Lateral striatal neurons that fire phasically in relation to active movement of the contralateral forelimb (determined via daily sensorimotor examination) were studied during acquisition of cued lever pressing. Rats were trained to lift the contralateral forepaw from the floor to press a lever in the presence of a tone. The tone was presented 70 times per day (session) for 18 consecutive days. All animals acquired the task, evidenced by gradual improvements across sessions and eventual asymptotic levels in tone discrimination, reaction time, and efficiency of the lever press. Forelimb neurons fired in relation to the lever press during early sessions of acquisition but not after repeated sessions on the task. This difference in firing could not be attributed to differences in forelimb movements during lever pressing or to sampling from different populations of neurons in early versus late sessions. In view of evidence that striatal damage impairs acquisition of motor skills, the change in firing suggests that the striatal activity present in early sessions may be necessary for the acquisition of, but not the automatic performance of, learned motor responses.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Neuroscience|
|State||Published - Mar 1 1997|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- S-R habit
- chronic recording