23 March 2018

David Lovinger

Neuroscience Symposium
Denys/Willuhn Group

The Neuroscience Symposia are organized weekly by the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience. The presentations are given by researchers from the institute or by guest speakers. The title and content of the symposium is usually made known in the week prior to the presentation.

Guest speaker Ingo Willuhn

Colloquium room – Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience

4:00 pm – Corticostriatal Afferent Roles in Actions and Habits
4:45 pm – Discussion and drinks

Cortico-basal ganglia (C-BG) circuits control action learning and action performance. We are examining changes in corticostriatal projections within the associative and sensorimotor C-BG circuits that underlie the initial learning and performance of actions and the eventual mastery and automatization of these actions. Using in vivo optical fiber-based photometry to measure presynaptic intracellular calcium changes in specific corticostriatal afferents we have observed parallel, but dissociable activation of afferents in the associative and sensorimotor circuits that are associated with mastery of a motor skill. Using a combination of chemogenetic, optogenetic and neuron-specific gene knockout techniques we have obtained evidence that endocannabinoid presynaptic inhibition contributes to the transition from goal-directed to more automatized habitual performance in an operant lever-pressing task by suppressing inputs from the orbitofrontal cortex to the associative striatum. These findings will be discussed in relation to ideas about how cortical and striatal subregions participate in learning and eventual refinement of adaptive actions.