Striatal dopamine depletion in rats produces variable effects on contingency detection: task-related influences

Authors


Professor Dr Wolfgang Hauber, as above.
E-mail: hauber@bio.uni-stuttgart.de

Abstract

Dopamine (DA) depletion of the posterior dorsomedial striatum (pDMS) can impair the capability of rats to detect changes in the causal efficacy of actions. Here we sought to characterize in more detail the effects of pDMS DA depletions on contingency detection as a function of different contingency degradation training protocols. In experiment 1, sham controls and rats with pDMS DA depletions received limited contingency degradation training (4 days) that involved an invariable and high degree of degradation to one of two contingencies controlling instrumental choice behaviour. The results demonstrated that lesioned rats were insensitive to contingency manipulations both during contingency degradation training and in the subsequent extinction test. Experiment 2 further indicated that rats with pDMS DA depletion subjected to extended contingency degradation training (12 days) became sensitive to contingency manipulations during the training phase but not in the subsequent extinction test. In experiment 3, an extended but more complex contingency degradation training protocol (12 days) was used that involved a gradual shift from a low to an intermediate and a high degree of contingency degradation rather than a high and invariable degree of contingency degradation as in experiments 1 and 2. Notably, lesioned rats were sensitive to contingency manipulations both during the contingency degradation training phase and in the subsequent extinction test. Thus, pDMS DA depletions can impair the capability to detect changes in the causal efficacy of actions; however, the occurrence and pattern of impairments depend on the contingency degradation training protocol being used.

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