Differential Effects of Neural Inactivation of the Dorsolateral Striatum on Response and Latent Extinction
The present study examined the role of the dorsolateral striatum (DLS) in extinction behavior. Male Long-Evans rats were initially trained on the straight alley maze, in which they were reinforced to traverse a straight runway and retrieve food reward at the opposite end of the maze. After initial acquisition, animals were given extinction training using 1 of 2 distinct protocols: response extinction or latent extinction. For response extinction, the animal was released from the same starting position and had the opportunity to perform the originally reinforced approach response to the goal end of the maze, which no longer contained food. For latent extinction, the animal was confined to the original goal location without food, allowing the animal to form a new cognitive expectation (i.e., that the goal location is no longer reinforced). Immediately before response or latent extinction training, animals received bilateral intra-DLS administration of the sodium channel blocker bupivacaine or control injections of physiological saline. Results indicated that neural inactivation of the DLS with bupivacaine impaired response extinction, but did not influence latent extinction. The dissociation observed indicates that the DLS selectively mediates extinction mechanisms involving suppression of the original response, as opposed to cognitive mechanisms involving a change in expectation.