Changes in appetitive associative strength modulates nucleus accumbens, but not orbitofrontal cortex neuronal ensemble excitability

Ziminski, Joseph J, Hessler, Sabine, Margetts-Smith, Gabriella, Sieburg, Meike C, Crombag, Hans S and Koya, Eisuke (2017) Changes in appetitive associative strength modulates nucleus accumbens, but not orbitofrontal cortex neuronal ensemble excitability. Journal of Neuroscience, 37 (12). pp. 3160-3170. ISSN 0270-6474

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Abstract

Cues that predict the availability of food rewards influence motivational states and elicit food-seeking behaviors. If a cue no longer predicts food availability, animals may adapt accordingly by inhibiting food seeking responses. Sparsely activated sets of neurons, coined neuronal ensembles, have been shown to encode the strength of reward-cue associations. While alterations in intrinsic excitability have been shown to underlie many learning and memory processes, little is known about these properties specifically on cue-activated neuronal ensembles. We examined the activation patterns of cue-activated orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell ensembles using wild-type and Fos-GFP mice following appetitive conditioning with sucrose and extinction learning. We also investigated the neuronal excitability of recently activated, GFP+ neurons in these brain areas using whole-cell electrophysiology in brain slices. Exposure to a sucrose cue elicited activation of neurons in both the NAc shell and OFC. In the NAc shell, but not the OFC, these activated GFP+ neurons were more excitable than surrounding GFP– neurons. Following extinction, the number of neurons activated in both areas was reduced and activated ensembles in neither area exhibited altered excitability. These data suggest that learning-induced alterations in the intrinsic excitability of neuronal ensembles is regulated dynamically across different brain areas. Furthermore, we show that changes in associative strength modulate the excitability profile of activated ensembles in the NAc shell.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Ellena Adams
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2017 13:29
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2017 06:49
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/66744

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