Interaction of insular cortex and ventral striatum mediates the effect of incentive memory on choice between goal-directed actions

S. L. Parkes, L. A. Bradfield, B. W. Balleine
Journal of Neuroscience. 2015-04-22; 35(16): 6464-6471
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4153-14.2015

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1. J Neurosci. 2015 Apr 22;35(16):6464-71. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4153-14.2015.

Interaction of insular cortex and ventral striatum mediates the effect of
incentive memory on choice between goal-directed actions.

Parkes SL(1), Bradfield LA(1), Balleine BW(2).

Author information:
(1)Brain and Mind Research Institute, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South
Wales 2050, Australia.
(2)Brain and Mind Research Institute, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South
Wales 2050, Australia .

The anterior insular cortex (IC) and the nucleus accumbens (NAc) core have been
separately implicated in the selection and performance of actions based on the
incentive value of the instrumental outcome. Here, we examined the role of
connections between the IC and the NAc core in the performance of goal-directed
actions. Rats were trained on two actions for distinct outcomes, after which one
of the two outcomes was devalued by specific satiety immediately before a choice
extinction test. We first confirmed the projection from the IC to the NAc core
and then disconnected these structures via asymmetrical excitotoxic lesions
before training. Contralateral, but not ipsilateral, disconnection of the IC and
NAc core disrupted outcome devaluation. We hypothesized that communication
between the IC and NAc core is necessary for the retrieval of incentive value at
test. To test this, we infused the GABAA agonist muscimol into the IC and the
μ-opioid receptor antagonist CTAP into the contralateral NAc before the choice
extinction test. As expected, inactivation of the IC in one hemisphere and
blocking μ-opioid receptors in the contralateral NAc core abolished
outcome-selective devaluation. These results suggest that the IC and NAc core
form part of a circuit mediating the retrieval of outcome values and the
subsequent choice between goal-directed actions based on those values.

Copyright © 2015 the authors 0270-6474/15/356464-08$15.00/0.

DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4153-14.2015
PMCID: PMC4405558
PMID: 25904797 [Indexed for MEDLINE]


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