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Experience-dependent reactivations of ventral tegmental area neurons in the rat

Authors
Journal
BMC Neuroscience
1471-2202
Publisher
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Volume
12
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2202-12-s1-p107
Keywords
  • Poster Presentation

Abstract

Experience-dependent reactivations of ventral tegmental area neurons in the rat POSTER PRESENTATION Open Access Experience-dependent reactivations of ventral tegmental area neurons in the rat José L Valdés1, Bruce McNaughton2, Jean-Marc Fellous3* From Twentieth Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting: CNS*2011 Stockholm, Sweden. 23-28 July 2011 The hippocampus stores information during the acquisition of new memory episodes. These memories are replayed during sleep as part of a memory conso- lidation process. The neural mechanisms underlying these reactivations are currently under investigation. One hypothesis is that reactivation occurs as a result of local attractor dynamics within the structure in which they occur. Another possibility is that reactiva- tion in these various areas is at least in part inherited from one or several other structures that project to them. Theoretical and experimental work on reinfor- cement learning have proposed many ways in which learning can be modulated by the value associated with a stimulus. Beyond initial memory acquisition, however, it is still unclear why specific memory items are consolidated and others are not [1,2]. One possi- bility is that, as with memory acquisition, the consoli- dation process is modulated by the value associated with a specific memory item. Research has shown that this value may be at least in part encoded by subcortical structures such as the ventral tegmental area (VTA) [3,4]. We provide new evidence in the rodent that 45% VTA neurons are sensitive to and selective for differ- ent types of stimuli. In three different tasks involving various amounts spatial and reward components, we show that putative dopaminergic VTA neurons strongly reactivate during a rest period following the tasks. This reactivation takes the form of population- wide activity patterns lasting from a few 100 ms up to a few seconds. In the non-spatial task, a statistical analysis of this reactivation using the explained var- iance measure s

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