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State-specific gating of salient cues by midbrain dopaminergic input to basal amygdala.


ABSTRACT: Basal amygdala (BA) neurons guide associative learning via acquisition of responses to stimuli that predict salient appetitive or aversive outcomes. We examined the learning- and state-dependent dynamics of BA neurons and ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine (DA) axons that innervate BA (VTADA?BA) using two-photon imaging and photometry in behaving mice. BA neurons did not respond to arbitrary visual stimuli, but acquired responses to stimuli that predicted either rewards or punishments. Most VTADA?BA axons were activated by both rewards and punishments, and they acquired responses to cues predicting these outcomes during learning. Responses to cues predicting food rewards in VTADA?BA axons and BA neurons in hungry mice were strongly attenuated following satiation, while responses to cues predicting unavoidable punishments persisted or increased. Therefore, VTADA?BA axons may provide a reinforcement signal of motivational salience that invigorates adaptive behaviors by promoting learned responses to appetitive or aversive cues in distinct, intermingled sets of BA excitatory neurons.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6858554 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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