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Striatal activity reflects cortical activity patterns

By Andrew Peters, Nicholas A. Steinmetz, Kenneth D Harris, Matteo Carandini

Posted 16 Jul 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/703710

The dorsal striatum is organized into domains that drive characteristic behaviors, and receive inputs from different parts of the cortex which modulate similar behaviors. Striatal responses to cortical inputs, however, can be affected by changes in connection strength, local striatal circuitry, and thalamic inputs. Therefore, it is unclear whether the pattern of activity across striatal domains mirrors that across the cortex or differs from it. Here we use simultaneous large-scale recordings in the cortex and the striatum to show that striatal activity can be accurately predicted by spatiotemporal activity patterns in the cortex. The relationship between activity in the cortex and the striatum was spatially consistent with corticostriatal anatomy, and temporally consistent with a feedforward drive. Each striatal domain exhibited specific sensorimotor responses that predictably followed activity in the associated cortical regions, and the corticostriatal relationship remained unvaried during passive states or performance of a task probing visually guided behavior. However, the task's visual stimuli and corresponding behavioral responses evoked relatively more activity in the striatum than in associated cortical regions. This increased striatal activity involved an additive offset in firing rate, which was independent of task engagement but only present in animals that had learned the task. Thus, striatal activity largely reflects patterns of cortical activity, deviating from them in a simple additive fashion for learned stimuli or actions.

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