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Elife. 2018 Mar 22;7. pii: e33107. doi: 10.7554/eLife.33107.

Ventral pallidal encoding of reward-seeking behavior depends on the underlying associative structure.

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Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, United States.
Solomon H Snyder Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, United States.
Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, United States.


Despite its being historically conceptualized as a motor expression site, emerging evidence suggests the ventral pallidum (VP) plays a more active role in integrating information to generate motivation. Here, we investigated whether rat VP cue responses would encode and contribute similarly to the vigor of reward-seeking behaviors trained under Pavlovian versus instrumental contingencies, when these behavioral responses consist of superficially similar locomotor response patterns but may reflect distinct underlying decision-making processes. We find that cue-elicited activity in many VP neurons predicts the latency of instrumental reward seeking, but not of Pavlovian response latency. Further, disruption of VP signaling increases the latency of instrumental but not Pavlovian reward seeking. This suggests that VP encoding of and contributions to response vigor are specific to the ability of incentive cues to invigorate reward-seeking behaviors upon which reward delivery is contingent.


electrophysiology; motivation; neuroscience; rat; ventral pallidum

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