A computational model of how cholinergic interneurons protect striatal-dependent learning.

TitleA computational model of how cholinergic interneurons protect striatal-dependent learning.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsF Ashby, G., & Crossley M. J.
JournalJ Cogn Neurosci
Date Published2011 Jun
KeywordsCholinergic Fibers, Computer Simulation, Corpus Striatum, Interneurons, Learning, Models, Biological

An essential component of skill acquisition is learning the environmental conditions in which that skill is relevant. This article proposes and tests a neurobiologically detailed theory of how such learning is mediated. The theory assumes that a key component of this learning is provided by the cholinergic interneurons in the striatum known as tonically active neurons (TANs). The TANs are assumed to exert a tonic inhibitory influence over cortical inputs to the striatum that prevents the execution of any striatal-dependent actions. The TANs learn to pause in rewarding environments, and this pause releases the striatal output neurons from this inhibitory effect, thereby facilitating the learning and expression of striatal-dependent behaviors. When rewards are no longer available, the TANs cease to pause, which protects striatal learning from decay. A computational version of this theory accounts for a variety of single-cell recording data and some classic behavioral phenomena, including fast reacquisition after extinction.

Alternate JournalJ Cogn Neurosci
PubMed ID20521851
Grant ListP01 NS044393 / NS / NINDS NIH HHS / United States
R01 MH3760-2 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States