2018 Poster of the Year

Nilupaer Abudukeyoumu! Her poster was presented at the 2018 Society for Neuroscience meeting that was held in San Diego, CA:

Impaired reach-to-grasp responses in mice depleted of striatal cholinergic interneurons

Authors on the winning poster are pictured below L. to R.: Nilupaer Abudukeyoumu, Marianela Garcia-Munoz, Yoko Nakano, and Gordon W. Arbuthnott.

Nilupaer Abudukeyoumu is a PhD student in Dr. Arbuthnott’s laboratory in the Brain Mechanism for Behavior Unit, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, Japan.

Read this article for more details about their exciting work.


Cholinergic interneurons (ChIs) are sparsely distributed within the striatum, a nucleus that plays important role in voluntary motor control, associated learning, procedural memory, action selection and planning and execution of movement. Sparsely distributed ChIs are 1-3% of all striatal neurons and the main source of striatal acetylcholine. Here we report the effect of depletion of ChIs in the dorsolateral striatum in a reach-to-grasp task. To selectively deplete ChIs, we used the saporin ribosome-inactivating-immunotoxin that targets choline acetyltransferase. C57BL/J male mice, 21 days old, received a stereotaxic unilateral infusion of the toxin (0.3µl/3min), and sham control group was injected with saline. Following one week postsurgery recovery, animals were food deprived for 12 h everyday and trained for 12 days at night during their active circadian cycle. The mean percentage ± SEM of successful performance in the reach-to-grasp task for the last 6 training sessions was 51.11 ± 4.09% (n = 25), 48.79 ± 7.7% (n = 9) and 26.28 ± 5.19% (n = 13) for intact control, sham control and ChIs-depleted mice, respectively. These results indicate that striatal depletion of ChIs impair reaching accuracy, whereas no significant differences were observed in control or sham operated mice. Moreover, a positive correlation between loss of ChIs and performance in the reach-to-grasp task was observed. Our results suggest that the participation of ChIs in striatal mediated motor learning impact on the function of interneurons and projection neurons of the whole striatal microcircuitry (Abudukeyoumu, N., Hernandez-Flores, T. et al. Eur. J. Neuroscience, in press).