Impaired motivation is present in a variety of neurological disorders, suggesting that decreased motivation is caused by broad dysfunction of the nervous system across a variety of circuits. Based on evidence that impaired motivation is a major symptom in the early stages of Huntington's disease, when dopamine receptor type 2-expressing striatal medium spiny neurons (D2-MSNs) are particularly affected, we hypothesize that degeneration of these neurons would be a key node regulating motivational status. Using a progressive, time-controllable, diphtheria toxin-mediated cell ablation/dysfunction technique, we find that loss-of-function of D2-MSNs within ventrolateral striatum (VLS) is sufficient to reduce goal-directed behaviours without impairing reward preference or spontaneous behaviour. Moreover, optogenetic inhibition and ablation of VLS D2-MSNs causes, respectively, transient and chronic reductions of goal-directed behaviours. Our data demonstrate that the circuitry containing VLS D2-MSNs control motivated behaviours and that VLS D2-MSN loss-of-function is a possible cause of motivation deficits in neurodegenerative diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)