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Direct and Indirect Pathway Neurons in Ventrolateral Striatum Differentially Regulate Licking Movement and Nigral Responses

By Zhaorong Chen, Zhi-Yu Zhang, Taorong Xie, Wen Zhang, Yaping Li, Xiao-Hong Xu, Haishan Yao

Posted 12 Apr 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.04.11.439386

Drinking behavior in rodents is characterized by stereotyped, rhythmic licking movement, which is regulated by the basal ganglia. It is unclear how direct and indirect pathways control the lick bout and individual lick event. We find that inactivating D1 and D2 receptors-expressing medium spiny neurons (MSNs) in the ventrolateral striatum (VLS) oppositely alters the number of licks in a bout. D1- and D2-MSNs exhibit similar patterns of lick sequence-related activity but different phases of oscillation time-locked to the lick cycle. On timescale of a lick cycle, transient inactivation of D1-MSNs during tongue protrusion reduces lick probability, whereas transient inactivation of D2-MSNs has no effect. On timescale of a lick bout, inactivation of D1-MSNs (D2-MSNs) causes rate increase (decrease) in a subset of basal ganglia output neurons that decrease firing during licking. Our results reveal the distinct roles of D1- and D2-MSNs in regulating licking at both coarse and fine timescales.

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