ABSTRACT: Midbrain dopaminergic activity seems to be important in forming the prediction of future events such as rewards. The nucleus accumbens (NAc) plays an important role in the integration of reward with motor function, and it receives dense dopamine innervation and extensive limbic and cortical afferents. Here, we examined the specific role of the dopamine D2 receptor (D2R) in mediating associative learning, locomotor activity, and regulating NAc neural responses by using D2R-knockout (KO) mice and their wild-type littermates. D2R-KO mice displayed reduced locomotor activity and slower acquisition of a place-learning task. D2R-KO eliminated the prereward inhibitory response of neurons in the NAc. In contrast, an increased number of neurons in D2R-KO mice displayed place-related activity. These results provide evidence that D2R in the NAc participates in coding for a specific type of neural response to incentive contingencies and partly in spatial learning.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2002; 99(13):8986-91. · 9.68 Impact Factor