Dorsomedial striatal activity tracks completion of behavioral sequences in rats

Youna Vandaele, David J. Ottenheimer, Patricia H. Janak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For proper execution of goal-directed behaviors, individuals require both a general representation of the goal and an ability to monitor their own progress toward that goal. Here, we examine how dorsomedial striatum (DMS), a region pivotal for forming associations among stimuli, actions, and outcomes, encodes the execution of goal-directed action sequences that require self-monitoring of behavior. We trained rats to complete a sequence of at least five consecutive lever presses (without visiting the reward port) to obtain a reward and recorded the activity of individual cells in DMS while rats performed the task. We found that the pattern of DMS activity gradually changed during the execution of the sequence, permitting accurate decoding of sequence progress from neural activity at a population level. Moreover, this sequence-related activity was blunted on trials where rats did not complete a sufficient number of presses. Overall, these data suggest a link between DMS activity and the execution of behavioral sequences that require monitoring of ongoing behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberENEURO.0279-21.2021
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • Action sequence
  • Dorsomedial striatum
  • Goal-directed behavior
  • Time processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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