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Nigrostriatal dopamine pathway regulates auditory discrimination behavior

Nature Communications_0

Authors: Allen P. F. Chen, Jeffrey M. Malgady, Lu Chen, Kaiyo W. Shi, Eileen Cheng, Joshua L. Plotkin, Shaoyu Ge & Qiaojie Xiong
Publication: Nature Communications
Date: October 8, 2022
Link to article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-33747-2


The auditory striatum, the tail portion of dorsal striatum in basal ganglia, is implicated in perceptual decision-making, transforming auditory stimuli to action outcomes. Despite its known connections to diverse neurological conditions, the dopaminergic modulation of sensory striatal neuronal activity and its behavioral influences remain unknown. We demonstrated that the optogenetic inhibition of dopaminergic projections from the substantia nigra pars compacta to the auditory striatum specifically impairs mouse choice performance but not movement in an auditory frequency discrimination task. In vivo dopamine and calcium imaging in freely behaving mice revealed that this dopaminergic projection modulates striatal tone representations, and tone-evoked striatal dopamine release inversely correlated with the evidence strength of tones. Optogenetic inhibition of D1-receptor expressing neurons and pharmacological inhibition of D1 receptors in the auditory striatum dampened choice performance accuracy. Our study uncovers a phasic mechanism within the nigrostriatal system that regulates auditory decisions by modulating ongoing auditory perception.

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