Skip to main content

A hippocampus-accumbens code guides goal-directed appetitive behavior

Go to Publication »

Nat Commun. 2024 Apr 12;15(1):3196. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-47361-x.


The dorsal hippocampus (dHPC) is a key brain region for the expression of spatial memories, such as navigating towards a learned reward location. The nucleus accumbens (NAc) is a prominent projection target of dHPC and implicated in value-based action selection. Yet, the contents of the dHPC→NAc information stream and their acute role in behavior remain largely unknown. Here, we found that optogenetic stimulation of the dHPC→NAc pathway while mice navigated towards a learned reward location was both necessary and sufficient for spatial memory-related appetitive behaviors. To understand the task-relevant coding properties of individual NAc-projecting hippocampal neurons (dHPC→NAc), we used in vivo dual-color two-photon imaging. In contrast to other dHPC neurons, the dHPC→NAc subpopulation contained more place cells, with enriched spatial tuning properties. This subpopulation also showed enhanced coding of non-spatial task-relevant behaviors such as deceleration and appetitive licking. A generalized linear model revealed enhanced conjunctive coding in dHPC→NAc neurons which improved the identification of the reward zone. We propose that dHPC routes specific reward-related spatial and behavioral state information to guide NAc action selection.

PMID:38609363 | DOI:10.1038/s41467-024-47361-x

Read More »