A Central Amygdala-Substantia Innominata Neural Circuitry Encodes Aversive Reinforcement Signals
Aversive stimuli can impact motivation and support associative learning as reinforcers. However, the neural circuitry underlying the processing of aversive reinforcers has not been elucidated. Here, we report that a subpopulation of central amygdala (CeA) GABAergic neurons expressing protein kinase C-delta (PKC-δ+) displays robust responses to aversive stimuli during negative reinforcement learning. Importantly, projections from PKC-δ+ neurons of the CeA to the substantia innominata (SI) could bi-directionally modulate negative reinforcement learning. Moreover, consistent with the idea that SI-projecting PKC-δ+ neurons of the CeA encode aversive information, optogenetic activation of this pathway produces conditioned place aversion, a behavior prevented by simultaneous ablating of SI glutamatergic neurons. Taken together, our data define a cell-type-specific neural circuitry modulating associative learning by encoding aversive reinforcement signals.
Publisher URL: http://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(17)31510-3
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