The Role of the Cholinergic System of the Sensorimotor Cortex of the Rat Brain in Controlling Different Types of Movement

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The role of the cholinergic system of the sensorimotor cortex of the Wistar rat brain in controlling various types of movements was assessed by studying the effects of microinjections of carbachol and scopolamine into the representation area of the forelimb on the performance of two types of forelimb food-procuring movements – with and without pressure on an obstacle – as well as on the animals' locomotion. These studies showed that administration of the cholinergic agonist carbachol (0.03–3 μg) leads to slowing of both types of procuring movements and acceleration of locomotor activity in an open field. Injections of the cholinergic antagonist scopolamine (0.3–3 μg) into the same area accelerated procuring movements, while the animals' locomotor activity remained unaltered. These data indicate that the cholinergic system of the sensorimotor cortex has different regulatory influences on movement activity (locomotion) and the performance of learned movements requiring forelimb muscle tone to be maintained for different periods of time (the usual rapid movements used for extracting food from a narrow horizontal tube versus slow movements with additional tactile and tonic components).

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