Cortex-wide fast activation of VIP-expressing inhibitory neurons by reward and punishment
Zoltán Szadai1, 5, Hyun-Jae Pi2, 4, Quentin Chevy2, Florin Albeanu2, Katalin Ócsai3, Balázs Chiovini1, Gergely Szalay1, Lídia Popara3, Gergely Katona3, Adam Kepecs2, Balázs Rózsa1
Reward and punishment powerfully inform ongoing behaviors and drive learning throughout the brain. If reward and punishment signals are broadly distributed across cortex, it is important to identify how these global signals exert influence over local cortical computations. Previously we found that VIP-expressing cortical inhibitory neurons specialize in local gain-control and also respond to reward and punishment, in auditory cortex. Here we used 3D random-access two-photon microscopy and fiber photometry to monitor VIP neural activity in dozens of cortical areas while mice performed an auditory decision task. Most VIP interneurons cortex-wide were robustly activated by water reward and air-puff punishment, and were modulated by arousal states. Primary visual cortex VIP interneurons also showed weakly tuned stimulus induced responses. Taken together with the role of VIP neurons in local circuit disinhibition, these results suggest that VIP neurons may provide a means by which global reinforcement signals influence local circuit computations and their plasticity.