Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder primarily characterized by progressive loss of dopamine neurons, leading to loss of motor coordination. However, PD is associated with a high rate of non-motor neuropsychiatric comorbities that often develop before the onset of movement symptoms. The MitoPark transgenic mouse model is the first to recapitulate the cardinal clinical features, namely progressive neurodegeneration and death of neurons, loss of motor function and therapeutic response to L-DOPA. To investigate whether MitoPark mice exhibit early onset of cognitive impairment, a non-motor neuropsychiatric comorbidity, we measured performance on a spatial learning and memory task before (∼8 weeks) or after (∼20 weeks) the onset of locomotor decline in MitoPark mice or in littermate controls. Consistent with previous studies, we established that a progressive loss of spontaneous locomotor activity began at 12 weeks of age, which was followed by progressive loss of body weight beginning at 16–20 weeks. Spatial learning and memory was measured using the Barnes Maze. By 20 weeks of age, MitoPark mice displayed a substantial reduction in overall locomotor activity that impaired their ability to perform the task. However, in the 8-week-old mice, locomotor activity was no different between genotypes, yet MitoPark mice took longer, traveled further and committed more errors than same age control mice, while learning to successfully navigate the maze. The modest between-day learning deficit of MitoPark mice was characterized by impaired within-day learning during the first two days of testing. No difference was observed between genotypes during probe trials conducted one or twelve days after the final acquisition test. Additionally, 8-week-old MitoPark mice exhibited impaired novel object recognition when compared to control mice. Together, these data establish that mild cognitive impairment precedes the loss of motor function in a novel rodent model of PD, which may provide unique opportunities for therapeutic development.
DYT1 early-onset generalized torsion dystonia (DYT1 dystonia) is an inherited movement disorder caused by mutations in one allele of DYT1 (TOR1A), coding for torsinA. The most common mutation is a trinucleotide deletion (ΔGAG), which causes a deletion of a glutamic acid residue (ΔE) in the C-terminal region of torsinA. Although recent studies using cultured cells suggest that torsinA contributes to protein processing in the secretory pathway, endocytosis, and the stability of synaptic proteins, the nature of how this mutation affects synaptic transmission remains unclear. We previously reported that theta-burst-induced long-term potentiation (LTP) in the CA1 region of the hippocampal slice is not altered in Dyt1 ΔGAG heterozygous knock-in (KI) mice. Here, we examined short-term synaptic plasticity and synaptic transmission in the hippocampal slices. Field recordings in the hippocampal Schaffer collaterals (SC) pathway revealed significantly enhanced paired pulse ratios (PPRs) in Dyt1 ΔGAG heterozygous KI mice, suggesting an impaired synaptic vesicle release. Whole-cell recordings from the CA1 neurons showed that Dyt1 ΔGAG heterozygous KI mice exhibited normal miniature excitatory post-synaptic currents (mEPSC), suggesting that action-potential independent spontaneous pre-synaptic release was normal. On the other hand, there was a significant decrease in the frequency, but not amplitude or kinetics, of spontaneous excitatory post-synaptic currents (sEPSC) in Dyt1 ΔGAG heterozygous KI mice, suggesting that the action-potential dependent pre-synaptic release was impaired. Moreover, hippocampal torsinA was significantly reduced in Dyt1 ΔGAG heterozygous KI mice. Although the hippocampal slice model may not represent the neurons directly associated with dystonic symptoms, impaired release of neurotransmitters caused by partial dysfunction of torsinA in other brain regions may contribute to the pathophysiology of DYT1 dystonia.
A major output nucleus of the basal ganglia is the substantia nigra pars reticulata, which sends GABAergic projections to brainstem and thalamic nuclei. The GABAergic (GABA) neurons are reciprocally connected with nearby dopaminergic neurons, which project mainly to the basal ganglia, a set of subcortical nuclei critical for goal-directed behaviors. Here we examined the impact of motivational states on the activity of GABA neurons in the substantia nigra pars reticulata and the neighboring dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the pars compacta. Both types of neurons show short-latency bursts to a cue predicting a food reward. As mice became sated by repeated consumption of food pellets, one class of neurons reduced cue-elicited firing, whereas another class of neurons progressively increased firing. Extinction or pre-feeding just before the test session dramatically reduced the phasic responses and their motivational modulation. These results suggest that signals related to the current motivational state bidirectionally modulate behavior and the magnitude of phasic response of both DA and GABA neurons in the substantia nigra.
Recent findings suggest the reward system encodes metabolic value independent of taste, provoking speculation that the hedonic value of taste could be derived from nutritional value as a secondary appetitive property. We therefore dissociated and compared the impact of nutrition and taste on appetitive behavior in several paradigms. Though taste alone induces preference and increased consumption, in the absence of nutritional value its reinforcing properties are greatly diminished and it does not, like sucrose, induce increased responding over time. In agreement with behavioral data, saccharin- but not sucrose- evoked dopamine release is greatly attenuated following pre-exposure, suggesting that nutritional value is critical for dopamine mediated reward and reinforcement. Further supporting the primacy of nutrition over taste, genetically increased dopaminergic tone enhances incentive associated with nutritional value with minimal impact on taste-based, hedonic incentive. Overall, we suggest that the sensory-hedonic incentive value associated with taste functions as a conditioned stimulus that requires nutritional value to sustainably organize appetitive behavior.
dopamine; reinforcement; feeding; obesity; palatability; reward; cyclic voltammetry
The mechanism underlying the pathogenesis of schizophrenia remains poorly understood. The hyper-dopamine and hypo-NMDA receptor hypotheses have been the most enduring ideas. Recently, emerging evidence implicates alterations of the major inhibitory system, GABAergic neurotransmission in the schizophrenic patients. However, the pathophysiological role of GABAergic system in schizophrenia still remains dubious. In this study, we took advantage of GABA transporter 1 (GAT1) knockout (KO) mouse, a unique animal model with elevated ambient GABA, to study the schizophrenia-related behavioral abnormalities. We found that GAT1 KO mice displayed multiple behavioral abnormalities related to schizophrenic positive, negative and cognitive symptoms. Moreover, GAT1 deficiency did not change the striatal dopamine levels, but significantly enhanced the tonic GABA currents in prefrontal cortex. The GABAA receptor antagonist picrotoxin could effectively ameliorate several behavioral defects of GAT1 KO mice. These results identified a novel function of GAT1, and indicated that the elevated ambient GABA contributed critically to the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. Furthermore, several commonly used antipsychotic drugs were effective in treating the locomotor hyperactivity in GAT1 KO mice, suggesting the utility of GAT1 KO mice as an alternative animal model for studying schizophrenia pathogenesis and developing new antipsychotic drugs.
Several studies have suggested that disruptions in circadian rhythms contribute to the pathophysiology of multiple psychiatric diseases, including drug addiction. In fact, a number of the genes involved in the regulation of circadian rhythms are also involved in modulating the reward value for drugs of abuse, like cocaine. Thus, we wanted to determine the effects of chronic cocaine on the expression of several circadian genes in the Nucleus Accumbens (NAc) and Caudate Putamen (CP), regions of the brain known to be involved in the behavioral responses to drugs of abuse. Moreover, we wanted to explore the mechanism by which these genes are regulated following cocaine exposure. Here we find that after repeated cocaine exposure, expression of the Period (Per) genes and Neuronal PAS Domain Protein 2 (Npas2) are elevated, in a somewhat regionally selective fashion. Moreover, NPAS2 (but not CLOCK (Circadian Locomotor Output Cycles Kaput)) protein binding at Per gene promoters was enhanced following cocaine treatment. Mice lacking a functional Npas2 gene failed to exhibit any induction of Per gene expression after cocaine, suggesting that NPAS2 is necessary for this cocaine-induced regulation. Examination of Per gene and Npas2 expression over twenty-four hours identified changes in diurnal rhythmicity of these genes following chronic cocaine, which were regionally specific. Taken together, these studies point to selective disruptions in Per gene rhythmicity in striatial regions following chronic cocaine treatment, which are mediated primarily by NPAS2.
We examined the contribution of the nigrostriatal DA system to instrumental learning and behavior using optogenetics in awake, behaving mice. Using Cre-inducible channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) in mice expressing Cre recombinase driven by the tyrosine hydroxylase promoter (Th-Cre), we tested whether selective stimulation of DA neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNC), in the absence of any natural rewards, was sufficient to promote instrumental learning in naive mice. Mice expressing ChR2 in SNC DA neurons readily learned to press a lever to receive laser stimulation, but unlike natural food rewards the lever pressing did not decline with satiation. When the number of presses required to receive a stimulation was altered, mice adjusted their rate of pressing accordingly, suggesting that the rate of stimulation was a controlled variable. Moreover, extinction, i.e. the cessation of action-contingent stimulation, and the complete reversal of the relationship between action and outcome by the imposition of an omission contingency, rapidly abolished lever pressing. Together these results suggest that selective activation of SNC DA neurons can be sufficient for acquisition and maintenance of a new instrumental action.
Neurons in the ventral striatum (VS) fire to cues that predict differently valued rewards. It is unclear whether this activity represents the value associated with the expected reward or the level of motivation induced by reward anticipation. To distinguish between the two, we trained rats on a task in which we varied value independently from motivation by manipulating the size of the reward expected on correct trials and the threat of punishment expected upon errors. We found that separate populations of neurons in VS encode expected value and motivation.
Bipolar Disorders affect a substantial minority of the population and result in significant personal, social and economic costs. Understanding of the causes of, and consequently the most effective interventions for, this condition is an area requiring development. Drawing upon theories of Bipolar Disorder that propose the condition to be underpinned by dysregulation of systems governing behavioural activation or approach motivation, we present a mathematical model of the regulation of behavioural activation. The model is informed by non-linear, dynamical principles and as such proposes that the transition from “non-bipolar” to “bipolar” diagnostic status corresponds to a switch from mono- to multistability of behavioural activation level, rather than an increase in oscillation of mood. Consistent with descriptions of the behavioural activation or approach system in the literature, auto-activation and auto-inhibitory feedback is inherent within our model. Comparison between our model and empirical, observational data reveals that by increasing the non-linearity dimension in our model, important features of Bipolar Spectrum disorders are reproduced. Analysis from stochastic simulation of the system reveals the role of noise in behavioural activation regulation and indicates that an increase of nonlinearity promotes noise to jump scales from small fluctuations of activation levels to longer lasting, but less variable episodes. We conclude that further research is required to relate parameters of our model to key behavioural and biological variables observed in Bipolar Disorder.
Amphetamine, a highly addictive drug with therapeutic efficacy, exerts paradoxical effects on the fundamental communication modes employed by dopamine neurons in modulating behavior. While amphetamine elevates tonic dopamine signaling by depleting vesicular stores and driving non-exocytotic release through reverse transport, this psychostimulant also activates phasic dopamine signaling by up-regulating vesicular dopamine release. We hypothesized that these seemingly incongruent effects arise from amphetamine depleting the reserve pool and enhancing the readily releasable pool. This novel hypothesis was tested using in vivo voltammetry and stimulus trains of varying duration to access different vesicular stores. We show that amphetamine actions are stimulus dependent in the dorsal striatum. Specifically, amphetamine up-regulated vesicular dopamine release elicited by a short-duration train, which interrogates the readily releasable pool, but depleted release elicited by a long-duration train, which interrogates the reserve pool. These opposing actions of vesicular dopamine release were associated with concurrent increases in tonic and phasic dopamine responses. A link between vesicular depletion and tonic signaling was supported by results obtained for amphetamine in the ventral striatum and cocaine in both striatal sub-regions, which demonstrated augmented vesicular release and phasic signals only. We submit that amphetamine differentially targeting dopamine stores reconciles the paradoxical activation of tonic and phasic dopamine signaling. Overall, these results further highlight the unique and region-distinct cellular mechanisms of amphetamine and may have important implications for its addictive and therapeutic properties.
This study reports an amelioration of abnormal motor behaviors in tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4)-deficient Spr−/− mice by the dietary supplementation of tyrosine. Since BH4 is an essential cofactor for the conversion of phenylalanine into tyrosine as well as the synthesis of dopamine neurotransmitter within the central nervous system, the levels of tyrosine and dopamine were severely reduced in brains of BH4-deficient Spr−/− mice. We found that Spr−/− mice display variable ‘open-field’ behaviors, impaired motor functions on the ‘rotating rod’, and dystonic ‘hind-limb clasping’. In this study, we report that these aberrant motor deficits displayed by Spr−/− mice were ameliorated by the therapeutic tyrosine diet for 10 days. This study also suggests that dopamine deficiency in brains of Spr−/− mice may not be the biological feature of aberrant motor behaviors associated with BH4 deficiency. Brain levels of dopamine (DA) and its metabolites in Spr−/− mice were not substantially increased by the dietary tyrosine therapy. However, we found that mTORC1 activity severely suppressed in brains of Spr−/− mice fed a normal diet was restored 10 days after feeding the mice the tyrosine diet. The present study proposes that brain mTORC1 signaling pathway is one of the potential targets in understanding abnormal motor behaviors associated with BH4-deficiency.
Dopamine contributes to corticostriatal plasticity and motor learning. Dopamine denervation profoundly alters motor performance, as in Parkinson’s disease; however, the extent to which these symptoms reflect impaired motor learning is unknown. Here we demonstrate a D2 receptor blockade induced aberrant learning that impedes future motor performance when dopamine signaling is restored, an effect diminished by co-administration of adenosine antagonists during blockade. We hypothesize that an inappropriate corticostriatal potentiation in striatopallidal cells of the indirect pathway underlies aberrant learning. Here, we demonstrate synaptic potentiation in striatopallidal neurons induced by D2 blockade and diminished by application of an adenosine antagonist, consistent with behaviaoral observations. A neurocomputational model of the basal ganglia recapitulates the behavioral pattern and further links aberrant learning to plasticity in the indirect pathway. Thus, D2-mediated aberrant learning may contribute to motor deficits in PD and suggest new avenues for the development of therapeutics.
Recent work has implicated dopaminergic mechanisms in overeating and obesity with some researchers suggesting parallels between the dopamine dysregulation associated with addiction and an analogous dysregulation in obesity. The precise role of dopamine in mediating reward and reinforcement, however, remains controversial. In contrast to drugs of abuse, pursuit of a natural reward, such as food, is regulated by homeostatic processes that putatively maintain a stable energy balance keeping unrestrained consumption and reward pursuit in check. Understanding how the reward system is constrained by or escapes homeostatic regulation is a critical question. The widespread use of food restriction to motivate animal subjects in behavior paradigms precludes investigation of this relationship as the homeostatic system is locked into deficit mode. In the present study, we examine the role of dopamine in modulating adaptive feeding behavior in semi-naturalistic home cage paradigms where mice earn all their food from lever pressing. We compared consumption and meal patterning between hyperdopaminergic dopamine transporter knock-down mice (DATkd) with wild-type (WT) in two paradigms that introduce escalating costs for procuring food. We found that hyperdopaminergic mice exhibited similar demand elasticity, weight loss and energy balance in response to cost. However, the DATkd show clear differences in meal patterning. Consistent with expectations of enhanced motivation, elevated dopamine increased meal size and reduced intrameal cost sensitivity. Nonetheless, this did not alter overall energy balance. We conclude that elevated dopamine enhances incentive or willingness to work locally within meals without shifting energy balance, enhancing global food-seeking or generating an energy surplus.
mouse; dopamine; feeding; homeostatic regulation; semi-naturalistic homecage operant; dopamine transporter knockdown
Conditional stimuli (CS) that are paired with reward can be used to motivate instrumental responses. This process is called Pavlovian-instrumental transfer (PIT). A recent study in rats suggested that habitual responses are particularly sensitive to the motivational effects of reward cues. The current experiments examined this idea using ratio and interval training in mice. Two groups of animals were trained to lever press for food pellets that were delivered on random ratio or random interval schedules. Devaluation tests revealed that interval training led to habitual responding while ratio training produced goal-directed actions. The presentation of CSs paired with reward led to positive transfer in both groups, however, the size of this effect was much larger in mice that were trained on interval schedules. This result suggests that habitual responses are more sensitive to the motivational influence of reward cues than goal-directed actions. The implications for neurobiological models of motivation and drug seeking behaviors are discussed.
Stimulation of either GABAA or GABAB receptors within the nucleus accumbens shell strongly enhances food intake in rats. However the effects of subtype-selective stimulation of GABA receptors on instrumental responses for food reward are less well characterized. Here we contrast the effects of the GABAA receptor agonist muscimol and GABAB receptor agonist baclofen on instrumental responding for food using a second order reinforcement schedule. Bilateral intra-accumbens administration of baclofen (220–440 pmol) stimulated responding but a higher dose (660 pmol) induced stereotyped oral behaviour that interfered with responding. Baclofen (220–660 pmol) also stimulated intake of freely available chow. Muscimol (220–660 pmol) was without effect on responding for food on this schedule but did stimulate intake of freely available chow. Unilateral administration of either baclofen or muscimol (220 pmol) induced similar patterns of c-fos immunoreactivity in several hypothalamic sites but differed in its induction in the central nucleus of the amygdala. We conclude that stimulation of GABAA or GABAB receptors in the nucleus accumbens shell of rats produces clearly distinguishable effects on operant responding for food.
If reward-associated cues acquire the properties of incentive stimuli they can come to powerfully control behavior, and potentially promote maladaptive behavior. Pavlovian incentive stimuli are defined as stimuli that have three fundamental properties: they are attractive, they are themselves desired, and they can spur instrumental actions. We have found, however, that there is considerable individual variation in the extent to which animals attribute Pavlovian incentive motivational properties (“incentive salience”) to reward cues. The purpose of this paper was to develop criteria for identifying and classifying individuals based on their propensity to attribute incentive salience to reward cues. To do this, we conducted a meta-analysis of a large sample of rats (N = 1,878) subjected to a classic Pavlovian conditioning procedure. We then used the propensity of animals to approach a cue predictive of reward (one index of the extent to which the cue was attributed with incentive salience), to characterize two behavioral phenotypes in this population: animals that approached the cue (“sign-trackers”) vs. others that approached the location of reward delivery (“goal-trackers”). This variation in Pavlovian approach behavior predicted other behavioral indices of the propensity to attribute incentive salience to reward cues. Thus, the procedures reported here should be useful for making comparisons across studies and for assessing individual variation in incentive salience attribution in small samples of the population, or even for classifying single animals.
HCN channels are becoming pharmacological targets mainly in cardiac diseases. But apart from their well-known role in heart pacemaking, these channels are widely expressed in the nervous system where they contribute to the neuron firing pattern. Consequently, abolishing Ih current might have detrimental consequences in a big repertoire of behavioral traits. Several studies in mammals have identified the Ih current as an important determinant of the firing activity of dopaminergic neurons, and recent evidences link alterations in this current to various dopamine-related disorders. We used the model organism Drosophila melanogaster to investigate how lack of Ih current affects dopamine levels and the behavioral consequences in the sleep∶activity pattern. Unlike mammals, in Drosophila there is only one gene encoding HCN channels. We generated a deficiency of the DmIh core gene region and measured, by HPLC, levels of dopamine. Our data demonstrate daily variations of dopamine in wild-type fly heads. Lack of Ih current dramatically alters dopamine pattern, but different mechanisms seem to operate during light and dark conditions. Behaviorally, DmIh mutant flies display alterations in the rest∶activity pattern, and altered circadian rhythms. Our data strongly suggest that Ih current is necessary to prevent dopamine overproduction at dark, while light input allows cycling of dopamine in an Ih current dependent manner. Moreover, lack of Ih current results in behavioral defects that are consistent with altered dopamine levels.
The repeated administration of psychostimulant drugs produces a persistent and long-lasting increase (“sensitization”) in their psychomotor effects, which is thought to be due to changes in the neural circuitry that mediate these behaviors. One index of neuronal activation used to identify brain regions altered by repeated exposure to drugs involves their ability to induce immediate early genes, such as c-fos. Numerous reports have demonstrated that past drug experience alters the ability of drugs to induce c-fos in the striatum, but very few have examined Fos protein expression in the two major compartments in the striatum—the so-called patch/striosome and matrix.
In the present study, we used immunohistochemistry to investigate the effects of pretreatment with methamphetamine on the ability of a subsequent methamphetamine challenge to induce Fos protein expression in the patch and matrix compartments of the dorsolateral and dorsomedial caudate-putamen and in the ventral striatum (nucleus accumbens). Animals pretreated with methamphetamine developed robust psychomotor sensitization. A methamphetamine challenge increased the number of Fos-positive cells in all areas of the dorsal and ventral striatum. However, methamphetamine challenge induced Fos expression in more cells in the patch than in the matrix compartment in the dorsolateral and dorsomedial caudate-putamen. Furthermore, past experience with methamphetamine increased the number of methamphetamine-induced Fos positive cells in the patch compartment of the dorsal caudate putamen, but not in the matrix or in the core or shell of the nucleus accumbens.
These data suggest that drug-induced alterations in the patch compartment of the dorsal caudate-putamen may preferentially contribute to some of the enduring changes in brain activity and behavior produced by repeated treatment with methamphetamine.
Activation of dopamine receptors in forebrain regions, for minutes or longer, is known to be sufficient for positive reinforcement of stimuli and actions. However, the firing rate of dopamine neurons is increased for only about 200 milliseconds following natural reward events that are better than expected, a response which has been described as a “reward prediction error” (RPE). Although RPE drives reinforcement learning (RL) in computational models, it has not been possible to directly test whether the transient dopamine signal actually drives RL. Here we have performed optical stimulation of genetically targeted ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine neurons expressing Channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) in mice. We mimicked the transient activation of dopamine neurons that occurs in response to natural reward by applying a light pulse of 200 ms in VTA. When a single light pulse followed each self-initiated nose poke, it was sufficient in itself to cause operant reinforcement. Furthermore, when optical stimulation was delivered in separate sessions according to a predetermined pattern, it increased locomotion and contralateral rotations, behaviors that are known to result from activation of dopamine neurons. All three of the optically induced operant and locomotor behaviors were tightly correlated with the number of VTA dopamine neurons that expressed ChR2, providing additional evidence that the behavioral responses were caused by activation of dopamine neurons. These results provide strong evidence that the transient activation of dopamine neurons provides a functional reward signal that drives learning, in support of RL theories of dopamine function.
In order to select actions appropriate to current needs, a subject must identify relationships between actions and events. Control over the environment is determined by the degree to which action consequences can be predicted, as described by action-outcome contingencies – i.e. performing an action should affect the probability of the outcome. We evaluated in a first experiment adaptation to contingency changes in rats with neurotoxic lesions of the medial prefrontal cortex. Results indicate that this brain region is not critical to adjust instrumental responding to a negative contingency where the rats must refrain from pressing a lever, as this action prevents reward delivery. By contrast, this brain region is required to reduce responding in a non-contingent situation where the same number of rewards is freely delivered and actions do not affect the outcome any more. In a second experiment, we determined that this effect does not result from a different perception of temporal relationships between actions and outcomes since lesioned rats adapted normally to gradually increasing delays in reward delivery. These data indicate that the medial prefrontal cortex is not directly involved in evaluating the correlation between action-and reward-rates or in the perception of reward delays. The deficit in lesioned rats appears to consist of an abnormal response to the balance between contingent and non-contingent rewards. By highlighting the role of prefrontal regions in adapting to the causal status of actions, these data contribute to our understanding of the neural basis of choice tasks.
Following the successful application of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the treatment of Parkinson's disease and promising results in clinical trials for obsessive compulsive disorder and major depression, DBS is currently being tested in small patient-populations with eating disorders and addiction. However, in spite of its potential use in a broad spectrum of disorders, the mechanisms of action of DBS remain largely unclear and optimal neural targets for stimulation in several disorders have yet to be established. Thus, there is a great need to examine site-specific effects of DBS on a behavioural level and to understand how DBS may modulate pathological behaviour. In view of the possible application of DBS in the treatment of disorders characterized by impaired processing of reward and motivation, like addiction and eating disorders, we examined the effect of DBS of the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) on food-directed behavior. Rats were implanted with bilateral stimulation electrodes in one of three anatomically and functionally distinct sub-areas of the NAcc: the core, lateral shell (lShell) and medial shell (mShell). Subsequently, we studied the effects of DBS on food consumption, and the motivational and appetitive properties of food. The data revealed a functional dissociation between the lShell and mShell. DBS of the lShell reduced motivation to respond for sucrose under a progressive ratio schedule of reinforcement, mShell DBS, however, profoundly and selectively increased the intake of chow. DBS of the NAcc core did not alter any form of food-directed behavior studied. DBS of neither structure affected sucrose preference. These data indicate that the intake of chow and the motivation to work for palatable food can independently be modulated by DBS of subregions of the NAcc shell. As such, these findings provide important leads for the possible future application of DBS as a treatment for eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa.
One of the greatest challenges in the treatment of substance dependence is to reverse the control that drug-associated stimuli have gained over the addict's behavior, as these drug-associated memories increase the risk of relapse even after long periods of abstinence. We report here that inhibition of the atypical protein kinase C isoform PKCzeta and its constitutively active isoform PKMzeta with the pseudosubstrate inhibitor ZIP administered locally into the nucleus accumbens core reversibly inhibited the retrieval of drug-associated memory and drug (remifentanil) seeking, whereas a scrambled ZIP peptide or staurosporine, an effective inhibitor of c/nPKC-, CaMKII-, and PKA kinases that does not affect PKCzeta/PKMzeta activity, was without effect on these memory processes. Acquisition or extinction of drug-associated memory remained unaffected by PKCzeta- and PKMzeta inhibition.
Although its role is frequently stressed in acoustic profile for vocal emotion, sound intensity is frequently regarded as a control parameter in neurocognitive studies of vocal emotion, leaving its role and neural underpinnings unclear. To investigate these issues, we asked participants to rate the angry level of neutral and angry prosodies before and after sound intensity modification in Experiment 1, and recorded electroencephalogram (EEG) for mismatching emotional prosodies with and without sound intensity modification and for matching emotional prosodies while participants performed emotional feature or sound intensity congruity judgment in Experiment 2. It was found that sound intensity modification had significant effect on the rating of angry level for angry prosodies, but not for neutral ones. Moreover, mismatching emotional prosodies, relative to matching ones, induced enhanced N2/P3 complex and theta band synchronization irrespective of sound intensity modification and task demands. However, mismatching emotional prosodies with reduced sound intensity showed prolonged peak latency and decreased amplitude in N2/P3 complex and smaller theta band synchronization. These findings suggest that though it cannot categorically affect emotionality conveyed in emotional prosodies, sound intensity contributes to emotional significance quantitatively, implying that sound intensity should not simply be taken as a control parameter and its unique role needs to be specified in vocal emotion studies.
The afferent projections of the striatum (caudate nucleus and putamen) are segregated in three territories: associative, sensorimotor and limbic. Striatal interneurons are in part responsible for the integration of these different types of information. Among them, GABAergic interneurons are the most abundant, and can be sorted in three populations according to their content in the calcium binding proteins calretinin (CR), parvalbumin (PV) and calbindin (CB). Conversely, striatal dopaminergic cells (whose role as interneurons is still unclear) are scarce. This study aims to analyze the interneuron distribution in the striatal functional territories, as well as their organization regarding to the striosomal compartment.
We used immunohistochemical methods to visualize CR, PV, CB and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) positive striatal neurons. The interneuronal distribution was assessed by stereological methods applied to every striatal functional territory. Considering the four cell groups altogether, their density was higher in the associative (2120±91 cells/mm3) than in the sensorimotor (959±47 cells/mm3) or limbic (633±119 cells/mm3) territories. CB- and TH-immunoreactive(-ir) cells were distributed rather homogeneously in the three striatal territories. However, the density of CR and PV interneurons were more abundant in the associative and sensorimotor striatum, respectively. Regarding to their compartmental organization, CR-ir interneurons were frequently found in the border between compartments in the associative and sensorimotor territories, and CB-ir interneurons abounded at the striosome/matrix border in the sensorimotor domain.
The present study demonstrates that the architecture of the human striatum in terms of its interneuron composition varies in its three functional territories. Furthermore, our data highlight the importance of CR-ir striatal interneurons in the integration of associative information, and the selective role of PV-ir interneurons in the motor territory. On the other hand, the low density of dopaminergic cells casts doubts about their role in the normal human striatum.
Accumulating evidence indicates integration of dopamine function with metabolic signals, highlighting a potential role for dopamine in energy balance, frequently construed as modulating reward in response to homeostatic state. Though its precise role remains controversial, the reward perspective of dopamine has dominated investigation of motivational disorders, including obesity. In the hypothesis outlined here, we suggest instead that the primary role of dopamine in behavior is to modulate activity to adapt behavioral energy expenditure to the prevailing environmental energy conditions, with the role of dopamine in reward and motivated behaviors derived from its primary role in energy balance. Dopamine has long been known to modulate activity, exemplified by psychostimulants that act via dopamine. More recently, there has been nascent investigation into the role of dopamine in modulating voluntary activity, with some investigators suggesting that dopamine may serve as a final common pathway that couples energy sensing to regulated voluntary energy expenditure. We suggest that interposed between input from both the internal and external world, dopamine modulates behavioral energy expenditure along two axes: a conserve-expend axis that regulates generalized activity and an explore-exploit axes that regulates the degree to which reward value biases the distribution of activity. In this view, increased dopamine does not promote consumption of tasty food. Instead increased dopamine promotes energy expenditure and exploration while decreased dopamine favors energy conservation and exploitation. This hypothesis provides a mechanistic interpretation to an apparent paradox: the well-established role of dopamine in food seeking and the findings that low dopaminergic functions are associated with obesity. Our hypothesis provides an alternative perspective on the role of dopamine in obesity and reinterprets the “reward deficiency hypothesis” as a perceived energy deficit. We propose that dopamine, by facilitating energy expenditure, should be protective against obesity. We suggest the apparent failure of this protective mechanism in Western societies with high prevalence of obesity arises as a consequence of sedentary lifestyles that thwart energy expenditure.
reward; energy management; dopamine; basal ganglia; incentive-salience; cost sensitivity; effort; explore-exploit