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Functional neurochemical imaging of the human striatal cholinergic system during reversal learning

Bell, T., Lindner, M., Mullins, P. G. and Christakou, A. ORCID: (2018) Functional neurochemical imaging of the human striatal cholinergic system during reversal learning. The European Journal of Neuroscience, 47 (10). pp. 1184-1193. ISSN 0953-816X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/ejn.13803


Animal studies have shown that acetylcholine (ACh) levels in the dorsal striatum play a role in reversal learning. However, this has not been studied in humans due to a lack of appropriate non-invasive techniques. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) can be used to measure metabolite levels in humans in vivo. Although it cannot be used to study ACh directly, 1H-MRS can be used to study choline, an ACh precursor which is linked to activity-dependent ACh release. The aim of this study was to use functional-1H-MRS (fMRS) to measure changes in choline levels in the human dorsal striatum during performance of a probabilistic reversal learning task. We demonstrate a task-dependent decrease in choline, specifically during reversal, but not initial, learning. We interpret this to reflect a sustained increase in ACh levels, which is in line with findings from the animal literature. This task-dependent change was specific to choline and was not observed in control metabolites. These findings provide support for the use of fMRS in the in vivo study of the human cholinergic system.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:74591
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Neuroscience
Publisher:Blackwell Publishing


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