Indirect pathway from caudate tail mediates rejection of bad objects in periphery

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Science Advances  07 Aug 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 8, eaaw9297
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw9297


The essential everyday task of making appropriate choices is a process controlled mainly by the basal ganglia. To this end, subjects need not only to find “good” objects in their environment but also to reject “bad” objects. To reveal this rejection mechanism, we created a sequential saccade choice task for monkeys and studied the role of the indirect pathway from the CDt (tail of the caudate nucleus) mediated by cvGPe (caudal-ventral globus pallidus externus). Neurons in cvGPe were typically inhibited by the appearance of bad objects; however, this inhibition was reduced on trials when the monkeys made undesired saccades to the bad objects. Moreover, disrupting the inhibitory influence of CDt on cvGPe by local injection of bicuculline (GABAA receptor antagonist) impaired the monkeys’ ability to suppress saccades to bad objects. Thus, the indirect pathway mediates the rejection of bad choices, a crucial component of goal-directed behavior.

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