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Dopamine axons to dorsal striatum encode contralateral stimuli and actions

By Morgane M Moss, Peter Zatka-Haas, Kenneth D Harris, Matteo Carandini, Armin Lak

Posted 16 Jul 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.07.16.207316

Midbrain dopamine neurons play key roles in decision-making by regulating reward valuation and actions. These roles are thought to depend on dopamine neurons innervating striatum. In addition to actions and rewards, however, efficient decisions often involve consideration of uncertain sensory signals. The functions of striatal dopamine during sensory decisions remains unknown. We trained mice in a task that probed decisions based on sensory evidence and reward value, and recorded the activity of striatal dopamine axons. Dopamine axons in ventral striatum (VS) responded to bilateral stimuli and trial outcomes, encoding prediction errors that scaled with decision confidence and reward value. By contrast, dopamine axons in dorsal striatum (DS) responded to contralateral stimuli and contralateral actions. Thus, during sensory decisions, striatal dopamine signals are anatomically organized. VS dopamine resembles prediction errors suitable for reward maximization under sensory uncertainty whereas DS dopamine encodes specific combinations of stimuli and actions in a lateralized fashion. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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