Learning & memory (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.)

Contralateral disconnection of the rat prelimbic cortex and dorsomedial striatum impairs cue-guided behavioral switching.

PMID 25028395


Switches in reward outcomes or reward-predictive cues are two fundamental ways in which information is used to flexibly shift response patterns. The rat prelimbic cortex and dorsomedial striatum support behavioral flexibility based on a change in outcomes. The present experiments investigated whether these two brain regions are necessary for conditional discrimination performance in which a switch in reward-predictive cues occurs every three to six trials. The GABA agonists baclofen and muscimol infused into the prelimbic cortex significantly impaired performance leading rats to adopt an inappropriate turn strategy. The NMDA receptor antagonist D-AP5 infused into the dorsomedial striatum or prelimbic cortex and dorsomedial striatum contralateral disconnection impaired performance due to a rat failing to switch a response choice for an entire trial block in about two out of 13 test blocks. In an additional study, contralateral disconnection did not affect nonswitch discrimination performance. The results suggest that the prelimbic cortex and dorsomedial striatum are necessary to support cue-guided behavioral switching. The prelimbic cortex may be critical for generating alternative response patterns while the dorsomedial striatum supports the selection of an appropriate response when cue information must be used to flexibly switch response patterns.

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