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Neuroscience Seminar Series: "D1 and D2 medium spiny Neurons in the nucleus accumbens core have distinct and valence-independent roles in learning"

When: Friday, February 2, 2024
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CT

Where: Robert H Lurie Medical Research Center, Gray Seminar Room 1-165, 303 E. Superior, Chicago, IL 60611 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Emily Larsen   (312) 503-1687

Group: Department of Neuroscience Seminars

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Erin S. Calipari, Ph.D.
Director, Vanderbilt Center for Addiction Research
Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Vanderbilt Brain Institute Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology, and Inflammation Vanderbilt Kennedy Center



At the core of value-based learning is the nucleus accumbens (NAc). D1- and D2-receptor-containing medium spiny neurons (MSNs) in the NAc core are hypothesized to have opposing valence-based roles in behavior. Using optical imaging and manipulation approaches in mice, we show that neither D1 nor D2 MSNs signal valence. D1 MSN responses were evoked by stimuli regardless of valence or contingency. D2 MSNs were evoked by both cues and outcomes, were dynamically changed with learning, and tracked valence-free prediction error at the population and individual neuron level. Finally, D2 MSN responses to cues were necessary for associative learning. Thus, D1 and D2 MSNs work in tandem, rather than in opposition, by signaling specific properties of stimuli to control learning.

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