Cholinergic Modulation of Binocular Vision.

TitleCholinergic Modulation of Binocular Vision.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsSheynin Y, Rosa-Neto P, Hess RF, Vaucher E
JournalJ Neurosci
Date Published2020 Jul 01

The endogenous neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) is known to affect the excitatory/inhibitory (E/I) balance of primate visual cortex, enhancing feedforward thalamocortical gain while suppressing corticocortical synapses. Recent advances in the study of the human visual system suggest that ACh is a likely component underlying interocular interactions. However, our understanding of its precise role in binocular processes is currently lacking. Here we use binocular rivalry as a probe of interocular dynamics to determine ACh's effects, via the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEI) donepezil, on the binocular visual system. A total of 23 subjects (13 male) completed two crossover experimental sessions where binocular rivalry measurements were obtained before and after taking either donepezil (5 mg) or a placebo (lactose) pill. We report that enhanced cholinergic potentiation attenuates perceptual suppression during binocular rivalry, reducing the overall rate of interocular competition while enhancing the visibility of superimposition mixed percepts. Considering recent evidence that perceptual suppression during binocular rivalry is causally modulated by the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, our results suggest that cholinergic activity counteracts the effect of GABA with regards to interocular dynamics and may modulate the inhibitory drive within the visual cortex. Our research demonstrates that the cholinergic system is implicated in modulating binocular interactions in the human visual cortex. Potentiating the transmission of acetylcholine (ACh) via the cholinergic drug donepezil reduces the extent to which the eyes compete for perceptual dominance when presented two separate, incongruent images.

Alternate JournalJ Neurosci
PubMed ID32457075
PubMed Central IDPMC7329301