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Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2006 May;85(3):283-8. Epub 2006 Jan 19.

Instrumental learning in hyperdopaminergic mice.

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  • 1Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience, Section of Synaptic Pharmacology, NIAAA/NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA. yinh@mail.nih.gov


In two experiments we investigated the effects of elevated dopaminergic tone on instrumental learning and performance using dopamine transporter knockdown (DAT KD) mice. In Experiment 1, we showed that both DAT KD mice and wild-type controls were similarly sensitive to outcome devaluation induced by sensory specific satiety, indicating normal action-outcome learning in both groups. In Experiment 2, we used a Pavlovian-to-instrumental transfer procedure to assess the potentiation of instrumental responding by Pavlovian conditional stimuli (CS). Although during the Pavlovian training phase the DAT KD mice entered the food magazine more frequently in the absence of the CS, when tested later both groups showed outcome-selective PIT. These results suggest that the elevated dopaminergic tone reduced the selectivity of stimulus control over conditioned behavior, but did not affect instrumental learning.

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