The striatum mediates a broad range of cognitive and motor functions. Within the striatum, recently discovered tyrosine hydroxylase expressing interneurons (THINs) provide a source of intrastriatal synaptic connectivity that is critical for regulating striatal activity, yet the role of THIN's in behavior remains unknown. Given the important role of the striatum in reward-based behaviors, we investigated whether loss of striatal THINs would impact instrumental behavior in mice. We selectively ablated striatal THINs in TH-Cre mice using chemogenetic techniques, and then tested THIN-lesioned or control mice on three reward-based striatal-dependent instrumental tests: (a) progressive ratio test; (b) choice test following selective-satiety induced outcome devaluation; (c) outcome reinstatement test. Both striatal-THIN-lesioned and control mice acquired an instrumental response for flavored food pellets, and their behavior did not differ in the progressive ratio test, suggesting intact effort to obtain rewards. However, striatal THIN lesions markedly impaired choice performance following selective-satiety induced outcome devaluation. Unlike control mice, THIN-lesioned mice did not adjust their choice of actions following a change in outcome value. In the outcome reinstatement test THIN-lesioned and control mice showed response invigoration by outcome presentation, suggesting the incentive properties of outcomes were not disrupted by THIN lesions. Overall, we found that striatal THIN lesions selectively impaired goal-directed behavior, while preserving motoric and appetitive behaviors. These findings are the first to describe a function of striatal THINs in reward-based behavior, and further illustrate the important role for intrastriatal interneuronal connectivity in behavioral functions ascribed to the striatum more generally.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- basal ganglia