Behavioral correlates of activity of optogenetically identified locus coeruleus noradrenergic neurons in rats performing T-maze tasks

Liyang Xiang, Antoine Harel, HongYing Gao, Anthony E. Pickering, Susan J Sara, Sidney I Wiener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
243 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The nucleusLocus Coeruleus (LC) is the major source of forebrain norepinephrine. LC is implicated in arousal, response to novelty, and cognitive functions, including decision-making and behavioral flexibility. One hypothesis is that LC activation promotes rapid shifts in cortical attentional networks following changes in environmental contingencies. Recent recordings further suggest LC is critical for mobilizing resources to deal with challenging situations. In the present study optogenetically identified LC neuronal activity was recorded in rats in a self-paced T-maze. Rats were trained on visual discrimination; then place-reward contingencies were instated. In the session where the animal shifted tasks the first time, the LC firing rate after visual cue onset increased significantly, even as the animal adhered to the previous rule. Firing rate also increased prior to crossing photodetectors that controlled stimulus onset and offset, and this was positively correlated with accelerations, consistent with a role in mobilizing effort. The results contribute to the growing evidence that the noradrenergic LC is essential for behavioral adaptation by promoting cognitive flexibility and mobilizing effort in face of changing environmental contingencies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1361
Number of pages13
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2019

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