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Nat Commun. 2018 Oct 19;9(1):4350. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-06849-z.

Ventral pallidum encodes relative reward value earlier and more robustly than nucleus accumbens.

Author information

1
Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, 725 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore, MD, 21205, USA. david.ottenheimer@jhu.edu.
2
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD, 21218, USA.
3
Department of Neuroscience, University of Minnesota, 321 Church St. SE, Minneapolis, MN, 55455, USA.
4
Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, 725 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore, MD, 21205, USA. patricia.janak@jhu.edu.
5
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD, 21218, USA. patricia.janak@jhu.edu.
6
Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD, 21218, USA. patricia.janak@jhu.edu.

Abstract

The ventral striatopallidal system, a basal ganglia network thought to convert limbic information into behavioral action, includes the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and the ventral pallidum (VP), typically described as a major output of NAc. Here, to investigate how reward-related information is transformed across this circuit, we measure the activity of neurons in NAc and VP when rats receive two highly palatable but differentially preferred rewards, allowing us to track the reward-specific information contained within the neural activity of each region. In VP, we find a prominent preference-related signal that flexibly reports the relative value of reward outcomes across multiple conditions. This reward-specific firing in VP is present in a greater proportion of the population and arises sooner following reward delivery than in NAc. Our findings establish VP as a preeminent value signaler and challenge the existing model of information flow in the ventral basal ganglia.

PMID:
30341305
PMCID:
PMC6195583
DOI:
10.1038/s41467-018-06849-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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