Striosomes Mediate Value-Based Learning Vulnerable in Age and a Huntington’s Disease Model

Published:October 27, 2020

DOI: Metrics


  • Striosomal, not matrix, striatal activity is shaped with valence-based learning
  • Striosomal, not matrix, DREADD manipulation opposingly modulates task engagement
  • Striosome-selective circuit decline occurs during aging and in mouse model of HD
  • Interneuron-striosome connectivity modulates SNR, and this increases with learning


Learning valence-based responses to favorable and unfavorable options requires judgments of the relative value of the options, a process necessary for species survival. We found, using engineered mice, that circuit connectivity and function of the striosome compartment of the striatum are critical for this type of learning. Calcium imaging during valence-based learning exhibited a selective correlation between learning and striosomal but not matrix signals. This striosomal activity encoded discrimination learning and was correlated with task engagement, which, in turn, could be regulated by chemogenetic excitation and inhibition. Striosomal function during discrimination learning was disturbed with aging and severely so in a mouse model of Huntington’s disease. Anatomical and functional connectivity of parvalbumin-positive, putative fast-spiking interneurons (FSIs) to striatal projection neurons was enhanced in striosomes compared with matrix in mice that learned. Computational modeling of these findings suggests that FSIs can modulate the striosomal signal-to-noise ratio, crucial for discrimination and learning.

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About S. R. Zelenz 119 Articles
S.R. Zelenz has worked in education for 20 years. Working with students from all walks of life, cultures, races, and social diversity, Zelenz’s research in Educational Leadership led to finding a better way to approach learning for students with trauma histories. Many were juvenile offenders, gang members, diagnosed with varying behavioral disorders, or had family histories of violence, murder, or narcissistic parenting. This research could not be effectively accomplished without further understanding: how epigenetic trauma inheritance may be impacting these students; how brain development from trauma may be impacting their behavioral and emotional development; as well as deep understanding of psychology and its varying classifications for behavioral and personality disorders. The goal is to find solutions for changing the conversation and making a real difference for these students. She has also worked with nonprofits of varying focus areas for the last 25 years. Her undergraduate degree in Arts Administration and Music prepared her for managing nonprofits of any size as well as procuring funding so that they can achieve their goals. Pairing her nonprofit background with her education background, she has been able to make a difference for over 200 nonprofits worldwide, written curriculum for schools across the globe, and assisted many arts organizations through performance and management.