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Ventral Pallidum Neurons Encode Incentive Value and Promote Cue-Elicited Instrumental Actions


The ventral pallidum (VP) is posited to contribute to reward seeking by conveying upstream signals from the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Yet, very little is known about how VP neuron responses contribute to behavioral responses to incentive cues. Here, we recorded activity of VP neurons in a cue-driven reward-seeking task previously shown to require neural activity in the NAc. We find that VP neurons encode both learned cue value and subsequent reward seeking and that activity in VP neurons is required for robust cue-elicited reward seeking. Surprisingly, the onset of VP neuron responses occurs at a shorter latency than cue-elicited responses in NAc neurons. This suggests that this VP encoding is not a passive response to signals generated in the NAc and that VP neurons integrate sensory and motivation-related information received directly from other mesocorticolimbic inputs.

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