Dopamine signaling as a neural correlate of consciousness.

Abstract:

:The neural correlates of consciousness are largely unknown but many neural circuits are likely to be involved. Our experiments with mice that cannot synthesize dopamine suggest that dopamine signaling is a critical component necessary for the expression of consciousness. Although dopamine-deficient mice are awake and respond to many stimuli, they are unmotivated and have profound deficits in all but the simplest learning tasks. Dopamine-deficient mice are unable to attend to salient sensory information, integrate it with prior experience, store it in long-term memory, or choose appropriate actions. While clearly conscious from a general anesthetic point of view, dopamine-deficient mice have marginal arousal and appear to be virtually unconscious from a behavioral point of view. Restoration of dopamine signaling within the striatum by viral gene therapy strategies restores most behaviors. Therefore, I propose that dopaminergic modulation of glutamatergic inputs from the cortex and thalamus onto medium spiny neurons in the striatum contributes to cognition and the expression of consciousness.

journal_name

Neuroscience

journal_title

Neuroscience

authors

Palmiter RD

doi

10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.06.089

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2011-12-15 00:00:00

pages

213-20

eissn

0306-4522

issn

1873-7544

pii

S0306-4522(11)00887-6

journal_volume

198

pub_type

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