Learning to associate sensory stimuli with a chosen action involves a dynamic interplay between cortical and thalamic circuits. While the cortex has been widely studied in this respect, how the thalamus encodes learning-related information is still largely unknown. We studied learning-related activity in the medial geniculate body (MGB; Auditory thalamus), targeting mainly the dorsal and medial regions. Using fiber photometry, we continuously imaged population calcium dynamics as mice learned a go/no-go auditory discrimination task. The MGB was tuned to frequency and responded to cognitive features like the choice of the mouse within several hundred milliseconds. Encoding of choice in the MGB increased with learning, and was highly correlated with the learning curves of the mice. MGB also encoded motor parameters of the mouse during the task. These results provide evidence that the MGB encodes task- motor- and learning-related information.
Paper of the month
Mizrahi's Lab: Learning-related population dynamics in the auditory thalamus
eLife 2020;9:e56307 (2020)