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Identification of the neural correlates underlying conflict resolution performance using a rodent analogue of the Stroop tests

Clinch, S. P., Busse, M., Griffiths, J., Rosser, A.E. ORCID: and Lelos, M.J. ORCID: 2023. Identification of the neural correlates underlying conflict resolution performance using a rodent analogue of the Stroop tests. Neuroscience 524 , pp. 79-88. 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2023.05.024

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The Stroop test is a widely used neuropsychological test measuring attention and conflict resolution, which shows sensitivity across a range of diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases. A rodent analogue of the Stroop test, the Response-Conflict task (rRCT), allows for systematic investigation of the neural systems underpinning performance in this test. Little is known about the involvement of the basal ganglia in this neural process. The aim of this study was to use the rRCT to determine whether striatal subregions are recruited during conflict resolution processing. To achieve this, rats were exposed to Congruent or Incongruent stimuli in the rRCT and the expression patterns of the immediate early gene Zif268 were analysed throughout cortical, hippocampal and basal ganglia subregions. The results confirmed the previously reported involvement of prefrontal cortical and hippocampal regions, as well as identifying a specific role for the dysgranular (but not granular) retrosplenial cortex in conflict resolution. Finally, performance accuracy correlated significantly with reduced neural activation in the dorsomedial striatum. Involvement of the basal ganglia in this neural process has not previously been reported. These data demonstrate that the cognitive process of conflict resolution requires not only prefrontal cortical regions, but also recruits the dysgranular retrosplenial cortex and the medial region of the neostriatum. These data have implications for understanding the neuroanatomical changes that underpin impaired Stroop performance in people with neurological disorders.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0306-4522
Funders: MRC, Parkinson's UK
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 June 2023
Date of Acceptance: 28 May 2023
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2023 16:27

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