Apr 2, 2020

Ventral arkypallidal neurons modulate accumbal firing to promote reward consumption.

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Y. M. VachezMeaghan Claire Creed


A pause in firing of nucleus accumbens shell (NAcSh) neurons is critical for reward consumption; however, the substrate driving this pause is unknown. While ventral pallidal (VP) activity encodes reward value, the specific roles of VP subpopulations in computation and expression of this value are poorly understood. Here, we establish that inhibitory input from the VP is crucial for reward-related inhibition of NAc firing. A sparse, non-canonical subpopulation of VP neurons, the so-called ventral arkypallidal (vArky) neurons makes inhibitory synaptic contacts throughout the NAcSh, and drives inhibition of NAcSh neurons in vivo. Moreover, endogenous calcium activity of vArky neurons predicted subsequent reward consumption behavior, while optogenetically activating this pathway increased reward consumption by amplifying hedonic value of reward. Classically, the VP is considered downstream of the NAc; however, our results challenge this view and establish that vArky neurons in the VP promote reward consumption via potent modulation of NAcSh firing.

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