Striatal spiny projection neurons are hyperpolarized-at-rest (HaR) and driven to action potential threshold by a small number of powerful inputs—an input–output configuration that is detrimental to response reliability. Because the striatum is important for habitual behaviors and goal-directed learning, we conducted a microendoscopic imaging in freely moving mice that express a genetically encoded Ca2+ indicator sparsely in striatal HaR neurons to evaluate their response reliability during self-initiated movements and operant conditioning. The sparse expression was critical for longitudinal studies of response reliability, and for studying correlations among HaR neurons while minimizing spurious correlations arising from contamination by the background signal. We found that HaR neurons are recruited dynamically into action representation, with distinct neuronal subsets being engaged in a moment-by-moment fashion. While individual neurons respond with little reliability, the population response remained stable across days. Moreover, we found evidence for the temporal coupling between neuronal subsets during conditioned (but not innate) behaviors.
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- basal ganglia
- calcium imaging
- parvalbumin-positive fast-spiking interneurons
- population coding
- spiny projection neurons