- Spatially selective reward site responses in tonically active neurons of the nucleus accumbens in behaving rats
- Experimental Brain Research
- Volume | Issue number
- 163 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS)
To study how hippocampal output signals conveying spatial and other contextual information might be integrated in the nucleus accumbens, tonically active accumbens neurons were recorded in three unrestrained rats as they performed spatial orientation tasks on an elevated round rotatable platform with four identical reward boxes symmetrically placed around the edge. The partially water-deprived rats were required to shuttle either between the pair of reward boxes indicated by beacon cues (lights in the boxes) or between the pair of boxes occupying particular locations in relation to environmental landmark cues. In 43/82 neurons, behaviorally correlated phasic modulations in discharge activity occurred, primarily prior to or after water was provided at the reward boxes. Twenty-two had inhibitory modulation, 12 excitatory, and nine were mixed excitatory and inhibitory. Although tonically active neurons (TANs) have rarely been reported in the rodent, the inhibitory and mixed responses correspond to previously reports in the macaque accumbens of tonically active neurons with activity correlated with reward delivery and, following conditioning, to sensory stimuli associated with rewards. Eighteen of the 43 tonically active accumbens neurons showed spatial selectivity, i.e., behaviorally correlated increases or decreases in firing rate were of different magnitudes at the respective reward boxes. This is the first demonstration that the configuration of environmental sensory cues associated with reward sites are also an effective stimulus for these neurons and that different neurons are selective for different places. These results are consistent with a role for the nucleus accumbens in the initiation of goal-directed displacement behaviors.
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