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Distinct roles of presynaptic dopamine receptors in the differential modulation of the intrinsic synapses of medium-spiny neurons in the nucleus accumbens
Takeo Mizuno, Claudia Schmauss, Stephen Rayport
BMC Neuroscience , 2007, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2202-8-8
Abstract: Presynaptic Ca2+ rises were differentially modulated by dopamine. The D1/D5 selective agonist SKF81297 was exclusively facilitatory. The D2/D3 selective agonist quinpirole was predominantly inhibitory, but in some instances it was facilitatory. Studies using D2 and D3 receptor knockout mice revealed that quinpirole inhibition was either D2 or D3 receptor-mediated, while facilitation was mainly D3 receptor-mediated. Subsets of varicosities responded to both D1 and D2 agonists, showing that there was significant co-expression of these receptor families in single medium-spiny neurons. Neighboring presynaptic varicosities showed strikingly heterogeneous responses to DA agonists, suggesting that DA receptors may be differentially trafficked to individual varicosities on the same medium-spiny neuron axon.Dopamine receptors are present on the presynaptic varicosities of medium-spiny neurons, where they potently control GABAergic synaptic transmission. While there is significant coexpression of D1 and D2 family dopamine receptors in individual neurons, at the subcellular level, these receptors appear to be heterogeneously distributed, potentially explaining the considerable controversy regarding dopamine action in the striatum, and in particular the degree of dopamine receptor segregation on these neurons. Assuming that post-receptor signaling is restricted to the microdomains of medium-spiny neuron varicosities, the heterogeneous distribution of dopamine receptors on individual varicosities is likely to encode patterns in striatal information processing.Both schizophrenia and addiction are thought to involve aberrant information processing in the nucleus accumbens (nAcc), which makes up the ventral part of the striatal complex. In these disorders, changes in dopamine (DA) release apparently induce alterations in the intrinsic circuitry, affecting coordinated thought and motivation [1-3]. The cellular substrate for DA action in the striatal complex is remarkably homogeneous
Genome-wide gene expression profiling of nucleus accumbens neurons projecting to ventral pallidum using both microarray and transcriptome sequencing  [PDF]
Hao Chen,Suzhen Gong,William L. Taylor,Robert W. Williams,Burt M. Sharp
Frontiers in Neuroscience , 2011, DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2011.00098
Abstract: The cellular heterogeneity of brain poses a particularly thorny issue in genome-wide gene expression studies. Because laser capture microdissection (LCM) enables the precise extraction of a small area of tissue, we combined LCM with neuronal track tracing to collect nucleus accumbens shell neurons that project to ventral pallidum, which are of particular interest in the study of reward and addiction. Four independent biological samples of accumbens projection neurons were obtained. Approximately 500 pg of total RNA from each sample was then amplified linearly and subjected to Affymetrix microarray and Applied Biosystems sequencing by oligonucleotide ligation and detection (SOLiD) transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq). A total of 375 million 50-bp reads were obtained from RNA-seq. Approximately 57% of these reads were mapped to the rat reference genome (Baylor 3.4/rn4). Approximately 11,000 unique RefSeq genes and 100,000 unique exons were identified from each sample. Of the unmapped reads, the quality scores were 4.74 ± 0.42 lower than the mapped reads. When RNA-seq and microarray data from the same samples were compared, Pearson correlations were between 0.764 and 0.798. The variances in data obtained for the four samples by microarray and RNA-seq were similar for medium to high abundance genes, but less among low abundance genes detected by microarray. Analysis of 34 genes by real-time polymerase chain reaction showed higher correlation with RNA-seq (0.66) than with microarray (0.46). Further analysis showed 20–30 million 50-bp reads are sufficient to provide estimates of gene expression levels comparable to those produced by microarray. In summary, this study showed that picogram quantities of total RNA obtained by LCM of ~700 individual neurons is sufficient to take advantage of the benefits provided by the transcriptome sequencing technology, such as low background noise, high dynamic range, and high precision.
Positive Reinforcement Mediated by Midbrain Dopamine Neurons Requires D1 and D2 Receptor Activation in the Nucleus Accumbens  [PDF]
Elizabeth E. Steinberg, Josiah R. Boivin, Benjamin T. Saunders, Ilana B. Witten, Karl Deisseroth, Patricia H. Janak
PLOS ONE , 2014, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094771
Abstract: The neural basis of positive reinforcement is often studied in the laboratory using intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS), a simple behavioral model in which subjects perform an action in order to obtain exogenous stimulation of a specific brain area. Recently we showed that activation of ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine neurons supports ICSS behavior, consistent with proposed roles of this neural population in reinforcement learning. However, VTA dopamine neurons make connections with diverse brain regions, and the specific efferent target(s) that mediate the ability of dopamine neuron activation to support ICSS have not been definitively demonstrated. Here, we examine in transgenic rats whether dopamine neuron-specific ICSS relies on the connection between the VTA and the nucleus accumbens (NAc), a brain region also implicated in positive reinforcement. We find that optogenetic activation of dopaminergic terminals innervating the NAc is sufficient to drive ICSS, and that ICSS driven by optical activation of dopamine neuron somata in the VTA is significantly attenuated by intra-NAc injections of D1 or D2 receptor antagonists. These data demonstrate that the NAc is a critical efferent target sustaining dopamine neuron-specific ICSS, identify receptor subtypes through which dopamine acts to promote this behavior, and ultimately help to refine our understanding of the neural circuitry mediating positive reinforcement.
Morphometric characteristics of Neuropeptide Y immunoreactive neurons of human cortical amygdaloid nucleus  [PDF]
Mali? Milo?,Nikoli? Valentina,?uleji? Vuk,Opri? Dejan
Medicinski Pregled , 2008, DOI: 10.2298/mpns0806235m
Abstract: Introduction Cortical amygdaloid nucleus belongs to the corticomedial part of the amygdaloid complex. In this nucleus there are neurons that produce neuropetide Y. This peptide has important roles in sleeping, learning, memory, gastrointestinal regulation, anxiety, epilepsy, alcoholism and depression. Material and methods We investigated morphometric characteristics (numbers of primary dendrites, longer and shorter diameters of cell bodies and maximal radius of dendritic arborization) of NPY immunoreactive neurons of human cortical amygdaloid nucleus on 6 male adult human brains, aged 46 to 77 years, by immunohistochemical avidin-biotin technique. Results Our investigation has shown that in this nucleus there is a moderate number of NPY immunoreactive neurons. 67% of found neurons were nonpyramidal, while 33% were pyramidal. Among the nonpyramidal neurons the dominant groups were multipolar neurons (41% - of which 25% were multipolar irregular, and 16% multipolar oval). Among the pyramidal neurons the dominant groups were the neurons with triangular shape of cell body (21%). All found NPY immunoreactive neurons (pyramidal and nonpyramidal altogether) had intervals of values of numbers of primary dendrites 2 to 6, longer diameters of cell bodies 13 to 38 μm, shorter diameters of cell bodies 9 to 20 μm and maximal radius of dendritic arborization 50 to 340 μm. More than a half of investigated neurons (57%) had 3 primary dendrites. Discussion and conclusion The other researchers did not find such percentage of pyramidal immunoreactive neurons in this amygdaloid nucleus. If we compare our results with the results of the ather researchers we can conclude that all pyramidal NPY immunoreactive neurons found in this human amygdaloid nucleus belong to the class I of neurons, and that all nonpyramidal NPY immunoreactive neurons belong to the class II of neurons described by other researchers. We suppose that all found pyramidal neurons were projectional.
MCH and apomorphine in combination enhance action potential firing of nucleus accumbens shell neurons in vitro  [PDF]
F Woodward Hopf,Taban Seif,Shinjae Chung,Olivier Civelli
PeerJ , 2013, DOI: 10.7717/peerj.61
Abstract: The MCH and dopamine receptor systems have been shown to modulate a number of behaviors related to reward processing, addiction, and neuropsychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and depression. In addition, MCH and dopamine receptors can interact in a positive manner, for example in the expression of cocaine self-administration. A recent report (Chung et al., 2011a) showed that the DA1/DA2 dopamine receptor activator apomorphine suppresses pre-pulse inhibition, a preclinical model for some aspects of schizophrenia. Importantly, MCH can enhance the effects of lower doses of apomorphine, suggesting that co-modulation of dopamine and MCH receptors might alleviate some symptoms of schizophrenia with a lower dose of dopamine receptor modulator and thus fewer potential side effects. Here, we investigated whether MCH and apomorphine could enhance action potential firing in vitro in the nucleus accumbens shell (NAshell), a region which has previously been shown to mediate some behavioral effects of MCH. Using whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiology, we found that MCH, which has no effect on firing on its own, was able to increase NAshell firing when combined with a subthreshold dose of apomorphine. Further, this MCH/apomorphine increase in firing was prevented by an antagonist of either a DA1 or a DA2 receptor, suggesting that apomorphine acts through both receptor types to enhance NAshell firing. The MCH/apomorphine-mediated firing increase was also prevented by an MCH receptor antagonist or a PKA inhibitor. Taken together, our results suggest that MCH can interact with lower doses of apomorphine to enhance NAshell firing, and thus that MCH and apomorphine might interact in vivo within the NAshell to suppress pre-pulse inhibition.
Optogenetic inhibition of D1R containing nucleus accumbens neurons alters cocaine-mediated regulation of Tiam1  [PDF]
Ramesh Chandra,Jeffrey D. Lenz,Amy M. Gancarz,Dipesh Chaudhury,Gabrielle L. Schroeder,Ming-Hu Han,Joseph F. Cheer,David M. Dietz,Mary Kay Lobo
Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience , 2013, DOI: 10.3389/fnmol.2013.00013
Abstract: Exposure to psychostimulants results in structural and synaptic plasticity in striatal medium spiny neurons (MSNs). These cellular adaptations arise from alterations in genes that are highly implicated in the rearrangement of the actin-cytoskeleton, such as T-lymphoma invasion and metastasis 1 (Tiam1). Previous studies have demonstrated a crucial role for dopamine receptor 1 (D1)-containing striatal MSNs in mediating psychostimulant induced plasticity changes. These D1-MSNs in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) positively regulate drug seeking, reward, and locomotor behavioral effects as well as the morphological adaptations of psychostimulant drugs. Here, we demonstrate that rats that actively self-administer cocaine display reduced levels of Tiam1 in the NAc. To further examine the cell type-specific contribution to these changes in Tiam1 we used optogenetics to selectively manipulate NAc D1-MSNs or dopamine receptor 2 (D2) expressing MSNs. We find that repeated channelrhodopsin-2 activation of D1-MSNs but not D2-MSNs caused a down-regulation of Tiam1 levels similar to the effects of cocaine. Further, activation of D2-MSNs, which caused a late blunted cocaine-mediated locomotor behavioral response, did not alter Tiam1 levels. We then examined the contribution of D1-MSNs to the cocaine-mediated decrease of Tiam1. Using the light activated chloride pump, eNpHR3.0 (enhanced Natronomonas pharaonis halorhodopsin 3.0), we selectively inhibited D1-MSNs during cocaine exposure, which resulted in a behavioral blockade of cocaine-induced locomotor sensitization. Moreover, inhibiting these NAc D1-MSNs during cocaine exposure reversed the down-regulation of Tiam1 gene expression and protein levels. These data demonstrate that altering activity in specific neural circuits with optogenetics can impact the underlying molecular substrates of psychostimulant-mediated behavior and function.
Salsolinol modulation of dopamine neurons  [PDF]
Guiqin Xie,Kre?imir Krnjevi?,Jiang-Hong Ye
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience , 2013, DOI: 10.3389/fnbeh.2013.00052
Abstract: Salsolinol, a tetrahydroisoquinoline present in the human and rat brains, is the condensation product of dopamine and acetaldehyde, the first metabolite of ethanol. Previous evidence obtained in vivo links salsolinol with the mesolimbic dopaminergic (DA) system: salsolinol is self-administered into the posterior of the ventral tegmental area (pVTA) of rats; intra-VTA administration of salsolinol induces a strong conditional place preference and increases dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). However, the underlying neuronal mechanisms are unclear. Here we present an overview of some of the recent research on this topic. Electrophysiological studies reveal that DA neurons in the pVTA are a target of salsolinol. In acute brain slices from rats, salsolinol increases the excitability and accelerates the ongoing firing of dopamine neurons in the pVTA. Intriguingly, this action of salsolinol involves multiple pre- and post-synaptic mechanisms, including: (1) depolarizing dopamine neurons; (2) by activating μ opioid receptors on the GABAergic inputs to dopamine neurons – which decreases GABAergic activity – dopamine neurons are disinhibited; and (3) enhancing presynaptic glutamatergic transmission onto dopamine neurons via activation of dopamine type 1 receptors, probably situated on the glutamatergic terminals. These novel mechanisms may contribute to the rewarding/reinforcing properties of salsolinol observed in vivo.
Encoding of Aversion by Dopamine and the Nucleus Accumbens  [PDF]
James E. McCutcheon,Stephanie R. Ebner,Amy L. Loriaux,Mitchell F. Roitman
Frontiers in Neuroscience , 2012, DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2012.00137
Abstract: Adaptive motivated behavior requires rapid discrimination between beneficial and harmful stimuli. Such discrimination leads to the generation of either an approach or rejection response, as appropriate, and enables organisms to maximize reward and minimize punishment. Classically, the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and the dopamine projection to it are considered an integral part of the brain’s reward circuit, i.e., they direct approach and consumption behaviors and underlie positive reinforcement. This reward-centered framing ignores important evidence about the role of this system in encoding aversive events. One reason for bias toward reward is the difficulty in designing experiments in which animals repeatedly experience punishments; another is the challenge in dissociating the response to an aversive stimulus itself from the reward/relief experienced when an aversive stimulus is terminated. Here, we review studies that employ techniques with sufficient time resolution to measure responses in ventral tegmental area and NAc to aversive stimuli as they are delivered. We also present novel findings showing that the same stimulus – intra-oral infusion of sucrose – has differing effects on NAc shell dopamine release depending on the prior experience. Here, for some rats, sucrose was rendered aversive by explicitly pairing it with malaise in a conditioned taste aversion paradigm. Thereafter, sucrose infusions led to a suppression of dopamine with a similar magnitude and time course to intra-oral infusions of a bitter quinine solution. The results are discussed in the context of regional differences in dopamine signaling and the implications of a pause in phasic dopamine release within the NAc shell. Together with our data, the emerging literature suggests an important role for differential phasic dopamine signaling in aversion vs. reward.
Dopamine presynaptically and heterogeneously modulates nucleus accumbens medium-spiny neuron GABA synapses in vitro
Daron Geldwert, J Madison Norris, Igor G Feldman, Joshua J Schulman, Myra P Joyce, Stephen Rayport
BMC Neuroscience , 2006, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2202-7-53
Abstract: We examined medium-spiny neuron autaptic connections in postnatal cultures from the nucleus accumbens, the ventral part of the striatal complex. These connections were subject to presynaptic dopamine modulation. D1-like receptors mediated either inhibition or facilitation, while D2-like receptors predominantly mediated inhibition. Many connections showed both D1 and D2 modulation, consistent with a significant functional colocalization of D1 and D2-like receptors at presynaptic sites. These same connections were subject to GABAA, GABAB, norepinephrine and serotonin modulation, revealing a multiplicity of modulatory autoreceptors and heteroreceptors on individual varicosities. In some instances, autaptic connections had two components that were differentially modulated by dopamine agonists, suggesting that dopamine receptors could be distributed heterogeneously on the presynaptic varicosities making up a single synaptic (i.e. autaptic) connection.Differential trafficking of dopamine receptors to different presynaptic varicosities could explain the many controversial studies reporting widely varying degrees of dopamine receptor colocalization in medium-spiny neurons, as well as more generally the diversity of dopamine actions in target areas. Longer-term changes in the modulatory actions of dopamine in the striatal complex could be due to plasticity in the presynaptic distribution of dopamine receptors on medium-spiny neuron varicosities.The synaptic actions of dopamine (DA) in the striatal complex, the principal target of DA neurons in the CNS, may best be described as heterogeneous. In the striatal complex, DA neurons synapse on and in proximity to medium-spiny GABA neurons [1]. Medium-spiny neurons (MSNs) constitute 95% of the neurons in the area [2,3], receive feed-forward GABAergic inhibition from fast spiking interneurons [4], and extensive excitatory input from cortex and thalamus, and in the case of MSNs in the ventral striatal complex, or nucleus accumbens (n
Nucleus accumbens response to gains in reputation for the self relative to gains for others predicts social media use  [PDF]
Dar Meshi,Carmen Morawetz,Hauke R. Heekeren
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience , 2013, DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00439
Abstract: Our reputation is important to us; we've experienced natural selection to care about our reputation. Recently, the neural processing of gains in reputation (positive social feedback concerning one's character) has been shown to occur in the human ventral striatum. It is still unclear, however, how individual differences in the processing of gains in reputation may lead to individual differences in real-world behavior. For example, in the real-world, one way that people currently maintain their reputation is by using social media websites, like Facebook. Furthermore, Facebook use consists of a social comparison component, where users observe others' behavior and can compare it to their own. Therefore, we hypothesized a relationship between the way the brain processes specifically self-relevant gains in reputation and one's degree of Facebook use. We recorded functional neuroimaging data while participants received gains in reputation, observed the gains in reputation of another person, or received monetary reward. We demonstrate that across participants, when responding to gains in reputation for the self, relative to observing gains for others, reward-related activity in the left nucleus accumbens predicts Facebook use. However, nucleus accumbens activity in response to monetary reward did not predict Facebook use. Finally, a control step-wise regression analysis showed that Facebook use primarily explains our results in the nucleus accumbens. Overall, our results demonstrate how individual sensitivity of the nucleus accumbens to the receipt of self-relevant social information leads to differences in real-world behavior.
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