Skip to content

Orbitofrontal control of visual cortex gain promotes visual associative learning


The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) encodes expected outcomes and plays a critical role in flexible, outcome-guided behavior. The OFC projects to primary visual cortex (V1), yet the function of this top-down projection is unclear. We find that optogenetic activation of OFC projection to V1 reduces the amplitude of V1 visual responses via the recruitment of local somatostatin-expressing (SST) interneurons. Using mice performing a Go/No-Go visual task, we show that the OFC projection to V1 mediates the outcome-expectancy modulation of V1 responses to the reward-irrelevant No-Go stimulus. Furthermore, V1-projecting OFC neurons reduce firing during expectation of reward. In addition, chronic optogenetic inactivation of OFC projection to V1 impairs, whereas chronic activation of SST interneurons in V1 improves the learning of Go/No-Go visual task, without affecting the immediate performance. Thus, OFC top-down projection to V1 is crucial to drive visual associative learning by modulating the response gain of V1 neurons to non-relevant stimulus.


Dechen Liu, Juan Deng, Zhewei Zhang, Zhi-Yu Zhang, Yan-Gang Sun, Tianming Yang & Haishan Yao

Published: 2020

PMID: 32493971



Research Area:

Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, Visual System