The encoding of utility and its modulation by psychostimulants in rat anterior cingulate cortex

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Hashemnia, Saeedeh
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : Universtiy of Lethbridge, Department of Neuroscience
The Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC) encodes many decision variables, including effort and reward. This region contains dense dopamine innervations and communicates with several brain regions known to participate in motivation. Lesion of the rat ACC and administration of d-amphetamine (AMPH), which increases extracellular catecholamines, affect choice behaviours. Here, I first investigated neural encoding in rat ACC in a binary choice task with varying amounts of effort and reward. Second, I examined the effects of AMPH on the neural encoding of task-relevant information. In addition to path, effort, and reward, I found that ACC neurons encode the utility. AMPH appeared to significantly disturb this information by decreasing reward encoding and utility signaling. Moreover, low-dose AMPH decreases population state-space volume and variations in neural trajectories; whereas, higher concentrations increase both. Our results thus demonstrate that the ACC is involved in processing the value of the ongoing action and AMPH impairs this function.
Anterior Cingulate Cortex , Decision-making , Amphetamine , Effort-reward utility , Electrophysiology , Dissertations, Academic