Institut de Neurosciences Cognitives et Intégratives d'Aquitaine (UMR5287)

Aquitaine Institute for Cognitive and Integrative Neuroscience

Université de Bordeaux

Zone nord Bat 2 2ème étage
146, rue Léo Saignat
33076 Bordeaux cedex


Supervisory authorities

CNRS Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes Université de Bordeaux

Our partners

Neurocampus Unitéde Formation de Biologie


GDR Robotique GDR Mémoire GDR Multi-électrodes


Home > News

A thalamocortical circuit for updating action-outcome associations

by Wolff - published on , updated on

A thalamocortical circuit for updating action-outcome associations

A thalamocortical circuit for updating action-outcome associations.
Fresno V, Parkes SL, Faugère A, Coutureau E, Wolff M.
Elife. 2019 Apr 23;8. pii: e46187. doi: 10.7554/eLife.46187.

Check also on the Société des Neurosciences for more details (FR).

The ability to flexibly use knowledge is one cardinal feature of goal-directed behaviors. The DECAD team recently showed that thalamocortical and corticothalamic pathways connecting the medial prefrontal cortex and the mediodorsal thalamus (MD) contribute to adaptive decision-making (Alcaraz et al., 2018). In the present study, the team examined the impact of disconnecting the MD from its other main cortical target, the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) in a task assessing outcome devaluation after initial instrumental training and after reversal of action-outcome contingencies. Crossed MD and OFC lesions did not impair instrumental performance. In sharp contrast, disconnecting the OFC from its other main thalamic afferent, the submedius nucleus, produced a specific impairment in adaptive responding following action-outcome reversal. Altogether, this suggests that multiple thalamocortical circuits may act synergistically to achieve behaviorally relevant functions and confirm a prominent role for the cognitive thalamus in shaping mental representations.

Previously, the mPFC-MD circuit was identified as critical for goal-directed action. Now, the OFC-Sub circuit appears to specifically support the updating of action-outcome contingencies. Collectively, these data are consistent with an important role of the cognitive thalamus in shaping mental representations. Different thalamocortical circuits thus appear to function in a synergetic manner in the face of changing circumstances to ensure flexible adaptation.