Thalamic inputs to dorsomedial striatum are involved in inhibitory control: evidence from the five-choice serial reaction time task in rats

Saund, Jasjot; Dautan, Daniel; Rostron, Claire; Urcelay, Gonzalo P. and Gerdjikov, Todor V. (2017). Thalamic inputs to dorsomedial striatum are involved in inhibitory control: evidence from the five-choice serial reaction time task in rats. Psychopharmacology, 234(16) pp. 2399–2407.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-017-4627-4

Abstract

Rationale

Corticostriatal circuits are widely implicated in the top-down control of attention including inhibitory control and behavioural flexibility. However, recent neurophysiological evidence also suggests a role for thalamic inputs to striatum in behaviours related to salient, reward-paired cues.

Objectives

Here, we used designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADDs) to investigate the role of parafascicular (Pf) thalamic inputs to the dorsomedial striatum (DMS) using the five-choice serial reaction time task (5CSRTT) in rats.

Methods

The 5CSRTT requires sustained attention in order to detect spatially and temporally distributed visual cues and provides measures of inhibitory control related to impulsivity (premature responses) and compulsivity (perseverative responses). Rats underwent bilateral Pf injections of the DREADD vector, AAV2-CaMKIIa-HA-hM4D(Gi)-IRES-mCitrine. The DREADD agonist, clozapine N-oxide (CNO; 1 μl bilateral; 3 μM) or vehicle, was injected into DMS 1 h before behavioural testing. Task parameters were manipulated to increase attention load or reduce stimulus predictability respectively.

Results

We found that inhibition of the Pf-DMS projection significantly increased perseverative responses when stimulus predictability was reduced but had no effect on premature responses or response accuracy, even under increased attentional load. Control experiments showed no effects on locomotor activity in an open field.

Conclusions

These results complement previous lesion work in which the DMS and orbitofrontal cortex were similarly implicated in perseverative responses and suggest a specific role for thalamostriatal inputs in inhibitory control.

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