling in the Neocortex.
ACh is a signaling molecule in the mammalian CNS, with well-documented influence over cognition and behavior. However, the nature of cholinergic signaling in the brain remains controversial, with ongoing debates focused on the spatial and temporal resolution of ACh activity. Generally, opposing views have embraced a dichotomy between transmission as slow and volume-mediated versus fast and synaptic. Here, we provide the perspective that ACh, like most other neurotransmitters, exhibits both fast and slow modes that are strongly determined by the anatomy of cholinergic fibers, the distribution and the signaling mechanisms of receptor subtypes, and the dynamics of ACh hydrolysis. Current methodological approaches remain limited in their ability to provide detailed analyses of these underlying factors. However, we believe that the continued development of novel technologies in combination with a more nuanced view of cholinergic activity will open critical new avenues to a better understanding of ACh in the brain.Dual Perspectives Companion Paper: Forebrain Cholinergic Signaling: Wired and Phasic, Not Tonic, and Causing Behavior, by Martin Sarter and Cindy Lustig.
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