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Modulation of prefrontal cortex activity by optogenetic stimulation of ventral tegmental area during fixed interval task: examining how neuronal firing codes timing

Grant number: 14/22817-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2015
Effective date (End): February 29, 2016
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Physiology - Physiology of Organs and Systems
Principal Investigator:João Pereira Leite
Grantee:Rafael Naime Ruggiero
Supervisor: Nandakumar Narayanan
Host Institution: Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto (FMRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Iowa, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:12/23918-0 - Synaptic plasticity of the hippocampus-prefrontal cortex pathway and its relations with behavioral and molecular changes in rats submitted to febrile seizures during development, BP.DR


The medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) is implicated in top-down control of action timing. MPFC single unit activity was shown to follow two patterns during timing tasks: a sustained delay-related activity inhibiting motor commands, and a ramping activity that could represent the passage of time. Dopaminergic projections from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to the MPFC have been implicated in interval timing. Consistently, inhibition of prefrontal neurons expressing D1 dopamine receptors was shown to impair fixed-interval timing, while stimulation was shown to improve task performance. However, the exact modulation VTA exerts on MPFC activity during interval timing remains to be demonstrated. Knowing if VTA drives either activity patterns in the MPFC would definitely implicate those dopaminergic projections in time coding or top-down movement control. Therefore, our aim is to employ optogenetics to selectively stimulate VTA excitatory neurons during retention intervals of a fixed-interval timing task, in order to determine casual links between behavioral performance, and MPFC firing and field oscillations. We believe that this project will elucidate how dopamine projections from VTA modulate time coding, thereby clarifying how the MPFC integrates time and behavior. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
PARKER, KRYSTAL L.; RUGGIERO, RAFAEL N.; NARAYANAN, NANDAKUMAR S.. Infusion of D1 Dopamine Receptor Agonist into Medial Frontal Cortex Disrupts Neural Correlates of Interval Timing. FRONTIERS IN BEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENCE, v. 9, . (14/22817-1)
EMMONS, ERIC B.; RUGGIERO, RAFAEL N.; KELLEY, RYAN M.; PARKER, KRYSTAL L.; NARAYANAN, NANDAKUMAR S.. Corticostriatal Field Potentials Are Modulated at Delta and Theta Frequencies during Interval-Timing Task in Rodents. FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY, v. 7, . (14/22817-1)
KIM, YOUNG-CHO; HAN, SANG-WOO; ALBERICO, STEPHANIE L.; RUGGIERO, RAFAEL N.; DE CORTE, BENJAMIN; CHEN, KUAN-HUA; NARAYANAN, NANDAKUMAR S.. Optogenetic Stimulation of Frontal D1 Neurons Compensates for Impaired Temporal Control of Action in Dopamine-Depleted Mice. Current Biology, v. 27, n. 1, p. 39-47, . (14/22817-1)

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