Impaired working memory, cognitive flexibility and reward processing in mice genetically lacking Gpr88: evidence for a key role in Gpr88 in multiple cortico-striatal-thalamic circuits : GPR88 and cortico-striatal-thalamic circuits

Thomson, David and Openshaw, Rebecca and Mitchell, Emma J. and Kouskou, Marianna and Millan, Mark and Mannoury La Cour, Clotilde and Morris, Brian and Pratt, Judith (2020) Impaired working memory, cognitive flexibility and reward processing in mice genetically lacking Gpr88: evidence for a key role in Gpr88 in multiple cortico-striatal-thalamic circuits : GPR88 and cortico-striatal-thalamic circuits. Genes, Brain and Behavior. ISSN 1601-1848 (In Press)

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    Abstract

    The GPR88 orphan G protein-coupled receptor is expressed throughout the striatum, being preferentially localized in medium spiny neurons. It is also present in lower densities in frontal cortex and thalamus. Rare mutations in humans suggest a role in cognition and motor function, while common variants are associated with psychosis. Here we evaluate the influence of genetic deletion of GPR88 upon performance in translational tasks interrogating motivation, reward evaluation and cognitive function. In an automated radial arm maze ‘N-back’ working memory task, Gpr88 KO mice showed impaired correct responding, suggesting a role for GPR88 receptors in working memory circuitry. Associative learning performance was similar to wildtype controls in a touchscreen task but performance was impaired at the reversal learning stage, suggesting cognitive inflexibility. Gpr88 KO mice showed higher breakpoints, reduced latencies and lengthened session time in a progressive ratio task consistent with enhanced motivation. Simultaneously, locomotor hyperactivity was apparent in this task, supporting previous findings of actions of GPR88 in a cortico-striatal-thalamic motor loop. Evidence for a role of GPR88 in reward processing was demonstrated in a touchscreen-based equivalent of the Iowa gambling task. Although both Gpr88 KO and wildtype mice showed a preference for an optimum contingency choice, Gpr88 KO mice selected more risky choices at the expense of more advantageous lower risk options. Together these novel data suggest that striatal GPR88 receptors influence activity in a range of procedures integrated by prefrontal, orbitofrontal and anterior cingulate cortico-striatal- thalamic loops leading to altered cognitive, motivational and reward evaluation processes.