Cortex-wide response mode of VIP-expressing inhibitory neurons by reward and punishment

Zoltán Szadai, Hyun Jae Pi, Quentin Chevy, Katalin Ócsai, Dinu F. Albeanu, Balázs Chiovini, Gergely Szalay, Gergely Katona, Adam Kepecs, Balázs Rózsa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Neocortex is classically divided into distinct areas, each specializing in different function, but all could benefit from reinforcement feedback to inform and update local processing. Yet it remains elusive how global signals like reward and punishment are represented in local cortical computations. Previously, we identified a cortical neuron type, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP)-expressing interneurons, in auditory cortex that is recruited by behavioral reinforcers and mediates disinhibitory control by inhibiting other inhibitory neurons. As the same disinhibitory cortical circuit is present virtually throughout cortex, we wondered whether VIP neurons are likewise recruited by reinforcers throughout cortex. We monitored VIP neural activity in dozens of cortical regions using three-dimensional random access two-photon microscopy and fiber photometry while mice learned an auditory discrimination task. We found that reward and punishment during initial learning produce rapid, cortex-wide activation of most VIP interneurons. This global recruitment mode showed variations in temporal dynamics in individual neurons and across areas. Neither the weak sensory tuning of VIP interneurons in visual cortex nor their arousal state modulation was fully predictive of reinforcer responses. We suggest that the global response mode of cortical VIP interneurons supports a cell-type-specific circuit mechanism by which organism-level information about reinforcers regulates local circuit processing and plasticity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere78815
StatePublished - 2022


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