Intrinsically regulated learning is modulated by synaptic dopamine signaling

Pablo Ripollés*, Laura Ferreri, Ernest Mas-Herrero, Helena Alicart, Alba Gómez-Andrés, Josep Marco-Pallares, Rosa Maria Antonijoan, Toemme Noesselt, Marta Valle, Jordi Riba, Antoni Rodriguez-Fornells*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

We recently provided evidence that an intrinsic reward-related signal - triggered by successful learning in absence of any external feedback-modulated the entrance of new information into long-term memory via the activation of the dopaminergic midbrain, hippocampus, and ventral striatum (the SN/VTA-Hippocampal loop; Ripolles et al., 2016). Here, we used a double-blind, within-subject randomized pharmacological intervention to test whether this learning process is indeed dopamine-dependent. A group of healthy individuals completed three behavioral sessions of a language-learning task after the intake of different pharmacological treatments: a dopaminergic precursor, a dopamine receptor antagonist or a placebo. Results show that the pharmacological intervention modulated behavioral measures of both learning and pleasantness, inducing memory benefits after 24 hr only for those participants with a high sensitivity to reward. These results provide causal evidence for a dopamine-dependent mechanism instrumental in intrinsically regulated learning and further suggest that subject-specific reward sensitivity drastically alters learning success.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere38113
Number of pages23
JournalElife
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2018

Keywords

  • LONG-TERM-MEMORY
  • EPISODIC MEMORY
  • SEMANTIC ACTIVATION
  • PARKINSONS-DISEASE
  • ENHANCES EXPLICIT
  • NUCLEUS-ACCUMBENS
  • REWARD RESPONSES
  • APHASIA THERAPY
  • CA1 REGION
  • LEVODOPA

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