How does alcohol impact ventral pallidal cue encoding? David Ottenheimer, Karen Wang, Alexandria Haimbaugh, Patricia Janak and I found that the answer depends the nature of that cue's associations. Check out our preprint here.
Jocelyn attended the 2018 meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) in Hollywood, Florida. She spoke in a panel on ventral pallidal roles in reward, decision-making and addiction entitled, “Should I Stay or Should I go to the Ventral Pallidum”. The session was chaired by Peter Kalivas and included fascinating talks from Drs. Meaghan Creed, Steve Mahler and Jasper Heinsbroek. Jocelyn spoke about ventral pallidal encoding of cue value and how alcohol exposure and associative learning with alcohol alters ventral pallidal responses to distinct types of cues (discriminative stimuli versus conditioned stimuli). The panel was a great reminder of all the exciting research happening on the ventral pallidum right now. But we really are just beginning - there remain many important questions about how this heterogeneous structure regulates diverse reward-related functions!
Our new paper on ventral pallidal encoding of Pavlovian versus instrumental reward seeking is out now here!
We investigated whether rat VP cue responses would encode and contribute similarly to the vigor of reward-seeking behaviors trained under Pavlovian versus instrumental contingencies, when these behavioral responses consist of superficially similar locomotor response patterns but may reflect distinct underlying decision-making processes. We find that cue-elicited activity in many VP neurons predicts the latency of instrumental reward seeking, but not of Pavlovian response latency. Further, disruption of VP signaling increases the latency of instrumental but not Pavlovian reward seeking. This suggests that VP encoding of and contributions to response vigor are specific to the ability of incentive cues to invigorate reward-seeking behaviors upon which reward delivery is contingent.
Jocelyn will be presenting her most recent work investigating the motivational processes encoded by activity in the ventral pallidum at a poster entitled "Ventral pallidal encoding of reward seeking depends on the underlying associative structure" (512.04 / QQ15). She'll be right by poster presentations by some Janak lab collaborators as well: Ben Saunders (QQ12) is presenting "Encoding of conditioned motivation by midbrain dopamine neurons" and David Ottenheimer (QQ16) is presenting "Nucleus accumbens neural activity reflects reward
preference; ventral pallidum even more so". Come by and say hi!