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Reward Pathway

Chang You, Bertha Vandegrift, Mark S Brodie
The ventral tegmental area (VTA) evaluates salience of environmental stimuli and provides dopaminergic innervation to many brain areas affected by acute and chronic ethanol exposure. While primarily associated with rewarding and reinforcing stimuli, recent evidence indicates a role for the VTA in aversion as well. Ethanol actions in the VTA may trigger neuroadaptation resulting in reduction of the aversive responses to alcohol and a relative increase in the rewarding responses. In searching for effective pharmacotherapies for the treatment of alcohol abuse and alcoholism, recognition of this imbalance may reveal novel strategies...
March 16, 2018: Psychopharmacology
Ashley A Yttredahl, Erin McRobert, Benjamin Sheler, Brian J Mickey, Tiffany M Love, Scott A Langenecker, Jon-Kar Zubieta, David T Hsu
INTRODUCTION: Responding adaptively to one's social environment is a key factor predicting the course of major depressive disorder (MDD). Socially rejecting events can exacerbate, whereas socially accepting events can ameliorate depressive symptoms. The neural responses to rejection and acceptance in MDD are relatively unexplored. METHODS: We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure neural responses to romantic rejection and acceptance in women diagnosed with current MDD (n = 19) and a matched group of healthy controls (HCs) (n = 19)...
February 27, 2018: Journal of Affective Disorders
Xiaochen Lin, Katie Kei-Hang Chan, Yen-Tsung Huang, Xi Luo, Liming Liang, James Wilson, Adolfo Correa, Daniel Levy, Simin Liu
PURPOSE: Leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) is a well-established modifiable lifestyle determinant for multiple cardio-metabolic outcomes. However, current understanding of the genetic architecture that may determine LTPA remains very limited. Therefore, we aimed to examine the role of genetic factors in affecting LTPA, which has yet to be investigated comprehensively and in-depth. METHODS: We conducted a genome-wide analysis using 1000 Genomes Project imputed data from the Women's Health Initiative (n=11,865), the Jackson Heart Study (n=3,015) and the Framingham Heart Study (n=7,339)...
March 13, 2018: Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Catherine F Moore, Valentina Sabino, Pietro Cottone
Eating disorders and some forms of obesity are characterized by addictive-like, compulsive eating behavior which contains numerous similarities with compulsive drug use. Food intake is in part mediated by reward and reinforcement processes that can become dysregulated in these disorders. Additionally, impairments in inhibitory control regulation of reward-related responding can cause or further exacerbate binge and compulsive eating. Dysfunctions in two neurotransmitter systems in the mesocorticolimbic pathway, dopamine and glutamate, are thought to contribute to maladaptive eating behaviors...
2018: Frontiers in Pharmacology
Travis T Mallard, James R Ashenhurst, K Paige Harden, Kim Fromme
GABRA2, the gene encoding the α2 subunit of the GABAA receptor, potentially plays a role in the etiology of problematic drinking, as GABRA2 genotype has been associated with subjective response to alcohol and other alcohol-related reward processes. The GABRA2 gene has also been associated with illicit drug use, but the extent to which associations with drug use are independent of associations with alcohol use remains unclear, partly because most previous research has used a cross-sectional design that cannot discriminate comorbidity at the between-person level and co-occurrence within-persons...
February 2018: Journal of Abnormal Psychology
Nicholas Taylor, Jeffrey P Hollis, Sarah Corcoran, Robin Gross, Bruce Cuthbert, Lisette W Swails, Erica Duncan
BACKGROUND: Anhedonia is a core negative symptom of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia patients report largely intact pleasure in consuming rewards, but have impairments in generating motivated behavior to pursue rewards, and show reduced fMRI activation of the reward pathway during presentation of rewarded stimuli. A computer based task measuring the development of a response bias in favor of rewarded stimuli permits assessment of reward-induced motivation. We hypothesized that subjects with schizophrenia would be impaired on this task...
March 8, 2018: Schizophrenia Research
Denise A Chu, Richard A Bryant, Justine M Gatt, Anthony Wf Harris
OBJECTIVE: Posttraumatic stress disorder and childhood trauma frequently co-occur. Both are associated with abnormal neural responses to salient emotion stimuli. As childhood trauma is a risk factor for posttraumatic stress disorder, differentiating between their neurophysiological effects is necessary to elucidate the neural pathways by which childhood trauma exposure contributes to increased posttraumatic stress disorder risks. METHODS: Face-specific N170 evoked response potentials for backward-masked (non-conscious) and conscious threat (fear, angry) and non-threat (happy) faces were measured in 77 adults (18-64 years old, 64% women, 78% right-handed) symptomatic for posttraumatic stress disorder...
March 1, 2018: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Masayo Fujita, Soichiro Ide, Kazutaka Ikeda
A common notion is that essentially all addictive drugs, including opioids, activate dopaminergic pathways in the brain reward system, and the inappropriate use of such drugs induces drug dependence. However, an opioid reward response is reportedly still observed in several models of dopamine depletion, including in animals that are treated with dopamine blockers, animals that are subjected to dopaminergic neuron lesions, and dopamine-deficient mice. The intracranial self-stimulation response is enhanced by stimulants but reduced by morphine...
March 7, 2018: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Sirimon Reutrakul, Eve Van Cauter
A large body of epidemiologic evidence has linked insufficient sleep duration and quality to the risk of obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. To address putative causal mechanisms, this review focuses on laboratory interventions involving several nights of experimental sleep restriction, fragmentation or extension and examining metabolically relevant outcomes. Sleep restriction has been consistently shown to increase hunger, appetite and food intake, with the increase in caloric intake in excess of the energy requirements of extended wakefulness...
March 3, 2018: Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental
Sungwon Yoon, Woon-Puay Koh, Marcus E H Ong, Julian Thumboo
OBJECTIVES: To explore the factors that influence career progress for early stage clinician-scientists and to identify ways to mitigate these factors in the context of emerging Asian academic medical centres (AMCs). DESIGN: Qualitative interviews and thematic data analysis based on grounded theory. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Five focus group interviews comprising 29 early career clinician-scientists who have received their first national-level career development award in Singapore...
March 3, 2018: BMJ Open
Gadi Lissak
A growing body of literature is associating excessive and addictive use of digital media with physical, psychological, social and neurological adverse consequences. Research is focusing more on mobile devices use, and studies suggest that duration, content, after-dark-use, media type and the number of devices are key components determining screen time effects. Physical health effects: excessive screen time is associated with poor sleep and risk factors for cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, obesity, low HDL cholesterol, poor stress regulation (high sympathetic arousal and cortisol dysregulation), and Insulin Resistance...
February 27, 2018: Environmental Research
John P Swaddle, Tessa R Diehl, Capwell E Taylor, Aaron S Fanaee, Jessica L Benson, Neil R Huckstep, Daniel A Cristol
Environmental stressors can negatively affect avian cognitive abilities, potentially reducing fitness, for example by altering response to predators, display to mates, or memory of locations of food. We expand on current knowledge by investigating the effects of dietary mercury, a ubiquitous environmental pollutant and known neurotoxin, on avian cognition. Zebra finches Taeniopygia guttata were dosed for their entire lives with sub-lethal levels of mercury, at the environmentally relevant dose of 1.2 parts per million...
April 2017: Current Zoology
Gülay Ateş, Anne Frederieke Ebenau, Csilla Busa, Ágnes Csikos, Jeroen Hasselaar, Birgit Jaspers, Johan Menten, Sheila Payne, Karen Van Beek, Sandra Varey, Marieke Groot, Lukas Radbruch
BACKGROUND: Family carers manage a wide range of responsibilities in the lives and care of patients receiving palliative care. They fulfil multiple roles and perform activities within different settings. This has immediate consequences on family carers' every-day lives. According to literature, family carers in palliative care are both part of the formal and informal care network, but also persons in need of support. This article aims to investigate 1) burdens and rewards associated with family caregiving and 2) what family carers find helpful in their contact with professionals from integrated palliative care initiatives (IPC-i) and other services...
March 1, 2018: BMC Palliative Care
Daisuke Yamazaki, Makoto Hiroi, Takashi Abe, Kazumichi Shimizu, Maki Minami-Ohtsubo, Yuko Maeyama, Junjiro Horiuchi, Tetsuya Tabata
During olfactory associative learning in Drosophila, odors activate specific subsets of intrinsic mushroom body (MB) neurons. Coincident exposure to either rewards or punishments is thought to activate extrinsic dopaminergic neurons, which modulate synaptic connections between odor-encoding MB neurons and MB output neurons to alter behaviors. However, here we identify two classes of intrinsic MB γ neurons based on cAMP response element (CRE)-dependent expression, γCRE-p and γCRE-n, which encode aversive and appetitive valences...
February 27, 2018: Cell Reports
Katalin Szanto, Hanga Galfalvy, Polina M Vanyukov, John G Keilp, Alexandre Y Dombrovski
OBJECTIVE: Clinical heterogeneity is a key challenge to understanding suicidal risk, as different pathways to suicidal behavior are likely to exist. We aimed to identify such pathways by uncovering latent classes of late-life depression cases and relating them to prior and future suicidal behavior. METHODS: Data were collected from June 2010 to September 2015. In this longitudinal study we examined distinct associations of clinical and cognitive/decision-making factors with suicidal behavior in 194 older (50+ years) nondemented, depressed patients; 57 nonpsychiatric healthy controls provided benchmark data...
February 27, 2018: Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
Jeff A Beeler, Devry Mourra
Five years ago, we introduced the thrift hypothesis of dopamine (DA), suggesting that the primary role of DA in adaptive behavior is regulating behavioral energy expenditure to match the prevailing economic conditions of the environment. Here we elaborate that hypothesis with several new ideas. First, we introduce the concept of affordability, suggesting that costs must necessarily be evaluated with respect to the availability of resources to the organism, which computes a value not only for the potential reward opportunity, but also the value of resources expended...
2018: Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience
Daniel G Dillon, Atilla Gonenc, Emily Belleau, Diego A Pizzagalli
BACKGROUND: Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies report reduced fractional anisotropy (FA) in major depressive disorder (MDD). However, whether FA covaries with key depressive symptoms, such as anhedonia, is unclear. METHODS: Magnetic resonance imaging data were acquired from 38 unmedicated adults with MDD and 52 healthy controls. DTI metrics were extracted from regions of interest that have consistently shown reduced FA in MDD. Analyses focused first on identifying group differences, and then determining whether reduced FA in depressed adults was related to individual differences in anhedonia and depressive severity...
February 27, 2018: Depression and Anxiety
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
Limei Zhang, Vito S Hernández, Jerome D Swinny, Anil K Verma, Torsten Giesecke, Andrew C Emery, Kerim Mutig, Luis M Garcia-Segura, Lee E Eiden
The lateral habenula (LHb) has a key role in integrating a variety of neural circuits associated with reward and aversive behaviors. There is limited information about how the different cell types and neuronal circuits within the LHb coordinate physiological and motivational states. Here, we report a cell type in the medial division of the LHb (LHbM) in male rats that is distinguished by: (1) a molecular signature for GABAergic neurotransmission (Slc32a1/VGAT) and estrogen receptor (Esr1/ERα) expression, at both mRNA and protein levels, as well as the mRNA for vesicular glutamate transporter Slc17a6/VGLUT2, which we term the GABAergic estrogen-receptive neuron (GERN); (2) its axonal projection patterns, identified by in vivo juxtacellular labeling, to both local LHb and to midbrain modulatory systems; and (3) its somatic expression of receptors for vasopressin, serotonin and dopamine, and mRNA for orexin receptor 2...
February 26, 2018: Translational Psychiatry
Ashley A Blackwell, Mark Banovetz, Qandeel, Ian Q Whishaw, Douglas G Wallace
Arm and hand use by the mouse have been studied in a variety of tasks in order to understand the structure of skilled movements and motor learning, the anatomy and function of neural pathways, and to develop animal models of neurological conditions. The present study describes string-pulling by the mouse, a behavior in which a mouse uses hand-over-hand movements to pull down a string that hangs from the top of a test cage. Mice both spontaneously string-pull and also string-pull to obtain cashew nuts tied to the end of the string as food reward...
February 20, 2018: Behavioural Brain Research
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