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Local Control of Extracellular Dopamine Levels in the Medial Nucleus Accumbens by a Glutamatergic Projection from the Infralimbic Cortex

J Neurosci. 2016 Jan 20;36(3):851-9

César Quiroz, Marco Orrú, William Rea, Andrés Ciudad-Roberts, Gabriel Yepes, Jonathan P. Britt, and Sergi Ferré

It is generally assumed that infralimbic cortex (ILC) and prelimbic cortex, two adjacent areas of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) in rodents, provide selective excitatory glutamatergic inputs to the nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell and core, respectively. It is also generally believed that mPFC influences the extracellular levels of dopamine in the NAc primarily by an excitatory collateral to the ventral tegmental area (VTA). In the present study, we first established the existence of a selective functional connection between ILC and the posteromedial portions of the VTA (pmVTA) and the mNAc shell (pmNAc shell), by measuring striatal neuronal activation (immunohistochemical analysis of ERK1/2 phosphorylation) and glutamate release (in vivo microdialysis) upon ILC electrical stimulation. A novel optogenetic-microdialysis approach allowed the measurement of extracellular concentrations of glutamate and dopamine in the pmNAc shell upon local light-induced stimulation of glutamatergic terminals from ILC. Cortical electrical and local optogenetic stimulation produced significant increases in the extracellular concentrations of glutamate and dopamine in the pmNAc shell. Local blockade of glutamate release by perfusion of an adenosineA2A receptor antagonist in thepmNAcshell blocked the dopamine release induced by local optogenetic stimulation but only partially antagonized dopamine release induced by cortical electrical stimulation. The results demonstrate that ILC excitatory afferents directly modulate the extracellular concentration of dopamine in the pmNAc shell, but also support the involvement of an indirect mechanism of dopamine control, through a concomitant ILC-mediated activation of the pmVTA.

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Featured paper of the Month!

Genome-wide DNA hydroxymethylation identifies potassium channels in the nucleus accumbens as discriminators of methamphetamine addiction and abstinence

Mol Psychiatry. 2016 Apr 5. doi: 10.1038/mp.2016.48

Cadet JL, Brannock C, Krasnova IN, Jayanthi S, Ladenheim B, McCoy MT, Walther D, Godino A, Pirooznia M, Lee RS

Epigenetic consequences of exposure to psychostimulants are substantial but the relationship of these changes to compulsive drug taking and abstinence is not clear. Here, we used a paradigm that helped to segregate rats that reduce or stop their methamphetamine (METH) intake (nonaddicted) from those that continue to take the drug compulsively (addicted) in the presence of footshocks. We used that model to investigate potential alterations in global DNA hydroxymethylation in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) because neuroplastic changes in the NAc may participate in the development and maintenance of drug-taking behaviors. We found that METH-addicted rats did indeed show differential DNA hydroxymethylation in comparison with both control and nonaddicted rats. Nonaddicted rats also showed differences from control rats. Differential DNA hydroxymethylation observed in addicted rats occurred mostly at intergenic sites located on long and short interspersed elements. Interestingly, differentially hydroxymethylated regions in genes encoding voltage (Kv1.1, Kv1.2, Kvb1 and Kv2.2)- and calcium (Kcnma1, Kcnn1 and Kcnn2)-gated potassium channels observed in the NAc of nonaddicted rats were accompanied by increased mRNA levels of these potassium channels when compared with mRNA expression in METH-addicted rats. These observations indicate that changes in differentially hydroxymethylated regions and increased expression of specific potassium channels in the NAc may promote abstinence from drug-taking behaviors. Thus, activation of specific subclasses of voltage- and/or calcium-gated potassium channels may provide an important approach to the beneficial treatment for METH addiction.

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The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the principal biomedical and behavioral research agency of the United States Government. NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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