Activation of serotonin neurons promotes active persistence in a probabilistic foraging task

Eran Lottem, Dhruba Banerjee, Pietro Vertechi, Dario Sarra, Matthijs Oude Lohuis, Zachary F. Mainen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations

Abstract

The neuromodulator serotonin (5-HT) has been implicated in a variety of functions that involve patience or impulse control. Many of these effects are consistent with a long-standing theory that 5-HT promotes behavioral inhibition, a motivational bias favoring passive over active behaviors. To further test this idea, we studied the impact of 5-HT in a probabilistic foraging task, in which mice must learn the statistics of the environment and infer when to leave a depleted foraging site for the next. Critically, mice were required to actively nose-poke in order to exploit a given site. We show that optogenetic activation of 5-HT neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus increases the willingness of mice to actively attempt to exploit a reward site before giving up. These results indicate that behavioral inhibition is not an adequate description of 5-HT function and suggest that a unified account must be based on a higher-order function.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1000
JournalNature Communications
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s).

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Activation of serotonin neurons promotes active persistence in a probabilistic foraging task'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this