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A figure from this month's paper.
A figure from this month's paper.
Featured paper of the Month!

JANUARY: Pontomesencephalic Tegmental Afferents to VTA Non-dopamine Neurons Are Necessary for Appetitive Pavlovian Learning

Cell Rep. 2016 Sep 6;16(10):2699-710. Epub 2016 Aug 25.

Yau HJ, Wang DV, Tsou JH, Chuang YF, Chen BT, Deisseroth K, Ikemoto S, Bonci A.

The ventral tegmental area (VTA) receives phenotypically distinct innervations from the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTg). While PPTg-to-VTA inputs are thought to play a critical role in stimulus-reward learning, direct evidence linking PPTg-to-VTA phenotypically distinct inputs in the learning process remains lacking. Here, we used optogenetic approaches to investigate the functional contribution of PPTg excitatory and inhibitory inputs to the VTA in appetitive Pavlovian conditioning....

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Hot off the Press!

Pathway- and Cell-Specific Kappa-Opioid Receptor Modulation of Excitation-Inhibition Balance Differentially Gates D1 and D2 Accumbens Neuron Activity.

Neuron. 2017 Jan 4;93(1):147-163.

Tejeda HA, Wu J, Kornspun AR, Pignatelli M, Kashtelyan V, Krashes MJ, Lowell BB, Carlezon WA Jr, Bonci A

Endogenous dynorphin signaling via the kappa-opioid receptor (KOR) in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) powerfully mediates negative affective states and stress reactivity. Excitatory inputs from the hippocampus and amygdala play a fundamental role in shaping the activity of both NAcc D1 and D2 MSNs, which encode positive and negative motivational valences, respectively. However, a circuit-based mechanism by which KOR modulation of excitation-inhibition balance modifies D1 and D2 MSN activity is lacking....

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Da-Ting Lin
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Spatially Compact Neural Clusters in the Dorsal Striatum Encode Locomotion Relevant Information

Neuron. 2016 Oct 5;92(1):202-213. Epub 2016 Sep 22.

Barbera G, Liang B, Zhang L, Gerfen CR, Culurciello E, Chen R, Li Y, Lin DT.

An influential striatal model postulates that neural activities in the striatal direct and indirect pathways promote and inhibit movement, respectively. Normal behavior requires coordinated activity in the direct pathway to facilitate intended locomotion and indirect pathway to inhibit unwanted locomotion. In this striatal model, neuronal population activity is assumed to encode locomotion relevant information. Here, we propose a novel encoding mechanism for the dorsal striatum. We identified spatially compact neural clusters in both the direct and indirect pathways. Detailed characterization revealed similar cluster organization between the direct and indirect pathways, and cluster activities from both pathways were correlated with mouse locomotion velocities....

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A figure from this month's paper.
A figure from this month's paper.
Featured paper of the Month!

DECEMBER: Glutamate neurons are intermixed with midbrain dopamine neurons in nonhuman primates and humans

Sci Rep. 2016 Aug 1;6:30615.

David H. Root, Hui-Ling Wang, Bing Liu, David J. Barker, László Mód, Péter Szocsics, Afonso C. Silva, Zsófia Maglóczky & Marisela Morales

The rodent ventral tegmental area (VTA) and substantia nigra pars compacta (SNC) contain dopamine neurons intermixed with glutamate neurons (expressing vesicular glutamate transporter 2; VGluT2), which play roles in reward and aversion. However, identifying the neuronal compositions of the VTA and SNC in higher mammals has remained challenging. Here, we revealed VGluT2 neurons within the VTA and SNC of nonhuman primates and humans by simultaneous detection of VGluT2 mRNA and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH; for identification of dopamine neurons)....

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A figure from this month's paper.
A figure from this month's paper.
Featured paper of the Month!

NOVEMBER: Distinct Fos-Expressing Neuronal Ensembles in the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex Mediate Food Reward and Extinction Memories

JNeurosci. 22 June 2016, 36 (25) 6691-6703

Brandon L. Warren, Michael P. Mendoza, Fabio C. Cruz, Rodrigo M. Leao, Daniele Caprioli, F. Javier Rubio, Leslie R. Whitaker, Kylie B. McPherson, Jennifer M. Bossert, Yavin Shaham and Bruce T. Hope

In operant learning, initial reward-associated memories are thought to be distinct from subsequent extinction-associated memories. Memories formed during operant learning are thought to be stored in “neuronal ensembles.” Thus, we hypothesize that different neuronal ensembles encode reward- and extinction-associated memories. Here, we examined prefrontal cortex neuronal ensembles involved in the recall of reward and extinction memories of food self-administration....

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Dr. Anto Bonci
Dr. Anto Bonci
Special Announcement

Dr. Bonci Elected to National Academy of Medicine

This year, members of the National Academy of Medicine elected four NIH Intramural researchers to their ranks, one of the highest honors in science. Our very own Antonello Bonci, M.D., was one of the elected.

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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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