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Reward Pathway

Fangyuan Yin, Yuanyuan Ji, Jing Zhang, Hao Guo, Xin Huang, Jianghua Lai, Shuguang Wei
Previous studies suggested that the 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 3B (HTR3B) is involved in heroin dependence by modulating dopamine (DA) release in the reward pathway and that the genetic polymorphisms in HTR3B play plausible role in modulating the risk of developing heroin addiction. To identify markers that contribute to the genetic susceptibility to heroin dependence, we examined the potential associations between heroin dependence and 7 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the HTR3B gene using multiplex SNaPshot technology in a Chinese Han population...
October 20, 2016: Neuroscience Letters
Vidya Narayanaswami, Linda P Dwoskin
Obesity is a global epidemic that contributes to a number of health complications including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and neuropsychiatric disorders. Pharmacotherapeutic strategies to treat obesity are urgently needed. Research over the past two decades has increased substantially our knowledge of central and peripheral mechanisms underlying homeostatic energy balance. Homeostatic mechanisms involve multiple components including neuronal circuits, some originating in hypothalamus and brain stem, as well as peripherally-derived satiety, hunger and adiposity signals that modulate neural activity and regulate eating behavior...
October 20, 2016: Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Keqiang Xie, Lesley A Colgan, Maria T Dao, Brian S Muntean, Laurie P Sutton, Cesare Orlandi, Sanford L Boye, Shannon E Boye, Chien-Cheng Shih, Yuqing Li, Baoji Xu, Roy G Smith, Ryohei Yasuda, Kirill A Martemyanov
It is well recognized that G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) can activate Ras-regulated kinase pathways to produce lasting changes in neuronal function. Mechanisms by which GPCRs transduce these signals and their relevance to brain disorders are not well understood. Here, we identify a major Ras regulator, neurofibromin 1 (NF1), as a direct effector of GPCR signaling via Gβγ subunits in the striatum. We find that binding of Gβγ to NF1 inhibits its ability to inactivate Ras. Deletion of NF1 in striatal neurons prevents the opioid-receptor-induced activation of Ras and eliminates its coupling to Akt-mTOR-signaling pathway...
October 18, 2016: Current Biology: CB
Alexandre Caron, Denis Richard
With the still-growing prevalence of obesity worldwide, major efforts are made to understand the various behavioral, environmental, and genetic factors that promote excess fat gain. Obesity results from an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure, which emphasizes the importance of deciphering the mechanisms behind energy balance regulation to understand its physiopathology. The control of energy balance is assured by brain systems/circuits capable of generating adequate ingestive and thermogenic responses to maintain the stability of energy reserves, which implies a proper integration of the homeostatic signals that inform about the status of the energy stores...
October 21, 2016: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Matthew T Keough, Jeffrey D Wardell, Christian S Hendershot, R Michael Bagby, Lena C Quilty
Gray's Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (RST) predicts that the Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS) may relate to coping-motivated problem gambling, given its central role in anxiety. Studies examining the BIS-problem gambling association, however, are mixed. The revised RST posits that the Behavioral Approach System (BAS) may moderate the effect of the BIS on coping-motivated problem gambling. A concurrently strong BAS may highlight the negatively reinforcing effects of gambling, which may strengthen coping motives and increase gambling-related harms...
October 20, 2016: Journal of Gambling Studies
Samuel R Chamberlain, Sarah A Redden, Jon E Grant
Excessive calorie intake constitutes a global public health concern, due to its associated range of untoward outcomes. Gambling is commonplace and gambling disorder is now considered a behavioral addiction in DSM-5. The relationships between calorie intake, gambling, and other types of putatively addictive and impulsive behaviors have received virtually no research attention. Two-hundred twenty-five young adults who gamble were recruited from two Mid-Western university communities in the United States using media advertisements...
October 20, 2016: Journal of Gambling Studies
Wang Kezhu, Xu Pan, Lu Cong, Dong Liming, Zhang Beiyue, Lu Jingwei, Yang Yanyan, Liu Xinmin
Ginsenoside Rg1 is one of the major active ingredients of Panax ginseng and has showed notable improving learning and memory effects in several behavioral tasks, such as water maze, shuttle-box, and step-through, based on avoidance. However, there was no report about the role of Rg1 on the performance of reward-directed instrumental conditioning, which could reflect the adaptive capacity to ever-changing environments. Thus, in this study, the reward devaluation test and conditional visual discrimination task were conducted to study the ameliorating effects of Rg1 on cognitive deficits, especially the loss of adaptation capacity in chronic restraint stress (CRS) rat model...
October 20, 2016: Phytotherapy Research: PTR
Hanne Mette Hoffmann, Nadine Crouzin, Estefanía Moreno, Noora Raivio, Silvia Fuentes, Peter J McCormick, Jordi Ortiz, Michel Vignes
BACKGROUND: Cocaine addiction continues to be a major heath concern, and despite public health intervention there is a lack of efficient pharmacological treatment options. A newly identified potential target are the group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR1/5), with allosteric modulators showing particular promise. METHODS: We evaluated the capacity of mGluR1/5 receptors to induce functional responses in ex vivo striatal slices from rats with 1) acute cocaine self-administration (CSA), 2) chronic CSA and 3) 60 days CSA withdrawal by westernblot and extracellular recordings of synaptic transmission...
October 15, 2016: International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
Josephine R Tarren, Selena E Bartlett
While the co-morbidity of alcohol (ethanol) and tobacco (nicotine) dependence is well described, the processes that underpin this strong connection are still under debate. With the increasing popularity of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), it is now becoming more important to look to the neurobiological mechanisms involving alcohol and nicotine interactions to effectively treat a new generation of co-dependent individuals. Researchers have already recognized that the neuropathology produced by the combination of nicotine and ethanol is likely to produce an addictive nature very different to that of either one alone, and are employing a mixture of pre-clinical techniques to establish and investigate every stage in the development of both nicotine and ethanol-seeking behaviors...
October 14, 2016: American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Saul Martinez-Horta, Frederic Sampedro, Javier Pagonabarraga, Ramón Fernandez-Bobadilla, Juan Marin-Lahoz, Jordi Riba, Jaime Kulisevsky
Apathy is a common but poorly understood neuropsychiatric disturbance in Parkinson's disease (PD). In a recent study using event-related brain potentials we demonstrated impaired reward processing and compromised mesocortico-limbic pathways in PD patients with clinical symptoms of apathy. Here we aimed to further investigate the involvement of reward circuits in apathetic PD patients by assessing potential differences in brain structure. Using structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and voxel-based morphometry (VBM) we quantified grey matter volume (GMV) in a sample of 18 non-demented and non-depressed PD patients with apathy, and 18 matched non-apathetic patients...
October 11, 2016: Brain Imaging and Behavior
R Asri, B O'Neill, J C Patel, K A Siletti, M E Rice
The study of transmitter interactions in reward and motor pathways in the brain, including the striatum, requires methodology to detect stimulus-driven neurotransmitter release events. Such methods exist for dopamine, and have contributed to the understanding of local and behavioral factors that regulate dopamine release. However, factors that regulate release of another key transmitter in these pathways, acetylcholine (ACh), are unresolved, in part because of limited temporal and spatial resolution of current detection methods...
October 3, 2016: Analyst
S Cuesta, J Batuecas, M J Severin, A Funes, S B Rosso, A M Pacchioni
Cocaine addiction is a chronic relapsing disorder characterized by the loss of control over drug-seeking and taking, and continued drug use regardless of adverse consequences. Despite years of research, effective treatments for psychostimulant addiction have not been identified. Persistent vulnerability to relapse arises from a number of long lasting adaptations in the reward circuitry that mediate the enduring response to the drug. Recently, we reported that the activity of the canonical or Wnt/β-catenin pathway in the Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) is very important in the early stages of cocaine-induced neuroadaptations...
October 8, 2016: Journal of Neurochemistry
Sudarat Nimitvilai, Chang You, Devinder S Arora, Maureen A McElvain, Bertha J Vandegrift, Mark S Brodie, John J Woodward
Drugs of abuse increase the activity of dopaminergic neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA), and output from the VTA is critical for both natural and drug-induced reward and reinforcement. Ethanol and the abused inhalant toluene both enhance VTA neuronal firing, but the mechanisms of this effect is not fully known. In this study, we used extracellular recordings to compare the actions of toluene and ethanol on DA VTA neurons. Both ethanol and toluene increased the firing rate of DA neurons, although toluene was ~100 times more potent than ethanol...
2016: Frontiers in Neuroscience
Salil Saurav Pathak, Swati Maitra, Sumana Chakravarty, Arvind Kumar
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is debilitating mental illness and is one of the leading contributors to global burden of disease, but unfortunately newer and better drugs are not forthcoming. The reason is lack of complete understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying the development of this disorder. Recent research shows dysregulation in epigenetic regulatory mechanisms, particularly the transcriptionally repressive di- and tri-methylation of histone 3 lysine 9 (H3K9me2/me3) in nucleus accumbens (NAc), a critical region of the reward pathway involved in the development of anhedonia, the hallmark of depression...
October 6, 2016: Neuropsychopharmacology: Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Małgorzata H Lehner, Ewa Taracha, Ewelina Kaniuga, Aleksandra Wisłowska-Stanek, Marek Gryz, Alicja Sobolewska, Danuta Turzyńska, Anna Skórzewska, Adam Płaźnik
This study utilised the two injection protocol of sensitisation (TIPS) and the conditioned place preference test to validate and extend previous findings on the effects of amphetamine on positive reinforcement-related 50 kHz ultrasonic vocalisation (USV) in rats. We also examined changes in the expression of c-Fos and the NMDA receptor 2B (GluN2B) subunit, markers of neuronal activity and plasticity, in brain regions of rats in response to TIPS. We used low anxiety-responsive (LR) and high anxiety-responsive (HR) rats, which are known to exhibit different fear-conditioned response strengths, different susceptibilities to amphetamine in the TIPS procedure and different amphetamine-dependent 50 kHz USV responses...
October 4, 2016: Journal of Psychopharmacology
Liang Gong, Yingying Yin, Cancan He, Qing Ye, Feng Bai, Yonggui Yuan, Haisan Zhang, Luxian Lv, Hongxing Zhang, Chunming Xie, Zhijun Zhang
Neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that major depressive disorder (MDD) patients show blunted activity responses to reward-related tasks. However, whether abnormal reward circuits affect cognition and depression in MDD patients remains unclear. Seventy-five drug-naive MDD patients and 42 cognitively normal (CN) subjects underwent a resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging scan. The bilateral nucleus accumbens (NAc) were selected as seeds to construct reward circuits across all subjects. A multivariate linear regression analysis was employed to investigate the neural substrates of cognitive function and depression severity on the reward circuits in MDD patients...
September 17, 2016: Journal of Psychiatric Research
Susana S Correia, Anna G McGrath, Allison Lee, Ann M Graybiel, Ki A Goosens
In humans, activation of the ventral striatum, a region associated with reward processing, is associated with the extinction of fear, a goal in the treatment of fear-related disorders. This evidence suggests that extinction of aversive memories engages reward-related circuits, but a causal relationship between activity in a reward circuit and fear extinction has not been demonstrated. Here, we identify a basolateral amygdala (BLA)-ventral striatum (NAc) pathway that is activated by extinction training. Enhanced recruitment of this circuit during extinction learning, either by pairing reward with fear extinction training or by optogenetic stimulation of this circuit during fear extinction, reduces the return of fear that normally follows extinction training...
2016: ELife
Anna E Mechling, Tanzil Arefin, Hsu-Lei Lee, Thomas Bienert, Marco Reisert, Sami Ben Hamida, Emmanuel Darcq, Aliza Ehrlich, Claire Gaveriaux-Ruff, Maxime J Parent, Pedro Rosa-Neto, Jürgen Hennig, Dominik von Elverfeldt, Brigitte Lina Kieffer, Laura-Adela Harsan
Connectome genetics seeks to uncover how genetic factors shape brain functional connectivity; however, the causal impact of a single gene's activity on whole-brain networks remains unknown. We tested whether the sole targeted deletion of the mu opioid receptor gene (Oprm1) alters the brain connectome in living mice. Hypothesis-free analysis of combined resting-state fMRI diffusion tractography showed pronounced modifications of functional connectivity with only minor changes in structural pathways. Fine-grained resting-state fMRI mapping, graph theory, and intergroup comparison revealed Oprm1-specific hubs and captured a unique Oprm1 gene-to-network signature...
October 11, 2016: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Stephanie K Nygard, Anthony Klambatsen, Bailey Balouch, Vanya Quinones-Jenab, Shirzad Jenab
The aim of this study was to investigate the intracellular responses associated with the acquisition and expression of cocaine-context associations. ERK (extracellular regulated kinase), CREB (cAMP responsive element binding protein), FosB and ΔFosB proteins were of particular interest due to their involvement in cocaine reward and in synaptic plasticity underlying learning and memory. We used the conditioned place preference (CPP) paradigm, which employs a Pavlovian conditioning procedure to establish an association between a drug-paired environment and the drug's rewarding effects, to study the role of these signaling pathways in cocaine-context associations...
September 21, 2016: Behavioural Brain Research
Jun Kunimatsu, Masaki Tanaka
The ability to adjust movement timing is essential in daily life. Explorations of the underlying neural mechanisms have reported a gradual increase or decrease in neuronal activity prior to self-timed movements within the cortico-basal ganglia loop. Previous studies in both humans and animals have shown that endogenous dopamine (DA) plays a modulatory role in self-timing. However, the specific site of dopaminergic regulation remains elusive because the systemic application of DA-related substances can directly alter both cortical and subcortical neuronal activities...
September 17, 2016: Neuroscience
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