Background The Stroop task is a widely used task measuring attention and conflict resolution, which shows sensitivity across a range of diseases, including Huntington’s disease (HD). A rodent analogue of the Stroop task, the ‘Response-Conflict task’, allows for systematic investigation of the neural systems underlying performance in this test.
Aims The aim of this study was to determine whether neural regions relevant to HD are utilised during conflict resolution.
Methods To achieve this, the expression patterns of the immediate early genes (IEG) Zif268 and C-fos were analysed throughout cortical and basal ganglia subregions of the rodent brain.
Results The results confirmed the involvement of prefrontal cortical and hippocampal regions, as well as identifying a specific role for retrosplenial cortex b in the incongruent version of the task. Finally, the accuracy of performance was significantly correlated with neural activation in the dorsomedial striatum. The involvement of the striatum in this neural process has not previously been reported.
Conclusions Thus, these data demonstrate that performance on the conflict resolution task is underpinned not only by activity within prefrontal cortical regions, but also by recruitment of medial striatal regions. Thus, reduced performance on this task in HD patients may reflect early changes in the striatum.
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