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J Neurosci. 2013 Jan 2;33(1):52-63. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2422-12.2013.

Signals for previous goal choice persist in the dorsomedial, but not dorsolateral striatum of rats.

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Neuroscience Laboratory, Institute for Medical Sciences and Neuroscience Graduate Program, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon 443-721, Korea.


The cortico-basal ganglia network has been proposed to consist of parallel loops serving distinct functions. However, it is still uncertain how the content of processed information varies across different loops and how it is related to the functions of each loop. We investigated this issue by comparing neuronal activity in the dorsolateral (sensorimotor) and dorsomedial (associative) striatum, which have been linked to habitual and goal-directed action selection, respectively, in rats performing a dynamic foraging task. Both regions conveyed significant neural signals for the animal's goal choice and its outcome. Moreover, both regions conveyed similar levels of neural signals for action value before the animal's goal choice and chosen value after the outcome of the animal's choice was revealed. However, a striking difference was found in the persistence of neural signals for the animal's chosen action. Signals for the animal's goal choice persisted in the dorsomedial striatum until the outcome of the animal's next goal choice was revealed, whereas they dissipated rapidly in the dorsolateral striatum. These persistent choice signals might be used for causally linking temporally discontiguous responses and their outcomes in the dorsomedial striatum, thereby contributing to its role in goal-directed action selection.

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