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J Neurosci. 2007 Jan 31;27(5):1176-83.

Shaping of motor responses by incentive values through the basal ganglia.

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Basal Gang, Laboratoire de Neurophysiologie, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Unité Mixte de Recherche 5227, Université Victor Segalen, 33076 Bordeaux, France.


The striatum is a key neural interface for cognitive and motor information processing in which associations between reward value and visual stimulus can be used to modify motor commands. It can guide action-selection processes that occur farther downstream in the basal ganglia (BG) circuit, by encoding the reward value of an action. Here, we report on the study of simultaneously recorded neurons in the dorsal striatum (input stage of the BG) and the internal pallidum (output stage of the BG) in two monkeys performing a center-out motor task in which the visual targets were associated with different reward probabilities. We show that the tuning curves of motor-related neurons in both structures are modulated by the value of the action before movement initiation and during its execution. The representations of values associated with different actions change dynamically during the task in the internal globus pallidus, with a significant increase in the number of encoding neurons for the chosen target at the onset of movement. This report sheds additional light on the functional differences between the input and output structures of the BG and supports the assertion that the dorsal basal ganglia are involved in movement-related decision-making processes based on incentive values.

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