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  Distinct prestimulus and poststimulus activation of VTA neurons correlates with stimulus detection

Totah, N. K., Kim, Y., & Moghaddam, B. (2013). Distinct prestimulus and poststimulus activation of VTA neurons correlates with stimulus detection. Journal of Neurophysiology, 110(1), 75-85. doi:10.1152/jn.00784.2012.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-3EF3-8 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-3EF4-7
Genre: Journal Article

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Totah, Nelson K1, Author              
Kim, Y, Author
Moghaddam, B, Author
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1Center for Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh, ou_persistent22              

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 Abstract: Dopamine neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) signal the occurrence of a reward-predicting conditioned stimulus (CS) with a subsecond duration increase in post-CS firing rate. Important theories about reward-prediction error and reward expectancy have been informed by the substantial number of studies that have examined post-CS phasic VTA neuron activity. On the other hand, the role of VTA neurons in anticipation of a reward-predicting CS and analysis of prestimulus spike rate rarely has been studied. We recorded from the VTA in rats during the 3-choice reaction time task, which has a fixed-duration prestimulus period and a difficult-to-detect stimulus. Use of a stimulus that was difficult to detect led to behavioral errors, which allowed us to compare VTA activity between trials with correct and incorrect stimulus-guided choices. We found a sustained increase in firing rate of both putative dopamine and GABA neurons during the pre-CS period of correct and incorrect trials. The poststimulus phasic response, however, was absent on incorrect trials, suggesting that the stimulus-evoked phasic response of dopamine neurons may relate to stimulus detection. The prestimulus activation of VTA neurons may modulate cortical systems that represent internal states of stimulus expectation and provide a mechanism for dopamine neurotransmission to influence preparatory attention to an expected stimulus.

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 Dates: 2013-07
 Publication Status: Published in print
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 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1152/jn.00784.2012
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Title: Journal of Neurophysiology
  Other : J. Neurophysiol.
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Bethesda, MD : The Society
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 110 (1) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 75 - 85 Identifier: ISSN: 0022-3077
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925416959