Mar 31, 2020

Dopamine Signaling in the Dorsomedial Striatum Promotes Compulsive Behavior

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
J. L. SeilerTalia N Lerner


Habits and compulsions are two aspects of behavior that often develop in parallel and together lead to inflexible responding. Both habits and compulsions are hypothesized to be involved in psychiatric disorders such as drug addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but they are distinct behaviors that may rely on different brain circuitries. We developed an experimental paradigm to track the development of both habits and compulsions in individual animals while recording neural activity. We performed fiber photometry measurements of dopamine axon activity while mice engaged in reinforcement learning on a random interval (RI60) schedule and found that the emergence of compulsion was predicted by the dopamine signal in the dorsomedial striatum (DMS). By amplifying this DMS dopamine signal throughout training using optogenetics, we accelerated animals' transitions to compulsion, irrespective of habit formation. These results establish DMS dopamine signaling as a key controller of compulsions.

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