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Distinct roles for direct and indirect pathway striatal neurons in reinforcement.

Dopamine signaling is implicated in reinforcement learning, but the neural substrates targeted by dopamine are poorly understood. We bypassed dopamine signaling itself and tested how optogenetic activation of dopamine D1 or D2 receptor–expressing striatal projection neurons influenced reinforcement learning in mice. Stimulating D1 receptor–expressing neurons induced persistent reinforcement, whereas stimulating D2 receptor–expressing neurons induced transient punishment, indicating that activation of these circuits is sufficient to modify the probability of performing future actions.

Pubmed ID: 22544310


  • Kravitz AV
  • Tye LD
  • Kreitzer AC


Nature neuroscience

Publication Data

June 4, 2012

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: R01 NS064984
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: R01 NS064984-04

Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Corpus Striatum
  • Electrophysiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neural Pathways
  • Neurons
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Reinforcement (Psychology)