Transient role of the rat prelimbic cortex in goal-directed behaviour

Delphine A. S. Tran-Tu-Yen, Alain R. Marchand, Jean-Rémi Pape, Georges Di Scala, Etienne Coutureau
European Journal of Neuroscience. 2009-08-01; 30(3): 464-471
DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2009.06834.x

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1. Eur J Neurosci. 2009 Aug;30(3):464-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2009.06834.x.
Epub 2009 Jul 15.

Transient role of the rat prelimbic cortex in goal-directed behaviour.

Tran-Tu-Yen DA(1), Marchand AR, Pape JR, Di Scala G, Coutureau E.

Author information:
(1)CNRS, Centre de Neurosciences Intégratives et Cognitives, UMR 5228, Talence,

Lesion studies show that goal-directed actions mediated by action-outcome (A-O)
associations and habits mediated by stimulus-response (S-R) associations can be
dissociated during instrumental training, with the prelimbic region of the medial
prefrontal cortex being involved in the former and the infralimbic region in the
latter. The present work further investigates the role of the prelimbic region in
acquisition vs. expression of goal-directed instrumental behaviour, using
reversible neuronal inactivation and outcome devaluation procedures. In a first
experiment, inactivating the prelimbic cortex at the time of testing did not
alter the sensitivity to devaluation, indicating that this region was not
essential for the expression of A-O associations. In a second experiment, the
prelimbic cortex was inactivated throughout the training phase. At the time of
testing the performance was insensitive to devaluation, indicating that the
acquired response was not goal-directed but mediated by an S-R association. These
data challenge the view that the habit system replaces the goal-directed system
as training progresses. They show that the prelimbic cortex plays a transient but
crucial role in the acquisition of goal-directed responding and that the A-O and
S-R systems can operate in a competitive fashion early in training.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2009.06834.x
PMID: 19614748 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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