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Gustatory and Anticipatory Signals in the Gustatory Thalamocortical Pathway of Alert Rats

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dc.contributor.advisor Fontanini, Alfredo en_US
dc.contributor.author Liu, Haixin en_US
dc.contributor.other Department of Neuroscience. en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2017-09-20T16:50:41Z
dc.date.available 2017-09-20T16:50:41Z
dc.date.issued 2015-05-01 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11401/76573 en_US
dc.description 123 pg. en_US
dc.description.abstract Neurons in the gustatory cortex (GC) encode chemosensory information, palatability and expectation. The representation of these variables is believed to result from the integration of thalamic and limbic inputs. While the limbic-cortical pathway is well studied, very little is known about the gustatory thalamus (VPMpc). To understand the role of VPMpc in taste processing, in the first portion of this dissertation, multi-electrode electrophysiology in rats engaged in a general expectation task was employed. Rats were trained to self-administer tastants with a nose-port entering following an auditory cue. During the inter-trial interval, rats also received un-cued, passive deliveries. VPMpc neurons exhibited time-varying taste responses, which encoded both chemical identity and taste palatability. Comparing cued and un-cued, taste-evoked responses revealed that expectation improved taste coding. Neurons in VPMpc also responded to the auditory cue. Control experiments demonstrated that the cue responses were neither driven by sensory nor motor aspects of the task. Moreover, relating cue responses to behavior showed that the strength of cue responses depended on the attentive state of the animal and predicted the animals’ behavioral reaction to the cue (respond or ignore). These results provide the first description of how the VPMpc of alert rats encodes gustatory and anticipatory information according to the state of the animal. Although cue responses in the taste system suggest the processing of anticipation, whether cue-related activity is important in driving anticipatory behavior is unknown. To address this issue, in the second portion of this dissertation, a Pavlovian conditioning task was developed. After learning to associate a cue to a food pellet delivery in a port, mice showed an increase of port entries during the cue. Neurons in the mouse GC showed significant modulations during cue presentation. Inactivating GC, by drug infusion or optogenetics, impaired the conditioned port-entering behavior. These results demonstrate that the cue-induced activity in mouse GC is necessary for the expression of the cue-induced behavior. Altogether, this dissertation extends the role of VPMpc to the coding of expectation and demonstrates the behavioral significance of anticipatory signals in the gustatory system. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship This work is sponsored by the Stony Brook University Graduate School in compliance with the requirements for completion of degree. en_US
dc.format Monograph en_US
dc.format.medium Electronic Resource en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher The Graduate School, Stony Brook University: Stony Brook, NY. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Neurosciences en_US
dc.subject.other cortex, electrophysiology, expectation, gustatory, rodent, thalamus en_US
dc.title Gustatory and Anticipatory Signals in the Gustatory Thalamocortical Pathway of Alert Rats en_US
dc.type Dissertation en_US
dc.mimetype Application/PDF en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Kritzer, Mary en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Albeanu, Dinu en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Alonso, Jose-Manuel en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Fontanini, Alfredo. en_US

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