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Multifunctional agents with limited motor resources must decide what actions will best ensure their survival. Moreover, given that in an unpredictable world things don't always work out, considerable advantage is to be gained by learning from experience - instrumental behaviour that maximises reward and minimises punishment. In this review we will argue(More)
Dopamine is involved in motivation, memory, and reward processing. However, it is not clear whether the activity of dopamine neurons is related or not to vigilance states. Using unit recordings in unanesthetized head restrained rats we measured the firing pattern of dopamine neurons of the ventral tegmental area across the sleep-wake cycle. We found these(More)
Striatal medium-sized spiny neurons (MSNs) integrate and convey information from the cerebral cortex to the output nuclei of the basal ganglia. Intracellular recordings from anesthetized animals show that MSNs undergo spontaneous transitions between hyperpolarized and depolarized states. State transitions, regarded as necessary for eliciting action(More)
The lateral part of intermediate layer of superior colliculus (SCl) is a critical substrate for successful predation by rats. Hunting-evoked expression of the activity marker Fos is concentrated in SCl while prey capture in rats with NMDA lesions in SCl is impaired. Particularly affected are rapid orienting and stereotyped sequences of actions associated(More)
An important component of the architecture of cortico-basal ganglia connections is the parallel, re-entrant looped projections that originate and return to specific regions of the cerebral cortex. However, such loops are unlikely to have been the first evolutionary example of a closed-loop architecture involving the basal ganglia. A phylogenetically older,(More)
We present a behavioural task designed for the investigation of how novel instrumental actions are discovered and learnt. The task consists of free movement with a manipulandum, during which the full range of possible movements can be explored by the participant and recorded. A subset of these movements, the 'target', is set to trigger a reinforcing signal.(More)
The superior colliculus (SC) is responsible for sensorimotor transformations required to direct gaze toward or away from unexpected, biologically salient events. Significant changes in the external world are signaled to SC through primary multisensory afferents, spatially organized according to a retinotopic topography. For animals, where an unexpected(More)
Dopaminergic neurons in a range of species are responsive to sensory stimuli. In the anesthetized preparation, responses to non-noxious and noxious sensory stimuli are usually tonic in nature, although long-duration changes in activity have been reported in the awake preparation as well. However, in the awake preparation, short-latency, phasic changes in(More)
Network dynamics denoted by synchronous firing of neuronal pools rely on synaptic interactions and intrinsic properties. In striatal medium spiny neurons, N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor activation endows neurons with nonlinear capabilities by inducing a negative-slope conductance region (NSCR) in the current-voltage relationship. Nonlinearities(More)
Movement disorders in Parkinson disease, notably dampened during sleep, are associated with hyperactivity of the subthalamic nucleus (STN), whose origin is controversial. We have studied, on non-anaesthetized head-restrained rats, the STN spontaneous unit activity and the one of its principal GABAergic afferents, the globus pallidus (GP). In normal rats,(More)