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Science. 2018 Oct 26;362(6413):423-429. doi: 10.1126/science.aat0481.

Dynamic salience processing in paraventricular thalamus gates associative learning.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
2
Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Brain Connectome and Behavior, The Brain Cognition and Brain Disease Institute, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen 518055, China.
3
Neurosciences Program, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
4
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
5
Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. xkchen@stanford.edu.

Abstract

The salience of behaviorally relevant stimuli is dynamic and influenced by internal state and external environment. Monitoring such changes is critical for effective learning and flexible behavior, but the neuronal substrate for tracking the dynamics of stimulus salience is obscure. We found that neurons in the paraventricular thalamus (PVT) are robustly activated by a variety of behaviorally relevant events, including novel ("unfamiliar") stimuli, reinforcing stimuli and their predicting cues, as well as omission of the expected reward. PVT responses are scaled with stimulus intensity and modulated by changes in homeostatic state or behavioral context. Inhibition of the PVT responses suppresses appetitive or aversive associative learning and reward extinction. Our findings demonstrate that the PVT gates associative learning by providing a dynamic representation of stimulus salience.

PMID:
30361366
PMCID:
PMC6521722
DOI:
10.1126/science.aat0481
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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