It is widely accepted that D1 dopamine receptor-expressing striatal neurons convey their information directly to the output nuclei of the basal ganglia, whereas D2-expressing neurons do so indirectly via pallidal neurons. Combining optogenetics and electrophysiology, we found that this architecture does not apply to mouse nucleus accumbens projections to the ventral pallidum. Thus, current thinking attributing D1 and D2 selectivity to accumbens projections akin to dorsal striatal pathways needs to be reconsidered.
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We thank T.C. Jhou and R.J. Smith for their assistance with the histology experiments. We thank E.J. Nestler (Mount Sinai School of Medicine) for providing D1-Cre and D2-Cre breeding pairs, and R. Gregory and J. Hyang for genotyping the mice. This work was supported by US Public Health Service grants DA03906, DA12513 and DA015369, and a fellowship from the Neuroscience Institute, Medical University of South Carolina.