Nucleus accumbens dopamine D2-receptor expressing neurons control behavioral flexibility in a place discrimination task in the IntelliCage

Tom MacPherson, Makiko Morita, Yanyan Wang, Toshikuni Sasaoka, Akira Sawa, Takatoshi Hikida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Considerable evidence has demonstrated a critical role for the nucleus accumbens (NAc) in the acquisition and flexibility of behavioral strategies. These processes are guided by the activity of two discrete neuron types, dopamine D1- or D2-receptor expressing medium spiny neurons (D1-/D2-MSNs). Here we used the IntelliCage, an automated group-housing experimental cage apparatus, in combination with a reversible neurotransmission blocking technique to examine the role of NAc D1- and D2-MSNs in the acquisition and reversal learning of a place discrimination task. We demonstrated that NAc D1- and D2-MSNs do not mediate the acquisition of the task, but that suppression of activity in D2-MSNs impairs reversal learning and increased perseverative errors. Additionally, global knockout of the dopamine D2L receptor isoform produced a similar behavioral phenotype to D2-MSN-blocked mice. These results suggest that D2L receptors and NAc D2-MSNs act to suppress the influence of previously correct behavioral strategies allowing transfer of behavioral control to new strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-364
Number of pages6
JournalLearning and Memory
Volume23
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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