Theses Doctoral

Dopamine D2 Receptors Modulate the Cholinergic Pause and Flexible Learning

Martyniuk, Kelly Marie

Animals respond to changes in the environment and internal states to modify their behavior. The basal ganglia, including the striatum contribute to action selection by integrating sensory, motor and reward information. Therefore, dysregulation of striatal function is common in many neuropsychiatric disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, Huntington disease, schizophrenia, and addiction. Here, using fiber photometry, pharmacology, and behavioral approaches in transgenic mice, I explored the cellular and circuit mechanisms underlying key striatal functions.

In Chapter 1, I begin by presenting the existing literature on the anatomy and physiology of the striatum. Next, I review the important functions of the striatum. Within this general review, I highlight the specific roles that striatal (DA) and acetylcholine (ACh) play in striatal circuitry and function. In Chapter 2, I demonstrate the naturally evoked ACh dip has a DA component and a non-DA component. Specifically, I show that DA via cholinergic DA D2 receptors (D2Rs) modulate the length of the ACh dip and rebound ACh levels following the dip. In addition, I show that DA coordinates the activity between DA and ACh during behavior. Finally, I present data that supports a role for ACh in motivated behavior.

In Chapter 3, I show that cholinergic D2Rs are not necessary for reward learning but do facilitate reversal learning in a probabilistic choice task. In addition, I show that changes in DA and ACh levels contribute to reversal learning in a probabilistic choice task. Finally, in Chapter 4, I discuss the general conclusions and study implications, as well as future directions.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Neurobiology and Behavior
Thesis Advisors
Kellendonk, Christoph
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 6, 2022