Differential roles of monkey striatum in learning of sequential hand movement
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To study the role of the basal ganglia in learning of sequential movements, we trained two monkeys to perform a sequential button-press task (2×5 task). This task enabled us to examine the process of learning new sequences as well as the execution of well-learned sequences repeatedly. We injected muscimol (a GABA agonist) into different parts of the striatum to inactivate the local neural activity reversibly. The learning of new sequences became deficient after injections in the anterior caudate and putamen, but not the middle-posterior putamen. The execution of well-learned sequences was disrupted after injections in the middle-posterior putamen and, less severely, after injections in the anterior caudate/putamen. These results suggest that the anterior and posterior portions of the striatum participate in different aspects of learning of sequential movements.
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