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Ventral tegmental area

Arjun Sethi, Valerie Voon, Hugo D Critchley, Mara Cercignani, Neil A Harrison
Computational models of reinforcement learning have helped dissect discrete components of reward-related function and characterize neurocognitive deficits in psychiatric illnesses. Stimulus novelty biases decision-making, even when unrelated to choice outcome, acting as if possessing intrinsic reward value to guide decisions toward uncertain options. Heightened novelty seeking is characteristic of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, yet how this influences reward-related decision-making is computationally encoded, or is altered by stimulant medication, is currently uncertain...
March 13, 2018: Brain: a Journal of Neurology
Poornima Kumar, Franziska Goer, Laura Murray, Daniel G Dillon, Miranda L Beltzer, Andrew L Cohen, Nancy H Brooks, Diego A Pizzagalli
Anhedonia (hyposensitivity to rewards) and negative bias (hypersensitivity to punishments) are core features of major depressive disorder (MDD), which could stem from abnormal reinforcement learning. Emerging evidence highlights blunted reward learning and reward prediction error (RPE) signaling in the striatum in MDD, although inconsistencies exist. Preclinical studies have clarified that ventral tegmental area (VTA) neurons encode RPE and habenular neurons encode punishment prediction error (PPE), which are then transmitted to the striatum and cortex to guide goal-directed behavior...
February 26, 2018: Neuropsychopharmacology: Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Eugenia Tomasella, Lucila Bechelli, Mora Belén Ogando, Camilo Mininni, Mariano N Di Guilmi, Fernanda De Fino, Silvano Zanutto, Ana Belén Elgoyhen, Antonia Marin-Burgin, Diego M Gelman
Excessive dopamine neurotransmission underlies psychotic episodes as observed in patients with some types of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The dopaminergic hypothesis was postulated after the finding that antipsychotics were effective to halt increased dopamine tone. However, there is little evidence for dysfunction within the dopaminergic system itself. Alternatively, it has been proposed that excessive afferent activity onto ventral tegmental area dopaminergic neurons, particularly from the ventral hippocampus, increase dopamine neurotransmission, leading to psychosis...
March 12, 2018: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Luqing Wei, Xiao Hu, Yonggui Yuan, Weiguo Liu, Hong Chen
Neuropathology suggests that Parkinson's disease (PD) with depression may involve a progressive degeneration of the nigrostriatal and mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic systems. Previous positron emission tomography (PET) and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) studies have shown that dopamine changes in individual brain regions constituting the nigrostriatal and mesocorticolimbic circuits are associated with depression in PD. However, few studies have been conducted on the circuit-level alterations in this disease...
March 9, 2018: Behavioural Brain Research
Susan J Melhorn, Mary K Askren, Wendy K Chung, Mario Kratz, Tyler A Bosch, Vidhi Tyagi, Mary F Webb, Mary Rosalynn B De Leon, Thomas J Grabowski, Rudolph L Leibel, Ellen A Schur
Background: Variants in the first intron of the fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene increase obesity risk. People with "high-risk" FTO genotypes exhibit preference for high-fat foods, reduced satiety responsiveness, and greater food intake consistent with impaired satiety. Objective: We sought central nervous system mechanisms that might underlie impaired satiety perception in people with a higher risk of obesity based on their FTO genotype. Design: We performed a cross-sectional study in a sample that was enriched for obesity and included 20 higher-risk participants with the AA (risk) genotype at the rs9939609 locus of FTO and 94 lower-risk participants with either the AT or TT genotype...
February 1, 2018: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Lídia Cantacorps, Héctor González-Pardo, Jorge L Arias, Olga Valverde, Nélida M Conejo
Prenatal and perinatal alcohol exposure caused by maternal alcohol intake during gestation and lactation periods can have long-lasting detrimental effects on the brain development and behaviour of offspring. Children diagnosed with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) display a wide range of cognitive, emotional and motor deficits, together with characteristic morphological abnormalities. Maternal alcohol binge drinking is particularly harmful for foetal and early postnatal brain development, as it involves exposure to high levels of alcohol over short periods of time...
March 8, 2018: Progress in Neuro-psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry
Stefania Ferraro, Anna Nigri, Maria Grazia Bruzzone, Luca Brivio, Alberto Proietti Cecchini, Mattia Verri, Luisa Chiapparini, Massimo Leone
Objective We tested the hypothesis of a defective functional connectivity between the posterior hypothalamus and diencephalic-mesencephalic regions in chronic cluster headache based on: a) clinical and neuro-endocrinological findings in cluster headache patients; b) neuroimaging findings during cluster headache attacks; c) neuroimaging findings in drug-refractory chronic cluster headache patients improved after successful deep brain stimulation. Methods Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging, associated with a seed-based approach, was employed to investigate the functional connectivity of the posterior hypothalamus in chronic cluster headache patients (n = 17) compared to age and sex-matched healthy subjects (n = 16)...
January 1, 2018: Cephalalgia: An International Journal of Headache
Jorge Tovar-Díaz, Matthew B Pomrenze, Russell Kan, Bahram Pahlavan, Hitoshi Morikawa
Stressful events rapidly trigger activity-dependent synaptic plasticity, driving the formation of aversive memories. However, it remains unclear how stressful experience affects plasticity mechanisms to regulate appetitive learning, such as intake of addictive drugs. Using rats, we show that corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and α1 adrenergic receptor (α1AR) signaling enhance the plasticity of NMDA-receptor-mediated glutamatergic transmission in ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine (DA) neurons through distinct effects on inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate (IP3 )-dependent Ca2+ signaling...
March 6, 2018: Cell Reports
Michael J Minzenberg, Jong H Yoon, Steffan K Soosman, Cameron S Carter
Candidate pro-cognitive drugs for schizophrenia targeting several neurochemical systems have consistently failed to demonstrate robust efficacy. It remains untested whether concurrent antipsychotic medications exert pharmacodynamic interactions that mitigate pro-cognitive action in patients. We used functional MRI (fMRI) in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled within-subject crossover test of single-dose modafinil effects in 27 medicated schizophrenia patients, interrogating brainstem regions where catecholamine systems arise to innervate the cortex, to link cellular and systems-level models of cognitive control...
March 6, 2018: Translational Psychiatry
Xian Wang, Shaolei Ma, Haibo Wu, Xiaofeng Shen, Shiqin Xu, Xirong Guo, Maria L Bolick, Shizheng Wu, Fuzhou Wang
Our previous works disclosed the contributing role of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) and dopaminergic inhibition by lysine dimethyltransferase G9a/Glp complex in peripheral nerve injury-induced hypersensitivity. We herein propose that the proinflammatory cytokine MIF participates in the regulation of neuropathic hypersensitivity by interacting with and suppressing the descending dopaminergic system. The lumbar spinal cord (L-SC) and ventral tegmental area (VTA) are two major locations with significant upregulation of MIF after chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve, and they display time-dependent changes, along with a behavioral trajectory...
February 16, 2018: Experimental & Molecular Medicine
Rainbo Hultman, Kyle Ulrich, Benjamin D Sachs, Cameron Blount, David E Carlson, Nkemdilim Ndubuizu, Rosemary C Bagot, Eric M Parise, Mai-Anh T Vu, Neil M Gallagher, Joyce Wang, Alcino J Silva, Karl Deisseroth, Stephen D Mague, Marc G Caron, Eric J Nestler, Lawrence Carin, Kafui Dzirasa
Brain-wide fluctuations in local field potential oscillations reflect emergent network-level signals that mediate behavior. Cracking the code whereby these oscillations coordinate in time and space (spatiotemporal dynamics) to represent complex behaviors would provide fundamental insights into how the brain signals emotional pathology. Using machine learning, we discover a spatiotemporal dynamic network that predicts the emergence of major depressive disorder (MDD)-related behavioral dysfunction in mice subjected to chronic social defeat stress...
March 1, 2018: Cell
Nicole S Hernandez, Kelsey Y Ige, Elizabeth G Mietlicki-Baase, Gian Carlo Molina-Castro, Christopher A Turner, Matthew R Hayes, Heath D Schmidt
Novel molecular targets are needed to develop new medications for the treatment of cocaine addiction. Here we investigated a role for glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptors in the reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior, an animal model of relapse. We showed that peripheral administration of the GLP-1 receptor agonist exendin-4 dose dependently reduced cocaine seeking in rats at doses that did not affect ad libitum food intake, meal patterns or body weight. We also demonstrated that systemic exendin-4 penetrated the brain where it putatively bound receptors on both neurons and astrocytes in the ventral tegmental area (VTA)...
February 14, 2018: Neuropsychopharmacology: Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Vivek R Athalye, Fernando J Santos, Jose M Carmena, Rui M Costa
Thorndike's law of effect states that actions that lead to reinforcements tend to be repeated more often. Accordingly, neural activity patterns leading to reinforcement are also reentered more frequently. Reinforcement relies on dopaminergic activity in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), and animals shape their behavior to receive dopaminergic stimulation. Seeking evidence for a neural law of effect, we found that mice learn to reenter more frequently motor cortical activity patterns that trigger optogenetic VTA self-stimulation...
March 2, 2018: Science
Lauren Faget, Vivien Zell, Elizabeth Souter, Adam McPherson, Reed Ressler, Navarre Gutierrez-Reed, Ji Hoon Yoo, Davide Dulcis, Thomas S Hnasko
The ventral pallidum (VP) lies at the interface between sensory, motor, and cognitive processing-with a particular role in mounting behavioral responses to rewards. Though the VP is predominantly GABAergic, glutamate neurons were recently identified, though their relative abundances and respective roles are unknown. Here, we show that VP glutamate neurons are concentrated in the rostral ventromedial VP and project to qualitatively similar targets as do VP GABA neurons. At the functional level, we used optogenetics to show that activity in VP GABA neurons can drive positive reinforcement, particularly through projections to the ventral tegmental area (VTA)...
February 27, 2018: Nature Communications
V V Pavshintsev, L S Podshivalova, O Y Frolova, M V Belopolskaya, O A Averina, E A Kushnir, N V Marmiy, M L Lovat
According to one hypothesis, Parkinson's disease pathogenesis is largely caused by dopamine catabolism that is catalyzed on mitochondrial membranes by monoamine oxidase. Reactive oxygen species are formed as a byproduct of these reactions, which can lead to mitochondrial damage followed by cell degeneration and death. In this study, we investigated the effects of administration of the mitochondrial antioxidant SkQ1 on biochemical, immunohistochemical, and behavioral parameters in a Parkinson-like condition caused by protoxin MPTP injections in C57BL/6 mice...
December 2017: Biochemistry. Biokhimii︠a︡
Erin Hisey, Matthew Gene Kearney, Richard Mooney
The complex skills underlying verbal and musical expression can be learned without external punishment or reward, indicating their learning is internally guided. The neural mechanisms that mediate internally guided learning are poorly understood, but a circuit comprising dopamine-releasing neurons in the midbrain ventral tegmental area (VTA) and their targets in the basal ganglia are important to externally reinforced learning. Juvenile zebra finches copy a tutor song in a process that is internally guided and, in adulthood, can learn to modify the fundamental frequency (pitch) of a target syllable in response to external reinforcement with white noise...
February 26, 2018: Nature Neuroscience
Abigail M Polter, Kelsey Barcomb, Ayumi C Tsuda, Julie A Kauer
Ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopaminergic neurons are key components of the reward pathway, and their activity is powerfully controlled by a diverse array of inhibitory GABAergic inputs. Two major sources of GABAergic nerve terminals within the VTA are local VTA interneurons and neurons in the rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg). Here, using optogenetics, we compared synaptic properties of GABAergic synapses on VTA dopamine neurons using selective activation of afferents that originate from these two cell populations...
February 26, 2018: European Journal of Neuroscience
Fumiya Shinohara, Yuta Asaoka, Hironori Kamii, Masabumi Minami, Katsuyuki Kaneda
Effects of stress on the reward system are well established in the literature. Although previous studies have revealed that stress can reinstate extinguished addictive behaviors related to cocaine, the effects of stress on the rewarding memory of cocaine are not fully understood. Here, we provide evidence that stress potentiates the expression of rewarding memory of cocaine via the activation of brainstem-reward circuitry using a cocaine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP) paradigm combined with restraint stress in rats...
February 26, 2018: Addiction Biology
Hillary L Woodworth, Juliette A Brown, Hannah M Batchelor, Raluca Bugescu, Gina M Leinninger
Pharmacologic treatment with the neuropeptide neurotensin (Nts) modifies motivated behaviors such as feeding, locomotor activity, and reproduction. Dopamine (DA) neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) control these behaviors, and Nts directly modulates the activity of DA neurons via Nts receptor-1. While Nts sources to the VTA have been described in starlings and rats, the endogenous sources of Nts to the VTA of mice remain incompletely understood, impeding determination of which Nts circuits orchestrate specific behaviors in this model...
February 15, 2018: Neuropeptides
Song Zhang, Hongxing Zhang, Stacy M Ku, Barbara Juarez, Carole Morel, Nikos Tzavaras, Sarah Montgomery, Georgia E Hodes, Anna Brancato, Scott J Russo, Jun-Li Cao, Ming-Hu Han
Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with major depressive disorder. However, fewer studies in rodent models of depression have used female animals, leading to a relative lack of understanding of the female brain's response to stress, especially at a neural circuit level. In this study, we utilized a 6-day subchronic variable stress (SCVS) mouse model and measured novelty suppressed feeding as behavioral criteria to evaluate susceptibility to SCVS in male and female mice. First, we showed that SCVS induced a decrease in latency to eat (susceptible phenotype) in female mice, but not in males (resilient phenotype)...
February 22, 2018: Neuroscience
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