The Parafascicular Thalamic Nucleus Concomitantly Influences Behavioral Flexibility and Dorsomedial Striatal Acetylcholine Output in Rats
Brown, Holden D.
Baker, Phillip M.
Ragozzino, Michael E.
PublisherSociety for Neuroscience
MetadataShow full item record
Recent evidence suggests that a circuit involving the centromedian-parafascicular (Pf) thalamus and basal ganglia is critical for a shift away from biased actions. In particular, excitatory input from the Pf onto striatal cholinergic neurons may facilitate behavioral flexibility. Accumulating evidence indicates that an endogenous increase in dorsomedial striatal acetylcholine (ACh) output enhances behavioral flexibility. The present experiments investigated whether the rat (Rattus norvegicus) Pf supports flexibility during reversal learning, in part, by modifying dorsomedial striatal ACh output. This was determined first by examining the effects of Pf inactivation, through infusion of the GABA agonists baclofen and muscimol, on place acquisition and reversal learning. Additional experiments examined Pf inactivation on dorsomedial striatal ACh output during reversal learning and a resting condition. Behavioral testing was performed in a cross-maze. In vivo microdialysis combined with HPLC/electrochemical detection was used to sample ACh from the dorsomedial striatum. Pf inactivation selectively impaired reversal learning in a dose-dependent manner. A subsequent study showed that an increase in dorsomedial striatal ACh efflux (similar to 30% above basal levels) during reversal learning was blocked by Pf inactivation, which concomitantly impaired reversal learning. In the resting condition, a dose of baclofen and muscimol that blocked a behaviorally induced increase in dorsomedial striatal ACh output did not reduce basal ACh efflux. Together, the present findings indicate that the Pf is an intralaminar thalamic nucleus critical for behavioral flexibility, in part, by directly affecting striatal ACh output under conditions that require a shift in choice patterns.