Reward-encoding in dorsal raphe (serotonergic) neurons

Reward-dependent modulation of neuronal activity in the primate dorsal raphe nucleus.
J Neurosci. 2008 May 14;28(20):5331-43
Authors: Nakamura K, Matsumoto M, Hikosaka O

Serotonergic neurons in the dorsal raphe (DR) constitute one of the major neuromodulatory systems. What is the role of DR neurons in encoding reward, in comparison with midbrain dopaminergic neurons? The authors noted several differences: (1) DA neurons encode reward prediction error -- responding to reward only when the reward size is larger or smaller than expected. DR neurons respond to both reward and reward-predicting cues, whether or not they are expected. (2) DA neurons respond to reward with a phasic bursting response, while DR neurons show slower tonic responses.
In addition, DR neurons are heterogeneous, some prefer large while others prefer small reward. Without an independent means of verifying the neurochemical identity, it remains unclear which subset of DR neurons are serotonergic neurons.


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