With repeated practice, learned actions become more skilled, and eventually highly stereotypical. This transition is accompanied by a shift in striatal control over behaviour from ventral and dorsomedial striatum to dorsolateral striatum. The cholinergic interneurons (CINs) in the striatum are central to striatal computation. Yet, their role in the transition from motivated to stereotypic behaviour is still unclear. In this study, we examined whether CINs contribute to the competition between both control systems. We selectively lesioned CINs in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) or in the dorsolateral striatum (DLS) of rats trained in a cued maze task. After obtaining skilled performance, we manipulated the motivation for reward. While sparing task acquisition, selective lesions of the CINs had a marked dissociable impact on the sensitivity to motivation in the highly skilled state. Selective lesions of CINs increased automaticity of behaviour when performed in the DLS, but increased sensitivity to motivation in the NAc. These findings indicate a central role of CINs in regulating motivational impact on striatally controlled behaviours.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the German Israeli Foundation (Award I‐1326‐421.13), HFSPO (RGP0048/2012) and BSF (2009414) to GM. We are grateful to Adam Pessach for assistance in animal training, to Flavia Aluisi for advice and discussions, and to Avi Mendelsohn for critical reading.
© 2020 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd
- basal ganglia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuroscience (all)