Neural mechanisms of economic choices in mice

  1. Masaru Kuwabara
  2. Ningdong Kang
  3. Timothy E Holy
  4. Camillo Padoa-Schioppa  Is a corresponding author
  1. Washington University in St Louis, United States

Abstract

Economic choices entail computing and comparing subjective values. Evidence from primates indicates that this behavior relies on the orbitofrontal cortex. Conversely, previous work in rodents provided conflicting results. Here we present a mouse model of economic choice behavior, and we show that the lateral orbital (LO) area is intimately related to the decision process. In the experiments, mice chose between different juices offered in variable amounts. Choice patterns closely resembled those measured in primates. Optogenetic inactivation of LO dramatically disrupted choices by inducing erratic changes of relative value and by increasing choice variability. Neuronal recordings revealed that different groups of cells encoded the values of individual options, the binary choice outcome and the chosen value. These groups match those previously identified in primates, except that the neuronal representation in mice is spatial (in monkeys it is good-based). Our results lay the foundations for a circuit-level analysis of economic decisions.

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Data and analysis files included as supplementary information

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Author details

  1. Masaru Kuwabara

    Department of Neuroscience, Washington University in St Louis, Saint Louis, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Ningdong Kang

    Department of Neuroscience, Washington University in St Louis, Saint Louis, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Timothy E Holy

    Department of Neuroscience, Washington University in St Louis, Saint Louis, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Camillo Padoa-Schioppa

    Department of Neuroscience, Washington University in St Louis, Saint Louis, United States
    For correspondence
    camillo@wustl.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-7519-8790

Funding

National Institute on Drug Abuse (R21-DA042882)

  • Camillo Padoa-Schioppa

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Ethics

Animal experimentation: All experimental procedures conformed to the NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) at Washington University in St Louis (protocol # 20160167).

Reviewing Editor

  1. Naoshige Uchida, Harvard University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: June 25, 2019
  2. Accepted: February 24, 2020
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: February 25, 2020 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: March 9, 2020 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2020, Kuwabara 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.

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  1. Masaru Kuwabara
  2. Ningdong Kang
  3. Timothy E Holy
  4. Camillo Padoa-Schioppa
(2020)
Neural mechanisms of economic choices in mice
eLife 9:e49669.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.49669
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