Opponent control of behavior by dorsomedial striatal pathways depends on task demands and internal state

Scott S. Bolkan, Iris R. Stone, Lucas Pinto, Zoe C. Ashwood, Jorge M. Iravedra Garcia, Alison L. Herman, Priyanka Singh, Akhil Bandi, Julia Cox, Christopher A. Zimmerman, Jounhong Ryan Cho, Ben Engelhard, Jonathan W. Pillow & Ilana B. Witten
Nature Neuroscience 25 (3): 345–357 (2022).

A classic view of the striatum holds that activity in direct and indirect pathways oppositely modulates motor output. Whether this involves direct control of movement, or reflects a cognitive process underlying movement, remains unresolved. Here we find that strong, opponent control of behavior by the two pathways of the dorsomedial striatum depends on the cognitive requirements of a task. Furthermore, a latent state model (a hidden Markov model with generalized linear model observations) reveals that—even within a single task—the contribution of the two pathways to behavior is state dependent. Specifically, the two pathways have large contributions in one of two states associated with a strategy of evidence accumulation, compared to a state associated with a strategy of repeating previous choices. Thus, both the demands imposed by a task, as well as the internal state of mice when performing a task, determine whether dorsomedial striatum pathways provide strong and opponent control of behavior.

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