The striatum integrates convergent input from the cortex, thalamus, and midbrain, and has a powerful influence over motivated behavior via outputs to downstream basal ganglia nuclei. Although the anatomy and physiology of distinct classes of striatal neurons have been intensively studied, the specific functions of these cell subpopulations have been more difficult to address. Recently, application of new methodologies for perturbing activity and signaling in different cell types in vivo has begun to allow direct tests of the causal roles of striatal neurons in behavior.
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