Reinforcement has long been thought to require striatal synaptic plasticity. Indeed, direct striatal manipulations such as self-stimulation of direct-pathway projection neurons (dMSNs) are sufficient to induce reinforcement within minutes. However, it's unclear what role, if any, is played by downstream circuitry. Here, we used dMSN self-stimulation in mice as a model for striatum-driven reinforcement and mapped the underlying circuitry across multiple basal ganglia nuclei and output targets. We found that mimicking the effects of dMSN activation on downstream circuitry, through optogenetic suppression of basal ganglia output nucleus substantia nigra reticulata (SNr) or activation of SNr targets in the brainstem or thalamus, was also sufficient to drive rapid reinforcement. Remarkably, silencing motor thalamus-but not other selected targets of SNr-was the only manipulation that reduced dMSN-driven reinforcement. Together, these results point to an unexpected role for basal ganglia output to motor thalamus in striatum-driven reinforcement.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files.
- Arnaud L Lalive
- Anatol C Kreitzer
- Anatol C Kreitzer
- Anatol C Kreitzer
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) protocols (AN144957) of the University of California, San Francisco. All surgery was performed under isoflurane anesthesia, and every effort was made to minimize suffering.
- Michael J Frank, Brown University, United States
© 2018, Lalive et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Cochlear implants are neuroprosthetic devices that can restore hearing in people with severe to profound hearing loss by electrically stimulating the auditory nerve. Because of physical limitations on the precision of this stimulation, the acoustic information delivered by a cochlear implant does not convey the same level of acoustic detail as that conveyed by normal hearing. As a result, speech understanding in listeners with cochlear implants is typically poorer and more effortful than in listeners with normal hearing. The brain networks supporting speech understanding in listeners with cochlear implants are not well understood, partly due to difficulties obtaining functional neuroimaging data in this population. In the current study, we assessed the brain regions supporting spoken word understanding in adult listeners with right unilateral cochlear implants (n=20) and matched controls (n=18) using high-density diffuse optical tomography (HD-DOT), a quiet and non-invasive imaging modality with spatial resolution comparable to that of functional MRI. We found that while listening to spoken words in quiet, listeners with cochlear implants showed greater activity in the left prefrontal cortex than listeners with normal hearing, specifically in a region engaged in a separate spatial working memory task. These results suggest that listeners with cochlear implants require greater cognitive processing during speech understanding than listeners with normal hearing, supported by compensatory recruitment of the left prefrontal cortex.
Sleep strongly affects synaptic strength, making it critical for cognition, especially learning and memory formation. Whether and how sleep deprivation modulates human brain physiology and cognition is not well understood. Here we examined how overnight sleep deprivation vs overnight sufficient sleep affects (a) cortical excitability, measured by transcranial magnetic stimulation, (b) inducibility of long-term potentiation (LTP)- and long-term depression (LTD)-like plasticity via transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), and (c) learning, memory, and attention. The results suggest that sleep deprivation upscales cortical excitability due to enhanced glutamate-related cortical facilitation and decreases and/or reverses GABAergic cortical inhibition. Furthermore, tDCS-induced LTP-like plasticity (anodal) abolishes while the inhibitory LTD-like plasticity (cathodal) converts to excitatory LTP-like plasticity under sleep deprivation. This is associated with increased EEG theta oscillations due to sleep pressure. Finally, we show that learning and memory formation, behavioral counterparts of plasticity, and working memory and attention, which rely on cortical excitability, are impaired during sleep deprivation. Our data indicate that upscaled brain excitability and altered plasticity, due to sleep deprivation, are associated with impaired cognitive performance. Besides showing how brain physiology and cognition undergo changes (from neurophysiology to higher-order cognition) under sleep pressure, the findings have implications for variability and optimal application of noninvasive brain stimulation.