Genetic deletion of PDE10A selectively impairs incentive salience attribution and decreases medium spiny neuron excitability

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The striatum is the main input structure to the basal ganglia and consists mainly out of medium spiny neurons. The numerous spines on their dendrites render them capable of integrating cortical glutamatergic inputs with a motivational dopaminergic signal that originates in the midbrain. This integrative function is thought to underly attribution of incentive salience, a process that is severely disrupted in schizophrenic patients. Phosphodiesterase 10A (PDE10A) is located mainly to the striatal medium spiny neurons and hydrolyses cAMP and cGMP, key determinants of MSN signaling. We show here that genetic depletion of PDE10A critically mediates attribution of salience to reward-predicting cues, evident in impaired performance in PDE10A knockout mice in an instrumentally conditioned reinforcement task. We furthermore report modest impairment of latent inhibition in PDE10A knockout mice, and unaltered prepulse inhibition. We suggest that the lack of effect on PPI is due to the pre-attentional nature of this task. Finally, we performed whole-cell patch clamp recordings and confirm suggested changes in intrinsic membrane excitability. A decrease in spontaneous firing in striatal medium spiny neurons was found. These data show that PDE10A plays a pivotal role in striatal signaling and striatum-mediated salience attribution.

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