Physiological state gates acquisition and expression of mesolimbic reward prediction signals.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Phasic dopamine signaling participates in associative learning by reinforcing associations between outcomes (unconditioned stimulus; US) and their predictors (conditioned stimulus; CS). However, prior work has always engendered these associations with innately rewarding stimuli. Thus, whether dopamine neurons can acquire prediction signals in the absence of appetitive experience and update them when the value of the outcome changes remains unknown. Here, we used sodium depletion to reversibly manipulate the appetitive value of a hypertonic sodium solution while measuring phasic dopamine signaling in rat nucleus accumbens. Dopamine responses to the NaCl US following sodium depletion updated independent of prior experience. In contrast, prediction signals were only acquired through extensive experience with a US that had positive affective value. Once learned, dopamine prediction signals were flexibly expressed in a state-dependent manner. Our results reveal striking differences with respect to how physiological state shapes dopamine signals evoked by outcomes and their predictors.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cone, JJ; Fortin, SM; McHenry, JA; Stuber, GD; McCutcheon, JE; Roitman, MF

Published Date

  • February 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 113 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 1943 - 1948

PubMed ID

  • 26831116

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4763767

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1091-6490

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0027-8424

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1073/pnas.1519643113


  • eng