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Reinforcement determines the timing dependence of corticostriatal synaptic plasticity in vivo.


ABSTRACT: Plasticity at synapses between the cortex and striatum is considered critical for learning novel actions. However, investigations of spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) at these synapses have been performed largely in brain slice preparations, without consideration of physiological reinforcement signals. This has led to conflicting findings, and hampered the ability to relate neural plasticity to behavior. Using intracellular striatal recordings in intact rats, we show here that pairing presynaptic and postsynaptic activity induces robust Hebbian bidirectional plasticity, dependent on dopamine and adenosine signaling. Such plasticity, however, requires the arrival of a reward-conditioned sensory reinforcement signal within 2?s of the STDP pairing, thus revealing a timing-dependent eligibility trace on which reinforcement operates. These observations are validated with both computational modeling and behavioral testing. Our results indicate that Hebbian corticostriatal plasticity can be induced by classical reinforcement learning mechanisms, and might be central to the acquisition of novel actions.Spike timing dependent plasticity (STDP) has been studied extensively in slices but whether such pairings can induce plasticity in vivo is not known. Here the authors report an experimental paradigm that achieves bidirectional corticostriatal STDP in vivo through modulation by behaviourally relevant reinforcement signals, mediated by dopamine and adenosine signaling.

SUBMITTER: Fisher SD 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5571189 | BioStudies | 2017-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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