Dissociable and Paradoxical Roles of Rat Medial and Lateral Orbitofrontal Cortex in Visual Serial Reversal Learning

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • M. E. Hervig
  • L. Fiddian
  • L. Piilgaard
  • T. Bozič
  • M. Blanco-Pozo
  • C. Knudsen
  • S. F. Olesen
  • J. Alsiö
  • T. W. Robbins

Much evidence suggests that reversal learning is mediated by cortico-striatal circuitries with the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) playing a prominent role. The OFC is a functionally heterogeneous region, but potential differential roles of lateral (lOFC) and medial (mOFC) portions in visual reversal learning have yet to be determined. We investigated the effects of pharmacological inactivation of mOFC and lOFC on a deterministic serial visual reversal learning task for rats. For reference, we also targeted other areas previously implicated in reversal learning: prelimbic (PrL) and infralimbic (IL) prefrontal cortex, and basolateral amygdala (BLA). Inactivating mOFC and lOFC produced opposite effects; lOFC impairing, and mOFC improving, performance in the early, perseverative phase specifically. Additionally, mOFC inactivation enhanced negative feedback sensitivity, while lOFC inactivation diminished feedback sensitivity in general. mOFC and lOFC inactivation also affected novel visual discrimination learning differently; lOFC inactivation paradoxically improved learning, and mOFC inactivation had no effect. We also observed dissociable roles of the OFC and the IL/PrL. Whereas the OFC inactivation affected only perseveration, IL/PrL inactivation improved learning overall. BLA inactivation did not affect perseveration, but improved the late phase of reversal learning. These results support opponent roles of the rodent mOFC and lOFC in deterministic visual reversal learning.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1016-1029
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • amygdala, orbitofrontal cortex, prefrontal cortex, reversal learningm, visual discrimination

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