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Sample records for rat ventral tegmental

  1. GABA modulates baroreflex in the ventral tegmental area in rat.

    PubMed

    Hatam, Masoumeh; Rasoulpanah, Minoo; Nasimi, Ali

    2015-12-01

    There are some reports demonstrating the cardiovascular functions of the ventral tegmental area (VTA). About 20-30% of the VTA neurons are GABAergic, which might play a role in baroreflex modulation. This study was performed to find the effects of GABA(A), GABA(B) receptors and reversible synaptic blockade of the VTA on baroreflex. Drugs were microinjected into the VTA of urethane anesthetized rats, and the maximum change of blood pressure and the gain of the reflex bradycardia in response to intravenous phenylephrine (Phe) injection were compared with the preinjection and the control values. Microinjection of bicuculline methiodide (BMI, 100 pmol/100 nl), a GABA(A) antagonist, into the VTA strongly decreased the Phe-induced hypertension, indicating that GABA itself attenuated the baroreflex. Muscimol, a GABA(A) agonist (30 mM, 100 nl), produced no significant changes. Baclofen, a GABA(B) receptor agonist (1000 pmole/100 nl), moderately attenuated the baroreflex, however phaclofen, a GABA(B) receptor antagonist (1000 pmole/100 nl), had no significant effect. In conclusion, for the first time, we demonstrated that GABA(A) receptors of the VTA strongly attenuate and GABA(B) receptors of the VTA moderately attenuate baroreflex in rat. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  2. Glutamatergic neurons are present in the rat ventral tegmental area

    PubMed Central

    Yamaguchi, Tsuyoshi; Sheen, Whitney; Morales, Marisela

    2010-01-01

    The ventral tegmental area (VTA) is thought to play an important role in reward function. Two populations of neurons, containing either dopamine (DA) or γ-amino butyric acid (GABA), have been extensively characterized in this area. However, recent electrophysiological studies are consistent with the notion that neurons that utilize neurotransmitters other than DA or GABA are likely to be present in the VTA. Given the pronounced phenotypic diversity of neurons in this region, we have proposed that additional cell types, such as those that express the neurotransmitter glutamate may also be present in this area. Thus, by using in situ hybridization histochemistry we investigated whether transcripts encoded by genes for the two vesicular glutamate transporters, VGluT1 or VGluT2, were expressed in the VTA. We found that VGluT2 mRNA but not VGluT1 mRNA is expressed in the VTA. Neurons expressing VGluT2 mRNA were differentially distributed throughout the rostro-caudal and medio-lateral aspects of the VTA, with the highest concentration detected in rostro-medial areas. Phenotypic characterization with double in situ hybridization of these neurons indicated that they rarely co–expressed mRNAs for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH, marker for DAergic neurons) or glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD, marker for GABAergic neurons). Based on the results described here, we concluded that the VTA contains glutamatergic neurons that in their vast majority are clearly non-DAergic and non-GABAergic. PMID:17241272

  3. Ventral tegmental analgesia in two strains of rats: effects of amphetamine, naloxone and parachlorophenylalanine.

    PubMed

    Moreau, J L; Cohen, E; Lieblich, I

    1984-05-21

    Pain sensitivity and analgesia induced by the stimulation of the ventral tegmentum (VT) were studied in 72 male rats of two lines, LC2-Hi and LC2-Lo, genetically selected for high and low rates of lateral hypothalamic self-stimulation, respectively. LC2-Lo rats were more sensitive to acute peripheral pain and developed a stronger analgesia than their LC2-Hi counterparts. In order to assess the pharmacological substrate of ventral tegmental stimulation-induced analgesia (VT-SIA), the effects of amphetamine (AMP, 21 animals), naloxone (NX, 24 animals) and parachlorophenylalanine (PCPA, 27 animals) injections were studied. VT-SIA was found to be clearly decreased by PCPA, slightly decreased by AMP and not significantly affected by NX. Ventral tegmental self-stimulation ( VTSS ) was increased by PCPA treatment. The comparison of VTSS and VT-SIA did not reveal any correlation between both phenomena. These data suggest that VT-SIA may be mediated by serotonin while catecholamines may have a modulatory role in this analgesia and that VTSS and VT-SIA seem to be governed by different neuronal systems.

  4. Dopamine and baclofen inhibit the hyperpolarization-activated cation current in rat ventral tegmental neurones.

    PubMed Central

    Jiang, Z G; Pessia, M; North, R A

    1993-01-01

    1. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings were made from dopamine-containing ventral tegmental area neurones in slices of rat midbrain. An inward current (Ih) was activated by hyperpolarization from -60 mV. 2. Dopamine (30 microM) reduced the amplitude of Ih by 10-30% at potentials from -70 to -120 mV. The effect was concentration dependent, mimicked by the D2 agonist quinpirole, and prevented by the D2 antagonist (-)-sulpiride. Baclofen (0.3-3 microM) also inhibited Ih; this action was antagonized by 2-hydroxysaclofen but not by (-)-sulpiride. The decrease in Ih resulted from a reduction in the maximal current with no change in the voltage dependence. 3. The action of dopamine was unaffected by cadmium (200 microM), forskolin (10 microM), the adenylyl cyclase inhibitor 2',3'-dideoxyadenosine (100 microM), or by intracellular solution containing cyclic AMP (2 mM). 4. Ih was progressively reduced during the first 5-10 min of recording with electrodes containing guanosine 5'-O-(3-thiotriphosphate); after this time, dopamine had no further effect. 5. It is concluded that agonists acting at D2 receptors and GABAB receptors reduce Ih in ventral tegmental neurones. PMID:8392580

  5. Functional evidence for a direct excitatory projection from the lateral habenula to the ventral tegmental area in the rat.

    PubMed

    Brown, P Leon; Shepard, Paul D

    2016-09-01

    The lateral habenula, a phylogenetically conserved epithalamic structure, is activated by aversive stimuli and reward omission. Excitatory efferents from the lateral habenula predominately inhibit midbrain dopamine neuronal firing through a disynaptic, feedforward inhibitory mechanism involving the rostromedial tegmental nucleus. However, the lateral habenula also directly targets dopamine neurons within the ventral tegmental area, suggesting that opposing actions may result from increased lateral habenula activity. In the present study, we tested the effect of habenular efferent stimulation on dopamine and nondopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area of Sprague-Dawley rats using a parasagittal brain slice preparation. Single pulse stimulation of the fasciculus retroflexus excited 48% of dopamine neurons and 51% of nondopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area of rat pups. These proportions were not altered by excision of the rostromedial tegmental nucleus and were evident in both cortical- and striatal-projecting dopamine neurons. Glutamate receptor antagonists blocked this excitation, and fasciculus retroflexus stimulation elicited evoked excitatory postsynaptic potentials with a nearly constant onset latency, indicative of a monosynaptic, glutamatergic connection. Comparison of responses in rat pups and young adults showed no significant difference in the proportion of neurons excited by fasciculus retroflexus stimulation. Our data indicate that the well-known, indirect inhibitory effect of lateral habenula activation on midbrain dopamine neurons is complemented by a significant, direct excitatory effect. This pathway may contribute to the role of midbrain dopamine neurons in processing aversive stimuli and salience. Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society.

  6. Ventral tegmental area muscarinic receptors modulate depression and anxiety-related behaviors in rats

    PubMed Central

    Small, Keri M.; Nunes, Eric; Hughley, Shannon; Addy, Nii A.

    2016-01-01

    Cholinergic and dopaminergic mechanisms within the mesolimbic dopamine system are suggested to play a role in the manifestation of depression and anxiety-related disorders. However, despite the fact that cholinergic mechanisms in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) highly regulate dopamine activity, the role of VTA cholinergic mechanisms in depression-related behaviors is relatively unknown. Here we sought to determine whether enhancing cholinergic tone in the VTA would alter depression and anxiety-related behavior in the forced swim test (FST), elevated plus maze (EPM) and sucrose preference test (SPT). Adult Sprague Dawley male rats received VTA infusion of the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, physostigmine (0, 1, 2 μg/side), immediately prior to the FST, EPM, or SPT. Physostigmine administration increased immobility time in the FST, decreased time spent on open arms in the EPM, and decreased sucrose preference. In a separate cohort of rats, we also examined whether activation of VTA muscarinic receptors was sufficient to alter behavior in the FST and EPM. Similar to physostigmine, VTA infusion of the muscarinic receptor agonist, pilocarpine (0, 3, 30 μg/side), increased immobility time in the FST and decreased time spent on open arms in the EPM. These data suggest that enhanced VTA cholinergic tone promotes pro-depressive and anxiogenic-like effects and demonstrate that specific activation of VTA muscarinic receptors is also sufficient to induce pro-depressive and anxiogenic responses. Together, these findings reveal a novel role of VTA cholinergic, and specifically muscarinic receptor, mechanisms in mediating responses to stress and anxiety. PMID:26828299

  7. A shift in information flow between prefrontal cortex and the ventral tegmental area in methamphetamine-sensitized rats.

    PubMed

    Wang, Hui-Dong; Takigawa, Morikuni; Hamada, Koichi; Shiratani, Toshihiro; Takenouchi, Kaoru

    2002-06-01

    We examined the effects of long-term methamphetamine (MAP) administration to rats on locomotor traces and reward-seeking behavior that was evaluated through ventral tegmental intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS). Furthermore, using the directed coherence (DCOH) EEG analysis method, correlation of prefrontal cortical and ventral tegmental EEGs was investigated in terms of the direction of information transmission. The results showed a transition from 'mixed type' behavior to 'fixed type' behavior during long-term MAP treatment, accompanied by a gradually diminished rate of ICSS and increased reward threshold. Correlating to these changes, a dominant information flow from ventral tegmental area (VTA) to prefrontal cortex (PFC) was observed after long-term MAP administration. Together with our previously reported finding of reciprocal information flow between PFC and VTA in MAP-induced hyperactive and stereotyped behavior, the present results indicate that information flow and its direction may be useful in explaining the neuronal substrates mediating development of behavioral sensitization. The predominant information flow from the VTA to PFC that occurs with sensitization supports recent speculations concerning impulsivity in drug addiction.

  8. Ionotropic glutamate receptors in the ventral tegmental area regulate cocaine-seeking behavior in rats.

    PubMed

    Sun, Wenlin; Akins, Chana K; Mattingly, Anne E; Rebec, George V

    2005-11-01

    Drug addiction is characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and drug-taking behavior and by a high rate of relapse even after long periods of abstinence. Although the mesocorticolimbic dopamine (DA) pathway is thought to play a critical role in drug craving and relapse, recent evidence also implicates glutamate, an amino acid known to activate DA neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) via ionotropic receptors. To assess whether increased glutamate transmission in the VTA is involved in cocaine-primed drug-seeking behavior, we tested rats in a between-session reinstatement model. They were trained to press a lever for cocaine infusions (0.25 mg/infusion) accompanied by compound stimuli (light and tone) under a modified fixed-ratio 5 reinforcement schedule. Cocaine-primed reinstatement was conducted after lever pressing was extinguished in the absence of the conditioned stimuli. Blockade of ionotropic glutamate receptors in the VTA by local application of kynurenate (0.0, 1.0, 3.2, and 5.6 microg/side) dose-dependently decreased cocaine-primed reinstatement, whereas sucrose-primed reinstatement of sucrose-seeking behavior was unaffected. In addition, the minimum effective dose for decreasing cocaine-primed reinstatement was ineffective in the substantia nigra. Together, these data indicate that glutamatergic activation of the VTA is critical for cocaine-primed reinstatement. Because such activation can increase impulse flow in DA neurons and thus DA release in mesocorticolimbic targets, this glutamate-DA interaction in the VTA may underlie cocaine-primed relapse to cocaine-seeking behavior.

  9. Ventral tegmental area muscarinic receptors modulate depression and anxiety-related behaviors in rats.

    PubMed

    Small, Keri M; Nunes, Eric; Hughley, Shannon; Addy, Nii A

    2016-03-11

    Cholinergic and dopaminergic mechanisms within the mesolimbic dopamine system are suggested to play a role in the manifestation of depression and anxiety-related disorders. However, despite the fact that cholinergic mechanisms in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) highly regulate dopamine activity, the role of VTA cholinergic mechanisms in depression-related behaviors is relatively unknown. Here we sought to determine whether enhancing cholinergic tone in the VTA would alter depression and anxiety-related behavior in the forced swim test (FST), elevated plus maze (EPM) and sucrose preference test (SPT). Adult Sprague Dawley male rats received VTA infusion of the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, physostigmine (0, 1, 2μg/side), immediately prior to the FST, EPM, or SPT. Physostigmine administration increased immobility time in the FST, decreased time spent on open arms in the EPM, and decreased sucrose preference. We also examined whether activation of VTA muscarinic receptors was sufficient to alter behavior in the FST and EPM. Similar to physostigmine, VTA infusion of the muscarinic receptor agonist, pilocarpine (0, 3, 30μg/side), increased immobility time in the FST and decreased time spent on open arms in the EPM. These data suggest that enhanced VTA cholinergic tone promotes pro-depressive and anxiogenic-like effects and demonstrate that specific activation of VTA muscarinic receptors is also sufficient to induce pro-depressive and anxiogenic responses. Together, these findings reveal a novel role of VTA cholinergic, and specifically muscarinic receptor, mechanisms in mediating responses to stress and anxiety. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Salsolinol Facilitates Glutamatergic Transmission to Dopamine Neurons in the Posterior Ventral Tegmental Area of Rats

    PubMed Central

    Xie, Guiqin; Ye, Jiang-Hong

    2012-01-01

    Although in vivo evidence indicates that salsolinol, the condensation product of acetaldehyde and dopamine, has properties that may contribute to alcohol abuse, the underlying mechanisms have not been fully elucidated. We have reported previously that salsolinol stimulates dopamine neurons in the posterior ventral tegmental area (p-VTA) partly by reducing inhibitory GABAergic transmission, and that ethanol increases glutamatergic transmission to VTA-dopamine neurons via the activation of dopamine D1 receptors (D1Rs). In this study, we tested the hypothesis that salsolinol stimulates dopamine neurons involving activation of D1Rs. By using whole-cell recordings on p-VTA-dopamine neurons in acute brain slices of rats, we found that salsolinol-induced increase in spike frequency of dopamine neurons was substantially attenuated by DL-2-amino-5-phosphono-valeric acid and 6, 7-dinitroquinoxaline-2, 3-dione, the antagonists of glutamatergic N-Methyl-D-aspartic acid and α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptors. Moreover, salsolinol increased the amplitude of evoked excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) and the frequency but not the amplitude of spontaneous EPSCs. Additionally, SKF83566, a D1R antagonist attenuated the salsolinol-induced facilitation of EPSCs and of spontaneous firing of dopamine neurons. Our data reveal that salsolinol enhances glutamatergic transmission onto dopamine neurons via activation of D1Rs at the glutamatergic afferents in dopamine neurons, which contributes to salsolinol's stimulating effect on p-VTA dopamine neurons. This appears to be a novel mechanism which contributes toward rewarding properties of salsolinol. PMID:22590592

  11. Glutamate Synaptic Inputs to Ventral Tegmental Area Neurons in the Rat Derive Primarily from Subcortical Sources

    PubMed Central

    Omelchenko, Natalia; Sesack, Susan R.

    2007-01-01

    Dopamine and GABA neurons in the ventral tegmental area project to the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex and modulate locomotor and reward behaviors as well as cognitive and affective processes. Both midbrain cell types receive synapses from glutamate afferents that provide an essential control of behaviorally-linked activity patterns, although the sources of glutamate inputs have not yet been completely characterized. We used antibodies against the vesicular glutamate transporters VGlut1 and VGlut2 to investigate the morphology and synaptic organization of axons containing these proteins as putative markers of glutamate afferents from cortical versus subcortical sites, respectively. We also characterized the ventral tegmental area cell populations receiving VGlut1+ or VGlut2+ synapses according to their transmitter phenotype (dopamine or GABA) and major projection target (nucleus accumbens or prefrontal cortex). By light and electron microscopic examination, VGlut2+ as opposed to VGlut1+ axon terminals were more numerous, had a larger average size, synapsed more proximally, and were more likely to form convergent synapses onto the same target. Both axon types formed predominantly asymmetric synapses, although VGlut2+ terminals more often formed synapses with symmetric morphology. No absolute selectivity was observed for VGlut1+ or VGlut2+ axons to target any particular cell population. However, the synapses onto mesoaccumbens neurons more often involved VGlut2+ terminals, whereas mesoprefrontal neurons received relatively equal synaptic inputs from VGlut1+ and VGlut2+ profiles. The distinct morphological features of VGlut1 and VGlut2 positive axons suggest that glutamate inputs from presumed cortical and subcortical sources, respectively, differ in the nature and intensity of their physiological actions on midbrain neurons. More specifically, our findings imply that subcortical glutamate inputs to the ventral tegmental area expressing VGlut2 predominate over

  12. Anterior and posterior parts of the rat ventral tegmental area and the rostromedial tegmental nucleus receive topographically distinct afferents from the lateral habenular complex.

    PubMed

    Petzel, Anja; Bernard, René; Poller, Wolfram C; Veh, Rüdiger W

    2017-07-01

    That activation of the reward system involves increased activity of dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) is widely accepted. In contrast, the lateral habenular complex (LHb), which is known as the center of the anti-reward system, directly and indirectly inhibits DA neurons in the VTA. The VTA, however, is not a homogenous entity. Instead, it displays major functional differences between its anterior (aVTA) and posterior (pVTA) regions. It is not precisely known, whether habenular input to the aVTA, pVTA, and the newly recognized rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg) are similarly or differently organized. Consequently, the present investigation addressed the connections between LHb and aVTA, pVTA, and RMTg using retrograde and anterograde tracing techniques in the rat. Our experiments disclosed strictly reciprocal and conspicuously focal interconnections between LHbM (LHbMPc/LHbMC) and PN, as well as between RLi and LHbLO. In addition, we found that LHb inputs to the aVTA are dorsoventrally ordered. Dorsal parts of the aVTA receive afferents from LHbL and LHbM, whereas ventral parts of the aVTA are preferentially targeted by the LHbM. LHb afferents to the pVTA are distinct from those to the RMTg, given that the RMTg is primarily innervated from the LHbL, whereas pVTA receives afferents from LHbM and LHbL. These data indicate the existence of two separate pathways from the LHb to the VTA, a direct and an indirect one, which may subserve distinct biological functions. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  13. Orexin-1 receptor signalling in the prelimbic cortex and ventral tegmental area regulates cue-induced reinstatement of ethanol-seeking in iP rats.

    PubMed

    Brown, Robyn Mary; Kim, Andrezza K; Khoo, Shaun Yon-Seng; Kim, Jee Hyun; Jupp, Bianca; Lawrence, Andrew John

    2016-05-01

    Orexins (hypocretins) are hypothalamic neuropeptides that innervate the entire neuraxis, including the prelimbic cortex and ventral tegmental area and have been implicated in ethanol-seeking behaviour. The present study aimed to use the orexin-1 (OX1 ) receptor antagonist SB-334867 to examine the role of prelimbic cortex and ventral tegmental area OX1 receptors in cue-induced reinstatement of ethanol-seeking. Ethanol-preferring rats (iP) rats were trained to self-administer ethanol (10 percent v/v, FR3) or sucrose (0.2-1 percent w/v, FR3) in the presence of reward-associated cues before being implanted with indwelling guide cannulae. Rats then underwent extinction training for 11 days. On test days, rats were given a microinjection of vehicle or SB-334867 (3 μg/side) and presented with reward-associated cues to precipitate reinstatement. Results show SB-334867 infused into the prelimbic cortex attenuated cue-induced reinstatement of ethanol-seeking, but not sucrose-seeking. OX1 antagonism in the ventral tegmental area also attenuated cue-induced reinstatement of ethanol-seeking. These findings suggest that OX1 receptors located in the prelimbic cortex and ventral tegmental area are part of a circuit driving cue-mediated ethanol-seeking behaviour.

  14. Chronic pramipexole treatment induces compulsive behavior in rats with 6-OHDA lesions of the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Dardou, D; Reyrolle, L; Chassain, C; Durif, F

    2017-08-14

    Dopamine replacement therapy (DRT) reduces motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease (PD), but also induces impulsive-compulsive behavior (ICB) in up to 25% of PD patients. These non-motor side effects of DRT generally follow a gradual transition from impulsive to compulsive-like-i.e. repetitive, compelled, and non-pleasurable-behavior. Here, we investigated the effect of chronic pramipexole (PPX) treatment on the onset of compulsive-like behavior, measured via the post-training signal attenuation (PTSA) procedure, in rats with dopaminergic lesions. Accordingly, we aimed to mimic chronic DRT in a PD context, and obtain data on the brain regions that potentially sustain this type of compulsive behavior pattern in rats. We observed that the lesion or treatment alone did not induce compulsive lever pressing in rats. However, rats with lesions of the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area as well as with chronic PPX treatment developed strong compulsive lever-pressing behavior, as measured via PTSA. Furthermore, when chronic PPX treatment was discontinued before the PTSA test, the lesioned rats showed the same level of compulsive behavior as sham-operated rats. In fact, lesioned, treated, and compulsive-like rats showed significantly higher Fos expression in the orbitofrontal cortex and dorsal striatum. Thus, chronic PPX treatment in PD rats induced a strong compulsive-like behavior. Furthermore, Fos expression mapping suggests that the behavior was sustained via the activation of the orbitofrontal cortex and dorsal striatum. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  15. Offline reactivation of experience-dependent neuronal firing patterns in the rat ventral tegmental area

    PubMed Central

    Valdés, José L.; McNaughton, Bruce L.

    2015-01-01

    In a rest period immediately after a task, neurons in the hippocampus, neocortex, and striatum exhibit spatiotemporal correlation patterns resembling those observed during the task. This reactivation has been proposed as a neurophysiological substrate for memory consolidation. We provide new evidence that rodent ventral tegmental area (VTA) neurons are selective for different types of food stimuli and that stimulus-sensitive neurons strongly reactivate during the rest period following a task that involved those stimuli. Reactivation occurred primarily during slow wave sleep and during quiet awakeness. In these experiments, VTA reactivation patterns were uncompressed and occurred at the firing rate level, rather than on a spike-to-spike basis. Mildly aversive stimuli were reactivated more often than positive ones. The VTA is a pivotal structure involved in the perception and prediction of reward and stimulus salience and is a key neuromodulatory system involved in synaptic plasticity. These results suggest new ways in which dopaminergic signals could contribute to the biophysical mechanisms of selective, system-wide, memory consolidation, and reconsolidation during sleep. PMID:26108957

  16. Neonatal onset of leptin signalling in dopamine neurones of the ventral tegmental area in the rat.

    PubMed

    Naef, L; Gjerde, E; Long, H; Richard, D; Walker, C-D

    2014-12-01

    Leptin inhibits feeding by acting on hypothalamic and mesolimbic dopamine (DA) pathways involved in the homeostatic and hedonic control of energy balance. In the rodent, the neonatal period is characterised by high circulating leptin concentrations and an insensitivity to the anorectic effects of this hormone, suggesting that the modulation of these circuits by leptin is reduced during this period. The present study aimed to examine the onset of the functional ventral tegmental area (VTA) response to leptin during the neonatal period and to characterise the phenotype of leptin-responsive VTA neurones. On postnatal day (PND) 10 in pups insensitive to the anorectic effects of leptin and exclusively dependent on their mother for feeding, leptin administration failed to increase phosphorylated signal transducer of activation and transcription 3 (pSTAT3) and phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (pERK)1/2 immunoreactivity in the midbrain. At the onset of independent feeding on PND16, leptin stimulated pSTAT3 production in the lateral parabrachial pigmented area of the midbrain, with a subset of these pSTAT3-positive neurones co-localising with tyrosine hydroxylase, a marker of DA neurones. Leptin did not increase pERK1/2 immunoreactivity in DA neurones on PND16. These results suggest that the insensitivity of PND10 pups to the anorectic effects of leptin might be mediated, at least in part, by a lack of signalling through the Janus kinase/STAT signalling pathway in VTA DA neurones in response to leptin before the onset of independent feeding. © 2014 British Society for Neuroendocrinology.

  17. Fos activation of selective afferents to ventral tegmental area during cue-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking in rats.

    PubMed

    Mahler, Stephen V; Aston-Jones, Gary S

    2012-09-19

    Ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine neurons are crucial for appetitive responses to Pavlovian cues, including cue-induced reinstatement of drug seeking. However, it is unknown which VTA inputs help activate these neurons, transducing stimuli into salient cues that drive drug-seeking behavior. Here we examined 56 VTA afferents from forebrain and midbrain that are Fos activated during cue-induced reinstatement. We injected the retrograde tracer cholera toxin β subunit (CTb) unilaterally into rostral or caudal VTA of male rats. All animals were trained to self-administer cocaine, then extinguished of this behavior. On a final test day, animals were exposed to response-contingent cocaine-associated cues, extinction conditions, a non-cocaine-predictive CS-, or a novel environment, and brains were processed to visualize CTb and Fos immunoreactivity to identify VTA afferents activated in relation to behaviors. VTA-projecting neurons in subregions of medial accumbens shell, ventral pallidum, elements of extended amygdala, and lateral septum (but not prefrontal cortex) were activated specifically during cue-induced cocaine seeking, and some of these were also activated proportionately to the degree of cocaine seeking. Surprisingly, though efferents from the lateral hypothalamic orexin field were also Fos activated during reinstatement, these were largely non-orexinergic. Also, VTA afferents from the rostromedial tegmental nucleus and lateral habenula were specifically activated during extinction and CS- tests, when cocaine was not expected. These findings point to a select set of subcortical nuclei which provide reinstatement-related inputs to VTA, translating conditioned stimuli into cocaine-seeking behavior.

  18. Region-Specific Diet-induced and Leptin-Induced Cellular Leptin Resistance Includes the Ventral Tegmental Area in Rats

    PubMed Central

    Matheny, M.; Shapiro, A.; Tümer, N.; Scarpace, P. J.

    2010-01-01

    Diet-induced obesity (DIO) results in region-specific cellular leptin resistance in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) of the hypothalamus in one strain of mice and in several medial basal hypothalamic regions in another. We hypothesized that the ventral tegmental area (VTA) is also likely susceptible to diet-induced and leptin-induced leptin resistance in parallel to that in hypothalamic areas. We examined two forms of leptin resistance in F344xBN rats, that induced by 6-months of high fat (HF) feeding and that induced by 15-months of central leptin overexpression by use of recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV)-mediated gene delivery of rat leptin. Cellular leptin resistance was assessed by leptin-stimulated phosphorylation of signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3) in medial basal hypothalamic areas and the VTA. The regional pattern and degree of leptin resistance with HF was distinctly different than that with leptin overexpression. Chronic HF feeding induced a cellular leptin resistance that was identified in the ARC and VTA, but absent in the lateral hypothalamus (LH), ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), and dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH). In contrast, chronic central leptin overexpression induced cellular leptin resistance in all areas examined. The identification of leptin resistance in the VTA, in addition to the leptin resistance in the hypothalamus, provides one potential mechanism, underlying the increased susceptibility of leptin resistant rats to HF-induced obesity. PMID:21059361

  19. Region-specific diet-induced and leptin-induced cellular leptin resistance includes the ventral tegmental area in rats.

    PubMed

    Matheny, M; Shapiro, A; Tümer, N; Scarpace, P J

    2011-01-01

    Diet-induced obesity (DIO) results in region-specific cellular leptin resistance in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) of the hypothalamus in one strain of mice and in several medial basal hypothalamic regions in another. We hypothesized that the ventral tegmental area (VTA) is also likely susceptible to diet-induced and leptin-induced leptin resistance in parallel to that in hypothalamic areas. We examined two forms of leptin resistance in F344xBN rats, that induced by 6-months of high fat (HF) feeding and that induced by 15-months of central leptin overexpression by use of recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV)-mediated gene delivery of rat leptin. Cellular leptin resistance was assessed by leptin-stimulated phosphorylation of signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3) in medial basal hypothalamic areas and the VTA. The regional pattern and degree of leptin resistance with HF was distinctly different than that with leptin overexpression. Chronic HF feeding induced a cellular leptin resistance that was identified in the ARC and VTA, but absent in the lateral hypothalamus (LH), ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), and dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH). In contrast, chronic central leptin overexpression induced cellular leptin resistance in all areas examined. The identification of leptin resistance in the VTA, in addition to the leptin resistance in the hypothalamus, provides one potential mechanism, underlying the increased susceptibility of leptin resistant rats to HF-induced obesity.

  20. Intrastriatal 6-OHDA lesion differentially affects dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area of prenatally stressed rats.

    PubMed

    Baier, Carlos J; Pallarés, María Eugenia; Adrover, Ezequiela; Katunar, María R; Raisman-Vozari, Rita; Antonelli, Marta C

    2014-10-01

    Exposure to a variety of stressful events during the last week of pregnancy in rats interferes with the correct progeny development, which in turn leads to delays in motor development, impaired adaptation to stressful conditions, altered sexual behaviour, learning deficits, neuronal development and brain morphology. Many of these alterations have been attributed to changes in dopamine (DA) neurotransmission and occur primarily in the mesolimbic system. We found that prenatally stressed offspring showed higher levels of cells expressing tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and that these cells were more susceptible to a neurochemical insult with 6-hydroxy-DA (6-OHDA) in adulthood. Moreover, prenatally stressed rats presented differences in terms of the number and asymmetry of neuronal nitric oxide synthase-expressing cells in the VTA and nucleus accumbens, respectively. Similar to the results described for TH-expressing cells, the nitrergic systems were differentially regulated after 6-OHDA lesion in control and prenatally stressed rats. These results indicated that prenatal stress affects the dopaminergic and nitrergic systems in the mesolimbic pathway. In addition, we propose that the mesolimbic areas are more susceptible than the motor areas to a neurochemical insult during adult life.

  1. Adaptations in cholinergic transmission in the ventral tegmental area associated with the affective signs of nicotine withdrawal in rats.

    PubMed

    Bruijnzeel, Adrie W; Markou, Athina

    2004-09-01

    Chronic administration of nicotine induces adaptations in the brain reward circuit to counteract the acute drug effects; when nicotine administration ceases, these adaptations remain unopposed and lead to drug withdrawal. The present studies were conducted to assess the effects of chronic nicotine administration on nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) activity in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the nucleus accumbens (Nacc) shell. A discrete-trial intracranial self-stimulation procedure that provides current-intensity thresholds as measures of brain reward function was used in rats. Previous studies have shown that withdrawal from nicotine-induced elevations in brain reward thresholds that are indicative of a decrease in brain reward function. We show here that injections of the nAChR antagonist dihydro-beta-erythroidine (DHbetaE; 0.6-20 microg total bilateral dose) into the VTA, but not outside the VTA, resulted in significant elevations in brain reward thresholds in nicotine dependent rats (9 mg/kg/day nicotine hydrogen tartrate) while having no effect in saline-treated controls. By contrast, DHbetaE (0.6-20 microg total bilateral dose) injected into the Nacc shell had no effect on brain reward thresholds of nicotine- or saline-treated rats. The adaptations in cholinergic transmission in the VTA are likely to mediate, at least partly, the affective signs of nicotine withdrawal in humans.

  2. Ventral tegmental self-stimulation selectively induces opioid peptide release in rat CNS.

    PubMed

    Stein, E A

    1993-01-01

    Intracranial self-stimulation (ICS) is thought to activate neuronal systems involved in processing natural reinforcing agents. Metabolic mapping studies have previously demonstrated a subset of CNS structures specifically engaged by ICS in animals receiving stimulation actively vs. passively. Since opiates are known to enhance ICS behavior and presumably its reinforcing properties, the current study addressed the question of the role of opioid peptides as mediators of ICS. Rats were trained on a fixed ration (FR) 20 schedule of responding maintained by ICS. Following response stabilization, rats were assigned either to an active or a corresponding yoked stimulation group at 1 of 2 schedules of reinforcement (i.e., FR1-YFR1, FR20-YFR20, or sedentary control), and opioid peptide release was inferred from in vivo receptor occupancy. Autoradiographic analyses identified 3 groups of structures. Treatment-induced alterations in occupancy were seen in the medial dorsal nucleus of the thalamus, basolateral amygdala, ventral pallidum, medial habenula, dorsal raphe, posterior hypothalamus, substantia nigra pars compacta, agranular preinsular cortex, and zona incerta. Depending upon the structure, peptide release was dependent upon stimulus contingency (active vs. yoked) and/or schedule (FR1 vs. FR20). Evidence for ICS-induced inhibition of peptide release was found in the habenula and preinsular cortex. Nine additional structures, all components of, or receiving projections from, the limbic system, revealed complex interactions between ICS treatment and the electrode side. Finally, a widespread ipsilateral increase in receptor binding was seen rostrally from the cingulate, olfactory tubercle, and nucleus accumbens, along the lateral hypothalamus and hippocampus, and extending caudally to the substantia nigra and ventral tegmentum. These later effects appear to be related to stimulation-induced changes in blood flow and subsequent ligant presentation increases. Collectively

  3. Litter size reduction alters insulin signaling in the ventral tegmental area and influences dopamine-related behaviors in adult rats.

    PubMed

    Portella, A K; Silveira, P P; Laureano, D P; Cardoso, S; Bittencourt, V; Noschang, C; Werlang, I; Fontella, F U; Dalmaz, C; Goldani, M Z

    2015-02-01

    Postnatal overfeeding is a well-known model of early-life induced obesity and glucose intolerance in rats. However, little is known about its impact on insulin signaling in specific brain regions such as the mesocorticolimbic system, and its putative effects on dopamine-related hedonic food intake in adulthood. For this study, rat litters were standardized to 4 (small litter - SL) or 8 pups (control - NL) at postnatal day 1. Weaning was at day 21, and all tests were conducted after day 60 of life in male rats. In Experiment 1, we demonstrated that the SL animals were heavier than the NL at all time points and had decreased AKT/pAKT ratio in the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA), without differences in the skeletal muscle insulin signaling in response to insulin injection. In Experiment 2, the standard rat chow intake was addressed using an automated system (BioDAQ, Research Diets(®)), and showed no differences between the groups. On the other hand, the SL animals ingested more sweet food in response to the 1 min tail-pinch challenge and did not develop conditioned place preference to sweet food. In Experiment 3 we showed that the SL rats had increased VTA TH content but had no difference in this protein in response to a sweet food challenge, as the NL had. The SL rats also showed decreased levels of dopamine D2 receptors in the nucleus accumbens. Here we showed that early postnatal overfeeding was linked to an altered functioning of the mesolimbic dopamine pathway, which was associated with altered insulin signaling in the VTA, suggesting increased sensitivity, and expression of important proteins of the dopaminergic system. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  4. Chronic electric stimulation of the midbrain ventral tegmental area increases spleen but not blood natural killer cell cytotoxicity in rats.

    PubMed

    Wrona, Danuta; Klejbor, Ilona; Trojniar, Weronika

    2004-10-01

    Previously we found that in conscious, freely behaving rats chronic electric stimulation of the lateral hypothalamus (LH) caused significant augmentation of natural killer cell cytotoxicity (NKCC) and a large granular lymphocyte (LGL) number more pronounced in the spleen than in the peripheral blood. The LH belongs to the so-called "brain reward system", a collection of the central structures whose activation produce positive emotions. The midbrain ventral tegmental area (VTA) is another prominent reward-relevant structure. In the present work, chronic electric stimulation of VTA (constant current 0.1 ms duration cathodal pulses delivered at frequency 50 Hz during 60 min daily session for 14 consecutive days) caused in rats an increase in the spleen but not in the peripheral blood NKCC (chromium release assay) without simultaneous effect on the number of large granular lymphocytes (LGL) (morphological method) and plasma level of prolactin (PRL), growth hormone (GH), corticosterone (COR), and testosterone (TST). This effect was anatomically specific as no influence of analogous thalamic stimulation on immune and endocrine response was found. The results obtained indicate that both reward-related areas VTA and LH enhance the cell-mediated immune response, represented by natural killer cytotoxicity, especially in the spleen. However, the effect pronounced by VTA is weaker than that of LH, possibly due to additional connections of LH with the hormonal and/or autonomic control systems. Copyright 2004 Elsevier B.V.

  5. Local field potentials in the ventral tegmental area during cocaine-induced locomotor activation: Measurements in freely moving rats.

    PubMed

    Harris Bozer, Amber L; Li, Ai-Ling; Sibi, Jiny E; Bobzean, Samara A M; Peng, Yuan B; Perrotti, Linda I

    2016-03-01

    The ventral tegmental area (VTA) has been established as a critical nucleus for processing behavioral changes that occur during psychostimulant use. Although it is known that cocaine induced locomotor activity is initiated in the VTA, not much is known about the electrical activity in real time. The use of our custom-designed wireless module for recording local field potential (LFP) activity provides an opportunity to confirm and identify changes in neuronal activity within the VTA of freely moving rats. The purpose of this study was to investigate the changes in VTA LFP activity in real time that underlie cocaine induced changes in locomotor behavior. Recording electrodes were implanted in the VTA of rats. Locomotor behavior and LFP activity were simultaneously recorded at baseline, and after saline and cocaine injections. Results indicate that cocaine treatment caused increases in both locomotor behavior and LFP activity in the VTA. Specifically, LFP activity was highest during the first 30 min following the cocaine injection and was most robust in Delta and Theta frequency bands; indicating the role of low frequency VTA activity in the initiation of acute stimulant-induced locomotor behavior. Our results suggest that LFP recording in freely moving animals can be used in the future to provide valuable information pertaining to drug induced changes in neural activity.

  6. Blockade of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in the ventral tegmental area prevents acquisition of food-rewarded operant responding in rats.

    PubMed

    Sharf, Ruth; McKelvey, Jennifer; Ranaldi, Robert

    2006-05-01

    We recently found that muscarinic receptor (mAChR) stimulation in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) is involved in the acquisition of a feeding task. To investigate the involvement of VTA mAChR and nicotinic receptors (nAChR) in the acquisition and performance of a food-rewarded lever-pressing task. In experiment 1 (N=54), rats were trained under a fixed ratio 1 schedule of reinforcement and received bilateral intra-VTA microinjections of scopolamine (0, 2.5 or 5 microg/0.5 microl) or mecamylamine (0, 5 or 10 microg/0.5 microl) before each of the first four sessions. Before session 10, all rats that initially received a dose of either compound now received the vehicle and vice versa. In experiment 2 (N=14), rats were tested with scopolamine or mecamylamine while lever pressing under a progressive ratio schedule of reinforcement. In experiment 1, lever pressing by rats initially treated with any mecamylamine dose or the scopolamine vehicle rose to and stayed at maximal levels for the remaining sessions. Responding by rats initially treated with the 2.5- or 5-microg dose of scopolamine remained low, even after the cessation of scopolamine treatment, and gradually rose to maximal levels by the final sessions. Injections of scopolamine 1 to 2 mm dorsal to the VTA had no significant effect on responding. In experiment 2, neither of the compounds significantly affected break points. Stimulation of VTA mAChR, but not of nAChR, is necessary for the acquisition of a food-rewarded lever-pressing task and neither is necessary for the performance of the task.

  7. Serotonin-3 receptors in the posterior ventral tegmental area regulate ethanol self-administration of alcohol-preferring (P) rats.

    PubMed

    Rodd, Zachary A; Bell, Richard L; Oster, Scott M; Toalston, Jamie E; Pommer, Tylene J; McBride, William J; Murphy, James M

    2010-05-01

    Several studies indicated the involvement of serotonin-3 ([5-hydroxy tryptamine] 5-HT(3)) receptors in regulating alcohol-drinking behavior. The objective of this study was to determine the involvement of 5-HT(3) receptors within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in regulating ethanol self-administration by alcohol-preferring (P) rats. Standard two-lever operant chambers (Coulbourn Instruments, Allentown, PA) were used to examine the effects of seven consecutive bilateral microinfusions of ICS 205-930 (ICS), a 5-HT(3) receptor antagonist, directly into the posterior VTA on the acquisition and maintenance of 15% (vol/vol) ethanol self-administration. P rats readily acquired ethanol self-administration by the fourth session. The three highest doses (0.125, 0.25, and 1.25 microg) of ICS prevented acquisition of ethanol self-administration. During the acquisition postinjection period, all rats treated with ICS demonstrated higher responding on the ethanol lever, with the highest dose producing the greatest effect. In contrast, during the maintenance phase, the three highest doses (0.75, 1.0, and 1.25 microg) of ICS significantly increased responding on the ethanol lever; after the 7-day dosing regimen, responding on the ethanol lever returned to control levels. Microinfusion of ICS into the posterior VTA did not alter the low responding on the water lever and did not alter saccharin (0.0125% wt/v) self-administration. Microinfusion of ICS into the anterior VTA did not alter ethanol self-administration. Overall, the results of this study suggest that 5-HT(3) receptors in the posterior VTA of the P rat may be involved in regulating ethanol self-administration. In addition, chronic operant ethanol self-administration and/or repeated treatments with a 5-HT(3) receptor antagonist may alter neuronal circuitry within the posterior VTA.

  8. Blockade of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in the ventral tegmental area disrupts food-related learning in rats.

    PubMed

    Sharf, Ruth; Ranaldi, Robert

    2006-01-01

    Stimulation of ventral tegmental area (VTA) muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs) is implicated in feeding. To investigate the effects of mAChR blockade in the VTA on food-related learning. In experiment 1, rats (N=12) were placed in chambers containing food and received microinjections of 0 or 5 microg/0.5 microl scopolamine prior to the first four feeding sessions and the alternate dose prior to the tenth feeding session. In experiment 2 (N=9), the effects of daily microinjections of scopolamine on lever pressing under a progressive ratio schedule of food reinforcement were tested. In experiment 3 (N=34), the effects of daily microinjections of scopolamine on lever pressing maintained by conditioned reward were investigated. In experiment 1, all rats demonstrated low consumption during session 1. However, pellet consumption for rats initially pretreated with the 0-microg dose rose to and stayed at maximal levels for the remaining sessions, even when pretreated with the 5-microg dose during the tenth session. Pellet consumption for rats initially pretreated with the 5-microg dose remained low, even for the first two sessions following the cessation of scopolamine pretreatment, and gradually rose to maximal levels by the eighth session. In experiment 2, scopolamine significantly decreased break points. In experiment 3, scopolamine failed to significantly decrease responding specifically on the lever producing the conditioned reward. Altogether, these data suggest that VTA mAChR stimulation is involved in feeding and food-related learning but may not be involved in responding maintained by conditioned reward.

  9. Blockade of ionotropic glutamatergic transmission in the ventral tegmental area attenuates the physical signs of morphine withdrawal in rats.

    PubMed

    Wang, Hui-Ling; Zhao, Yan; Xiang, Xiao-Hui; Wang, Hui-Sheng; Wu, Wei-Ran

    2004-11-01

    The present study sought to assess whether the blockade of ionotropic glutamate receptors in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) could modulate the morphine withdrawal in male Sprague-Dawley rats. The effects of dizocilpine (MK-801) or 6,7-dinitroquinnoxaline-2,3-dione (DNQX), ionotropic glutamate receptor antagonists, microinjected unilaterally into the VTA 30 min before naloxone [2 mg/kg, intraperitoneally (i.p.)] administration on the morphine withdrawal were assessed. Morphine dependence was developed with increasing morphine injection (i.p.), and morphine withdrawal was induced by injection of naloxone (2 mg/kg, i.p.). Jumping, wet-dog shakes, writhing posture, wall clamber, weight loss and Gellert-Holtzman scale were used as the indices to evaluate the intensity of morphine withdrawal. The results showed that unilateral microinjection of MK-801 or DNQX into the VTA significantly increased the incidence of wall clamber, had no effect on weight loss, and reduced all other symptoms of morphine withdrawal. These data suggest that the ionotropic glutamate receptors in the VTA are involved in mediating naloxone-precipitated opiate withdrawal.

  10. Electrical stimulation of reward sites in the ventral tegmental area increases dopamine transmission in the nucleus accumbens of the rat.

    PubMed

    Fiorino, D F; Coury, A; Fibiger, H C; Phillips, A G

    1993-06-30

    In vivo microdialysis with HPLC-ED was used to measure dopamine (DA), 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC), homovanillic acid (HVA) and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) in the nucleus accumbens of the rat, prior, during, and after 15-min periods of electrical brain stimulation at sites in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) that supported intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS). In the first experiment, both ICSS and yoked stimulation of the VTA evoked significant increases in extracellular concentrations of DA, its metabolites, and 5-HIAA. Comparable results from ICSS and yoked groups were interpreted as evidence that the rewarding properties of VTA stimulation were a causal factor in the elevated DA transmission in the nucleus accumbens, rather than intense operant behavior. Further evidence for this hypothesis came from a second set of data in which changes in extracellular DA levels during the measurement of rate/intensity functions for ICSS were positively correlated. 5-HIAA concentrations also increased during ICSS but these changes were not correlated with either ICSS rate or current intensity, suggesting that changes in serotonin metabolism were unlikely to subserve brain stimulation reward in the VTA. These results add to the growing body of evidence linking changes in extracellular DA in the mesolimbic DA system with both brain stimulation reward and the conditioned and unconditioned rewarding effects of biologically relevant stimuli.

  11. Differential behavioral reinforcement effects of dopamine receptor agonists in the rat with bilateral lesion of the posterior ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Ouachikh, Omar; Dieb, Wisam; Durif, Franck; Hafidi, Aziz

    2013-09-01

    Dopamine dysregulation syndrome in Parkinson's disease has been attributed to dopamine replacement therapies and/or a lesion of the dopaminergic system. The dopaminergic neuronal loss targets the substantia nigra and the ventral tegmental area (VTA). We hypothesize that dopamine replacement therapy is responsible for the potential reinforcement effect in Parkinson's disease by acting on the neuronal reward circuitry. Therefore this study was designed to explore the potential motivational effect of dopamine replacement therapy in bilateral VTA-lesioned animals. The posterior (p)VTA, which project to the nucleus accumbens (NAc) constitutes the major dopamine neuronal circuitry implicated in addictive disorders. Using the conditioned place preference (CPP) behavioral paradigm, we investigated the motivational effects of dopamine receptor agonists, and cocaine in rat with a 6-OHDA bilateral lesion of the pVTA. Amongst the dopamine receptor agonists used in this study only the D2R and D3R agonists (bromocriptine, PD128907 and pramipexole), induced a significant CPP in pVTA-lesioned animals. Dopamine receptor agonists did not induce behavioral sensitization in sham animals. Moreover, confocal D2R immunostaining analysis showed a significant increase in the number of D2R per cell body in the NAc shell of pVTA lesioned rats compared to sham. This result correlated, for the first time, the dopamine receptor agonists effect with DR2 overexpression in the NAc shell of pVTA-lesioned rats. In addition, cocaine, which is known to increase dopamine release, induced behavioral sensitization in sham group but not in dopamine deprived group. Thus, the later result highlighted the importance of pVTA-NAc dopaminergic pathway in positive reinforcements. Altogether these data suggested that the implication of the dopamine replacement therapy in the appearance of dopamine dysregulation syndrome in Parkinson's disease is probably due to both neuronal degeneration in the posterior VTA and

  12. Place preference conditioning with ventral tegmental injections of cytisine.

    PubMed

    Museo, E; Wise, R A

    1994-01-01

    The present experiment was designed to determine whether ventral tegmental injections of the nicotinic agonist cytisine can establish place preferences. Two groups of rats were tested: one group received injections into the ventral tegmentum and a second group received injections into sites dorsal to the ventral tegmentum; this latter group was used to assess whether the diffusion of drug into sites dorsal to the ventral tegmentum might in itself be sufficient to account for the effects associated with injections into the ventral tegmentum. A total of eight sets of injections were made. On days 1, 3, 5, and 7, animals were injected with cytisine (10 nmol per 0.5 microliter per side) and placed in one of the two main compartments of a place-preference apparatus. On days 2, 4, 6, and 8, injections of physiological saline, the drug vehicle, were paired with the other main compartment. Animals that received ventral tegmental injections of cytisine spent significantly more time in the cytisine-paired compartment than in the saline-paired compartment. Animals given cytisine injections into sites dorsal to the ventral tegmentum did not show a preference for the cytisine-paired compartment. These findings provide additional evidence in support of the hypothesis that nicotinic actions at the level of the ventral tegmentum contribute to the reinforcing actions of systemic injections of nicotine.

  13. Ethanol drinking reduces extracellular dopamine levels in the posterior ventral tegmental area of nondependent alcohol-preferring rats.

    PubMed

    Engleman, Eric A; Keen, Elizabeth J; Tilford, Sydney S; Thielen, Richard J; Morzorati, Sandra L

    2011-09-01

    Moderate ethanol exposure produces neuroadaptive changes in the mesocorticolimbic dopamine (DA) system in nondependent rats and increases measures of DA neuronal activity in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, moderate ethanol drinking and moderate systemic exposure elevates extracellular DA levels in mesocorticolimbic projection regions. However, the neuroadaptive changes subsequent to moderate ethanol drinking on basal DA levels have not been investigated in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). In the present study, adult female alcohol-preferring (P) rats were divided into alcohol-naive, alcohol-drinking, and alcohol-deprived groups. The alcohol-drinking group had continuous access to water and ethanol (15%, vol/vol) for 8 weeks. The alcohol-deprived group had 6 weeks of access followed by 2 weeks of ethanol deprivation, 2 weeks of ethanol re-exposure, followed again by 2 weeks of deprivation. The deprived rats demonstrated a robust alcohol deprivation effect (ADE) on ethanol reinstatement. The alcohol-naïve group had continuous access to water only. In the last week of the drinking protocol, all rats were implanted with unilateral microdialysis probes aimed at the posterior VTA and no-net-flux microdialysis was conducted to quantify extracellular DA levels and DA clearance. Results yielded significantly lower basal extracellular DA concentrations in the posterior VTA of the alcohol-drinking group compared with the alcohol-naive and alcohol-deprived groups (3.8±0.3nM vs. 5.0±0.5nM [P<.02] and 4.8±0.4nM, [P<.05], respectively). Extraction fractions were significantly (P<.0002) different between the alcohol-drinking and alcohol-naive groups (72±2% vs. 46±4%, respectively) and not significantly different (P=.051) between alcohol-deprived and alcohol-naive groups (61±6% for the alcohol-deprived group). The data indicate that reductions in basal DA levels within the posterior VTA occur after moderate chronic ethanol intake in nondependent P rats. This reduction may

  14. Subcellular Distribution of M2-muscarinic Receptors in Relation to Dopaminergic Neurons of the Rat Ventral Tegmental Area

    PubMed Central

    Garzón, Miguel; Pickel, Virginia M.

    2008-01-01

    Acetylcholine can affect cognitive functions and reward, in part, through activation of muscarinic receptors in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to evoke changes in mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic transmission. Of the known muscarinic receptor subtypes present in the VTA, the M2 receptor (M2R) is most implicated in autoregulation, and also may play a heteroreceptor role in regulation of the output of the dopaminergic neurons. We sought to determine the functionally relevant sites for M2R activation in relation to VTA dopaminergic neurons by examining the electron microscopic immunolabeling of M2R and the dopamine transporter (DAT) in the VTA of rat brain. The M2R was localized to endomembranes in DAT-containing somatodendritic profiles, but showed a more prominent, size-dependent plasmalemmal location in non-dopaminergic dendrites. M2R also was located on the plasma membrane of morphologically heterogenous axon terminals contacting unlabeled as well as M2R or DAT-labeled dendrites. Some of these terminals formed asymmetric synapses resembling those of cholinergic terminals in the VTA. The majority, however, formed symmetric, inhibitory-type synapses, or were apposed without recognized junctions. Our results provide the first ultrastructural evidence that the M2R is expressed, but largely not available for local activation, on the plasma membrane of VTA dopaminergic neurons. Instead, the M2R in this region has a distribution suggesting more indirect regulation of mesocorticolimbic transmission through autoregulation of acetylcholine release and changes in the physiological activity or release of other, largely inhibitory transmitters. These findings could have implications for understanding the muscarinic control of cognitive and goal-directed behaviors within the VTA. PMID:16927256

  15. Mechanism of the cardiovascular effects of the GABAA receptors of the ventral tegmental area of the rat brain.

    PubMed

    Yeganeh, Fahimeh; Ranjbar, Afsaneh; Hatam, Masoumeh; Nasimi, Ali

    2015-07-23

    The ventral tegmental area (VTA) contains GABA terminals involved in the regulation of the cardiovascular system. Previously, we demonstrated that blocking GABAA but not GABAB receptors produced a pressor response accompanied by marked bradycardia. This study was performed to find the possible mechanisms involved in these responses by blocking ganglionic nicotinic receptors, peripheral muscarinic receptors or peripheral V1 vasopressin receptors. Experiments were performed on urethane anesthetized male Wistar rats. Drugs were microinjected unilaterally into the VTA (100 nl). The average changes in mean arterial pressure (MAP) and heart rate (HR) were compared between pre- and post-treatment using paired t-test. Injection of bicuculline methiodide (BMI), a GABAA antagonist, into the VTA caused a significant increase in MAP and a decrease in HR. Administration (i.v.) of the nicotinic receptor blocker, hexamethonium, enhanced the pressor response but abolished the bradycardic response to BMI, which ruled out involvement of the sympathetic nervous system. Blockade of the peripheral muscarinic receptors by homatropine (i.v.) abolished the bradycardic effect of BMI, but had no effect on the pressor response, indicating that bradycardia was produced by the parasympathetic outflow to the heart. Both the pressor and bradycardic responses to BMI were blocked by V1 receptor antagonist (i.v.), indicating that administration of BMI in the VTA disinhibited the release of vasopressin into the circulation. In conclusion, we demonstrated that GABAergic mechanism of the VTA exerts a tonic inhibition on vasopressin release through activation of GABAA receptors. The sympathetic system is not involved in the decrease of blood pressure by GABA of the VTA. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. Phencyclidine affects firing activity of ventral tegmental area neurons that are related to reward and social behaviors in rats.

    PubMed

    Katayama, T; Okamoto, M; Suzuki, Y; Hoshino, K-Y; Jodo, E

    2013-06-14

    Patients with schizophrenia exhibit deficits in motivation and affect, which suggests an impairment in the reward system. The psychotomimetic drug, phencyclidine (PCP), also induces schizophrenia-like negative symptoms, such as reduced motivation, blunted affect, and social withdrawal in both humans and animals. Previous studies have indicated that the dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) play a pivotal role in the development of reward-associated learning and motivation. However, how PCP affects the activity of VTA neurons during performance of a reward-related task and social interaction with others in unanesthetized animals remains unclear. Here, we recorded the unit activity of VTA neurons in freely moving rats before and after systemic administration of PCP in a classical conditioning paradigm, and during social interaction with an unfamiliar partner. In the classical conditioning task, two different tones were sequentially presented, one of which accompanied electrical stimulation of the medial forebrain bundle as an unconditioned stimulus. After identifying the response properties of recorded neurons in the classical conditioning task and social interaction, animals received an intraperitoneal injection of PCP. Our study demonstrated that most VTA neurons responsive to reward-associated stimuli were also activated during social interaction. Such activation of neurons was considerably suppressed by systemic administration of PCP, thus, PCP may affect the firing activity of VTA neurons that are involved in motivation, learning, and social interaction. Disruption of the response of VTA neurons to reward stimuli and socially interactive situations may be involved in PCP-induced impairments similar to the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Copyright © 2013 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. Taurine activates excitatory non-synaptic glycine receptors on dopamine neurones in ventral tegmental area of young rats.

    PubMed

    Wang, Fushun; Xiao, Cheng; Ye, Jiang Hong

    2005-06-01

    The physiological and pharmacological properties of taurine-induced responses were investigated in dopaminergic (DA) neurones from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of young rats aged 1-13 postnatal days, either in acute brain slices or acutely dissociated neurones. When whole-cell responses were recorded from current-clamped neurones using the gramicidin-perforated technique, the application of taurine (0.01-30 mm) accelerated firings and induced membrane depolarization. In voltage-clamped neurones, taurine induced a current which was antagonized by strychnine and by picrotoxin, but not by bicuculline. In addition, taurine-induced current showed complete cross-desensitization with glycine-activated currents but not with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-activated currents. Thus, taurine is a full agonist of the glycine receptors (GlyRs) in the VTA. Further studies found that taurine acted mainly on non-synaptic GlyRs. The application of 20 microm bicuculline abolished the spontaneous inhibitory post-synaptic currents (IPSCs) in 40/45 neurones, and 93% of the evoked IPSCs. The addition of 1 microm strychnine completely eliminated the remaining IPSCs. These results suggest that GABAergic IPSCs predominate, and that functional glycinergic synapses are present in a subset of the VTA neurones. The application of 1 mum strychnine alone induced an outward current, suggesting that these neurones were exposed to tonically released taurine/glycine. In conclusion, by activating non-synaptic GlyRs, taurine may act as an excitatory extra-synaptic neurotransmitter in the VTA during early development.

  18. Chronic gestational cocaine treatment decreases oxytocin levels in the medial preoptic area, ventral tegmental area and hippocampus in Sprague-Dawley rats

    PubMed Central

    Johns, J. M.; Lubin, D. A.; Walker, C. H.; Meter, K. E.; Mason, G. A.

    2011-01-01

    Summary We examined the effects of gestational cocaine treatment on oxytocin levels in the whole hippocampus (HIP), ventral tegmental area (VTA), medial preoptic area (MPOA) and amygdala (AMY) in rat dams on postpartum days (PPDs) 1 and 2. Cocaine treatment significantly reduced oxytocin levels in the MPOA within 12–16 h of delivery (PPD 1), but had no significant effect on the other brain areas. Oxytocin was significantly reduced in the HIP and VTA but not in the AMY or MPOA on PPD 2. These data provide the first evidence for the reduction of oxytocin levels in the VTA, HIP and MPOA as a result of gestational cocaine treatment. PMID:9413020

  19. Chronic gestational cocaine treatment decreases oxytocin levels in the medial preoptic area, ventral tegmental area and hippocampus in Sprague-Dawley rats.

    PubMed

    Johns, J M; Lubin, D A; Walker, C H; Meter, K E; Mason, G A

    1997-10-01

    We examined the effects of gestational cocaine treatment on oxytocin levels in the whole hippocampus (HIP), ventral tegmental area (VTA), medial preoptic area (MPOA) and amygdala (AMY) in rat dams on postpartum days (PPDs) 1 and 2. Cocaine treatment significantly reduced oxytocin levels in the MPOA within 12-16 h of delivery (PPD 1), but had no significant effect on the other brain areas. Oxytocin was significantly reduced in the HIP and VTA but not in the AMY or MPOA on PPD 2. These data provide the first evidence for the reduction of oxytocin levels in the VTA, HIP and MPOA as a result of gestational cocaine treatment.

  20. Chronic pramipexole treatment increases tolerance for sucrose in normal and ventral tegmental lesioned rats.

    PubMed

    Dardou, David; Chassain, Carine; Durif, Franck

    2014-01-01

    The loss of dopamine neurons observed in Parkinson's disease (PD) elicits severe motor control deficits which are reduced by the use of dopamine agonists. However, recent works have indicated that D3-preferential agonists such as pramipexole can induce impulse control disorders (ICDs) such as food craving or compulsive eating. In the present study, we performed an intermittent daily feeding experiment to assess the effect of chronic treatment by pramipexole and VTA bilateral lesion on tolerance for sucrose solution. The impact of such chronic treatment on spontaneous locomotion and spatial memory was also examined. Changes in sucrose tolerance could indicate the potential development of a change in food compulsion or addiction related to the action of pramipexole. Neither the bilateral lesion of the VTA nor chronic treatment with pramipexole altered the spontaneous locomotion or spatial memory in rats. Rats without pramipexole treatment quickly developed a stable intake of sucrose solution in the 12 h access phase. On the contrary, when under daily pramipexole treatment, rats developed a stronger and ongoing escalation of their sucrose solution intakes. In addition, we noted that the change in sucrose consumption was sustained by an increase of the expression of the Dopamine D3 receptor in the core and the shell regions of the nucleus accumbens. The present results may suggest that long-term stimulation of the Dopamine D3 receptor in animals induces a strong increase in sucrose consumption, indicating an effect of this receptor on certain pathological aspects of food eating.

  1. Chronic pramipexole treatment increases tolerance for sucrose in normal and ventral tegmental lesioned rats

    PubMed Central

    Dardou, David; Chassain, Carine; Durif, Franck

    2015-01-01

    The loss of dopamine neurons observed in Parkinson's disease (PD) elicits severe motor control deficits which are reduced by the use of dopamine agonists. However, recent works have indicated that D3-preferential agonists such as pramipexole can induce impulse control disorders (ICDs) such as food craving or compulsive eating. In the present study, we performed an intermittent daily feeding experiment to assess the effect of chronic treatment by pramipexole and VTA bilateral lesion on tolerance for sucrose solution. The impact of such chronic treatment on spontaneous locomotion and spatial memory was also examined. Changes in sucrose tolerance could indicate the potential development of a change in food compulsion or addiction related to the action of pramipexole. Neither the bilateral lesion of the VTA nor chronic treatment with pramipexole altered the spontaneous locomotion or spatial memory in rats. Rats without pramipexole treatment quickly developed a stable intake of sucrose solution in the 12 h access phase. On the contrary, when under daily pramipexole treatment, rats developed a stronger and ongoing escalation of their sucrose solution intakes. In addition, we noted that the change in sucrose consumption was sustained by an increase of the expression of the Dopamine D3 receptor in the core and the shell regions of the nucleus accumbens. The present results may suggest that long-term stimulation of the Dopamine D3 receptor in animals induces a strong increase in sucrose consumption, indicating an effect of this receptor on certain pathological aspects of food eating. PMID:25610366

  2. Ionotropic glutamatergic neurotransmission in the ventral tegmental area modulates DeltaFosB expression in the nucleus accumbens and abstinence syndrome in morphine withdrawal rats.

    PubMed

    Wang, Hui-Ling; Xiang, Xiao-Hui; Guo, Yuan; Wu, Wei-Ran; Cao, Dong-Yuan; Wang, Hui-Sheng; Zhao, Yan

    2005-12-19

    The present study sought to assess whether the blockade of ionotropic glutamate receptors in the ventral tegmental area could modulate morphine withdrawal in morphine-dependent rats and the expression of stable DeltaFosB isoforms in the nucleus accumbens during morphine withdrawal. Rats were injected (i.p.) with increasing doses of morphine for 1 week to develop physical dependence, and withdrawal was then precipitated by one injection of naloxone (2 mg/kg, i.p.). Abstinence signs such as jumping, wet-dog shake, writhing posture, weight loss, and Gellert-Holtzman scale score were recorded to evaluate naloxone-induced morphine withdrawal. Two ionotropic glutamate receptor antagonists, dizocilpine (MK-801) and 6, 7-dinitroquinnoxaline-2, 3-dione (DNQX), were microinjected unilaterally into the ventral tegmental area 30 min before naloxone precipitation. A second injection of naloxone (2 mg/kg i.p.) was given 1 h after the first naloxone injection to sustain a maximal level of withdrawal so that the expression of stable DeltaFosB isoforms in the nucleus accumbens could be measured. This would enable determination of the correlation between the MK-801 or DNQX-induced decrease in somatic withdrawal signs and the change in neuronal activity in the nucleus accumbens. The results showed that both MK-801 and DNQX significantly alleviated all symptoms of morphine withdrawal except for weight loss and reduced the expression of stable DeltaFosB isoforms within the nucleus accumbens. These data suggest that ionotropic glutamatergic neurotransmission in the ventral tegmental area regulates the levels of stable DeltaFosB isoforms in the nucleus accumbens, which play a very important role in modulating opiate withdrawal.

  3. Ventral Tegmental Area Dopamine Cell Activation during Male Rat Sexual Behavior Regulates Neuroplasticity and d-Amphetamine Cross-Sensitization following Sex Abstinence.

    PubMed

    Beloate, Lauren N; Omrani, Azar; Adan, Roger A; Webb, Ian C; Coolen, Lique M

    2016-09-21

    Experience with sexual behavior causes cross-sensitization of amphetamine reward, an effect dependent on a period of sexual reward abstinence. We previously showed that ΔFosB in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) is a key mediator of this cross-sensitization, potentially via dopamine receptor activation. However, the role of mesolimbic dopamine for sexual behavior or cross-sensitization between natural and drug reward is unknown. This was tested using inhibitory designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs in ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine cells. rAAV5/hSvn-DIO-hm4D-mCherry was injected into the VTA of TH::Cre adult male rats. Males received clozapine N-oxide (CNO) or vehicle injections before each of 5 consecutive days of mating or handling. Following an abstinence period of 7 d, males were tested for amphetamine conditioned place preference (CPP). Next, males were injected with CNO or vehicle before mating or handling for analysis of mating-induced cFos, sex experience-induced ΔFosB, and reduction of VTA dopamine soma size. Results showed that CNO did not affect mating behavior. Instead, CNO prevented sexual experience-induced cross-sensitization of amphetamine CPP, ΔFosB in the NAc and medial prefrontal cortex, and decreases in VTA dopamine soma size. Expression of hm4D-mCherry was specific to VTA dopamine cells and CNO blocked excitation and mating-induced cFos expression in VTA dopamine cells. These findings provide direct evidence that VTA dopamine activation is not required for initiation or performance of sexual behavior. Instead, VTA dopamine directly contributes to increased vulnerability for drug use following loss of natural reward by causing neuroplasticity in the mesolimbic pathway during the natural reward experience. Drugs of abuse act on the neural pathways that mediate natural reward learning and memory. Exposure to natural reward behaviors can alter subsequent drug-related reward. Specifically, experience with sexual behavior

  4. Activity of Protein Kinase C is Important for 3α,5α-THP’s Actions at Dopamine Type 1-like and/or GABAA receptors in the Ventral Tegmental Area for Lordosis of Rats

    PubMed Central

    Frye, Cheryl A.; Walf, Alicia A.

    2008-01-01

    In the ventral tegmental area, progestogens facilitate sexual receptivity of rodents via actions at dopamine type 1-like and/or γ-aminobutyric type A receptors and activation of downstream signal transduction molecules. In the present study, we investigated whether effects of progesterone’s metabolite, 3α,5α-THP, to enhance lordosis via actions at these receptors in the ventral tegmental area requires phospholipase C-dependent protein kinase C. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that: if progestogens’ actions through dopamine type 1-like and/or γ-aminobutyric type A receptors in the ventral tegmental area for lordosis require protein kinase C, then inhibiting protein kinase C in the ventral tegmental area should reduce 3α,5α-THP-facilitated lordosis and its enhancement by dopamine type 1-like or γ-aminobutyric type A receptor agonists. Ovariectomized, E2 (10 μg s.c. at hr 0)-primed rats were tested for their baseline lordosis responses and then received a series of three infusions to the ventral tegmental area: first, bisindolylmaleimide (75 nM/side) or vehicle; second, SKF38393 (100 ng/side), muscimol (100 ng/side), or vehicle; third, 3α,5α-THP (100, 200 ng) or vehicle. Rats were pre-tested for lordosis and motor behavior and then tested for lordosis after each infusion and 10 and 60 mins after the last infusion. Rats were tested for motor behavior following their last lordosis test. As has been previously demonstrated, 3α,5α-THP infusions to the ventral tegmental area increased lordosis and effects were further enhanced by infusions of SKF38393 and muscimol. Infusions of bisindolylmaleimide to the ventral tegmental area attenuated 3α,5α-THP-, SKF38393-, and/or muscimol-facilitated lordosis. Effects on lordosis were not solely due to changes in general motor behavior. Thus, 3α,5α-THP’s actions in the ventral tegmental area through membrane receptors may require activity of protein kinase C. PMID:18675324

  5. CRF antagonism within the ventral tegmental area but not the extended amygdala attenuates the anxiogenic effects of cocaine in rats.

    PubMed

    Ettenberg, Aaron; Cotten, Samuel W; Brito, Michael A; Klein, Adam K; Ohana, Tatum A; Margolin, Benjamin; Wei, Alex; Wenzel, Jennifer M

    2015-11-01

    In addition to its initial rewarding effects, cocaine has been shown to produce profound negative/anxiogenic actions. Recent work on the anxiogenic effects of cocaine has examined the role of corticotropin releasing factor (CRF), with particular attention paid to the CRF cell bodies resident to the extended amygdala (i.e., the central nucleus of the amygdala [CeA] and the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis [BNST]) and the interconnections within and projections outside the region (e.g., to the ventral tegmental area [VTA]). In the current study, localized CRF receptor antagonism was produced by intra-BNST, intra-CeA or intra-VTA application of the CRF antagonists, D-Phe CRF(12-41) or astressin-B. The effect of these treatments were examined in a runway model of i.v. cocaine self-administration that has been shown to be sensitive to both the initial rewarding and delayed anxiogenic effects of the drug in the same animal on the same trial. These dual actions of cocaine are reflected in the development of an approach-avoidance conflict ("retreat behaviors") about goal box entry that stems from the mixed associations that subjects form about the goal. CRF antagonism within the VTA, but not the CeA or BNST, significantly reduced the frequency of approach-avoidance retreat behaviors while leaving start latencies (an index of the positive incentive properties of cocaine) unaffected. These results suggest that the critical CRF receptors contributing to the anxiogenic state associated with acute cocaine administration may lie outside the extended amygdala, and likely involve CRF projections to the VTA.

  6. Long-term inhibition of ethanol intake by the administration of an aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH2)-coding lentiviral vector into the ventral tegmental area of rats.

    PubMed

    Karahanian, Eduardo; Rivera-Meza, Mario; Tampier, Lutske; Quintanilla, María Elena; Herrera-Marschitz, Mario; Israel, Yedy

    2015-03-01

    Previous studies suggest that acetaldehyde generated from ethanol in the brain is reinforcing. The present studies tested the feasibility of achieving a long-term reduction of chronic and post-deprivation binge ethanol drinking by a single administration into the brain ventral tegmental area (VTA) of a lentiviral vector that codes for aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH2), which degrades acetaldehyde. The ALDH2 gene coding vector or a control lentiviral vector were microinjected into the VTA of rats bred for their alcohol preference. In the chronic alcohol administration model, naïve animals administered the control vector and subsequently offered 10% ethanol and water ingested 8-9 g ethanol/kg body weight/day. The single administration of the ALDH2-coding vector prior to allowing ethanol availability reduced ethanol drinking by 85-90% (P < 0.001) for the 45 days tested. In the post-deprivation binge-drinking model, animals that had previously consumed ethanol chronically for 81 days were administered the lentiviral vector and were thereafter deprived of ethanol for three 7-day periods, each interrupted by a single 60-minute ethanol re-access after the last day of each deprivation period. Upon ethanol re-access, control vector-treated animals consumed intoxicating 'binge' amounts of ethanol, reaching intakes of 2.7 g ethanol/kg body weight in 60 minutes. The administration of the ALDH2-coding vector reduced re-access binge drinking by 75-80% (P < 0.001). This study shows that endowing the ventral tegmental with an increased ability to degrade acetaldehyde greatly reduces chronic alcohol consumption and post-deprivation binge drinking for prolonged periods and supports the hypothesis that brain-generated acetaldehyde promotes alcohol drinking. © 2014 Society for the Study of Addiction.

  7. mRNA and microRNA analysis reveals modulation of biochemical pathways related to addiction in the ventral tegmental area of methamphetamine self-administering rats.

    PubMed

    Bosch, P J; Benton, M C; Macartney-Coxson, D; Kivell, B M

    2015-07-19

    Methamphetamine is a highly addictive central nervous system stimulant with increasing levels of abuse worldwide. Alterations to mRNA and miRNA expression within the mesolimbic system can affect addiction-like behaviors and thus play a role in the development of drug addiction. While many studies have investigated the effects of high-dose methamphetamine, and identified neurotoxic effects, few have looked at the role that persistent changes in gene regulation play following methamphetamine self-administration. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify RNA changes in the ventral tegmental area following methamphetamine self-administration. We performed microarray analyses on RNA extracted from the ventral tegmental area of Sprague-Dawley rats following methamphetamine self-administration training (2 h/day) and 14 days of abstinence. We identified 78 miRNA and 150 mRNA transcripts that were differentially expressed (fdr adjusted p < 0.05, absolute log2 fold change >0.5); these included genes not previously associated with addiction (miR-125a-5p, miR-145 and Foxa1), loci encoding receptors related to drug addiction behaviors and genes with previously recognized roles in addiction such as miR-124, miR-181a, DAT and Ret. This study provides insight into the effects of methamphetamine on RNA expression in a key brain region associated with addiction, highlighting the possibility that persistent changes in the expression of genes with both known and previously unknown roles in addiction occur.

  8. Different amounts of ejaculatory activity, a natural rewarding behavior, induce differential mu and delta opioid receptor internalization in the rat's ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Garduño-Gutiérrez, René; León-Olea, Martha; Rodríguez-Manzo, Gabriela

    2013-12-06

    Opioid receptors internalize upon specific agonist stimulation. The in vivo significance of receptor internalization is not well established, partly due to the limited in vivo models used to study this phenomenon. Ejaculation promotes endogenous opioid release which activates opioid receptors at the brain, including the mesolimbic system and medial preoptic area. The objective of the present work was to analyze if there was a correlation between the degree of in vivo mu (MOR) and delta opioid receptor (DOR) internalization in the ventral tegmental area and the execution of different amounts of ejaculatory behavior of male rats. To this aim, we analyzed the brains of rats that ejaculated once or six successive times and of sexually exhausted rats with an established sexual inhibition, using immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy. Results showed that MOR and DOR internalization increased as a consequence of ejaculation. There was a relationship between the amount of sexual activity executed and the degree of internalization for MOR, but not for DOR. MOR internalization was larger in rats that ejaculated repeatedly than in animals ejaculating only once. Significant DOR internalization was found only in animals ejaculating once. Changes in MOR, DOR and beta arrestin2 detection, associated to sexual activity, were also found. It is suggested that copulation to satiety might be useful as a model system to study the biological significance of receptor internalization.

  9. Reduced inhibitory action of a GABAB receptor agonist on [3H]-dopamine release from rat ventral tegmental area in vitro after chronic nicotine administration

    PubMed Central

    Amantea, Diana; Bowery, Norman G

    2004-01-01

    Background The activation of GABAB receptors in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) has been suggested to attenuate the rewarding properties of psychostimulants, including nicotine. However, the neurochemical mechanism that underlie this effect remains unknown. Since GABAB receptors modulate the release of several neurotransmitters in the mammalian brain, we have characterised the effect of the GABAB receptor agonist baclofen on the release of [3H]-dopamine ([3H]-DA) from VTA slices of naïve rats and of rats pre-treated with nicotine. Results In naïve rats, baclofen concentration-dependently inhibited the electrically evoked release of [3H]-DA from the isolated VTA (EC50 = 0.103 μM, 95% CI = 0.043–0.249), without affecting the basal [3H]-monoamine overflow. This effect was mediated by activation of GABAB receptors as it was blocked by the selective receptor antagonist CGP55845A. Chronic administration of nicotine (0.4 mg kg-1, s.c., for 14 days) affected neither the basal nor the electrically evoked release of [3H]-DA from VTA slices. However, the inhibitory effect of baclofen (10 μM) on the stimulated [3H]-monoamine overflow was abolished in rats pre-treated with nicotine as compared to saline-injected controls. Conclusions Our results demonstrate that GABAB receptor activation reduces the release of DA from the rat VTA. In addition, a reduced sensitivity of VTA GABAB receptors appears to develop after chronic exposure to nicotine. The resulting disinhibition of VTA DA neurones might therefore contribute to the sensitised dopaminergic responses observed in the rat mesocorticolimbic system following repeated administration of nicotine. PMID:15494079

  10. Designer receptors show role for ventral pallidum input to ventral tegmental area in cocaine seeking.

    PubMed

    Mahler, Stephen V; Vazey, Elena M; Beckley, Jacob T; Keistler, Colby R; McGlinchey, Ellen M; Kaufling, Jennifer; Wilson, Steven P; Deisseroth, Karl; Woodward, John J; Aston-Jones, Gary

    2014-04-01

    The ventral pallidum is centrally positioned within mesocorticolimbic reward circuits, and its dense projection to the ventral tegmental area (VTA) regulates neuronal activity there. However, the ventral pallidum is a heterogeneous structure, and how this complexity affects its role within wider reward circuits is unclear. We found that projections to VTA from the rostral ventral pallidum (RVP), but not the caudal ventral pallidum (CVP), were robustly Fos activated during cue-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking--a rat model of relapse in addiction. Moreover, designer receptor-mediated transient inactivation of RVP neurons, their terminals in VTA or functional connectivity between RVP and VTA dopamine neurons blocked the ability of drug-associated cues (but not a cocaine prime) to reinstate cocaine seeking. In contrast, CVP neuronal inhibition blocked cocaine-primed, but not cue-induced, reinstatement. This double dissociation in ventral pallidum subregional roles in drug seeking is likely to be important for understanding the mesocorticolimbic circuits underlying reward seeking and addiction.

  11. Associated degeneration of ventral tegmental area dopaminergic neurons in the rat nigrostriatal lactacystin model of parkinsonism and their neuroprotection by valproate.

    PubMed

    Harrison, Ian F; Anis, Hiba K; Dexter, David T

    2016-02-12

    Parkinson's disease (PD) manifests clinically as bradykinesia, rigidity, and development of a resting tremor, primarily due to degeneration of dopaminergic nigrostriatal pathways in the brain. Intranigral administration of the irreversible ubiquitin proteasome system inhibitor, lactacystin, has been used extensively to model nigrostriatal degeneration in rats, and study the effects of candidate neuroprotective agents on the integrity of the dopaminergic nigrostriatal system. Recently however, adjacent extra-nigral brain regions such as the ventral tegmental area (VTA) have been noted to also become affected in this model, yet their integrity in studies of candidate neuroprotective agents in the model have largely been overlooked. Here we quantify the extent and distribution of dopaminergic degeneration in the VTA of rats intranigrally lesioned with lactacystin, and quantify the extent of VTA dopaminergic neuroprotection after systemic treatment with an epigenetic therapeutic agent, valproate, shown previously to protect dopaminergic SNpc neurons in this model. We found that unilateral intranigral administration of lactacystin resulted in a 53.81% and 31.72% interhemispheric loss of dopaminergic SNpc and VTA neurons, respectively. Daily systemic treatment of lactacystin lesioned rats with valproate however resulted in dose-dependant neuroprotection of VTA neurons. Our findings demonstrate that not only is the VTA also affected in the intranigral lactacystin rat model of PD, but that this extra-nigral brain region is substrate for neuroprotection by valproate, an agent shown previously to induce neuroprotection and neurorestoration of SNpc dopaminergic neurons in this model. Our results therefore suggest that valproate is a candidate for extra-nigral as well as intra-nigral neuroprotection.

  12. Glycogen synthase kinase-3β in the ventral tegmental area mediates diurnal variations in cocaine-induced conditioned place preference in rats.

    PubMed

    Li, Su-Xia; Wei, Yi-Ming; Shi, Hai-Shui; Luo, Yi-Xiao; Ding, Zeng-Bo; Xue, Yan-Xue; Lu, Lin; Yu, Chang-Xi

    2014-11-01

    Cocaine sensitization and reward are reported to be under the influence of diurnal rhythm. However, no previous studies have reported brain areas that play a role as modulators and underlie the mechanism of diurnal variations in cocaine reward. We examined (1) the diurnal rhythm of glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) activity in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) and reward-related brain areas in naive rats; (2) the effect of day and night on the acquisition of cocaine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP); (3) the influence of cocaine-induced CPP on GSK-3β activity in the SCN and reward-related brain areas; and (4) the effect of the GSK-3β inhibitor SB216763 microinjected bilaterally into the ventral tegmental area (VTA) on cocaine-induced CPP. A significant diurnal rhythm of GSK-3β activity was found in the SCN and reward-related brain areas, with diurnal variations in cocaine-induced CPP. GSK-3β activity in the SCN and reward-related brain areas exhibited marked diurnal variations in rats treated with saline. GSK-3β activity in rats treated with cocaine exhibited distinct diurnal variations only in the prefrontal cortex and VTA. Cocaine decreased the expression of phosphorylated GSK-3β (i.e. increased GSK-3β activity) only in the VTA in rats trained and tested at ZT4 and ZT16. SB216763 microinjected into the VTA bilaterally eliminated the diurnal variations in cocaine-induced CPP, but did not affect the acquisition of cocaine-induced CPP. These findings suggest that the VTA may be a critical area involved in the diurnal variations in cocaine-induced CPP, and GSK-3β may be a regulator of diurnal variations in cocaine-induced CPP. © 2013 Society for the Study of Addiction.

  13. Associated degeneration of ventral tegmental area dopaminergic neurons in the rat nigrostriatal lactacystin model of parkinsonism and their neuroprotection by valproate

    PubMed Central

    Harrison, Ian F.; Anis, Hiba K.; Dexter, David T.

    2016-01-01

    Parkinson’s disease (PD) manifests clinically as bradykinesia, rigidity, and development of a resting tremor, primarily due to degeneration of dopaminergic nigrostriatal pathways in the brain. Intranigral administration of the irreversible ubiquitin proteasome system inhibitor, lactacystin, has been used extensively to model nigrostriatal degeneration in rats, and study the effects of candidate neuroprotective agents on the integrity of the dopaminergic nigrostriatal system. Recently however, adjacent extra-nigral brain regions such as the ventral tegmental area (VTA) have been noted to also become affected in this model, yet their integrity in studies of candidate neuroprotective agents in the model have largely been overlooked. Here we quantify the extent and distribution of dopaminergic degeneration in the VTA of rats intranigrally lesioned with lactacystin, and quantify the extent of VTA dopaminergic neuroprotection after systemic treatment with an epigenetic therapeutic agent, valproate, shown previously to protect dopaminergic SNpc neurons in this model. We found that unilateral intranigral administration of lactacystin resulted in a 53.81% and 31.72% interhemispheric loss of dopaminergic SNpc and VTA neurons, respectively. Daily systemic treatment of lactacystin lesioned rats with valproate however resulted in dose-dependant neuroprotection of VTA neurons. Our findings demonstrate that not only is the VTA also affected in the intranigral lactacystin rat model of PD, but that this extra-nigral brain region is substrate for neuroprotection by valproate, an agent shown previously to induce neuroprotection and neurorestoration of SNpc dopaminergic neurons in this model. Our results therefore suggest that valproate is a candidate for extra-nigral as well as intra-nigral neuroprotection. PMID:26742637

  14. Acupuncture attenuates cocaine-induced expression of behavioral sensitization in rats: possible involvement of the dopaminergic system in the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Lee, Bombi; Han, Seung-Moo; Shim, Insop

    2009-01-09

    Acupuncture is widely used for the treatment of many functional disorders, such as substance abuse, and has the suppressive effect on the central nervous system. Many studies have suggested that behavioral sensitization by repeated injections of cocaine produce an increase in locomotor activity and an increase in the expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), in the central dopaminergic system. In order to investigate the effects of acupuncture on the repeated cocaine-induced neuronal and behavioral sensitization alternations, we examined the influence of acupuncture on the repeated cocaine-induced locomotor activity and the expression of TH in the brain using immunohistochemistry. Male SD rats were given repeated injections of cocaine hydrochloride (15 mg/kg, i.p. for 10 consecutive days) followed by one challenge injection on the 4th day after the last daily injection. Cocaine challenge produced a large increase in the locomotor activity and the expression of TH in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Treatment with acupuncture bilaterally at the Shenman (HT7) points for 1 min significantly inhibited the increase of locomotor activity as well as the TH expression in the VTA. Our data demonstrated that the inhibitory effects of acupuncture on cocaine-induced expression of behavioral sensitization were closely associated with the reduction of dopamine (DA) biosynthesis and the postsynaptic neuronal activity. These results provide evidence that acupuncture may be effective for inhibiting the behavioral effects of cocaine by possible modulation of the central dopaminergic system.

  15. Differential effects of dopamine D2 and GABAA receptor antagonists on dopamine neurons between the anterior and posterior ventral tegmental area of female Wistar rats

    PubMed Central

    Ding, Zheng-Ming; Liu, Wen; Engleman, Eric A.; Rodd, Zachary A.; McBride, William J.

    2010-01-01

    Previous findings indicated differences in neuronal circuitries mediating drug reinforcement between the anterior and posterior ventral tegmental area (VTA). The objective of the present study was to examine the effects of the dopamine D2 antagonist sulpiride and the GABAA antagonist picrotoxin administered in the anterior and posterior VTA on the activity of mesoaccumbal dopamine neurons in female Wistar rats. Sulpiride and picrotoxin were administered in the anterior and posterior VTA. Extracellular dopamine levels were measured in sub-regions of the VTA and nucleus accumbens (ACB). Reverse-microdialysis of sulpiride (100 µM) into the posterior VTA increased extracellular dopamine levels locally (80% above baseline) and in the ACB shell and core (70% above baseline), whereas reverse-microdialysis into the anterior VTA produced a much smaller effect locally (30% above baseline) and in the ACB shell and core. In contrast, microinjection of picrotoxin (80 and 160 µM) into the anterior, but not posterior VTA, increased dopamine release in the ACB shell. The results suggest that dopamine neurons in the posterior VTA, compared to the anterior VTA, may be under greater D2 receptor-mediated tonic inhibition, whereas dopamine neurons in the anterior VTA, compared to the posterior VTA, may be under greater GABAA receptor-mediated tonic inhibition. PMID:19480073

  16. Overexpression of BDNF in the ventral tegmental area enhances binge cocaine self-administration in rats exposed to repeated social defeat.

    PubMed

    Wang, Junshi; Bastle, Ryan M; Bass, Caroline E; Hammer, Ronald P; Neisewander, Janet L; Nikulina, Ella M

    2016-10-01

    Stress is a major risk factor for substance abuse. Intermittent social defeat stress increases drug self-administration (SA) and elevates brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in rats. Intra-VTA BDNF overexpression enhances social defeat stress-induced cross-sensitization to psychostimulants and induces nucleus accumbens (NAc) ΔFosB expression. Therefore, increased VTA BDNF may mimic or augment the development of drug abuse-related behavior following social stress. To test this hypothesis, adeno-associated virus (AAV) was infused into the VTA to overexpress either GFP alone (control) or GFP + BDNF. Rats were then either handled or exposed to intermittent social defeat stress before beginning cocaine SA training. The SA acquisition and maintenance phases were followed by testing on a progressive ratio (PR) schedule of cocaine reinforcement, and then during a 12-h access "binge" cocaine SA session. BDNF and ΔFosB were quantified postmortem in regions of the mesocorticolimbic circuitry using immunohistochemistry. Social defeat stress increased cocaine intake on a PR schedule, regardless of virus treatment. While stress alone increased intake during the 12-h binge session, socially-defeated rats that received VTA BDNF overexpression exhibited even greater cocaine intake compared to the GFP-stressed group. However, VTA BDNF overexpression alone did not alter binge intake. BDNF expression in the VTA was also positively correlated with total cocaine intake during binge session. VTA BDNF overexpression increased ΔFosB expression in the NAc, but not in the dorsal striatum. Here we demonstrate that VTA BDNF overexpression increases long-access cocaine intake, but only under stressful conditions. Therefore, enhanced VTA-BDNF expression may be a facilitator for stress-induced increases in drug abuse-related behavior specifically under conditions that capture compulsive-like drug intake. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All

  17. Involvement of local serotonin-2A but not serotonin-1B receptors in the reinforcing effects of ethanol within the posterior ventral tegmental area of female Wistar rats

    PubMed Central

    Ding, Zheng-Ming; Toalston, Jamie E.; Oster, Scott M.; McBride, William J.; Rodd, Zachary A.

    2010-01-01

    Rationale Previous studies indicated that ethanol could be self-infused into the posterior ventral tegmental area (p-VTA) and that activation of local serotonin-3 (5-HT3) receptors was involved. 5-HT1B and 5-HT2A receptors are involved in the effects of 5-HT and ethanol on VTA dopamine neurons. Objective The current study used the intracranial self-administration (ICSA) procedure to determine the involvement of local 5-HT1B and 5-HT2A receptors in the self-infusion of ethanol into the p-VTA. Materials and methods Female Wistar rats were implanted unilaterally with a guide cannula aimed at the p-VTA. Seven days after surgery, rats were placed into the two-lever operant conditioning chambers for ICSA tests. The tests consisted of four acquisition sessions with self-infusion of 200 mg% ethanol alone, two or three sessions with co-infusion of the 5-HT1B antagonist GR 55562 (10, 100, or 200 μM) or the 5-HT2A antagonist R-96544 (10, 100, or 200 μM) with 200 mg% ethanol, and one final session with 200 mg% ethanol alone. Results During the acquisition sessions, all rats readily self-infused ethanol and discriminated the active from inactive lever. Co-infusion of GR 55562, at all three doses, had no effect on the self-infusion of ethanol. In contrast, co-infusion of R-96544, at the two higher doses, attenuated responding on the active lever for ethanol infusion (p<0.05). Conclusion The results suggest that the reinforcing effects of ethanol within the p-VTA are modulated, at least in part, by activation of local 5-HT2A, but not 5-HT1B, receptors. PMID:19165471

  18. Endomorphins interact with the substance P (SP) aminoterminal SP(1-7) binding in the ventral tegmental area of the rat brain.

    PubMed

    Botros, Milad; Johansson, Tobias; Zhou, Qin; Lindeberg, Gunnar; Tömböly, Csaba; Tóth, Géza; Le Grevès, Pierre; Nyberg, Fred; Hallberg, Mathias

    2008-10-01

    We have recently identified a specific binding site for the tachykinin peptide substance P (SP) fragment SP(1-7) in the rat spinal cord. This site appeared very specific for SP(1-7) as the binding affinity of this compound highly exceeded those of other SP fragments. We also observed that endomorphin-2 (EM-2) exhibited high potency in displacing SP(1-7) from this site. In the present work using a [(3)H]-labeled derivative of the heptapeptide we have identified and characterized [(3)H]-SP(1-7) binding in the rat ventral tegmental area (VTA). Similarly to the [(3)H]-SP(1-7) binding in the spinal cord the affinity of unlabeled SP(1-7) to the specific site in VTA was significantly higher than those of other SP fragments. Further, the tachykinin receptor NK-1, NK-2 and NK-3 ligands showed no or negligible binding to the identified site. However, the mu-opioid peptide (MOP) receptor agonists DAMGO, EM-1 and EM-2 did, and significant difference was observed in the binding affinity between the two endomorphins. As recorded from displacement curves the affinity of EM-2 for the SP(1-7) site was 4-5 times weaker than that for SP(1-7) but about 5 times higher than that of EM-1. The opioid receptor antagonists naloxone and naloxonazine showed weak or negligible binding. It was concluded that the specific site identified for SP(1-7) binding in the rat VTA is distinct from the MOP receptor although it exhibits high affinity for EM-2.

  19. Changes in Gene Expression within the Ventral Tegmental Area Following Repeated Excessive Binge-Like Alcohol Drinking by Alcohol-Preferring (P) Rats

    PubMed Central

    McBride, William J.; Kimpel, Mark W.; McClintick, Jeanette N.; Ding, Zheng-Ming; Hauser, Sheketha R.; Edenberg, Howard J.; Bell, Richard L.; Rodd, Zachary A.

    2013-01-01

    The objective of this study was to detect changes in gene expression in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) following repeated excessive binge-like (‘loss-of-control’) alcohol drinking by alcohol-preferring (P) rats. Adult female P rats (n = 7) were given concurrent access to 10, 20, and 30% EtOH for 4 1-hour sessions daily for 10 weeks followed by 2 cycles of 2 weeks of abstinence and 2 weeks of EtOH access. Rats were sacrificed by decapitation 3 hours after the 4th daily EtOH-access session at the end of the second 2-week relapse period. A water-control group of female P rats (n = 8) was also sacrificed. RNA was prepared from micro-punch samples of the VTA from individual rats; analyses were conducted with Affymetrix Rat 230.2 GeneChips. Ethanol intakes were 1.2–1.7 g/kg per session, resulting in blood levels > 200 mg% at the end of the 4th session. There were 211 unique named genes that significantly differed (FDR = 0.1) between the water and EtOH groups. Bioinformatics analyses indicated alterations in a) transcription factors that reduced excitation-coupled transcription and promoted excitotoxic neuronal damage involving clusters of genes associated with Nfkbia, Fos, and Srebf1, b) genes that reduced cholesterol and fatty acid synthesis, and increased protein degradation, and c) genes involved in cell-to-cell interactions and regulation of the actin cytoskeleton. Among the named genes, there were 62 genes that showed differences between alcohol-naïve P and non-preferring (NP) rats, with 43 of the genes changing toward NP-like expression levels following excessive binge-like drinking in the P rats. These genes are involved in a pro-inflammatory response, and enhanced response to glucocorticoids and steroid hormones. Overall, the results of this study indicate that the repeated excessive binge-like alcohol drinking can change the expression of genes that may alter neuronal function in several ways, some of which may be deleterious. PMID:23714385

  20. Characterization of cognitive deficits in rats overexpressing human alpha-synuclein in the ventral tegmental area and medial septum using recombinant adeno-associated viral vectors.

    PubMed

    Hall, Hélène; Jewett, Michael; Landeck, Natalie; Nilsson, Nathalie; Schagerlöf, Ulrika; Leanza, Giampiero; Kirik, Deniz

    2013-01-01

    Intraneuronal inclusions containing alpha-synuclein (a-syn) constitute one of the pathological hallmarks of Parkinson's disease (PD) and are accompanied by severe neurodegeneration of A9 dopaminergic neurons located in the substantia nigra. Although to a lesser extent, A10 dopaminergic neurons are also affected. Neurodegeneration of other neuronal populations, such as the cholinergic, serotonergic and noradrenergic cell groups, has also been documented in PD patients. Studies in human post-mortem PD brains and in rodent models suggest that deficits in cholinergic and dopaminergic systems may be associated with the cognitive impairment seen in this disease. Here, we investigated the consequences of targeted overexpression of a-syn in the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic and septohippocampal cholinergic pathways. Rats were injected with recombinant adeno-associated viral vectors encoding for either human wild-type a-syn or green fluorescent protein (GFP) in the ventral tegmental area and the medial septum/vertical limb of the diagonal band of Broca, two regions rich in dopaminergic and cholinergic neurons, respectively. Histopathological analysis showed widespread insoluble a-syn positive inclusions in all major projections areas of the targeted nuclei, including the hippocampus, neocortex, nucleus accumbens and anteromedial striatum. In addition, the rats overexpressing human a-syn displayed an abnormal locomotor response to apomorphine injection and exhibited spatial learning and memory deficits in the Morris water maze task, in the absence of obvious spontaneous locomotor impairment. As losses in dopaminergic and cholinergic immunoreactivity in both the GFP and a-syn expressing animals were mild-to-moderate and did not differ from each other, the behavioral impairments seen in the a-syn overexpressing animals appear to be determined by the long term persisting neuropathology in the surviving neurons rather than by neurodegeneration.

  1. Characterization of Cognitive Deficits in Rats Overexpressing Human Alpha-Synuclein in the Ventral Tegmental Area and Medial Septum Using Recombinant Adeno-Associated Viral Vectors

    PubMed Central

    Hall, Hélène; Jewett, Michael; Landeck, Natalie; Nilsson, Nathalie; Schagerlöf, Ulrika; Leanza, Giampiero; Kirik, Deniz

    2013-01-01

    Intraneuronal inclusions containing alpha-synuclein (a-syn) constitute one of the pathological hallmarks of Parkinson's disease (PD) and are accompanied by severe neurodegeneration of A9 dopaminergic neurons located in the substantia nigra. Although to a lesser extent, A10 dopaminergic neurons are also affected. Neurodegeneration of other neuronal populations, such as the cholinergic, serotonergic and noradrenergic cell groups, has also been documented in PD patients. Studies in human post-mortem PD brains and in rodent models suggest that deficits in cholinergic and dopaminergic systems may be associated with the cognitive impairment seen in this disease. Here, we investigated the consequences of targeted overexpression of a-syn in the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic and septohippocampal cholinergic pathways. Rats were injected with recombinant adeno-associated viral vectors encoding for either human wild-type a-syn or green fluorescent protein (GFP) in the ventral tegmental area and the medial septum/vertical limb of the diagonal band of Broca, two regions rich in dopaminergic and cholinergic neurons, respectively. Histopathological analysis showed widespread insoluble a-syn positive inclusions in all major projections areas of the targeted nuclei, including the hippocampus, neocortex, nucleus accumbens and anteromedial striatum. In addition, the rats overexpressing human a-syn displayed an abnormal locomotor response to apomorphine injection and exhibited spatial learning and memory deficits in the Morris water maze task, in the absence of obvious spontaneous locomotor impairment. As losses in dopaminergic and cholinergic immunoreactivity in both the GFP and a-syn expressing animals were mild-to-moderate and did not differ from each other, the behavioral impairments seen in the a-syn overexpressing animals appear to be determined by the long term persisting neuropathology in the surviving neurons rather than by neurodegeneration. PMID:23705016

  2. Microinjections of SCH 23390 in the ventral tegmental area reduce operant responding under a progressive ratio schedule of food reinforcement in rats.

    PubMed

    Sharf, Ruth; Lee, David Y; Ranaldi, Robert

    2005-02-08

    We recently demonstrated that dopamine D1 receptors in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are involved in intravenous cocaine reward. Here, we investigated whether VTA D1 receptors also are involved in food reward by testing the hypothesis that blockade of dopamine D1 receptors in the VTA attenuates the rewarding effects of food. Eighteen rats, with bilateral cannulae positioned to allow for microinjections in or just dorsal to the VTA, were trained to lever press under a progressive ratio schedule of reinforcement. After stable break points (BPs) were established, the rats received bilateral microinjections of SCH 23390, a D1 receptor antagonist. In Experiment 1, where the reward consisted of 1 food pellet, injections of SCH 23390 (0, 1, 2, or 4 microg/0.5 microl) in the VTA (N=9) significantly decreased BPs (P <0.001), while bilateral microinjections dorsal to the VTA (N=9) did not. In Experiment 2 (N=6), where the reward consisted of 1 or 2 food pellets, intra-VTA injections of SCH 23390 (0 and 4 microg/0.5 microl) decreased BPs at the 1 food pellet level (P <0.05), but not at the 2 food pellet level. Thus, the data showed that intra-VTA microinjections of SCH 23390 reduced the rewarding effects of food. This effect was surmountable by increasing food reward, ruling out motoric effects, and did not occur when injections were made dorsal to VTA, eliminating the possibility that the effect was caused by the dorsal diffusion of drug. These data suggest that dendritically released dopamine in the VTA plays a significant role in food reward.

  3. Antidepressant Effects of Ketamine Are Not Related to ¹⁸F-FDG Metabolism or Tyrosine Hydroxylase Immunoreactivity in the Ventral Tegmental Area of Wistar Rats.

    PubMed

    Baptista, Pedro Porto Alegre; Saur, Lisiani; Bagatini, Pamela Bambrilla; Greggio, Samuel; Venturin, Gianina Teribele; Vaz, Sabrina Pereira; Ferreira, Kelly Dos Reis; Junqueira, Juliana Silva; Lara, Diogo Rizzato; DaCosta, Jaderson Costa; Jeckel, Cristina Maria Moriguchi; Mestriner, Régis Gemerasca; Xavier, Léder Leal

    2015-06-01

    Major depressive disorder (MDD) is an important health problem that is often associated to stress. One of the main brain regions related to MDD is the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a dopaminergic center, part of the reward and motivation circuitry. Recent studies show that changes to VTA dopaminergic neurons are associated with depression and treatment. Ketamine has recently shown a fast, potent antidepressant effect in acute, sub-anesthetic doses. Thus, our aims were to elucidate if ketamine would be able to revert depression-like behaviors induced by a chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) protocol and if it could cause alterations to metabolism and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-immunoreactivity in VTA. For this, 48 Wistar rats were divided into four groups: control + saline (CTRL + SAL), control + ketamine (CTRL + KET), CUS + saline (CUS + SAL), CUS + ketamine (CUS + KET). The CUS groups underwent 28 days of CUS protocol. Saline or ketamine (10 mg/kg) was administered intraperitonially once on day 28. The behavior was assessed by the sucrose preference test, the open field test, and the forced swim test. Glucose brain metabolism was assessed and quantified with microPET. TH-immunoreactivity was assessed by estimating neuronal density and regional and cellular optical densities. A decrease in sucrose intake in the CUS groups and an increase in immobility was rapidly reverted by ketamine (p < 0.05). No difference was observed in the open field test. There was no alteration to VTA metabolism and TH-immunoreaction. These results suggest that the depressive-like behavior induced by CUS and the antidepressant effects of ketamine are unrelated to changes in neuronal metabolism or dopamine production in VTA.

  4. Effects of unilatral- and bilateral inhibition of rostral ventral tegmental area and central nucleus of amygdala on morphine-induced place conditioning in male Wistar rat.

    PubMed

    Mohammadian, Zahra; Sahraei, Hedayat; Meftahi, Gholam Hossein; Ali-Beik, Hengameh

    2017-03-01

    The rostral ventral tegmental area (VTAR) and central nucleus of amygdala (CeA) are considered the main regions for induction of psychological dependence on abused drugs, such as morphine. The main aim of this study was to investigate the transient inhibition of each right and left side as well as both sides of the VTAR and the CeA by lidocaine (2%) on morphine reward properties using the conditioned place preference (CPP) method. Male Wistar rats (250±20 g) 7 days after recovery from surgery and cannulation were conditioned to morphine (7.5 mg/kg) in CPP apparatus. Five minutes before morphine injection in conditioning phase, lidocaine was administered either uni- or bilaterally into the VTAR (0.25 μL/site) or CeA (0.5 μL/site). The results revealed that lidocaine administration into the left side, but not the right side of the VTAR and the CeA reduced morphine CPP significantly. The reduction was potentiated when lidocaine was injected into both sides of the VTAR and the CeA. The number of compartment crossings was reduced when lidocaine was injected into both sides of the VTAR and the CeA as well as the left side. Rearing was reduced when lidocaine was injected into the right, but not the left side of the VTAR. Sniffing and rearing increased when animals received lidocaine in the right side and reduced in the group that received lidocaine in the left side of the CeA. It was concluded that the right and the left side of VTAR and the CeA play different roles in morphine-induced activity and reward. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.

  5. Activation of D2 autoreceptors alters cocaine-induced locomotion and slows down local field oscillations in the rat ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Koulchitsky, Stanislav; Delairesse, Charlotte; Beeken, Thom; Monteforte, Alexandre; Dethier, Julie; Quertemont, Etienne; Findeisen, Rolf; Bullinger, Eric; Seutin, Vincent

    2016-09-01

    Psychoactive substances affecting the dopaminergic system induce locomotor activation and, in high doses, stereotypies. Network mechanisms underlying the shift from an active goal-directed behavior to a "seemingly purposeless" stereotypic locomotion remain unclear. In the present study we sought to determine the relationships between the behavioral effects of dopaminergic drugs and their effects on local field potentials (LFPs), which were telemetrically recorded within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of freely moving rats. We used the D2/D3 agonist quinpirole in a low, autoreceptor-selective (0.1 mg/kg, i.p.) and in a high (0.5 mg/kg, i.p.) dose, and a moderate dose of cocaine (10 mg/kg, i.p.). In the control group, power spectrum analysis revealed a prominent peak of LFP power in the theta frequency range during active exploration. Cocaine alone stimulated locomotion, but had no significant effect on the peak of the LFP power. In contrast, co-administration of low dose quinpirole with cocaine markedly altered the pattern of locomotion, from goal-directed exploratory behavior to recurrent motion resembling locomotor stereotypy. This behavioral effect was accompanied by a shift of the dominant theta power toward a significantly lower (by ∼15%) frequency. High dose quinpirole also provoked an increased locomotor activity with signs of behavioral stereotypies, and also induced a shift of the dominant oscillation frequency toward the lower range. These results demonstrate a correlation between the LFP oscillation frequency within the VTA and a qualitative aspect of locomotor behavior, perhaps due to a variable level of coherence of this region with its input or output areas. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Full-gestational exposure to nicotine and ethanol augments nicotine self-administration by altering ventral tegmental dopaminergic function due to NMDA receptors in adolescent rats.

    PubMed

    Roguski, Emily E; Sharp, Burt M; Chen, Hao; Matta, Shannon G

    2014-03-01

    In adult rats, we have shown full-gestational exposure to nicotine and ethanol (Nic + EtOH) augmented nicotine self-administration (SA) (increased nicotine intake) compared to pair-fed (PF) offspring. Therefore, we hypothesized that full-gestational exposure to Nic + EtOH disrupts control of dopaminergic (DA) circuitry by ventral tegmental area (VTA) NMDA receptors, augmenting nicotine SA and DA release in nucleus accumbens (NAcc) of adolescents. Both NAcc DA and VTA glutamate release were hyper-responsive to intra-VTA NMDA in Nic + EtOH offspring versus PF (p = 0.03 and 0.02, respectively). Similarly, DA release was more responsive to i.v. nicotine in Nic + EtOH offspring (p = 0.02). Local DL-2-Amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid sodium salt (AP5) (NMDA receptor antagonist) infusion into the VTA inhibited nicotine-stimulated DA release in Nic + EtOH and PF offspring. Nicotine SA was augmented in adolescent Nic + EtOH versus PF offspring (p = 0.000001). Daily VTA microinjections of AP5 reduced nicotine SA by Nic + EtOH offspring, without affecting PF (p = 0.000032). Indeed, nicotine SA in Nic + EtOH offspring receiving AP5 was not different from PF offspring. Both VTA mRNA transcripts and NMDA receptor subunit proteins were not altered in Nic + EtOH offspring. In summary, adolescent offspring exposed to gestational Nic + EtOH show markedly increased vulnerability to become dependent on nicotine. This reflects the enhanced function of a subpopulation of VTA NMDA receptors that confer greater nicotine-induced DA release in NAcc. We hypothesized that concurrent gestational exposure to nicotine and ethanol would disrupt the control of VTA dopaminergic circuitry by NMDA receptors. Resulting in the augmented nicotine self-administration (SA) in adolescent offspring.

  7. Effects of systemic and intra-nucleus accumbens 5-HT2C receptor compounds on ventral tegmental area self-stimulation thresholds in rats.

    PubMed

    Hayes, Dave J; Clements, Robert; Greenshaw, Andrew J

    2009-04-01

    Serotonin 2C (5-HT(2C)) receptors may play a role in regulating motivation and reward-related behaviours. To date, no studies have investigated the possible role of 5-HT(2C) receptors in ventral tegmental area (VTA) intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS). The current study investigated the hypotheses that 5-HT(2C) receptors play an inhibitory role in VTA ICSS, and that 5-HT(2C) receptors within the nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell may be involved. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were implanted with a VTA electrode and bilateral NAc shell cannulae for the experiment involving microinjections, and trained to respond for electrical self-stimulation. The systemic effects of the selective 5-HT(2C) receptor agonist WAY 161503 (0-1.0 mg/kg), the 5-HT(1A/1B/2C) receptor agonist TFMPP (0.3 mg/kg) and the selective 5-HT(2C) receptor antagonist SB 242084 (1.0 mg/kg) were compared using rate-frequency threshold analysis. Intra-NAc shell microinjections of WAY 161503 (0-1.5 microg/side) were investigated and compared to amphetamine (1.0 microg/side). WAY 161503 (1.0 mg/kg) and TFMPP (0.3 mg/kg) significantly increased rate-frequency thresholds (M50 values) without altering maximal response rates (RMAX values). SB 242084 attenuated the effects of TFMPP; SB 242084 had no affect on M50 or RMAX values. Intra-NAc shell WAY 161503 had no effect on M50 or RMAX values; intra-NAc amphetamine decreased M50 values. These results suggest that 5-HT(2C) receptors play an inhibitory role in regulating reward-related behaviour while 5-HT(2C) receptor activation in the NAc shell did not appear to influence VTA ICSS behaviour under the present experimental conditions.

  8. Area-specific analysis of the distribution of hypothalamic neurons projecting to the rat ventral tegmental area, with special reference to the GABAergic and glutamatergic efferents

    PubMed Central

    Kalló, Imre; Molnár, Csilla S.; Szöke, Sarolta; Fekete, Csaba; Hrabovszky, Erik; Liposits, Zsolt

    2015-01-01

    The ventral tegmental area (VTA) is a main regulator of reward and integrates a wide scale of hormonal and neuronal information. Feeding-, energy expenditure-, stress, adaptation- and reproduction-related hypothalamic signals are processed in the VTA and influence the reward processes. However, the neuroanatomical origin and chemical phenotype of neurons mediating these signals to the VTA have not been fully characterized. In this study we have systematically mapped hypothalamic neurons that project to the VTA using the retrograde tracer Choleratoxin B subunit (CTB) and analyzed their putative gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and/or glutamate character with in situ hybridization in male rats. 23.93 ± 3.91% of hypothalamic neurons projecting to the VTA was found in preoptic and 76.27 ± 4.88% in anterior, tuberal and mammillary hypothalamic regions. Nearly half of the retrogradely-labeled neurons in the preoptic, and more than one third in the anterior, tuberal and mammillary hypothalamus appeared in medially located regions. The analyses of vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (VGLUT2) and glutamate decarboxylase 65 (GAD65) mRNA expression revealed both amino acid markers in different subsets of retrogradely-labeled hypothalamic neurons, typically with the predominance of the glutamatergic marker VGLUT2. About one tenth of CTB-IR neurons were GAD65-positive even in hypothalamic nuclei expressing primarily VGLUT2. Some regions were populated mostly by GAD65 mRNA-containing retrogradely-labeled neurons. These included the perifornical part of the lateral hypothalamus where 58.63 ± 19.04% of CTB-IR neurons were GABAergic. These results indicate that both the medial and lateral nuclear compartments of the hypothalamus provide substantial input to the VTA. Furthermore, colocalization studies revealed that these projections not only use glutamate but also GABA for neurotransmission. These GABAergic afferents may underlie important inhibitory mechanism to fine-tune the

  9. Effects of insulin and leptin in the ventral tegmental area and arcuate hypothalamic nucleus on food intake and brain reward function in female rats

    PubMed Central

    Bruijnzeel, Adrie W.; Corrie, Lu W.; Rogers, Jessica A.; Yamada, Hidetaka

    2011-01-01

    There is evidence for a role of insulin and leptin in food intake, but the effects of these adiposity signals on the brain reward system are not well understood. Furthermore, the effects of insulin and leptin on food intake in females are underinvestigated. These studies investigated the role of insulin and leptin in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the arcuate hypothalamic nucleus (Arc) on food intake and brain reward function in female rats. The intracranial self-stimulation procedure was used to assess the effects of insulin and leptin on the reward system. Elevations in brain reward thresholds are indicative of a decrease in brain reward function. The bilateral administration of leptin into the VTA (15–500 ng/side) or Arc (15–150 ng/side) decreased food intake for 72 h. The infusion of leptin into the VTA or Arc resulted in weight loss during the first 48 (VTA) or 24 h (Arc) after the infusions. The administration of insulin (0.005–5 mU/side) into the VTA or Arc decreased food intake for 24 h but did not affect body weights. The bilateral administration of low, but not high, doses of leptin (15 ng/side) or insulin (0.005 mU/side) into the VTA elevated brain reward thresholds. Neither insulin nor leptin in the Arc affected brain reward thresholds. These studies suggest that a small increase in leptin or insulin levels in the VTA leads to a decrease in brain reward function. A relatively large increase in insulin or leptin levels in the VTA or Arc decreases food intake. PMID:21255613

  10. POMC overexpression in the ventral tegmental area ameliorates dietary obesity.

    PubMed

    Andino, Lourdes M; Ryder, Daniel J; Shapiro, Alexandra; Matheny, Michael K; Zhang, Yi; Judge, Melanie K; Cheng, K Y; Tümer, Nihal; Scarpace, Philip J

    2011-08-01

    The activation of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons in different regions of the brain, including the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus (ARC) and the nucleus of the solitary tract curtails feeding and attenuates body weight. In this study, we compared the effects of delivery of a recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV) construct encoding POMC to the ARC with delivery to the ventral tegmental area (VTA). F344×Brown Norway rats were high-fat (HF) fed for 14 days after which self-complementary rAAV constructs expressing either green fluorescent protein or the POMC gene were injected using coordinates targeting either the VTA or the ARC. Corresponding increased POMC levels were found at the predicted injection sites and subsequent α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone levels were observed. Food intake and body weight were measured for 4 months. Although caloric intake was unaltered by POMC overexpression, weight gain was tempered with POMC overexpression in either the VTA or the ARC compared with controls. There were parallel decreases in adipose tissue reserves. In addition, levels of oxygen consumption and brown adipose tissue uncoupling protein 1 were significantly elevated with POMC treatment in the VTA. Interestingly, tyrosine hydroxylase levels were increased in both the ARC and VTA with POMC overexpression in either the ARC or the VTA. In conclusion, these data indicate a role for POMC overexpression within the VTA reward center to combat HF-induced obesity.

  11. Exposure to repeated immobilization stress inhibits cocaine-induced increase in dopamine extracellular levels in the rat ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Sotomayor-Zárate, Ramón; Abarca, Jorge; Araya, Katherine A; Renard, Georgina M; Andrés, María E; Gysling, Katia

    2015-11-01

    A higher vulnerability to drug abuse has been observed in human studies of individuals exposed to chronic or persistent stress, as well as in animal models of drug abuse. Here, we explored the effect of repeated immobilization stress on cocaine-induced increase in dopamine extracellular levels in VTA and its regulation by corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and GABA systems. Cocaine (10mg/Kg i.p.) induced an increase of VTA DA extracellular levels in control rats. However, this effect was not observed in repeated stress rats. Considering the evidence relating stress with CRF, we decided to perfuse CRF and CP-154526 (selective antagonist of CRF1 receptor) in the VTA of control and repeated stress rats, respectively. We observed that perfusion of 20μM CRF inhibited the increase of VTA DA extracellular levels induced by cocaine in control rats. Interestingly, we observed that in the presence of 10μM CP-154526, cocaine induced a significant increase of VTA DA extracellular levels in repeated stress rats. Regarding the role of VTA GABA neurotransmission, cocaine administration induced a significant increase in VTA GABA extracellular levels only in repeated stress rats. Consistently, cocaine was able to increase VTA DA extracellular levels in repeated stress rats when 100μM bicuculline, an antagonist of GABAA receptor, was perfused intra VTA. Thus, both CRF and GABA systems are involved in the lack of response to cocaine in the VTA of repeated stress rats. It is tempting to suggest that the loss of response in VTA dopaminergic neurons to cocaine, after repeated stress, is due to an interaction between CRF and GABA systems. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. Sensitization of locomotion following repeated ventral tegmental injections of cytisine.

    PubMed

    Museo, E; Wise, R A

    1994-06-01

    Systemic injections of nicotine increase locomotion, and repeating these injections brings about a sensitization of the locomotor response. Ventral tegmental injections of the nicotinic agonist cytisine also increase locomotion. In the present study cytisine was administered repeatedly into the ventral tegmentum to determine whether sensitization of its locomotor-activating effects would develop. Four groups of animals were tested; each group received a total of six injections at a rate of one injection every 48 h. Two of these groups received injections of cytisine (10 nmol/side): one group received injections into the ventral tegmentum, and, to insure the anatomical specificity of the locomotor effect, a second group received injections dorsal to the ventral tegmentum. The remaining two groups received vehicle injections: one group received injections into the ventral tegmentum, and the other received injections into more dorsal sites. The group of animals that received injections of cytisine into the ventral tegmentum locomoted more than any other group. In addition, only with this group was a progressive increase in the locomotor response evident across test days. These findings raise the possibility that a neural substrate in the ventral tegmentum mediates the locomotor-activating and sensitizing effects associated with the systemic administration of nicotine.

  13. Developmental Responses of the Lateral Hypothalamus to Leptin in Neonatal Rats, and its Implications for the Development of Functional Connections with the Ventral Tegmental Area.

    PubMed

    Gjerde, E; Long, H; Richard, D; Walker, C-D

    2016-03-01

    Food intake is regulated by a close communication between the hypothalamus and the mesocorticolimbic pathways, which are still developing during the perinatal period in the rat, and are known targets for peripheral metabolic hormones such as leptin. A key region for this communication is the lateral hypothalamus (LH), although the onset of leptin responsiveness in the LH is unknown. We examined the activation of cellular signalling molecules in identified LH neurones on postnatal day (PND)10 and 16 and determined whether leptin directly targets orexin A (ORX-A) or neurotensin (NT) LH neurones through the detection of leptin receptors (ObRb) mRNA on these neurones. Next, using retrograde labelling in PND6 pups, we tested whether phenotypically identified neurones of the LH that respond to leptin project to ventral tegmental area (VTA) neurones. Leptin significantly induced phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (pERK)1/2 and phosphorylated signal transducer activator of transcription (pSTAT)3 in the LH on PND16, whereas, on PND10, modest pERK1/2- and sparse pSTAT3-positive cells were identified. On PND16, most pERK1/2-activated neurones contain ORX-A and leptin-induced pSTAT3 was observed in other unidentified neurones. Afferents to the VTA were observed on PND6, including a large input from the LH, which contained both ORX-A-positive and non-ORX-A neurones, with some of these ORX-A neurones being activated by leptin treatment. Leptin receptor (ObRb) mRNA in the LH did not colocalise with ORX-A neurones on PND10, and only a few NT-positive neurones displayed ObRb mRNA expression. Thus, functional responsiveness to leptin in LH neurones is only partially achieved prior to the onset of independent feeding on PND16, and ORX-A neurones are indirectly activated by leptin. The presence of anatomical connections between the LH and the VTA in the first week of life, prior to the development of leptin responsiveness in both structures, suggests that tissue

  14. Lack of response suppression follows repeated ventral tegmental cannabinoid administration: an in vitro electrophysiological study.

    PubMed

    Cheer, J F; Marsden, C A; Kendall, D A; Mason, R

    2000-01-01

    Cannabinoid compounds have been reported to excite ventral tegmental neurons through activation of cannabinoid CB1 receptors. More recently, biochemical and whole-cell voltage-clamp studies carried out on CB1-transfected AtT20 cells have shown a rapid desensitization of these receptors following activation of protein kinase C by 4-alpha-phorbol. To investigate the possible physiological correlates of this phenomenon, we have studied the effects of repeated cannabinoid treatment on ventral tegmental area dopaminergic neuronal firing in vitro. Rat brain slices containing the ventral tegmental area were used for single-unit extracellular recordings. Only neurons meeting established electrophysiological and pharmacological criteria for dopaminergic neurons were used in the study (firing neurons were detected either using tungsten or glass microelectrodes). The high-affinity cannabinoid agonist HU210 produced a concentration-dependent increase in firing (1-15 microM; EC(50) approximately 7 microM). Initial HU210 exposure produced a significant increase in cell firing rate in the ventral tegmental area, with a maximum approximately 3.5-fold increase over pre-drug basal firing; a subsequent exposure to HU210 produced an approximately threefold increase over basal firing. Nevertheless, the duration and onset of excitation produced by the cannabinoid differed significantly between the first and second exposures; the first excitation lasted significantly longer than the second and required less time to reach a comparable change in firing rate. The increases in firing rate and the time to return to basal firing were not significantly different between exposures. Furthermore, the cannabinoid antagonist SR141716A completely prevented the HU210-induced excitation whilst having no effect on its own, thus indicating a CB1-receptor mediated mechanism for the observed increase in firing. Ventral tegmental area neurons are also excited by the GABA(A) receptor antagonist bicuculline

  15. Properties of distinct ventral tegmental area synapses activated via pedunculopontine or ventral tegmental area stimulation in vitro

    PubMed Central

    Good, Cameron H; Lupica, Carl R

    2009-01-01

    Anatomical studies indicate that synaptic inputs from many cortical and subcortical structures converge on neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Although in vitro electrophysiological studies have examined synaptic inputs to dopamine (DA) and non-DA neurons in the VTA, they have largely relied upon local electrical stimulation to activate these synapses. This provides little information regarding the distinct properties of synapses originating from different brain areas. Using whole-cell recordings in parasagittal rat brain slices that preserved subcortical axons from the pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) to the VTA, we compared these synapses with those activated by intra-VTA stimulation. PPN-evoked currents demonstrated longer latencies than intra-VTA-evoked currents, and both VTA and PPN responses were mediated by GABAA and AMPA receptors. However, unlike VTA-evoked currents, PPN currents were exclusively mediated by glutamate in 25–40% of the VTA neurons. Consistent with a cholinergic projection from the PPN to the VTA, nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) were activated by endogenous acetylcholine released during PPN, but not VTA, stimulation. This was seen as a reduction of PPN-evoked, and not VTA-evoked, synaptic currents by the α7-nAChR antagonist methyllycaconitine (MLA) and the agonist nicotine. The β2-nAChR subunit antagonist dihydro-β-erythroidine had no effect on VTA- or PPN-evoked synaptic currents. The effects of MLA on PPN-evoked currents were unchanged by the GABAA receptor blocker picrotoxin, indicating that α7-nAChRs presynaptically modulated glutamate and not GABA release. These differences in physiological and pharmacological properties demonstrate that ascending PPN and presumed descending inputs to VTA utilize distinct mechanisms to differentially modulate neuronal activity and encode cortical and subcortical information. PMID:19188251

  16. Properties of distinct ventral tegmental area synapses activated via pedunculopontine or ventral tegmental area stimulation in vitro.

    PubMed

    Good, Cameron H; Lupica, Carl R

    2009-03-15

    Anatomical studies indicate that synaptic inputs from many cortical and subcortical structures converge on neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Although in vitro electrophysiological studies have examined synaptic inputs to dopamine (DA) and non-DA neurons in the VTA, they have largely relied upon local electrical stimulation to activate these synapses. This provides little information regarding the distinct properties of synapses originating from different brain areas. Using whole-cell recordings in parasagittal rat brain slices that preserved subcortical axons from the pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) to the VTA, we compared these synapses with those activated by intra-VTA stimulation. PPN-evoked currents demonstrated longer latencies than intra-VTA-evoked currents, and both VTA and PPN responses were mediated by GABA(A) and AMPA receptors. However, unlike VTA-evoked currents, PPN currents were exclusively mediated by glutamate in 25-40% of the VTA neurons. Consistent with a cholinergic projection from the PPN to the VTA, nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) were activated by endogenous acetylcholine released during PPN, but not VTA, stimulation. This was seen as a reduction of PPN-evoked, and not VTA-evoked, synaptic currents by the alpha7-nAChR antagonist methyllycaconitine (MLA) and the agonist nicotine. The beta2-nAChR subunit antagonist dihydro-beta-erythroidine had no effect on VTA- or PPN-evoked synaptic currents. The effects of MLA on PPN-evoked currents were unchanged by the GABA(A) receptor blocker picrotoxin, indicating that alpha7-nAChRs presynaptically modulated glutamate and not GABA release. These differences in physiological and pharmacological properties demonstrate that ascending PPN and presumed descending inputs to VTA utilize distinct mechanisms to differentially modulate neuronal activity and encode cortical and subcortical information.

  17. Androgen Influence on Prefrontal Dopamine Systems in Adult Male Rats: Localization of Cognate Intracellular Receptors in Medial Prefrontal Projections to the Ventral Tegmental Area and Effects of Gonadectomy and Hormone Replacement on Glutamate-Stimulated Extracellular Dopamine Level

    PubMed Central

    Kritzer, M. F.

    2012-01-01

    Although androgens are known to modulate dopamine (DA) systems and DA-dependent behaviors of the male prefrontal cortex (PFC), how this occurs remains unclear. Because relatively few ventral tegmental area (VTA) mesoprefrontal DA neurons contain intracellular androgen receptors (ARs), studies presented here combined retrograde tracing and immunolabeling for AR in male rats to determine whether projections afferent to the VTA might be more AR enriched. Results revealed PFC-to-VTA projections to be substantially AR enriched. Because these projections modulate VTA DA cell firing and PFC DA levels, influence over this pathway could be means whereby androgens modulate PFC DA. To assess the hormone sensitivity of glutamate stimulation of PFC DA tone, additional studies utilized microdialysis/reverse dialysis application of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subtype-selective antagonists which act locally within the PFC and tegmentally via inhibition or disinhibition of PFC-to-VTA afferents to modulate intracortical DA levels. Here, we compared the effects of these drug challenges in control, gonadectomized, and gonadectomized rats given testosterone or estradiol. This revealed complex effects of gonadectomy on antagonist-stimulated PFC DA levels that together with the anatomical data above suggest that androgen stimulation of PFC DA systems does engage glutamatergic circuitry and perhaps that of the AR-enriched glutamatergic projections from PFC-to-VTA specifically. PMID:21940701

  18. Cognitive Neurostimulation: Learning to Volitionally Sustain Ventral Tegmental Area Activation.

    PubMed

    MacInnes, Jeff J; Dickerson, Kathryn C; Chen, Nan-kuei; Adcock, R Alison

    2016-03-16

    Activation of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and mesolimbic networks is essential to motivation, performance, and learning. Humans routinely attempt to motivate themselves, with unclear efficacy or impact on VTA networks. Using fMRI, we found untrained participants' motivational strategies failed to consistently activate VTA. After real-time VTA neurofeedback training, however, participants volitionally induced VTA activation without external aids, relative to baseline, Pre-test, and control groups. VTA self-activation was accompanied by increased mesolimbic network connectivity. Among two comparison groups (no neurofeedback, false neurofeedback) and an alternate neurofeedback group (nucleus accumbens), none sustained activation in target regions of interest nor increased VTA functional connectivity. The results comprise two novel demonstrations: learning and generalization after VTA neurofeedback training and the ability to sustain VTA activation without external reward or reward cues. These findings suggest theoretical alignment of ideas about motivation and midbrain physiology and the potential for generalizable interventions to improve performance and learning.

  19. Locomotion induced by ventral tegmental microinjections of a nicotinic agonist.

    PubMed

    Museo, E; Wise, R A

    1990-03-01

    Bilateral microinjections of the nicotinic agonist cytisine (0.1, 1 or 10 nanomoles per side) into the ventral tegmental area increased locomotor activity. This increase in locomotion was antagonized by mecamylamine (2 mg/kg, IP), a nicotinic antagonist that readily crosses the blood-brain barrier, and by pimozide (0.3 mg/kg, IP), a central dopaminergic antagonist. Hexamethonium (2 mg/kg, IP), a nicotinic antagonist that, unlike mecamylamine, does not cross the blood-brain barrier, had no effect; this suggests that mecamylamine's attenuation of cytisine-induced locomotor activity resulted from a blockade of central and not peripheral nicotinic receptors. The data support the notion that nicotinic and dopaminergic substrates interact at the level of the VTA to produce increases in locomotor activity.

  20. Cognitive Neurostimulation: Learning to Volitionally Sustain Ventral Tegmental Area Activation

    PubMed Central

    MacInnes, Jeff J.; Dickerson, Kathryn C.; Chen, Nan-kuei; Adcock, R. Alison

    2016-01-01

    SUMMARY Activation of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and mesolimbic networks is essential to motivation, performance, and learning. Humans routinely attempt to motivate themselves, with unclear efficacy or impact on VTA networks. Using fMRI, we found untrained participants’ motivational strategies failed to consistently activate VTA. After real-time VTA neurofeedback training, however, participants volitionally induced VTA activation without external aids, relative to baseline, Pre-Test, and control groups. VTA self-activation was accompanied by increased mesolimbic network connectivity. Among two comparison groups (no neurofeedback, false neurofeedback) and an alternate neurofeedback group (nucleus accumbens), none sustained activation in target regions of interest nor increased VTA functional connectivity. The results comprise two novel demonstrations: learning and generalization after VTA neurofeedback training and the ability to sustain VTA activation without external reward or reward cues. These findings suggest theoretical alignment of ideas about motivation and midbrain physiology and the potential for generalizable interventions to improve performance and learning. PMID:26948894

  1. Leptin/LepRb in the Ventral Tegmental Area Mediates Anxiety-Related Behaviors

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Jing; Guo, Ming

    2016-01-01

    Background: Leptin, an adipose-derived hormone, has been implicated in emotional regulation. We have previously shown that systemic administration of leptin produces anxiolytic-like effects and deletion of the leptin receptor, LepRb, in midbrain dopamine neurons leads to an anxiogenic phenotype. This study investigated whether activation or deletion of LepRb in the ventral tegmental area of adult mice is capable of inducing anxiolytic and anxiogenic effects, respectively. Methods: Mice were cannulated in the ventral tegmental area and received bilateral intra-ventral tegmental area infusions of leptin or the JAK2/STAT3 inhibitor AG490. Anxiety-like behaviors were assessed using the elevated plus-maze, light-dark box, and novelty suppressed feeding tests. Deletion of LepRb in the ventral tegmental area was achieved by bilateral injection of AAV-Cre into the ventral tegmental area of adult Leprflox/flox mice. Anxiety-related behaviors were evaluated 3 weeks after viral injection. Results: Intra-ventral tegmental area infusions of leptin reduced anxiety-like behaviors, as indicated by increased percent open-arm time and open-arm entries in the elevated plus-maze test, increased time spent in the light side and decreased latency to enter the light side of the light-dark box, and decreased latency to feed in the novelty suppressed feeding test. Blockade of JAK2/STAT3 signaling in the ventral tegmental area by AG490 attenuated the anxiolytic effect produced by systemic administration of leptin. Leprflox/flox mice injected with AAV-Cre into the ventral tegmental area showed decreased leptin-induced STAT3 phosphorylation and enhanced anxiety-like behaviors in the elevated plus-maze test and the novelty suppressed feeding test. Conclusions: These findings suggest that leptin-LepRb signaling in the ventral tegmental area plays an important role in the regulation of anxiety-related behaviors. PMID:26438799

  2. Morphine-induced apoptosis in the ventral tegmental area and hippocampus after the development but not extinction of reward-related behaviors in rats.

    PubMed

    Razavi, Yasaman; Alamdary, Shabnam Zeighamy; Katebi, Seyedeh-Najmeh; Khodagholi, Fariba; Haghparast, Abbas

    2014-03-01

    Some data suggest that morphine induces apoptosis in neurons, while other evidences show that morphine could have protective effects against cell death. In this study, we suggested that there is a parallel role of morphine in reward circuitry and apoptosis processing. Therefore, we investigated the effect of morphine on modifications of apoptotic factors in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and hippocampus (HPC) which are involved in the reward circuitry after the acquisition and extinction periods of conditioned place preference (CPP). In behavioral experiments, different doses of morphine (0.5, 5, and 10 mg/kg) and saline were examined in the CPP paradigm. Conditioning score and locomotor activity were recorded by Ethovision software after acquisition on the post-conditioning day, and days 4 and 8 of extinction periods. In order to investigate the molecular mechanisms in each group, we then dissected the brains and measured the expression of apoptotic factors in the VTA and HPC by western blotting analysis. All of the morphine-treated groups showed an increase of apoptotic factors in these regions during acquisition but not in extinction period. In the HPC, morphine significantly increased the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2, caspases-3, and PARP by the lowest dose (0.5 mg/kg), but, in the VTA, a considerable increase was seen in the dose of 5 mg/kg; promotion of apoptotic factors in the HPC and VTA insinuates that morphine can affect the molecular mechanisms that interfere with apoptosis through different receptors. Our findings suggest that a specific opioid receptor involves in modification of apoptotic factors expression in these areas. It seems that the reduction of cell death in response to high dose of morphine in the VTA and HPC may be due to activation of low affinity opioid receptors which are involved in neuroprotective features of morphine.

  3. Multiplexed Neurochemical Signaling by Neurons of the Ventral Tegmental Area

    PubMed Central

    Barker, David J.; Root, David H.; Zhang, Shiliang; Morales, Marisela

    2016-01-01

    The ventral tegmental area (VTA) is an evolutionarily conserved structure that has roles in reward-seeking, safety-seeking, learning, motivation, and neuropsychiatric disorders such as addiction and depression. The involvement of the VTA in these various behaviors and disorders is paralleled by its diverse signaling mechanisms. Here we review recent advances in our understanding of neuronal diversity in the VTA with a focus on cell phenotypes that participate in ‘multiplexed’ neurotransmission involving distinct signaling mechanisms. First, we describe the cellular diversity within the VTA, including neurons capable of transmitting dopamine, glutamate or GABA as well as neurons capable of multiplexing combinations of these neurotransmitters. Next, we describe the complex synaptic architecture used by VTA neurons in order to accommodate the transmission of multiple transmitters. We specifically cover recent findings showing that VTA multiplexed neurotransmission may be mediated by either the segregation of dopamine and glutamate into distinct microdomains within a single axon or by the integration of glutamate and GABA into a single axon terminal. In addition, we discuss our current understanding of the functional role that these multiplexed signaling pathways have in the lateral habenula and the nucleus accumbens. Finally, we consider the putative roles of VTA multiplexed neurotransmission in synaptic plasticity and discuss how changes in VTA multiplexed neurons may relate to various psychopathologies including drug addiction and depression. PMID:26763116

  4. Ventral Tegmental Area Afferents and Drug-Dependent Behaviors

    PubMed Central

    Oliva, Idaira; Wanat, Matthew J.

    2016-01-01

    Drug-related behaviors in both humans and rodents are commonly thought to arise from aberrant learning processes. Preclinical studies demonstrate that the acquisition and expression of many drug-dependent behaviors involves the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a midbrain structure comprised of dopamine, GABA, and glutamate neurons. Drug experience alters the excitatory and inhibitory synaptic input onto VTA dopamine neurons, suggesting a critical role for VTA afferents in mediating the effects of drugs. In this review, we present evidence implicating the VTA in drug-related behaviors, highlight the diversity of neuronal populations in the VTA, and discuss the behavioral effects of selectively manipulating VTA afferents. Future experiments are needed to determine which VTA afferents and what neuronal populations in the VTA mediate specific drug-dependent behaviors. Further studies are also necessary for identifying the afferent-specific synaptic alterations onto dopamine and non-dopamine neurons in the VTA following drug administration. The identification of neural circuits and adaptations involved with drug-dependent behaviors can highlight potential neural targets for pharmacological and deep brain stimulation interventions to treat substance abuse disorders. PMID:27014097

  5. Region-specific contribution of the ventral tegmental area to heroin-induced conditioned immunomodulation.

    PubMed

    Hutson, Lee W; Szczytkowski, Jennifer L; Saurer, Timothy B; Lebonville, Christina; Fuchs, Rita A; Lysle, Donald T

    2014-05-01

    Dopamine receptor stimulation is critical for heroin-conditioned immunomodulation; however, it is unclear whether the ventral tegmental area (VTA) contributes to this phenomenon. Hence, rats received repeated pairings of heroin with placement into a distinct environmental context. At test, they were re-exposed to the previously heroin-paired environment followed by systemic lipopolysaccharide treatment to induce an immune response. Bilateral GABA agonist-induced neural inactivation of the anterior, but not the posterior VTA, prior to context re-exposure inhibited the ability of the heroin-paired environment to suppress peripheral nitric oxide and tumor necrosis factor-α expression, suggesting a role for the anterior VTA in heroin-conditioned immunomodulation.

  6. Cocaine-Induced Endocannabinoid Mobilization in the Ventral Tegmental Area.

    PubMed

    Wang, Huikun; Treadway, Tyler; Covey, Daniel P; Cheer, Joseph F; Lupica, Carl R

    2015-09-29

    Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that acts upon the brain's reward circuitry via the inhibition of monoamine uptake. Endogenous cannabinoids (eCB) are lipid molecules released from midbrain dopamine (DA) neurons that modulate cocaine's effects through poorly understood mechanisms. We find that cocaine stimulates release of the eCB, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), in the rat ventral midbrain to suppress GABAergic inhibition of DA neurons, through activation of presynaptic cannabinoid CB1 receptors. Cocaine mobilizes 2-AG via inhibition of norepinephrine uptake and promotion of a cooperative interaction between Gq/11-coupled type-1 metabotropic glutamate and α1-adrenergic receptors to stimulate internal calcium stores and activate phospholipase C. The disinhibition of DA neurons by cocaine-mobilized 2-AG is also functionally relevant because it augments DA release in the nucleus accumbens in vivo. Our results identify a mechanism through which the eCB system can regulate the rewarding and addictive properties of cocaine.

  7. Motivated behaviors and levels of 3α,5α-THP in the midbrain are attenuated by knocking down expression of pregnane xenobiotic receptor in the midbrain ventral tegmental area of proestrous rats.

    PubMed

    Frye, Cheryl Anne; Koonce, Carolyn J; Walf, Alicia A; Rusconi, Jamie C

    2013-07-01

    Progesterone (P4 ) and its product, 5α-pregnan-3α-ol-20-one (3α,5α-THP), act in the midbrain ventral tegmental area (VTA) to alter motivated behaviors, such as mating, and motor and anxiety behavior. Of interest is whether 3α,5α-THP formation requires the pregnane xenobiotic receptor (PXR), which is expressed in the midbrain of rats. The role of PXR in the midbrain for 3α,5α-THP formation, which precedes modulation of motivated behaviors, was investigated. Rats had estrous cycle phase determined and were assessed when they were in diestrus or proestrus. Diestrous and proestrous rats were infused with control or antisense oligodeoxyribonucleotides (AS-ODNs) targeted against PXR to the VTA. In pilot studies, PXR gene and protein expression in the midbrain were determined with quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting, respectively. Diestrous and proestrous rats infused with control or AS-ODNs to the VTA were tested for anxiety (open field and plus maze), social (social interaction), and sexual (paced mating) behavior. Expression of PXR in the midbrain was verified with Western blotting. Plasma estradiol, P4 , dihydroprogesterone (DHP), and 3α,5α-THP levels, and brain P4 , DHP, and 3α,5α-THP levels were measured. We predicted that proestrous rats infused with PXR AS-ODNs would have decreased anti-anxiety, social, and sexual behavior, lower midbrain expression of PXR, and lower midbrain levels of 3α,5α-THP compared with controls. Results supported the hypothesis that formation of 3α,5α-THP requires PXR and may be important for motivated behaviors. PXR AS-ODN, compared with control, infusions to the VTA reduced PXR expression and 3α,5α-THP levels in the midbrain and attenuated sexual receptivity of proestrous rats. Knockdown of PXR in the midbrain reduces 3α,5α-THP levels and sexual receptivity of proestrous rats. Thus, PXR in the midbrain may be required for the observed increase in 3α-5α-THP during

  8. Motivated behaviors and levels of 3α,5α-THP in the midbrain are attenuated by knocking down expression of pregnane xenobiotic receptor in the midbrain ventral tegmental area of proestrous rats

    PubMed Central

    Frye, C.A.; Koonce, C.J.; Walf, A.A.; Rusconi, Jamie C.

    2013-01-01

    Introduction Progesterone (P4) and its product, 5α-pregnan-3α-ol-20-one (3α,5α-THP), act in the midbrain ventral tegmental area (VTA) to alter motivated behaviors, such as mating, and motor and anxiety behavior. Of interest is whether 3α,5α-THP formation requires the pregnane xenobiotic receptor (PXR), which is expressed in the midbrain of rats. Aim The role of PXR in the midbrain for 3α,5α-THP formation, which precedes modulation of motivated behaviors, was investigated. Methods Rats had estrous cycle phase determined and were assessed when they were in diestrus or proestrus. Diestrous and proestrous rats were infused with control or anti-sense oligodeoxyribonucleotides (AS-ODNs) targeted against PXR to the VTA. Main Outcome Measures In pilot studies, PXR gene and protein expression in the midbrain was determined with quantitative RT-PCR and western blotting, respectively. Diestrous and proestrous rats infused with control or AS-ODNs to the VTA were tested for anxiety (open field, plus maze), social (social interaction) and sexual (paced mating) behavior. Expression of PXR in the midbrain was verified with Western blotting. Plasma estradiol, P4, dihydroprogesterone (DHP), and 3α,5α-THP levels, and brain P4, DHP, and 3α,5α-THP levels, were measured. We predicted that proestrous rats infused with PXR AS-ODNs would have decreased anti-anxiety, social, and sexual behavior, lower midbrain expression of PXR, and lower midbrain levels of 3α,5α-THP, compared to controls. Results Results supported the hypothesis that formation of 3α,5α-THP requires PXR, and may be important for motivated behaviors. PXR AS-ODN, compared to control, infusions to the VTA reduced PXR expression and 3α,5α-THP levels in the midbrain, and attenuated sexual receptivity of proestrous rats. Conclusions Knockdown of PXR in the midbrain reduces 3α,5α-THP levels and sexual receptivity of proestrous rats. Thus, PXR in the midbrain may be required for the observed increase in 3α-5

  9. Knockdown of ventral tegmental area mu-opioid receptors in rats prevents effects of social defeat stress: Implications for amphetamine cross-sensitization, social avoidance, weight regulation and expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor

    PubMed Central

    Johnston, Caitlin E.; Herschel, Daniel; Lasek, Amy W.; Hammer, Ronald P.; Nikulina, Ella M.

    2014-01-01

    Social defeat stress causes social avoidance and long-lasting cross-sensitization to psychostimulants, both of which are associated with increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Moreover, social stress upregulates VTA mu-opioid receptor (MOR) mRNA. In the VTA, MOR activation inhibits GABA neurons to disinhibit VTA dopamine neurons, thus providing a role for VTA MORs in the regulation of psychostimulant sensitization. The present study determined the effect of lentivirus-mediated MOR knockdown in the VTA on the consequences of intermittent social defeat stress, a salient and profound stressor in humans and rodents. Social stress exposure induced social avoidance and attenuated weight gain in animals with non-manipulated VTA MORs, but both these effects were prevented by VTA MOR knockdown. Rats with non-manipulated VTA MOR expression exhibited cross-sensitization to amphetamine challenge (1.0 mg/kg, i.p.), evidenced by a significant augmentation of locomotion. By contrast, knockdown of VTA MORs prevented stress-induced cross-sensitization without blunting the locomotor-activating effects of amphetamine. At the time point corresponding to amphetamine challenge, immunohistochemical analysis was performed to examine the effect of stress on VTA BDNF expression. Prior stress exposure increased VTA BDNF expression in rats with non-manipulated VTA MOR expression, while VTA MOR knockdown prevented stress-induced expression of VTA BDNF. Taken together, these results suggest that upregulation of VTA MOR is necessary for the behavioral and biochemical changes induced by social defeat stress. Elucidating VTA MOR regulation of stress effects on the mesolimbic system may provide new therapeutic targets for treating stress-induced vulnerability to substance abuse. PMID:25446676

  10. Knockdown of ventral tegmental area mu-opioid receptors in rats prevents effects of social defeat stress: implications for amphetamine cross-sensitization, social avoidance, weight regulation and expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor.

    PubMed

    Johnston, Caitlin E; Herschel, Daniel J; Lasek, Amy W; Hammer, Ronald P; Nikulina, Ella M

    2015-02-01

    Social defeat stress causes social avoidance and long-lasting cross-sensitization to psychostimulants, both of which are associated with increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Moreover, social stress upregulates VTA mu-opioid receptor (MOR) mRNA. In the VTA, MOR activation inhibits GABA neurons to disinhibit VTA dopamine neurons, thus providing a role for VTA MORs in the regulation of psychostimulant sensitization. The present study determined the effect of lentivirus-mediated MOR knockdown in the VTA on the consequences of intermittent social defeat stress, a salient and profound stressor in humans and rodents. Social stress exposure induced social avoidance and attenuated weight gain in animals with non-manipulated VTA MORs, but both these effects were prevented by VTA MOR knockdown. Rats with non-manipulated VTA MOR expression exhibited cross-sensitization to amphetamine challenge (1.0 mg/kg, i.p.), evidenced by a significant augmentation of locomotion. By contrast, knockdown of VTA MORs prevented stress-induced cross-sensitization without blunting the locomotor-activating effects of amphetamine. At the time point corresponding to amphetamine challenge, immunohistochemical analysis was performed to examine the effect of stress on VTA BDNF expression. Prior stress exposure increased VTA BDNF expression in rats with non-manipulated VTA MOR expression, while VTA MOR knockdown prevented stress-induced expression of VTA BDNF. Taken together, these results suggest that upregulation of VTA MOR is necessary for the behavioral and biochemical changes induced by social defeat stress. Elucidating VTA MOR regulation of stress effects on the mesolimbic system may provide new therapeutic targets for treating stress-induced vulnerability to substance abuse.

  11. The neurokinin-3 (NK3) and the neurokinin-1 (NK1) receptors are differentially targeted to mesocortical and mesololimbic projection neurons, and to neuronal nuclei in the rat ventral tegmental area

    PubMed Central

    Lessard, Andrée; Savard, Martin; Gobeil, Fernand; Pierce, Joseph P.; Pickel, Virginia M.

    2009-01-01

    Tonic activation of neurokinin-3 (NK3) receptors in dopamine neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) has been implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. This psychiatric disorder is associated with a dysfunctional activity in VTA projection neurons that can affect cognitive function at the level of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) as well as motor and motivational states controlled in part by mesolimbic output to the nucleus accumbens (Acb). To determine the relevant sites for NK3 receptor activation within this neuronal network, we used confocal and electron microscopy to examine NK3 receptors (Cy5; immunogold) and retrograde labeling of fluorogold (FG, FITC; immunoperoxidase) in the VTA of rats receiving either Acb or mPFC injections of FG. Comparison was made with neurokinin-1 (NK1) receptors, which are also present, but less abundant then NK3 receptors, in dopaminergic and GABAergic VTA neurons. There were no observable differences between NK3 and NK1 receptors in their primary locations in the cytoplasm and on the plasma membrane of VTA somata and dendrites with or without FG. Dendrites labeled with FG retrogradely transported from mPFC, however, contained more NK3 or less NK1 immunogold particles (plasmalemmal + cytoplasmic) then those retrogradely labeled following FG injection in the Acb. Moreover, only the NK3 receptors were detected in neuronal nuclei in the VTA and in the nuclei of human HEK-293T NK3-transfected cells. The enrichment of NK3 receptors in mesocortical projection neurons and nuclear distribution of these receptors may provide insight for understanding the selective antipsychotic effectiveness of NK3 antagonists. PMID:19224600

  12. Ventral Tegmental Area and Substantia Nigra Neural Correlates of Spatial Learning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Martig, Adria K.; Mizumori, Sheri J. Y.

    2011-01-01

    The ventral tegmental area (VTA) and substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) may provide modulatory signals that, respectively, influence hippocampal (HPC)- and striatal-dependent memory. Electrophysiological studies investigating neural correlates of learning and memory of dopamine (DA) neurons during classical conditioning tasks have found DA…

  13. Ventral Tegmental Area and Substantia Nigra Neural Correlates of Spatial Learning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Martig, Adria K.; Mizumori, Sheri J. Y.

    2011-01-01

    The ventral tegmental area (VTA) and substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) may provide modulatory signals that, respectively, influence hippocampal (HPC)- and striatal-dependent memory. Electrophysiological studies investigating neural correlates of learning and memory of dopamine (DA) neurons during classical conditioning tasks have found DA…

  14. Role of the Ventral Tegmental Area in Methamphetamine Extinction: AMPA Receptor-Mediated Neuroplasticity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Chen Han-Ting; Chen, Jin-Chung

    2015-01-01

    The molecular mechanisms underlying drug extinction remain largely unknown, although a role for medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) glutamate neurons has been suggested. Considering that the mPFC sends glutamate efferents to the ventral tegmental area (VTA), we tested whether the VTA is involved in methamphetamine (METH) extinction via conditioned…

  15. Role of the Ventral Tegmental Area in Methamphetamine Extinction: AMPA Receptor-Mediated Neuroplasticity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Chen Han-Ting; Chen, Jin-Chung

    2015-01-01

    The molecular mechanisms underlying drug extinction remain largely unknown, although a role for medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) glutamate neurons has been suggested. Considering that the mPFC sends glutamate efferents to the ventral tegmental area (VTA), we tested whether the VTA is involved in methamphetamine (METH) extinction via conditioned…

  16. Reducing Ventral Tegmental Dopamine D2 Receptor Expression Selectively Boosts Incentive Motivation.

    PubMed

    de Jong, Johannes W; Roelofs, Theresia J M; Mol, Frédérique M U; Hillen, Anne E J; Meijboom, Katharina E; Luijendijk, Mieneke C M; van der Eerden, Harrie A M; Garner, Keith M; Vanderschuren, Louk J M J; Adan, Roger A H

    2015-08-01

    Altered mesolimbic dopamine signaling has been widely implicated in addictive behavior. For the most part, this work has focused on dopamine within the striatum, but there is emerging evidence for a role of the auto-inhibitory, somatodendritic dopamine D2 receptor (D2R) in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in addiction. Thus, decreased midbrain D2R expression has been implicated in addiction in humans. Moreover, knockout of the gene encoding the D2R receptor (Drd2) in dopamine neurons has been shown to enhance the locomotor response to cocaine in mice. Therefore, we here tested the hypothesis that decreasing D2R expression in the VTA of adult rats, using shRNA knockdown, promotes addiction-like behavior in rats responding for cocaine or palatable food. Rats with decreased VTA D2R expression showed markedly increased motivation for both sucrose and cocaine under a progressive ratio schedule of reinforcement, but the acquisition or maintenance of cocaine self-administration were not affected. They also displayed enhanced cocaine-induced locomotor activity, but no change in basal locomotion. This robust increase in incentive motivation was behaviorally specific, as we did not observe any differences in fixed ratio responding, extinction responding, reinstatement or conditioned suppression of cocaine, and sucrose seeking. We conclude that VTA D2R knockdown results in increased incentive motivation, but does not directly promote other aspects of addiction-like behavior.

  17. Reducing Ventral Tegmental Dopamine D2 Receptor Expression Selectively Boosts Incentive Motivation

    PubMed Central

    de Jong, Johannes W; Roelofs, Theresia J M; Mol, Frédérique M U; Hillen, Anne E J; Meijboom, Katharina E; Luijendijk, Mieneke C M; van der Eerden, Harrie A M; Garner, Keith M; Vanderschuren, Louk J M J; Adan, Roger A H

    2015-01-01

    Altered mesolimbic dopamine signaling has been widely implicated in addictive behavior. For the most part, this work has focused on dopamine within the striatum, but there is emerging evidence for a role of the auto-inhibitory, somatodendritic dopamine D2 receptor (D2R) in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in addiction. Thus, decreased midbrain D2R expression has been implicated in addiction in humans. Moreover, knockout of the gene encoding the D2R receptor (Drd2) in dopamine neurons has been shown to enhance the locomotor response to cocaine in mice. Therefore, we here tested the hypothesis that decreasing D2R expression in the VTA of adult rats, using shRNA knockdown, promotes addiction-like behavior in rats responding for cocaine or palatable food. Rats with decreased VTA D2R expression showed markedly increased motivation for both sucrose and cocaine under a progressive ratio schedule of reinforcement, but the acquisition or maintenance of cocaine self-administration were not affected. They also displayed enhanced cocaine-induced locomotor activity, but no change in basal locomotion. This robust increase in incentive motivation was behaviorally specific, as we did not observe any differences in fixed ratio responding, extinction responding, reinstatement or conditioned suppression of cocaine, and sucrose seeking. We conclude that VTA D2R knockdown results in increased incentive motivation, but does not directly promote other aspects of addiction-like behavior. PMID:25735756

  18. Functional μ-Opioid-Galanin Receptor Heteromers in the Ventral Tegmental Area

    PubMed Central

    Moreno, Estefanía; Quiroz, César; Rea, William; Cai, Ning-Sheng; Cortés, Antoni

    2017-01-01

    The neuropeptide galanin has been shown to interact with the opioid system. More specifically, galanin counteracts the behavioral effects of the systemic administration of μ-opioid receptor (MOR) agonists. Yet the mechanism responsible for this galanin–opioid interaction has remained elusive. Using biophysical techniques in mammalian transfected cells, we found evidence for selective heteromerization of MOR and the galanin receptor subtype Gal1 (Gal1R). Also in transfected cells, a synthetic peptide selectively disrupted MOR–Gal1R heteromerization as well as specific interactions between MOR and Gal1R ligands: a negative cross talk, by which galanin counteracted MAPK activation induced by the endogenous MOR agonist endomorphin-1, and a cross-antagonism, by which a MOR antagonist counteracted MAPK activation induced by galanin. These specific interactions, which represented biochemical properties of the MOR-Gal1R heteromer, could then be identified in situ in slices of rat ventral tegmental area (VTA) with MAPK activation and two additional cell signaling pathways, AKT and CREB phosphorylation. Furthermore, in vivo microdialysis experiments showed that the disruptive peptide selectively counteracted the ability of galanin to block the dendritic dopamine release in the rat VTA induced by local infusion of endomorphin-1, demonstrating a key role of MOR-Gal1R heteromers localized in the VTA in the direct control of dopamine cell function and their ability to mediate antagonistic interactions between MOR and Gal1R ligands. The results also indicate that MOR-Gal1R heteromers should be viewed as targets for the treatment of opioid use disorders. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The μ-opioid receptor (MOR) localized in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) plays a key role in the reinforcing and addictive properties of opioids. With parallel in vitro experiments in mammalian transfected cells and in situ and in vivo experiments in rat VTA, we demonstrate that a significant

  19. Functional μ-Opioid-Galanin Receptor Heteromers in the Ventral Tegmental Area.

    PubMed

    Moreno, Estefanía; Quiroz, César; Rea, William; Cai, Ning-Sheng; Mallol, Josefa; Cortés, Antoni; Lluís, Carme; Canela, Enric I; Casadó, Vicent; Ferré, Sergi

    2017-02-01

    The neuropeptide galanin has been shown to interact with the opioid system. More specifically, galanin counteracts the behavioral effects of the systemic administration of μ-opioid receptor (MOR) agonists. Yet the mechanism responsible for this galanin-opioid interaction has remained elusive. Using biophysical techniques in mammalian transfected cells, we found evidence for selective heteromerization of MOR and the galanin receptor subtype Gal1 (Gal1R). Also in transfected cells, a synthetic peptide selectively disrupted MOR-Gal1R heteromerization as well as specific interactions between MOR and Gal1R ligands: a negative cross talk, by which galanin counteracted MAPK activation induced by the endogenous MOR agonist endomorphin-1, and a cross-antagonism, by which a MOR antagonist counteracted MAPK activation induced by galanin. These specific interactions, which represented biochemical properties of the MOR-Gal1R heteromer, could then be identified in situ in slices of rat ventral tegmental area (VTA) with MAPK activation and two additional cell signaling pathways, AKT and CREB phosphorylation. Furthermore, in vivo microdialysis experiments showed that the disruptive peptide selectively counteracted the ability of galanin to block the dendritic dopamine release in the rat VTA induced by local infusion of endomorphin-1, demonstrating a key role of MOR-Gal1R heteromers localized in the VTA in the direct control of dopamine cell function and their ability to mediate antagonistic interactions between MOR and Gal1R ligands. The results also indicate that MOR-Gal1R heteromers should be viewed as targets for the treatment of opioid use disorders. The μ-opioid receptor (MOR) localized in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) plays a key role in the reinforcing and addictive properties of opioids. With parallel in vitro experiments in mammalian transfected cells and in situ and in vivo experiments in rat VTA, we demonstrate that a significant population of these MORs form

  20. Conjunctive encoding of movement and reward by ventral tegmental area neurons in the freely navigating rodent

    PubMed Central

    Puryear, Corey B.; Kim, Min Jung; Mizumori, Sheri J.Y.

    2010-01-01

    As one of the two main sources of brain dopamine, the ventral tegmental area (VTA) is important for several complex functions, including motivation, reward prediction, and contextual learning. Although many studies have identified the potential neural substrate of VTA dopaminergic activity in reward prediction functions during Pavlovian and operant conditioning tasks, less is understood about the role of VTA neuronal activity in motivated behaviors and more naturalistic forms of context-dependent learning. Therefore, VTA neural activity was recorded as rats performed a spatial memory task under varying context conditions. In addition to reward- and reward predicting cue-related firing commonly observed during conditioning tasks, the activity of a large proportion of VTA neurons was also related to the velocity and/or acceleration of the animal’s movement. Importantly, movement-related activity was strongest when rats displayed more motivation to obtain reward. Furthermore, many cells displayed a dual code of movement- and reward-related activity. These two modes of firing, however, were differentially regulated by context information, suggesting that movement- and reward-related firing are two independently regulated modes of VTA neuronal activity and may serve separate functions. PMID:20364883

  1. Alcohol drinking increases the dopamine-stimulating effects of ethanol and reduces D2 auto-receptor and group II metabotropic glutamate receptor function within the posterior ventral tegmental area of alcohol preferring (P) rats.

    PubMed

    Ding, Zheng-Ming; Ingraham, Cynthia M; Rodd, Zachary A; McBride, William J

    2016-10-01

    Repeated local administration of ethanol (EtOH) sensitized the posterior ventral tegmental area (pVTA) to the local dopamine (DA)-stimulating effects of EtOH. Chronic alcohol drinking increased nucleus accumbens (NAC) DA transmission and pVTA glutamate transmission in alcohol-preferring (P) rats. The objectives of the present study were to determine the effects of chronic alcohol drinking by P rats on the (a) sensitivity and response of the pVTA DA neurons to the DA-stimulating actions of EtOH, and (b) negative feedback control of DA (via D2 auto-receptors) and glutamate (via group II mGlu auto-receptors) release in the pVTA. EtOH (50 or 150 mg%) or the D2/3 receptor antagonist sulpiride (100 or 200 μM) was microinjected into the pVTA while DA was sampled with microdialysis in the NAC shell (NACsh). The mGluR2/3 antagonist LY341495 (1 or 10 μM) was perfused through the pVTA via reverse microdialysis and local extracellular glutamate and DA levels were measured. EtOH produced a more robust increase of NACsh DA in the 'EtOH' than 'Water' groups (e.g., 150 mg% EtOH: to ∼ 210 vs 150% of baseline). In contrast, sulpiride increased DA release in the NACsh more in the 'Water' than 'EtOH' groups (e.g., 200 μM sulpiride: to ∼ 190-240 vs 150-160% of baseline). LY341495 (at 10 μM) increased extracellular glutamate and DA levels in the 'Water' (to ∼ 150-180% and 180-230% of baseline, respectively) but not the 'EtOH' groups. These results indicate that alcohol drinking enhanced the DA-stimulating effects of EtOH, and attenuated the functional activities of D2 auto-receptors and group II mGluRs within the pVTA.

  2. Presynaptic glycine receptors on GABAergic terminals facilitate discharge of dopaminergic neurons in ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Ye, Jiang-Hong; Wang, Fushun; Krnjevic, Kresimir; Wang, Weizhen; Xiong, Zhi-Gang; Zhang, Jingli

    2004-10-13

    GABA-mediated postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) were recorded from dopaminergic (DA) neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of rats, in acute brain slices, and from enzymatically or mechanically dissociated neurons. In young rats (3-10 d of age), where GABA is excitatory, glycine (1-3 microm) and taurine (10-30 microm) increased the amplitude of evoked IPSCs (eIPSCs) and the frequency of spontaneous IPSCs (sIPSCs) but had minimal postsynaptic effects. Strychnine (1 microm) blocked the action of glycine; when applied alone, it reduced the amplitude of eIPSCs and the frequency of sIPSCs, indicating a tonic facilitation of GABAergic excitation by some endogenous glycine agonist(s). In medium containing no Ca2+, or with Cd2+ or tetrodotoxin added, the amplitude and especially the frequency of sIPSCs greatly diminished. In many cells, glycine had no effect on remaining miniature IPSCs, suggesting a preterminal site of glycine receptors (GlyRs). Fura-2 fluorescent imaging showed a glycine-induced increase of [Ca2+] in nerve terminals (on DA neurons), which was suppressed by strychnine or 3 microm omega-conotoxin MVIIA. Therefore, the presynaptic GlyR-mediated facilitation of GABAergic transmission seems to be mediated by N- and/or P/Q-type Ca2+ channels. In older rats (22-30 d of age), where GABA causes inhibition, the effect of strychnine on GABAergic IPSCs was reversed to facilitation, indicating a tonic glycinergic inhibition of GABA release. Furthermore, glycine (1-3 microm) reduced the amplitude of eIPSCs and the frequency of sIPSCs. Hence, the overall effect of the presynaptic action of glycine is to enhance the firing of DA cells, both in very young and older rats.

  3. Afferent Inputs to Neurotransmitter-Defined Cell Types in the Ventral Tegmental Area.

    PubMed

    Faget, Lauren; Osakada, Fumitaka; Duan, Jinyi; Ressler, Reed; Johnson, Alexander B; Proudfoot, James A; Yoo, Ji Hoon; Callaway, Edward M; Hnasko, Thomas S

    2016-06-21

    The ventral tegmental area (VTA) plays a central role in the neural circuit control of behavioral reinforcement. Though considered a dopaminergic nucleus, the VTA contains substantial heterogeneity in neurotransmitter type, containing also GABA and glutamate neurons. Here, we used a combinatorial viral approach to transsynaptically label afferents to defined VTA dopamine, GABA, or glutamate neurons. Surprisingly, we find that these populations received qualitatively similar inputs, with dominant and comparable projections from the lateral hypothalamus, raphe, and ventral pallidum. However, notable differences were observed, with striatal regions and globus pallidus providing a greater share of input to VTA dopamine neurons, cortical input preferentially on to glutamate neurons, and GABA neurons receiving proportionally more input from the lateral habenula and laterodorsal tegmental nucleus. By comparing inputs to each of the transmitter-defined VTA cell types, this study sheds important light on the systems-level organization of diverse inputs to VTA.

  4. D-amino acid oxidase is expressed in the ventral tegmental area and modulates cortical dopamine

    PubMed Central

    Betts, Jill F.; Schweimer, Judith V.; Burnham, Katherine E.; Burnet, Philip W. J.; Sharp, Trevor; Harrison, Paul J.

    2014-01-01

    D-amino acid oxidase (DAO, DAAO) degrades the NMDA receptor co-agonist D-serine, modulating D-serine levels and thence NMDA receptor function. DAO inhibitors are under development as a therapy for schizophrenia, a disorder involving both NMDA receptor and dopaminergic dysfunction. However, a direct role for DAO in dopamine regulation has not been demonstrated. Here, we address this question in two ways. First, using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry, we show that DAO mRNA and immunoreactivity are present in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the rat, in tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive and -negative neurons, and in glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-immunoreactive astrocytes. Second, we show that injection into the VTA of sodium benzoate, a DAO inhibitor, increases frontal cortex extracellular dopamine, as measured by in vivo microdialysis and high performance liquid chromatography. Combining sodium benzoate and D-serine did not enhance this effect, and injection of D-serine alone affected dopamine metabolites but not dopamine. These data show that DAO is expressed in the VTA, and suggest that it impacts on the mesocortical dopamine system. The mechanism by which the observed effects occur, and the implications of these findings for schizophrenia therapy, require further study. PMID:24822045

  5. Orexin–Corticotropin-Releasing Factor Receptor Heteromers in the Ventral Tegmental Area as Targets for Cocaine

    PubMed Central

    Navarro, Gemma; Quiroz, César; Moreno-Delgado, David; Sierakowiak, Adam; McDowell, Kimberly; Moreno, Estefanía; Rea, William; Cai, Ning-Sheng; Aguinaga, David; Howell, Lesley A.; Hausch, Felix; Cortés, Antonio; Mallol, Josefa; Casadó, Vicent; Lluís, Carme; Canela, Enric I.

    2015-01-01

    Release of the neuropeptides corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and orexin-A in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) play an important role in stress-induced cocaine-seeking behavior. We provide evidence for pharmacologically significant interactions between CRF and orexin-A that depend on oligomerization of CRF1 receptor (CRF1R) and orexin OX1 receptors (OX1R). CRF1R–OX1R heteromers are the conduits of a negative crosstalk between orexin-A and CRF as demonstrated in transfected cells and rat VTA, in which they significantly modulate dendritic dopamine release. The cocaine target σ1 receptor (σ1R) also associates with the CRF1R–OX1R heteromer. Cocaine binding to the σ1R–CRF1R–OX1R complex promotes a long-term disruption of the orexin-A–CRF negative crosstalk. Through this mechanism, cocaine sensitizes VTA cells to the excitatory effects of both CRF and orexin-A, thus providing a mechanism by which stress induces cocaine seeking. PMID:25926444

  6. Orexin-corticotropin-releasing factor receptor heteromers in the ventral tegmental area as targets for cocaine.

    PubMed

    Navarro, Gemma; Quiroz, César; Moreno-Delgado, David; Sierakowiak, Adam; McDowell, Kimberly; Moreno, Estefanía; Rea, William; Cai, Ning-Sheng; Aguinaga, David; Howell, Lesley A; Hausch, Felix; Cortés, Antonio; Mallol, Josefa; Casadó, Vicent; Lluís, Carme; Canela, Enric I; Ferré, Sergi; McCormick, Peter J

    2015-04-29

    Release of the neuropeptides corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and orexin-A in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) play an important role in stress-induced cocaine-seeking behavior. We provide evidence for pharmacologically significant interactions between CRF and orexin-A that depend on oligomerization of CRF1 receptor (CRF1R) and orexin OX1 receptors (OX1R). CRF1R-OX1R heteromers are the conduits of a negative crosstalk between orexin-A and CRF as demonstrated in transfected cells and rat VTA, in which they significantly modulate dendritic dopamine release. The cocaine target σ1 receptor (σ1R) also associates with the CRF1R-OX1R heteromer. Cocaine binding to the σ1R-CRF1R-OX1R complex promotes a long-term disruption of the orexin-A-CRF negative crosstalk. Through this mechanism, cocaine sensitizes VTA cells to the excitatory effects of both CRF and orexin-A, thus providing a mechanism by which stress induces cocaine seeking.

  7. Erk1/2 Mediates Leptin Receptor Signaling in the Ventral Tegmental Area

    PubMed Central

    Trinko, Richard; Gan, Geliang; Gao, Xiao-Bing; Sears, Robert M.; Guarnieri, Douglas J.; DiLeone, Ralph J.

    2011-01-01

    Leptin acts on the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to modulate neuronal function and feeding behavior in rats and mice. To identify the intracellular effectors of the leptin receptor (Lepr), downstream signal transduction events were assessed for regulation by direct leptin infusion. Phosphorylated signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (pSTAT3) and phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1 and -2 (pERK1/2) were increased in the VTA while phospho-AKT (pAKT) was unaffected. Pretreatment of brain slices with the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase -1 and -2 (MEK1/2) inhibitor U0126 blocked the leptin-mediated decrease in firing frequency of VTA dopamine neurons. The anorexigenic effects of VTA-administered leptin were also blocked by pretreatment with U0126, which effectively blocked phosphorylation of ERK1/2 but not STAT3. These data demonstrate that pERK1/2 may have a critical role in mediating both the electrophysiogical and behavioral effects of leptin receptor signaling in the VTA. PMID:22076135

  8. Electrical Stimulation of the Ventral Tegmental Area Induces Reanimation from General Anesthesia

    PubMed Central

    Solt, Ken; Van Dort, Christa J.; Chemali, Jessica J.; Taylor, Norman E.; Kenny, Jonathan D.; Brown, Emery N.

    2014-01-01

    BACKGROUND Methylphenidate or a D1 dopamine receptor agonist induce reanimation (active emergence) from general anesthesia. We tested whether electrical stimulation of dopaminergic nuclei also induces reanimation from general anesthesia. METHODS In adult rats, a bipolar insulated stainless steel electrode was placed in the ventral tegmental area (VTA, n = 5) or substantia nigra (SN, n = 5). After a minimum 7-day recovery period, the isoflurane dose sufficient to maintain loss of righting was established. Electrical stimulation was initiated and increased in intensity every 3 min to a maximum of 120μA. If stimulation restored the righting reflex, an additional experiment was performed at least 3 days later during continuous propofol anesthesia. Histological analysis was conducted to identify the location of the electrode tip. In separate experiments, stimulation was performed in the prone position during general anesthesia with isoflurane or propofol, and the electroencephalogram was recorded. RESULTS To maintain loss of righting, the dose of isoflurane was 0.9% ± 0.1 vol%, and the target plasma dose of propofol was 4.4 μg/ml ± 1.1 μg/ml (mean ± SD). In all rats with VTA electrodes, electrical stimulation induced a graded arousal response including righting that increased with current intensity. VTA stimulation induced a shift in electroencephalogram peak power from δ (<4 Hz) to θ (4–8 Hz). In all rats with SN electrodes, stimulation did not elicit an arousal response or significant electroencephalogram changes. CONCLUSIONS Electrical stimulation of the VTA, but not the SN, induces reanimation during general anesthesia with isoflurane or propofol. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that dopamine release by VTA, but not SN, neurons induces reanimation from general anesthesia. PMID:24398816

  9. Microinjection of glycine into the ventral tegmental area selectively decreases ethanol consumption.

    PubMed

    Li, Jing; Nie, Hong; Bian, Weiliang; Dave, Vaidehi; Janak, Patricia H; Ye, Jiang-Hong

    2012-04-01

    The mechanisms of ethanol addiction are not completely understood. The mesolimbic dopaminergic system is involved in many drug-related behaviors, including ethanol self-administration. The dopaminergic neurons in this system originate in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and are under the control of GABAergic transmission. Our previous in vitro electrophysiological data indicate that glycine receptors (GlyRs) exist on the GABAergic terminals, which make synapses on VTA dopaminergic neurons, and activation of these GlyRs reduces GABAergic transmission and increases the activity of VTA dopaminergic neurons. In the current study, we tested the hypothesis that the activation of the presynaptic GlyRs in the VTA might interfere with ethanol self-administration. Glycine and strychnine, the selective antagonist of GlyRs, were injected, either alone or in combination, into the VTA of rats. Ethanol self-administration by rats was evaluated by using three different drinking models: intermittent access, continuous access, and operant self-administration. We found that the infusion of glycine into the VTA selectively reduced the intake of ethanol but not sucrose or water in rats chronically exposed to ethanol under the intermittent-access and continuous-access procedures and decreased lever-press responding for ethanol under an operant self-administration procedure. The effects of glycine probably were mediated by strychnine-sensitive GlyRs, because the coinjection of glycine and strychnine reduced neither ethanol intake in the home cages nor lever-press responding for ethanol in the operant chambers. Thus, GlyRs in the VTA may play a critical role in ethanol self-administration in animals chronically exposed to ethanol. Therefore, drugs targeting GlyRs may be beneficial for alcoholics.

  10. Acupuncture inhibits GABA neuron activity in the ventral tegmental area and reduces ethanol self-administration.

    PubMed

    Yang, Chae Ha; Yoon, Seong Shoon; Hansen, David M; Wilcox, Jeffrey D; Blumell, Bryan R; Park, Jung Jae; Steffensen, Scott C

    2010-12-01

    Withdrawal from chronic ethanol enhances ventral tegmental area (VTA) GABA neuron excitability and reduces mesolimbic dopamine (DA) neurotransmission, which is suppressed by acupuncture at Shenmen (HT7) points (Zhao et al., 2006). The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of HT7 acupuncture on VTA GABA neuron excitability, ethanol inhibition of VTA GABA neuron firing rate, and ethanol self-administration. A role for opioid receptors (ORs) in ethanol and acupuncture effects is also explored. Using electrophysiological methods in mature rats, we evaluated the effects of HT7 stimulation and opioid antagonists on VTA GABA neuron firing rate. Using behavioral paradigms in rats, we evaluated the effects of HT7 stimulation and opioid antagonists on ethanol self-administration using a modification of the sucrose-fading procedure. HT7 stimulation produced a biphasic modulation of VTA GABA neuron firing rate characterized by transient enhancement followed by inhibition and subsequent recovery in 5 minutes. HT7 inhibition of VTA GABA neuron firing rate was blocked by systemic administration of the nonselective μ-opioid receptor antagonist naloxone. HT7 stimulation significantly reduced ethanol suppression of VTA GABA neuron firing rate, which was also blocked by naloxone. HT7 acupuncture reduced ethanol self-administration without affecting sucrose consumption. Systemic administration of the δ-opioid receptor (DOR) antagonist naltrindole blocked ethanol suppression of VTA GABA neuron firing rate and significantly reduced ethanol self-administration without affecting sucrose consumption. These findings suggest that DOR-mediated opioid modulation of VTA GABA neurons may mediate acupuncture's role in modulating mesolimbic DA release and suppressing the reinforcing effects of ethanol. Copyright © 2010 by the Research Society on Alcoholism.

  11. Ventral tegmental area cholinergic mechanisms mediate behavioral responses in the forced swim test.

    PubMed

    Addy, N A; Nunes, E J; Wickham, R J

    2015-07-15

    Recent studies revealed a causal link between ventral tegmental area (VTA) phasic dopamine (DA) activity and pro-depressive and antidepressant-like behavioral responses in rodent models of depression. Cholinergic activity in the VTA has been demonstrated to regulate phasic DA activity, but the role of VTA cholinergic mechanisms in depression-related behavior is unclear. The goal of this study was to determine whether pharmacological manipulation of VTA cholinergic activity altered behavioral responding in the forced swim test (FST) in rats. Here, male Sprague-Dawley rats received systemic or VTA-specific administration of the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, physostigmine (systemic; 0.06 or 0.125mg/kg, intra-cranial; 1 or 2μg/side), the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antagonist scopolamine (2.4 or 24μg/side), or the nicotinic AChR antagonist mecamylamine (3 or 30μg/side), prior to the FST test session. In control experiments, locomotor activity was also examined following systemic and intra-cranial administration of cholinergic drugs. Physostigmine administration, either systemically or directly into the VTA, significantly increased immobility time in FST, whereas physostigmine infusion into a dorsal control site did not alter immobility time. In contrast, VTA infusion of either scopolamine or mecamylamine decreased immobility time, consistent with an antidepressant-like effect. Finally, the VTA physostigmine-induced increase in immobility was blocked by co-administration with scopolamine, but unaltered by co-administration with mecamylamine. These data show that enhancing VTA cholinergic tone and blocking VTA AChRs has opposing effects in FST. Together, the findings provide evidence for a role of VTA cholinergic mechanisms in behavioral responses in FST.

  12. Estrogen regulates responses of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area to cocaine.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Die; Yang, Shen; Yang, Chunhao; Jin, Guozhang; Zhen, Xuechu

    2008-09-01

    Sex differences in cocaine abuse have been well documented. However, the underlying mechanism remains unclear. To explore the potential role of ovarian hormones in the regulation of dopamine (DA) neuron firing activity in ventral tegmental area (VTA) induced by acute cocaine in intact female or ovariectomized (OVX) rats. The basal firing activity of VTA DA neurons was changed in a manner phase-locked to the estrous cycle: being highest in estrus and lowest in proestrus. Acute cocaine produced greater inhibition (P < 0.05) on the firing of VTA DA neurons during proestrus than during estrus. The inhibitory effect was completely blocked by OVX and restored by replacement of 17-beta-estradiol or, to a less extent, by replacement of progesterone. In addition, we also detected female hormone-associated changes in slow oscillation in VTA DA neurons. The results indicate that ovarian hormones, particularly estrogen, not only synergize with the inhibitory effect of cocaine on VTA DA neuron activity but also play an essential role in maintaining the sensitivity of DA neurons to cocaine-mediated inhibition on firing. Moreover, pretreatment of estrogen receptor (ER) antagonist raloxifene or a selective ERalpha antagonist Y134 largely attenuated the cocaine-inhibited DA neuron firing. We also found that cocaine-induced locomotor activity was estrous cycle dependent; 17-beta-estradiol but not progesterone replacement restored the cocaine-induced locomotor activity in OVX rats. The present results demonstrated that ovarian hormones, particularly estrogen, produce profound effect on VTA DA neuron activity, which, in turn, may contribute to the sex differences in response to psychostimulants.

  13. Ventral tegmental area-basolateral amygdala-nucleus accumbens shell neurocircuitry controls the expression of heroin-conditioned immunomodulation

    PubMed Central

    Szczytkowski, Jennifer L.; Fuchs, Rita A.; Lysle, Donald T.

    2012-01-01

    The present investigations sought to determine whether the ventral tegmental area (VTA), basolateral amygdala (BLA), and nucleus accumbens shell (NAC) comprise a circuitry that mediates heroin-induced conditioned immunomodulation. Rats were given conditioning trials in which they received an injection of heroin upon placement into a distinctive environment. Prior to testing, rats received unilateral intra-BLA microinfusion of a D1 antagonist concomitantly with unilateral intra-NAC shell microinfusion of an NMDA antagonist. Disconnection of the VTA-BLA-NAC circuit impaired the ability of the heroin-paired environment to suppress lipopolysaccharide-induced immune responses, defining for the first time a specific neural circuit involved in conditioned neural-immune interactions. PMID:21722970

  14. Nitric oxide in the ventral tegmental area is involved in retrieval of inhibitory avoidance memory by nicotine.

    PubMed

    Piri, M; Zarrindast, M R

    2011-02-23

    In the present study, the possible involvement of nitric oxide systems in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in nicotine's effect on morphine-induced amnesia and morphine state-dependent memory in adult male Wistar rats was investigated. Step-through type inhibitory avoidance task was used to test memory retrieval. Post-training administration of morphine (5 and 7.5 mg/kg) induced amnesia. The response induced by post-training morphine was significantly reversed by pre-test administration of the drug. Pre-test injection of nicotine (0.4 and 0.8 mg/kg s.c.) alone and nicotine (0.1, 0.4 and 0.8 mg/kg s.c.) plus an ineffective dose of morphine also significantly reversed the amnesia induced by morphine. Morphine amnesia was also prevented by pre-test administration of l-arginine (1 and 3 μg/rat, intra-VTA), a nitric oxide (NO) precursor. Interestingly, an ineffective dose of nicotine (0.1 mg/kg s.c.) in combination with low dose of l-arginine (0.3 μg/rat, intra-VTA) synergistically improved memory performance impaired by morphine given after training. In contrast, pre-test administration of NG nitro-l-arginine methyl ester hydrochloride (l-NAME), a nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor (2 μg/rat, intra-VTA) prevented the nicotine reversal of morphine effect on memory. The results suggest a possible role for nitric oxide of ventral tegmental area in the improving effect of nicotine on the morphine-induced amnesia.

  15. Genetic inactivation of glutamate neurons in the rat sublaterodorsal tegmental nucleus recapitulates REM sleep behaviour disorder.

    PubMed

    Valencia Garcia, Sara; Libourel, Paul-Antoine; Lazarus, Michael; Grassi, Daniela; Luppi, Pierre-Hervé; Fort, Patrice

    2017-02-01

    SEE SCHENCK AND MAHOWALD DOI101093/AWW329 FOR A SCIENTIFIC COMMENTARY ON THIS ARTICLE: Idiopathic REM sleep behaviour disorder is characterized by the enactment of violent dreams during paradoxical (REM) sleep in the absence of normal muscle atonia. Accumulating clinical and experimental data suggest that REM sleep behaviour disorder might be due to the neurodegeneration of glutamate neurons involved in paradoxical sleep and located within the pontine sublaterodorsal tegmental nucleus. The purpose of the present work was thus to functionally determine first, the role of glutamate sublaterodorsal tegmental nucleus neurons in paradoxical sleep and second, whether their genetic inactivation is sufficient for recapitulating REM sleep behaviour disorder in rats. For this goal, we first injected two retrograde tracers in the intralaminar thalamus and ventral medulla to disentangle neuronal circuits in which sublaterodorsal tegmental nucleus is involved; second we infused bilaterally in sublaterodorsal tegmental nucleus adeno-associated viruses carrying short hairpin RNAs targeting Slc17a6 mRNA [which encodes vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (vGluT2)] to chronically impair glutamate synaptic transmission in sublaterodorsal tegmental nucleus neurons. At the neuroanatomical level, sublaterodorsal tegmental nucleus neurons specifically activated during paradoxical sleep hypersomnia send descending efferents to glycine/GABA neurons within the ventral medulla, but not ascending projections to the intralaminar thalamus. These data suggest a crucial role of sublaterodorsal tegmental nucleus neurons rather in muscle atonia than in paradoxical sleep generation. In line with this hypothesis, 30 days after adeno-associated virus injections into sublaterodorsal tegmental nucleus rats display a decrease of 30% of paradoxical sleep daily quantities, and a significant increase of muscle tone during paradoxical sleep concomitant to a tremendous increase of abnormal motor dream

  16. Synaptic Neurotransmission Depression in Ventral Tegmental Dopamine Neurons and Cannabinoid-Associated Addictive Learning

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Zhiqiang; Han, Jing; Jia, Lintao; Maillet, Jean-Christian; Bai, Guang; Xu, Lin; Jia, Zhengping; Zheng, Qiaohua; Zhang, Wandong; Monette, Robert; Merali, Zul; Zhu, Zhou; Wang, Wei; Ren, Wei; Zhang, Xia

    2010-01-01

    Drug addiction is an association of compulsive drug use with long-term associative learning/memory. Multiple forms of learning/memory are primarily subserved by activity- or experience-dependent synaptic long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD). Recent studies suggest LTP expression in locally activated glutamate synapses onto dopamine neurons (local Glu-DA synapses) of the midbrain ventral tegmental area (VTA) following a single or chronic exposure to many drugs of abuse, whereas a single exposure to cannabinoid did not significantly affect synaptic plasticity at these synapses. It is unknown whether chronic exposure of cannabis (marijuana or cannabinoids), the most commonly used illicit drug worldwide, induce LTP or LTD at these synapses. More importantly, whether such alterations in VTA synaptic plasticity causatively contribute to drug addictive behavior has not previously been addressed. Here we show in rats that chronic cannabinoid exposure activates VTA cannabinoid CB1 receptors to induce transient neurotransmission depression at VTA local Glu-DA synapses through activation of NMDA receptors and subsequent endocytosis of AMPA receptor GluR2 subunits. A GluR2-derived peptide blocks cannabinoid-induced VTA synaptic depression and conditioned place preference, i.e., learning to associate drug exposure with environmental cues. These data not only provide the first evidence, to our knowledge, that NMDA receptor-dependent synaptic depression at VTA dopamine circuitry requires GluR2 endocytosis, but also suggest an essential contribution of such synaptic depression to cannabinoid-associated addictive learning, in addition to pointing to novel pharmacological strategies for the treatment of cannabis addiction. PMID:21187978

  17. In vivo measurement of somatodendritic release of dopamine in the ventral tegmental area

    PubMed Central

    Kita, Justin M.; Kile, Brian M.; Parker, Lauren E.; Wightman', R. Mark

    2009-01-01

    The ventral tegmental area (VTA), the locus of mesolimbic dopamine cell bodies, contains dopamine. Experiments in brain slices have demonstrated that VTA dopamine can be released by local electrical stimulation. Measurements with both push-pull cannula and microdialysis in intact animals have also obtained evidence for releasable dopamine. Here we demonstrate that dopamine release in the VTA can be evoked by remote stimulations of the medial forebrain bundle (MFB) in the anesthetized rat. In initial experiments, the MFB was electrically stimulated while a carbon-fiber electrode was lowered to the VTA, with recording by fast-scan cyclic voltammetry. While release was not observed with the carbon fiber 4 to 6 mm below dura, a voltammetric response was observed a t 6-8 mm below dura, but the voltammogram was poorly defined. At lower depths, in the VTA, dopamine release was evoked. Immunohistochemistry experiments with antibodies for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) confirmed that dopamine processes were primarily found below 8 mm. Similarly, tissue content determined by liquid chromatography revealed serotonin but not dopamine dorsal to 8 mm with both dopamine and serotonin at lower depths. Evaluation of the VTA signal by pharmacological means showed that it increased with inhibitors of dopamine uptake, but release was not altered by D2 agents. Dopamine release in the VTA was frequency dependent and could be exhausted by stimulations longer than 5 s. Thus, VTA dopamine release can be evoked in vivo by remote stimulations and it resembles release in terminal regions, possessing a similar uptake mechanism and a finite releasable storage pool. PMID:19593821

  18. Assessment of Cytochrome C Oxidase Dysfunction in the Substantia Nigra/Ventral Tegmental Area in Schizophrenia

    PubMed Central

    Rice, Matthew W.; Smith, Kristen L.; Roberts, Rosalinda C.

    2014-01-01

    Perturbations in metabolism are a well-documented but complex facet of schizophrenia pathology. Optimal cellular performance requires the proper functioning of the electron transport chain, which is constituted by four enzymes located within the inner membrane of mitochondria. These enzymes create a proton gradient that is used to power the enzyme ATP synthase, producing ATP, which is crucial for the maintenance of cellular functioning. Anomalies in a single enzyme of the electron transport chain are sufficient to cause disruption of cellular metabolism. The last of these complexes is the cytochrome c oxidase (COX) enzyme, which is composed of thirteen different subunits. COX is a major site for oxidative phosphorylation, and anomalies in this enzyme are one of the most frequent causes of mitochondrial pathology. The objective of the present report was to assess if metabolic anomalies linked to COX dysfunction may contribute to substantia nigra/ventral tegmental area (SN/VTA) pathology in schizophrenia. We tested COX activity in postmortem SN/VTA from schizophrenia and non-psychiatric controls. We also tested the protein expression of key subunits for the assembly and activity of the enzyme, and the effect of antipsychotic medication on subunit expression. COX activity was not significantly different between schizophrenia and non-psychiatric controls. However, we found significant decreases in the expression of subunits II and IV-I of COX in schizophrenia. Interestingly, these decreases were observed in samples containing the entire rostro-caudal extent of the SN/VTA, while no significant differences were observed for samples containing only mid-caudal regions of the SN/VTA. Finally, rats chronically treated with antipsychotic drugs did not show significant changes in COX subunit expression. These findings suggest that COX subunit expression may be compromised in specific sub-regions of the SN/VTA (i.e. rostral regions), which may lead to a faulty assembly of the

  19. Amylin receptor activation in the ventral tegmental area reduces motivated ingestive behavior.

    PubMed

    Mietlicki-Baase, Elizabeth G; McGrath, Lauren E; Koch-Laskowski, Kieran; Krawczyk, Joanna; Reiner, David J; Pham, Tram; Nguyen, Chan Tran N; Turner, Christopher A; Olivos, Diana R; Wimmer, Mathieu E; Schmidt, Heath D; Hayes, Matthew R

    2017-09-01

    Amylin is produced in the pancreas and the brain, and acts centrally to reduce feeding and body weight. Recent data show that amylin can act in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to reduce palatable food intake and promote negative energy balance, but the behavioral mechanisms by which these effects occur are not fully understood. The ability of VTA amylin signaling to reduce intake of specific palatable macronutrients (fat or carbohydrate) was tested in rats in several paradigms, including one-bottle acceptance tests, two-bottle choice tests, and a free-choice diet. Data show that VTA amylin receptor activation with the amylin receptor agonist salmon calcitonin (sCT) preferentially and potently reduces intake of fat, with more variable suppression of sucrose intake. Intake of a non-nutritive sweetener is also decreased by intra-VTA administration of sCT. As several feeding-related signals that act in the mesolimbic system also impact motivated behaviors besides feeding, we tested the hypothesis that the suppressive effects of amylin signaling in the VTA extend to other motivationally relevant stimuli. Results show that intra-VTA sCT reduces water intake in response to central administration of the dipsogenic peptide angiotensin II, but has no effect on ad libitum water intake in the absence of food. Importantly, open field and social interaction studies show that VTA amylin signaling does not produce anxiety-like behaviors. Collectively, these findings reveal a novel ability of VTA amylin receptor activation to alter palatable macronutrient intake, and also demonstrate a broader role of VTA amylin signaling for the control of motivated ingestive behaviors beyond feeding. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. Alpha-1 adrenoreceptors modulate GABA release onto ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons.

    PubMed

    Velásquez-Martínez, Maria C; Vázquez-Torres, Rafael; Rojas, Legier V; Sanabria, Priscila; Jiménez-Rivera, Carlos A

    2015-01-01

    The ventral tegmental area (VTA) plays an important role in reward and motivational processes involved in drug addiction. Previous studies have shown that alpha1-adrenoreceptors (α1-AR) are primarily found pre-synaptically at this area. We hypothesized that GABA released onto VTA-dopamine (DA) cells is modulated by pre-synaptic α1-AR. Recordings were obtained from putative VTA-DA cells of male Sprague-Dawley rats (28-50 days postnatal) using whole-cell voltage clamp technique. Phenylephrine (10 μM; α1-AR agonist) decreased the amplitude of GABAA receptor-mediated inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) evoked by electrical stimulation of afferent fibers (n = 7; p < 0.05). Prazosin (1 μM, α1-AR antagonist), blocked this effect. Paired-pulse ratios were increased by phenylephrine application (n = 13; p < 0.05) indicating a presynaptic site of action. Spontaneous IPSCs frequency but not amplitude, were decreased in the presence of phenylephrine (n = 7; p < 0.05). However, frequency or amplitude of miniature IPSCs were not changed (n = 9; p > 0.05). Phenylephrine in low Ca(2+) (1 mM) medium decreased IPSC amplitude (n = 7; p < 0.05). Chelerythrine (a protein kinase C inhibitor) blocked the α1-AR action on IPSC amplitude (n = 6; p < 0.05). Phenylephrine failed to decrease IPSCs amplitude in the presence of paxilline, a BK channel blocker (n = 7; p < 0.05). Taken together, these results demonstrate that α1-ARs at presynaptic terminals can modulate GABA release onto VTA-DA cells. Drug-induced changes in α1-AR could contribute to the modifications occurring in the VTA during the addiction process. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Reversal of Prolonged Dopamine Inhibition of Dopaminergic Neurons of the Ventral Tegmental Area

    PubMed Central

    Nimitvilai, Sudarat

    2010-01-01

    Drug abuse-induced plasticity of putative dopaminergic (pDAergic) ventral tegmental area (VTA) neurons may play an important role in changes in the mesocorticolimbic system that lead to the development of addiction. In the present study, extracellular recordings were used to examine time-dependent effects of dopamine (DA) on pDAergic VTA neurons in rat brain slices. Administration of DA (2.5–10 μM) for 40 min resulted in inhibition followed by partial or full reversal of that inhibition. The reduced sensitivity to DA inhibition lasted 30 to 90 min after washout of the long-term dopamine administration. The inhibition reversal was not observed with 40-min administration of the D2 agonist quinpirole (25–200 nM), so this phenomenon was not the result of desensitization induced solely by stimulation of D2 DA receptors. Inhibition reversal could be observed with the coapplication of quinpirole and the D1/D5 agonist SKF38393 [(±)-1-phenyl-2,3,4,5-tetrahydro-(1H)-3-benzazepine-7,8-diol hydrobromide], suggesting a D1/D5 mechanism for the reversal. Furthermore, D1/D5 antagonists, given in the presence of prolonged DA exposure, prevented the inhibition reversal. Application of 3 μM quinpirole caused desensitization to low quinpirole concentrations that was blocked by a D1/D5 antagonist. These data suggest that coactivation of D1/D5 receptors and D2 receptors in the VTA results in desensitization of autoinhibitory D2 receptors. Prolonged increases in pDAergic tone in the VTA that may occur in vivo with drugs of abuse could reduce the regulation of firing by D2 dopamine receptor activation, producing long-term alteration in information processing related to reward and reinforcement. PMID:20164301

  2. Modulation of cue-induced firing of ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons by leptin and ghrelin

    PubMed Central

    van der Plasse, G; van Zessen, R; Luijendijk, M C M; Erkan, H; Stuber, G D; Ramakers, G M J; Adan, R A H

    2015-01-01

    Background/objectives: The rewarding value of palatable foods contributes to overconsumption, even in satiated subjects. Midbrain dopaminergic activity in response to reward-predicting environmental stimuli drives reward-seeking and motivated behavior for food rewards. This mesolimbic dopamine (DA) system is sensitive to changes in energy balance, yet it has thus far not been established whether reward signaling of DA neurons in vivo is under control of hormones that signal appetite and energy balance such as ghrelin and leptin. Subjects/methods: We trained rats (n=11) on an operant task in which they could earn two different food rewards. We then implanted recording electrodes in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), and recorded from DA neurons during behavior. Subsequently, we assessed the effects of mild food restriction and pretreatment with the adipose tissue-derived anorexigenic hormone leptin or the orexigenic hormone ghrelin on VTA DA reward signaling. Results: Animals showed an increase in performance following mild food restriction (P=0.002). Importantly, food-cue induced DA firing increased when animals were food restricted (P=0.02), but was significantly attenuated after leptin pretreatment (P=0.00). While ghrelin did affect baseline DA activity (P=0.025), it did not affect cue-induced firing (P⩾0.353). Conclusions: Metabolic signals, such as leptin, affect food seeking, a process that is dependent on the formation of cue-reward outcomes and involves midbrain DA signaling. These data show that food restriction engages the encoding of food cues by VTA DA neurons at a millisecond level and leptin suppresses this activity. This suggests that leptin is a key in linking metabolic information to reward signaling. PMID:26183405

  3. Ethanol facilitates glutamatergic transmission to dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Xiao, Cheng; Shao, Xuesi Max; Olive, M Foster; Griffin, William C; Li, Ke-Yong; Krnjević, Kresimir; Zhou, Chunyi; Ye, Jiang-Hong

    2009-01-01

    The cellular mechanisms underlying alcohol addiction are poorly understood. In several brain areas, ethanol depresses glutamatergic excitatory transmission, but how it affects excitatory synapses on dopamine neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a crucial site for the development of drug addiction, is not known. We report here that in midbrain slices from rats, clinically relevant concentrations of ethanol (10-80 mM) increase the amplitude of evoked EPSCs and reduce their paired-pulse ratio in dopamine neurons in the VTA. The EPSCs were mediated by glutamate alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA) receptors. In addition, ethanol increases the frequency but not the amplitude of spontaneous EPSCs. Furthermore, ethanol increases extracellular glutamate levels in the VTA of midbrain slices. The effects of ethanol are mimicked by SKF 38393, a dopamine D(1) receptor agonist, and by GBR 12935, a dopamine reuptake inhibitor, and they are blocked by SKF 83566, a D(1) antagonist, or by reserpine, which depletes dopamine stores. The enhancement of sEPSC frequency reaches a peak with 40 mM ethanol and declines with concentrations >or=80 mM ethanol, which is quite likely a result of D(2) receptor activation as raclopride, a D(2) receptor blocker, significantly enhanced 80 mM ethanol-induced enhancement of sEPSCs. Finally, 6, 7-dinitroquinoxaline-2, 3-dione (DNQX), an AMPA receptor antagonist, attenuates ethanol-induced excitation of VTA DA neurons. We therefore conclude that, acting via presynaptic D(1) receptors, ethanol at low concentrations increases glutamate release in the VTA, thus raising somatodendritic dopamine release, which further activates the presynaptic D(1) receptors. Enhancement of this positive feedback loop may significantly contribute to the development of alcohol addiction.

  4. Ethanol Facilitates Glutamatergic Transmission to Dopamine Neurons in the Ventral Tegmental Area

    PubMed Central

    Xiao, Cheng; Shao, Xuesi Max; Olive, M Foster; Griffin, William C; Li, Ke-Yong; Krnjević, Kresimir; Zhou, Chunyi; Ye, Jiang-Hong

    2009-01-01

    The cellular mechanisms underlying alcohol addiction are poorly understood. In several brain areas, ethanol depresses glutamatergic excitatory transmission, but how it affects excitatory synapses on dopamine neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a crucial site for the development of drug addiction, is not known. We report here that in midbrain slices from rats, clinically relevant concentrations of ethanol (10–80 mM) increase the amplitude of evoked EPSCs and reduce their paired-pulse ratio in dopamine neurons in the VTA. The EPSCs were mediated by glutamate α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA) receptors. In addition, ethanol increases the frequency but not the amplitude of spontaneous EPSCs. Furthermore, ethanol increases extracellular glutamate levels in the VTA of midbrain slices. The effects of ethanol are mimicked by SKF 38393, a dopamine D1 receptor agonist, and by GBR 12935, a dopamine reuptake inhibitor, and they are blocked by SKF 83566, a D1 antagonist, or by reserpine, which depletes dopamine stores. The enhancement of sEPSC frequency reaches a peak with 40mM ethanol and declines with concentrations ≥80mM ethanol, which is quite likely a result of D2 receptor activation as raclopride, a D2 receptor blocker, significantly enhanced 80mM ethanol-induced enhancement of sEPSCs. Finally, 6, 7-dinitroquinoxaline-2, 3-dione (DNQX), an AMPA receptor antagonist, attenuates ethanol-induced excitation of VTA DA neurons. We therefore conclude that, acting via presynaptic D1 receptors, ethanol at low concentrations increases glutamate release in the VTA, thus raising somatodendritic dopamine release, which further activates the presynaptic D1 receptors. Enhancement of this positive feedback loop may significantly contribute to the development of alcohol addiction. PMID:18596684

  5. ALPHA-1 ADRENORECEPTORS MODULATE GABA RELEASE ONTO VENTRAL TEGMENTAL AREA DOPAMINE NEURONS

    PubMed Central

    Velásquez-Martínez, M.C.; Vázquez-Torres, R.; Rojas, L.V.; Sanabria, P.; Jiménez-Rivera, C.A.

    2014-01-01

    The ventral tegmental area (VTA) plays an important role in reward and motivational processes involved in drug addiction. Previous studies have shown that alpha1-adrenoreceptors (α1-AR) are primarily found presynaptically at this area. We hypothesized that GABA released onto VTA-dopamine (DA) cells is modulated by presynaptic α1-AR. Recordings were obtained from putative VTA-DA cells of male Sprague-Dawley rats (28–50 days postnatal) using whole-cell voltage clamp technique. Phenylephrine (10µM; α1-AR agonist) decreased the amplitude of GABAA receptor-mediated inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) evoked by electrical stimulation of afferent fibers (n=7; p<0.05). Prazosin (1µM, α1-AR antagonist), blocked this effect. Paired-pulse ratios were increased by phenylephrine application (n=13; p<0.05) indicating a presynaptic site of action. Spontaneous IPSCs frequency but not amplitude, were decreased in the presence of phenylephrine (n=7; p<0.05). However, frequency or amplitude of miniature IPSCs were not changed (n=9; p>0.05). Phenylephrine in low Ca2+ (1mM) medium decreased IPSC amplitude (n=7; p<0.05). Chelerythrine (a protein kinase C inhibitor) blocked the α1-AR action on IPSC amplitude (n=6; p<0.05). Phenylephrine failed to decrease IPSCs amplitude in the presence of paxilline, a BK channel blocker (n=7; p<0.05). Taken together, these results demonstrate that α1-ARs at presynaptic terminals can modulate GABA release onto VTA-DA cells. Drug-induced changes in α1-AR could contribute to the modifications occurring in the VTA during the addiction process. PMID:25261018

  6. Ventral tegmental area deep brain stimulation in refractory short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks.

    PubMed

    Miller, Sarah; Akram, Harith; Lagrata, Susie; Hariz, Marwan; Zrinzo, Ludvic; Matharu, Manjit

    2016-10-01

    SEE LEONE AND PROIETTI CECCHINI DOI101093/AWW233 FOR A SCIENTIFIC COMMENTARY ON THIS ARTICLE: Short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks are primary headache disorders characterized by short-lasting attacks of unilateral pain accompanied by autonomic features. A small minority are refractory to medical treatment. Neuroimaging studies have suggested a role of the posterior hypothalamic region in their pathogenesis. Previous case reports on deep brain stimulation of this region, now understood to be the ventral tegmental area, for this disorder are limited to a total of three patients. We present a case series of 11 new patients treated with ventral tegmental area deep brain stimulation in an uncontrolled, open-label prospective observational study. Eleven patients with refractory short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks underwent ipsilateral ventral tegmental area deep brain stimulation in a specialist unit. All patients had failed, or been denied access to, occipital nerve stimulation within the UK's National Health Service. Primary endpoint was change in mean daily attack frequency at final follow-up. Secondary outcomes included attack severity, attack duration, headache load (a composite score of attack frequency, severity and duration), quality of life measures, disability and affective scores. Information was also collected on adverse events. Eleven patients (six male) with a median age of 50 years (range 26-67) were implanted between 2009 and 2014. Median follow-up was 29 months (range 7-63). At final follow-up the median improvement in daily attack frequency was 78% (interquartile range 33%). Response rate (defined as at least a 50% improvement in daily attack frequency) was 82% and four patients were rendered pain-free for prolonged periods of time. Headache load improved by 99% (interquartile range 52%). Improvements were observed in a number of quality of life, disability and affect measures. Adverse events included mild incision

  7. Self-administration of ethanol, cocaine, or nicotine does not decrease the soma size of ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons.

    PubMed

    Mazei-Robison, Michelle S; Appasani, Raghu; Edwards, Scott; Wee, Sunmee; Taylor, Seth R; Picciotto, Marina R; Koob, George F; Nestler, Eric J

    2014-01-01

    Our previous observations show that chronic opiate administration, including self-administration, decrease the soma size of dopamine (DA) neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of rodents and humans, a morphological change correlated with increased firing rate and reward tolerance. Given that a general hallmark of drugs of abuse is to increase activity of the mesolimbic DA circuit, we sought to determine whether additional drug classes produced a similar morphological change. Sections containing VTA were obtained from rats that self-administered cocaine or ethanol and from mice that consumed nicotine. In contrast to opiates, we found no change in VTA DA soma size induced by any of these other drugs. These data suggest that VTA morphological changes are induced in a drug-specific manner and reinforce recent findings that some changes in mesolimbic signaling and neuroplasticity are drug-class dependent.

  8. Locomotor activation induced by infusion of endorphins into the ventral tegmental area: evidence for opiate-dopamine interactions.

    PubMed Central

    Stinus, L; Koob, G F; Ling, N; Bloom, F E; Le Moal, M

    1980-01-01

    beta-Endorphin in nanomole quantities produced a stimulation of locomotor activity when infused into the region of the dopamine cell bodies of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in rats. alpha-, gamma-, and des-Tyr-gamma-endorphin produced similar effects, but the D-alanine analogues of alpha and gamma-endorphin produced a larger and longer-lasting activation, presumably reflecting their resistance to degradation. This locomotor activation was reversible by pretreatment with naloxone and by destruction of the terminal projections of the mesocorticolimbic dopamine system originating in the VTA. These results demonstrate that locally infused endorphin can interact with the opioid receptors in the VTA, and they suggest a means by which endorphins activate limbic excitability. Images PMID:6929553

  9. Ventral tegmental area glutamate neurons co-release GABA and promote positive reinforcement

    PubMed Central

    Yoo, Ji Hoon; Zell, Vivien; Gutierrez-Reed, Navarre; Wu, Johnathan; Ressler, Reed; Shenasa, Mohammad Ali; Johnson, Alexander B.; Fife, Kathryn H.; Faget, Lauren; Hnasko, Thomas S.

    2016-01-01

    In addition to dopamine neurons, the ventral tegmental area (VTA) contains GABA-, glutamate- and co-releasing neurons, and recent reports suggest a complex role for the glutamate neurons in behavioural reinforcement. We report that optogenetic stimulation of VTA glutamate neurons or terminals serves as a positive reinforcer on operant behavioural assays. Mice display marked preference for brief over sustained VTA glutamate neuron stimulation resulting in behavioural responses that are notably distinct from dopamine neuron stimulation and resistant to dopamine receptor antagonists. Whole-cell recordings reveal EPSCs following stimulation of VTA glutamate terminals in the nucleus accumbens or local VTA collaterals; but reveal both excitatory and monosynaptic inhibitory currents in the ventral pallidum and lateral habenula, though the net effects on postsynaptic firing in each region are consistent with the observed rewarding behavioural effects. These data indicate that VTA glutamate neurons co-release GABA in a projection-target-dependent manner and that their transient activation drives positive reinforcement. PMID:27976722

  10. Ventral tegmental area glutamate neurons co-release GABA and promote positive reinforcement.

    PubMed

    Yoo, Ji Hoon; Zell, Vivien; Gutierrez-Reed, Navarre; Wu, Johnathan; Ressler, Reed; Shenasa, Mohammad Ali; Johnson, Alexander B; Fife, Kathryn H; Faget, Lauren; Hnasko, Thomas S

    2016-12-15

    In addition to dopamine neurons, the ventral tegmental area (VTA) contains GABA-, glutamate- and co-releasing neurons, and recent reports suggest a complex role for the glutamate neurons in behavioural reinforcement. We report that optogenetic stimulation of VTA glutamate neurons or terminals serves as a positive reinforcer on operant behavioural assays. Mice display marked preference for brief over sustained VTA glutamate neuron stimulation resulting in behavioural responses that are notably distinct from dopamine neuron stimulation and resistant to dopamine receptor antagonists. Whole-cell recordings reveal EPSCs following stimulation of VTA glutamate terminals in the nucleus accumbens or local VTA collaterals; but reveal both excitatory and monosynaptic inhibitory currents in the ventral pallidum and lateral habenula, though the net effects on postsynaptic firing in each region are consistent with the observed rewarding behavioural effects. These data indicate that VTA glutamate neurons co-release GABA in a projection-target-dependent manner and that their transient activation drives positive reinforcement.

  11. Optogenetic Activation of a Lateral Hypothalamic-Ventral Tegmental Drive-Reward Pathway

    PubMed Central

    Gigante, Eduardo D.; Benaliouad, Faiza; Zamora-Olivencia, Veronica; Wise, Roy A.

    2016-01-01

    Electrical stimulation of the lateral hypothalamus can motivate feeding or can serve as a reward in its own right. It remains unclear whether the same or independent but anatomically overlapping circuitries mediate the two effects. Electrical stimulation findings implicate medial forebrain bundle (MFB) fibers of passage in both effects, and optogenetic studies confirm a contribution from fibers originating in the lateral hypothalamic area and projecting to or through the ventral tegmental area. Here we report that optogenetic activation of ventral tegmental fibers from cells of origin in more anterior or posterior portions of the MFB failed to induce either reward or feeding. The feeding and reward induced by optogenetic activation of fibers from the lateral hypothalamic cells of origin were influenced similarly by variations in stimulation pulse width and pulse frequency, consistent with the hypothesis of a common substrate for the two effects. There were, however, several cases where feeding but not self-stimulation or self-stimulation but not feeding were induced, consistent with the hypothesis that distinct but anatomically overlapping systems mediate the two effects. Thus while optogenetic stimulation provides a more selective tool for characterizing the mechanisms of stimulation-induced feeding and reward, it does not yet resolve the question of common or independent substrates. PMID:27387668

  12. Timing and expectation of reward: a neuro-computational model of the afferents to the ventral tegmental area

    PubMed Central

    Vitay, Julien; Hamker, Fred H.

    2014-01-01

    Neural activity in dopaminergic areas such as the ventral tegmental area is influenced by timing processes, in particular by the temporal expectation of rewards during Pavlovian conditioning. Receipt of a reward at the expected time allows to compute reward-prediction errors which can drive learning in motor or cognitive structures. Reciprocally, dopamine plays an important role in the timing of external events. Several models of the dopaminergic system exist, but the substrate of temporal learning is rather unclear. In this article, we propose a neuro-computational model of the afferent network to the ventral tegmental area, including the lateral hypothalamus, the pedunculopontine nucleus, the amygdala, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the ventral basal ganglia (including the nucleus accumbens and the ventral pallidum), as well as the lateral habenula and the rostromedial tegmental nucleus. Based on a plausible connectivity and realistic learning rules, this neuro-computational model reproduces several experimental observations, such as the progressive cancelation of dopaminergic bursts at reward delivery, the appearance of bursts at the onset of reward-predicting cues or the influence of reward magnitude on activity in the amygdala and ventral tegmental area. While associative learning occurs primarily in the amygdala, learning of the temporal relationship between the cue and the associated reward is implemented as a dopamine-modulated coincidence detection mechanism in the nucleus accumbens. PMID:24550821

  13. Cocaine sensitization increases subthreshold activity in dopamine neurons from the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Arencibia-Albite, Francisco; Vázquez-Torres, Rafael; Jiménez-Rivera, Carlos A

    2017-02-01

    The progressive escalation of psychomotor responses that results from repeated cocaine administration is termed sensitization. This phenomenon alters the intrinsic properties of dopamine (DA) neurons from the ventral tegmental area (VTA), leading to enhanced dopaminergic transmission in the mesocorticolimbic network. The mechanisms underlying this augmented excitation are nonetheless poorly understood. DA neurons display the hyperpolarization-activated, nonselective cation current, dubbed Ih We recently demonstrated that Ih and membrane capacitance are substantially reduced in VTA DA cells from cocaine-sensitized rats. The present study shows that 7 days of cocaine withdrawal did not normalize Ih and capacitance. In cells from cocaine-sensitized animals, the amplitude of excitatory synaptic potentials, at -70 mV, was ∼39% larger in contrast to controls. Raise and decay phases of the synaptic signal were faster under cocaine, a result associated with a reduced membrane time constant. Synaptic summation was paradoxically elevated by cocaine exposure, as it consisted of a significantly reduced summation indexed but a considerably increased depolarization. These effects are at least a consequence of the reduced capacitance. Ih attenuation is unlikely to explain such observations, since at -70 mV, no statistical differences exist in Ih or input resistance. The neuronal shrinkage associated with a diminished capacitance may help to understand two fundamental elements of drug addiction: incentive sensitization and negative emotional states. A reduced cell size may lead to substantial enhancement of cue-triggered bursting, which underlies drug craving and reward anticipation, whereas it could also result in DA depletion, as smaller neurons might express low levels of tyrosine hydroxylase. This work uses a new approach that directly extracts important biophysical parameters from alpha function-evoked synaptic potentials. Two of these parameters are the cell membrane

  14. Ethanol effects on dopaminergic ventral tegmental area neurons during block of Ih: involvement of barium-sensitive potassium currents.

    PubMed

    McDaid, John; McElvain, Maureen A; Brodie, Mark S

    2008-09-01

    The dopaminergic neurons of the ventral tegmental area (DA VTA neurons) are important for the rewarding and reinforcing properties of drugs of abuse, including ethanol. Ethanol increases the firing frequency of DA VTA neurons from rats and mice. Because of a recent report on block of ethanol excitation in mouse DA VTA neurons with ZD7288, a selective blocker of the hyperpolarization-activated cationic current Ih, we examined the effect of ZD7288 on ethanol excitation in DA VTA neurons from C57Bl/6J and DBA/2J mice and Fisher 344 rats. Ethanol (80 mM) caused only increases in firing rate in mouse DA VTA neurons in the absence of ZD7288, but in the presence of ZD7288 (30 microM), ethanol produced a more transient excitation followed by a decrease of firing. This same biphasic phenomenon was observed in DA VTA neurons from rats in the presence of ZD7288 only at very high ethanol concentrations (160-240 mM) but not at lower pharmacologically relevant concentrations. The longer latency ethanol-induced inhibition was not observed in DA VTA neurons from mice or rats in the presence of barium (100 microM), which blocks G protein-linked potassium channels (GIRKs) and other inwardly rectifying potassium channels. Ethanol may have a direct effect to increase an inhibitory potassium conductance, but this effect of ethanol can only decrease the firing rate if Ih is blocked.

  15. Inactivation of the Ventral Tegmental Area Abolished the General Excitatory Influence of Pavlovian Cues on Instrumental Performance

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Murschall, Anja; Hauber, Wolfgang

    2006-01-01

    Pavlovian stimuli can markedly elevate instrumental responding, an effect known as Pavlovian-instrumental transfer (PIT). As the role of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in PIT is yet unknown, we examined the effects of transient VTA inactivation by direct microinjections of a mixture of the GABA[subscript A] and GABA[subscript B] receptor…

  16. Lateral Hypothalamic Control of the Ventral Tegmental Area: Reward Evaluation and the Driving of Motivated Behavior.

    PubMed

    Tyree, Susan M; de Lecea, Luis

    2017-01-01

    The lateral hypothalamus (LH) plays an important role in many motivated behaviors, sleep-wake states, food intake, drug-seeking, energy balance, etc. It is also home to a heterogeneous population of neurons that express and co-express multiple neuropeptides including hypocretin (Hcrt), melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH), cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) and neurotensin (NT). These neurons project widely throughout the brain to areas such as the locus coeruleus, the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, the amygdala and the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Lateral hypothalamic projections to the VTA are believed to be important for driving behavior due to the involvement of dopaminergic reward circuitry. The purpose of this article is to review current knowledge regarding the lateral hypothalamic connections to the VTA and the role they play in driving these behaviors.

  17. Ventral tegmental area neurons in learned appetitive behavior and positive reinforcement.

    PubMed

    Fields, Howard L; Hjelmstad, Gregory O; Margolis, Elyssa B; Nicola, Saleem M

    2007-01-01

    Ventral tegmental area (VTA) neuron firing precedes behaviors elicited by reward-predictive sensory cues and scales with the magnitude and unpredictability of received rewards. These patterns are consistent with roles in the performance of learned appetitive behaviors and in positive reinforcement, respectively. The VTA includes subpopulations of neurons with different afferent connections, neurotransmitter content, and projection targets. Because the VTA and substantia nigra pars compacta are the sole sources of striatal and limbic forebrain dopamine, measurements of dopamine release and manipulations of dopamine function have provided critical evidence supporting a VTA contribution to these functions. However, the VTA also sends GABAergic and glutamatergic projections to the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex. Furthermore, VTA-mediated but dopamine-independent positive reinforcement has been demonstrated. Consequently, identifying the neurotransmitter content and projection target of VTA neurons recorded in vivo will be critical for determining their contribution to learned appetitive behaviors.

  18. Ventral tegmental area dopamine revisited: effects of acute and repeated stress.

    PubMed

    Holly, Elizabeth N; Miczek, Klaus A

    2016-01-01

    Aversive events rapidly and potently excite certain dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), promoting phasic increases in the medial prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens. This is in apparent contradiction to a wealth of literature demonstrating that most VTA dopamine neurons are strongly activated by reward and reward-predictive cues while inhibited by aversive stimuli. How can these divergent processes both be mediated by VTA dopamine neurons? The answer may lie within the functional and anatomical heterogeneity of the VTA. We focus on VTA heterogeneity in anatomy, neurochemistry, electrophysiology, and afferent/efferent connectivity. Second, recent evidence for a critical role of VTA dopamine neurons in response to both acute and repeated stress will be discussed. Understanding which dopamine neurons are activated by stress, the neural mechanisms driving the activation, and where these neurons project will provide valuable insight into how stress can promote psychiatric disorders associated with the dopamine system, such as addiction and depression.

  19. THE HETEROGENEITY OF VENTRAL TEGMENTAL AREA NEURONS: PROJECTION FUNCTIONS IN A MOOD-RELATED CONTEXT

    PubMed Central

    Walsh, J.J.; Han, M.H.

    2015-01-01

    The ventral tegmental area (VTA) in the brain’s reward circuitry is composed of a heterogeneous population of dopamine, GABA, and glutamate neurons that play important roles in mediating mood-related functions including depression. These neurons project to different brain regions, including the nucleus accumbens (NAc), the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and the amygdala. The functional understanding of these projection pathways has been improved since the extensive use of advanced techniques such as viral-mediated gene transfer, cell-type specific neurophysiology and circuit-probing optogenetics. In this article, we will discuss the recent progress in understanding these VTA projection-specific functions, focusing on mood-related disorders. PMID:24931766

  20. Ventral tegmental area dopamine revisited: effects of acute and repeated stress

    PubMed Central

    Holly, Elizabeth N.; Miczek, Klaus A.

    2015-01-01

    Aversive events rapidly and potently excite certain dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), promoting phasic increases in the medial prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens. This is in apparent contradiction to a wealth of literature demonstrating that most VTA dopamine neurons are strongly activated by reward and reward-predictive cues while inhibited by aversive stimuli. How can these divergent processes both be mediated by VTA dopamine neurons? The answer may lie within the functional and anatomical heterogeneity of the VTA. We focus on VTA heterogeneity in anatomy, neurochemistry, electrophysiology, and afferent/efferent connectivity. Second, recent evidence for a critical role of VTA dopamine neurons in response to both acute and repeated stress will be discussed. Understanding which dopamine neurons are activated by stress, the neural mechanisms driving the activation, and where these neurons project will provide valuable insight into how stress can promote psychiatric disorders associated with the dopamine system, such as addiction and depression. PMID:26676983

  1. Cocaine-evoked synaptic plasticity of excitatory transmission in the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Lüscher, Christian

    2013-05-01

    Cocaine leads to a strong euphoria, which is at the origin of its recreational use. Past the acute effects, the drug leaves traces in the brain that persist long after it has been cleared from the body. These traces eventually shape behavior such that drug use may become compulsive and addiction develops. Here we discuss cocaine-evoked synaptic plasticity of glutamatergic transmission onto dopamine (DA) neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) as one of the earliest traces after a first injection of cocaine. We review the literature that has examined the induction requirements as well as the expression mechanism of this form of plasticity and ask the question about its functional significance.

  2. The Nucleus Reuniens of the Midline Thalamus Gates Prefrontal-Hippocampal Modulation of Ventral Tegmental Area Dopamine Neuron Activity

    PubMed Central

    Grace, Anthony A.

    2016-01-01

    The circuitry mediating top-down control of dopamine (DA) neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) is exceedingly complex. Characterizing these networks will be critical to our understanding of fundamental behaviors, such as motivation and reward processing, as well as several disease states. Previous work suggests that the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) exerts a profound influence on VTA DA neuron firing. Recently, our group reported that inhibition of the infralimbic subdivision of the medial prefrontal cortex (ilPFC) increases the proportion of VTA DA neurons that are spontaneously active (i.e., “population activity”) and that this effect depends on activity in the ventral subiculum of the hippocampus (vSub). However, there is no direct projection from the mPFC to the vSub. Anatomical evidence suggests that communication between the two structures is mediated by the nucleus reuniens of the midline thalamus (RE). Here, we used in vivo electrophysiological and behavioral approaches in rats to explore the role of the RE in the circuitry governing VTA DA neuron firing. We show that pharmacological stimulation of the RE enhances VTA DA neuron population activity and amphetamine-induced hyperlocomotion, a behavioral indicator of an over-responsive DA system. Furthermore, the effect of RE stimulation on population activity is prevented if vSub is also inhibited. Finally, pharmacological inhibition of ilPFC enhances VTA DA neuron population activity, but this effect does not occur if RE is also inhibited. These findings suggest that disruption of ilPFC–RE–vSub communication could lead to a dysregulated, hyperdopaminergic state, and may play a role in psychiatric disorders. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Dopamine (DA) neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are involved in a variety of fundamental brain functions. To understand the neurobiological basis for these functions it is essential to identify regions controlling DA neuron activity. The medial prefrontal

  3. Orexin A induced antinociception in the ventral tegmental area involves D1 and D2 receptors in the nucleus accumbens.

    PubMed

    Yazdi-Ravandi, Saeid; Razavi, Yasaman; Haghparast, Amir; Goudarzvand, Mahdi; Haghparast, Abbas

    2014-11-01

    Previous studies have shown that there are functional interactions among the lateral hypothalamus (LH), ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the nucleus accumbens (NAc), implicating pain modulation in the central nervous system. It has been shown that the LH-VTA orexinergic projecting neurons play an important role in mediating the suppression of nociception in animal models. However, little is known about the function of intra-VTA orexin receptors and involvement of D1/D2 receptors within the NAc in this antinociception. In the present study, we investigated the effect of direct administration of orexin A into the VTA, and examined the role of intra-accumbal dopamine receptors in tail-flick test as a model of acute nociceptive responses in rats. Adult male Wistar rats were unilaterally implanted by two separate cannulae into the VTA and NAc. The results showed that intra-VTA orexin A (0.055, 0.55, 5.5 and 55ng/0.3μl saline) could induce antinociception in a dose-dependent manner. In two separated supergroups, rats received intra-accumbal infusions of D1 and D2 receptor antagonists, SCH-23390 and sulpiride (0.125, 0.25, 1 and 4μg/rat) prior to intra-VTA orexin A (5.5ng/rat) administration respectively. Antinociceptive responses of drugs are represented as maximal possible effect in 5, 15, 30, 45 and 60min after their administrations. Our findings showed that intra-accumbal SCH-23390 and sulpiride dose-dependently prevented intra-VTA orexin-induced antinociception. Nevertheless, this effect is more potent in animals that received D2 receptor antagonist. It is supposed that orexin A can induce the antinociception through activation of orexinergic receptors which activate the dopaminergic inputs to the NAc in rats.

  4. Intrinsic connectivity between the hippocampus, nucleus accumbens, and ventral tegmental area in humans.

    PubMed

    Kahn, I; Shohamy, D

    2013-03-01

    Recent studies suggest that memory formation in the hippocampus is modulated by the motivational significance of events, allowing past experience to adaptively guide behavior. The effects of motivation on memory are thought to depend on interactions between the hippocampus, the ventral tegmental area (VTA), and the nucleus accumbens (NAcc). Indeed, animal studies reveal anatomical pathways for circuit-level interaction between these regions. However, a homologue circuit connectivity in humans remains to be shown. We characterized this circuitry in humans by exploiting spontaneous low-frequency modulations in the fMRI signal (termed resting-state functional connectivity), which are thought to reflect functionally related regions and their organization into functional networks in the brain. We examined connectivity in this network across two datasets (hi-resolution, n = 100; standard resolution, n = 894). Results reveal convergent connectivity between the hippocampus, and both the NAcc and the VTA centered on ventral regions in the body of the hippocampus. Additionally, we found individual differences in the strength of connectivity within this network. Together, these results provide a novel task-independent characterization of circuitry underlying interactions between the hippocampus, NAcc, and VTA and provide a framework with which to understand how connectivity might reflect and constrain the effects of motivation on memory.

  5. Species differences in somatodendritic dopamine transmission determine D2-autoreceptor mediated inhibition of ventral tegmental area neuron firing

    PubMed Central

    Courtney, Nicholas A; Mamaligas, Aphroditi A; Ford, Christopher P

    2012-01-01

    The somatodendritic release of dopamine within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) activates inhibitory post-synaptic D2-receptors on dopaminergic neurons. The proposed mechanisms that regulate this form of transmission differ between electrochemical studies using rats and guinea pigs and electrophysiological studies using mice. This study examines the release and resulting dopamine D2-autoreceptor mediated inhibitory post-synaptic currents (D2-IPSCs) in the VTA of mouse, rat and guinea pig. Robust D2-IPSCs were observed in all recordings from neurons in slices taken from mouse, whereas in rat and guinea pig D2-IPSCs were observed less frequently and were significantly smaller in amplitude. In slices taken from guinea pig, dopamine release was more persistent under conditions of reduced extracellular calcium. The decline in the concentration of dopamine was also prolonged and not as sensitive to inhibition of reuptake by cocaine. This resulted in an increased duration of D2-IPSCs in the guinea pig. Therefore, unlike the mouse or the rat, the time course of dopamine in the extracellular space of the guinea pig determined the duration the D2-IPSC. Functionally, differences in D2-IPSCs resulted in inhibition of dopamine neuron firing only in slices from mouse. The results suggest that the mechanisms and functional consequences of somatodendritic dopamine transmission in the VTA vary among species. This highlights the complexity that underlies dopamine dependent transmission in one brain area. Differences in somatodendritic transmission would be expected in vivo to affect the downstream activity of the mesocorticolimbic dopamine system and subsequent terminal release. PMID:23015441

  6. Amylin Receptor Signaling in the Ventral Tegmental Area is Physiologically Relevant for the Control of Food Intake

    PubMed Central

    Mietlicki-Baase, Elizabeth G; Rupprecht, Laura E; Olivos, Diana R; Zimmer, Derek J; Alter, Mark D; Pierce, R Christopher; Schmidt, Heath D; Hayes, Matthew R

    2013-01-01

    The ability of amylin, a pancreatic β-cell-derived neuropeptide, to promote negative energy balance has been ascribed to neural activation at the area postrema. However, despite amylin binding throughout the brain, the possible role of amylin signaling at other nuclei in the control of food intake has been largely neglected. We show that mRNA for all components of the amylin receptor complex is expressed in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a mesolimbic structure mediating food intake and reward. Direct activation of VTA amylin receptors reduces the intake of chow and palatable sucrose solution in rats. This effect is mediated by reductions in meal size and is not due to nausea/malaise or prolonged suppression of locomotor activity. VTA amylin receptor activation also reduces sucrose self-administration on a progressive ratio schedule. Finally, antagonist studies provide novel evidence that VTA amylin receptor blockade increases food intake and attenuates the intake-suppressive effects of a peripherally administered amylin analog, suggesting that amylin receptor signaling in the VTA is physiologically relevant for food intake control and potentially clinically relevant for the treatment of obesity. PMID:23474592

  7. Amylin receptor signaling in the ventral tegmental area is physiologically relevant for the control of food intake.

    PubMed

    Mietlicki-Baase, Elizabeth G; Rupprecht, Laura E; Olivos, Diana R; Zimmer, Derek J; Alter, Mark D; Pierce, R Christopher; Schmidt, Heath D; Hayes, Matthew R

    2013-08-01

    The ability of amylin, a pancreatic β-cell-derived neuropeptide, to promote negative energy balance has been ascribed to neural activation at the area postrema. However, despite amylin binding throughout the brain, the possible role of amylin signaling at other nuclei in the control of food intake has been largely neglected. We show that mRNA for all components of the amylin receptor complex is expressed in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a mesolimbic structure mediating food intake and reward. Direct activation of VTA amylin receptors reduces the intake of chow and palatable sucrose solution in rats. This effect is mediated by reductions in meal size and is not due to nausea/malaise or prolonged suppression of locomotor activity. VTA amylin receptor activation also reduces sucrose self-administration on a progressive ratio schedule. Finally, antagonist studies provide novel evidence that VTA amylin receptor blockade increases food intake and attenuates the intake-suppressive effects of a peripherally administered amylin analog, suggesting that amylin receptor signaling in the VTA is physiologically relevant for food intake control and potentially clinically relevant for the treatment of obesity.

  8. Parthenolide Blocks Cocaine’s Effect on Spontaneous Firing Activity of Dopaminergic Neurons in the Ventral Tegmental Area

    PubMed Central

    Schwarz, David; Bloom, Damaris; Castro, Rocío; Pagán, Oné R; Jiménez-Rivera, C.A

    2011-01-01

    Chronic cocaine administration leads to catecholamine reuptake inhibition which enhances reward and motivational behaviors. Ventral Tegmental Area dopaminergic (VTA DA) neuronal firing is associated with changes in reward predictive signals. Acute cocaine injections inhibit putative VTA DA cell firing in vertebrates. Parthenolide, a compound isolated from the feverfew plant (Tanacetum parthenium), has been shown to substantially inhibit cocaine’s locomotion effects in a planarian animal model (Pagán et al., 2008). Here we investigated the effects of parthenolide on the spontaneous firing activity of putative VTA DA neurons in anesthetized male rats (250-300g). Single-unit recordings were analyzed after intravenous (i.v.) parthenolide administration followed by 1mg/kg i.v. cocaine injection. Results showed that parthenolide at 0.125 mg/kg and 0.250mg/kg significantly blocked cocaine’s inhibitory effect on DA neuronal firing rate and bursting activity (p< 0.05, two way ANOVA). We propose that parthenolide might inhibit cocaine’s effects on VTA DA neurons via its interaction with a common binding site at monoamine transporters. It is suggested that parthenolide could have a potential use as an overdose antidote or therapeutic agent to cocaine intoxication. PMID:21886554

  9. Alpha-2 noradrenergic receptor activation inhibits the hyperpolarization-activated cation current (Ih ) in neurons of the ventral tegmental area

    PubMed Central

    Inyushin, Mikhail U.; Arencibia-Albite, Francisco; Vázquez-Torres, Rafael; Vélez-Hernández, María E.; Jiménez-Rivera, Carlos A.

    2010-01-01

    The ventral tegmental area (VTA) is the source of dopaminergic projections innervating cortical structures and ventral forebrain. Dysfunction of this mesocorticolimbic system is critically involved in psychiatric disorders such as addiction and schizophrenia. Changes in VTA dopamine (DA) neuronal activity can alter neurotransmitter release at target regions which modify information processing in the reward circuit. Here we studied the effect of α-2 noradrenergic receptor activation on the hyperpolarization-activated cation current (Ih ) in DA neurons of the rat VTA. Brain slice preparations using whole-cell current and voltage-clamp techniques were employed. Clonidine and UK14304 (α-2 receptor selective agonists) were found to decrease Ih amplitude and to slow its rate of activation indicating a negative shift in the current’s voltage dependence. Two non-subtype-selective α-2 receptor antagonists, yohimbine and RS79948, prevented the effects of α-2 receptor activation. RX821002, a noradrenergic antagonist specific for α-2A and α-2D did not prevent Ih inhibition. This result suggests that clonidine might be acting via an α-2C subtype since this receptor is the most abundant variant in the VTA. Analysis of a second messenger system associated with the α-2 receptor revealed that Ih inhibition is independent of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) and resulted from the activation of protein kinase C. It is suggested that the α-2 mediated hyperpolarizing shift in Ih voltage dependence can facilitate the transition from pacemaker firing to afferent-driven burst activity. This transition may play a key role on the changes in synaptic plasticity that occurs in the mesocorticolimbic system under pathological conditions. PMID:20122999

  10. Regulation of ventral tegmental area by bed nucleus of the stria terminalis is required for expression of cocaine preference

    PubMed Central

    Sartor, Gregory C.; Aston-Jones, Gary

    2012-01-01

    Lateral hypothalamic (LH) orexin neurons are essential for the expression of a cocaine place preference. However, afferents that regulate activity of these orexin neurons during reward behaviors are not completely understood. Using tract tracing combined with Fos staining, we examined LH afferents for Fos induction during cocaine preference in rats. We found that ventral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (vBNST) was a major input to the LH orexin cell field that was significantly Fos-activated during cocaine conditioned place preference (CPP). Inactivation of vBNST with baclofen plus muscimol blocked expression of cocaine CPP. Surprisingly, such inactivation of vBNST also increased Fos induction in LH orexin neurons; as activity in these cells is normally associated with increased preference, this result indicates that a vBNST-orexin connection is unlikely to be responsible for CPP that is dependent on vBNST activity. Because previous studies have revealed that vBNST regulates dopamine cells in ventral tegmental area (VTA), known to be involved in CPP and other reward functions, we tested whether vBNST afferents to VTA are necessary for cocaine CPP. We found that disconnection of vBNST and VTA (using local microinjections of baclofen plus muscimol unilaterally into vBNST and contralateral VTA) significantly attenuated expression of cocaine preference. However, blocking ionotropic glutamatergic afferents to VTA from vBNST did not significantly reduce cocaine preference. These results indicate that a non-glutamatergic vBNST-VTA projection is involved in expression of cocaine preference. PMID:23039920

  11. Moderate intensity treadmill exercise alters food preference via dopaminergic plasticity of ventral tegmental area-nucleus accumbens in obese mice.

    PubMed

    Chen, Wei; Wang, Hai Jun; Shang, Ning Ning; Liu, Jun; Li, Juan; Tang, Dong Hui; Li, Qiong

    2017-02-22

    Obesity has been associated with the excessive intake of palatable food as well as physical inactivity. To investigate the neurobiological mechanism underlying the exercised-induced prevention and treatment of obesity, the present study examined the effect of treadmill exercise on the preference for palatable food in mice. Levels of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in the ventral tegmental area-nucleus accumbens system were also analysed, as well as levels of dopamine, dopamine transporter, and D2 receptors in the nucleus accumbens. Forty C57BL/6J mice were randomly divided into a control group (CG, n=10) and a high-fat diet group (HG, N=30). Mice of the HG group were fed a high-fat diet for 12 weeks in order to induce a model of obesity, following which the obese mice were randomly divided into an obese control group (OG, n=11) and an obese+exercise group (OEG, n=12). OEG mice received 8 weeks of treadmill exercise intervention. Our results indicate that, relative to animals in the OG group, OEG mice exhibited significant decreases in the preference for high-fat diets and insulin resistance, along with increases in the preference for sucrose and milk, TH and D2 receptor expression, and levels of dopamine in the ventral tegmental area-nucleus accumbens system. These results suggest that moderate-intensity treadmill exercise can alter food preference in obese mice, which may be mediated by dopaminergic plasticity of the ventral tegmental area-nucleus accumbens and enhanced insulin sensitivity.

  12. A subset of ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons responds to acute ethanol.

    PubMed

    Mrejeru, A; Martí-Prats, L; Avegno, E M; Harrison, N L; Sulzer, D

    2015-04-02

    The mechanisms by which alcohol drinking promotes addiction in humans and self-administration in rodents remain obscure, but it is well known that alcohol can enhance dopamine (DA) neurotransmission from neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and increase DA levels within the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex. We recorded from identified DA neuronal cell bodies within ventral midbrain slices prepared from a transgenic mouse line (TH-GFP) using long-term stable extracellular recordings in a variety of locations and carefully mapped the responses to applied ethanol (EtOH). We identified a subset of DA neurons in the medial VTA located within the rostral linear and interfascicular nuclei that fired spontaneously and exhibited a concentration-dependent increase of firing frequency in response to EtOH, with some neurons responsive to as little as 20mM EtOH. Many of these medial VTA DA neurons were also insensitive to the D2 receptor agonist quinpirole. In contrast, DA neurons in the lateral VTA (located within the parabrachial pigmented and paranigral nuclei) were either unresponsive or responded only to 100mM EtOH. Typically, these lateral VTA DA cells had very slow firing rates, and all exhibited inhibition by quinpirole via D2 "autoreceptors". VTA non-DA cells did not show any significant response to low levels of EtOH. These findings are consistent with evidence for heterogeneity among midbrain DA neurons and provide an anatomical and pharmacological distinction between DA neuron sub-populations that will facilitate future mechanistic studies on the actions of EtOH in the VTA. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  13. A SUBSET OF VENTRAL TEGMENTAL AREA DOPAMINE NEURONS RESPONDS TO ACUTE ETHANOL

    PubMed Central

    MREJERU, A.; MARTIÍ-PRATS, L.; AVEGNO, E. M.; HARRISON, N. L.; SULZER, D.

    2015-01-01

    The mechanisms by which alcohol drinking promotes addiction in humans and self-administration in rodents remain obscure, but it is well known that alcohol can enhance dopamine (DA) neurotransmission from neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and increase DA levels within the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex. We recorded from identified DA neuronal cell bodies within ventral midbrain slices prepared from a transgenic mouse line (TH-GFP) using long-term stable extracellular recordings in a variety of locations and carefully mapped the responses to applied ethanol (EtOH). We identified a subset of DA neurons in the medial VTA located within the rostral linear and interfascicular nuclei that fired spontaneously and exhibited a concentration-dependent increase of firing frequency in response to EtOH, with some neurons responsive to as little as 20 mM EtOH. Many of these medial VTA DA neurons were also insensitive to the D2 receptor agonist quinpirole. In contrast, DA neurons in the lateral VTA (located within the parabrachial pigmented and paranigral nuclei) were either unresponsive or responded only to 100 mM EtOH. Typically, these lateral VTA DA cells had very slow firing rates, and all exhibited inhibition by quinpirole via D2 “autoreceptors”. VTA non-DA cells did not show any significant response to low levels of EtOH. These findings are consistent with evidence for heterogeneity among midbrain DA neurons and provide an anatomical and pharmacological distinction between DA neuron sub-populations that will facilitate future mechanistic studies on the actions of EtOH in the VTA. PMID:25660505

  14. Neuroimmune Regulation of GABAergic Neurons Within the Ventral Tegmental Area During Withdrawal from Chronic Morphine

    PubMed Central

    Taylor, Anna M W; Castonguay, Annie; Ghogha, Atefeh; Vayssiere, Pia; Pradhan, Amynah A A; Xue, Lihua; Mehrabani, Sadaf; Wu, Juli; Levitt, Pat; Olmstead, Mary C; De Koninck, Yves; Evans, Christopher J; Cahill, Catherine M

    2016-01-01

    Opioid dependence is accompanied by neuroplastic changes in reward circuitry leading to a negative affective state contributing to addictive behaviors and risk of relapse. The current study presents a neuroimmune mechanism through which chronic opioids disrupt the ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopaminergic circuitry that contributes to impaired reward behavior. Opioid dependence was induced in rodents by treatment with escalating doses of morphine. Microglial activation was observed in the VTA following spontaneous withdrawal from chronic morphine treatment. Opioid-induced microglial activation resulted in an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression and a reduction in the expression and function of the K+Cl− co-transporter KCC2 within VTA GABAergic neurons. Inhibition of microglial activation or interfering with BDNF signaling prevented the loss of Cl− extrusion capacity and restored the rewarding effects of cocaine in opioid-dependent animals. Consistent with a microglial-derived BDNF-induced disruption of reward, intra-VTA injection of BDNF or a KCC2 inhibitor resulted in a loss of cocaine-induced place preference in opioid-naïve animals. The loss of the extracellular Cl− gradient undermines GABAA-mediated inhibition, and represents a mechanism by which chronic opioid treatments can result in blunted reward circuitry. This study directly implicates microglial-derived BDNF as a negative regulator of reward in opioid-dependent states, identifying new therapeutic targets for opiate addictive behaviors. PMID:26202104

  15. Phasic activation of ventral tegmental neurons increases response and pattern similarity in prefrontal cortex neurons

    PubMed Central

    Iwashita, Motoko

    2014-01-01

    Dopamine is critical for higher neural processes and modifying the activity of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). However, the mechanism of dopamine contribution to the modification of neural representation is unclear. Using in vivo two-photon population Ca2+ imaging in awake mice, this study investigated how neural representation of visual input to PFC neurons is regulated by dopamine. Phasic stimulation of dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) evoked prolonged Ca2+ transients, lasting ∼30 s in layer 2/3 neurons of the PFC, which are regulated by a dopamine D1 receptor-dependent pathway. Furthermore, only a conditioning protocol with visual sensory input applied 0.5 s before the VTA dopaminergic input could evoke enhanced Ca2+ transients and increased pattern similarity (or establish a neural representation) of PFC neurons to the same sensory input. By increasing both the level of neuronal response and pattern similarity, dopaminergic input may establish robust and reliable cortical representation. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.02726.001 PMID:25269147

  16. Stimulation of the mesencephalic ventral tegmental area blunts the sensitivity of cardiac baroreflex in decerebrate cats.

    PubMed

    Matsukawa, Kanji; Ishii, Kei; Ishida, Tomoko; Nagai, Atsushi; Liang, Nan

    2015-05-01

    We have examined for the first time whether electrical stimulation of the mesencephalic ventral tegmental area (VTA) or the substantia nigra (SN) was capable of suppressing cardiac baroreflex sensitivity in decerebrate cats. After decerebration was performed by electrocoagulation at the precollicular-premammillary level and inhalation anesthesia was stopped, the animals were able to show spontaneous motor activity intermittently. Electrical stimulations of the mesencephalic areas (the VTA and SN) for 30s were conducted with a monopolar tungsten microelectrode (current intensity of pulse trains, 50-100 μA; frequency, 40-50 Hz; pulse duration, 0.5-1.0 ms), without producing tibial motor discharge. Stimulation of the VTA evoked the significant increases in heart rate (HR, 12 ± 2 beats/min) and mean arterial blood pressure (MAP, 12 ± 3 mm Hg). When the baroreflex bradycardia and the slope of the cardiac baroreflex curve were examined using a pressor response with brief occlusion of the abdominal aorta, the VTA stimulation blunted both the baroreflex bradycardia and the maximal slope of the baroreflex MAP-HR curve by 63-74% in the same manner as spontaneously-evoked motor activity. In contrast, stimulation of the SN elicited no modulation of cardiac baroreflex. It is likely that stimulation of the mesencephalic VTA suppresses cardiac baroreflex sensitivity and has the similar features of the effects on the cardiac baroreflex function as those during spontaneously-evoked motor activity. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  17. Neuron-type-specific signals for reward and punishment in the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Cohen, Jeremiah Y; Haesler, Sebastian; Vong, Linh; Lowell, Bradford B; Uchida, Naoshige

    2012-01-18

    Dopamine has a central role in motivation and reward. Dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) signal the discrepancy between expected and actual rewards (that is, reward prediction error), but how they compute such signals is unknown. We recorded the activity of VTA neurons while mice associated different odour cues with appetitive and aversive outcomes. We found three types of neuron based on responses to odours and outcomes: approximately half of the neurons (type I, 52%) showed phasic excitation after reward-predicting odours and rewards in a manner consistent with reward prediction error coding; the other half of neurons showed persistent activity during the delay between odour and outcome that was modulated positively (type II, 31%) or negatively (type III, 18%) by the value of outcomes. Whereas the activity of type I neurons was sensitive to actual outcomes (that is, when the reward was delivered as expected compared to when it was unexpectedly omitted), the activity of type II and type III neurons was determined predominantly by reward-predicting odours. We 'tagged' dopaminergic and GABAergic neurons with the light-sensitive protein channelrhodopsin-2 and identified them based on their responses to optical stimulation while recording. All identified dopaminergic neurons were of type I and all GABAergic neurons were of type II. These results show that VTA GABAergic neurons signal expected reward, a key variable for dopaminergic neurons to calculate reward prediction error.

  18. Prefrontal cortex gates acute morphine action on dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Liu, Changliang; Fang, Xing; Wu, Qianqian; Jin, Guozhang; Zhen, Xuechu

    2015-08-01

    Morphine excites dopamine (DA) neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), an effect mediated by both local and systemic mechanisms. While the importance of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) - VTA circuit in opiate addiction is well established, little is known about how the PFC regulates the activity of VTA DA neurons upon morphine stimulation. One major challenge is that VTA DA neurons are highly heterogeneous in terms of projection and regulation, making their responses to PFC manipulations variable. Our previous work has identified a subgroup of VTA DA neurons exhibiting significant slow oscillation in their firing sequence, and demonstrated that most of these neurons are functionally connected with the PFC. In the present study, we focus our efforts only on VTA DA neurons expressing strong slow oscillation, and report that blocking the neuronal activity in the PFC remarkably attenuates the morphine-induced excitation of these neurons. Using in vivo microdialysis, we find that inactivation of the PFC also reduces the morphine-induced elevation of DA levels in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Furthermore, 24 h after only single morphine exposure, PFC-inactivation failed to prevent subsequent morphine challenge from exciting VTA DA neurons, which is paralleled by altered response of PFC pyramidal neurons to morphine stimulation. Our results indicate that the PFC gates acute morphine action on a subset of VTA DA neurons, which is highly plastic and can be functionally remodeled by morphine exposure.

  19. Role of the primate ventral tegmental area in reinforcement and motivation.

    PubMed

    Arsenault, John T; Rima, Samy; Stemmann, Heiko; Vanduffel, Wim

    2014-06-16

    Monkey electrophysiology suggests that the activity of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) helps regulate reinforcement learning and motivated behavior, in part by broadcasting prediction error signals throughout the reward system. However, electrophysiological studies do not allow causal inferences regarding the activity of VTA neurons with respect to these processes because they require artificial manipulation of neuronal firing. Rodent studies fulfilled this requirement by demonstrating that electrical and optogenetic VTA stimulation can induce learning and modulate downstream structures. Still, the primate dopamine system has diverged significantly from that of rodents, exhibiting greatly expanded and uniquely distributed cortical and subcortical innervation patterns. Here, we bridge the gap between rodent perturbation studies and monkey electrophysiology using chronic electrical microstimulation of macaque VTA (VTA-EM). VTA-EM was found to reinforce cue selection in an operant task and to motivate future cue selection using a Pavlovian paradigm. Moreover, by combining VTA-EM with concurrent fMRI, we demonstrated that VTA-EM increased fMRI activity throughout most of the dopaminergic reward system. These results establish a causative role for primate VTA in regulating stimulus-specific reinforcement and motivation as well as in modulating activity throughout the reward system.

  20. Spike timing-dependent long-term potentiation in ventral tegmental area dopamine cells requires PKC.

    PubMed

    Luu, Percy; Malenka, Robert C

    2008-07-01

    Long-term potentiation (LTP) of excitatory synapses on ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine (DA) cells is thought to play an important role in mediating some of the behavioral effects of drugs of abuse yet little is known about its underlying mechanisms. We find that spike timing-dependent LTP (STD LTP) in VTA DA cells is absent in slices prepared from mice previously administered cocaine, suggesting that cocaine-induced LTP and STD LTP share underlying mechanisms. This form of STD LTP is dependent on NMDA receptor (NMDAR) activation and a rise in postsynaptic calcium but surprisingly was not affected by an inhibitor of calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII). It was blocked by antagonists of conventional isoforms of PKC, whereas activation of protein kinase C (PKC) using a phorbol ester enhanced synaptic strength. These results suggest that NMDAR-mediated activation of PKC, but not CaMKII, is a critical trigger for LTP in VTA DA cells.

  1. The substantia nigra and ventral tegmental dopaminergic neurons from development to degeneration.

    PubMed

    Fu, YuHong; Paxinos, George; Watson, Charles; Halliday, Glenda M

    2016-10-01

    The pathology of Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterised by the loss of neurons in the substantia nigra parcompacta (A9), which results in the insufficient release of dopamine, and the appearance of motor symptoms. Not all neurons in the A9 subregions degenerate in PD, and the dopaminergic (DA) neurons located in the neighboring ventral tegmental area (A10) are relatively resistant to PD pathogenesis. An increasing number of quantitative studies using human tissue samples of these brain regions have revealed important biological differences. In this review, we first describe current knowledge on the multi-segmental neuromere origin of these DA neurons. We then compare the continued transcription factor and protein expression profile and morphological differences distinguishing subregions within the A9 substantia nigra, and between A9 and A10 DA neurons. We conclude that the expression of three types of factors and proteins contributes to the diversity observed in these DA neurons and potentially to their differential vulnerability to PD. In particular, the specific axonal structure of A9 neurons and the way A9 neurons maintain their DA usage makes them easily exposed to energy deficits, calcium overload and oxidative stress, all contributing to their decreased survival in PD. We highlight knowledge gaps in our understanding of the cellular biomarkers for and their different functions in DA neurons, knowledge which may assist to identify underpinning disease mechansims that could be targeted for the treatment of any subregional dysfunction and loss of these DA neurons.

  2. Bupropion inhibits the cellular effects of nicotine in the ventral tegmental area

    PubMed Central

    Mansvelder, Huibert D.; Fagen, Zara M.; Chang, Ben; Mitchum, Robert; McGehee, Daniel S.

    2007-01-01

    Each year, tobacco use causes over 4 million deaths worldwide and billions of dollars are spent on treatment for tobacco-related illness. Bupropion, an atypical antidepressant, improves the rates of successful smoking cessation, however, the mechanisms by which bupropion reduces cigarette smoking and depression are unknown. Here we show that clinical concentrations of bupropion inhibit nicotine’s stimulatory effects on brain reward areas. Many drugs of abuse, including nicotine, stimulate dopamine (DA) release in the mesoaccumbens reward system. Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) mediate nicotine’s stimulation of DA release, as well as its rewarding effects. Nicotinic receptors are expressed by excitatory and inhibitory neurons that control DA neuron excitability, and by the DA neurons themselves. Bupropion is a broad-spectrum non-competitive nicotinic receptor antagonist. Here we report that pre-treatment of brain slices with a clinically relevant concentration of bupropion dramatically reduces the effects of nicotine on DA neuron excitability. Nicotinic receptors on VTA DA neurons and their synaptic inputs are inhibited by 75 – 95% after bupropion treatment. We also find that bupropion alone reduces GABAergic transmission to DA neurons, thereby diminishing tonic inhibition of these neurons. This increases DA neuron excitability during bupropion treatment in the absence of nicotine, and may contribute to bupropion’s antidepressant actions. PMID:17868653

  3. Induction of locomotor activity by the glutamate antagonist DNQX injected into the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Dalia, A; Uretsky, N J; Wallace, L J

    1996-07-29

    DNQX, an antagonist of AMPA/kainate receptors, was injected into the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to test the hypothesis that AMPA/kainate receptors in this brain region might be involved in regulation of locomotor activity. Bilateral injection of 1 microgram DNQX into the VTA increased locomotor activity. In addition, unilateral injection of DNQX into this site produced contraversive turning, which was potentiated by coadministration of amphetamine (1 mg/kg, i.p.). These results suggest that a glutamatergic afferent to the VTA is tonically active in inhibiting locomotor activity. The locomotor stimulation produced by DNQX was not associated with a change in DOPAC/DA level in the nucleus accumbens or the striatum. However, the locomotor stimulation produced by DNQX was markedly attenuated following blockade of dopaminergic receptors by haloperidol (0.5 mg/kg, s.c.) or following dopamine depletion induced by reserpine plus alpha-methyl-para-tyrosine pretreatment. These results suggest that a basal activation of dopaminergic receptors is required for expression of the locomotor activity elicited by DNQX.

  4. Role of the ventral tegmental area in methamphetamine extinction: AMPA receptor-mediated neuroplasticity.

    PubMed

    Chen, Han-Ting; Chen, Jin-Chung

    2015-03-01

    The molecular mechanisms underlying drug extinction remain largely unknown, although a role for medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) glutamate neurons has been suggested. Considering that the mPFC sends glutamate efferents to the ventral tegmental area (VTA), we tested whether the VTA is involved in methamphetamine (METH) extinction via conditioned place preference (CPP). Among various METH-CPP stages, we found that the amount of phospho-GluR1/Ser845 increased in the VTA at behavioral extinction, but not the acquisition or withdrawal stage. Via surface biotinylation, we found that levels of membrane GluR1 were significantly increased during METH-CPP extinction, while no change was observed at the acquisition stage. Specifically, the number of dendritic spines in the VTA was increased at behavioral extinction, but not during acquisition. To validate the role of the mPFC in METH-CPP extinction, we lesioned the mPFC. Ibotenic acid lesioning of the mPFC did not affect METH-CPP acquisition, however, it abolished the extinction stage and reversed the enhanced phospho-GluR1/Ser845 levels as well as increases in VTA dendritic spines during METH-CPP extinction. Overall, this study demonstrates that the mPFC plays a critical role in METH-CPP extinction and identifies the VTA as an alternative target in mediating the extinction of drug conditioning.

  5. Morphine withdrawal enhances constitutive μ-opioid receptor activity in the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Meye, Frank J; van Zessen, Ruud; Smidt, Marten P; Adan, Roger A H; Ramakers, Geert M J

    2012-11-14

    μ-Opioid receptors (MORs) in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are pivotally involved in addictive behavior. While MORs are typically activated by opioids, they can also become constitutively active in the absence of any agonist. In the current study, we present evidence that MOR constitutive activity is highly relevant in the mouse VTA, as it regulates GABAergic input to dopamine neurons. Specifically, suppression of MOR constitutive activity with the inverse agonist KC-2-009 enhanced GABAergic neurotransmission onto VTA dopamine neurons. This inverse agonistic effect was fully blocked by the specific MOR neutral antagonist CTOP, which had no effect on GABAergic transmission itself. We next show that withdrawal from chronic morphine further increases the magnitude of inverse agonistic effects at the MOR, suggesting enhanced MOR constitutive activity. We demonstrate that this increase can be an adaptive response to the detrimental elevation in cAMP levels known to occur during morphine withdrawal. These findings offer important insights in the physiological occurrence and function of MOR constitutive activity, and have important implications for therapeutic strategies aimed at normalizing MOR signaling during addiction and opioid overdose.

  6. The role of neuropeptide CART in the lateral hypothalamic-ventral tegmental area (LH-VTA) circuit in motivation.

    PubMed

    Somalwar, Amita R; Shelkar, Gajanan P; Subhedar, Nishikant K; Kokare, Dadasaheb M

    2017-01-15

    Rats with electrode implanted in the lateral hypothalamus (LH)-medial forebrain bundle (MFB) area actively engage in intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS). However, the neuronal substrate that translates the electrical pulses into the neural signals, and integrates the information with mesolimbic reward system, has remained elusive. We test the hypothesis that the cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) neurons in the LH-MFB area may support this function. The ICSS activity via an electrode in LH-MFB area was facilitated by CART (55-102) peptide stereotaxically injected in the lateral ventricle or posterior ventral tegmental area (pVTA), but attenuated by CART antibody. While the ICSS experience seems to activate CART cells in the LH, the pVTA showed significant increment in the CART fiber terminals on the dopamine cells, increase in tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-immunoreactivity, and CART and synaptophysin colabeled elements. Neuronal tracing experiments revealed that CART cells of the LH-MFB region project to the pVTA. The rats with stereotaxically implanted cannulae in pVTA avidly self-infused CART (55-102) suggesting a role for the peptide in motivation, however, CART (1-39) was ineffective. CART self-infusing activity was inhibited by dopamine D1 receptors antagonist, given directly in the nucleus accumbens shell (AcbSh). The rats trained to self-administer CART (55-102) showed enhanced TH immunoreactivity in the cells of pVTA and fibers in AcbSh. We suggest that CART neurons of the LH-MFB area may play a role in conveying reward information to the mesolimbic dopamine neurons, which in turn may arouse the goal directed behavior.

  7. Mechanisms involved in systemic nicotine-induced glutamatergic synaptic plasticity on dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Ming; Jin, Yu; Yang, Kechun; Zhang, Die; Lukas, Ronald J.; Wu, Jie

    2010-01-01

    Systemic exposure to nicotine induces glutamatergic synaptic plasticity on dopamine (DA) neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), but mechanisms are largely unknown. Here, we report that single, systemic exposure in rats to nicotine (0.17 mg/kg free base) increases the ratio of DA neuronal currents mediated by AMPA relative to NMDA receptors (AMPA/NMDA ratio) assessed 24 hr later, based on slice patch recording. The AMPA/NMDA ratio increase is evident within 1 hr and lasts for at least 72 hr after nicotine exposure (and up to 8 days after repeated nicotine administration). This effect cannot be prevented by systemic injection of either α7-nAChR-selective (methyllycaconitine, MLA) or β2*-nAChR-selective (mecamylamine, MEC) antagonists but is prevented by co-injection of MLA and MEC. In either nAChR α7 or β2 subunit knock-out mice, systemic exposure to nicotine still increases the AMPA/NMDA ratio. Pre-injection in rats of a NMDA receptor antagonist (MK801), but neither DA receptor antagonists (SCH23390 plus haloperidol) nor a calcineurin inhibitor (cyclosporine), prevents the nicotine-induced increase in AMPA/NMDA ratio. After systemic exposure to nicotine, glutamatergic (but not GABAergic) transmission onto rat VTA DA neuronal inputs is enhanced. Correspondingly, DA neuronal firing measured 24 hr after nicotine exposure using extracellular single unit recording in vivo is significantly faster, and there is conversion of silent to active DA neurons. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that systemic nicotine acting via either α7- or β2*-nAChRs increases pre- and post-synaptic glutamatergic function, and consequently initiates glutamatergic synaptic plasticity, which may be an important, early neuronal adaptation in nicotine reward and reinforcement. PMID:20943922

  8. Cooperative interaction between the basolateral amygdala and ventral tegmental area modulates the consolidation of inhibitory avoidance memory.

    PubMed

    Nazari-Serenjeh, Farzaneh; Rezayof, Ameneh

    2013-01-10

    The aim of the current study was to examine the existence of a cooperative interaction between the basolateral nucleus of amygdala (BLA) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in inhibitory avoidance task. The BLA and the VTA regions of adult male Wistar rats were simultaneously cannulated and memory consolidation was measured in a step-through type inhibitory avoidance apparatus. Post-training microinjection of muscimol, a potent GABA-A receptor agonist (0.01-0.02 μg/rat), into the VTA impaired memory in a dose-dependent manner. Post-training intra-BLA microinjection of NMDA (0.02-0.04 μg/rat), 5 min before the intra-VTA injection of muscimol (0.02 μg/rat), attenuated muscimol-induced memory impairment. Microinjection of a NMDA receptor antagonist, D-AP5 (0.02-0.06 μg/rat) into the BLA inhibited NMDA effect on the memory impairment induced by intra-VTA microinjection of muscimol. On the other hand, post-training intra-BLA microinjection of muscimol (0.02-0.04 μg/rat) dose-dependently decreased step-through latency, indicating an impairing effect on memory. This impairing effect was however significantly attenuated by intra-VTA microinjection of NMDA (0.01-0.03 μg/rat). Intra-VTA microinjection of D-AP5 (0.02-0.08 μg/rat), 5 min prior to NMDA injection, inhibited NMDA response on the impairing effect induced by intra-BLA microinjection of muscimol. It should be considered that post-training microinjection of the same doses of NMDA or D-AP5 into the BLA or the VTA alone had no effect on memory consolidation. The data suggest that the relationship between the BLA and the VTA in mediating memory consolidation in inhibitory avoidance learning may be dependent on a cooperative interaction between the glutamatergic and GABAergic systems via NMDA and GABA-A receptors.

  9. Endogenous opioid-induced neuroplasticity of dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area influences natural and opiate reward.

    PubMed

    Pitchers, Kyle K; Coppens, Caroline M; Beloate, Lauren N; Fuller, Jonathan; Van, Sandy; Frohmader, Karla S; Laviolette, Steven R; Lehman, Michael N; Coolen, Lique M

    2014-06-25

    Natural reward and drugs of abuse converge on the mesolimbic pathway and activate common mechanism of neural plasticity in the nucleus accumbens. Chronic exposure to opiates induces plasticity in dopaminergic neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA), which regulates morphine reward tolerance. Here, we test the hypotheses that mating-induced release of endogenous opioids in the VTA causes morphological changes of VTA dopamine cells in male rats, which in-turn regulate the long-term expression of experience-induced reinforcement of sexual behavior. First, sexual experience decreased VTA dopamine soma size 1 and 7 days, but not 30 days after the last mating session. This effect was blocked with naloxone before each mating session; thus, VTA dopamine cell plasticity was dependent on action of endogenous opioids. In turn, VTA plasticity was associated with altered opiate reward, as sexually experienced males did not form conditioned place preference for 0.5 mg/kg morphine. Next, it was determined whether endogenous opioid action mediates sexual reward and memory in male rats treated with naloxone during mating experience, either systemically or intra-VTA. Naloxone did not prevent the initial experience-induced facilitation of sexual behavior over repeated mating sessions, or conditioned place preference for mating. However, naloxone treatment attenuated the longer-term expression of experience-induced facilitation of sexual behavior and neural activation in mesolimbic areas induced by mating-associated conditioned cues. Together, these data demonstrate that endogenous opioids during mating induce neural plasticity in VTA dopamine neurons that appear critical for morphine reward and long-term memory for natural reward behavior. Copyright © 2014 the authors 0270-6474/14/348825-12$15.00/0.

  10. Acupuncture reduces relapse to cocaine-seeking behavior via activation of GABA neurons in the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Jin, Wyju; Kim, Min Sun; Jang, Eun Young; Lee, Jun Yeon; Lee, Jin Gyeom; Kim, Hong Yu; Yoon, Seong Shoon; Lee, Bong Hyo; Chang, Suchan; Kim, Jae Hyo; Choi, Kwang H; Koo, Ho; Gwak, Young Seob; Steffensen, Scott C; Ryu, Yeon-Hee; Kim, Hee Young; Yang, Chae Ha

    2017-03-07

    There is growing public interest in alternative approaches to addiction treatment and scientific interest in elucidating the neurobiological underpinnings of acupuncture. Our previous studies showed that acupuncture at a specific Shenmen (HT7) points reduced dopamine (DA) release in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) induced by drugs of abuse. The present study was carried out to evaluate the effects of HT7 acupuncture on γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neuronal activity in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior. Using microdialysis and in vivo single-unit electrophysiology, we evaluated the effects of HT7 acupuncture on VTA GABA and NAc DA release and VTA GABA neuronal activity in rats. Using a within-session reinstatement paradigm in rats self-administering cocaine, we evaluated the effects of HT7 stimulation on cocaine-primed reinstatement. Acupuncture at HT7 significantly reduced cocaine suppression of GABA release and GABA neuron firing rates in the VTA. HT7 acupuncture attenuated cocaine-primed reinstatement, which was blocked by VTA infusions of the selective GABAB receptor antagonist 2-hydroxysaclofen. HT7 stimulation significantly decreased acute cocaine-induced DA release in the NAc, which was also blocked by 2-hydroxysaclofen. HT7 acupuncture also attenuated cocaine-induced sensitization of extracellular DA levels in the NAc. Moreover, HT7 acupuncture reduced both locomotor activity and neuronal activation in the NAc induced by acute cocaine in a needle-penetration depth-dependent fashion. These results suggest that acupuncture may suppress cocaine-induced DA release in the NAc and cocaine-seeking behavior through activation of VTA GABA neurons. Acupuncture may be an effective therapy to reduce cocaine relapse by enhancing GABAergic inhibition in the VTA.

  11. Reinforcement-related regulation of AMPA glutamate receptor subunits in the ventral tegmental area enhances motivation for cocaine.

    PubMed

    Choi, Kwang Ho; Edwards, Scott; Graham, Danielle L; Larson, Erin B; Whisler, Kimberly N; Simmons, Diana; Friedman, Allyson K; Walsh, Jessica J; Rahman, Zia; Monteggia, Lisa M; Eisch, Amelia J; Neve, Rachael L; Nestler, Eric J; Han, Ming-Hu; Self, David W

    2011-05-25

    Chronic cocaine use produces numerous biological changes in brain, but relatively few are functionally associated with cocaine reinforcement. Here we show that daily intravenous cocaine self-administration, but not passive cocaine administration, induces dynamic upregulation of the AMPA glutamate receptor subunits GluR1 and GluR2 in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of rats. Increases in GluR1 protein and GluR1(S845) phosphorylation are associated with increased GluR1 mRNA in self-administering animals, whereas increased GluR2 protein levels occurred despite substantial decreases in GluR2 mRNA. We investigated the functional significance of GluR1 upregulation in the VTA on cocaine self-administration using localized viral-mediated gene transfer. Overexpression of GluR1(WT) in rat VTA primarily infected dopamine neurons (75%) and increased AMPA receptor-mediated membrane rectification in these neurons with AMPA application. Similar GluR1(WT) overexpression potentiated locomotor responses to intra-VTA AMPA, but not NMDA, infusions. In cocaine self-administering animals, overexpression of GluR1(WT) in the VTA markedly increased the motivation for cocaine injections on a progressive ratio schedule of cocaine reinforcement. In contrast, overexpression of protein kinase A-resistant GluR1(S845A) in the VTA reduced peak rates of cocaine self-administration on a fixed ratio reinforcement schedule. Neither viral vector altered sucrose self-administration, and overexpression of GluR1(WT) or GluR1(S845A) in the adjacent substantia nigra had no effect on cocaine self-administration. Together, these results suggest that dynamic regulation of AMPA receptors in the VTA during cocaine self-administration contributes to cocaine addiction by acting to facilitate subsequent cocaine use.

  12. Muscarinic, but not nicotinic, acetylcholine receptor blockade in the ventral tegmental area attenuates cue-induced sucrose-seeking

    PubMed Central

    Addy, Nii A.; Nunes, Eric J.; Wickham, Robert J.

    2015-01-01

    The mesolimbic dopamine (DA) system is known to play a role in cue-mediated reward-seeking for natural rewards and drugs of abuse. Specifically, cholinergic and glutamatergic receptors in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) have been shown to regulate cue-induced drug-seeking. However, the potential role of these VTA receptors in regulating cue-induced reward seeking for natural rewards is unknown. Here, we examined whether blockade of VTA acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) would alter cue-induced sucrose seeking in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Subjects underwent 10 days of sucrose self-administration training (fixed ratio 1 schedule) followed by 7 days of forced abstinence. On withdrawal day 7, rats received bilateral VTA infusion of vehicle, the muscarinic AChR antagonist scopolamine (2.4 or 24 μg/side), the nicotinic AChR antagonist mecamylamine (3 or 30 μg/side), or the NMDAR antagonist AP-5 (0.1 or 1 μg/side) immediately prior to examination of cue-induced sucrose-seeking. Scopolamine infusion led to robust attenuation, but did not completely block, sucrose-seeking behavior. In contrast, VTA administration of mecamylamine or AP-5 did not alter cue-induced sucrose-seeking. Together, the data suggest that VTA muscarinic AChRs, but not nicotinic AChRs nor NMDARs, facilitate the ability of food-associated cues to drive seeking behavior for a food reward. PMID:26026787

  13. On the properties of identified dopaminergic neurons in the mouse substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Krashia, Paraskevi; Martini, Alessandro; Nobili, Annalisa; Aversa, Daniela; D'Amelio, Marcello; Berretta, Nicola; Guatteo, Ezia; Mercuri, Nicola Biagio

    2017-01-01

    We studied the properties of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) and ventral tegmental area (VTA) in mice expressing the enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) under the control of the tyrosine hydroxylase promoter (TH-GFP). By using a practical map of cell positioning in distinct SNpc and VTA subregions in horizontal midbrain slices we saw that the spontaneous firing, membrane properties, cell body size and magnitude of the hyperpolarization-activated current (Ih ) in TH-GFP-positive neurons (TH-GFP(+) ) vary significantly among subregions, following a mediolateral gradient. Block of Ih with Zd7288 inhibited firing in the most lateral subregions, but had little effect in the intermediate/medial VTA. In addition, TH-GFP(+) cells were excited by Met(5) -Enkephalin. Extracellular recordings from a large neuron number showed that all TH-GFP(+) cells were inhibited by dopamine, suggesting that this is a reliable approach for identifying dopaminergic neurons in vitro. Simultaneous recordings from dopamine-sensitive and dopamine-insensitive neurons showed that dopamine-insensitive cells (putative non-dopaminergic neurons) are unaffected by Zd7288 but inhibited by Met(5) -Enkephalin. Under patch-clamp, dopamine generated a quantitatively similar outward current in most TH-GFP(+) neurons, although medial VTA cells showed reduced dopamine sensitivity. Pargyline prolonged the dopamine current, whereas cocaine enhanced dopamine-mediated responses in both the SNpc and the VTA. Our work provides new insights into the variability in mouse midbrain dopaminergic neurons along the medial-lateral axis and points to the necessity of a combination of different electrophysiological and pharmacological approaches for reliably identifying these cells to distinguish them from non-dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain.

  14. Acute fasting increases somatodendritic dopamine release in the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Roseberry, Aaron G

    2015-08-01

    Fasting and food restriction alter the activity of the mesolimbic dopamine system to affect multiple reward-related behaviors. Food restriction decreases baseline dopamine levels in efferent target sites and enhances dopamine release in response to rewards such as food and drugs. In addition to releasing dopamine from axon terminals, dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) also release dopamine from their soma and dendrites, and this somatodendritic dopamine release acts as an autoinhibitory signal to inhibit neighboring VTA dopamine neurons. It is unknown whether acute fasting also affects dopamine release, including the local inhibitory somatodendritic dopamine release in the VTA. In these studies, I have tested whether fasting affects the inhibitory somatodendritic dopamine release within the VTA by examining whether an acute 24-h fast affects the inhibitory postsynaptic current mediated by evoked somatodendritic dopamine release (D2R IPSC). Fasting increased the contribution of the first action potential to the overall D2R IPSC and increased the ratio of repeated D2R IPSCs evoked at short intervals. Fasting also reduced the effect of forskolin on the D2R IPSC and led to a significantly bigger decrease in the D2R IPSC in low extracellular calcium. Finally, fasting resulted in an increase in the D2R IPSCs when a more physiologically relevant train of D2R IPSCs was used. Taken together, these results indicate that fasting caused a change in the properties of somatodendritic dopamine release, possibly by increasing dopamine release, and that this increased release can be sustained under conditions where dopamine neurons are highly active. Copyright © 2015 the American Physiological Society.

  15. Acute fasting increases somatodendritic dopamine release in the ventral tegmental area

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Fasting and food restriction alter the activity of the mesolimbic dopamine system to affect multiple reward-related behaviors. Food restriction decreases baseline dopamine levels in efferent target sites and enhances dopamine release in response to rewards such as food and drugs. In addition to releasing dopamine from axon terminals, dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) also release dopamine from their soma and dendrites, and this somatodendritic dopamine release acts as an autoinhibitory signal to inhibit neighboring VTA dopamine neurons. It is unknown whether acute fasting also affects dopamine release, including the local inhibitory somatodendritic dopamine release in the VTA. In these studies, I have tested whether fasting affects the inhibitory somatodendritic dopamine release within the VTA by examining whether an acute 24-h fast affects the inhibitory postsynaptic current mediated by evoked somatodendritic dopamine release (D2R IPSC). Fasting increased the contribution of the first action potential to the overall D2R IPSC and increased the ratio of repeated D2R IPSCs evoked at short intervals. Fasting also reduced the effect of forskolin on the D2R IPSC and led to a significantly bigger decrease in the D2R IPSC in low extracellular calcium. Finally, fasting resulted in an increase in the D2R IPSCs when a more physiologically relevant train of D2R IPSCs was used. Taken together, these results indicate that fasting caused a change in the properties of somatodendritic dopamine release, possibly by increasing dopamine release, and that this increased release can be sustained under conditions where dopamine neurons are highly active. PMID:26084913

  16. GABAA receptor drugs and neuronal plasticity in reward and aversion: focus on the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Vashchinkina, Elena; Panhelainen, Anne; Aitta-Aho, Teemu; Korpi, Esa R

    2014-01-01

    GABAA receptors are the main fast inhibitory neurotransmitter receptors in the mammalian brain, and targets for many clinically important drugs widely used in the treatment of anxiety disorders, insomnia and in anesthesia. Nonetheless, there are significant risks associated with the long-term use of these drugs particularly related to development of tolerance and addiction. Addictive mechanisms of GABAA receptor drugs are poorly known, but recent findings suggest that those drugs may induce aberrant neuroadaptations in the brain reward circuitry. Recently, benzodiazepines, acting on synaptic GABAA receptors, and modulators of extrasynaptic GABAA receptors (THIP and neurosteroids) have been found to induce plasticity in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine neurons and their main target projections. Furthermore, depending whether synaptic or extrasynaptic GABAA receptor populations are activated, the behavioral outcome of repeated administration seems to correlate with rewarding or aversive behavioral responses, respectively. The VTA dopamine neurons project to forebrain centers such as the nucleus accumbens and medial prefrontal cortex, and receive afferent projections from these brain regions and especially from the extended amygdala and lateral habenula, forming the major part of the reward and aversion circuitry. Both synaptic and extrasynaptic GABAA drugs inhibit the VTA GABAergic interneurons, thus activating the VTA DA neurons by disinhibition and this way inducing glutamatergic synaptic plasticity. However, the GABAA drugs failed to alter synaptic spine numbers as studied from Golgi-Cox-stained VTA dendrites. Since the GABAergic drugs are known to depress the brain metabolism and gene expression, their likely way of inducing neuroplasticity in mature neurons is by disinhibiting the principal neurons, which remains to be rigorously tested for a number of clinically important anxiolytics, sedatives and anesthetics in different parts of the circuitry.

  17. Midkine in the mouse ventral tegmental area limits ethanol intake and Ccl2 gene expression.

    PubMed

    Chen, H; He, D; Lasek, A W

    2017-09-01

    Midkine (MDK) is a cytokine and neurotrophic factor that is more highly expressed in the brains of alcoholics and in mice predisposed to drink large amounts of ethanol, suggesting that MDK may regulate ethanol consumption. Here we measured ethanol consumption in male and female Mdk knockout (-/-) mice using the two-bottle choice and the drinking in the dark (DID) tests. We found that Mdk -/- mice consumed significantly more ethanol than wild-type controls in both tests. To determine if MDK acts in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to regulate ethanol consumption, we delivered lentivirus expressing a Mdk shRNA into the VTA of male C57BL/6J mice to locally knockdown Mdk and performed the DID test. Mice expressing a Mdk shRNA in the VTA consumed more ethanol than mice expressing a control non-targeting shRNA, demonstrating that the VTA is one site in the brain through which MDK acts to regulate ethanol consumption. Since MDK also controls the expression of inflammatory cytokines in other organs, we examined gene expression of interleukin-1 beta (Il1b), tumor necrosis factor alpha (Tnfα) and the chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (Ccl2) in the VTA of Mdk -/- mice and in mice expressing Mdk shRNA in the VTA. Expression of Ccl2 was elevated in the VTA of Mdk -/- mice and in mice expressing Mdk shRNA in the VTA. These results demonstrate that MDK functions in the VTA to limit ethanol consumption and levels of CCL2, a chemokine known to increase ethanol consumption. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society.

  18. MAPPING DOPAMINERGIC DEFICIENCIES IN THE SUBSTANTIA NIGRA/VENTRAL TEGMENTAL AREA IN SCHIZOPHRENIA

    PubMed Central

    Rice, Matthew W; Roberts, Rosalinda C; Melendez-Ferro, Miguel; Perez-Costas, Emma

    2015-01-01

    Previous work from our laboratory showed deficits in tyrosine hydroxylase protein expression within the substantia nigra/ventral tegmental area (SN/VTA) in schizophrenia. However, little is known about the nature and specific location of these deficits within the SN/VTA. The present study had two aims: 1) test if tyrosine hydroxylase deficits could be explained as the result of neuronal loss; 2) assess if deficits in tyrosine hydroxylase are subregion specific within the SN/VTA, and thus, could affect specific dopaminergic pathways. To achieve these objectives: 1) we obtained estimates of the number of dopaminergic neurons, total number of neurons and their ratio in matched SN/VTA schizophrenia and control samples; 2) we performed a qualitative assessment in SN/VTA schizophrenia and control matched samples that were processed simultaneously for tyrosine hydroxylase immunohistochemistry. We did not find any significant differences in the total number of neurons, dopaminergic neurons, or their ratio. Our qualitative study of TH expression showed a conspicuous decrease in labeling of neuronal processes and cell bodies within the SN/VTA, which was sub-region specific. Dorsal diencephalic dopaminergic populations of the SN/VTA presented the most conspicuous decrease in TH labeling. These data support the existence of pathway-specific dopaminergic deficits that would affect the dopamine input to the cortex without significant neuronal loss. Interestingly, these findings support earlier reports of decreases in tyrosine hydroxylase labeling in the target areas for this dopaminergic input in the prefrontal and entorhinal cortex. Finally, our findings support that tyrosine hydroxylase deficits could contribute to the hypodopaminergic state observed in cortical areas in schizophrenia. PMID:25269834

  19. Medial Preoptic Regulation of the Ventral Tegmental Area Related to the Control of Sociosexual Behaviors

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    During sociosexual encounters, different brain mechanisms interact to orchestrate information about the salience of external stimuli along with the current physiological and environmental conditions in order to process these in an optimal manner. One candidate neural system involves the potential interplay between the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) and mesolimbic reward circuitry. We present here evidence indicating that projections originating from the POM play a modulatory role on the mesolimbic reward circuitry related to male sexual behavior in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). First, we used an asymmetrical inactivation strategy where POM and ventral tegmental area (VTA) were unilaterally inactivated via the GABAA agonist muscimol, either in an ipsilateral or contralateral fashion. Ipsilateral injections of muscimol had negligible effects on both appetitive and consummatory sexual behaviors. In contrast, contralateral injections significantly impaired appetitive sexual behaviors but had no clear effect on consummatory sexual behaviors. Next, we labeled cells projecting from the POM to the VTA by stereotaxic injection into VTA of the retrograde tracer biotinylated dextran amine (BDA). Two weeks later, brains from males who had been allowed to interact freely with a female (15 min) or kept as controls were collected and fixed for double immunohistochemical labeling of BDA and the immediate early gene Fos. More retrogradely labeled BDA cells in POM expressed Fos after sociosexual interactions than in control conditions. Overall, these findings provide novel evidence for the interplay between POM and VTA in the modulation of appetitive but not consummatory sexual behaviors. Schematic representation of the putative role of the projection from the medial POM to the VTA in the regulation of appetitive and consummatory sexual behaviors. Unilateral inactivation of POM and VTA on (1) ipsilateral sides has negligible effects on both aspects of sexual behaviors, whereas

  20. GIRK2 expression in dopamine neurons of the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Reyes, Stefanie; Fu, Yuhong; Double, Kay; Thompson, Lachlan; Kirik, Deniz; Paxinos, George; Halliday, Glenda M

    2012-08-15

    G-protein-regulated inward-rectifier potassium channel 2 (GIRK2) is reported to be expressed only within certain dopamine neurons of the substantia nigra (SN), although very limited data are available in humans. We examined the localization of GIRK2 in the SN and adjacent ventral tegmental area (VTA) of humans and mice by using either neuromelanin pigment or immunolabeling with tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) or calbindin. GIRK2 immunoreactivity was found in nearly every human pigmented neuron or mouse TH-immunoreactive neuron in both the SN and VTA, although considerable variability in the intensity of GIRK2 staining was observed. The relative intensity of GIRK2 immunoreactivity in TH-immunoreactive neurons was determined; in both species nearly all SN TH-immunoreactive neurons had strong GIRK2 immunoreactivity compared with only 50-60% of VTA neurons. Most paranigral VTA neurons also contained calbindin immunoreactivity, and approximately 25% of these and nearby VTA neurons also had strong GIRK2 immunoreactivity. These data show that high amounts of GIRK2 protein are found in most SN neurons as well as in a proportion of nearby VTA neurons. The single previous human study may have been compromised by the fixation method used and the postmortem delay of their controls, whereas other studies suggesting that GIRK2 is located only in limited neuronal groups within the SN have erroneously included VTA regions as part of the SN. In particular, the dorsal layer of dopamine neurons directly underneath the red nucleus is considered a VTA region in humans but is commonly considered the dorsal tier of the SN in laboratory species.

  1. Microinfusion of bupropion inhibits putative GABAergic neuronal activity of the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Amirabadi, Sanaz; Pakdel, Firouz Ghaderi; Shahabi, Parviz; Naderi, Somayyeh; Osalou, Mostafa Ashrafi; Cankurt, Ulker

    2014-01-01

    The most common interpretation for the mechanisms of antidepression is the increase of the brain monoamine levels such as dopamine (DA). The increase of DA can reduce depression but it can also decrease the monoamine release because of autoreceptor inhibition. Although bupropion can decrease the dopamine release, there is evidence about stimulatory effects of chronic application of bupropion on ventral tegmental area (VTA) neurons. In this study, the intra-VTA acute microinfusion of bupropion on putative VTA non-Dopaminergic (VTA-nonDA) neuronal firing rates was evaluated by a single neuron recording technique. Animals were divided into 7 groups (sham, and 6 bupropion-microinfused groups with 1, 10(-1), 10(-2), 10(-3), 10(-4), and 10(-5) mol, 1 µl/3 min, intra-VTA). A single neuron recording technique was done according to the stereotaxic coordination. After 10 min baseline recording, ACSF or bupropion was microinfused. The recording continued to recovery period in the treated groups. The prestimulus time (PST) and interspike interval (ISI) histograms were calculated for every single unit. The assessment of the drug effect was carried out by one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Post-hoc test. 126 non-DA neurons were separated. Bupropion could inhibit 116 neurons and 11 neurons had no significant response. Maximum inhibition was 79.1% of baseline firing rate with 44.3 min duration. The inhibitory effect of bupropion was dose-dependent. The acute inhibitory effects of bupropion on VTA-nonDA neurons can explain the fast inhibitory effects of bupropion and other antidepressants on the VTA. These data can explain some side effects of antidepressants.

  2. Microinfusion of Bupropion Inhibits Putative GABAergic Neuronal Activity of the Ventral Tegmental Area

    PubMed Central

    Amirabadi, Sanaz; Pakdel, Firouz Ghaderi; Shahabi, Parviz; Naderi, Somayyeh; Osalou, Mostafa Ashrafi; Cankurt, Ulker

    2014-01-01

    Introduction The most common interpretation for the mechanisms of antidepression is the increase of the brain monoamine levels such as dopamine (DA). The increase of DA can reduce depression but it can also decrease the monoamine release because of autoreceptor inhibition. Although bupropion can decrease the dopamine release, there is evidence about stimulatory effects of chronic application of bupropion on ventral tegmental area (VTA) neurons. In this study, the intra-VTA acute microinfusion of bupropion on putative VTA non-Dopaminergic (VTA-nonDA) neuronal firing rates was evaluated by a single neuron recording technique. Methods Animals were divided into 7 groups (sham, and 6 bupropion-microinfused groups with 1, 10-1, 10-2, 10-3, 10-4, and 10-5 mol, 1 µl/3 min, intra-VTA). A single neuron recording technique was done according to the stereotaxic coordination. After 10 min baseline recording, ACSF or bupropion was microinfused. The recording continued to recovery period in the treated groups. The prestimulus time (PST) and interspike interval (ISI) histograms were calculated for every single unit. The assessment of the drug effect was carried out by one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Post-hoc test. Results 126 non-DA neurons were separated. Bupropion could inhibit 116 neurons and 11 neurons had no significant response. Maximum inhibition was 79.1% of baseline firing rate with 44.3 min duration. The inhibitory effect of bupropion was dose-dependent. Discussion The acute inhibitory effects of bupropion on VTA-nonDA neurons can explain the fast inhibitory effects of bupropion and other antidepressants on the VTA. These data can explain some side effects of antidepressants. PMID:25337378

  3. The Volitional Nature of Nicotine Exposure Alters Anandamide and Oleoylethanolamide Levels in the Ventral Tegmental Area

    PubMed Central

    Buczynski, Matthew W; Polis, Ilham Y; Parsons, Loren H

    2013-01-01

    Cannabinoid-1 receptors (CB1) have an important role in nicotine reward and their function is disrupted by chronic nicotine exposure, suggesting nicotine-induced alterations in endocannabinoid (eCB) signaling. However, the effects of nicotine on brain eCB levels have not been rigorously evaluated. Volitional intake of nicotine produces physiological and behavioral effects distinct from forced drug administration, although the mechanisms underlying these effects are not known. This study compared the effects of volitional nicotine self-administration (SA) and forced nicotine exposure (yoked administration (YA)) on levels of eCBs and related neuroactive lipids in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and other brain regions. Brain lipid levels were indexed both by in vivo microdialysis in the VTA and lipid extractions from brain tissues. Nicotine SA, but not YA, reduced baseline VTA dialysate oleoylethanolamide (OEA) levels relative to nicotine-naïve controls, and increased anandamide (AEA) release during nicotine intake. In contrast, all nicotine exposure paradigms increased VTA dialysate 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) levels. Thus, nicotine differentially modulates brain lipid (2-AG, AEA, and OEA) signaling, and these modulations are influenced by the volitional nature of the drug exposure. Corresponding bulk tissue analysis failed to identify these lipid changes. Nicotine exposure had no effect on fatty acid amide hydrolase activity in the VTA, suggesting that changes in AEA and OEA signaling result from alterations in their nicotine-induced biosynthesis. Both CB1 (by AEA and 2-AG) and non-CB1 (by OEA) targets can alter the excitability and activity of the dopaminergic neurons in the VTA. Collectively, these findings implicate disrupted lipid signaling in the motivational effects of nicotine. PMID:23169348

  4. The volitional nature of nicotine exposure alters anandamide and oleoylethanolamide levels in the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Buczynski, Matthew W; Polis, Ilham Y; Parsons, Loren H

    2013-03-01

    Cannabinoid-1 receptors (CB(1)) have an important role in nicotine reward and their function is disrupted by chronic nicotine exposure, suggesting nicotine-induced alterations in endocannabinoid (eCB) signaling. However, the effects of nicotine on brain eCB levels have not been rigorously evaluated. Volitional intake of nicotine produces physiological and behavioral effects distinct from forced drug administration, although the mechanisms underlying these effects are not known. This study compared the effects of volitional nicotine self-administration (SA) and forced nicotine exposure (yoked administration (YA)) on levels of eCBs and related neuroactive lipids in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and other brain regions. Brain lipid levels were indexed both by in vivo microdialysis in the VTA and lipid extractions from brain tissues. Nicotine SA, but not YA, reduced baseline VTA dialysate oleoylethanolamide (OEA) levels relative to nicotine-naïve controls, and increased anandamide (AEA) release during nicotine intake. In contrast, all nicotine exposure paradigms increased VTA dialysate 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) levels. Thus, nicotine differentially modulates brain lipid (2-AG, AEA, and OEA) signaling, and these modulations are influenced by the volitional nature of the drug exposure. Corresponding bulk tissue analysis failed to identify these lipid changes. Nicotine exposure had no effect on fatty acid amide hydrolase activity in the VTA, suggesting that changes in AEA and OEA signaling result from alterations in their nicotine-induced biosynthesis. Both CB(1) (by AEA and 2-AG) and non-CB(1) (by OEA) targets can alter the excitability and activity of the dopaminergic neurons in the VTA. Collectively, these findings implicate disrupted lipid signaling in the motivational effects of nicotine.

  5. Optogenetic activation of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area induces reanimation from general anesthesia.

    PubMed

    Taylor, Norman E; Van Dort, Christa J; Kenny, Jonathan D; Pei, JunZhu; Guidera, Jennifer A; Vlasov, Ksenia Y; Lee, Justin T; Boyden, Edward S; Brown, Emery N; Solt, Ken

    2016-10-24

    Dopamine (DA) promotes wakefulness, and DA transporter inhibitors such as dextroamphetamine and methylphenidate are effective for increasing arousal and inducing reanimation, or active emergence from general anesthesia. DA neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are involved in reward processing, motivation, emotion, reinforcement, and cognition, but their role in regulating wakefulness is less clear. The current study was performed to test the hypothesis that selective optogenetic activation of VTA DA neurons is sufficient to induce arousal from an unconscious, anesthetized state. Floxed-inverse (FLEX)-Channelrhodopsin2 (ChR2) expression was targeted to VTA DA neurons in DA transporter (DAT)-cre mice (ChR2+ group; n = 6). Optical VTA stimulation in ChR2+ mice during continuous, steady-state general anesthesia (CSSGA) with isoflurane produced behavioral and EEG evidence of arousal and restored the righting reflex in 6/6 mice. Pretreatment with the D1 receptor antagonist SCH-23390 before optical VTA stimulation inhibited the arousal responses and restoration of righting in 6/6 ChR2+ mice. In control DAT-cre mice, the VTA was targeted with a viral vector lacking the ChR2 gene (ChR2- group; n = 5). VTA optical stimulation in ChR2- mice did not restore righting or produce EEG changes during isoflurane CSSGA in 5/5 mice. These results provide compelling evidence that selective stimulation of VTA DA neurons is sufficient to induce the transition from an anesthetized, unconscious state to an awake state, suggesting critical involvement in behavioral arousal.

  6. Differential role of ventral tegmental area acetylcholine and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors in cocaine-seeking.

    PubMed

    Solecki, Wojciech; Wickham, Robert J; Behrens, Shay; Wang, Jie; Zwerling, Blake; Mason, Graeme F; Addy, Nii A

    2013-12-01

    Exposure to drug-associated cues evokes drug-seeking behavior and is regarded as a major cause of relapse. Cues evoke burst firing of ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine (DA) neurons and phasic DA release in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Cholinergic and glutamatergic input to the VTA is suggested to gate phasic DA activity. However, the role of VTA cholinergic and glutamatergic receptors in regulating phasic dopamine release and cue-induced drug-seeking in cocaine experienced subjects is not known. In male Sprague-Dawley rats, we found that VTA inactivation strongly inhibited, while VTA stimulation promoted, cocaine-seeking behavior during early withdrawal. Blockade of phasic activated D1 receptors in the NAc core also strongly inhibited cue-induced cocaine-seeking--suggesting an important role of phasic DA activity in the VTA to NAc core circuit. Next, we examined the role of VTA acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) in regulating both NAc core phasic DA release and cue-induced cocaine-seeking. In cocaine naïve subjects, VTA infusion of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antagonist mecamylamine, the muscarinic AChR antagonist scopolamine, or the NMDAR antagonist AP-5, led to robust attenuation of phasic DA release in the NAc core. During early cocaine withdrawal, VTA infusion of AP-5 had limited effects on NAc phasic DA release and cue-induced cocaine-seeking while VTA infusion of mecamylamine or scopolamine robustly inhibited both phasic DA release and cocaine-seeking. The results demonstrate that VTA AChRs, but not NMDARs, strongly regulate cue-induced cocaine-seeking and phasic DA release during early cocaine withdrawal.

  7. Differential role of ventral tegmental area acetylcholine and N-Methyl-D-Aspartate receptors in cocaine-seeking

    PubMed Central

    Solecki, Wojciech; Wickham, Robert J.; Behrens, Shay; Wang, Jie; Zwerling, Blake; Mason, Graeme F.; Addy, Nii A.

    2013-01-01

    Exposure to drug-associated cues evokes drug-seeking behavior and is regarded as a major cause of relapse. Cues evoke burst firing of ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine (DA) neurons and phasic DA release in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Cholinergic and glutamatergic input to the VTA is suggested to gate phasic DA activity. However, the role of VTA cholinergic and glutamatergic receptors in regulating phasic dopamine release and cue-induced drug-seeking in cocaine experienced subjects is not known. In male Sprague-Dawley rats, we found that VTA inactivation strongly inhibited, while VTA stimulation promoted, cocaine-seeking behavior during early withdrawal. Blockade of phasic activated D1 receptors in the NAc core also strongly inhibited cue-induced cocaine-seeking - suggesting an important role of phasic DA activity in the VTA to NAc core circuit. Next, we examined the role of VTA acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) in regulating both NAc core phasic DA release and cue-induced cocaine-seeking. In cocaine naïve subjects, VTA infusion of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antagonist mecamylamine, the muscarinic AChR antagonist scopolamine, or the NMDAR antagonist AP-5, led to robust attenuation of phasic DA release in the NAc core. During early cocaine withdrawal, VTA infusion of AP-5 had limited effects on NAc phasic DA release and cue-induced cocaine-seeking while VTA infusion of mecamylamine or scopolamine robustly inhibited both phasic DA release and cocaine-seeking. The results demonstrate that VTA AChRs, but not NMDARs, strongly regulate cue-induced cocaine-seeking and phasic DA release during early cocaine withdrawal. PMID:23850572

  8. Junk food diet-induced obesity increases D2 receptor autoinhibition in the ventral tegmental area and reduces ethanol drinking.

    PubMed

    Cook, Jason B; Hendrickson, Linzy M; Garwood, Grant M; Toungate, Kelsey M; Nania, Christina V; Morikawa, Hitoshi

    2017-01-01

    Similar to drugs of abuse, the hedonic value of food is mediated, at least in part, by the mesostriatal dopamine (DA) system. Prolonged intake of either high calorie diets or drugs of abuse both lead to a blunting of the DA system. Most studies have focused on DAergic alterations in the striatum, but little is known about the effects of high calorie diets on ventral tegmental area (VTA) DA neurons. Since high calorie diets produce addictive-like DAergic adaptations, it is possible these diets may increase addiction susceptibility. However, high calorie diets consistently reduce psychostimulant intake and conditioned place preference in rodents. In contrast, high calorie diets can increase or decrease ethanol drinking, but it is not known how a junk food diet (cafeteria diet) affects ethanol drinking. In the current study, we administered a cafeteria diet consisting of bacon, potato chips, cheesecake, cookies, breakfast cereals, marshmallows, and chocolate candies to male Wistar rats for 3-4 weeks, producing an obese phenotype. Prior cafeteria diet feeding reduced homecage ethanol drinking over 2 weeks of testing, and transiently reduced sucrose and chow intake. Importantly, cafeteria diet had no effect on ethanol metabolism rate or blood ethanol concentrations following 2g/kg ethanol administration. In midbrain slices, we showed that cafeteria diet feeding enhances DA D2 receptor (D2R) autoinhibition in VTA DA neurons. These results show that junk food diet-induced obesity reduces ethanol drinking, and suggest that increased D2R autoinhibition in the VTA may contribute to deficits in DAergic signaling and reward hypofunction observed with obesity.

  9. Junk food diet-induced obesity increases D2 receptor autoinhibition in the ventral tegmental area and reduces ethanol drinking

    PubMed Central

    Hendrickson, Linzy M.; Garwood, Grant M.; Toungate, Kelsey M.; Nania, Christina V.; Morikawa, Hitoshi

    2017-01-01

    Similar to drugs of abuse, the hedonic value of food is mediated, at least in part, by the mesostriatal dopamine (DA) system. Prolonged intake of either high calorie diets or drugs of abuse both lead to a blunting of the DA system. Most studies have focused on DAergic alterations in the striatum, but little is known about the effects of high calorie diets on ventral tegmental area (VTA) DA neurons. Since high calorie diets produce addictive-like DAergic adaptations, it is possible these diets may increase addiction susceptibility. However, high calorie diets consistently reduce psychostimulant intake and conditioned place preference in rodents. In contrast, high calorie diets can increase or decrease ethanol drinking, but it is not known how a junk food diet (cafeteria diet) affects ethanol drinking. In the current study, we administered a cafeteria diet consisting of bacon, potato chips, cheesecake, cookies, breakfast cereals, marshmallows, and chocolate candies to male Wistar rats for 3–4 weeks, producing an obese phenotype. Prior cafeteria diet feeding reduced homecage ethanol drinking over 2 weeks of testing, and transiently reduced sucrose and chow intake. Importantly, cafeteria diet had no effect on ethanol metabolism rate or blood ethanol concentrations following 2g/kg ethanol administration. In midbrain slices, we showed that cafeteria diet feeding enhances DA D2 receptor (D2R) autoinhibition in VTA DA neurons. These results show that junk food diet-induced obesity reduces ethanol drinking, and suggest that increased D2R autoinhibition in the VTA may contribute to deficits in DAergic signaling and reward hypofunction observed with obesity. PMID:28859110

  10. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling in the ventral tegmental area mediates cocaine-induced synaptic plasticity and rewarding effects.

    PubMed

    Pan, Bin; Zhong, Peng; Sun, Dalong; Liu, Qing-song

    2011-08-03

    Drugs of abuse such as cocaine induce long-term synaptic plasticity in the reward circuitry, which underlies the formation of drug-associated memories and addictive behavior. We reported previously that repeated cocaine exposure in vivo facilitates long-term potentiation (LTP) in dopamine neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) by reducing the strength of GABAergic inhibition and that endocannabinoid-dependent long-term depression at inhibitory synapses (I-LTD) constitutes a mechanism for cocaine-induced reduction of GABAergic inhibition. The present study investigated the downstream signaling mechanisms and functional consequences of I-LTD in the VTA in the rat. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling has been implicated in long-term synaptic plasticity, associative learning, and drug addiction. We tested the hypothesis that VTA ERK activity is required for I-LTD and cocaine-induced long-term synaptic plasticity and behavioral effects. We show that the activation of receptors required for I-LTD increased ERK1/2 phosphorylation and inhibitors of ERK activation blocked I-LTD. We further demonstrate that ERK mediates cocaine-induced reduction of GABAergic inhibition and facilitation of LTP induction. Finally, we show that cocaine conditioned place preference (CPP) training (15 mg/kg; four pairings) increased ERK1/2 phosphorylation in the VTA, while bilateral intra-VTA injections of a CB(1) antagonist or an inhibitor of ERK activation attenuated ERK1/2 phosphorylation and the acquisition, but not the expression, of CPP to cocaine. Our study has identified the CB(1) and ERK signaling cascade as a key mediator of several forms of cocaine-induced synaptic plasticity and provided evidence linking long-term synaptic plasticity in the VTA to rewarding effects of cocaine.

  11. Acute and chronic dose-response effect of methylphenidate on ventral tegmental area neurons correlated with animal behavior.

    PubMed

    Jones, Zachary; Dafny, Nachum

    2014-01-01

    Methylphenidate (MPD) is used to treat ADHD and as a cognitive enhancement and recreationally. MPD's effects are not fully understood. One of the sites of psychostimulant action is the ventral tegmental area (VTA). The VTA neuronal activity was recorded from freely behaving rats using a wireless system. 51 animals were divided into groups: saline, 0.6, 2.5, and 10.0 mg/kg MPD. The same repetitive MPD dose can elicit either behavioral sensitization or tolerance; thus the evaluation of the VTA neuronal activity was based on the animals' behavioral response to chronic MPD exposure: animals exhibiting behavioral tolerance or sensitization. Acute MPD elicits dose-related increases in behavioral activity. About half of the animals exhibited behavioral sensitization or tolerance to each of the MPD doses. 361 units were recorded from the VTA and exhibited similar spike shape on experimental day 1 (ED1) and on ED10. 71, 84, and 79 % of VTA units responded to acute 0.6, 2.5, and 10.0 mg/kg MPD, respectively. The neuronal baseline activity at ED10 was significantly modified in 94, 95, and 100 % of VTA units following 0.6, 2.5 and 10.0 mg/kg MPD, respectively. Following chronic MPD exposure, 91, 98, and 100 % exhibit either electrophysiological tolerance or sensitization of 0.6, 2.6, or 10.0 mg/kg MPD, respectively. In conclusion, the chronic administration of the same dose of MPD caused some animals to exhibit behavioral sensitization and other animals to exhibit tolerance. The VTA units recorded from animals exhibiting behavioral sensitization responded significantly differently to MPD from animals that exhibited behavioral tolerance.

  12. Prelimbic Cortex and Ventral Tegmental Area Modulate Synaptic Plasticity Differentially in Nucleus Accumbens During Cocaine-Reinstated Drug Seeking

    PubMed Central

    Shen, Hao-wei; Gipson, Cassandra D; Huits, Martijn; Kalivas, Peter W

    2014-01-01

    Addictive drug use causes long-lasting changes in synaptic strength and dendritic spine morphology in the nucleus accumbens that might underlie the vulnerability to relapse. Although activity in mesocorticolimbic circuitry is required for reinstating cocaine seeking, its role in reinstatement-associated synaptic plasticity is not well characterized. Using rats extinguished from cocaine self-administration, we found potentiated synaptic strength (assessed as the AMPA/NMDA current amplitude ratio) and increased spine head diameter in medium spiny neurons in the accumbens core (NAcore). The basal changes in synaptic strength and morphology in cocaine-extinguished animals were further augmented during cocaine-induced reinstatement. Two NAcore afferents contributing to cocaine reinstatement are glutamatergic inputs from the prelimbic prefrontal cortex (PL) and dopamine from the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Pharmacological inhibition of either PL or VTA prevented cocaine-primed reinstatement. However, inhibiting the PL further potentiated AMPA/NMDA and spine head diameter, while inactivating the VTA or the combined systemic administration of dopamine D1 and D2 antagonists prevented the increase in AMPA/NMDA and spine diameter induced by cocaine priming. These data indicate that neuronal activity in the VTA and associated dopamine receptor stimulation is necessary for the synaptic potentiation in the NAcore during cocaine-induced reinstatement. Although activity in the PL was necessary for reinstatement, it inhibited synaptic potentiation initiated by an acute cocaine injection. Thus, although the PL and VTA differentially regulate the direction of synaptic plasticity induced by a cocaine-priming injection, coordinated synaptic potentiation by both NAcore afferents is necessary for cocaine-induced relapse. PMID:24232172

  13. Prelimbic cortex and ventral tegmental area modulate synaptic plasticity differentially in nucleus accumbens during cocaine-reinstated drug seeking.

    PubMed

    Shen, Hao-wei; Gipson, Cassandra D; Huits, Martijn; Kalivas, Peter W

    2014-04-01

    Addictive drug use causes long-lasting changes in synaptic strength and dendritic spine morphology in the nucleus accumbens that might underlie the vulnerability to relapse. Although activity in mesocorticolimbic circuitry is required for reinstating cocaine seeking, its role in reinstatement-associated synaptic plasticity is not well characterized. Using rats extinguished from cocaine self-administration, we found potentiated synaptic strength (assessed as the AMPA/NMDA current amplitude ratio) and increased spine head diameter in medium spiny neurons in the accumbens core (NAcore). The basal changes in synaptic strength and morphology in cocaine-extinguished animals were further augmented during cocaine-induced reinstatement. Two NAcore afferents contributing to cocaine reinstatement are glutamatergic inputs from the prelimbic prefrontal cortex (PL) and dopamine from the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Pharmacological inhibition of either PL or VTA prevented cocaine-primed reinstatement. However, inhibiting the PL further potentiated AMPA/NMDA and spine head diameter, while inactivating the VTA or the combined systemic administration of dopamine D1 and D2 antagonists prevented the increase in AMPA/NMDA and spine diameter induced by cocaine priming. These data indicate that neuronal activity in the VTA and associated dopamine receptor stimulation is necessary for the synaptic potentiation in the NAcore during cocaine-induced reinstatement. Although activity in the PL was necessary for reinstatement, it inhibited synaptic potentiation initiated by an acute cocaine injection. Thus, although the PL and VTA differentially regulate the direction of synaptic plasticity induced by a cocaine-priming injection, coordinated synaptic potentiation by both NAcore afferents is necessary for cocaine-induced relapse.

  14. ETHANOL ACTION ON DOPAMINERGIC NEURONS IN THE VENTRAL TEGMENTAL AREA: INTERACTION WITH INTRINSIC ION CHANNELS AND NEUROTRANSMITTER INPUTS

    PubMed Central

    Morikawa, Hitoshi; Morrisett, Richard A.

    2010-01-01

    The dopaminergic system originating in the midbrain ventral tegmental area (VTA) has been extensively studied over the past decades as a critical neural substrate involved in the development of alcoholism and addiction to other drugs of abuse. Accumulating evidence indicates that ethanol modulates the functional output of this system by directly affecting the firing activity of VTA dopamine neurons, whereas withdrawal from chronic ethanol exposure leads to a reduction in the functional output of these neurons. This chapter will provide an update on the mechanistic investigations of the acute ethanol action on dopamine neuron activity and the neuroadaptations/plasticities in the VTA produced by previous ethanol experience. PMID:20813245

  15. Effects of S-citalopram, citalopram, and R-citalopram on the firing patterns of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area, N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-mediated transmission in the medial prefrontal cortex and cognitive function in the rat.

    PubMed

    Schilström, Björn; Konradsson-Geuken, Asa; Ivanov, Vladimir; Gertow, Jens; Feltmann, Kristin; Marcus, Monica M; Jardemark, Kent; Svensson, Torgny H

    2011-05-01

    Escitalopram, the S-enantiomer of citalopram, possesses superior efficacy compared to other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the treatment of major depression. Escitalopram binds to an allosteric site on the serotonin transporter, which further enhances the blockade of serotonin reuptake, whereas R-citalopram antagonizes this positive allosteric modulation. Escitalopram's effects on neurotransmitters other than serotonin, for example, dopamine and glutamate, are not well studied. Therefore, we here studied the effects of escitalopram, citalopram, and R-citalopram on dopamine cell firing in the ventral tegmental area, using single-cell recording in vivo and on NMDA receptor-mediated currents in pyramidal neurons in the medial prefrontal cortex using in vitro electrophysiology in rats. The cognitive effects of escitalopram and citalopram were also compared using the novel object recognition test. Escitalopram (40-640 μg/kg i.v.) increased both firing rate and burst firing of dopaminergic neurons, whereas citalopram (80-1280 μg/kg) had no effect on firing rate and only increased burst firing at high dosage. R-citalopram (40-640 μg/kg) had no significant effects. R-citalopram (320 μg/kg) antagonized the effects of escitalopram (320 μg/kg). A very low concentration of escitalopram (5 nM), but not citalopram (10 nM) or R-citalopram (5 nM), potentiated NMDA-induced currents in pyramidal neurons. Escitalopram's effect was antagonized by R-citalopram and blocked by the dopamine D(1) receptor antagonist SCH23390. Escitalopram, but not citalopram, improved recognition memory. Our data suggest that the excitatory effect of escitalopram on dopaminergic and NMDA receptor-mediated neurotransmission may have bearing on its cognitive-enhancing effect and superior efficacy compared to other SSRIs in major depression.

  16. Mechanisms involved in systemic nicotine-induced glutamatergic synaptic plasticity on dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Gao, Ming; Jin, Yu; Yang, Kechun; Zhang, Die; Lukas, Ronald J; Wu, Jie

    2010-10-13

    Systemic exposure to nicotine induces glutamatergic synaptic plasticity on dopamine (DA) neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), but mechanisms are largely unknown. Here, we report that single, systemic exposure in rats to nicotine (0.17 mg/kg free base) increases the ratio of DA neuronal currents mediated by AMPA relative to NMDA receptors (AMPA/NMDA ratio) assessed 24 h later, based on slice-patch recording. The AMPA/NMDA ratio increase is evident within 1 h and lasts for at least 72 h after nicotine exposure (and up to 8 d after repeated nicotine administration). This effect cannot be prevented by systemic injection of either α7-nAChR (nicotinic ACh receptor)-selective [methyllycaconitine (MLA)] or β2*-nAChR-selective [mecamylamine (MEC)] antagonists but is prevented by coinjection of MLA and MEC. In either nAChR α7 or β2 subunit knock-out mice, systemic exposure to nicotine still increases the AMPA/NMDA ratio. Preinjection in rats of a NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801((+)-5-methyl-10,11-dihydro-5H-dibenzo[a,d]cyclohepten-5,10-imine maleate), but neither DA receptor antagonists [SCH-23390 (R-(+)-7-chloro-8-hydroxy-3-methyl-1-phenyl-2,3,4,5-tetrahydro-1H-3-benzazepine) plus haloperidol] nor a calcineurin inhibitor (cyclosporine), prevents the nicotine-induced increase in AMPA/NMDA ratio. After systemic exposure to nicotine, glutamatergic (but not GABAergic) transmission onto rat VTA DA neuronal inputs is enhanced. Correspondingly, DA neuronal firing measured 24 h after nicotine exposure using extracellular single-unit recording in vivo is significantly faster, and there is conversion of silent to active DA neurons. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that systemic nicotine acting via either α7- or β2*-nAChRs increases presynaptic and postsynaptic glutamatergic function, and consequently initiates glutamatergic synaptic plasticity, which may be an important, early neuronal adaptation in nicotine reward and reinforcement.

  17. Differential Effects of Toluene and Ethanol on Dopaminergic Neurons of the Ventral Tegmental Area

    PubMed Central

    Nimitvilai, Sudarat; You, Chang; Arora, Devinder S.; McElvain, Maureen A.; Vandegrift, Bertha J.; Brodie, Mark S.; Woodward, John J.

    2016-01-01

    Drugs of abuse increase the activity of dopaminergic neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA), and output from the VTA is critical for both natural and drug-induced reward and reinforcement. Ethanol and the abused inhalant toluene both enhance VTA neuronal firing, but the mechanisms of this effect is not fully known. In this study, we used extracellular recordings to compare the actions of toluene and ethanol on DA VTA neurons. Both ethanol and toluene increased the firing rate of DA neurons, although toluene was ~100 times more potent than ethanol. The mixed ion channel blocker quinine (100 μM) blocked the increases in firing produced by ethanol and toluene, indicating some similarity in mechanisms of excitation. A mixture of antagonists of GABA and cholinergic receptors did not prevent toluene-induced or ethanol-induced excitation, and toluene-induced excitation was not altered by co-administration of ethanol, suggesting independent mechanisms of excitation for ethanol and toluene. Concurrent blockade of NMDA, AMPA, and metabotropic glutamate receptors enhanced the excitatory effect of toluene while having no significant effect on ethanol excitation. Nicotine increased firing of DA VTA neurons, and this was blocked by the nicotinic antagonist mecamylamine (1 μM). Mecamylamine did not alter ethanol or toluene excitation of firing but the muscarinic antagonist atropine (5 μM) or a combination of GABA antagonists (bicuculline and CGP35348, 10 μM each) reduced toluene-induced excitation without affecting ethanol excitation. The Ih current blocker ZD7288 abolished the excitatory effect of toluene but unlike the block of ethanol excitation, the effect of ZD7288 was not reversed by the GIRK channel blocker barium, but was reversed by GABA antagonists. These results demonstrate that the excitatory effects of ethanol and toluene have some similarity, such as block by quinine and ZD7288, but also indicate that there are important differences between these two drugs

  18. Ventral tegmental area neurons are either excited or inhibited by cocaine’s actions in the peripheral nervous system

    PubMed Central

    Mejías-Aponte, Carlos A.; Kiyatkin, Eugene A.

    2012-01-01

    Cocaine’s multiple pharmacological substrates are ubiquitously present in the peripheral and central nervous system. Thus, upon its administration, cocaine acts in the periphery before directly acting in the brain. We determined whether cocaine alters ventral tegmental area (VTA) neuronal activity via peripheral actions, and whether this precedes its central actions. In urethane-anesthetized rats, we recorded VTA neurons responses to intravenous injections of two cocaine analogs: cocaine-hydrochloride (HCl, 0.25 mg/kg) that readily cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and cocaine-methiodide (MI, 0.33 mg/kg) that does not cross the BBB. Both cocaine analogs produced sustained changes in discharge rates that began 5s after the initiation of a 10s drug infusion. Within the first 90s post-injection the magnitudes of neuronal responsive of both cocaine analogs were comparable, but later in time the effects of cocaine-HCl were stronger and persisted longer than those of cocaine-MI. The proportion of neurons responsive to cocaine-HCl was twice to that of cocaine-MI (74% and 35% respectively). Both analogs also differed in the response onsets. Cocaine-MI rarely evoked responses after 1 min whereas cocaine-HCl continued to evoke responses within 3 min post-injection. VTA neurons were either excited or inhibited by both cocaine analogs. Most units responsive to cocaine-MI, regardless of excitation or inhibition, had electrophysiological characteristics of putative DA neurons. Units inhibited by cocaine-HCl also had characteristic of DA neurons whereas excited neurons had widely varying action potential durations and discharge rates. Cocaine-MI and cocaine-HCl each produced changes in VTA neuron activity under full DA receptor blockade. However, the duration of inhibition was shortened, the number of excitations increased, and they occurred with an earlier onset during DA receptor blockade. These findings indicate that cocaine acts peripherally with a short latency and

  19. Prenatal Ethanol Exposure Persistently Alters Endocannabinoid Signaling and Endocannabinoid-Mediated Excitatory Synaptic Plasticity in Ventral Tegmental Area Dopamine Neurons.

    PubMed

    Hausknecht, Kathryn; Shen, Ying-Ling; Wang, Rui-Xiang; Haj-Dahmane, Samir; Shen, Roh-Yu

    2017-06-14

    Prenatal ethanol exposure (PE) leads to increased addiction risk which could be mediated by enhanced excitatory synaptic strength in ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine (DA) neurons. Previous studies have shown that PE enhances excitatory synaptic strength by facilitating an anti-Hebbian form of long-term potentiation (LTP). In this study, we investigated the effect of PE on endocannabinoid-mediated long-term depression (eCB-LTD) in VTA DA neurons. Rats were exposed to moderate (3 g/kg/d) or high (6 g/kg/d) levels of ethanol during gestation. Whole-cell recordings were conducted in male offspring between 4 and 10 weeks old.We found that PE led to increased amphetamine self-administration. Both moderate and high levels of PE persistently reduced low-frequency stimulation-induced eCB-LTD. Furthermore, action potential-independent glutamate release was regulated by tonic eCB signaling in PE animals. Mechanistic studies for impaired eCB-LTD revealed that PE downregulated CB1 receptor function. Interestingly, eCB-LTD in PE animals was rescued by metabotropic glutamate receptor I activation, suggesting that PE did not impair the synthesis/release of eCBs. In contrast, eCB-LTD in PE animals was not rescued by increasing presynaptic activity, which actually led to LTP in PE animals, whereas LTD was still observed in controls. This result shows that the regulation of excitatory synaptic plasticity is fundamentally altered in PE animals. Together, PE leads to impaired eCB-LTD at the excitatory synapses of VTA DA neurons primarily due to CB1 receptor downregulation. This effect could contribute to enhanced LTP and the maintenance of augmented excitatory synaptic strength in VTA DA neurons and increased addiction risk after PE.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Prenatal ethanol exposure (PE) is among many adverse developmental factors known to increase drug addiction risk. Increased excitatory synaptic strength in VTA DA neurons is a critical cellular mechanism for addiction risk. Our

  20. Distinct effects of ventral tegmental area NMDA and acetylcholine receptor blockade on conditioned reinforcement produced by food-associated cues.

    PubMed

    Wickham, R J; Solecki, W B; Nunes, E J; Addy, N A

    2015-08-20

    Stimuli paired with rewards acquire reinforcing properties to promote reward-seeking behavior. Previous work supports the role of ventral tegmental area (VTA) nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in mediating conditioned reinforcement elicited by drug-associated cues. However, it is not known whether these cholinergic mechanisms are specific to drug-associated cues or whether VTA cholinergic mechanisms also underlie the ability of cues paired with natural rewards to act as conditioned reinforcers. Burst firing of VTA dopamine (DA) neurons and the subsequent phasic DA release in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) plays an important role in cue-mediated behavior and in the ability of cues to acquire reinforcing properties. In the VTA, both AChRs and N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) regulate DA burst firing and phasic DA release. Here, we tested the role of VTA nAChRs, muscarinic AChRs (mAChRs), and NMDARs in the conditioned reinforcement elicited by a food-associated, natural reward cue. Subjects received 10 consecutive days of Pavlovian conditioning training where lever extension served as a predictive cue for food availability. On day 11, rats received bilateral VTA infusion of saline, AP-5 (0.1 or 1μg), mecamylamine (MEC: 3 or 30μg) or scopolamine (SCOP: 3 or 66.7μg) immediately prior to the conditioned reinforcement test. During the test, nosepoking into the active (conditioned reinforced, CR) noseport produced a lever cue while nosepoking on the inactive (non-conditioned reinforced, NCR) noseport had no consequence. AP-5 robustly attenuated conditioned reinforcement and blocked discrimination between CR and NCR noseports at the 1-μg dose. MEC infusion decreased responding for both CR and NCR while 66.7-μg SCOP disrupted the subject's ability to discriminate between CR and NCR. Together, our data suggest that VTA NMDARs and mAChRs, but not nAChRs, play a role in the ability of natural reward-associated cues to act as conditioned reinforcers.

  1. Role of D1/D2 dopamine receptors in the CA1 region of the rat hippocampus in the rewarding effects of morphine administered into the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Esmaeili, Mohammad-Hossein; Kermani, Mojtaba; Parvishan, Asghar; Haghparast, Abbas

    2012-05-16

    Considerable evidences show that the VTA, as a major source of dopamine neurons projecting to cortical and limbic regions, has a major role in cognitive and motivating aspects of addiction. The current study assessed the ability of the selective D1 receptor antagonist SCH 23390 and D2 receptor antagonist sulpiride administrated into the CA1 region of hippocampus (dorsal hippocampus) to alter the rewarding effects of intra-VTA administration of morphine using the conditioned place preference (CPP). After bilaterally implantation of cannulae into the CA1 and/or VTA in adult male Wistar rats weighing 210-310 g, dose-response effects of different doses of intra-VTA morphine (0.03, 0.1, 0.3, 1 and 3 μg/side) on CPP paradigm were evaluated and animal displacement, conditioning score and locomotor activity were recorded by Ethovision software. In the next experiments, SCH 23390 (0.02, 0.05, 0.2 and 0.5 μg/side) or sulpiride (0.25, 0.75, 1.5 and 3 μg/side) were injected into the CA1, 5 min after intra-VTA injection of morphine during 3 days conditioning phase. Our results showed that intra-VTA morphine dose-dependently induces CPP in rats. Moreover, the blocking D1 and D2 receptors in the dorsal hippocampus decreased intra-VTA morphine-induced CPP significantly (P<0.01). Intra-CA1 administration of these antagonists alone, in all doses, could not induce CPP. We suggest that D1 and D2 receptors in the CA1 region of hippocampus have a key role in the development of CPP induced by morphine at the level of the VTA. It seems that there is an interaction between dopaminergic and opioidergic systems in these areas in reward circuit.

  2. Infusion of brain-derived neurotrophic factor into the ventral tegmental area switches the substrates mediating ethanol motivation.

    PubMed

    Ting-A-Kee, Ryan; Vargas-Perez, Hector; Bufalino, Mary-Rose; Bahi, Amine; Dreyer, Jean-Luc; Tyndale, Rachel F; van der Kooy, Derek

    2013-03-01

    Recent work has shown that infusion of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) into the ventral tegmental area (VTA) promotes a switch in the mechanisms mediating morphine motivation, from a dopamine-independent to a dopamine-dependent pathway. Here we showed that a single infusion of intra-VTA BDNF also promoted a switch in the mechanisms mediating ethanol motivation, from a dopamine-dependent to a dopamine-independent pathway (exactly opposite to that seen with morphine). We suggest that intra-VTA BDNF, via its actions on TrkB receptors, precipitates a switch similar to that which occurs naturally when mice transit from a drug-naive, non-deprived state to a drug-deprived state. The opposite switching of the mechanisms underlying morphine and ethanol motivation by BDNF in previously non-deprived animals is consistent with their proposed actions on VTA GABAA receptors.

  3. CRF neurons in the ventral tegmental area control the aversive effects of nicotine withdrawal and promote escalation of nicotine intake

    PubMed Central

    Grieder, Taryn E.; Herman, Melissa A.; Contet, Candice; Tan, Laura A.; Vargas-Perez, Hector; Cohen, Ami; Chwalek, Michal; Maal-Bared, Geith; Freiling, John; Schlosburg, Joel E; Clarke, Laura; Crawford, Elena; Koebel, Pascale; Canonigo, Vez; Sanna, Pietro; Tapper, Andrew; Roberto, Marisa; Kieffer, Brigitte L.; Sawchenko, Paul E.; Koob, George F.; van der Kooy, Derek; George, Olivier

    2014-01-01

    SUMMARY Dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are well known for their role in mediating the positive reinforcing effects of drugs of abuse. Here, we identify in rodents and humans a population of VTA dopamine neurons co-expressing corticotropin releasing factor (CRF). We provide further evidence in rodents that chronic nicotine exposure upregulates CRF mRNA in dopaminergic neurons of the posterior VTA, activates local CRF1 receptors, and blocks nicotine-induced activation of transient GABAergic input to dopaminergic neurons. Local downregulation of CRF mRNA and specific pharmacological blockade of CRF1 receptors in the VTA reversed the effect of nicotine on GABAergic input to dopaminergic neurons, prevented the aversive effects of nicotine withdrawal, and limited the escalation of nicotine intake. These results link the brain reward and stress systems within the same brain region in signaling the negative motivational effects of nicotine withdrawal. PMID:25402857

  4. Glial activation and midkine and pleiotrophin transcription in the ventral tegmental area are modulated by morphine administration.

    PubMed

    García-Pérez, Daniel; Luisa Laorden, M; Núñez, Cristina; Victoria Milanés, M

    2014-09-15

    Opiates cause persistent restructuring in the mesolimbic reward system. Although a possible role for midkine and pleiotrophin cytokines in the field of synaptic plasticity has been proposed, it has not been assessed whether morphine administration regulates astrogliosis and midkine and pleiotrophin transcription. We observed that single morphine injection and chronic morphine increased glial fibrillary acidic protein expression in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Interestingly, single morphine injection and chronic morphine increased VTA midkine and pleiotrophin mRNA expression. Given these results, we hypothesize a role for these cytokines in mediating, at least in part, acute neuroprotective effects and chronic neurotrophic adaptations that contribute to drug dependence. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  5. Increased CRF signalling in a ventral tegmental area-interpeduncular nucleus-medial habenula circuit induces anxiety during nicotine withdrawal.

    PubMed

    Zhao-Shea, Rubing; DeGroot, Steven R; Liu, Liwang; Vallaster, Markus; Pang, Xueyan; Su, Qin; Gao, Guangping; Rando, Oliver J; Martin, Gilles E; George, Olivier; Gardner, Paul D; Tapper, Andrew R

    2015-04-21

    Increased anxiety is a prominent withdrawal symptom in abstinent smokers, yet the neuroanatomical and molecular bases underlying it are unclear. Here we show that withdrawal-induced anxiety increases activity of neurons in the interpeduncular intermediate (IPI), a subregion of the interpeduncular nucleus (IPN). IPI activation during nicotine withdrawal was mediated by increased corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) receptor-1 expression and signalling, which modulated glutamatergic input from the medial habenula (MHb). Pharmacological blockade of IPN CRF1 receptors or optogenetic silencing of MHb input reduced IPI activation and alleviated withdrawal-induced anxiety; whereas IPN CRF infusion in mice increased anxiety. We identified a mesointerpeduncular circuit, consisting of ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopaminergic neurons projecting to the IPN, as a potential source of CRF. Knockdown of CRF synthesis in the VTA prevented IPI activation and anxiety during nicotine withdrawal. These data indicate that increased CRF receptor signalling within a VTA-IPN-MHb circuit triggers anxiety during nicotine withdrawal.

  6. Blockade of D1-like dopamine receptors within the ventral tegmental area and nucleus accumbens attenuates antinociceptive responses induced by chemical stimulation of the lateral hypothalamus.

    PubMed

    Moradi, Marzieh; Fatahi, Zahra; Haghparast, Abbas

    2015-07-10

    It was established that stimulation of the lateral hypothalamus (LH) can induce antinociception. Previous studies showed a role for the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and nucleus accumbens (NAc) in antinociception induced by LH stimulation through the orexinergic system. In this study, we tried to assess the involvement of dopamine D1-like receptors within the VTA and NAc in the LH stimulation-induced antinociception. Male Wistar rats were unilaterally implanted with two separate cannulae into the LH and VTA or NAc. Animals received intra-VTA or intra-accumbal infusion of SCH-23390, as a D1-like dopamine receptor antagonist (0.125, 0.25, 1 and 4 μg/rat), 2 min before intra-LH administration of carbachol (125 nM/rat). The antinociceptive effects of SCH-23390 were measured by using a tail-flick analgesiometer and represented as maximal possible effect (%MPE). Results showed that intra-VTA and/or accumbal administration of SCH-23390 could prevent carbachol-induced antinociception. These findings revealed that D1-like dopamine receptors within the VTA and NAc play an important role in antinociceptive effect induced by chemical stimulation of the LH.

  7. Morphine and cocaine increase serum- and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase 1 activity in the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Heller, Elizabeth A; Kaska, Sophia; Fallon, Barbara; Ferguson, Deveroux; Kennedy, Pamela J; Neve, Rachael L; Nestler, Eric J; Mazei-Robison, Michelle S

    2015-01-01

    Drugs of abuse modulate the function and activity of the mesolimbic dopamine circuit. To identify novel mediators of drug-induced neuroadaptations in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), we performed RNA sequencing analysis on VTA samples from mice administered repeated saline, morphine, or cocaine injections. One gene that was similarly up-regulated by both drugs was serum- and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase 1 (SGK1). SGK1 activity, as measured by phosphorylation of its substrate N-myc downstream regulated gene (NDRG), was also increased robustly by chronic drug treatment. Increased NDRG phosphorylation was evident 1 but not 24 h after the last drug injection. SGK1 phosphorylation itself was similarly modulated. To determine the role of increased SGK1 activity on drug-related behaviors, we over-expressed constitutively active (CA) SGK1 in the VTA. SGK1-CA expression reduced locomotor sensitization elicited by repeated cocaine, but surprisingly had the opposite effect and promoted locomotor sensitization to morphine, without affecting the initial locomotor responses to either drug. SGK1-CA expression did not significantly affect morphine or cocaine conditioned place preference, although there was a trend toward increased conditioned place preference with both drugs. Further characterizing the role of this kinase in drug-induced changes in VTA may lead to improved understanding of neuroadaptations critical to drug dependence and addiction. We find that repeated, but not acute, morphine or cocaine administration induces an increase in serum- and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase (SGK1) gene expression and activity in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). This increase in SGK1 activity may play a role in drug-dependent behaviors and suggests a novel signaling cascade for potential intervention in drug dependence and addiction.

  8. Episodic Social Stress-Escalated Cocaine Self-Administration: Role of Phasic and Tonic Corticotropin Releasing Factor in the Anterior and Posterior Ventral Tegmental Area

    PubMed Central

    Boyson, Christopher O.; Montagud-Romero, Sandra; Stein, Dirson J.; Gobrogge, Kyle L.; DeBold, Joseph F.; Miczek, Klaus A.

    2016-01-01

    Intermittent social defeat stress escalates later cocaine self-administration. Reward and stress both activate ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine neurons, increasing downstream extracellular dopamine concentration in the medial prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens. The stress neuropeptide corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) and its receptors (CRF-R1, CRF-R2) are located in the VTA and influence dopaminergic activity. These experiments explore how CRF release and the activation of its receptors within the VTA both during and after stress influence later cocaine self-administration in rats. In vivo microdialysis of CRF in the VTA demonstrated that CRF is phasically released in the posterior VTA (pVTA) during acute defeat, but, with repeated defeat, CRF is recruited into the anterior VTA (aVTA) and CRF tone is increased in both subregions. Intra-VTA antagonism of CRF-R1 in the pVTA and CRF-R2 in the aVTA during each social defeat prevented escalated cocaine self-administration in a 24 h “binge.” VTA CRF continues to influence cocaine seeking in stressed animals long after social defeat exposure. Unlike nonstressed controls, previously stressed rats show significant cocaine seeking after 15 d of forced abstinence. Previously stressed rats continue to express elevated CRF tone within the VTA and antagonism of pVTA CRF-R1 or aVTA CRF-R2 reverses cocaine seeking. In conclusion, these experiments demonstrate neuroadaptive changes in tonic and phasic CRF with repeated stress, that CRF release during stress may contribute to later escalated cocaine taking, and that persistently elevated CRF tone in the VTA may drive later cocaine seeking through increased activation of pVTA CRF-R1 and aVTA CRF-R2. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) has emerged as a likely candidate molecule underlying the fundamental link between stress history and escalated drug self-administration. However, the nature of CRF

  9. Episodic Social Stress-Escalated Cocaine Self-Administration: Role of Phasic and Tonic Corticotropin Releasing Factor in the Anterior and Posterior Ventral Tegmental Area.

    PubMed

    Holly, Elizabeth N; Boyson, Christopher O; Montagud-Romero, Sandra; Stein, Dirson J; Gobrogge, Kyle L; DeBold, Joseph F; Miczek, Klaus A

    2016-04-06

    Intermittent social defeat stress escalates later cocaine self-administration. Reward and stress both activate ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine neurons, increasing downstream extracellular dopamine concentration in the medial prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens. The stress neuropeptide corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) and its receptors (CRF-R1, CRF-R2) are located in the VTA and influence dopaminergic activity. These experiments explore how CRF release and the activation of its receptors within the VTA both during and after stress influence later cocaine self-administration in rats.In vivo microdialysis of CRF in the VTA demonstrated that CRF is phasically released in the posterior VTA (pVTA) during acute defeat, but, with repeated defeat, CRF is recruited into the anterior VTA (aVTA) and CRF tone is increased in both subregions. Intra-VTA antagonism of CRF-R1 in the pVTA and CRF-R2 in the aVTA during each social defeat prevented escalated cocaine self-administration in a 24 h "binge." VTA CRF continues to influence cocaine seeking in stressed animals long after social defeat exposure. Unlike nonstressed controls, previously stressed rats show significant cocaine seeking after 15 d of forced abstinence. Previously stressed rats continue to express elevated CRF tone within the VTA and antagonism of pVTA CRF-R1 or aVTA CRF-R2 reverses cocaine seeking. In conclusion, these experiments demonstrate neuroadaptive changes in tonic and phasic CRF with repeated stress, that CRF release during stress may contribute to later escalated cocaine taking, and that persistently elevated CRF tone in the VTA may drive later cocaine seeking through increased activation of pVTA CRF-R1 and aVTA CRF-R2. Corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) has emerged as a likely candidate molecule underlying the fundamental link between stress history and escalated drug self-administration. However, the nature of CRF release in the VTA during acute

  10. Effects of social defeat on dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area in male and female California mice.

    PubMed

    Greenberg, Gian D; Steinman, Michael Q; Doig, Ian E; Hao, Rebecca; Trainor, Brian C

    2015-12-01

    Dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) have important functions related to rewards but are also activated in aversive contexts. Electrophysiology studies suggest that the degree to which VTA dopamine neurons respond to noxious stimuli is topographically organized across the dorsal-ventral extent. We used c-fos immunohistochemistry to examine the responses of VTA dopamine neurons in contexts of social defeat and social approach. Studying monogamous California mice (Peromyscus californicus) allowed us to observe the effects of social defeat on both males and females. Females exposed to three episodes of defeat, but not a single episode, had more tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)/c-fos-positive cells in the ventral (but not dorsal) VTA compared with controls. This observation suggests that repeated exposure to aversive contexts is necessary to trigger activation of VTA dopamine neurons. Defeat did not affect TH/c-fos colocalizations in males. We also examined the long-term effects of defeat on c-fos expression in a social interaction test. As previously reported, defeat reduced social interaction in females but not males. Surprisingly, there were no effects of defeat stress on TH/c-fos colocalizations in any subregion of the VTA. However, females had more TH/c-fos-positive cells than males across the entire VTA, and also had greater c-fos-positive cell counts in posterior subregions of the nucleus accumbens shell. Our results show that dopamine neurons in the VTA are more responsive to social contexts in females and that the ventral VTA in particular is sensitive to aversive contexts.

  11. General and outcome-specific forms of Pavlovian-instrumental transfer: the effect of shifts in motivational state and inactivation of the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Corbit, Laura H; Janak, Patricia H; Balleine, Bernard W

    2007-12-01

    This study compared the contribution of the general activating and specific cueing properties of Pavlovian stimuli to Pavlovian-instrumental transfer (PIT) and the role of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in mediating these effects. In Experiment 1, hungry rats initially received Pavlovian training, in which three distinct auditory stimuli predicted the delivery of three different food outcomes. Next, the rats were trained to perform two instrumental actions, each earning a unique outcome selected from the three used in Pavlovian conditioning. Finally, the effects of the three stimuli on performance of the two actions were assessed in extinction. Presentation of a stimulus that had been paired with the same outcome as an action increased its performance relative to the other action, demonstrating that PIT effects can be outcome selective. In contrast, presentation of the stimulus that predicted the outcome that was not earned during instrumental training facilitated the performance of both actions indiscriminately. This effect, but not the outcome-selective effect, was abolished by a shift from a hungry to a relatively sated state. Experiment 2 examined the effects of inactivation of the VTA on these two forms of PIT. VTA inactivation was found to attenuate PIT but, unlike satiety, did not appear to differentially affect the general or the outcome-selective forms of PIT. The VTA appears therefore to play an important but general role in the initiation of instrumental actions, enabling cues to influence performance whether they enhance responding by changes in arousal or by retrieving particular actions based on their consequences.

  12. A cytoarchitectonic and chemoarchitectonic analysis of the dopamine cell groups in the substantia nigra, ventral tegmental area, and retrorubral field in the mouse.

    PubMed

    Fu, Yuhong; Yuan, Yuan; Halliday, Glenda; Rusznák, Zoltán; Watson, Charles; Paxinos, George

    2012-04-01

    The three main dopamine cell groups of the brain are located in the substantia nigra (A9), ventral tegmental area (A10), and retrorubral field (A8). Several subdivisions of these cell groups have been identified in rats and humans but have not been well described in mice, despite the increasing use of mice in neurodegenerative models designed to selectively damage A9 dopamine neurons. The aim of this study was to determine whether typical subdivisions of these dopamine cell groups are present in mice. The dopamine neuron groups were analysed in 15 adult C57BL/6J mice by anatomically localising tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), dopamine transporter protein (DAT), calbindin, and the G-protein-activated inward rectifier potassium channel 2 (GIRK2) proteins. Measurements of the labeling intensity, neuronal morphology, and the proportion of neurons double-labeled with TH, DAT, calbindin, or GIRK2 were used to differentiate subregions. Coronal maps were prepared and reconstructed in 3D. The A8 cell group had the largest dopamine neurons. Five subregions of A9 were identified: the reticular part with few dopamine neurons, the larger dorsal and smaller ventral dopamine tiers, and the medial and lateral parts of A9. The latter has groups containing some calbindin-immunoreactive dopamine neurons. The greatest diversity of dopamine cell types was identified in the seven subregions of A10. The main dopamine cell groups in the mouse brain are similar in terms of diversity to those observed in rats and humans. These findings are relevant to models using mice to analyse the selective vulnerability of different types of dopamine neurons.

  13. N-Methyl-D-aspartate receptors in the ventral tegmental area are involved in retrieval of inhibitory avoidance memory by nicotine.

    PubMed

    Ahmadi, Shamseddin; Zarrindast, Mohammad Reza; Nouri, Maryam; Haeri-Rohani, Ali; Rezayof, Ameneh

    2007-10-01

    The interaction of opiate, cholinergic, glutamatergic and (possibly) dopaminergic inputs in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) influencing a learned behavior is certainly a topic of great interest. In the present study, the effect of intra-VTA administration of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor agents on nicotine's effect in morphine state-dependent learning was investigated. An inhibitory avoidance (IA) task was used for memory assessment in male Wistar rats. Subcutaneous (s.c.) administration of morphine (5 and 7.5mg/kg) immediately after training decreased IA response on the test day, which was reinstated by pre-test administration of the same doses of the opioid; this is known as state-dependency. Moreover, pre-test administration of nicotine (0.2, 0.4 and 0.6 mg/kg, s.c.) also reversed the decrease in IA response because of post-training morphine (5mg/kg). Here, we also show that when infused into the VTA before testing, NMDA (0.01 and 0.1 microg/rat) reverse the post-training morphine effect on memory. In addition, the sub-effective doses of NMDA (0.0001 and 0.001 microg/rat) in combination with a low dose of nicotine (0.1mg/kg) which had no effects by themselves, synergistically improved retrieval of IA memory on the test day. In contrast, pre-test administration of a competitive NMDA receptor antagonist D-AP5 (0.5, 1 and 2 microg/rat) which had no effect alone prevented the nicotine reversal of morphine effect on memory. Our data indicate that NMDA receptors in the VTA are involved in the reversing effect of nicotine on morphine induced state-dependency.

  14. The food intake-suppressive effects of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor signaling in the ventral tegmental area are mediated by AMPA/kainate receptors

    PubMed Central

    Mietlicki-Baase, Elizabeth G.; Ortinski, Pavel I.; Rupprecht, Laura E.; Olivos, Diana R.; Alhadeff, Amber L.; Pierce, R. Christopher

    2013-01-01

    Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) activation in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) is physiologically relevant for the control of palatable food intake. Here, we tested whether the food intake-suppressive effects of VTA GLP-1R activation are mediated by glutamatergic signaling within the VTA. Intra-VTA injections of the GLP-1R agonist exendin-4 (Ex-4) reduced palatable high-fat food intake in rats primarily by reducing meal size; these effects were mediated in part via glutamatergic AMPA/kainate but not NMDA receptor signaling. Additional behavioral data indicated that GLP-1R expressed specifically within the VTA can partially mediate the intake- and body weight-suppressive effects of systemically administered Ex-4, offering the intriguing possibility that this receptor population may be clinically relevant for food intake control. Intra-VTA Ex-4 rapidly increased tyrosine hydroxylase levels within the VTA, suggesting that GLP-1R activation modulates VTA dopaminergic signaling. Further evidence for this hypothesis was provided by electrophysiological data showing that Ex-4 increased the frequency of AMPA-mediated currents and reduced the paired/pulse ratio in VTA dopamine neurons. Together, these data provide novel mechanisms by which GLP-1R agonists in the mesolimbic reward system control for palatable food intake. PMID:24105414

  15. Effects of acute and repeated administration of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) into the ventral tegmental area: locomotor activating effects of NMDA and cocaine.

    PubMed

    Schenk, S; Partridge, B

    1997-09-26

    Repeated, intermittent administration of psychostimulants produces an enhancement of the subsequent behavioral effects of these drugs. This behavioral sensitization has been implicated in maintenance of and relapse to drug-taking. As a result, there has been great interest in elucidating the mechanisms underlying both the development and expression of sensitization. An accumulation of data from studies of stimulant-induced locomotor activity has implicated excitatory amino acids in the development of behavioral sensitization. In the present study, N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) (0.6, 1.25 or 2.5 microg) infused bilaterally into the ventral tegmental area (VTA) produced dose-dependent locomotor activation. The locomotor activating effect of NMDA was increased following repeated NMDA administration (two exposures to intra-VTA NMDA), suggesting sensitization. However, repeated intra-VTA NMDA failed to sensitize rats to the locomotor activating effects of systemically administered cocaine (5.0, 10.0 or 20.0 mg/kg). These findings are consistent with the notion that repeated activation of NMDA receptors is sufficient for the development of behavioral sensitization to NMDA. Other neuroadaptations produced by repeated psychostimulant administration are required in order for the development of sensitization to the behavioral effects of those drugs.

  16. Dissociable effects of disconnecting amygdala central nucleus from the ventral tegmental area or substantia nigra on learned orienting and incentive motivation

    PubMed Central

    El-Amamy, Heather; Holland, Peter C.

    2010-01-01

    Recent evidence suggests that the amygdala central nucleus (CeA) and midbrain-striatal dopamine systems are critically involved in the alteration of attentional and emotional processing of initially neutral stimuli by associative learning. In rats, the acquisition of learned orienting responses to visual cues paired with food is impaired by lesions of the CeA, and by lesions that disconnect CeA from the dorsolateral striatum, a region traditionally implicated in elevated responsiveness to sensory stimuli. Similarly, the acquisition of emotional significance to cues paired with food also depends on the function of CeA and of the ventral striatal nucleus accumbens, a region often considered crucial to acquired reward and motivation. For example, the ability of a cue previously paired with food to increase the rate of food-reinforced instrumental responding (Pavlovian-instrumental transfer) is eliminated by lesions of the CeA or the accumbens core. In this experiment, we found that lesions that functionally disconnected CeA from the substantia nigra pars compacta impaired the acquisition of conditioned orienting to auditory cues paired with food, but had no effect on their ability to enhance instrumental responding, relative to the effects of unilateral lesions of that region. By contrast, lesions that disconnected CeA from the ventral tegmental area had no effect on the acquisition of conditioned orienting, but facilitated Pavlovian-instrumental transfer relative to unilateral midbrain lesions, rescuing that function to sham-lesion control levels. Otherwise, unilateral lesions of either midbrain region impaired transfer. Implications of these results for circuit models of amygdalo-striatal interactions in associative learning are discussed. PMID:17425582

  17. Regulation of the ventral tegmental area by the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis is required for expression of cocaine preference.

    PubMed

    Sartor, Gregory C; Aston-Jones, Gary

    2012-12-01

    Lateral hypothalamus (LH) orexin neurons are essential for the expression of a cocaine place preference. However, the afferents that regulate the activity of these orexin neurons during reward behaviors are not completely understood. Using tract tracing combined with Fos staining, we examined LH afferents for Fos induction during cocaine preference in rats. We found that the ventral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (vBNST) was a major input to the LH orexin cell field that was significantly Fos-activated during cocaine conditioned place preference (CPP). Inactivation of the vBNST with baclofen plus muscimol blocked expression of cocaine CPP. Surprisingly, such inactivation of the vBNST also increased Fos induction in LH orexin neurons; as activity in these cells is normally associated with increased preference, this result indicates that a vBNST-orexin connection is unlikely to be responsible for CPP that is dependent on vBNST activity. Because previous studies have revealed that vBNST regulates dopamine cells in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), which is known to be involved in CPP and other reward functions, we tested whether vBNST afferents to the VTA are necessary for cocaine CPP. We found that disconnection of the vBNST and VTA (using local microinjections of baclofen plus muscimol unilaterally into the vBNST and contralateral VTA) significantly attenuated expression of cocaine preference. However, blocking ionotropic glutamatergic afferents to the VTA from the vBNST did not significantly reduce cocaine preference. These results indicate that a non-glutamatergic vBNST-VTA projection is involved in expression of cocaine preference. © 2012 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  18. Ventral tegmental area dopamine and GABA neurons: Physiological properties and expression of mRNA for endocannabinoid biosynthetic elements

    PubMed Central

    Merrill, Collin B.; Friend, Lindsey N.; Newton, Scott T.; Hopkins, Zachary H.; Edwards, Jeffrey G.

    2015-01-01

    The ventral tegmental area (VTA) is involved in adaptive reward and motivation processing and is composed of dopamine (DA) and GABA neurons. Defining the elements regulating activity and synaptic plasticity of these cells is critical to understanding mechanisms of reward and addiction. While endocannabinoids (eCBs) that potentially contribute to addiction are known to be involved in synaptic plasticity mechanisms in the VTA, where they are produced is poorly understood. In this study, DA and GABAergic cells were identified using electrophysiology, cellular markers, and a transgenic mouse model that specifically labels GABA cells. Using single-cell RT-qPCR and immunohistochemistry, we investigated mRNA and proteins involved in eCB signaling such as diacylglycerol lipase α, N-acyl-phosphatidylethanolamine-specific phospholipase D, and 12-lipoxygenase, as well as type I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs). Our results demonstrate the first molecular evidence of colocalization of eCB biosynthetic enzyme and type I mGluR mRNA in VTA neurons. Further, these data reveal higher expression of mGluR1 in DA neurons, suggesting potential differences in eCB synthesis between DA and GABA neurons. These data collectively suggest that VTA GABAergic and DAergic cells have the potential to produce various eCBs implicated in altering neuronal activity or plasticity in adaptive motivational reward or addiction. PMID:26553597

  19. Cooperative interaction between leptin and amylin signaling in the ventral tegmental area for the control of food intake.

    PubMed

    Mietlicki-Baase, Elizabeth G; Olivos, Diana R; Jeffrey, Brianne A; Hayes, Matthew R

    2015-06-15

    Peripheral coadministration of amylin and leptin produces enhanced suppression of food intake and body weight, but the central nuclei mediating these effects remain unclear. Because each of these peptides controls feeding via actions at the ventral tegmental area (VTA), we tested the hypothesis that the VTA is a site of action for the cooperative effects of leptin and amylin on energy balance control. First, we show that intra-VTA injection of amylin and leptin at doses of each peptide that are effective in reducing food intake and body weight when administered separately produces an enhanced suppression of feeding when administered in combination. We also demonstrate that subthreshold doses of both amylin and leptin cause significant hypophagia and body weight loss when coadministered into the VTA. Additionally, we provide evidence that VTA amylin receptor blockade significantly attenuates the ability of intra-VTA leptin to reduce feeding and body weight gain. Together, these data provide the first evidence that the VTA mediates the interaction of amylin and leptin to cooperatively promote negative energy balance.

  20. Hyper-reactive human ventral tegmental area and aberrant mesocorticolimbic connectivity in overgeneralization of fear in generalized anxiety disorder.

    PubMed

    Cha, Jiook; Carlson, Joshua M; Dedora, Daniel J; Greenberg, Tsafrir; Proudfit, Greg H; Mujica-Parodi, Lilianne R

    2014-04-23

    The ventral tegmental area (VTA) has been primarily implicated in reward-motivated behavior. Recently, aberrant dopaminergic VTA signaling has also been implicated in anxiety-like behaviors in animal models. These findings, however, have yet to be extended to anxiety in humans. Here we hypothesized that clinical anxiety is linked to dysfunction of the mesocorticolimbic circuit during threat processing in humans; specifically, excessive or dysregulated activity of the mesocorticolimbic aversion circuit may be etiologically related to errors in distinguishing cues of threat versus safety, also known as "overgeneralization of fear." To test this, we recruited 32 females with generalized anxiety disorder and 25 age-matched healthy control females. We measured brain activity using fMRI while participants underwent a fear generalization task consisting of pseudo-randomly presented rectangles with systematically varying widths. A mid-sized rectangle served as a conditioned stimulus (CS; 50% electric shock probability) and rectangles with widths of CS ±20%, ±40%, and ±60% served as generalization stimuli (GS; never paired with electric shock). Healthy controls showed VTA reactivity proportional to the cue's perceptual similarity to CS (threat). In contrast, patients with generalized anxiety disorder showed heightened and less discriminating VTA reactivity to GS, a feature that was positively correlated with trait anxiety, as well as increased mesocortical and decreased mesohippocampal coupling. Our results suggest that the human VTA and the mesocorticolimbic system play a crucial role in threat processing, and that abnormalities in this system are implicated in maladaptive threat processing in clinical anxiety.

  1. RGS2 modulates coupling between GABAB receptors and GIRK channels in dopamine neurons of the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Labouèbe, Gwenaël; Lomazzi, Marta; Cruz, Hans G; Creton, Cyril; Luján, Rafael; Li, Meng; Yanagawa, Yuchio; Obata, Kunihiko; Watanabe, Masahiko; Wickman, Kevin; Boyer, Stephanie B; Slesinger, Paul A; Lüscher, Christian

    2007-12-01

    Agonists of GABA(B) receptors exert a bi-directional effect on the activity of dopamine (DA) neurons of the ventral tegmental area, which can be explained by the fact that coupling between GABA(B) receptors and G protein-gated inwardly rectifying potassium (GIRK) channels is significantly weaker in DA neurons than in GABA neurons. Thus, low concentrations of agonists preferentially inhibit GABA neurons and thereby disinhibit DA neurons. This disinhibition might confer reinforcing properties on addictive GABA(B) receptor agonists such as gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and its derivatives. Here we show that, in DA neurons of mice, the low coupling efficiency reflects the selective expression of heteromeric GIRK2/3 channels and is dynamically modulated by a member of the regulator of G protein signaling (RGS) protein family. Moreover, repetitive exposure to GHB increases the GABA(B) receptor-GIRK channel coupling efficiency through downregulation of RGS2. Finally, oral self-administration of GHB at a concentration that is normally rewarding becomes aversive after chronic exposure. On the basis of these results, we propose a mechanism that might underlie tolerance to GHB.

  2. Gene expression patterns in the ventral tegmental area relate to oestrus behaviour in high-producing dairy cows.

    PubMed

    Wyszyńska-Koko, J; de Wit, A A C; Beerda, B; Veerkamp, R F; te Pas, M F W

    2011-06-01

    Reduced oestrus behaviour expression or its absence (silent oestrus) results in subfertility in high-producing dairy cows. Insight into the genomic regulation of oestrus behaviour is likely to help alleviate reproduction problems. Here, gene expression was recorded in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of high milk production dairy cows differing in the degree of showing oestrus behaviour (H - highly expressing versus L - lowly expressing), which was then analysed. Genes regulating cell morphology and adhesion or coding for immunoglobulin G (IgG) chains were differentially expressed in VTA between cows around day 0 and 12 of the oestrus cycle, but only in cows that earlier in life tended to show high levels of oestrus behaviour (H0 versus H12). The comparisons between H and L groups of cows also revealed differential expression of several genes (e.g. those of the IgG family or encoding for pro-melanin-concentrating hormone). However, any significant changes in VTA genes expression were detected in the comparison of L0 versus L12 cows. Altogether, the genes expression profile in VTA of cows highly expressing oestrus behaviour changes together with phases of the oestrus cycle, while in case of cows expressing oestrus behaviour lowly it remains stable. This supports the existence of genomic regulation by centrally expressed genes on the expression of oestrus behaviour in dairy cows. © 2011 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

  3. Cooperative interaction between leptin and amylin signaling in the ventral tegmental area for the control of food intake

    PubMed Central

    Olivos, Diana R.; Jeffrey, Brianne A.; Hayes, Matthew R.

    2015-01-01

    Peripheral coadministration of amylin and leptin produces enhanced suppression of food intake and body weight, but the central nuclei mediating these effects remain unclear. Because each of these peptides controls feeding via actions at the ventral tegmental area (VTA), we tested the hypothesis that the VTA is a site of action for the cooperative effects of leptin and amylin on energy balance control. First, we show that intra-VTA injection of amylin and leptin at doses of each peptide that are effective in reducing food intake and body weight when administered separately produces an enhanced suppression of feeding when administered in combination. We also demonstrate that subthreshold doses of both amylin and leptin cause significant hypophagia and body weight loss when coadministered into the VTA. Additionally, we provide evidence that VTA amylin receptor blockade significantly attenuates the ability of intra-VTA leptin to reduce feeding and body weight gain. Together, these data provide the first evidence that the VTA mediates the interaction of amylin and leptin to cooperatively promote negative energy balance. PMID:25898952

  4. Loss of D2 dopamine receptor function modulates cocaine-induced glutamatergic synaptic potentiation in the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Madhavan, Anuradha; Argilli, Emanuela; Bonci, Antonello; Whistler, Jennifer L

    2013-07-24

    Potentiation of glutamate responses is a critical synaptic response to cocaine exposure in ventral tegmental area (VTA) neurons. However, the mechanism by which cocaine exposure promotes potentiation of NMDA receptors (NMDARs) and subsequently AMPA receptors (AMPARs) is not fully understood. In this study we demonstrate that repeated cocaine treatment causes loss of D2 dopamine receptor functional responses via interaction with lysosome-targeting G-protein-associated sorting protein1 (GASP1). We also show that the absence of D2 downregulation in GASP1-KO mice prevents cocaine-induced potentiation of NMDAR currents, elevation of the AMPA/NMDA ratio, and redistribution of NMDAR and AMPAR subunits to the membrane. As a pharmacological parallel, coadministration of the high-affinity D2 agonist, aripiprazole, reduces not only functional downregulation of D2s in response to cocaine but also potentiation of NMDAR and AMPAR responses in wild-type mice. Together these data suggest that functional loss of D2 receptors is a critical mechanism mediating cocaine-induced glutamate plasticity in VTA neurons.

  5. Increased CRF signaling in a ventral tegmental area-interpeduncular nucleus-medial habenula circuit induces anxiety during nicotine withdrawal

    PubMed Central

    Zhao-Shea, Rubing; DeGroot, Steven R.; Liu, Liwang; Vallaster, Markus; Pang, Xueyan; Su, Qin; Gao, Guangping; Rando, Oliver J.; Martin, Gilles E.; George, Olivier; Gardner, Paul D.; Tapper, Andrew R.

    2015-01-01

    Increased anxiety is a predominant withdrawal symptom in abstinent smokers, yet the neuroanatomical and molecular bases underlying it are unclear. Here, we show that withdrawal-induced anxiety increases activity of neurons in the interpeduncular intermediate (IPI), a subregion of the interpeduncular nucleus (IPN). IPI activation during nicotine withdrawal was mediated by increased corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) receptor-1 expression and signaling, which modulated glutamatergic input from the medial habenula (MHb). Pharmacological blockade of IPN CRF1 receptors or optogenetic silencing of MHb input reduced IPI activation and alleviated withdrawal-induced anxiety; whereas IPN CRF infusion in mice increased anxiety. We identified a meso-interpeduncular circuit, consisting of ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopaminergic neurons projecting to the IPN, as a potential source of CRF. Knock-down of CRF synthesis in the VTA prevented IPI activation and anxiety during nicotine withdrawal. These data indicate that increased CRF receptor signaling within a VTA-IPN-MHb circuit triggers anxiety during nicotine withdrawal. PMID:25898242

  6. Morphofunctional alterations in ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons in acute and prolonged opiates withdrawal. A computational perspective.

    PubMed

    Enrico, P; Migliore, M; Spiga, S; Mulas, G; Caboni, F; Diana, M

    2016-05-13

    Dopamine (DA) neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) play a key role in the neurobiological basis of goal-directed behaviors and addiction. Morphine (MOR) withdrawal induces acute and long-term changes in the morphology and physiology of VTA DA cells, but the mechanisms underlying these modifications are poorly understood. Because of their predictive value, computational models are a powerful tool in neurobiological research, and are often used to gain further insights and deeper understanding on the molecular and physiological mechanisms underlying the development of various psychiatric disorders. Here we present a biophysical model of a DA VTA neuron based on 3D morphological reconstruction and electrophysiological data, showing how opiates withdrawal-driven morphological and electrophysiological changes could affect the firing rate and discharge pattern. The model findings suggest how and to what extent a change in the balance of GABA/GLU inputs can take into account the experimentally observed hypofunction of VTA DA neurons during acute and prolonged withdrawal, whereas morphological changes may play a role in the increased excitability of VTA DA cell to opiate administration observed during opiate withdrawal.

  7. DAMGO depresses inhibitory synaptic transmission via different downstream pathways of μ opioid receptors in ventral tegmental area and periaqueductal gray.

    PubMed

    Zhang, W; Yang, H L; Song, J J; Chen, M; Dong, Y; Lai, B; Yu, Y G; Ma, L; Zheng, P

    2015-08-20

    Opioid-induced rewarding and motorstimulant effects are mediated by an increased activity of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine (DA) neurons. The excitatory mechanism of opioids on VTA-DA neurons has been proposed to be due to the depression of GABAergic synaptic transmission in VTA-DA neurons. However, how opioids depress GABAergic synaptic transmission in VTA-DA neurons remain to be studied. In the present study, we explored the mechanism of the inhibitory effect of [D-Ala(2), N-Me-Phe(4), Gly(5)-ol]-enkephalin (DAMGO) on GABAergic synaptic transmission in VTA-DA neurons using multiple approaches and techniques. Our results showed that (1) DAMGO inhibits GABAergic inputs in VTA-DA neurons at presynaptic sites; (2) effect of DAMGO on GABAergic inputs in VTA-DA neurons is inhibited by potassium channel blocker 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) and Gi protein inhibitor N-ethylmaleimide (NEM); (3) phospholipase A2 (PLA2) does not mediate the effect of DAMGO on GABAergic inputs in VTA-DA neurons, but mediates it in the periaqueductal gray (PAG); (4) multiple downstream signaling molecules of μ receptors do not mediate the effect of DAMGO on GABAergic inputs in VTA-DA neurons. These results suggest that DAMGO depresses inhibitory synaptic transmission via μ receptor-Gi protein-Kv channel pathway in VTA-DA neurons, but via μ receptor-PLA2 pathway in PAG neurons.

  8. micro-Opioid receptor endocytosis prevents adaptations in ventral tegmental area GABA transmission induced during naloxone-precipitated morphine withdrawal.

    PubMed

    Madhavan, Anuradha; He, Li; Stuber, Garret D; Bonci, Antonello; Whistler, Jennifer L

    2010-03-03

    Chronic morphine drives adaptations in synaptic transmission thought to underlie opiate dependence. Here we examine the role of micro-opioid receptor (MOR) trafficking in one of these adaptations, specifically, changes in GABA transmission in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). To address this question, we used a knock-in mouse, RMOR (for recycling MOR), in which genetic change in the MOR promotes morphine-induced receptor desensitization and endocytosis in GABA interneurons of the VTA. In wild-type mice (postnatal days 23-28) chronic morphine (10 mg/kg, s.c., twice daily for 5 d), induced a cAMP-dependent increase in the probability of GABA release onto VTA dopamine neurons. The increased GABA release frequency correlated with physical dependence on morphine measured by counting somatic signs of morphine withdrawal, such as, tremors, jumps, rears, wet-dog shakes, and grooming behavior precipitated by subcutaneous administration of naloxone (NLX) (2 mg/kg). This adaptation in GABA release was prevented in RMOR mice given the same morphine treatment, implicating MOR trafficking in this morphine-induced change in plasticity. Importantly, treatment with the cAMP activity inhibitor rp-cAMPS [(R)-adenosine, cyclic 3',5'-(hydrogenphosphorothioate) triethylammonium] (50 ng/0.5 microl), directly to the VTA, attenuated somatic withdrawal signs to systemic morphine produced by intra-VTA NLX (500 ng/0.5 microl), directly tying enhanced cAMP-driven GABA release to naloxone-precipitated morphine withdrawal in the VTA.

  9. Ventral tegmental area dopamine and GABA neurons: Physiological properties and expression of mRNA for endocannabinoid biosynthetic elements.

    PubMed

    Merrill, Collin B; Friend, Lindsey N; Newton, Scott T; Hopkins, Zachary H; Edwards, Jeffrey G

    2015-11-10

    The ventral tegmental area (VTA) is involved in adaptive reward and motivation processing and is composed of dopamine (DA) and GABA neurons. Defining the elements regulating activity and synaptic plasticity of these cells is critical to understanding mechanisms of reward and addiction. While endocannabinoids (eCBs) that potentially contribute to addiction are known to be involved in synaptic plasticity mechanisms in the VTA, where they are produced is poorly understood. In this study, DA and GABAergic cells were identified using electrophysiology, cellular markers, and a transgenic mouse model that specifically labels GABA cells. Using single-cell RT-qPCR and immunohistochemistry, we investigated mRNA and proteins involved in eCB signaling such as diacylglycerol lipase α, N-acyl-phosphatidylethanolamine-specific phospholipase D, and 12-lipoxygenase, as well as type I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs). Our results demonstrate the first molecular evidence of colocalization of eCB biosynthetic enzyme and type I mGluR mRNA in VTA neurons. Further, these data reveal higher expression of mGluR1 in DA neurons, suggesting potential differences in eCB synthesis between DA and GABA neurons. These data collectively suggest that VTA GABAergic and DAergic cells have the potential to produce various eCBs implicated in altering neuronal activity or plasticity in adaptive motivational reward or addiction.

  10. Smoking and alcoholism target genes associated with plasticity and glutamate transmission in the human ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Flatscher-Bader, T; Zuvela, N; Landis, N; Wilce, P A

    2008-01-01

    Drugs of abuse including nicotine and alcohol elicit their effect by stimulating the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic system. There is a high incidence of nicotine dependence in alcoholics. To date only limited data is available on the molecular mechanism underlying the action of alcohol and nicotine in the human brain. This study utilized gene expression screening to identify genes sensitive to chronic alcohol abuse within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the human brain. Alcohol-responsive genes encoded proteins primarily involved in structural plasticity and neurotransmitter transport and release. In particular, genes involved with brain-derived neurotrophic factor signalling and glutamatergic transmission were found to be affected. The possibility that glutamate transport was a target of chronic alcohol and/or tobacco abuse was further investigated in an extended case set by measurement of mRNA and protein expression. Expression levels of vesicular glutamate transporters SLC17A6 and SLC17A7 were robustly induced by smoking, an effect that was reduced by alcohol co-exposure. Glutamatergic transmission is vital for the control of the VTA and may also be critical to the weighting of novelty and importance of a stimulus, an essential output of this brain region. We conclude that enduring plasticity within the VTA may be a major molecular mechanism for the maintenance of smoking addiction and that alcohol, nicotine and co-abuse have distinct impacts on glutamatergic transmission with important implications for the control of this core mesolimbic structure.

  11. Role of dopamine D2-like receptors within the ventral tegmental area and nucleus accumbens in antinociception induced by lateral hypothalamus stimulation.

    PubMed

    Moradi, Marzieh; Yazdanian, Mohamadreza; Haghparast, Abbas

    2015-10-01

    Several lines of evidence have shown that stimulation of the lateral hypothalamus (LH) can induce antinociception. It has been indicated that hypothalamic orexinergic neurons send projections throughout the dopamine mesolimbic pathway. Functional interaction between the LH and the main area of the mesolimbic pathway such as the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the nucleus accumbens (NAc) implicates in pain modulation. Thus, in this study, we investigated the role of D2-like dopamine receptors within the VTA and NAc in the LH stimulation-induced antinociception. Male Wistar rats weighing 230-280 g were unilaterally implanted with two separate cannulae into the LH and VTA or NAc. Animals received intra-VTA (0.25, 1 and 4 μg/0.3 μl DMSO) and intra-accumbal (0.125, 0.25, 1 and 4 μg/0.5 μl DMSO) infusions of sulpiride as a selective D2-like receptor antagonist, prior to intra-LH carbachol (125 nM/rat) administration. In the tail-flick test, the antinociceptive effects were measured using a tail-flick algesiometer and represented as maximal possible effect (%MPE) within 5, 15, 30, 45 and 60 min after injections. Our results showed that intra-VTA and intra-accumbal sulpiride dose-dependently attenuated the LH stimulation-induced antinociception. However, the blockade of D2-like receptors within the NAc was more significant than that of the VTA. These findings show that D2-like dopamine receptors in these regions play an important role in the LH-mediated modulation of nociceptive information in the acute model of pain in the rats. It seems that this pain modulating system is more relevant to D2-like receptors in the nucleus accumbens. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  12. Control of food intake by MC4-R signaling in the lateral hypothalamus, nucleus accumbens shell and ventral tegmental area: Interactions with ethanol

    PubMed Central

    Lerma-Cabrera, Jose M.; Carvajal, Francisca; de la Torre, Lourdes; de la Fuente, Leticia; Navarro, Montserrat; Thiele, Todd E.; Cubero, Inmaculada

    2012-01-01

    The Melanocortin system is involved in animal models of obesity and anorexia-cachexia and MC4 receptors (MC4-R) are currently a target system for the development of drugs aimed to treat obesity and eating disorders in humans. Previous evidence suggest that feeding peptides might lack their orexigenic activity while stimulate ethanol intake. The present study comparatively evaluated food intake (4-h interval) in Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats drinking ethanol (6% w/v, 2 bottle choice paradigm) (EE group) and ethanol-naïve (EN) rats in response to bilateral infusion of the selective MC4-R antagonist HS014 (0, 0.02 or 0.05 μg/0.5μl/site) or the selective MC4-R agonist cyclo(NH-CH2-CH2-CO-His-D-Phe-Arg-Trp-Glu)-NH2 (0, 0.75 or 1.5 μg/0.5μl/site), into the lateral hypothalamus (LH), the nucleus accumbens (NAc), or the ventral tegmental area (VTA). The main findings in the study are: 1) LH-infusions of the MC4-R antagonist increased and the agonist reduced feeding and total calories consumed, while ethanol intake remained unaltered. 2) NAc- and VTA-infusions of the selective agonist reduced food, ethanol and total calories intake. 3) NAc- and VTA-infusions of the MC4-R antagonist increased feeding in EN rats, but not in EE animals which showed a mild increase in ethanol intake, while total calories consumed remained unaltered. Present data show that having ethanol available reduces feeding elicited by NAc and VTA-MC4-R blockade. Additionally, while MC4-R signalling in the LH appears to modulate homeostatic aspects of feeding, it may contribute to non-homeostatic aspects of ingestive behaviours in the VTA and the NAc. PMID:22713514

  13. Juvenile Administration of Concomitant Methylphenidate and Fluoxetine Alters Behavioral Reactivity to Reward- and Mood-related Stimuli and Disrupts Ventral Tegmental Area Gene Expression in Adulthood

    PubMed Central

    Warren, Brandon L.; Iñiguez, Sergio D.; Alcantara, Lyonna F.; Wright, Katherine N.; Parise, Eric M.; Weakley, Sarah K.; Bolaños-Guzmán, Carlos A.

    2011-01-01

    There is a rise in the concurrent use of methylphenidate (MPH) and fluoxetine (FLX) in pediatric populations. However, the long-term neurobiological consequences of combined MPH and FLX treatment (MPH+FLX) during juvenile periods are unknown. We administered saline (VEH), MPH, FLX, or MPH+FLX to juvenile Sprague-Dawley male rats from postnatal day 20–35, and assessed their reactivity to reward- and mood-related stimuli 24-h or 2-months after drug exposure. We also assessed mRNA and protein levels within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to determine the effect of MPH, FLX, or MPH+FLX on the extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase-1/2 (ERK) pathway – a signaling cascade implicated in motivation and mood regulation. MPH+FLX enhanced sensitivity to drug (i.e., cocaine) and sucrose rewards, as well as anxiety- (i.e., elevated plus-maze) and stress- (i.e., forced swimming) eliciting situations when compared to VEH-treated rats. MPH+FLX exposure also increased mRNA of ERK2 and its downstream targets cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), cFos, early growth response protein-1 (zif268), and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), and also increased protein phosphorylation of ERK2, CREB, and mTOR 2-months after drug exposure when compared to VEH-treated rats. Using herpes simplex virus-mediated gene transfer to block ERK2 activity within the VTA, we rescued the MPH+FLX-induced behavioral deficits seen in the forced swimming task 2-months after drug treatment. These results indicate that concurrent MPH+FLX exposure during preadolescence increases sensitivity to reward-related stimuli while simultaneously enhancing susceptibility to stressful situations, at least in part, due to long-lasting disruptions in ERK signaling within the VTA. PMID:21753012

  14. Repeated exposure of the posterior ventral tegmental area to nicotine increases the sensitivity of local dopamine neurons to the stimulating effects of ethanol.

    PubMed

    Ding, Zheng-Ming; Katner, Simon N; Rodd, Zachary A; Truitt, William; Hauser, Sheketha R; Deehan, Gerald A; Engleman, Eric A; McBride, William J

    2012-05-01

    Clinical evidence indicates a frequent co-morbidity of nicotine and alcohol abuse and dependence. The posterior ventral tegmental area (pVTA) appears to support the reinforcing and dopamine-stimulating effects of both drugs. The current study tested the hypothesis that repeated exposure of the pVTA to one drug would increase the sensitivity of local dopamine neurons to the stimulating effects of the other drug. Female Wistar rats received repeated daily microinjections of either 100 μM nicotine or vehicle directly into the pVTA for 7 days. On the 8th day, rats received microinjections of either vehicle or ethanol (100 or 200 mg%) into the pVTA while extracellular dopamine samples were collected from the ipsilateral nucleus accumbens shell (NACsh) with microdialysis. Another experiment tested the effects of challenge microinjections of 200 μM nicotine in the pVTA on extracellular dopamine levels in the NACsh following 7 daily pretreatments with 200 mg% ethanol in the pVTA. Nicotine pretreatments increased the dopamine-stimulating effects of ethanol in the pVTA (100 mg% ethanol: 115% vs 160% of baseline in the vehicle and nicotine groups, respectively, p < 0.05; 200 mg% ethanol: 145% vs 190% of baseline in the vehicle and nicotine groups, respectively, p < 0.05). In contrast, ethanol pretreatments did not alter the stimulating effects of nicotine in the pVTA. The results suggest that repeated exposure of the pVTA to nicotine increased the response of local dopamine neurons to the stimulating effects of ethanol, whereas repeated exposure of the pVTA to ethanol did not alter the responses of pVTA dopamine neurons to nicotine.

  15. Intrahippocampal administration of D2 but not D1 dopamine receptor antagonist suppresses the expression of conditioned place preference induced by morphine in the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Haghparast, Abbas; Esmaeili, Mohammad-Hossein; Taslimi, Zahra; Kermani, Mojtaba; Yazdi-Ravandi, Saeid; Alizadeh, Amir-Mohammad

    2013-04-29

    The ventral tegmental area (VTA) as a major source of dopamine neurons projecting to cortical and limbic regions has a crucial role in reward and addiction. The current study assessed the role of D1 and D2 receptors within the dorsal hippocampus (CA1) in the expression of conditioned place preference (CPP) by intra-VTA morphine in the rats. In the present study, 160 adult male albino Wistar rats weighing 220-290g were bilaterally implanted by two cannulae into the CA1 and VTA. The CPP paradigm was done and animal displacement, conditioning score and locomotor activity were recorded. For blocking the dopamine D1/D2 receptors in the dorsal hippocampus, SCH23390 (0.02, 0.05, 0.2 and 0.5μg per side) or sulpiride (0.25, 0.75, 1.5 and 3μg per side) were microinjected into the CA1, just 5min before the CPP test on the post-conditioning day. All animals received intra-VTA morphine (1μg per side) during 3-days conditioning phase. Our results showed that sulpiride (1.5 and 3μg) but not SCH23390 in the dorsal hippocampus significantly decreased the expression of CPP induced by intra-VTA morphine (p<0.001). Intra-CA1 administration of these antagonists alone, in all doses, could not induce CPP. We suggest that D2 receptors in the CA1 region of hippocampus have a key role in the expression of CPP induced by morphine at the level of the VTA and there is a relationship between dopaminergic D2 receptors and opioidergic systems in these areas in reward circuit.

  16. Ventral tegmental area disruption selectively affects CA1/CA2 but not CA3 place fields during a differential reward working memory task

    PubMed Central

    Martig, Adria K; Mizumori, Sheri JY

    2010-01-01

    Hippocampus (HPC) receives dopaminergic (DA) projections from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and substantia nigra. These inputs appear to provide a modulatory signal that influences HPC dependent behaviors and place fields. We examined how efferent projections from VTA to HPC influence spatial working memory and place fields when the reward context changes. CA1 and CA3 process environmental context changes differently and VTA preferentially innervates CA1. Given these anatomical data and electrophysiological evidence that implicates DA in reward processing, we predicted that CA1 place fields would respond more strongly to both VTA disruption and changes in the reward context than CA3 place fields. Rats (N=9) were implanted with infusion cannula targeting VTA and recording tetrodes aimed at HPC. Then they were tested on a differential reward, win-shift working memory task. One recording session consisted of 5 baseline and 5 manipulation trials during which place cells in CA1/CA2 (N=167) and CA3 (N=94) were recorded. Prior to manipulation trials rats were infused with either baclofen or saline and then subjected to control or reward conditions during which the learned locations of large and small reward quantities were reversed. VTA disruption resulted in an increase in errors, and in CA1/CA2 place field reorganization. There were no changes in any measures of CA3 place field stability during VTA disruption. Reward manipulations did not affect performance or place field stability in CA1/CA2 or CA3; however, changes in the reward locations “rescued” performance and place field stability in CA1/CA2 when VTA activity was compromised, perhaps by trigging compensatory mechanisms. These data support the hypothesis that VTA contributes to spatial working memory performance perhaps specifically by maintaining place field stability selectively in CA1/CA2. PMID:20082295

  17. Involvement of CB1 receptors in the ventral tegmental area in the potentiation of morphine rewarding properties in acquisition but not expression in the conditioned place preference model.

    PubMed

    Rashidy-Pour, Ali; Pahlevani, Pouyan; Vaziri, Anoumid; Shaigani, Pariya; Zarepour, Leila; Vafaei, Abbas Ali; Haghparast, Abbas

    2013-06-15

    The ventral tegmental area (VTA) is a critical part of the brain reward system and has been engaged in mediating rewarding actions. CB1 receptors are one of the receptors that mediate the actions of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids in the central nervous system. Our aim was to determine the potentiating effects of CB1 receptors within the VTA in the acquisition and expression of morphine conditioned place preference (CPP). Stereotaxic surgery was performed bilaterally on each rat to administrate WIN55,212-2 (1, 2 and 4 mmol/0.3 μl DMSO) as CB1 receptor agonist and AM251 (15, 45 and 90 mmol/0.3 μl DMSO) as CB1 receptor antagonist. A three-compartment apparatus was used for the CPP test. The results showed that two doses of WIN55,212-2 (2 and 4 mmol) potentiates the rewarding effects of ineffective dose of morphine (2 mg/kg). We did not see any significant difference between any other doses of WIN55,212-2 and vehicle in the group which received the effective dose of morphine (5mg/kg). Additionally, conditioning scores decreased significantly with the highest administrated dose of AM251 (90 mmol) compared to the vehicle group. We did not observe any significant differences in the experiments for CPP expression by WIN55,212-2 or AM251. It seems that the cannabinoid and opioid systems are in interaction with each other and affect dopaminergic and/or non-dopaminergic neurons in the VTA. Blockade of CB1 receptors may increase GABA release, resulting in the reduction of dopamine output followed by a decrease in the acquisition of morphine-induced CPP in rats.

  18. Involvement of D1/D2 dopamine receptors within the nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental area in the development of sensitization to antinociceptive effect of morphine.

    PubMed

    Reisi, Zahra; Bani-Ardalan, Mahtash; Zarepour, Leila; Haghparast, Abbas

    2014-03-01

    The nucleus accumbens (NAc) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are two major areas for the mesolimbic dopaminergic system which are strongly involved in the development of behavioral sensitization. In the present study, we investigated the role of D1/D2 dopaminergic receptors within the NAc or VTA in response to sensitization to morphine by the tail-flick test as a model of acute pain. Sensitization was induced by subcutaneous (SC) injection of morphine (5 mg/kg), once daily for three days followed by 5 days free of drug. After the sensitization period, antinociceptive responses induced by an ineffective dose of morphine (1 mg/kg; SC) were obtained by the tail-flick test, and represented as maximal possible effect (%MPE). In experimental groups, D1 and D2 receptor antagonists, SCH-23390 and sulpiride (0.25, 1 and 4 μg/rat), were separately microinjected into the NAc or VTA, 10 min before morphine administration during the sensitization period, respectively. Results showed that injection of morphine during the sensitization period (development of sensitization) increased %MPE of the ineffective dose of morphine from 2.43±1.4% in naive to 47.75±4.01% in sensitized animals (P<0.001). Unilateral microinjections of different doses of the D1/D2 receptor antagonists, SCH-23390 and sulpiride, into the NAc dose-dependently decreased %MPEs in morphine-sensitized animals. Nonetheless, %MPEs were only affected by intra-VTA administration of SCH-23390 in morphine-sensitized animals (P<0.05). Our findings suggest that both the D1/D2 dopamine receptors in the NAc and the D1 receptors in the VTA may be of more important in the development of sensitization to morphine in rats.

  19. Involvement of ventral tegmental area ionotropic glutamate receptors in the expression of ethanol-induced conditioned place preference.

    PubMed

    Pina, Melanie M; Cunningham, Christopher L

    2016-10-15

    The ventral tegmental area (VTA) is a well-established neural substrate of reward-related processes. Activity within this structure is increased by the primary and conditioned rewarding effects of abused drugs and its engagement is heavily reliant on excitatory input from structures upstream. In the case of drug seeking, it is thought that exposure to drug-associated cues engages glutamatergic VTA afferents that signal directly to dopamine cells, thereby triggering this behavior. It is unclear, however, whether glutamate input to VTA is directly involved in ethanol-associated cue seeking. Here, the role of intra-VTA ionotropic glutamate receptor (iGluR) signaling in ethanol-cue seeking was evaluated in DBA/2J mice using an ethanol conditioned place preference (CPP) procedure. Intra-VTA iGluRs α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPAR)/kainate and N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDAR) were blocked during ethanol CPP expression by co-infusion of antagonist drugs 6,7-dinitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (DNQX; AMPA/kainate) and d-(-)-2-Amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid (AP5; NMDA). Compared to aCSF, bilateral infusion of low (1 DNQX+100 AP5ng/side) and high (5 DNQX+500 AP5ng/side) doses of the AMPAR and NMDAR antagonist cocktail into VTA blocked ethanol CPP expression. This effect was site specific, as DNQX/AP5 infusion proximal to VTA did not significantly impact CPP expression. An increase in activity was found at the high but not low dose of DNQX/AP5. These findings demonstrate that activation of iGluRs within the VTA is necessary for ethanol-associated cue seeking, as measured by CPP.

  20. Long-range projection neurons of the mouse ventral tegmental area: a single-cell axon tracing analysis

    PubMed Central

    Aransay, Ana; Rodríguez-López, Claudia; García-Amado, María; Clascá, Francisco; Prensa, Lucía

    2015-01-01

    Pathways arising from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) release dopamine and other neurotransmitters during the expectation and achievement of reward, and are regarded as central links of the brain networks that create drive, pleasure, and addiction. While the global pattern of VTA projections is well-known, the actual axonal wiring of individual VTA neurons had never been investigated. Here, we labeled and analyzed the axons of 30 VTA single neurons by means of single-cell transfection with the Sindbis-pal-eGFP vector in mice. These observations were complemented with those obtained by labeling the axons of small populations of VTA cells with iontophoretic microdeposits of biotinylated dextran amine. In the single-cell labeling experiments, each entire axonal tree was reconstructed from serial sections, the length of terminal axonal arbors was estimated by stereology, and the dopaminergic phenotype was tested by double-labeling for tyrosine hydroxylase immunofluorescence. We observed two main, markedly different VTA cell morphologies: neurons with a single main axon targeting only forebrain structures (FPN cells), and neurons with multibranched axons targeting both the forebrain and the brainstem (F + BSPN cells). Dopaminergic phenotype was observed in FPN cells. Moreover, four “subtypes” could be distinguished among the FPN cells based on their projection targets: (1) “Mesocorticolimbic” FPN projecting to both neocortex and basal forebrain; (2) “Mesocortical” FPN innervating the neocortex almost exclusively; (3) “Mesolimbic” FPN projecting to the basal forebrain, accumbens and caudateputamen; and (4) “Mesostriatal” FPN targeting only the caudateputamen. While the F + BSPN cells were scattered within VTA, the mesolimbic neurons were abundant in the paranigral nucleus. The observed diversity in wiring architectures is consistent with the notion that different VTA cell subpopulations modulate the activity of specific sets of prosencephalic and

  1. Nicotine and ethanol cooperate to enhance ventral tegmental area AMPA receptor function via α6-containing nicotinic receptors.

    PubMed

    Engle, Staci E; McIntosh, J Michael; Drenan, Ryan M

    2015-04-01

    Nicotine + ethanol co-exposure results in additive and/or synergistic effects in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to nucleus accumbens (NAc) dopamine (DA) pathway, but the mechanisms supporting this are unclear. We tested the hypothesis that nAChRs containing α6 subunits (α6* nAChRs) are involved in the response to nicotine + ethanol co-exposure. Exposing VTA slices from C57BL/6 WT animals to drinking-relevant concentrations of ethanol causes a marked enhancement of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptor (AMPAR) function in VTA neurons. This effect was sensitive to α-conotoxin MII (an α6β2* nAChR antagonist), suggesting that α6* nAChR function is required. In mice expressing hypersensitive α6* nAChRs (α6L9S mice), we found that lower concentrations (relative to C57BL/6 WT) of ethanol were sufficient to enhance AMPAR function in VTA neurons. Exposure of live C57BL/6 WT mice to ethanol also produced AMPAR functional enhancement in VTA neurons, and studies in α6L9S mice strongly suggest a role for α6* nAChRs in this response. We then asked whether nicotine and ethanol cooperate to enhance VTA AMPAR function. We identified low concentrations of nicotine and ethanol that were capable of strongly enhancing VTA AMPAR function when co-applied to slices, but that did not enhance AMPAR function when applied alone. This effect was sensitive to both varenicline (an α4β2* and α6β2* nAChR partial agonist) and α-conotoxin MII. Finally, nicotine + ethanol co-exposure also enhanced AMPAR function in VTA neurons from α6L9S mice. Together, these data identify α6* nAChRs as important players in the response to nicotine + ethanol co-exposure in VTA neurons.

  2. Anatomical and pharmacological characterization of catecholamine transients in the medial prefrontal cortex evoked by ventral tegmental area stimulation

    PubMed Central

    Shnitko, Tatiana A.; Robinson, Donita L.

    2014-01-01

    Voltammetric measurements of catecholamines in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) are infrequent because of lack of chemical selectivity between dopamine and norepinephrine and their overlapping anatomical inputs. Here, we examined the contribution of norepinephrine to the catecholamine release in the mPFC evoked by electrical stimulation of the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Initially, electrical stimulation was delivered in the midbrain at incremental depths of −5 to −9.4mm from bregma while catecholamine release was monitored in the mPFC. Although catecholamine release was observed at dorsal stimulation sites that may correspond to the dorsal noradrenergic bundle (DNB, containing noradrenergic axonal projections to the mPFC), maximal release was evoked by stimulation of the VTA (the source of dopaminergic input to the mPFC). Next, VTA-evoked catecholamine release was monitored in the mPFC before and after knife incision of the DNB, and no significant changes in the evoked catecholamine signals were found These data indicated that DNB fibers did not contribute to the VTA-evoked catecholamine release observed in the mPFC. Finally, while the D2-receptor antagonist raclopride significantly altered VTA-evoked catecholamine release, the α2-adrenergic receptor antagonist idazoxan did not. Specifically, raclopride reduced catecholamine release in the mPFC, opposite to that observed in the striatum, indicating differential autoreceptor regulation of mesocortical and mesostriatal neurons. Together, these findings suggest that the catecholamine release in the mPFC arising from VTA stimulation was predominately dopaminergic rather than noradrenergic. PMID:24285555

  3. Sex-dependent diversity in ventral tegmental dopaminergic neurons and developmental programing: A molecular, cellular and behavioral analysis.

    PubMed

    Gillies, G E; Virdee, K; McArthur, S; Dalley, J W

    2014-12-12

    The knowledge that diverse populations of dopaminergic neurons within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) can be distinguished in terms of their molecular, electrophysiological and functional properties, as well as their differential projections to cortical and subcortical regions has significance for key brain functions, such as the regulation of motivation, working memory and sensorimotor control. Almost without exception, this understanding has evolved from landmark studies performed in the male sex. However, converging evidence from both clinical and pre-clinical studies illustrates that the structure and functioning of the VTA dopaminergic systems are intrinsically different in males and females. This may be driven by sex differences in the hormonal environment during adulthood ('activational' effects) and development (perinatal and/or pubertal 'organizational' effects), as well as genetic factors, especially the SRY gene on the Y chromosome in males, which is expressed in a sub-population of adult midbrain dopaminergic neurons. Stress and stress hormones, especially glucocorticoids, are important factors which interact with the VTA dopaminergic systems in order to achieve behavioral adaptation and enable the individual to cope with environmental change. Here, also, there is male/female diversity not only during adulthood, but also in early life when neurobiological programing by stress or glucocorticoid exposure differentially impacts dopaminergic developmental trajectories in male and female brains. This may have enduring consequences for individual resilience or susceptibility to pathophysiological change induced by stressors in later life, with potential translational significance for sex bias commonly found in disorders involving dysfunction of the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic systems. These findings highlight the urgent need for a better understanding of the sexual dimorphism in the VTA if we are to improve strategies for the prevention and treatment of

  4. Dynamic, Nonlinear Feedback Regulation of Slow Pacemaking by A-Type Potassium Current in Ventral Tegmental Area Neurons

    PubMed Central

    Khaliq, Zayd M.; Bean, Bruce P.

    2010-01-01

    We analyzed ionic currents that regulate pacemaking in dopaminergic neurons of the mouse ventral tegmental area by comparing voltage trajectories during spontaneous firing with ramp-evoked currents in voltage clamp. Most recordings were made in brain slice, with key experiments repeated using acutely dissociated neurons, which gave identical results. During spontaneous firing, net ionic current flowing between spikes was calculated from the time derivative of voltage multiplied by cell capacitance, signal-averaged over many firing cycles to enhance resolution. Net inward interspike current had a distinctive nonmonotonic shape, reaching a minimum (generally <1 pA) between −60 and −55 mV. Under voltage clamp, ramps over subthreshold voltages elicited a time- and voltage-dependent outward current that peaked near −55 mV. This current was undetectable with 5 mV/s ramps and increased steeply with depolarization rate over the range (10 –50 mV/s) typical of natural pacemaking. Ramp-evoked subthreshold current was resistant to α-dendrotoxin, paxilline, apamin, and tetraethylammonium but sensitive to 4-aminopyridine and 0.5 mM Ba2+, consistent with A-type potassium current (IA). Same-cell comparison of currents elicited by various ramp speeds with natural spontaneous depolarization showed how the steep dependence of IA on depolarization rate results in small net inward currents during pacemaking. These results reveal a mechanism in which subthreshold IA is near zero at steady state, but is engaged at depolarization rates >10 mV/s to act as a powerful, supralinear feedback element. This feedback mechanism explains how net ionic current can be constrained to <1–2 pA but reliably inward, thus enabling slow, regular firing. PMID:18945898

  5. Pacemaking in dopaminergic ventral tegmental area neurons: depolarizing drive from background and voltage-dependent sodium conductances

    PubMed Central

    Khaliq, Zayd M.; Bean, Bruce P.

    2010-01-01

    Dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) fire spontaneously in a pacemaker-like manner. We analyzed the ionic currents that drive pacemaking in dopaminergic VTA neurons, studied in mouse brain slices. Pacemaking was not inhibited by blocking hyperpolarization-activated cation current (Ih) or blocking all calcium current by Mg2+ replacement of Ca2+. Tetrodotoxin (TTX) stopped spontaneous activity and usually resulted in stable resting potentials near −60 mV to −55 mV, 10–15 mV below the action potential threshold. When external sodium was replaced by N-methyl-D-glucamine (NMDG) with TTX present, cells hyperpolarized by an average of −11 mV, suggesting a significant resting sodium conductance not sensitive to TTX. Voltage-clamp experiments using slow (10 mV/s) ramps showed a steady-state, steeply voltage-dependent current blocked by TTX that activates near −60 mV, as well as a sodium “background” current with little voltage-sensitivity, revealed by NMDG replacement for sodium with TTX present. We quantified these two components of sodium current during the pacemaking trajectory using action potential clamp. The initial phase of depolarization, up to about −55 mV, is driven mainly by non-voltage-dependent sodium background current. Above −55 mV, TTX-sensitive voltage-dependent “persistent” Na current helps drive the final phase of depolarization to the spike threshold. Voltage-dependent calcium current is small at all subthreshold voltages. The pacemaking mechanism in VTA neurons differs from that in substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) neurons, where subthreshold calcium current plays a dominant role. In addition, we found that non-voltage-dependent background sodium current is much smaller in SNc neurons than VTA neurons. PMID:20505107

  6. Sex-dependent diversity in ventral tegmental dopaminergic neurons and developmental programing: A molecular, cellular and behavioral analysis

    PubMed Central

    Gillies, G.E.; Virdee, K.; McArthur, S.; Dalley, J.W.

    2014-01-01

    The knowledge that diverse populations of dopaminergic neurons within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) can be distinguished in terms of their molecular, electrophysiological and functional properties, as well as their differential projections to cortical and subcortical regions has significance for key brain functions, such as the regulation of motivation, working memory and sensorimotor control. Almost without exception, this understanding has evolved from landmark studies performed in the male sex. However, converging evidence from both clinical and pre-clinical studies illustrates that the structure and functioning of the VTA dopaminergic systems are intrinsically different in males and females. This may be driven by sex differences in the hormonal environment during adulthood (‘activational’ effects) and development (perinatal and/or pubertal ‘organizational’ effects), as well as genetic factors, especially the SRY gene on the Y chromosome in males, which is expressed in a sub-population of adult midbrain dopaminergic neurons. Stress and stress hormones, especially glucocorticoids, are important factors which interact with the VTA dopaminergic systems in order to achieve behavioral adaptation and enable the individual to cope with environmental change. Here, also, there is male/female diversity not only during adulthood, but also in early life when neurobiological programing by stress or glucocorticoid exposure differentially impacts dopaminergic developmental trajectories in male and female brains. This may have enduring consequences for individual resilience or susceptibility to pathophysiological change induced by stressors in later life, with potential translational significance for sex bias commonly found in disorders involving dysfunction of the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic systems. These findings highlight the urgent need for a better understanding of the sexual dimorphism in the VTA if we are to improve strategies for the prevention and

  7. Comparison of systemic and local methamphetamine treatment on acetylcholine and dopamine levels in the ventral tegmental area in the mouse.

    PubMed

    Dobbs, L K; Mark, G P

    2008-10-15

    Acetylcholine (ACh) is an important mediator of dopamine (DA) release and the behavioral reinforcing characteristics of drugs of abuse in the mesocorticolimbic pathway. Within the ventral tegmental area (VTA), the interaction of DA with ACh appears to be integral in mediating motivated behaviors. However, the effects of methamphetamine on VTA ACh and DA release remain poorly characterized. The current investigation performed microdialysis to evaluate the effects of methamphetamine on extracellular levels of ACh and DA. Male C57BL/6J mice received an i.p. injection (saline, 2 mg/kg, or 5 mg/kg) and an intra-VTA infusion (vehicle, 100 microM or 1 mM) of methamphetamine. Locally perfused methamphetamine resulted in no change in extracellular ACh compared with vehicle, but caused a strong, immediate and dose-dependent increase in extrasynaptic DA levels (1240% and 2473% of baseline, respectively) during the 20-min pulse perfusion. An i.p. injection of methamphetamine increased extrasynaptic DA to 275% and 941% of baseline (2 mg/kg and 5 mg/kg, respectively). Systemic methamphetamine significantly increased ACh levels up to 275% of baseline for 40-60 min (2 mg/kg) and 397% of baseline for 40-160 min (5 mg/kg) after injection. ACh remained elevated above baseline for 2-3 h post injection, depending on the methamphetamine dose. Methamphetamine-induced locomotor activity was dose-dependently correlated with extrasynaptic VTA ACh, but not DA levels. These data suggest that methamphetamine acts in the VTA to induce a robust and short-lived increase in extracellular DA release but acts in an area upstream from the VTA to produce a prolonged increase in ACh release in the VTA. We conclude that methamphetamine may activate a recurrent loop in the mesocorticolimbic DA system to stimulate pontine cholinergic nuclei and produce a prolonged ACh release in the VTA.

  8. Comparison of Systemic and Local Methamphetamine Treatment on Acetylcholine and Dopamine Levels in the Ventral Tegmental Area in the Mouse

    PubMed Central

    Dobbs, Lauren K.; Mark, Gregory P.

    2008-01-01

    Acetylcholine (ACh) is an important mediator of dopamine (DA) release and the behavioral reinforcing characteristics of drugs of abuse in the mesocorticolimbic pathway. Within the ventral tegmental area (VTA), the interaction of DA with ACh appears to be integral in mediating motivated behaviors. However, the effects of methamphetamine on VTA ACh and DA release remain poorly characterized. The current investigation performed microdialysis to evaluate the effects of methamphetamine on extracellular levels of ACh and DA. Male C57BL/6J mice received an IP injection (saline, 2 mg/kg, or 5 mg/kg) and an intra-VTA infusion (vehicle, 100 µM or 1 mM) of methamphetamine. Locally perfused methamphetamine resulted in no change in extracellular ACh compared to vehicle, but caused a strong, immediate and dose-dependent increase in extrasynaptic DA levels (1240% and 2473% of baseline, respectively) during the 20-minute pulse perfusion. An IP injection of methamphetamine increased extrasynaptic DA to 275% and 941% of baseline (2 mg/kg and 5 mg/kg, respectively). Systemic methamphetamine significantly increased ACh levels up to 275% of baseline for 40 – 60 minutes (2 mg/kg) and 397% of baseline for 40 – 160 minutes (5 mg/kg) after injection. ACh remained elevated above baseline for 2 to 3 hours post injection, depending on the methamphetamine dose. Methamphetamine-induced locomotor activity was dose-dependently correlated with extrasynaptic VTA ACh, but not DA levels. These data suggest that methamphetamine acts in the VTA to induce a robust and short-lived increase in extracellular DA release but acts in an area upstream from the VTA to produce a prolonged increase in ACh release in the VTA. We conclude that methamphetamine may activate a recurrent loop in the mesocorticolimbic DA system to stimulate pontine cholinergic nuclei and produce a prolonged ACh release in the VTA. PMID:18760336

  9. Effect of acute ethanol administration on the release of opioid peptides from the midbrain including the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Jarjour, Samuel; Bai, Li; Gianoulakis, Christina

    2009-06-01

    Experimental evidence suggests that ethanol alters the activity of the endogenous opioid peptide systems in a dose and brain-region dependent manner. These alterations may influence the processes of ethanol reward and reinforcement. Thus, it was the objective of this study to investigate the response of the 3 major opioid peptide systems (endorphins, enkephalins, and dynorphins) to acute ethanol administration, at the level of the midbrain including the ventral tegmental area (midbrain/VTA), a region important for drug, including ethanol reinforcement. Using the in vivo microdialysis technique coupled with specific solid-phase radioimmunoassay for beta-endorphin, met-enkephalin, and dynorphin A(1-8,) changes in the extracellular concentration of theses peptides at the level of midbrain/VTA were determined at distinct time points following the administration of 0.0 (saline), 0.8, 1.2, 1.6, 2.0, and 2.4 g ethanol/kg B.Wt. A biphasic effect of ethanol on beta-endorphin release was found, with low to medium (1.2, 1.6, and 2.0 g) but not high (2.4 g) doses of ethanol, inducing a significant increase in the dialysate content of beta-endorphin. A late increase in the dialysate content of dynorphin A(1-8) was observed in response to the 1.2 g ethanol dose. However, none of the ethanol doses tested significantly altered the content of met-enkephalin in the dialysate. The present findings suggest that the ethanol-induced increase of beta-endorphin release at the level of midbrain/VTA may influence alcohol reinforcement.

  10. Phasic excitation of ventral tegmental dopamine neurons potentiates the initiation of conditioned approach behavior: parametric and reinforcement-schedule analyses.

    PubMed

    Ilango, Anton; Kesner, Andrew J; Broker, Carl J; Wang, Dong V; Ikemoto, Satoshi

    2014-01-01

    Midbrain dopamine neurons are implicated in motivation and learning. However, it is unclear how phasic excitation of dopamine neurons, which is implicated in learning, is involved in motivation. Here we used a self-stimulation procedure to examine how mice seek for optogenetically-induced phasic excitation of dopamine neurons, with an emphasis on the temporal dimension. TH-Cre transgenic mice received adeno-associated viral vectors encoding channelrhodopsin-2 into the ventral tegmental area, resulting in selective expression of the opsin in dopamine neurons. These mice were trained to press on a lever for photo-pulse trains that phasically excited dopamine neurons. They learned to self-stimulate in a fast, constant manner, and rapidly reduced pressing during extinction. We first determined effective parameters of photo-pulse trains in self-stimulation. Lever-press rates changed as a function of the manipulation of pulse number, duration, intensity, and frequency. We then examined effects of interval and ratio schedules of reinforcement on photo-pulse train reinforcement, which was contrasted with food reinforcement. Reinforcement with food inhibited lever pressing for a few seconds, after which pressing was robustly regulated in a goal-directed manner. In contrast, phasic excitation of dopamine neurons robustly potentiated the initiation of lever pressing; however, this effect did not last more than 1 s and quickly diminished. Indeed, response rates markedly decreased when lever pressing was reinforced with inter-reinforcement interval schedules of 3 or 10 s or ratio schedules requiring multiple responses per reinforcement. Thus, phasic excitation of dopamine neurons briefly potentiates the initiation of approach behavior with apparent lack of long-term motivational regulation.

  11. Targeted leptin receptor blockade: role of ventral tegmental area and nucleus of the solitary tract leptin receptors in body weight homeostasis.

    PubMed

    Matheny, M; Strehler, K Y E; King, M; Tümer, N; Scarpace, P J

    2014-07-01

    The present investigation examined whether leptin stimulation of ventral tegmental area (VTA) or nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) has a role in body weight homeostasis independent of the medial basal hypothalamus (MBH). To this end, recombinant adeno-associated viral techniques were employed to target leptin overexpression or overexpression of a dominant negative leptin mutant (leptin antagonist). Leptin antagonist overexpression in MBH or VTA increased food intake and body weight to similar extents over 14 days in rats. Simultaneous overexpression of leptin in VTA with antagonist in MBH resulted in food intake and body weight gain that were less than with control treatment but greater than with leptin alone in VTA. Notably, leptin overexpression in VTA increased P-STAT3 in MBH along with VTA, and leptin antagonist overexpression in the VTA partially attenuated P-STAT3 levels in MBH. Interestingly, leptin antagonist overexpression elevated body weight gain, but leptin overexpression in the NTS failed to modulate either food intake or body weight despite increased P-STAT3. These data suggest that leptin function in the VTA participates in the chronic regulation of food consumption and body weight in response to stimulation or blockade of VTA leptin receptors. Moreover, one component of VTA-leptin action appears to be independent of the MBH, and another component appears to be related to leptin receptor-mediated P-STAT3 activation in the MBH. Finally, leptin receptors in the NTS are necessary for normal energy homeostasis, but mostly they appear to have a permissive role. Direct leptin activation of NTS slightly increases UCP1 levels, but has little effect on food consumption or body weight.

  12. DeltaFosB accumulates in a GABAergic cell population in the posterior tail of the ventral tegmental area after psychostimulant treatment.

    PubMed

    Perrotti, Linda I; Bolaños, Carlos A; Choi, Kwang-Ho; Russo, Scott J; Edwards, Scott; Ulery, Paula G; Wallace, Deanna L; Self, David W; Nestler, Eric J; Barrot, Michel

    2005-05-01

    The transcription factor deltaFosB is induced in the nucleus accumbens and dorsal striatum by chronic exposure to several drugs of abuse, and increasing evidence supports the possibility that this induction is involved in the addiction process. However, to date there has been no report of deltaFosB induction by drugs of abuse in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), which is also a critical brain reward region. In the present study, we used immunohistochemistry to demonstrate that chronic forced administration of cocaine induces deltaFosB in the rat VTA. This induction occurs selectively in a gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) cell population within the posterior tail of the VTA. A similar effect is seen after chronic cocaine self-administration. Induction of deltaFosB in the VTA occurs after psychostimulant treatment only: it is seen with both chronic cocaine and amphetamine, but not with chronic opiates or stress. The expression of deltaFosB appears to be mediated by dopamine systems, as repeated administration of a dopamine uptake inhibitor induced deltaFosB in the VTA, while administration of serotonin or norepinephrine uptake inhibitors failed to produce this effect. Time course analysis showed that, following 14 days of cocaine administration, deltaFosB persists in the VTA for almost 2 weeks after cocaine withdrawal. This accumulation and persistence may account for some of the long-lasting changes in the brain associated with chronic drug use. These results provide the first evidence of deltaFosB induction in a discrete population of GABA cells in the VTA, which may regulate the functioning of the brain's reward mechanisms.

  13. NMDA receptors regulate nicotine-enhanced brain reward function and intravenous nicotine self-administration: Role of the ventral tegmental area and central nucleus of the amygdala

    PubMed Central

    Kenny, Paul J.; Chartoff, Elena; Roberto, Marisa; Carlezon, William A.; Markou, Athina

    2009-01-01

    Nicotine is considered an important component of tobacco responsible for the smoking habit in humans. Nicotine increases glutamate-mediated transmission throughout brain reward circuitries. This action of nicotine could potentially contribute to its intrinsic rewarding and reward-enhancing properties, which motivate consumption of the drug. Here we show that the competitive N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist LY235959 (0.5–2.5 mg/kg) abolished nicotine-enhanced brain reward function, reflected in blockade of the lowering of intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) thresholds usually observed after experimenter-administered (0.25 mg/kg) or intravenously self-administered (0.03 mg/kg/infusion) nicotine injections. The highest LY235959 dose (5 mg/kg) tested reversed the hedonic valence of nicotine from positive to negative, reflected in nicotine-induced elevations of ICSS thresholds. LY235959 doses that reversed nicotine-induced lowering of ICSS thresholds also markedly decreased nicotine self-administration without altering responding for food reinforcement, whereas the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA) receptor antagonist NBQX had no effects on nicotine intake. In addition, nicotine self-administration upregulated NMDA receptor subunit expression in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) and ventral tegmental area (VTA), suggesting important interactions between nicotine and the NMDA receptor. Furthermore, nicotine (1 μM) increased NMDA receptor-mediated excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) in rat CeA slices, similar to its previously described effects in the VTA. Finally, infusion of LY235959 (0.1–10 ng/side) into the CeA or VTA decreased nicotine self-administration. Taken together, these data suggest that NMDA receptors, including those in the CeA and VTA, gate the magnitude and valence of the effects of nicotine on brain reward systems, thereby regulating motivation to consume the drug. PMID:18418357

  14. Epac Signaling Is Required for Cocaine-Induced Change in AMPA Receptor Subunit Composition in the Ventral Tegmental Area.

    PubMed

    Liu, Xiaojie; Chen, Yao; Tong, Jiaqing; Reynolds, Ashley M; Proudfoot, Sarah C; Qi, Jinshun; Penzes, Peter; Lu, Youming; Liu, Qing-Song

    2016-04-27

    Exchange protein directly activated by cAMP (Epac) and protein kinase A (PKA) are intracellular receptors for cAMP. Although PKA and its downstream effectors have been studied extensively in the context of drug addiction, whether and how Epac regulates cellular and behavioral effects of drugs of abuse remain essentially unknown. Epac is known to regulate AMPA receptor (AMPAR) trafficking. Previous studies have shown that a single cocaine exposure in vivo leads to an increase in GluA2-lacking AMPARs in dopamine neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA). We tested the hypothesis that Epac mediates cocaine-induced changes in AMPAR subunit composition in the VTA. We report that a single cocaine injection in vivo in wild-type mice leads to inward rectification of EPSCs and renders EPSCs sensitive to a GluA2-lacking AMPAR blocker in VTA dopamine neurons. The cocaine-induced increase in GluA2-lacking AMPARs was absent in Epac2-deficient mice but not in Epac1-deficient mice. In addition, activation of Epac with the selective Epac agonist 8-CPT-2Me-cAMP (8-CPT) recapitulated the cocaine-induced increase in GluA2-lacking AMPARs, and the effects of 8-CPT were mediated by Epac2. We also show that conditioned place preference to cocaine was impaired in Epac2-deficient mice and in mice in which Epac2 was knocked down in the VTA but was not significantly altered in Epac1-deficient mice. Together, these results suggest that Epac2 is critically involved in the cocaine-induced change in AMPAR subunit composition and drug-cue associative learning. Addictive drugs, such as cocaine, induce long-lasting adaptions in the reward circuits of the brain. A single intraperitoneal injection of cocaine leads to changes in the composition and property of the AMPAR that carries excitatory inputs to dopamine neurons. Here, we provide evidence that exchange protein directly activated by cAMP (Epac), a cAMP sensor protein, is required for the cocaine-induced changes of the AMPAR. We found that the

  15. Functional Circuitry Effect of Ventral Tegmental Area Deep Brain Stimulation: Imaging and Neurochemical Evidence of Mesocortical and Mesolimbic Pathway Modulation

    PubMed Central

    Settell, Megan L.; Testini, Paola; Cho, Shinho; Lee, Jannifer H.; Blaha, Charles D.; Jo, Hang J.; Lee, Kendall H.; Min, Hoon-Ki

    2017-01-01

    Background: The ventral tegmental area (VTA), containing mesolimbic and mesocortical dopaminergic neurons, is implicated in processes involving reward, addiction, reinforcement, and learning, which are associated with a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders. Electrical stimulation of the VTA or the medial forebrain bundle and its projection target the nucleus accumbens (NAc) is reported to improve depressive symptoms in patients affected by severe, treatment-resistant major depressive disorder (MDD) and depressive-like symptoms in animal models of depression. Here we sought to determine the neuromodulatory effects of VTA deep brain stimulation (DBS) in a normal large animal model (swine) by combining neurochemical measurements with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Methods: Animals (n = 8 swine) were implanted with a unilateral DBS electrode targeting the VTA. During stimulation (130 Hz frequency, 0.25 ms pulse width, and 3 V amplitude), fMRI was performed. Following fMRI, fast-scan cyclic voltammetry in combination with carbon fiber microelectrodes was performed to quantify VTA-DBS-evoked dopamine release in the ipsilateral NAc. In a subset of swine, the blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) percent change evoked by stimulation was performed at increasing voltages (1, 2, and 3 V). Results: A significant increase in VTA-DBS-evoked BOLD signal was found in the following regions: the ipsilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, anterior and posterior cingulate, insula, premotor cortex, primary somatosensory cortex, and striatum. A decrease in the BOLD signal was also observed in the contralateral parahippocampal cortex, dorsolateral and anterior prefrontal cortex, insula, inferior temporal gyrus, and primary somatosensory cortex (Bonferroni-corrected < 0.001). During neurochemical measurements, stimulation time-locked changes in dopamine release were recorded in the NAc, confirming that mesolimbic dopaminergic neurons were stimulated by DBS. In the

  16. Tribute to: Self-administered nicotine activates the mesolimbic dopamine system through the ventral tegmental area [William Corrigall, Kathleen Coen and Laurel Adamson, Brain Res. 653 (1994) 278-284].

    PubMed

    Leri, Francesco; Vaccarino, Franco J

    2016-08-15

    In this paper, Dr. Corrigall and collaborators described elegant experiments designed to elucidate the neurobiology of nicotine reinforcement. The nicotinic receptor antagonist dihydro-β-erythroidine (DHβE) was infused in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) or nucleus accumbens (NAC) of rats trained to self-administer nicotine intravenously. Additionally, DHβE was infused in the VTA of rats trained to self-administer food or cocaine, and nicotine self-administration was assessed in rats with lesions to the peduculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPT). A number of key themes emerged from this fundamental study that remain relevant today. The primary finding was that infusions of DHβE in the VTA, but not in the NAC, lowered nicotine self-administration, suggesting that nicotinic receptors in VTA are involved in the reinforcing action of nicotine. This conclusion has been confirmed by subsequent findings, and the nature of the nicotinic receptors has also been elucidated. The authors also reported that DHβE in the VTA had no effect on food or cocaine self-administration, and that lesions to the PPT did not alter nicotine self-administration. Since this initial investigation, the question of whether nicotinic receptors in the VTA are necessary for the reinforcing action of other stimuli, and by which mechanisms, has been extensively explored. Similarly, many groups have further investigated the role of mesopontine cholinergic nuclei in reinforcement. This paper not only contributed in important ways to our understanding of the neurochemical basis of nicotine reinforcement, but was also a key catalyst that gave rise to several research themes central to the neuropharmacology of substance abuse. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled SI:50th Anniversary Issue. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  17. c-Fos expression after deep brain stimulation of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus in the rat 6-hydroxydopamine Parkinson model.

    PubMed

    Saryyeva, Assel; Nakamura, Makoto; Krauss, Joachim K; Schwabe, Kerstin

    2011-11-01

    Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is used to alleviate motor dysfunction in Parkinson's disease (PD). The pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) may be a potential target for severe freezing and postural instability with 25 Hz stimulation being considered more effective than 130 Hz stimulation. Here we evaluated the expression of c-Fos after 25 Hz and 130 Hz DBS of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTg, i.e., the rodent equivalent to the human PPN) in the rat 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) PD model. Anaesthetized male Sprague Dawley rats with unilateral 6-OHDA-induced nigrostriatal lesions were stimulated with 25 Hz, 130 Hz, or 0 Hz sham-stimulation for 4h by electrodes implanted into the ipsilateral PPTg. Thereafter the distribution and number of neurons expressing the immediate early gene c-Fos, a marker for acute neuronal activity, was assessed. DBS of the PPTg induced strong ipsilateral c-Fos expression at the stimulation site, with 25 Hz having a more marked impact than 130 Hz. Additionally, c-Fos was strongly expressed in the central gray. In the dorsal part expression was stronger after 25 Hz stimulation, while in the medial and ventral part there was no difference between 25 Hz and 130 Hz stimulation. Expression in the basal ganglia was negligible. In the rat 6-OHDA PD model stimulation of the PPTg did not affect c-Fos expression in the basal ganglia, but had a strong impact on other functional circuitries. PPN stimulation in humans might therefore also have an impact on other systems than the motor system.

  18. Morphine activation of mu opioid receptors causes disinhibition of neurons in the ventral tegmental area mediated by β-arrestin2 and c-Src.

    PubMed

    Bull, Fiona A; Baptista-Hon, Daniel T; Lambert, Jeremy J; Walwyn, Wendy; Hales, Tim G

    2017-08-30

    The tyrosine kinase, c-Src, participates in mu opioid receptor (MOP) mediated inhibition in sensory neurons in which β-arrestin2 (β-arr2) is implicated in its recruitment. Mice lacking β-arr2 exhibit increased sensitivity to morphine reinforcement; however, whether β-arr2 and/or c-Src participate in the actions of opioids in neurons within the reward pathway is unknown. It is also unclear whether morphine acts exclusively through MOPs, or involves delta opioid receptors (DOPs). We examined the involvement of MOPs, DOPs, β-arr2 and c-Src in the inhibition by morphine of GABAergic inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) recorded from neurons in the mouse ventral tegmental area. Morphine inhibited spontaneous IPSC frequency, mainly through MOPs, with only a negligible effect remaining in MOP-/- neurons. However, a reduction in the inhibition by morphine for DOP-/- c.f. WT neurons and a DPDPE-induced decrease of IPSC frequency revealed a role for DOPs. The application of the c-Src inhibitor, PP2, to WT neurons also reduced inhibition by morphine, while the inactive PP3, and the MEK inhibitor, SL327, had no effect. Inhibition of IPSC frequency by morphine was also reduced in β-arr2-/- neurons in which PP2 caused no further reduction. These data suggest that inhibition of IPSCs by morphine involves a β-arr2/c-Src mediated mechanism.

  19. Acute Morphine, Chronic Morphine, and Morphine Withdrawal Differently Affect Pleiotrophin, Midkine, and Receptor Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase β/ζ Regulation in the Ventral Tegmental Area.

    PubMed

    García-Pérez, Daniel; Laorden, M Luisa; Milanés, M Victoria

    2017-01-01

    Pleiotrophin (PTN) and midkine (MK) are secreted growth factors and cytokines, proposed to be significant neuromodulators with multiple neuronal functions. PTN and MK are generally related with cell proliferation, growth, and differentiation by acting through different receptors. PTN or MK, signaling through receptor protein tyrosine phosphatase β/ζ (RPTPβ/ζ), lead to the activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs) and thymoma viral proto-oncogene (Akt), which induce morphological changes and modulate addictive behaviors. Besides, there is increasing evidence that during the development of drug addiction, astrocytes contribute to the synaptic plasticity by synthesizing and releasing substances such as cytokines. In the present work, we studied the effect of acute morphine, chronic morphine, and morphine withdrawal on PTN, MK, and RPTPβ/ζ expression and on their signaling pathways in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Present results indicated that PTN, MK, and RPTPβ/ζ levels increased after acute morphine injection, returned to basal levels during chronic opioid treatment, and were upregulated again during morphine withdrawal. We also observed an activation of astrocytes after acute morphine injection and during opiate dependence and withdrawal. In addition, immunofluorescence analysis revealed that PTN, but not MK, was overexpressed in astrocytes and that dopaminergic neurons expressed RPTPβ/ζ. Interestingly, p-ERK 1/2 levels during chronic morphine and morphine withdrawal correlated RPTPβ/ζ expression. All these observations suggest that the neuroprotective and behavioral adaptations that occur during opiate addiction could be, at least partly, mediated by these cytokines.

  20. Hormones and Neuropeptide Receptor Heteromers in the Ventral Tegmental Area. Targets for the Treatment of Loss of Control of Food Intake and Substance Use Disorders.

    PubMed

    Ferré, Sergi

    2017-01-01

    Hormones and neuropeptides represent biological correlates of internal homeostatic signals detected and integrated in the hypothalamus, which establishes a robust functional connection with the ventral tegmental area (VTA). The hypothalamus-VTA connection determines the ability of these signals to influence central dopaminergic neurotransmission and, therefore, their ability to increase responsiveness to their reward-associated stimuli and to establish appropriate associative learning. The hypothalamus also provides the main source of the multiple neuropeptides that are released in the VTA. With volume transmission of neuropeptides and hormones, extrasynaptic receptors within the VTA provide a fine-tune mechanism, which depends on the ability of molecularly different G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) to form heteromers. GPCR heteromer is defined as a macromolecular complex composed of at least two different receptor units (protomers) with biochemical properties that are demonstrably different from those of its individual components. GPCR heteromers can provide unique allosteric properties to specific ligands, which provides new avenues for drug development. We have identified specific GPCR heteromers in the VTA that integrate orexin and CRF neurotransmission and opioid and galanin neurotransmission, which play a very significant role in the modulation of dopaminergic neuronal activity and which can constitute targets for the treatment of loss of control of food intake and substance use disorders.

  1. Corticosterone enhances N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor signaling to promote isolated ventral tegmental area activity in a reconstituted mesolimbic dopamine pathway

    PubMed Central

    Berry, Jennifer N.; Saunders, Meredith A.; Sharrett-Field, Lynda J.; Reynolds, Anna R.; Bardo, Michael T.; Pauly, James R.; Prendergast, Mark A.

    2015-01-01

    Elevations in circulating corticosteroids during periods of stress may influence activity of the mesolimbic dopamine reward pathway by increasing glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor expression and/or function in a glucocorticoid receptor-dependent manner. The current study employed organotypic co-cultures of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and nucleus accumbens (NAcc) to examine the effects of corticosterone exposure on NMDA receptor-mediated neuronal viability. Co-cultures were pre-exposed to vehicle or corticosterone (CORT; 1 μM) for 5 days prior to a 24 hour co-exposure to NMDA (200 μM). Co-cultures pre-exposed to a non-toxic concentration of corticosterone and subsequently NMDA showed significant neurotoxicity in the VTA only. This was evidenced by increases in propidium iodide uptake as well as decreases in immunoreactivity of the neuronal nuclear protein (NeuN). Co-exposure to the NMDA receptor antagonist 2-amino-7-phosphonovaleric acid (APV; 50 μM) or the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) antagonist mifepristone (10 μM) attenuated neurotoxicity. In contrast, the combination of corticosterone and NMDA did not produce any significant effects on either measure within the NAcc. Cultures of the VTA and NAcc maintained without synaptic contact showed no response to CORT or NMDA. These results demonstrate the ability to functionally reconstitute key regions of the mesolimbic reward pathway ex vivo and to reveal a GR-dependent enhancement of NMDA receptor-dependent signaling in the VTA. PMID:26631585

  2. Decreased functional connectivity between ventral tegmental area and nucleus accumbens in Internet gaming disorder: evidence from resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jin-Tao; Ma, Shan-Shan; Yip, Sarah W; Wang, Ling-Jiao; Chen, Chao; Yan, Chao-Gan; Liu, Lu; Liu, Ben; Deng, Lin-Yuan; Liu, Qin-Xue; Fang, Xiao-Yi

    2015-11-18

    Internet gaming disorder (IGD) has become an increasing mental health problem worldwide. Decreased resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) between the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) has been found in substance use and is thought to play an important role in the development of substance addiction. However, rsFC between the VTA and NAcc in a non-substance addiction, such as IGD, has not been assessed previously. The current study aimed to investigate: (1) if individuals with IGD exhibit alterations in VTA-NAcc functional connectivity; and (2) whether VTA-NAcc functional connectivity is associated with subjective Internet craving. Thirty-five male participants with IGD and 24 healthy control (HC) individuals participated in resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Regions of interest (left NAcc, right NAcc and VTA) were selected based on the literature and were defined by placing spheres centered on Talairach Daemon coordinates. In comparison with HCs, individuals with IGD had significantly decreased rsFC between the VTA and right NAcc. Resting-state functional connectivity strength between the VTA and right NAcc was negatively correlated with self-reported subjective craving for the Internet. These results suggest possible neural functional similarities between individuals with IGD and individuals with substance addictions.

  3. The effects of bilateral lesions to the dorsal tegmental nucleus on spatial learning in rats.

    PubMed

    Dwyer, Jessica A; Ingram, Matthew L; Snow, Anna C; Thorpe, Christina M; Martin, Gerard M; Skinner, Darlene M

    2013-12-01

    The head-direction (HD) signal is believed to originate in the dorsal tegmental nucleus (DTN) and lesions to this structure have been shown to disrupt HD cell firing in other areas along the HD cell circuit. To investigate the role of the DTN in spatial navigation, rats with bilateral, electrolytic (Experiment 1), or neurotoxic (Experiment 2) lesions to the DTN were compared with sham controls on two tasks that differed in difficulty and could be solved using directional heading. Rats were first trained on a direction problem in a water T maze where they learned to travel either east or west from two locations in the experimental room. DTN-lesioned rats were impaired relative to sham controls, both early in training, on the first block of eight trials, and on the total trials taken to reach criterion. In the food-foraging task, rats were trained to leave a home cage at the periphery of a circular table, find food in the center of the table and return to the home cage. Again, DTN-lesioned rats were impaired relative to sham rats, making more errors on the return component of the foraging trip. These data extend previous cell-recording studies and behavioral tests in which rats with electrolytic DTN lesions were used, and they demonstrate the importance of the direction system to spatial learning.

  4. Augmented cocaine seeking in response to stress or CRF delivered into the ventral tegmental area following long-access self-administration is mediated by CRF receptor type 1 but not CRF receptor type 2.

    PubMed

    Blacktop, Jordan M; Seubert, Chad; Baker, David A; Ferda, Nathan; Lee, Geng; Graf, Evan N; Mantsch, John R

    2011-08-03

    Stressful events are determinants of relapse in recovering cocaine addicts. Excessive cocaine use may increase susceptibility to stressor-induced relapse through alterations in brain corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) regulation of neurocircuitry involved in drug seeking. We previously reported that the reinstatement of cocaine seeking by a stressor (footshock) is CRF dependent and is augmented in rats that self-administered cocaine under long-access (LgA; 6 h daily) conditions for 14 d when compared with rats provided shorter daily cocaine access [short access (ShA) rats; 2 h daily]. Further, we have demonstrated that reinstatement in response to intracerebroventricular CRF administration is heightened in LgA rats. This study examined the role of altered ventral tegmental area (VTA) responsiveness to CRF in intake-dependent increases in CRF- and stress-induced cocaine seeking. Bilateral intra-VTA administration of CRF (250 or 500 ng/side) produced reinstatement in LgA but not ShA rats. In LgA rats, intra-VTA CRF-induced reinstatement was blocked by administration of the CRF-receptor type 1 (CRF-R1) antagonist antalarmin (500 ng/side) or CP-376395 (500 ng/side), but not the CRF-R2 antagonist astressin-2B (500 ng or 1 μg/side) or antisauvagine-30 (ASV-30; 500 ng/side) into the VTA. Likewise, intra-VTA antalarmin, but not astressin-2B, blocked footshock-induced reinstatement in LgA rats. By contrast, neither intra-VTA antalarmin nor CP-376395 altered food-reinforced lever pressing. Intra-VTA injection of the CRF-R1-selective agonist cortagine (100 ng/side) but not the CRF-R2-selective agonist rat urocortin II (rUCN II; 250 ng/side) produced reinstatement. These findings reveal that excessive cocaine use increases susceptibility to stressor-induced relapse in part by augmenting CRF-R1-dependent regulation of addiction-related neurocircuitry in the VTA.

  5. Effects of fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibition on neuronal responses to nicotine, cocaine and morphine in the nucleus accumbens shell and ventral tegmental area: involvement of PPAR-alpha nuclear receptors.

    PubMed

    Luchicchi, Antonio; Lecca, Salvatore; Carta, Stefano; Pillolla, Giuliano; Muntoni, Anna L; Yasar, Sevil; Goldberg, Steven R; Pistis, Marco

    2010-07-01

    The endocannabinoid system regulates neurotransmission in brain regions relevant to neurobiological and behavioral actions of addicting drugs. We recently demonstrated that inhibition by URB597 of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), the main enzyme that degrades the endogenous cannabinoid N-acylethanolamine (NAE) anandamide and the endogenous non-cannabinoid NAEs oleoylethanolamide and palmitoylethanolamide, blocks nicotine-induced excitation of ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine (DA) neurons and DA release in the shell of the nucleus accumbens (ShNAc), as well as nicotine-induced drug self-administration, conditioned place preference and relapse in rats. Here, we studied whether effects of FAAH inhibition on nicotine-induced changes in activity of VTA DA neurons were specific for nicotine or extended to two drugs of abuse acting through different mechanisms, cocaine and morphine. We also evaluated whether FAAH inhibition affects nicotine-, cocaine- or morphine-induced actions in the ShNAc. Experiments involved single-unit electrophysiological recordings from DA neurons in the VTA and medium spiny neurons in the ShNAc in anesthetized rats. We found that URB597 blocked effects of nicotine and cocaine in the ShNAc through activation of both surface cannabinoid CB1-receptors and alpha-type peroxisome proliferator-activated nuclear receptor. URB597 did not alter the effects of either cocaine or morphine on VTA DA neurons. These results show that the blockade of nicotine-induced excitation of VTA DA neurons, which we previously described, is selective for nicotine and indicate novel mechanisms recruited to regulate the effects of addicting drugs within the ShNAc of the brain reward system.

  6. Neural correlates for angular head velocity in the rat dorsal tegmental nucleus

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bassett, J. P.; Taube, J. S.; Oman, C. M. (Principal Investigator)

    2001-01-01

    Many neurons in the rat lateral mammillary nuclei (LMN) fire selectively in relation to the animal's head direction (HD) in the horizontal plane independent of the rat's location or behavior. One hypothesis of how this representation is generated and updated is via subcortical projections from the dorsal tegmental nucleus (DTN). Here we report the type of activity in DTN neurons. The majority of cells (75%) fired as a function of the rat's angular head velocity (AHV). Cells exhibited one of two types of firing patterns: (1) symmetric, in which the firing rate was positively correlated with AHV during head turns in both directions, and (2) asymmetric, in which the firing rate was positively correlated with head turns in one direction and correlated either negatively or not at all in the opposite direction. In addition to modulation by AHV, some of the AHV cells (40.1%) were weakly modulated by the rat's linear velocity, and a smaller number were modulated by HD (11%) or head pitch (15.9%). Autocorrelation analyses indicated that with the head stationary, AHV cells displayed irregular discharge patterns. Because afferents from the DTN are the major source of information projecting to the LMN, these results suggest that AHV information from the DTN plays a significant role in generating the HD signal in LMN. A model is proposed showing how DTN AHV cells can generate and update the LMN HD cell signal.

  7. Neural correlates for angular head velocity in the rat dorsal tegmental nucleus

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bassett, J. P.; Taube, J. S.; Oman, C. M. (Principal Investigator)

    2001-01-01

    Many neurons in the rat lateral mammillary nuclei (LMN) fire selectively in relation to the animal's head direction (HD) in the horizontal plane independent of the rat's location or behavior. One hypothesis of how this representation is generated and updated is via subcortical projections from the dorsal tegmental nucleus (DTN). Here we report the type of activity in DTN neurons. The majority of cells (75%) fired as a function of the rat's angular head velocity (AHV). Cells exhibited one of two types of firing patterns: (1) symmetric, in which the firing rate was positively correlated with AHV during head turns in both directions, and (2) asymmetric, in which the firing rate was positively correlated with head turns in one direction and correlated either negatively or not at all in the opposite direction. In addition to modulation by AHV, some of the AHV cells (40.1%) were weakly modulated by the rat's linear velocity, and a smaller number were modulated by HD (11%) or head pitch (15.9%). Autocorrelation analyses indicated that with the head stationary, AHV cells displayed irregular discharge patterns. Because afferents from the DTN are the major source of information projecting to the LMN, these results suggest that AHV information from the DTN plays a significant role in generating the HD signal in LMN. A model is proposed showing how DTN AHV cells can generate and update the LMN HD cell signal.

  8. Functional selectivity and time-dependence of μ-opioid receptor desensitization at nerve terminals in the mouse ventral tegmental area

    PubMed Central

    Lowe, J D; Bailey, C P

    2015-01-01

    BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The majority of studies examining desensitization of the μ-opioid receptor (MOR) have examined those located at cell bodies. However, MORs are extensively expressed at nerve terminals throughout the mammalian nervous system. This study is designed to investigate agonist-induced MOR desensitization at nerve terminals in the mouse ventral tegmental area (VTA). EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH MOR function was measured in mature mouse brain slices containing the VTA using whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiology. Presynaptic MOR function was isolated from postsynaptic function and the functional selectivity, time-dependence and mechanisms of agonist-induced MOR desensitization were examined. KEY RESULTS MORs located at GABAergic nerve terminals in the VTA were completely resistant to rapid desensitization induced by the high-efficacy agonists DAMGO and Met-enkephalin. MORs located postsynaptically on GABAergic cell bodies readily underwent rapid desensitization in response to DAMGO. However, after prolonged (>7 h) treatment with Met-enkephalin, profound homologous MOR desensitization was observed. Morphine could induce rapid MOR desensitization at nerve terminals when PKC was activated. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS Agonist-induced MOR desensitization in GABAergic neurons in the VTA is compartment-selective as well as agonist-selective. When MORs are located at cell bodies, higher-efficacy agonists induce greater levels of rapid desensitization than lower-efficacy agonists. However, the converse is true at nerve terminals where agonists that induce MOR desensitization via PKC are capable of rapid agonist-induced desensitization while higher-efficacy agonists are not. MOR desensitization induced by higher-efficacy agonists at nerve terminals only takes place after prolonged receptor activation. LINKED ARTICLES This article is part of a themed section on Opioids: New Pathways to Functional Selectivity. To view the other articles in this section visit http

  9. Differential modulation of methamphetamine-mediated behavioral sensitization by overexpression of Mu opioid receptors in nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Kuo, Chi-Chung; Shen, Hui; Harvey, Brandon K; Yu, Seong-Jin; Kopajtic, Theresa; Hinkle, Josh J; Kyrkanides, Stephanos; Katz, Jonathan L; Wang, Yun

    2016-02-01

    Repeated administration of methamphetamine (Meth) induces behavioral sensitization which is characterized by a progressive increase in locomotor response after each injection. Previous studies have shown that Mu opioid receptors (MORs) can regulate Meth-mediated behavioral sensitization. However, the reported interactions are controversial; systemic activation of MORs either enhanced or suppressed Meth sensitization. It is possible that alteration of Meth sensitization after systemic administration of MOR ligands reflects the sum of distinct MOR reactions in multiple brain regions. The purpose of the present study was to examine the actions of MORs on Meth sensitization after regionally selective overexpression of human MOR through an AAV6-based gene delivery system. We demonstrated that adeno-associated virus (AAV)-MOR increased MOR immunoreactivity and binding in vitro. AAV-MOR or AAV-green fluorescent protein (GFP) was injected into the nucleus accumbens (NAc) or ventral tegmental area (VTA) of adult mice. Two weeks after viral infection, animals received Meth or saline for five consecutive days. Locomotor behavior and striatal dopamine (DA) and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) level were determined. Repeated administration of Meth progressively increased locomotor activity; this sensitization reaction was attenuated by intra-NAc AAV-MOR microinjections. Infusion of AAV-MOR to VTA enhanced Meth sensitization. AAV-MOR significantly enhanced DA levels in VTA after VTA infection but reduced DOPAC/DA turnover in the NAc after NAc injection. Our data suggest a differential modulation of Meth sensitization by overexpression of MOR in NAc and VTA. Regional manipulation of MOR expression through AAV may be a novel approach to control Meth abuse and psychomimetic activity.

  10. Smoke Extracts and Nicotine, but not Tobacco Extracts, Potentiate Firing and Burst Activity of Ventral Tegmental Area Dopaminergic Neurons in Mice

    PubMed Central

    Marti, Fabio; Arib, Ouafa; Morel, Carole; Dufresne, Virginie; Maskos, Uwe; Corringer, Pierre-Jean; de Beaurepaire, Renaud; Faure, Philippe

    2011-01-01

    Nicotine prominently mediates the behavioral effects of tobacco consumption, either through smoking or when taking tobacco by snuff or chew. However, many studies question the exclusive role of nicotine in these effects. The use of preparations containing all the components of tobacco, such as tobacco and smoke extracts, may be more suitable than nicotine alone to investigate the behavioral effects of smoking and tobacco intake. In the present study, the electrophysiological effects of tobacco and smoke on ventral tegmental area dopaminergic (DA) neurons were examined in vivo in anesthetized wild-type (WT), β2-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) knockout (β2−/−), α4−/−, and α6−/− mice and compared with those of nicotine alone. In WT mice, smoke and nicotine had similar potentiating effects on DA cell activity, but the action of tobacco on neuronal firing was weak and often inhibitory. In particular, nicotine triggered strong bursting activity, whereas no bursting activity was observed after tobacco extract (ToE) administration. In β2−/− mice, nicotine or extract elicited no modification of the firing patterns of DA cells, indicating that extract acts predominantly through nAChRs. The differences between DA cell activation profiles induced by tobacco and nicotine alone observed in WT persisted in α6−/− mice but not in α4−/− mice. These results would suggest that tobacco has lower addiction-generating properties compared with either nicotine alone or smoke. The weak activation and prominent inhibition obtained with ToEs suggest that tobacco contains compounds that counteract some of the activating effects of nicotine and promote inhibition on DA cell acting through α4β2*-nAChRs. The nature of these compounds remains to be elucidated. It nevertheless confirms that nicotine is the main substance involved in the tobacco addiction-related activation of mesolimbic DA neurons. PMID:21716264

  11. The role of nucleus accumbens shell GABA receptors on ventral tegmental area intracranial self-stimulation and a potential role for the 5-HT(2C) receptor.

    PubMed

    Hayes, Dave J; Hoang, John; Greenshaw, Andrew J

    2011-12-01

    Brain γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)(2C) receptors are implicated in the neuronal regulation of reward- and aversion-related behaviour. Within the mesocorticolimbic pathways of the brain, relationships between GABA containing neurons and 5-HT(2C) receptor activity may be important in this context. The primary aim of this study was to investigate the role of NAc shell GABA receptors on ventral tegmental area intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) and to examine the systemic effects of GABAergic ligands in this context. The second aim was to investigate the relationship between GABA receptor- and 5-HT(2C) receptor-related ICSS behaviour, using systemic administration of the selective agonist WAY 161503. Locomotor activity was assessed to compare the potential motor effects of drugs; feeding behaviour and intra-NAc injections of amphetamine (1.0 µg/side) were used as positive controls. When administered systemically the GABA(A) receptor agonist muscimol and antagonist picrotoxin did not selectively change ICSS reward thresholds, although the 5-HT(2C) receptor agonist WAY 161503 (1.0 mg/kg) decreased reward measures. Intra-NAc shell administration of muscimol (225 ng/side) and picrotoxin (125 ng/side), respectively, decreased and increased measures of reward. Intra-NAc shell baclofen (0-225 ng/side; GABA(B) receptor agonist) did not affect any ICSS measures although it increased feeding. Combining picrotoxin and WAY 161503 attenuated the effects of each. These results suggest that a 5-HT(2C) and GABA(A) receptor-mediated neuronal relationship in the NAc shell may be relevant for the regulation of brain reward pathways.

  12. α6 subunit-containing nicotinic receptors mediate low-dose ethanol effects on ventral tegmental area neurons and ethanol reward.

    PubMed

    Steffensen, Scott C; Shin, Samuel I; Nelson, Ashley C; Pistorius, Stephanie S; Williams, Stephanie B; Woodward, Taylor J; Park, Hyun Jung; Friend, Lindsey; Gao, Ming; Gao, Fenfei; Taylor, Devin H; Foster Olive, M; Edwards, Jeffrey G; Sudweeks, Sterling N; Buhlman, Lori M; Michael McIntosh, J; Wu, Jie

    2017-09-13

    Dopamine (DA) neuron excitability is regulated by inhibitory GABAergic synaptic transmission and modulated by nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of α6 subunit-containing nAChRs (α6*-nAChRs) in acute ethanol effects on ventral tegmental area (VTA) GABA and DA neurons. α6*-nAChRs were visualized on GABA terminals on VTA GABA neurons, and α6*-nAChR transcripts were expressed in most DA neurons, but only a minority of VTA GABA neurons from GAD67 GFP mice. Low concentrations of ethanol (1-10 mM) enhanced GABAA receptor (GABAA R)-mediated spontaneous and evoked inhibition with blockade by selective α6*-nAChR antagonist α-conotoxins (α-Ctxs) and lowered sensitivity in α6 knock-out (KO) mice. Ethanol suppression of VTA GABA neuron firing rate in wild-type mice in vivo was significantly reduced in α6 KO mice. Ethanol (5-100 mM) had no effect on optically evoked GABAA R-mediated inhibition of DA neurons, and ethanol enhancement of VTA DA neuron firing rate at high concentrations was not affected by α-Ctxs. Ethanol conditioned place preference was reduced in α6 KO mice compared with wild-type controls. Taken together, these studies indicate that relatively low concentrations of ethanol act through α6*-nAChRs on GABA terminals to enhance GABA release onto VTA GABA neurons, in turn to reduce GABA neuron firing, which may lead to VTA DA neuron disinhibition, suggesting a possible mechanism of action of alcohol and nicotine co-abuse. © 2017 Society for the Study of Addiction.

  13. A Corticotropin Releasing Factor Pathway for Ethanol Regulation of the Ventral Tegmental Area in the Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis

    PubMed Central

    Silberman, Yuval; Matthews, Robert T.; Winder, Danny G.

    2013-01-01

    A growing literature suggests that catecholamines and corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) interact in a serial manner to activate the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) in order to drive stress- or cue-induced drug- and alcohol-seeking behaviors. Data suggests that these behaviors are driven in part by BNST projections to the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Together these findings suggest the existence of a CRF-signaling pathway within the BNST that is engaged by catecholamines and regulates the activity of BNST neurons projecting to the VTA. Here we test three aspects of this model: 1) whether catecholamines modify CRF neuron activity in the BNST, 2) whether CRF regulates excitatory drive onto VTA-projecting BNST neurons, and 3) whether this system is altered by ethanol exposure and withdrawal. A CRF neuron fluorescent reporter strategy was utilized to identify BNST CRF neurons for whole cell patch clamp analysis in acutely prepared slices. Using this approach, we found that both dopamine and isoproterenol significantly depolarized BNST CRF neurons. Furthermore, using a fluorescent microsphere based identification strategy; we found that CRF enhances the frequency of spontaneous EPSCs onto VTA-projecting BNST neurons in naïve mice. This action of CRF was occluded during acute withdrawal from chronic intermittent ethanol exposure. These findings suggest that dopamine and isoproterenol may enhance CRF release from local BNST sources, leading to enhancement of excitatory neurotransmission on VTA-projecting neurons, and that this pathway is engaged by patterns of alcohol exposure and withdrawal known to drive excessive alcohol intake. PMID:23325234

  14. Oxytocin receptors are expressed on dopamine and glutamate neurons in the mouse ventral tegmental area that project to nucleus accumbens and other mesolimbic targets.

    PubMed

    Peris, Joanna; MacFadyen, Kaley; Smith, Justin A; de Kloet, Annette D; Wang, Lei; Krause, Eric G

    2017-04-01

    The mesolimbic dopamine (DA) circuitry determines which behaviors are positively reinforcing and therefore should be encoded in the memory to become a part of the behavioral repertoire. Natural reinforcers, like food and sex, activate this pathway, thereby increasing the likelihood of further consummatory, social, and sexual behaviors. Oxytocin (OT) has been implicated in mediating natural reward and OT-synthesizing neurons project to the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and nucleus accumbens (NAc); however, direct neuroanatomical evidence of OT regulation of DA neurons within the VTA is sparse. To phenotype OT-receptor (OTR) expressing neurons originating within the VTA, we delivered Cre-inducible adeno-associated virus that drives the expression of fluorescent marker into the VTA of male mice that had Cre-recombinase driven by OTR gene expression. OTR-expressing VTA neurons project to NAc, prefrontal cortex, the extended amygdala, and other forebrain regions but less than 10% of these OTR-expressing neurons were identified as DA neurons (defined by tyrosine hydroxylase colocalization). Instead, almost 50% of OTR-expressing cells in the VTA were glutamate (GLU) neurons, as indicated by expression of mRNA for the vesicular GLU transporter (vGluT). About one-third of OTR-expressing VTA neurons did not colocalize with either DA or GLU phenotypic markers. Thus, OTR expression by VTA neurons implicates that OT regulation of reward circuitry is more complex than a direct action on DA neurotransmission. J. Comp. Neurol. 525:1094-1108, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  15. Emotional memory impairments induced by AAV-mediated overexpression of human α-synuclein in dopaminergic neurons of the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Alvarsson, A; Caudal, D; Björklund, A; Svenningsson, P

    2016-01-01

    Parkinson's disease (PD) is associated with extensive degeneration of dopaminergic neurons originating in the substantia nigra pars compacta, but neuronal loss is also found in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). The VTA projects to areas involved in cognitive and emotional processes, including hippocampus, amygdala, nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex, and has thus been proposed to play a role in emotional memory impairments in PD. Since the formation of α-synuclein inclusions throughout the central nervous system is a pathological hallmark of PD, we studied the progressive effects of α-synuclein overexpression in the VTA on motor functions, emotional behaviour and emotional memory. Adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors encoding either human α-synuclein or green fluorescent protein (GFP) were injected stereotactically into the VTA, and behaviour was monitored 3 and 8 weeks following AAV injection. At week 8, there was a 22% reduction of TH+ neurons in the VTA. We demonstrate that α-synuclein overexpression in dopaminergic neurons of the VTA induced mild motor deficits that appeared 3 weeks following AAV-α-synuclein injection and were aggravated at week 8. No depressive- or anxiety-like behaviours were found. To address emotional memory, we used the passive avoidance test, a one-trial associative learning paradigm based on contextual conditioning which requires minimal training. Interestingly, emotional memory impairments were found in α-synuclein overexpressing animals at week 8. These findings indicate that α-synuclein overexpression induces progressive memory impairments likely caused by a loss of function of mesolimbic dopaminergic projections. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  16. Social stress-escalated intermittent alcohol drinking: modulation by CRF-R1 in the ventral tegmental area and accumbal dopamine in mice

    PubMed Central

    Hwa, Lara S.; Holly, Elizabeth N.; DeBold, Joseph F.; Miczek, Klaus A.

    2015-01-01

    Rationale Excessive alcohol (EtOH) drinking is difficult to model in animals despite the extensive human literature demonstrating that stress increases EtOH consumption. Objective The current experiments show escalations in voluntary EtOH drinking caused by a history of social defeat stress and intermittent access to EtOH in C57BL/6J mice compared to non-stressed mice given intermittent EtOH or continuous EtOH. To explore a mechanistic link between stress and drinking, we studied the role of corticotropin-releasing factor type-1 receptors (CRF-R1) in the dopamine-rich ventral tegmental area (VTA). Results Intra-VTA infusions of a CRF-R1 antagonist, CP376395, infused into the VTA dose-dependently and selectively reduced intermittent EtOH intake in stressed and non-stressed mice, but not in mice given continuous EtOH. In contrast, intra-VTA infusions of the CRF-R2 antagonist astressin2B non-specifically suppressed both EtOH and H2O drinking in the stressed group without effects in the non-stressed mice. Using in vivo microdialysis in the nucleus accumbens shell (NAc), we observed that stressed mice drinking EtOH intermittently had elevated levels of tonic dopamine concentrations compared to non-stressed drinking mice. Also, VTA CP376395 potentiated dopamine output to the NAc only in the stressed group causing further elevations of dopamine post-infusion. Conclusions These findings illustrate a role for extrahypothalamic CRF-R1 as especially important for stress-escalated EtOH drinking beyond schedule-escalated EtOH drinking. CRF-R1 may be a mechanism for balancing the dysregulation of stress and reward in alcohol use disorders. PMID:26576941

  17. The Effects of Methylphenidate on Resting-State Functional Connectivity of the Basal Nucleus of Meynert, Locus Coeruleus, and Ventral Tegmental Area in Healthy Adults

    PubMed Central

    Kline, Ryan L.; Zhang, Sheng; Farr, Olivia M.; Hu, Sien; Zaborszky, Laszlo; Samanez-Larkin, Gregory R.; Li, Chiang-Shan R.

    2016-01-01

    Background: Methylphenidate (MPH) influences catecholaminergic signaling. Extant work examined the effects of MPH on the neural circuits of attention and cognitive control, but few studies have investigated the effect of MPH on the brain's resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC). Methods: In this observational study, we compared rsFC of a group of 24 healthy adults who were administered an oral 45 mg dose of MPH with a group of 24 age and gender matched controls who did not receive MPH. We focused on three seed regions: basal nucleus of Meynert (BNM), locus coeruleus (LC), and ventral tegmental area/substantia nigra, pars compacta (VTA/SNc), each providing cholinergic, noradrenergic and dopaminergic inputs to the cerebral cortex. Images were pre-processed and analyzed as in our recent work (Li et al., 2014; Zhang et al., 2015). We used one-sample t-test to characterize group-specific rsFC of each seed region and two-sample t-test to compare rsFC between groups. Results: MPH reversed negative connectivity between BNM and precentral gyri. MPH reduced positive connectivity between LC and cerebellum, and induced positive connectivity between LC and right hippocampus. MPH decreased positive VTA/SNc connectivity to the cerebellum and putamen, and reduced negative connectivity to left middle occipital gyrus. Conclusion: MPH had distinct effects on the rsFC of BNM, LC, and VTA/SNc in healthy adults. These new findings may further our understanding of the role of catecholaminergic signaling in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Parkinson's disease and provide insights into the therapeutic mechanisms of MPH in the treatment of clinical conditions that implicate catecholaminergic dysfunction. PMID:27148006

  18. GABA(B) receptor activation in the ventral tegmental area inhibits the acquisition and expression of opiate-induced motor sensitization.

    PubMed

    Leite-Morris, Kimberly A; Fukudome, Eugene Y; Shoeb, Marwa H; Kaplan, Gary B

    2004-02-01

    Opiate-induced motor sensitization refers to the progressive and enduring motor response that develops after intermittent drug administration, and results from neuroadaptive changes in ventral tegmental area (VTA) and nucleus accumbens (NAc) neurons. Repeated activation of mu-opioid receptors localized on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurons in the VTA enhances dopaminergic cell activity and stimulates dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens. We hypothesize that GABA(B) receptor agonist treatment in the VTA blocks morphine-induced motor stimulation, motor sensitization, and accumbal Fos immunoreactivity by inhibiting the activation of dopaminergic neurons. First, C57BL/6 mice were coadministered a single subcutaneous injection of morphine with intra-VTA baclofen, a GABA(B) receptor agonist. Baclofen produced a dose-dependent inhibition of opiate-induced motor stimulation that was attenuated by 2-hydroxysaclofen, a GABA(B) receptor antagonist. Next, morphine was administered on days 1, 3, 5, and 9 and mice demonstrated sensitization to its motor stimulant effects and concomitant induction of Fos immunoreactivity in the NAc shell (NAcS) but not NAc core. Intra-VTA baclofen administered during morphine pretreatment blocked the acquisition of morphine-induced motor sensitization and Fos activation in the NAcS. Intra-VTA baclofen administered only on day 9 blocked the expression of morphine-induced motor sensitization and Fos activation in the NAcS. A linear relationship was found between morphine-induced motor activity and accumbal Fos in single- and repeated-dose treatment groups. In conclusion, GABA(B) receptor stimulation in the VTA blocked opiate-induced motor stimulation and motor sensitization by inhibiting the activation of NAcS neurons. GABA(B) receptor agonists may be useful pharmacological treatments in altering the behavioral effects of opiates.

  19. Mu opioid receptor knockdown in the substantia nigra/ventral tegmental area by synthetic small interfering RNA blocks the rewarding and locomotor effects of heroin

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Yong; Landthaler, Markus; Schlussman, Stefan D.; Yuferov, Vadim; Ho, Ann; Tuschl, Thomas; Kreek, Mary Jeanne

    2014-01-01

    Mu opioid receptors (MOP-r) play an important role in the rewarding and locomotor stimulatory effects of heroin. The aim of the current study was to determine whether infusion of small interfering RNAs (siRNA) targeting MOP-r into the midbrain could knock down MOP-r mRNA and affect heroin-induced locomotor activity or heroin-induced conditioned place preference. Ten week old male C57BL/6J mice were surgically implanted bilaterally with guide cannulae directed between the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area. After 4 days recovery, mice were infused bilaterally with siRNAs that target the MOP-r (2mM × 0.75 μl/side/day for 3 days) or control siRNA. Seven days after the last infusion, a procedure for conditioned place preference was begun with four heroin (3mg/kg i.p.) administration sessions alternating with four saline sessions. While heroin induced an increase in locomotor activity in all groups, siRNAs targeting specific regions of MOP-r significantly attenuated this effect. Of particular interest, mice infused with specific siRNAs targeting the MOP-r failed to develop and express conditioned place preference to heroin, or showed a significantly attenuated preference. These alterations in reward related behaviors are likely due to the reduction in MOP-r mRNA and protein, shown in separate studies by in situ hybridization and autoradiography using the same MOP-r- siRNA infusions. Taken together, these studies demonstrate the utility of siRNA in the neurobiological study of specific components of the reward system and should contribute to the study of other complex behaviors. PMID:18938225

  20. Increased dopamine D2 receptor activity in the striatum alters the firing pattern of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area

    PubMed Central

    Krabbe, Sabine; Duda, Johanna; Schiemann, Julia; Poetschke, Christina; Schneider, Gaby; Kandel, Eric R.; Liss, Birgit; Roeper, Jochen; Simpson, Eleanor H.

    2015-01-01

    There is strong evidence that the core deficits of schizophrenia result from dysfunction of the dopamine (DA) system, but details of this dysfunction remain unclear. We previously reported a model of transgenic mice that selectively and reversibly overexpress DA D2 receptors (D2Rs) in the striatum (D2R-OE mice). D2R-OE mice display deficits in cognition and motivation that are strikingly similar to the deficits in cognition and motivation observed in patients with schizophrenia. Here, we show that in vivo, both the firing rate (tonic activity) and burst firing (phasic activity) of identified midbrain DA neurons are impaired in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), but not in the substantia nigra (SN), of D2R-OE mice. Normalizing striatal D2R activity by switching off the transgene in adulthood recovered the reduction in tonic activity of VTA DA neurons, which is concordant with the rescue in motivation that we previously reported in our model. On the other hand, the reduction in burst activity was not rescued, which may be reflected in the observed persistence of cognitive deficits in D2R-OE mice. We have identified a potential molecular mechanism for the altered activity of DA VTA neurons in D2R-OE mice: a reduction in the expression of distinct NMDA receptor subunits selectively in identified mesolimbic DA VTA, but not nigrostriatal DA SN, neurons. These results suggest that functional deficits relevant for schizophrenia symptoms may involve differential regulation of selective DA pathways. PMID:25675529

  1. A corticotropin releasing factor pathway for ethanol regulation of the ventral tegmental area in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis.

    PubMed

    Silberman, Yuval; Matthews, Robert T; Winder, Danny G

    2013-01-16

    A growing literature suggests that catecholamines and corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) interact in a serial manner to activate the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) to drive stress- or cue-induced drug- and alcohol-seeking behaviors. Data suggest that these behaviors are driven in part by BNST projections to the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Together, these findings suggest the existence of a CRF-signaling pathway within the BNST that is engaged by catecholamines and regulates the activity of BNST neurons projecting to the VTA. Here we test three aspects of this model to determine: (1) whether catecholamines modify CRF neuron activity in the BNST; (2) whether CRF regulates excitatory drive onto VTA-projecting BNST neurons; and (3) whether this system is altered by ethanol exposure and withdrawal. A CRF neuron fluorescent reporter strategy was used to identify BNST CRF neurons for whole-cell patch-clamp analysis in acutely prepared slices. Using this approach, we found that both dopamine and isoproterenol significantly depolarized BNST CRF neurons. Furthermore, using a fluorescent microsphere-based identification strategy we found that CRF enhances the frequency of spontaneous EPSCs onto VTA-projecting BNST neurons in naive mice. This action of CRF was occluded during acute withdrawal from chronic intermittent ethanol exposure. These findings suggest that dopamine and isoproterenol may enhance CRF release from local BNST sources, leading to enhancement of excitatory neurotransmission on VTA-projecting neurons, and that this pathway is engaged by patterns of alcohol exposure and withdrawal known to drive excessive alcohol intake.

  2. Identification of the sites of 2-arachidonoylglycerol synthesis and action imply retrograde endocannabinoid signaling at both GABAergic and glutamatergic synapses in the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Mátyás, Ferenc; Urbán, Gabriella M; Watanabe, Masahiko; Mackie, Ken; Zimmer, Andreas; Freund, Tamás F; Katona, István

    2008-01-01

    Intact endogenous cannabinoid signaling is involved in several aspects of drug addiction. Most importantly, endocannabinoids exert pronounced influence on primary rewarding effects of abused drugs, including exogenous cannabis itself, through the regulation of drug-induced increase in bursting activity of dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Previous electrophysiological studies have proposed that these dopaminergic neurons may release endocannabinoids in an activity-dependent manner to regulate their various synaptic inputs; however, the underlying molecular and anatomical substrates have so far been elusive. To facilitate understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms involving endocannabinoid signaling in drug addiction, we carried out detailed analysis of the molecular architecture of the endocannabinoid system in the VTA. In situ hybridization for sn-1-diacylglycerol lipase-alpha (DGL-alpha), the biosynthetic enzyme of the most abundant endocannabinoid, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), revealed that DGL-alpha was expressed at moderate to high levels by most neurons of the VTA. Immunostaining for DGL-alpha resulted in a widespread punctate pattern at the light microscopic level, whereas high-resolution electron microscopic analysis demonstrated that this pattern is due to accumulation of the enzyme adjacent to postsynaptic specializations of several distinct morphological types of glutamatergic and GABAergic synapses. These axon terminal types carried presynaptic CB(1) cannabinoid receptors on the opposite side of DGL-alpha-containing synapses and double immunostaining confirmed that DGL-alpha is present on the plasma membrane of both tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive (dopaminergic) and TH-negative dendrites. These findings indicate that retrograde synaptic signaling mediated by 2-AG via CB(1) may influence the drug-reward circuitry at multiple types of synapses in the VTA.

  3. Overexpression of the steroidogenic enzyme cytochrome P450 side chain cleavage in the ventral tegmental area increases 3α,5α-THP and reduces long-term operant ethanol self-administration.

    PubMed

    Cook, Jason B; Werner, David F; Maldonado-Devincci, Antoniette M; Leonard, Maggie N; Fisher, Kristen R; O'Buckley, Todd K; Porcu, Patrizia; McCown, Thomas J; Besheer, Joyce; Hodge, Clyde W; Morrow, A Leslie

    2014-04-23

    Neuroactive steroids are endogenous neuromodulators capable of altering neuronal activity and behavior. In rodents, systemic administration of endogenous or synthetic neuroactive steroids reduces ethanol self-administration. We hypothesized this effect arises from actions within mesolimbic brain regions that we targeted by viral gene delivery. Cytochrome P450 side chain cleavage (P450scc) converts cholesterol to pregnenolone, the rate-limiting enzymatic reaction in neurosteroidogenesis. Therefore, we constructed a recombinant adeno-associated serotype 2 viral vector (rAAV2), which drives P450scc expression and neuroactive steroid synthesis. The P450scc-expressing vector (rAAV2-P450scc) or control GFP-expressing vector (rAAV2-GFP) were injected bilaterally into the ventral tegmental area (VTA) or nucleus accumbens (NAc) of alcohol preferring (P) rats trained to self-administer ethanol. P450scc overexpression in the VTA significantly reduced ethanol self-administration by 20% over the 3 week test period. P450scc overexpression in the NAc, however, did not alter ethanol self-administration. Locomotor activity was unaltered by vector administration to either region. P450scc overexpression produced a 36% increase in (3α,5α)-3-hydroxypregnan-20-one (3α,5α-THP, allopregnanolone)-positive cells in the VTA, but did not increase 3α,5α-THP immunoreactivity in NAc. These results suggest that P450scc overexpression and the resultant increase of 3α,5α-THP-positive cells in the VTA reduces ethanol reinforcement. 3α,5α-THP is localized to neurons in the VTA, including tyrosine hydroxylase neurons, but not astrocytes. Overall, the results demonstrate that using gene delivery to modulate neuroactive steroids shows promise for examining the neuronal mechanisms of moderate ethanol drinking, which could be extended to other behavioral paradigms and neuropsychiatric pathology.

  4. Overexpression of the Steroidogenic Enzyme Cytochrome P450 Side Chain Cleavage in the Ventral Tegmental Area Increases 3α,5α-THP and Reduces Long-Term Operant Ethanol Self-Administration

    PubMed Central

    Cook, Jason B.; Werner, David F.; Maldonado-Devincci, Antoniette M.; Leonard, Maggie N.; Fisher, Kristen R.; O'Buckley, Todd K.; Porcu, Patrizia; McCown, Thomas J.; Besheer, Joyce; Hodge, Clyde W.

    2014-01-01

    Neuroactive steroids are endogenous neuromodulators capable of altering neuronal activity and behavior. In rodents, systemic administration of endogenous or synthetic neuroactive steroids reduces ethanol self-administration. We hypothesized this effect arises from actions within mesolimbic brain regions that we targeted by viral gene delivery. Cytochrome P450 side chain cleavage (P450scc) converts cholesterol to pregnenolone, the rate-limiting enzymatic reaction in neurosteroidogenesis. Therefore, we constructed a recombinant adeno-associated serotype 2 viral vector (rAAV2), which drives P450scc expression and neuroactive steroid synthesis. The P450scc-expressing vector (rAAV2-P450scc) or control GFP-expressing vector (rAAV2-GFP) were injected bilaterally into the ventral tegmental area (VTA) or nucleus accumbens (NAc) of alcohol preferring (P) rats trained to self-administer ethanol. P450scc overexpression in the VTA significantly reduced ethanol self-administration by 20% over the 3 week test period. P450scc overexpression in the NAc, however, did not alter ethanol self-administration. Locomotor activity was unaltered by vector administration to either region. P450scc overexpression produced a 36% increase in (3α,5α)-3-hydroxypregnan-20-one (3α,5α-THP, allopregnanolone)-positive cells in the VTA, but did not increase 3α,5α-THP immunoreactivity in NAc. These results suggest that P450scc overexpression and the resultant increase of 3α,5α-THP-positive cells in the VTA reduces ethanol reinforcement. 3α,5α-THP is localized to neurons in the VTA, including tyrosine hydroxylase neurons, but not astrocytes. Overall, the results demonstrate that using gene delivery to modulate neuroactive steroids shows promise for examining the neuronal mechanisms of moderate ethanol drinking, which could be extended to other behavioral paradigms and neuropsychiatric pathology. PMID:24760842

  5. Inflammatory Pain Promotes Increased Opioid Self-Administration: Role of Dysregulated Ventral Tegmental Area μ Opioid Receptors.

    PubMed

    Hipólito, Lucia; Wilson-Poe, Adrianne; Campos-Jurado, Yolanda; Zhong, Elaine; Gonzalez-Romero, Jose; Virag, Laszlo; Whittington, Robert; Comer, Sandra D; Carlton, Susan M; Walker, Brendan M; Bruchas, Michael R; Morón, Jose A

    2015-09-02

    Pain management in opioid abusers engenders ethical and practical difficulties for clinicians, often resulting in pain mismanagement. Although chronic opioid administration may alter pain states, the presence of pain itself may alter the propensity to self-administer opioids, and previous history of drug abuse comorbid with chronic pain promotes higher rates of opioid misuse. Here, we tested the hypothesis that inflammatory pain leads to increased heroin self-administration resulting from altered mu opioid receptor (MOR) regulation of mesolimbic dopamine (DA) transmission. To this end, the complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) model of inflammation was used to assess the neurochemical and functional changes induced by inflammatory pain on MOR-mediated mesolimbic DA transmission and on rat intravenous heroin self-administration under fixed ratio (FR) and progressive ratio (PR) schedules of reinforcement. In the presence of inflammatory pain, heroin intake under an FR schedule was increased for high, but attenuated for low, heroin doses with concomitant alterations in mesolimbic MOR function suggested by DA microdialysis. Consistent with the reduction in low dose FR heroin self-administration, inflammatory pain reduced motivation for a low dose of heroin, as measured by responding under a PR schedule of reinforcement, an effect dissociable from high heroin dose PR responding. Together, these results identify a connection between inflammatory pain and loss of MOR function in the mesolimbic dopaminergic pathway that increases intake of high doses of heroin. These findings suggest that pain-induced loss of MOR function in the mesolimbic pathway may promote opioid dose escalation and contribute to opioid abuse-associated phenotypes. This study provides critical new insights that show that inflammatory pain alters heroin intake through a desensitization of MORs located within the VTA. These findings expand our knowledge of the interactions between inflammatory pain and opioid

  6. DOPAMINE D2 AND ACETYLCHOLINE α7 NICOTINIC RECEPTORS HAVE SUBCELLULAR DISTRIBUTIONS FAVORING MEDIATION OF CONVERGENT SIGNALING IN THE MOUSE VENTRAL TEGMENTAL AREA

    PubMed Central

    GARZÓN, M.; DUFFY, A. M.; CHAN, J.; LYNCH, M.-K.; MACKIE, K.; PICKEL, V. M.

    2014-01-01

    Alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (α7nAChRs) mediate nicotine-induced burst-firing of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a limbic brain region critically involved in reward and in dopamine D2 receptor (D2R)-related cortical dysfunctions associated with psychosis. The known presence of α7nAChRs and Gi-coupled D2Rs in dopamine neurons of the VTA suggests that these receptors are targeted to at least some of the same neurons in this brain region. To test this hypothesis, we used electron microscopic immunolabeling of antisera against peptide sequences of α7nACh and D2 receptors in the mouse VTA. Dual D2R and α7nAChR labeling was seen in many of the same somata (co-localization over 97%) and dendrites (co-localization over 49%), where immunoreactivity for each of the receptors was localized to endomembranes as well as to non-synaptic or synaptic plasma membranes often near excitatory-type synapses. In comparison with somata and dendrites, many more small axons and axon terminals were separately labeled for each of the receptors. Thus, single-labeled axon terminals were predominant for both α7nAChR (57.9%) and D2R (89.0%). The majority of the immunolabeled axonal profiles contained D2R-immunoreactivity (81.6%) and formed either symmetric or asymmetric synapses consistent with involvement in the release of both inhibitory and excitatory transmitters. Of 160 D2R-labeled terminals, 81.2% were presynaptic to dendrites that expressed α7nAChR alone or together with the D2R. Numerous glial processes inclusive of those enveloping either excitatory- or inhibitory-type synapses also contained single labeling for D2R (n = 152) and α7nAChR (n =561). These results suggest that classic antipsychotic drugs, all of which block the D2R, may facilitate α7nAChR-mediated burst-firing by elimination of D2R-dependent inhibition in neurons expressing both receptors as well as by indirect pre-synaptic and glial mechanisms. PMID:23954803

  7. Dopamine D₂ and acetylcholine α7 nicotinic receptors have subcellular distributions favoring mediation of convergent signaling in the mouse ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Garzón, M; Duffy, A M; Chan, J; Lynch, M-K; Mackie, K; Pickel, V M

    2013-11-12

    Alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (α7nAChRs) mediate nicotine-induced burst-firing of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a limbic brain region critically involved in reward and in dopamine D2 receptor (D2R)-related cortical dysfunctions associated with psychosis. The known presence of α7nAChRs and Gi-coupled D2Rs in dopamine neurons of the VTA suggests that these receptors are targeted to at least some of the same neurons in this brain region. To test this hypothesis, we used electron microscopic immunolabeling of antisera against peptide sequences of α7nACh and D2 receptors in the mouse VTA. Dual D2R and α7nAChR labeling was seen in many of the same somata (co-localization over 97%) and dendrites (co-localization over 49%), where immunoreactivity for each of the receptors was localized to endomembranes as well as to non-synaptic or synaptic plasma membranes often near excitatory-type synapses. In comparison with somata and dendrites, many more small axons and axon terminals were separately labeled for each of the receptors. Thus, single-labeled axon terminals were predominant for both α7nAChR (57.9%) and D2R (89.0%). The majority of the immunolabeled axonal profiles contained D2R-immunoreactivity (81.6%) and formed either symmetric or asymmetric synapses consistent with involvement in the release of both inhibitory and excitatory transmitters. Of 160 D2R-labeled terminals, 81.2% were presynaptic to dendrites that expressed α7nAChR alone or together with the D2R. Numerous glial processes inclusive of those enveloping either excitatory- or inhibitory-type synapses also contained single labeling for D2R (n=152) and α7nAChR (n=561). These results suggest that classic antipsychotic drugs, all of which block the D2R, may facilitate α7nAChR-mediated burst-firing by elimination of D2R-dependent inhibition in neurons expressing both receptors as well as by indirect pre-synaptic and glial mechanisms. Copyright © 2013 IBRO. Published by

  8. REM sleep diversity following the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus lesion in rat.

    PubMed

    Petrovic, Jelena; Lazic, Katarina; Kalauzi, Aleksandar; Saponjic, Jasna

    2014-09-01

    The aim of this study was to demonstrate that two REM clusters, which emerge following bilateral pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPT) lesions in rats, are two functionally distinct REM states. We performed the experiments in Wistar rats, chronically instrumented for sleep recording. Bilateral PPT lesions were produced by the microinfusion of 100 nl of 0.1M ibotenic acid (IBO). Following a recovery period of 2 weeks, we recorded their sleep for 6h. Bilateral PPT lesions were identified by NADPH - diaphorase histochemistry. We applied Fourier analysis to the signals acquired throughout the 6h recordings, and each 10s epoch was differentiated as a Wake, NREM or REM state. We analyzed the topography of the sleep/wake states architecture and their transition structure, their all state-related EEG microstructures, and the sensorimotor (SMCx) and motor (MCx) cortex REM related cortico-muscular coherences (CMCs). Bilateral PPT lesion in rats increased the likelihood of the emergence of two distinct REM sleep states, specifically expressed within the MCx: REM1 and REM2. Bilateral PPT lesion did not change the sleep/wake states architecture of the SMCx, but pathologically increased the duration of REM1 within the MCx, alongside increasing Wake/REM1/Wake and NREM/REM2/NREM transitions within both cortices. In addition, the augmented total REM SMCx EEG beta amplitude and REM1 MCx EEG theta amplitude was the underlying EEG microstructure pathology. PPT lesion induced REM1 and REM2 are differential states with regard to total EMG power, topographically distinct EEG microstructures, and locomotor drives to nuchal musculature.

  9. Acoustic hypersensitivity in adult rats after neonatal ventral hippocampus lesions.

    PubMed

    Macedo, Carlos Eduardo; Angst, Marie-Josée; Guiberteau, Thierry; Brasse, David; O'Brien, Terence John; Sandner, Guy

    2010-02-11

    Rats with a bilateral neonatal ventral hippocampus lesion (NVHL) are used as models of neurobiological aspects of schizophrenia. In view of their decreased number of GABAergic interneurons, we hypothesized that they would show increased reactivity to acoustic stimuli. We systematically characterized the acoustic reactivity of NVHL rats and sham operated controls. They were behaviourally observed during a loud white noise. A first cohort of 7 months' old rats was studied. Then the observations were reproduced in a second cohort of the same age after characterizing the reactivity of the same rats to dopaminergic drugs. A third cohort of rats was studied at 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 months. In subsets of lesioned and control rats, inferior colliculus auditory evoked potentials were recorded. A significant proportion of rats (50-62%) showed aberrant audiogenic responses with explosive wild running resembling the initial phase of audiogenic seizures. This was not correlated with their well-known enhanced reactivity to dopaminergic drugs. The proportion of rats showing this strong reaction increased with rats' age. After the cessation of the noise, NVHL rats showed a long freezing period that did neither depend on the size of the lesion nor on the rats' age. The initial negative deflection of the auditory evoked potential was enhanced in the inferior colliculus of only NVHL rats that displayed wild running. Complementary anatomical investigations using X-ray scans in the living animal, and alizarin red staining of brain slices, revealed a thin layer of calcium deposit close to the medial geniculate nuclei in post-NVHL rats, raising the possibility that this may contribute to the hyper-reactivity to sounds seen in these animals. The findings of this study provide complementary information with potential relevance for the hyper-reactivity noted in patients with schizophrenia, and therefore a tool to investigate the underlying biology of this endophenotype.

  10. Expression of Trefoil Factor 1 in the Developing and Adult Rat Ventral Mesencephalon

    PubMed Central

    Jensen, Pia; Heimberg, Michel; Ducray, Angelique D.; Widmer, Hans R.; Meyer, Morten

    2013-01-01

    Trefoil factor 1 (TFF1) belongs to a family of secreted peptides with a characteristic tree-looped trefoil structure. TFFs are mainly expressed in the gastrointestinal tract where they play a critical role in the function of the mucosal barrier. TFF1 has been suggested as a neuropeptide, but not much is known about its expression and function in the central nervous system. We investigated the expression of TFF1 in the developing and adult rat midbrain. In the adult ventral mesencephalon, TFF1-immunoreactive (-ir) cells were predominantly found in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc), the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and in periaqueductal areas. While around 90% of the TFF1-ir cells in the SNc co-expressed tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), only a subpopulation of the TH-ir neurons expressed TFF1. Some TFF1-ir cells in the SNc co-expressed the calcium-binding proteins calbindin or calretinin and nearly all were NeuN-ir confirming a neuronal phenotype, which was supported by lack of co-localization with the astroglial marker glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). Interestingly, at postnatal (P) day 7 and P14, a significantly higher proportion of TH-ir neurons in the SNc co-expressed TFF1 as compared to P21. In contrast, the proportion of TFF1-ir cells expressing TH remained unchanged during postnatal development. Furthermore, significantly more TH-ir neurons expressed TFF1 in the SNc, compared to the VTA at all four time-points investigated. Injection of the tracer fluorogold into the striatum of adult rats resulted in retrograde labeling of several TFF1 expressing cells in the SNc showing that a significant fraction of the TFF1-ir cells were projection neurons. This was also reflected by unilateral loss of TFF1-ir cells in SNc of 6-hydroxylase-lesioned hemiparkinsonian rats. In conclusion, we show for the first time that distinct subpopulations of midbrain dopaminergic neurons express TFF1, and that this expression pattern is altered in a rat model of Parkinson

  11. DECREASED EXPRESSION OF ErbB4 AND TYROSINE HYDROXYLASE mRNA AND PROTEIN IN THE VENTRAL MIDBRAIN OF AGED RATS

    PubMed Central

    DICKERSON, J. W.; HEMMERLE, A. M.; NUMAN, S.; LUNDGREN, K. H.; SEROOGY, K. B.

    2009-01-01

    Decreased availability or efficacy of neurotrophic factors may underlie an increased susceptibility of mesencephalic dopaminergic cells to age-related degeneration. Neuregulins (NRGs) are pleotrophic growth factors for many cell types including mesencephalic dopamine cells in culture and in vivo. The functional NRG receptor ErbB4 is expressed by virtually all midbrain dopamine neurons. To determine if levels of the NRG receptor are maintained during aging in the dopaminergic ventral mesencephalon, expression of ErbB4 mRNA and protein was examined in young (3 months), middle-aged (18 months), and old (24–25 months) Brown Norway/Fischer 344 F1 rats. ErbB4 mRNA levels in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc), but not the adjacent ventral tegmental area (VTA) or subtantia nigra pars lateralis (SNl), were significantly reduced in the middle-aged and old animals when compared to young rats. Protein expression of ErbB4 in the ventral midbrain was significantly decreased in the old rats when compared to the young rats. Expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) mRNA levels were significantly reduced in the old rats when compared to young animals in the SNpc, but not in the VTA or SNl. Tyrosine hydroxylase protein levels in the ventral midbrain were also decreased in the old animals when compared to the young animals. These data demonstrate a progressive decline of ErbB4 expression, coinciding with a loss of the dopamine-synthesizing enzyme TH, in the ventral midbrain of aged rats, particularly in the SNpc. These findings may implicate a role for diminished NRG/ErbB4 trophic support in dopamine-related neurodegenerative disorders of aging such as Parkinson’s disease. PMID:19505538

  12. Cholinergic and non-cholinergic mesopontine tegmental neurons projecting to the subthalamic nucleus in the rat

    PubMed Central

    Kita, Takako; Kita, Hitoshi

    2010-01-01

    The subthalamic nucleus (STN) receives cholinergic and non-cholinergic projections from the mesopontine tegmentum. This study investigated the numbers and distributions of neurons involved in these projections in rats using Fluorogold (FG) retrograde tracing combined with immunostaining of choline acetyltransferase and a neuron-specific nuclear protein. The results suggest that a small population of cholinergic neurons mainly in the caudoventral part of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPN), approximately 360 neurons (≈10% of total) in the homolateral and 80 neurons (≈2%) in the contralateral PPN, projects to the STN. In contrast, the number of non-cholinergic neurons projecting to the STN was estimated to be 9 times as much, with approximately 3300 in the homolateral side and 1300 neurons in the contralateral side. A large gathering of the FG-labeled non-cholinergic neurons was found rostrodorsomedial to the caudolateral PPN. The biotinylated dextran amine (BDA) anterograde tracing method was used to substantiate the mesopontine-STN projections. Injection of BDA into the caudoventral PPN labeled numerous thin fibers with small en-passant varicosities in the STN. Injection of BDA into the non-cholinergic neuron-rich area labeled a moderate number of thicker fibers with patches of aggregates of larger boutons. The densities of labeled fibers and the number of retrogradely labeled cells in the mesopontine tegmentum suggested that the terminal field formed in the STN by each cholinergic neuron is more extensive than that by each non-cholinergic neuron. The findings suggest that cholinergic and non-cholinergic mesopontine afferents may carry different information to the STN. PMID:21198985

  13. Calcium-binding protein immunoreactivity in Gudden’s tegmental nuclei and the hippocampal formation: differential co-localization in neurons projecting to the mammillary bodies

    PubMed Central

    Dillingham, Christopher M.; Holmes, Joshua D.; Wright, Nicholas F.; Erichsen, Jonathan T.; Aggleton, John P.; Vann, Seralynne D.

    2015-01-01

    The principal projections to the mammillary bodies arise from just two sites, Gudden’s tegmental nuclei (dorsal and ventral nuclei) and the hippocampal formation (subiculum and pre/postsubiculum). The present study sought to compare the neurochemical properties of these mammillary body inputs in the rat, with a focus on calcium-binding proteins. Neuronal calretinin (CR) immunoreactivity was sparse in Gudden’s tegmental nuclei and showed no co-localization with neurons projecting to the mammillary bodies. In contrast, many of the ventral tegmental nucleus of Gudden cell that project to the mammillary bodies were parvalbumin (PV)-positive whereas a smaller number of mammillary inputs stained for calbindin (CB). Only a few mammillary body projection cells in the dorsal tegmental nucleus of Gudden co-localized with PV and none co-localized with CB. A very different pattern was found in the hippocampal formation. Here, a large proportion of postsubiculum cells that project to the mammillary bodies co-localized with CR, but not CB or PV. While many neurons in the dorsal and ventral subiculum projected to the mammillary bodies, these cells did not co-localize with the immunofluorescence of any of the three tested proteins. These findings highlight marked differences between hippocampal and tegmental inputs to the rat mammillary bodies as well as differences between the medial and lateral mammillary systems. These findings also indicate some conserved neurochemical properties in Gudden’s tegmental nuclei across rodents and primates. PMID:26300741

  14. Inhibitory control deficits in rats with ventral hippocampal lesions.

    PubMed

    Abela, Andrew R; Dougherty, Stephen D; Fagen, Erin D; Hill, Carolyn J R; Chudasama, Y

    2013-06-01

    Two experiments are reported in which rats with selective hippocampal lesions were tested on 2 prefrontal-dependent tasks. In Experiment 1, we compared the effects of lesions of the ventral hippocampus (vHC), dorsal hippocampus (dHC), and sham control surgery on the 5-choice reaction time task. Whereas rats with lesions of the dHC were indistinguishable from sham controls, those with vHC lesions showed increased premature responses and reduced accuracy throughout the experiment. The subsequent administration of systemic escitalopram (5 mg/kg), a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, reduced the number of premature responses in the vHC animals to control levels. In contrast, systemic injections of GBR 12909, a dopamine reuptake inhibitor, failed to ameliorate the impulsive deficit in the vHC group and, in addition, elevated perseverative responding in the vHC group only. In Experiment 2, we tested a separate group of rats with vHC lesions on a touchscreen visual discrimination and reversal learning task. Rats with vHC lesions acquired the visual discrimination as well as sham controls and showed normal inhibitory control of a previously reinforced response during reversal learning. These data support a role for the vHC in inhibitory control functions, especially in the inhibitory control of impulsive actions.

  15. A systematic investigation of the differential roles for ventral tegmentum serotonin 1- and 2-type receptors on food intake in the rat.

    PubMed

    Pratt, Wayne E; Clissold, Kara A; Lin, Peagan; Cain, Amanda E; Ciesinski, Alexa F; Hopkins, Thomas R; Ilesanmi, Adeolu O; Kelly, Erin A; Pierce-Messick, Zachary; Powell, Daniel S; Rosner, Ian A

    2016-10-01

    Central serotonin (5-HT) pathways are known to influence feeding and other ingestive behaviors. Although the ventral tegmentum is important for promoting the seeking and consumption of food and drugs of abuse, the roles of 5-HT receptor subtypes in this region on food intake have yet to be comprehensively examined. In these experiments, food restricted rats were given 2-h access to rat chow; separate groups of non-restricted animals had similar access to a sweetened fat diet. Feeding and locomotor activity were monitored following ventral tegmentum stimulation or blockade of 5-HT1A, 5-HT1B, 5-HT2A, 5-HT2B, or 5-HT2C receptors. 5-HT1A receptor stimulation transiently inhibited rearing behavior and chow intake in food-restricted rats, and had a biphasic effect on non-restricted rats offered the palatable diet. 5-HT1B receptor agonism transiently inhibited feeding in restricted animals, but did not affect intake of non-restricted rats. In contrast, 5-HT1B receptor antagonism decreased palatable feeding. Although stimulation of ventral tegmental 5-HT2B receptors with BW723C86 did not affect hunger-driven food intake, it significantly affected palatable feeding, with a trend for an increasing intake at 2.0µg/side but not at 5.0µg/side. Antagonism of the same receptor modestly but significantly inhibited feeding of the palatable diet at 5.0µg/side ketanserin. Neither stimulation nor blockade of 5-HT2A or 5-HT2C receptors caused prolonged effects on intake or locomotion. These data suggest that serotonin's effects on feeding within the ventral tegmentum depend upon the specific receptor targeted, as well as whether intake is motivated by food restriction or the palatable nature of the offered diet.

  16. Transplantation site influences the phenotypic differentiation of dopamine neurons in ventral mesencephalic grafts in Parkinsonian rats.

    PubMed

    Fjodorova, Marija; Torres, Eduardo M; Dunnett, Stephen B

    2017-05-01

    Foetal midbrain progenitors have been shown to survive, give rise to different classes of dopamine neurons and integrate into the host brain alleviating Parkinsonian symptoms following transplantation in patients and animal models of the disease. Dopamine neuron subpopulations in the midbrain, namely A9 and A10, can be identified anatomically based on cell morphology and ascending axonal projections. G protein-gated inwardly rectifying potassium channel Girk2 and the calcium binding protein Calbindin are the two best available histochemical markers currently used to label (with some overlap) A9- and A10-like dopamine neuron subtypes, respectively, in tyrosine hydroxylase expressing neurons both in the midbrain and grafts. Both classes of dopamine neurons survive in grafts in the striatum and extend axonal projections to their normal dorsal and ventral striatal targets depending on phenotype. Nevertheless, grafts transplanted into the dorsal striatum, which is an A9 input nucleus, are enriched for dopamine neurons that express Girk2. It remains to be elucidated whether different transplantation sites favour the differential survival and/or development of concordant dopamine neuron subtypes within the grafts. Here we used rat foetal midbrain progenitors at two developmental stages corresponding to a peak in either A9 or A10 neurogenesis and examined their commitment to respective dopaminergic phenotypes by grafting cells into different forebrain regions that contain targets of either nigral A9 dopamine innervation (dorsal striatum), ventral tegmental area A10 dopamine innervation (nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex), or only sparse dopamine but rich noradrenaline innervation (hippocampus). We demonstrate that young (embryonic day, E12), but not older (E14), mesencephalic tissue and the transplant environment influence survival and functional integration of specific subtypes of dopamine neurons into the host brain. We also show that irrespective of donor age A9

  17. Lateral habenula and the rostromedial tegmental nucleus innervate neurochemically distinct subdivisions of the dorsal raphe nucleus in the rat.

    PubMed

    Sego, Chemutai; Gonçalves, Luciano; Lima, Leandro; Furigo, Isadora C; Donato, Jose; Metzger, Martin

    2014-05-01

    The lateral habenula (LHb) is an epithalamic structure differentiated in a medial (LHbM) and a lateral division (LHbL). Together with the rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg), the LHb has been implicated in the processing of aversive stimuli and inhibitory control of monoamine nuclei. The inhibitory LHb influence on midbrain dopamine neurons has been shown to be mainly mediated by the RMTg, a mostly GABAergic nucleus that receives a dominant input from the LHbL. Interestingly, the RMTg also projects to the dorsal raphe nucleus (DR), which also receives direct LHb projections. To compare the organization and transmitter phenotype of LHb projections to the DR, direct and indirect via the RMTg, we first placed injections of the anterograde tracer Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin into the LHb or the RMTg. We then confirmed our findings by retrograde tracing and investigated a possible GABAergic phenotype of DR-projecting RMTg neurons by combining retrograde tracing with in situ hybridization for GAD67. We found only moderate direct LHb projections to the DR, which mainly emerged from the LHbM and were predominantly directed to the serotonin-rich caudal DR. In contrast, RMTg projections to the DR were more robust, emerged from RMTg neurons enriched in GAD67 mRNA, and were focally directed to a distinctive DR subdivision immunohistochemically characterized as poor in serotonin and enriched in presumptive glutamatergic neurons. Thus, besides its well-acknowledged role as a GABAergic control center for the ventral tegmental area (VTA)-nigra complex, our findings indicate that the RMTg is also a major GABAergic relay between the LHb and the DR.

  18. Interleukin-1 Inhibits Putative Cholinergic Neurons in Vitro and REM Sleep when Microinjected into the Rat Laterodorsal Tegmental Nucleus

    PubMed Central

    Brambilla, Dario; Barajon, Isabella; Bianchi, Susanna; Opp, Mark R.; Imeri, Luca

    2010-01-01

    Study Objectives: REM sleep is suppressed during infection, an effect mimicked by the administration of cytokines such as interleukin-1 (IL-1). In spite of this observation, brain sites and neurochemical systems mediating IL-1-induced suppression of REM sleep have not been identified. Cholinergic neurons in the brainstem laterodorsal tegmental nucleus (LDT) are part of the neuronal circuitry responsible for REM sleep generation. Since IL-1 inhibits acetylcholine synthesis and release, the aim of this study was to test the two different, but related hypotheses. We hypothesized that IL-1 inhibits LDT cholinergic neurons, and that, as a result of this inhibition, IL-1 suppresses REM sleep. Design, Measurement, and Results: To test these hypotheses, the electrophysiological activity of putative cholinergic LDT neurons was recorded in a rat brainstem slice preparation. Interleukin-1 significantly inhibited the firing rate of 76% of recorded putative cholinergic LDT neurons and reduced the amplitude of glutamatergic evoked potentials in 60% of recorded neurons. When IL-1 (1 ng) was microinjected into the LDT of freely behaving rats, REM sleep was reduced by about 50% (from 12.7% ± 1.5% of recording time [after vehicle] to 6.1% ± 1.4% following IL-1 administration) during post-injection hours 3-4. Conclusions: Results of this study support the hypothesis that IL-1 can suppress REM sleep by acting at the level of the LDT nucleus. Furthermore this effect may result from the inhibition of evoked glutamatergic responses and of spontaneous firing of putative cholinergic LDT neurons. Citation: Brambilla D; Barajon I; Bianchi S; Opp MR; Imeri L. Interleukin-1 inhibits putative cholinergic neurons in vitro and REM sleep when microinjected into the rat laterodorsal tegmental nucleus. SLEEP 2010;33(7):919-929. PMID:20614852

  19. Protein Kinase A in the Pedunculopontine Tegmental Nucleus of Rat Contributes to Regulation of Rapid Eye Movement Sleep

    PubMed Central

    Datta, Subimal; Desarnaud, Frank

    2012-01-01

    Intracellular signaling mechanisms within the pedunculopontine tegmental (PPT) nucleus for the regulation of recovery rapid eye movement (REM) sleep following REM sleep deprivation remain unknown. This study was designed to determine the role of PPT intracellular cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (cAMP-PKA) in the regulation of recovery REM sleep in freely moving rats. The results show that a brief period (3 h) of selective REM sleep deprivation caused REM sleep rebound associated with increased PKA activity and expression of the PKA catalytic subunit protein (PKA-CU) in the PPT. Local application of a cAMP-PKA-activation-selective inhibitor, RpCAMPS (0.55, 1.1, and 2.2 nmol/100 µl; n = 8 rats/group), bilaterally into the PPT, reduced PKA activity and PKA-CU expression in the PPT, and suppressed the recovery REM sleep, in a dose-dependent manner. Regression analyses revealed significant positive relationships between: PPT levels of PKA activity and the total percentages of REM sleep recovery (Rsqr = 0.944; n = 40 rats); PPT levels of PKA-CU expression and the total percentages of REM sleep recovery (Rsqr = 0.937; n = 40 rats); PPT levels of PKA-CU expression and PKA activity (Rsqr = 0.945; n = 40 rats). Collectively, these results provide evidence that activation of intracellular PKA in the PPT contributes to REM sleep recovery following REM sleep deprivation. PMID:20844122

  20. Respiratory control by ventral surface chemoreceptor neurons in rats.

    PubMed

    Mulkey, Daniel K; Stornetta, Ruth L; Weston, Matthew C; Simmons, Johnny R; Parker, Anson; Bayliss, Douglas A; Guyenet, Patrice G

    2004-12-01

    A long-standing theory posits that central chemoreception, the CNS mechanism for CO(2) detection and regulation of breathing, involves neurons located at the ventral surface of the medulla oblongata (VMS). Using in vivo and in vitro electrophysiological recordings, we identify VMS neurons within the rat retrotrapezoid nucleus (RTN) that have characteristics befitting these elusive chemoreceptors. These glutamatergic neurons are vigorously activated by CO(2) in vivo, whereas serotonergic neurons are not. Their CO(2) sensitivity is unaffected by pharmacological blockade of the respiratory pattern generator and persists without carotid body input. RTN CO(2)-sensitive neurons have extensive dendrites along the VMS and they innervate key pontomedullary respiratory centers. In brainstem slices, a subset of RTN neurons with markedly similar morphology is robustly activated by acidification and CO(2). Their pH sensitivity is intrinsic and involves a background K(+) current. In short, the CO(2)-sensitive neurons of the RTN are good candidates for the long sought-after VMS chemoreceptors.

  1. Calcitonin releases acid phosphatase from rat ventral prostate explants.

    PubMed

    Latif, A; Nakhla, A M

    1994-01-01

    Inclusion of salmon calcitonin in the culture medium of rat ventral prostate explants diminished l-tartarate-sensitive acid phosphatase activity in the tissues with a concomitant increment of the enzyme activity in the medium. The effect of the hormone was dose-dependent for a dose range of 10(-12)-10(-6) M. Acid phosphatase activity in prostate explants decreased from 38.6 +/- 3.5 to 20.5 +/- 2.8, whereas it increased from 0.60 +/- 0.15 to 2.80 +/- 0.40 nmol p-nitrophenol liberated/mg protein/30 min in the culture medium. Tissues exposed to 10(-6) M salmon calcitonin had higher acetylcholinesterase activity (8.8 +/- 0.7) than non-exposed ones (6.2 +/- 0.5 mumol substrate hydrolyzed/g tissue/min). These results suggest that locally produced calcitonin causes a release for prostatic acid phosphatase from prostate tissues possibly through its interaction with the cholinergic system.

  2. A bushy cell network in the rat ventral cochlear nucleus

    PubMed Central

    Gomez-Nieto, Ricardo; Rubio, Maria E.

    2010-01-01

    Geometry of the dendritic tree and synaptic organization of afferent inputs are essential factors in determining how synaptic input is integrated by neurons. This information remains elusive for one of the first brainstem neurons involved in processing of the primary auditory signal from the ear, the bushy cells (BCs) of the ventral cochlear nucleus (VCN). Here, we labeled the BC dendritic trees with retrograde tracing techniques to analyze their geometry and synaptic organization after immunofluorescence for excitatory and inhibitory synaptic markers, electron microscopy, morphometry, double tract-tracing methods, and 3-D reconstructions. Our study revealed that BC dendrites provide space for a large number of compartmentalized excitatory and inhibitory synaptic interactions. The dendritic inputs on BCs are of cochlear and non-cochlear origin, and their proportion and distribution are dependent on the branching pattern and orientation of the dendritic tree in the VCN. Three-dimensional reconstructions showed that BC dendrites branch and cluster with those of other BCs in the core of the VCN. Within the cluster, incoming synaptic inputs establish divergent multiple-contact synapses (dyads and triads) between BCs. Furthermore, neuron-neuron connections including puncta adherentia, sarcoplasmic junctions and gap junctions are common between BCs, which suggests that these neurons are electrically coupled. Together, our study demonstrates the existence of a BC network in the rat VCN. This network may establish the neuroanatomical basis for acoustic information processing by individual BCs, as well as for enhanced synchronization of the output signal of the VCN. PMID:19634178

  3. Anticipatory reward signals in ventral striatal neurons of behaving rats.

    PubMed

    Khamassi, Mehdi; Mulder, Antonius B; Tabuchi, Eiichi; Douchamps, Vincent; Wiener, Sidney I

    2008-11-01

    It has been proposed that the striatum plays a crucial role in learning to select appropriate actions, optimizing rewards according to the principles of 'Actor-Critic' models of trial-and-error learning. The ventral striatum (VS), as Critic, would employ a temporal difference (TD) learning algorithm to predict rewards and drive dopaminergic neurons. This study examined this model's adequacy for VS responses to multiple rewards in rats. The respective arms of a plus-maze provided rewards of varying magnitudes; multiple rewards were provided at 1-s intervals while the rat stood still. Neurons discharged phasically prior to each reward, during both initial approach and immobile waiting, demonstrating that this signal is predictive and not simply motor-related. In different neurons, responses could be greater for early, middle or late droplets in the sequence. Strikingly, this activity often reappeared after the final reward, as if in anticipation of yet another. In contrast, previous TD learning models show decremental reward-prediction profiles during reward consumption due to a temporal-order signal introduced to reproduce accurate timing in dopaminergic reward-prediction error signals. To resolve this inconsistency in a biologically plausible manner, we adapted the TD learning model such that input information is nonhomogeneously distributed among different neurons. By suppressing reward temporal-order signals and varying richness of spatial and visual input information, the model reproduced the experimental data. This validates the feasibility of a TD-learning architecture where different groups of neurons participate in solving the task based on varied input information.

  4. Identification of an excitatory amino acid-mediated component of the ventral tegmental area local field potential response to medial prefrontal cortex stimulation: effect of acute d-amphetamine.

    PubMed

    Dommett, E J; Simpson, J; Clark, D; Overton, P G

    2007-02-01

    The induction of sensitisation to the behavioural effects of d-amphetamine - a model of drug addiction - involves the potentiation of exctiatory amino acid (EAA)-ergic synapses on dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Such potentiation has been reported as early as 2 hr post-injection, however earlier time points have not been assessed. Consequently, we examined the effects of systemic d-amphetamine on an EAA-mediated component of the VTA local field potential response to stimulation of the medial prefrontal cortex, an EAAergic afferent critical for sensitisation, over the immediate 2 hr post-injection period. D-amphetamine and saline both depressed the amplitude of this component to a similar extent throughout the recording session. It is concluded that overt aspects of EAA-mediated potentiation appear to be delayed with respect to drug administration, which may have implications for sensitisation's putative role in linking drug-related environmental stimuli and the central effects of the drug.

  5. Ventral tegmental area/substantia nigra and prefrontal cortex rodent organotypic brain slices as an integrated model to study the cellular changes induced by oxygen/glucose deprivation and reperfusion: effect of neuroprotective agents.

    PubMed

    Colombo, Laura; Parravicini, Chiara; Lecca, Davide; Dossi, Elena; Heine, Claudia; Cimino, Mauro; Wanke, Enzo; Illes, Peter; Franke, Heike; Abbracchio, Maria P

    2014-01-01

    Unveiling the roles of distinct cell types in brain response to insults is a partially unsolved challenge and a key issue for new neuroreparative approaches. In vivo models are not able to dissect the contribution of residential microglia and infiltrating blood-borne monocytes/macrophages, which are fundamentally undistinguishable; conversely, cultured cells lack original tissue anatomical and functional complexity, which profoundly alters reactivity. Here, we tested whether rodent organotypic co-cultures from mesencephalic ventral tegmental area/substantia nigra and prefrontal cortex (VTA/SN-PFC) represent a suitable model to study changes induced by oxygen/glucose deprivation and reperfusion (OGD/R). OGD/R induced cytotoxicity to both VTA/SN and PFC slices, with higher VTA/SN susceptibility. Neurons were highly affected, with astrocytes and oligodendrocytes undergoing very mild damage. Marked reactive astrogliosis was also evident. Notably, OGD/R triggered the activation of CD68-expressing microglia and increased expression of Ym1 and Arg1, two markers of "alternatively" activated beneficial microglia. Treatment with two well-known neuroprotective drugs, the anticonvulsant agent valproic acid and the purinergic P2-antagonist PPADS, prevented neuronal damage. Thus, VTA/SN-PFC cultures are an integrated model to investigate OGD/R-induced effects on distinct cells and easily screen neuroprotective agents. The model is particularly adequate to dissect the microglia phenotypic shift in the lack of a functional vascular compartment.

  6. Enhanced Endocannabinoid-Mediated Modulation of Rostromedial Tegmental Nucleus Drive onto Dopamine Neurons in Sardinian Alcohol-Preferring Rats

    PubMed Central

    Sagheddu, Claudia; De Felice, Marta; Casti, Alberto; Madeddu, Camilla; Spiga, Saturnino; Muntoni, Anna Lisa; Mackie, Kenneth; Marsicano, Giovanni; Colombo, Giancarlo; Castelli, Maria Paola; Pistis, Marco

    2014-01-01

    The progressive predominance of rewarding effects of addictive drugs over their aversive properties likely contributes to the transition from drug use to drug dependence. By inhibiting the activity of DA neurons in the VTA, GABA projections from the rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg) are well suited to shift the balance between drug-induced reward and aversion. Since cannabinoids suppress RMTg inputs to DA cells and CB1 receptors affect alcohol intake in rodents, we hypothesized that the endocannabinoid system, by modulating this pathway, might contribute to alcohol preference. Here we found that RMTg afferents onto VTA DA neurons express CB1 receptors and display a 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG)-dependent form of short-term plasticity, that is, depolarization-induced suppression of inhibition (DSI). Next, we compared rodents with innate opposite alcohol preference, the Sardinian alcohol-preferring (sP) and alcohol-nonpreferring (sNP) rats. We found that DA cells from alcohol-naive sP rats displayed a decreased probability of GABA release and a larger DSI. This difference was due to the rate of 2-AG degradation. In vivo, we found a reduced RMTg-induced inhibition of putative DA neurons in sP rats that negatively correlated with an increased firing. Finally, alcohol failed to enhance RMTg spontaneous activity and to prolong RMTg-induced silencing of putative DA neurons in sP rats. Our results indicate functional modifications of RMTg projections to DA neurons that might impact the reward/aversion balance of alcohol attributes, which may contribute to the innate preference observed in sP rats and to their elevated alcohol intake. PMID:25232109

  7. Enhanced endocannabinoid-mediated modulation of rostromedial tegmental nucleus drive onto dopamine neurons in Sardinian alcohol-preferring rats.

    PubMed

    Melis, Miriam; Sagheddu, Claudia; De Felice, Marta; Casti, Alberto; Madeddu, Camilla; Spiga, Saturnino; Muntoni, Anna Lisa; Mackie, Kenneth; Marsicano, Giovanni; Colombo, Giancarlo; Castelli, Maria Paola; Pistis, Marco

    2014-09-17

    The progressive predominance of rewarding effects of addictive drugs over their aversive properties likely contributes to the transition from drug use to drug dependence. By inhibiting the activity of DA neurons in the VTA, GABA projections from the rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg) are well suited to shift the balance between drug-induced reward and aversion. Since cannabinoids suppress RMTg inputs to DA cells and CB1 receptors affect alcohol intake in rodents, we hypothesized that the endocannabinoid system, by modulating this pathway, might contribute to alcohol preference. Here we found that RMTg afferents onto VTA DA neurons express CB1 receptors and display a 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG)-dependent form of short-term plasticity, that is, depolarization-induced suppression of inhibition (DSI). Next, we compared rodents with innate opposite alcohol preference, the Sardinian alcohol-preferring (sP) and alcohol-nonpreferring (sNP) rats. We found that DA cells from alcohol-naive sP rats displayed a decreased probability of GABA release and a larger DSI. This difference was due to the rate of 2-AG degradation. In vivo, we found a reduced RMTg-induced inhibition of putative DA neurons in sP rats that negatively correlated with an increased firing. Finally, alcohol failed to enhance RMTg spontaneous activity and to prolong RMTg-induced silencing of putative DA neurons in sP rats. Our results indicate functional modifications of RMTg projections to DA neurons that might impact the reward/aversion balance of alcohol attributes, which may contribute to the innate preference observed in sP rats and to their elevated alcohol intake.

  8. Activation of oxytocin receptors, but not arginine-vasopressin V1a receptors, in the ventral tegmental area of male Syrian hamsters is essential for the reward-like properties of social interactions.

    PubMed

    Song, Zhimin; Borland, Johnathan M; Larkin, Tony E; O'Malley, Maureen; Albers, H Elliott

    2016-12-01

    Social reward plays a fundamental role in shaping human and animal behavior. The rewarding nature of many forms of social behavior including sexual behavior, parental behavior, and social play has been revealed using well-established procedures such as the conditioned place preference test. Many motivated social behaviors are regulated by the nonapeptides oxytocin (OT) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) through their actions in multiple brain structures. Interestingly, there are few data on whether OT or AVP might contribute to the rewarding properties of social interaction by their actions within brain structures that play a key role in reward mechanisms such as the ventral tegmental area (VTA). The goal of the present study was to investigate the role of OT and AVP in the VTA in regulating the reward-like properties of social interactions. Social interactions between two male hamsters reduced a spontaneous place avoidance in hamsters injected with saline control. Interestingly, however, OT and AVP injected into the VTA induced a significant two-fold reduction in place avoidance for the social interaction chamber when compared to control injections of vehicle. Finally, because OT and AVP can act on each other's receptors to influence social behavior, we also injected highly selective OTR and V1aR agonists and antagonists to determine whether OT or AVP V1a receptors were responsible for mediating the effects of these neuropeptides on social reward. Our results not only demonstrated that OT and AVP activate OTRs and not V1aRs to mediate social reward, they also demonstrated that the activation of OT receptors in the VTA is essential for the expression of the rewarding properties of social interactions.

  9. Nicotine and ethanol activate protein kinase A synergistically via G(i) betagamma subunits in nucleus accumbens/ventral tegmental cocultures: the role of dopamine D(1)/D(2) and adenosine A(2A) receptors.

    PubMed

    Inoue, Yuichiro; Yao, Lina; Hopf, F Woodward; Fan, Peidong; Jiang, Zhan; Bonci, Antonello; Diamond, Ivan

    2007-07-01

    Tobacco and alcohol are the most commonly used drugs of abuse and show the most serious comorbidity. The mesolimbic dopamine system contributes significantly to nicotine and ethanol reinforcement, but the underlying cellular signaling mechanisms are poorly understood. Nicotinic acetylcholine (nACh) receptors are highly expressed on ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine neurons, with relatively low expression in nucleus accumbens (NAcb) neurons. Because dopamine receptors D(1) and D(2) are highly expressed on NAcb neurons, nicotine could influence NAcb neurons indirectly by activating VTA neurons to release dopamine in the NAcb. To investigate this possibility in vitro, we established primary cultures containing neurons from VTA or NAcb separately or in cocultures. Nicotine increased cAMP response element-mediated gene expression only in cocultures; this increase was blocked by nACh or dopamine D(1) or D(2) receptor antagonists. Furthermore, subthreshold concentrations of nicotine with ethanol increased gene expression in cocultures, and this increase was blocked by nACh, D(2) or adenosine A(2A) receptor antagonists, Gbetagamma or protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitors, and adenosine deaminase. These results suggest that nicotine activated VTA neurons, causing the release of dopamine, which in turn stimulated both D(1) and D(2) receptors on NAcb neurons. In addition, subthreshold concentrations of nicotine and ethanol in combination also activated NAcb neurons through synergy between D(2) and A(2A) receptors. These data provide a novel cellular mechanism, involving Gbetagamma subunits, A(2A) receptors, and PKA, whereby combined use of tobacco and alcohol could enhance the reinforcing effect in humans as well as facilitate long-term neuroadaptations, increasing the risk for developing coaddiction.

  10. Histomorphometric features of ventral prostate in different aged rats after central ghrelin treatment.

    PubMed

    Plecas-Solarovic, Bosiljka A; Nesic, Dejan M; Stevanovic, Darko M; Obradovic, Aleksandar Lj; Djelic, Marina N; Milosevic, Verica Lj; Starcevic, Vesna P

    2012-06-01

    Ghrelin, the endogenous ligand of growth hormone secretagogue receptor type 1a (GHS-R1a), has emerged as pleiotropic modulator of diverse biological functions, including energy homeostasis and recently, reproduction. The influence of intracerebroventricularly (ICV) administered ghrelin (1 μg/day/rat for 5 days) to rats of different ages, i.e, peripubertal (38 days), adult (60 days) and middle-aged (180 days) on the ventral prostate size and morphology, serum testosterone levels and testis weight was examined. Ghrelin treatment significantly increased (p < 0.05) absolute ventral prostate weight in peripubertal and middle-aged rats, by 27% and 37% respectively, due to enhancement of epithelial and/or luminal compartment of the gland. In adult rats, both absolute and relative volumes of the acinar lumen were significantly decreased (p < 0.05), by 38% and 44% respectively, which was associated with significant increases (p < 0.05) in relative and absolute volumes of interacinar stroma, whereas ventral prostate weigh was unchanged. Irrespective of animal age, ghrelin did not affect serum testosterone levels. These are the first results of ghrelin treatment effects on healthy prostate appearance, which allow us to conclude that the rat ventral prostate response to ghrelin depends on the developmental stage of animals. Our results merit further investigations and may have clinical implications, especially in the light of data on possible role of ghrelin in prostate hypertrophy and adenomas.

  11. Regulation of 5alpha-reductase isoforms by oxytocin in the rat ventral prostate.

    PubMed

    Assinder, S J; Johnson, C; King, K; Nicholson, H D

    2004-12-01

    Oxytocin (OT) is present in the male reproductive tract, where it is known to modulate contractility, cell growth, and steroidogenesis. Little is known about how OT regulates these processes. This study describes the localization of OT receptor in the rat ventral prostate and investigates if OT regulates gene expression and/or activity of 5alpha-reductase isoforms I and II. The ventral prostates of adult male Wistar rats were collected following daily sc administration of saline (control), OT, a specific OT antagonist or both OT plus antagonist for 3 d. Expression of the OT receptor was identified in the ventral prostate by RT-PCR and Western blot, and confirmed to be a single active binding site by radioreceptor assay. Immunohistochemistry localized the receptor to the epithelium of prostatic acini and to the stromal tissue. Real-time RT-PCR determined that OT treatment significantly reduced expression of 5alpha-reductase I but significantly increased 5alpha-reductase II expression in the ventral prostate. Activity of both isoforms of 5alpha-reductase was significantly increased by OT, resulting in increased concentration of prostatic dihydrotestosterone. In conclusion, OT is involved in regulating conversion of testosterone to the biologically active dihydrotestosterone in the rat ventral prostate. It does so by differential regulation of 5alpha-reductase isoforms I and II.

  12. Intrinsic membrane plasticity via increased persistent sodium conductance of cholinergic neurons in the rat laterodorsal tegmental nucleus contributes to cocaine-induced addictive behavior.

    PubMed

    Kamii, Hironori; Kurosawa, Ryo; Taoka, Naofumi; Shinohara, Fumiya; Minami, Masabumi; Kaneda, Katsuyuki

    2015-05-01

    The laterodorsal tegmental nucleus (LDT) is a brainstem nucleus implicated in reward processing and is one of the main sources of cholinergic afferents to the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Neuroplasticity in this structure may affect the excitability of VTA dopamine neurons and mesocorticolimbic circuitry. Here, we provide evidence that cocaine-induced intrinsic membrane plasticity in LDT cholinergic neurons is involved in addictive behaviors. After repeated experimenter-delivered cocaine exposure, ex vivo whole-cell recordings obtained from LDT cholinergic neurons revealed an induction of intrinsic membrane plasticity in regular- but not burst-type neurons, resulting in increased firing activity. Pharmacological examinations showed that increased riluzole-sensitive persistent sodium currents, but not changes in Ca(2+) -activated BK, SK or voltage-dependent A-type potassium conductance, mediated this plasticity. In addition, bilateral microinjection of riluzole into the LDT immediately before the test session in a cocaine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP) paradigm inhibited the expression of cocaine-induced CPP. These findings suggest that intrinsic membrane plasticity in LDT cholinergic neurons is causally involved in the development of cocaine-induced addictive behaviors. © 2015 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  13. Interaction with pups enhances dopamine release in the ventral striatum of maternal rats: a microdialysis study.

    PubMed

    Hansen, S; Bergvall, A H; Nyiredi, S

    1993-07-01

    A growing body of evidence suggests that an interference with dopamine (DA) transmission disrupts maternal behavior in the rat. The present brain microdialysis study was therefore conducted to investigate whether infants can modulate ventral striatal DA release in mother rats. There was a significant rise in the extracellular concentrations DA, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC), homovanillic acid (HVA), and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) in the ventral striatum when mothers were reunited with their litters following separation overnight. Nursing was the predominant behavior during this phase of the experiment. More active behaviors were elicited by soiling pups with flowerpot earth, and this was accompanied by further increases in DA, DOPAC, HVA, and 5-HIAA. It is suggested that pup-induced stimulation of ventral striatal DA release facilitates parental responses such as pup retrieval.

  14. Ventral Lateral Geniculate Input to the Medial Pons Is Necessary for Visual Eyeblink Conditioning in Rats

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Halverson, Hunter E.; Freeman, John H.

    2010-01-01

    The conditioned stimulus (CS) pathway that is necessary for visual delay eyeblink conditioning was investigated in the current study. Rats were initially given eyeblink conditioning with stimulation of the ventral nucleus of the lateral geniculate (LGNv) as the CS followed by conditioning with light and tone CSs in separate training phases.…

  15. Ventral Lateral Geniculate Input to the Medial Pons Is Necessary for Visual Eyeblink Conditioning in Rats

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Halverson, Hunter E.; Freeman, John H.

    2010-01-01

    The conditioned stimulus (CS) pathway that is necessary for visual delay eyeblink conditioning was investigated in the current study. Rats were initially given eyeblink conditioning with stimulation of the ventral nucleus of the lateral geniculate (LGNv) as the CS followed by conditioning with light and tone CSs in separate training phases.…

  16. GENE ARRAY ANALYSIS OF THE VENTRAL PROSTATE IN RATS EXPOSED TO EITHER VINCLOZOLIN OR PROCYMIDONE

    EPA Science Inventory

    GENE ARRAY ANALYSIS OF THE VENTRAL PROSTATE IN RATS EXPOSED TO EITHER VINCLOZOLIN OR PROCYMIDONE. MB Rosen, VS Wilson, JE Schmid, and LE Gray Jr. US EPA, ORD, NHEERL, RTP, NC.

    Vinclozolin (Vi) and procymidone (Pr) are antiandrogenic fungicides. While changes in gene expr...

  17. GABA mechanisms in the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus influence particular aspects of nicotine self-administration selectively in the rat.

    PubMed

    Corrigall, W A; Coen, K M; Zhang, J; Adamson, K L

    2001-11-01

    The pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTg) is part of the neuronal circuit activated by self-administered nicotine. The cholinergic neurons of the PPTg comprise a prominent projection to midbrain dopamine neurons. However, anatomical studies of Fos expression suggest that nicotine targets primarily non-cholinergic neurons in the PPTg, especially GABAergic and glutamatergic neurons. The objective of these experiments was to examine the role of GABA manipulations in the PPTg on nicotine self-administration. Rats trained to self-administer nicotine or cocaine intravenously were prepared with brain microcannulae directed to the PPTg. Intra-PPTg microinfusions of the GABA agonists muscimol (10-50 ng) and baclofen (30-60 ng) reduced nicotine self-administration maintained on a fixed-ratio schedule of reinforcement (30 microg/kg per infusion); self-administration of cocaine (0.3 mg/kg per infusion) under an identical schedule was not affected. Muscimol and baclofen were also examined after intra-PPTg microinfusion in animals trained to self-administer nicotine on a progressive-ratio schedule (10 and 30 microg/kg per infusion). Progressive-ratio responding was sensitive to pharmacological manipulations such as a change in the nicotine dose available for self-administration, or intra-PPTg microinfusion of the nicotinic antagonist dihydro-beta-erythroidine (30 microg). However, nicotine self-administration on a progressive-ratio schedule was not altered by intra-PPTg microinfusions of GABA agonists. These data confirm that the PPTg is involved in nicotine self-administration, a conclusion that is independent of the schedule of reinforcement that is used. GABAergic mechanisms in the PPTg play a selective role in nicotine reinforcement compared to cocaine, and that role is restricted to the characteristics of reinforcement measured by fixed-ratio responding.

  18. Conditioned saccharin avoidance induced by infusion of amphetamine in the nucleus accumbens shell and morphine in the ventral tegmental area: behavioral and biochemical study.

    PubMed

    Fenu, S; Espa, E; Cadoni, C; Di Chiara, G

    2014-08-01

    Drugs of abuse possess the seemingly paradoxical property of conditioning rats to avoid from drinking a saccharin solution that had been predictively paired with their systemic administration (conditioned saccharin avoidance, CSA). CSA is dependent upon an intact dopamine (DA) transmission but the locus, central or peripheral, and eventually the brain area from which this effect originates and its relationship with the rewarding properties of the drug is debated. In order to clarify this issue we tested the ability of amphetamine and morphine to induce CSA after infusion at the same dose-range and in the same areas from which these drugs induce conditioned place preference (CPP). Drugs were infused intracerebrally immediately after saccharin drinking in two acquisition trials and CSA was tested on a two bottle saccharin/water choice. Amphetamine (10 and 20 μg/0.5 μl) induced CSA after infusion in the NAc shell but was ineffective in the NAc core. Morphine (0.5 and 1 μg/0.5 μl) induced CSA from the VTA at both doses tested. Amphetamine (20 μg/0.5 μl) and morphine (1 μg/0.5 μl) failed to induce CSA after infusion 1.2mm dorsal the NAc shell and the VTA respectively. Finally, morphine (1 μg/0.5 μl), infused in the VTA, elicited a selective increase in dialysate DA in the NAc shell. These results indicate that drugs of abuse induce CSA from the same intracerebral sites and at the same doses at which they induce CPP. These observations are consistent with the existence of a strong relationship between CSA and drug reward related to their ability to stimulate DA transmission in the NAc shell. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  19. Cannabinoid transmission in the prefrontal cortex bi-phasically controls emotional memory formation via functional interactions with the ventral tegmental area.

    PubMed

    Draycott, Brittany; Loureiro, Michael; Ahmad, Tasha; Tan, Huibing; Zunder, Jordan; Laviolette, Steven R

    2014-09-24

    Disturbances in cortical cannabinoid CB1 receptor signaling are well established correlates of various neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression and schizophrenia. Importantly, the ability of cannabinoid transmission to modulate emotional processing is functionally linked to interactions with subcortical DA systems. While considerable evidence demonstrates that CB1 receptor-mediated modulation of emotional processing and related behaviors follows a biphasic functional curve, little is known regarding how CB1 signaling within cortical networks may interact with subcortical DAergic systems involved in emotional behavior regulation. Using a combination of in vivo electrophysiological recordings and behavioral pharmacology in rats, we investigated the relationship between mPFC cannabinoid transmission, fear memory formation, and subcortical DA neuron activity patterns. We report that direct intra-mPFC CB1 activation biphasically modulates spontaneous, subcortical VTA DA neuron activity in a dose-dependent fashion; while lower doses of a CB1 receptor agonist, WIN 55,212-2, significantly increased spontaneous firing and bursting rates of VTA DA neurons, higher doses strongly inhibited spontaneous DA neuron activity. Remarkably, this same dose-related functional difference was observed with the regulation of fear-related emotional memory formation. Thus, lower levels of CB1 activation potentiated the emotional salience of normally subthreshold fear memory, whereas higher levels completely blocked fear memory acquisition. Furthermore, while the potentiation of subthreshold fear memory salience was blocked by DA receptor antagonism, CB1-mediated blunting of suprathreshold fear memory was rescued by intra-VTA administration of a GABAB receptor antagonist, demonstrating that reversal of GABAergic inhibitory mechanisms in the VTA can reverse the inhibitory influence of intra-PFC CB1 transmission on mesolimbic DA activity. Copyright © 2014 the authors 0270-6474/14/3413096-14$15.00/0.

  20. α4α6β2* nicotinic acetylcholine receptor activation on ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons is sufficient to stimulate a depolarizing conductance and enhance surface AMPA receptor function.

    PubMed

    Engle, Staci E; Shih, Pei-Yu; McIntosh, J Michael; Drenan, Ryan M

    2013-09-01

    Tobacco addiction is a serious threat to public health in the United States and abroad, and development of new therapeutic approaches is a major priority. Nicotine activates and/or desensitizes nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) throughout the brain. nAChRs in ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine (DA) neurons are crucial for the rewarding and reinforcing properties of nicotine in rodents, suggesting that they may be key mediators of nicotine's action in humans. However, it is unknown which nAChR subtypes are sufficient to activate these neurons. To test the hypothesis that nAChRs containing α6 subunits are sufficient to activate VTA DA neurons, we studied mice expressing hypersensitive, gain-of-function α6 nAChRs (α6L9'S mice). In voltage-clamp recordings in brain slices from adult mice, 100 nM nicotine was sufficient to elicit inward currents in VTA DA neurons via α6β2* nAChRs. In addition, we found that low concentrations of nicotine could act selectively through α6β2* nAChRs to enhance the function of 2-amino-3-(3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazol-4-yl)propanoic acid (AMPA) receptors on the surface of these cells. In contrast, α6β2* activation did not enhance N-methyl-D-aspartic acid receptor function. Finally, AMPA receptor (AMPAR) function was not similarly enhanced in brain slices from α6L9'S mice lacking α4 nAChR subunits, suggesting that α4α6β2* nAChRs are important for enhancing AMPAR function in VTA DA neurons. Together, these data suggest that activation of α4α6β2* nAChRs in VTA DA neurons is sufficient to support the initiation of cellular changes that play a role in addiction to nicotine. α4α6β2* nAChRs may be a promising target for future smoking cessation pharmacotherapy.

  1. [Disruption of latent inhibition in adult rats after prepubertal dopamine terminals lesions in the ventral hippocampus].

    PubMed

    Loskutova, L V; Kostiunina, N V; Red'kina, A V

    2010-05-01

    Wistar rats were submitted to bilateral ventral hippocampal injection of 6-hydroxydopamine on 32nd day after birth. Latent inhibition was measured in passive or active avoidance tasks when the rats received 20 and 100 pre-exposures of conditioned stimulus. Prepubertal and adult lesioned rats showed a deficit in the latent inhibition but not in the capacity to avoidance learning in presence of the conditioned stimulus novelty. Possible mechanism of the involvement of hippocampal dopaminergic terminals in attention inhibition to irrelevant information is considered.

  2. Nicotinic activation of mesolimbic neurons assessed by rubidium efflux in rat accumbens and ventral tegmentum.

    PubMed

    Rowell, Peter P; Volk, Kelly A

    2004-01-01

    Dopaminergic mesolimbic neurons, with cell bodies in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) projecting to the nucleus accumbens (NAc), have been shown to be involved in the development of drug dependence. The application of nicotine to either the VTA or NAc produces an increase in dopamine release; however, the positive reinforcement produced by the systemic injection of nicotine is primarily due to stimulation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in the VTA. Because the brain levels of nicotine would likely be the same in both brain areas, the nAChRs in the NAc may be less sensitive than those in the VTA. This study was undertaken to make a direct comparison of the native nAChRs in intact slices of NAc and VTA by measuring nicotine-stimulated efflux of (86)Rb(+) in a superfusion assay. The potency of nicotine and several other agonists was similar in both brain areas, but nicotine was somewhat more efficacious in the NAc. The effects of treatment duration, calcium and nicotinic antagonists were also determined. The results suggest that the predominant effect of nicotine in the VTA following systemic administration is due to differences in neuronal circuitry or firing patterns rather than inherent differences in the two nAChR populations. Copyright 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel

  3. Lesion of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus in rat augments cortical activation and disturbs sleep/wake state transitions structure.

    PubMed

    Petrovic, Jelena; Ciric, Jelena; Lazic, Katarina; Kalauzi, Aleksandar; Saponjic, Jasna

    2013-09-01

    The pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPT) represents a major aggregation of cholinergic neurons in the mammalian brainstem, which is important in the generation and maintenance of REM sleep. We investigated the effects of unilateral and bilateral PPT lesions on sleep and all the conventional sleep-state related EEG frequency bands amplitudes, in an attempt to find the EEG markers for the onset and progression of PPT cholinergic neuronal degeneration. The experiments were performed on 35 adult male Wistar rats, chronically implanted for sleep recording. During the surgical procedure for EEG and EMG electrodes implantation, the unilateral or bilateral PPT lesion was produced under ketamine/diazepam anesthesia, by the stereotaxically guided microinfusion of 100 nl 0.1M ibotenic acid (IBO) into PPT. We applied Fourier analysis to signals acquired throughout 6h of recordings, and each 10s epoch was differentiated as a Wake, NREM or REM state. We also calculated the group probability density estimates (PDE) of all Wake, NREM and REM conventional EEG frequency amplitudes, and the number of all the transition states using MATLAB 6.5. Our results show that the unilateral or bilateral PPT lesions did not change the sleep/wake architecture, but did change the sleep/wake state transitions structure and the sleep/state related "EEG microstructure". Unilateral or bilateral PPT lesions sustainably increased Wake/REM and REM/Wake transitions from 14 to 35 days after lesions. This was followed by decreased NREM/REM and REM/NREM transitions from 28 days only in the case of the bilateral PPT lesion. The unilateral PPT lesion augmented both Wake theta and REM beta while it also attenuated the relative amplitude of the Wake delta frequency, with a delay of one week. Following a bilateral PPT lesion there was augmentation of the relative amplitude of the Wake, NREM, and REM beta and REM gamma frequency which occurred simultaneously to NREM and Wake delta attenuation. We have shown

  4. REM sleep modulation by perifornical orexinergic inputs to the pedunculo-pontine tegmental neurons in rats.

    PubMed

    Khanday, M A; Mallick, B N

    2015-11-12

    Rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) is regulated by the interaction of the REM-ON and REM-OFF neurons located in the pedunculo-pontine-tegmentum (PPT) and the locus coeruleus (LC), respectively. Many other brain areas, particularly those controlling non-REMS (NREMS) and waking, modulate REMS by modulating these REMS-related neurons. Perifornical (PeF) orexin (Ox)-ergic neurons are reported to increase waking and reduce NREMS as well as REMS; dysfunction of the PeF neurons are related to REMS loss-associated disorders. Hence, we were interested in understanding the neural mechanism of PeF-induced REMS modulation. As a first step we have recently reported that PeF Ox-ergic neurons modulate REMS by influencing the LC neurons (site for REM-OFF neurons). Thereafter, in this in vivo study we have explored the role of PeF inputs on the PPT neurons (site for REM-ON neurons) for the regulation of REMS. Chronic male rats were surgically prepared with implanted bilateral cannulae in PeF and PPT and electrodes for recording sleep-waking patterns. After post-surgical recovery sleep-waking-REMS were recorded when bilateral PeF neurons were stimulated by glutamate and simultaneously bilateral PPT neurons were infused with either saline or orexin receptor1 (OX1R) antagonist. It was observed that PeF stimulation increased waking and decreased NREMS as well as REMS, which were prevented by OX1R antagonist into the PPT. We conclude that the PeF stimulation-induced reduction in REMS was likely to be due to inhibition of REM-ON neurons in the PPT. As waking and NREMS are inversely related, subject to confirmation, the reduction in NREMS could be due to increased waking or vice versa. Based on our findings from this and earlier studies we have proposed a model showing connections between PeF- and PPT-neurons for REMS regulation.

  5. The HDAC Inhibitor Phenylbutyrate Reverses Effects of Neonatal Ventral Hippocampal Lesion in Rats

    PubMed Central

    Sandner, Guy; Host, Lionel; Angst, Marie-Josée; Guiberteau, Thierry; Guignard, Blandine; Zwiller, Jean

    2011-01-01

    Recent evidence suggests that epigenetic mechanisms play a role in psychiatric diseases. In this study, we considered rats with neonatal ventral hippocampal lesions (NVHL) that are currently used for modeling neurodevelopmental aspects of schizophrenia. Contribution of epigenetic regulation to the effects of the lesion was investigated, using a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor. Lesioned or sham-operated rats were treated with the general HDAC inhibitor phenylbutyrate, which was injected daily from the day after surgery until adulthood. Changes in the volume of the lesion were monitored by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Anxiety was analyzed in the Plus Maze Test. Hypersensitivity of the dopaminergic system was evaluated by measuring the locomotor response to apomorphine. An associative conditioning test rewarded with food was used to evaluate learning abilities. The volume of the lesions expanded long after surgery, independently of the treatment, as assessed by MRI. Removal of the ventral hippocampus reduced anxiety, and this remained unchanged when animals were treated with phenylbutyrate. In contrast, NVHL rats’ hypersensitivity to apomorphine and deterioration of the associative learning were reduced by the treatment. Global HDAC activity, which was increased in the prefrontal cortex of lesioned non-treated rats, was found to be reversed by HDAC inhibition. The study provides evidence that chromatin remodeling may be useful for limiting behavioral consequences due to lesioning of the ventral hippocampus at an early age. This represents a novel approach for treating disorders resulting from insults occurring during brain development. PMID:21423460

  6. Chronic caffeine intake increases androgenic stimuli, epithelial cell proliferation and hyperplasia in rat ventral prostate

    PubMed Central

    Sarobo, Carolina; Lacorte, Lívia M; Martins, Marcela; Rinaldi, Jaqueline C; Moroz, Andrei; Scarano, Wellerson R; Delella, Flavia K; Felisbino, Sérgio L

    2012-01-01

    Coffee intake has been associated with a low risk of developing cancer, including prostate cancer, which is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men. However, few studies have evaluated the chronic effects of caffeine, which is the most abundant methylxanthine in coffee, on prostate morphology and physiology. In the present study, we investigated the effects of chronic, low-dose caffeine intake on rat prostate morphology from puberty to adulthood. Five-week-old male Wistar rats were randomized into two experimental groups: caffeine-treated (20 ppm in drinking water, n = 12) and control (n = 12). The ventral and dorsolateral prostates were dissected, weighted and submitted to morphological, morphometrical and immunohistochemical analysis of cellular proliferation, apoptosis and androgen receptor (AR) tissue expression. The testosterone (T) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) concentrations were measured in the plasma. Our results show that caffeine intake increased the concentrations of T and DHT, organ weight, epithelial cell proliferation and AR tissue expression in the ventral prostatic lobe. All the ventral prostates from the caffeine-treated animals presented various degrees of epithelial and stromal hyperplasia. Our results suggest that chronic caffeine intake from puberty increases androgenic signalling and cell proliferation in the rat prostate gland and can be related to the development of benign prostatic hyperplasia. PMID:23136995

  7. Effects of changing reward on performance of the delayed spatial win-shift radial maze task in pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus lesioned rats.

    PubMed

    Taylor, Claire L; Kozak, Rouba; Latimer, Mary P; Winn, Philip

    2004-08-31

    Because it was designed to assess working memory, the delayed spatial win-shift (DSWS) radial maze task has been used to investigate the involvement of corticostriatal structures in executive processing. Excitotoxic lesions of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTg) produce profound deficits in performance of this task that are not accounted for by motor impairment. Thus, PPTg DSWS deficits are hypothesized to support a role for PPTg in complex cognitive processing. However, other studies indicate that the behaviour of PPTg lesioned rats varies depending on level of motivational excitement, assessed by the presence or absence of deprivation, or by manipulations of reward value. Since DSWS performance may also be affected by motivational dysfunction, the present experiment was conducted to examine the effects of post-surgical presentation of a more positive food reward (chocolate drops) on the DSWS retention performance of PPTg lesioned rats. Results confirmed a PPTg lesion deficit: lesioned rats made significantly more errors in both training and test phases, and made errors significantly earlier in their choice sequence in the test phase. Main effects of phase on number of errors indicated that the PPTg test phase deficit was not simply the result of a carry-over impairment from the training phase. PPTg rats receiving chocolate made significantly fewer errors than PPTg rats receiving food pellets. Results suggest that PPTg DSWS deficits are not the result of altered motivation or hedonic appreciation of reward value (or reward change) and therefore support the hypothesis of executive cognitive deficits in PPTg lesioned rats.

  8. Ventral hippocampal ibotenic acid lesions block chronic nicotine-induced spatial working memory improvement in rats.

    PubMed

    Levin, E D; Christopher, N C; Weaver, T; Moore, J; Brucato, F

    1999-01-01

    Chronic nicotine infusions have been found to significantly improve working memory performance in the radial-arm maze. This effect is blocked by co-infusions of the nicotinic antagonist mecamylamine. Acute nicotine injections also improve working memory performance in the radial-arm maze. This effect is also blocked by mecamylamine co-administration. Recent local infusions studies have demonstrated the importance of the ventral hippocampus for nicotinic involvement in memory. Local infusions of mecamylamine, DHbetaE or MLA impair working memory performance on the radial-arm maze. The current study was conducted to determine the importance of the ventral hippocampus for the chronic effects of nicotine. Rats were trained on the working memory task in an eight-arm radial maze. After acquisition they underwent either infusions of ibotenic acid lesions or vehicle infusions and received subcutaneous implants of osmotic minipumps that delivered either nicotine at a dose of 5 mg kg-1 day-1 or vehicle in a 2x2 design. The rats then were given 2 days of recovery and were tested on the radial-arm maze three times per week for the next 4 weeks. As seen in previous studies, in the sham lesioned group nicotine infusions caused a significant improvement in choice accuracy. In contrast no nicotine-induced improvement was seen in the rats after ibotenic acid lesions of the ventral hippocampus. The effect of nicotine was blocked even though this lesion did not cause a deficit in performance. Previous work showed that chronic nicotine infusion still caused a significant improvement in working memory performance in the radial-arm maze after knife-cut lesions of the fimbria-fornix carrying the septo-hippocampal cholinergic innervation. Thus it appears that it is the postsynaptic nicotinic receptors in the ventral hippocampus which are critically important for the expression of the chronic nicotine induced working memory improvement. Copyright 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.

  9. Excitotoxic lesions of the tegmental pedunculopontine nucleus impair copulation in naive male rats and block the rewarding effects of copulation in experienced male rats.

    PubMed

    Kippin, Tod E; van der Kooy, Derek

    2003-11-01

    The tegmental pedunculopontine nucleus (TPP) of the brainstem mediates food reward in food-sated animals and opiate reward in drug-naive animals. In the present study, we examine the effect of excitotoxic lesions of the TPP on sexual behaviour in naive and experienced male rats. Male, Long-Evans rats received either 0.25 micro L injections of NMDA (4.2 micro g/side) or vehicle (shams) into the TPP. In sexually naive males, complete bilateral TPP lesions decreased all measure of copulation (i.e. mounts, intromissions and ejaculations), prevented acquisition of conditioned sexual excitement, decreased approach preference for a receptive female over a non-receptive one, and decreased non-contact erections; unilateral or bilateral posterior-sparing TPP lesions did not affect any of these measures. Conversely, in sexually experienced males, lesions not only failed to disrupt copulation, but also increased conditioned sexual excitement, decreased post-ejaculatory interval and blocked the effect of prolonged copulation on conditioned sexual excitement. Following differential pairing of distinctive environments with and without copulation, sham males with sexual experience displayed a significant preference for the environment paired with copulation, whereas the lesion males with sexual experience displayed a significant aversion for the environment paired with copulation. These findings indicate that the TPP is critical for the acquisition of copulation in naive males and mediates the rewarding consequences of copulation in experienced males. Together these findings demonstrate that the TPP mediates sexual reward, but that sexual experience is not sufficient to produce a deprivation state.

  10. Primary structure and androgen regulation of a 20-kilodalton protein specific to rat ventral prostate.

    PubMed

    Ho, K C; Snoek, R; Quarmby, V; Viskochil, D H; Rennie, P S; Wilson, E M; French, F S; Bruchovsky, N

    1989-07-25

    Nuclear and cytosolic forms of a 20-kdalton rat ventral prostate protein were purified and partially sequenced from their N-termini. Isolated nuclei were treated with micrococcal nuclease and extracted in 0.6 M NaCl, and proteins were separated by affinity chromatography on Matrex gel green A, ammonium sulfate fractionation, and fast protein liquid chromatography on Superose 12. The 43 amino acid N-terminal sequence of the nuclear 20-kdalton protein was identical with the cytosolic protein except it lacked 7 N-terminal amino acids present in the cytosolic form. The DNA sequence of a full-length complementary DNA clone isolated from a ventral prostate gt11 library extended the N-terminal sequence of the cytosolic form by an additional nine amino acids from the predicted initiation methionine. The cDNA included the nucleotide sequence for the 43 amino acid N-terminal sequence of the purified 20-kdalton protein and predicted molecular weights of 16,686, 17,521, and 18,650, respectively, for the nuclear, cytoplasmic, and nonprocessed proteins. Northern blot analyses of reproductive tract tissue RNAs using the 20-kdalton protein cDNA as probe revealed a single mRNA species of 0.92 kb detectable only in extracts of rat ventral prostate. Expression of the 0.92-kb mRNA was androgen dependent since the mRNA was undetectable in extracts obtained 4 days after castration and was restored 16 h after restimulation with androgen.

  11. Alteration of conditioned emotional response and conditioned taste aversion after neonatal ventral hippocampus lesions in rats.

    PubMed

    Angst, Marie-Josée; Macedo, Carlos Eduardo; Guiberteau, Thierry; Sandner, Guy

    2007-04-27

    Sprague-Dawley rats were submitted to bilateral ventral hippocampus lesions 7 days after birth according to the Lipska and Weinberger's procedure for modeling schizophrenia. The aim of the present work was to better characterize their learning capacity. A double latent inhibition study was conducted using respectively conditioned taste aversion and conditioned emotional response. In the background of this evaluation, locomotion under apomorphine and startle reactions, inhibited or not by prepulses, was also evaluated. Our experimental methods were the same as those used in previous studies from the laboratory which were found to be sensitive to pharmacological manipulations and shown by others to be unaffected by lesions of the ventral hippocampus carried out in adult rats. In contrast, neonatally lesioned rats, once adults (over 60 days old), were hyper-responsive to noise--i.e., the startle response to a 105 db(A) noise pulse was enhanced--and hyperactive under apomorphine (0.7 mg/kg). The prepulse inhibition properties of the startle remained unchanged. Lesioned rats showed a deficit but not a suppression of conditioning, similar in both tests, but latent inhibition was preserved. Such observations complement the already known memory deficit produced in this neurodevelopmental model of schizophrenia.

  12. Malignant lesions in the ventral prostate of alloxan-induced diabetic rats.

    PubMed

    Ribeiro, Daniele Lisboa; Marques, Silvio Fernando Guideti; Alberti, Sandra; Spadella, César Tadeu; Manzato, Antônio José; Taboga, Sebastião Roberto; Dizeyi, Nishtman; Abrahamsson, Per-Anders; Góes, Rejane Maira

    2008-08-01

    The aim of this study was to evaluate the changes caused by chronic diabetes in the rat ventral prostate and to establish a correlation between diabetes and the development of prostatic lesions. Male rats received alloxan (42 mg/kg b.w.) to induce diabetes. Ninety days after diabetes diagnosis, animals were sacrificed and the ventral prostate was removed and prepared for general and immunohistochemical analyses. The total area showing different types of lesions was estimated. Diabetes led to a decrease in the body and prostatic weights, as well as in testosterone levels. The prostate morphology and stereology showed high variation in the diabetic group. Some animals had light changes; the great majority had an intense epithelial atrophy; and other rats showed premalignant and malignant lesions in the prostate. Such epithelial atrophy was, in some samples, combined with chronic inflammation, similar to proliferative inflammatory atrophy (PIA). The diabetic group also presented high incidence of prostatitis, adenocarcinoma and prostatic intra-epithelial neoplasia (PIN). Samples with adenocarcinoma had poorly differentiated acini with high levels of cellular proliferation and nuclear atypia. These lesions exhibited an invasive feature showing Bcl-2-positive cells and interruptions in the basement membrane. An association of PIA, PIN and adenocarcinoma was detected in one sample. Reduced androgen levels have a synergic effect to insulin dysfunction promoting negative effects in the rat prostate. Diabetic individuals had a high incidence of prostatitis, and this inflammation could stimulate the incidence of other forms of prostatic pathology.

  13. Diabetes induces stromal remodelling and increase in chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans of the rat ventral prostate.

    PubMed

    Ribeiro, Daniele Lisboa; Taboga, Sebastião Roberto; Góes, Rejane Maira

    2009-08-01

    Extracellular matrix (ECM) remodelling is an important process involved in prostate cancer progression. Alterations in ECM caused by diabetes in different tissues such as kidney is well described; however, it is poorly investigated in prostate. The aim of this study was to evaluate changes in ECM of rat prostate showing gland atrophy caused by diabetes and their implications in development of malignant lesions. Diabetes was induced in Wistar rats using alloxan (45 mg/kg bw). After 90 days of diabetes onset, animals were killed and ventral prostate was removed and prepared for light microscopy following immunoreaction for fibronectin, chondroitin sulphate and Picrossirius staining for collagen fibres. Proteoglycans (PG) were identified at transmission electron microscopy after fixation with Cuprolinic Blue. Diabetes led to a thickening of 25% in the acinar basement membrane accompanied by increase and disorganization of its proteoglycans (P1). Three additional populations of prostatic stromal PGs were identified: collagen fibril linked (P2) and interstitial (P3) and (P4) PGs. Diabetes increased P3 and mainly P4 which had higher dimension and accumulated around the smooth muscle cells. In addition, an increase in chondrotin sulphate (33%, mainly in sites where P4 were noted) and collagen (44%) was noted in diabetic rats, whereas fibronectin did not change. Atrophic changes observed in rat ventral prostate after diabetes are accompanied by stromal remodelation related to increase in collagen and chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans. Thus, diabetes can promote a stromal microenvironment rich in elements that could favour cell migration, proliferation and pathological process.

  14. Malignant lesions in the ventral prostate of alloxan-induced diabetic rats

    PubMed Central

    Ribeiro, Daniele Lisboa; Marques, Silvio Fernando Guideti; Alberti, Sandra; Spadella, César Tadeu; Manzato, Antônio José; Taboga, Sebastião Roberto; Dizeyi, Nishtman; Abrahamsson, Per-Anders; Góes, Rejane Maira

    2008-01-01

    The aim of this study was to evaluate the changes caused by chronic diabetes in the rat ventral prostate and to establish a correlation between diabetes and the development of prostatic lesions. Male rats received alloxan (42 mg/kg b.w.) to induce diabetes. Ninety days after diabetes diagnosis, animals were sacrificed and the ventral prostate was removed and prepared for general and immunohistochemical analyses. The total area showing different types of lesions was estimated. Diabetes led to a decrease in the body and prostatic weights, as well as in testosterone levels. The prostate morphology and stereology showed high variation in the diabetic group. Some animals had light changes; the great majority had an intense epithelial atrophy; and other rats showed premalignant and malignant lesions in the prostate. Such epithelial atrophy was, in some samples, combined with chronic inflammation, similar to proliferative inflammatory atrophy (PIA). The diabetic group also presented high incidence of prostatitis, adenocarcinoma and prostatic intra-epithelial neoplasia (PIN). Samples with adenocarcinoma had poorly differentiated acini with high levels of cellular proliferation and nuclear atypia. These lesions exhibited an invasive feature showing Bcl-2-positive cells and interruptions in the basement membrane. An association of PIA, PIN and adenocarcinoma was detected in one sample. Reduced androgen levels have a synergic effect to insulin dysfunction promoting negative effects in the rat prostate. Diabetic individuals had a high incidence of prostatitis, and this inflammation could stimulate the incidence of other forms of prostatic pathology. PMID:18715471

  15. Deep brain stimulation of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus modulates neuronal hyperactivity and enhanced beta oscillatory activity of the subthalamic nucleus in the rat 6-hydroxydopamine model.

    PubMed

    Alam, Mesbah; Heissler, Hans E; Schwabe, Kerstin; Krauss, Joachim K

    2012-01-01

    Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) area has been introduced as a novel surgical therapy for dopamine refractory gait problems, freezing and postural instability in the late stage of Parkinson's disease (PD). Lesions of the pedunculopontine tegmental (PPTg) nucleus, the equivalent of the PPN in rodents, were shown to reduce the elevated discharge rate of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) in the 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) rat model of PD. In order to further elucidate the modulatory effect of the PPTg on the STN we examined the effect of 25 Hz low frequency PPTg stimulation on neuronal single unit activity and oscillatory local field potentials (LFPs) of the STN, and on the electrocorticogram (ECoG) of the primary motor cortex region in rats with unilateral 6-OHDA induced nigrostriatal lesions. Stimulation of the PPTg reduced the enhanced firing rate in the STN, without affecting the firing pattern or approximate entropy (ApEn). It also reduced the activity in the beta band (15-30 Hz) of the STN, which is elevated in 6-OHDA lesioned rats, without affecting beta activity in the motor cortex. We showed a modulatory effect of PPTg stimulation on altered neuronal STN activity in the PD 6-OHDA rat model, indicating that PPTg DBS may alter activity of the basal ganglia circuitry at least partially. It remains unclear, however, how these changes are exactly mediated and whether they are relevant with regard to the descending PPTg projections in the lower brainstem.

  16. Dopamine-galanin receptor heteromers modulate cholinergic neurotransmission in the rat ventral hippocampus

    PubMed Central

    Moreno, Estefanía; Vaz, Sandra H.; Cai, Ning-Sheng; Ferrada, Carla; Quiroz, César; Barodia, Sandeep; Kabbani, Nadine; Canela, Enric I.; McCormick, Peter J.; Lluis, Carme; Franco, Rafael; Ribeiro, Joaquim A; Sebastião, Ana M.; Ferré, Sergi

    2011-01-01

    Previous studies have shown that dopamine and galanin modulate cholinergic transmission in the hippocampus, but little is known about the mechanisms involved and their possible interactions. By using resonance energy transfer techniques in transfected mammalian cells we demonstrated the existence of heteromers between the dopamine D1-like receptors (D1 and D5) and galanin Gal1, but not Gal2 receptors. Within the D1-Gal1 and D5-Gal1 receptor heteromers, dopamine receptor activation potentiated and dopamine receptor blockade counteracted MAPK activation induced by stimulation of Gal1 receptors, while Gal1 receptor activation or blockade did not modify D1-like receptor-mediated MAPK activation. Ability of a D1-like receptor antagonist to block galanin-induced MAPK activation (cross-antagonism) was used as a “biochemical fingerprint” of D1-like-Gal1 receptor heteromers, allowing their identification in the rat ventral hippocampus. The functional role of D1-like-Gal receptor heteromers was demonstrated in synaptosomes from rat ventral hippocampus, where galanin facilitated acetylcholine release, but only with co-stimulation of D1-like receptors. Electrophysiological experiments in rat ventral hippocampal slices showed that these receptor interactions modulate hippocampal synaptic transmission. Thus, a D1-like receptor agonist, that was ineffective when administered alone, turned an inhibitory effect of galanin into an excitatory effect, an interaction that required cholinergic neurotransmission. Altogether, our results strongly suggest that D1-like-Gal1 receptor heteromers act as processors that integrate signals of two different neurotransmitters, dopamine and acetylcholine, to modulate hippocampal cholinergic neurotransmission. PMID:21593325

  17. The effect of CIS hydroxyproline on ventral prostatic growth in rats.

    PubMed

    Uke, E; Lee, C; Grayhack, J T

    1983-01-01

    Changes in prostatic collagen were measured in Sprague-Dawley rats to gain further insight into the relationship between this stromal component and androgen mediated prostatic growth. Regulation of prostatic collagen by other endocrine factors was also studied. Collagen content per prostate was estimated by determination of tissue levels of hydroxyproline. The 1st experiment examined changes in the content of hydroxyproline in the prostate during pre- and post-pubertal growth with the use of rats between 21 and 80 days of age. As the animals grew, their prostatic weights and hydroxyproline contents increased in a parallel fashion (correlation coefficient R = 0.977, p less than 0.01). In the 2nd experiment, rats were castrated for a period up to 28 days. The hydroxyproline content in the prostate did not change significantly by castration despite a marked decrease in prostatic weights. Results of the 3rd experiment indicated that castration-hypophysectomy or castration-hypophysectomy plus estrogen treatment did not significantly change the content of prostatic hydroxyproline from that in the untreated intact animals. The 4th experiment studied the effect of the collagen synthesis inhibitor, cis-4-hydroxyproline, on prostatic growth. Subcutaneous injection of cis-4-hydroxyproline to castrated testosterone treated rats caused a significantly slower increase in total ventral prostatic weights and contents of protein, DNA and hydroxyproline than those of saline treated controls. This inhibition in prostatic growth is unlikely to be related to any antiandrogenic effect of cis hydroxyproline as the protein/DNA ratio in the prostate was the same for both saline and cis-4-hydroxyproline treated groups. Electron microscopic studies revealed that cis-4-hydroxyproline treatment resulted in a derangement of the basement membrane in the ventral prostate. The above results suggest that collagen plays an important role in limiting prostatic growth since inhibition of collagen

  18. Biomimetic collagen/elastin meshes for ventral hernia repair in a rat model.

    PubMed

    Minardi, Silvia; Taraballi, Francesca; Wang, Xin; Cabrera, Fernando J; Van Eps, Jeffrey L; Robbins, Andrew B; Sandri, Monica; Moreno, Michael R; Weiner, Bradley K; Tasciotti, Ennio

    2017-03-01

    Ventral hernia repair remains a major clinical need. Herein, we formulated a type I collagen/elastin crosslinked blend (CollE) for the fabrication of biomimetic meshes for ventral hernia repair. To evaluate the effect of architecture on the performance of the implants, CollE was formulated both as flat sheets (CollE Sheets) and porous scaffolds (CollE Scaffolds). The morphology, hydrophylicity and in vitro degradation were assessed by SEM, water contact angle and differential scanning calorimetry, respectively. The stiffness of the meshes was determined using a constant stretch rate uniaxial tensile test, and compared to that of native tissue. CollE Sheets and Scaffolds were tested in vitro with human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (h-BM-MSC), and finally implanted in a rat ventral hernia model. Neovascularization and tissue regeneration within the implants was evaluated at 6weeks, by histology, immunofluorescence, and q-PCR. It was found that CollE Sheets and Scaffolds were not only biomechanically sturdy enough to provide immediate repair of the hernia defect, but also promoted tissue restoration in only 6weeks. In fact, the presence of elastin enhanced the neovascularization in both sheets and scaffolds. Overall, CollE Scaffolds displayed mechanical properties more closely resembling those of native tissue, and induced higher gene expression of the entire marker genes tested, associated with de novo matrix deposition, angiogenesis, adipogenesis and skeletal muscles, compared to CollE Sheets. Altogether, this data suggests that the improved mechanical properties and bioactivity of CollE Sheets and Scaffolds make them valuable candidates for applications of ventral hernia repair.

  19. Testosterone promotes an anabolic increase in the rat female prostate (Skene's paraurethral gland) which acquires a male ventral prostate phenotype.

    PubMed

    Biancardi, Manoel F; Santos, Fernanda C A; Madi-Ravazzi, Liliam; Góes, Rejane M; Vilamaior, Patrícia S L; Felisbino, Sérgio L; Taboga, Sebastião R

    2010-12-01

    The female prostate (Skene's paraurethral gland) in the rat is morphologically similar to the ventral lobe of male adults and has been described in other rodent species and humans. Previous studies on prostate morphogenesis suggest that female Wistar rats (Rattus norvegicus) do not develop this gland due to the absence of testosterone during the embryonic and neonatal periods. On the other hand, studies conducted in our laboratory have shown that some females of this species can present an undeveloped but functional prostate. Recent studies on this gland have caused scientific interest because, besides being active in the processes of synthesis and secretion of prostatic material, it is also targeted by both malignant and benign lesions, mainly during senescence. Thus, this work aims to evaluate the structure of female prostate of adult rats (Rattus norvegicus) under normal conditions and under the effect of testosterone treatment and carry out comparative studies on the ventral prostate of young and adult male rats. Morphological and morphometric stereological analyses and immunocytochemical and ultrastructural studies were conducted. The results have shown that the prostate gland of rats exposed to androgen therapy have experienced intense growth, becoming more active in relation to synthesis and secretion. It may be concluded that the prostate in control adult female rats is morphologically very similar to the prostatic ventral lobe of young male rats. Besides, under androgenic action, the female prostate grows considerably and becomes similar to the prostatic ventral lobe in male adults. Copyright © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  20. Terazosin Treatment Induces Caspase-3 Expression in the Rat Ventral Prostate

    PubMed Central

    Papadopoulos, Georgios; Vlachodimitropoulos, Dimitrios; Kyroudi, Aspasia; Kouloukoussa, Mirsini; Perrea, Despina; Mitropoulos, Dionisios

    2013-01-01

    Background Quinazoline-based alpha1-adrenergic receptor antagonists may not act solely on smooth muscle contractility. We evaluated the in vivo effect of terazosin on the expression of caspase-3 in the rat ventral prostate. Methods Fifteen Wistar rats were treated with terazosin (1.2 mg/kg body weight, given orally every second day) for 120 days. Another 15 control animals received the same amount of distilled water. The expression of caspase-3 was assessed immunohistochemically in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections. Results Terazosin treatment did not affect prostate weight and histomorphology. In controls caspase-3 was expressed weakly and sporadically. In contrast, strong and weak expression was evident in 67% and 33% of the terazosin-treated specimens, respectively. Conclusions These findings implicate the induction of caspase-3 expression by terazosin as a potential molecular mechanism of its apoptotic action on prostate cells. PMID:23518907

  1. THE ROLE OF VENTRAL MIDLINE THALAMUS IN CHOLINERGIC-BASED RECOVERY IN THE AMNESTIC RAT

    PubMed Central

    Bobal, Michael G.; Savage, Lisa M.

    2014-01-01

    The thalamus is a critical node for several pathways involved in learning and memory. Damage to the thalamus by trauma, disease or malnourishment can impact the effectiveness of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and hippocampus (HPC) and lead to a profound amnesia state. Using the pyrithiamine-induced thiamine deficiency (PTD) rat model of human Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, we tested the hypothesis that co-infusion of the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor physostigmine across the PFC and HPC would recover spatial alternation performance in PTD rats. When cholinergic tone was increased by dual injections across the PFC-HPC, spontaneous alternation performance in PTD rats was recovered. In addition, we tested a second hypothesis that two ventral midline thalamic nuclei, the rhomboid nucleus and nucleus reuniens (Rh-Re), form a critical node needed for the recovery of function observed when cholinergic tone was increased across the PFC and HPC. By using the GABAA agonist muscimol to temporarily deactivate the Rh-Re the recovery of alternation behavior obtained in the PTD model by cholinergic stimulation across the PFC-HPC was blocked. In control pair-fed (PF) rats, inactivation of the Rh-Re impaired spontaneous alternation. However, when inactivation of the Rh-Re co-occurred with physostigmine infusions across the PFC-HPC, PF rats had normal performance. These results further demonstrate that the Rh-Re is critical in facilitating interactions between the HPC and PFC, but other redundant pathways also exist. PMID:25446352

  2. Early Activation of Ventral Hippocampus and Subiculum during Spontaneous Seizures in a Rat Model of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

    PubMed Central

    Toyoda, Izumi; Bower, Mark R.; Leyva, Fernando

    2013-01-01

    Temporal lobe epilepsy is the most common form of epilepsy in adults. The pilocarpine-treated rat model is used frequently to investigate temporal lobe epilepsy. The validity of the pilocarpine model has been challenged based largely on concerns that seizures might initiate in different brain regions in rats than in patients. The present study used 32 recording electrodes per rat to evaluate spontaneous seizures in various brain regions including the septum, dorsomedial thalamus, amygdala, olfactory cortex, dorsal and ventral hippocampus, substantia nigra, entorhinal cortex, and ventral subiculum. Compared with published results from patients, seizures in rats tended to be shorter, spread faster and more extensively, generate behavioral manifestations more quickly, and produce generalized convulsions more frequently. Similarities to patients included electrographic waveform patterns at seizure onset, variability in sites of earliest seizure activity within individuals, and variability in patterns of seizure spread. Like patients, the earliest seizure activity in rats was recorded most frequently within the hippocampal formation. The ventral hippocampus and ventral subiculum displayed the earliest seizure activity. Amygdala, olfactory cortex, and septum occasionally displayed early seizure latencies, but not above chance levels. Substantia nigra and dorsomedial thalamus demonstrated consistently late seizure onsets, suggesting their unlikely involvement in seizure initiation. The results of the present study reveal similarities in onset sites of spontaneous seizures in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy and pilocarpine-treated rats that support the model's validity. PMID:23825415

  3. Effects of vasopressin and related peptides on neurons of the rat lateral septum and ventral hippocampus.

    PubMed

    Urban, I J

    1998-01-01

    The effects of vasopressin (VP), VP fragments and propressophysin glycopeptide on neuronal activities in the septum-hippocampus complex of rats were studied in vitro and in vivo. The frequency of the hippocampus theta rhythm in Brattleboro rats homozygous for diabetes insipidus was significantly slower than that of heterozygous litter mates and normal rats. Intracerebroventricular micro-injection of des-glycine-amide vasopressin corrected for several hours the frequency deficit of the theta rhythm in the homozygous Brattleboro rats and the centrally administered VP slowed down theta rhythm in normal rats. Microinotophoretically administered VP excited single neurons in the lateral septum of ventral hippocampus, and/or facilitated the responses of these neurons to glutamate and to stimulation of the glutamatergic afferent fibers in the fimbria bundle. The excitatory effects of VP vanished within seconds after termination of the peptide administration, however, the peptide-induced enhancement of glutamate and syntatically induced excitations were sustained for up to 60 min after the peptide administration. In vitro, pM concentrations of VP, VP 4-8 and C-terminus glycopeptide of propresophysin facilitated for 30-60 min the glutamate-mediated EPSPs in neurons of the lateral septum or the ventral hippocampus. The EPSPs increase in the lateral septum neurons was not prevented by pretreatment with antagonist of the V1a type of the vasopressin receptor. The resting membrane potential and input resistance were not affected by the peptides. A low-frequency electrical stimulation in the diagonal Band of Broca or in the Bed nucleus of the stria terminals, sources of the vasopressinergic innervation of the septum, facilitated the negative wave of the filed potentials responses evoked in the lateral septum by stimulating the fimbria bundle fibers in control Long-Evans and Brattleboro rats heterozygous for diabetes insipidus. The field potential increase was sustained for several

  4. Muscarinic and alpha(1)-adrenergic mechanisms contribute to the spinal mediation of stimulation-induced antinociception from the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus in the rat.

    PubMed

    Dias, Quintino M; Crespilho, Simone F; Silveira, João Walter S; Prado, Wiliam A

    2009-05-01

    The effects of intraperitoneal (i.p.) or intrathecal (i.t.) injection of antagonists of acetylcholine, noradrenaline, serotonin, dopamine, opioids and GABA on stimulation-produced antinociception (SPA) from the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTg) of rats were studied using the tail-flick test. The electrical stimulation of the PPTg produced a strong and long-lasting increase in tail-flick latency. The intensity and duration of the effect were significantly reduced in rats pretreated with i.p. or i.t. atropine (a non-selective muscarinic cholinergic antagonist), or i.t. phenoxybenzamine or WB 4101 (non-selective and selective alpha(1)-adrenergic antagonists, respectively). Intraperitoneal phenoxybenzamine, i.p. or i.t. methysergide or naloxone (non-selective serotonin and opioid antagonists, respectively), or i.t. idazoxan (a selective alpha(2)-adrenergic antagonist) only reduced the duration of the effect. The duration of SPA from the PPTg was increased by i.t. phaclofen (a GABA(B) antagonist). The effect from the nucleus was not altered following i.t. bicuculline (a GABA(A) antagonist), or i.p. or i.t. mecamylamine, propranolol or haloperidol (non-selective nicotinic cholinergic, beta-adrenergic and dopaminergic antagonists, respectively). Thus, SPA from the PPTg involves the spinal activation of muscarinic and alpha(1)-adrenergic but not nicotinic cholinergic, beta-adrenergic and dopaminergic mechanisms. Serotonergic, endogenous opioid and alpha(2)-adrenergic mechanisms are involved in the duration but not in the intensity of the effect.

  5. The effect of low frequency stimulation of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus on basal ganglia in a rat model of Parkinson's disease.

    PubMed

    Park, Eunkyoung; Song, Inho; Jang, Dong Pyo; Kim, In Young

    2014-08-08

    The pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) has recently been introduced as an alternative target to the subthalamic nucleus (STN) or globus pallidus internus (GPi) for the treatment of advanced Parkinson's disease with severe and medically intractable axial symptoms such as gait and postural impairment. However, it is little known about how electrical stimulation of the PPN affects control of neuronal activities between the PPN and basal ganglia. We examined how low frequency stimulation of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTg) affects control of neuronal activities between the PPN and basal ganglia in 6-OHDA lesioned rats. In order to identify the effect of low frequency stimulation on the PPTg, neuronal activity in both the STN and substantia nigra par reticulata (SNr) were recorded and subjected to quantitative analysis, including analysis of firing rates and firing patterns. In this study, we found that the firing rates of the STN and SNr were suppressed during low frequency stimulation of the PPTg. However, the firing pattern, in contrast to the firing rate, did not exhibit significant changes in either the STN or SNr of 6-OHDA lesioned rats during low frequency stimulation of the PPTg. In addition, we also found that the firing rate of STN and SNr neurons displaying burst and random pattern were decreased by low frequency stimulation of PPTg, while the neurons displaying regular pattern were not affected. These results indicate that low frequency stimulation of the PPTg affects neuronal activity in both the STN and SNr, and may represent electrophysiological efficacy of low frequency PPN stimulation.

  6. Effects of caffeine or RX821002 in rats with a neonatal ventral hippocampal lesion

    PubMed Central

    Sandner, Guy; Angst, Marie-Josée; Guiberteau, Thierry; Guignard, Blandine; Nehlig, Astrid

    2014-01-01

    Rats with a neonatal ventral hippocampal lesion (NVHL) are used to model schizophrenia. They show enhanced locomotion and difficulties in learning after puberty. Such behavioral modifications are strengthened by dopaminergic psychostimulant drugs, which is also relevant for schizophrenia because illustrating its dopaminergic facet. But it remains questionable that only dopaminergic drugs elicit such effects. The behavioral effects could simply represent a non specific arousal, in which case NVHL rats should also be hyper-responsive to other vigilance enhancing drugs. We administered an adenosine (caffeine) or an adrenaline receptor antagonist, (RX821002) at doses documented to modify alertness of rats, respectively 5 mg/kg and 1 mg/kg. Rats were selected prior to the experiments using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Each group contained typical and similar NVHL lesions. They were compared to sham lesioned rats. We evaluated locomotion in a new environment and the capacity to remember a visual or acoustic cue that announced the occurrence of food. Both caffeine and RX82100 enhanced locomotion in the novel environment, particularly in NVHL rats. But, RX82100 had a biphasic effect on locomotion, consisting of an initial reduction preceding the enhancement. It was independent of the lesion. Caffeine did not modify the learning performance of NVHL rats. But, RX821002 was found to facilitate learning. Patients tend to intake much more caffeine than healthy people, which has been interpreted as a means to counter some cognitive deficits. This idea was not validated with the present results. But adrenergic drugs could be helpful for attenuating some of their cognitive deficits. PMID:24478661

  7. Influence of Chronic Amphetamine Treatment and Acute Withdrawal on Serotonin Synthesis and Clearance Mechanisms in the Rat Ventral Hippocampus

    PubMed Central

    Barr, Jeffrey L.; Scholl, Jamie L.; Solanki, Rajeshwari R.; Watt, Michael J.; Lowry, Christopher A.; Renner, Kenneth J.; Forster, Gina L.

    2012-01-01

    Amphetamine withdrawal in both humans and rats is associated with increased anxiety states, which are thought to contribute to drug relapse. Serotonin in the ventral hippocampus mediates affective behaviors, and reduced serotonin levels in this region are observed in rat models of high anxiety, including during withdrawal from chronic amphetamine. This goal of this study was to understand the mechanisms by which reduced ventral hippocampus serotonergic neurotransmission occurs during amphetamine withdrawal. Serotonin synthesis (assessed by accumulation of serotonin precursor as a measure of the capacity of in vivo tryptophan hydroxylase activity), expression of serotonergic transporters, and in vivo serotonergic clearance using in vivo microdialysis, were assessed in the ventral hippocampus in adult male Sprague Dawley rats at 24 hours withdrawal from chronic amphetamine. Overall, results showed that diminished extracellular serotonin at 24 hours withdrawal from chronic amphetamine was not accompanied by a change in capacity for serotonin synthesis (in vivo tryptophan hydroxylase activity), nor serotonin transporter expression or function in the ventral hippocampus, but instead was associated with increased expression and function of organic cation transporters (low affinity, high capacity serotonin transporters). These findings suggest that 24 hours withdrawal from chronic amphetamine reduces the availability of extracellular serotonin in the ventral hippocampus by increasing organic cation transporter-mediated serotonin clearance, which may represent at future pharmacological target for reversing anxiety states during drug withdrawal. PMID:23157166

  8. Effects of bilateral vestibular deafferentation in rat on hippocampal theta response to somatosensory stimulation, acetylcholine release, and cholinergic neurons in the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus.

    PubMed

    Aitken, Phillip; Zheng, Yiwen; Smith, Paul F

    2017-03-27

    Vestibular dysfunction has been shown to cause spatial memory impairment. Neurophysiological studies indicate that bilateral vestibular loss (BVL), in particular, is associated with an impairment of the response of hippocampal place cells and theta rhythm. However, the specific neural pathways through which vestibular information reaches the hippocampus are yet to be fully elucidated. The aim of the present study was to further investigate the hypothesised 'theta-generating pathway' from the brainstem vestibular nucleus to the hippocampus. BVL, and in some cases, unilateral vestibular loss (UVL), induced by intratympanic sodium arsanilate injections in rats, were used to investigate the effects of vestibular loss on somatosensory-induced type 2 theta rhythm, acetylcholine (ACh) release in the hippocampus, and the number of cholinergic neurons in the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTg), an important part of the theta-generating pathway. Under urethane anaesthesia, BVL was found to cause a significant increase in the maximum power of the type 2 theta (3-6 Hz) frequency band compared to UVL and sham animals. Rats with BVL generally exhibited a lower basal level of ACh release than sham rats; however, this difference was not statistically significant. The PPTg of BVL rats exhibited significantly more choline-acetyltransferase (ChAT)-positive neurons than that of sham animals, as did the contralateral PPTg of UVL animals; however, the number of ChAT-positive neurons on the ipsilateral side of UVL animals was not significantly different from sham animals. The results of these studies indicate that parts of the theta-generating pathway undergo a significant reorganisation following vestibular loss, which suggests that this pathway is important for the interaction between the vestibular system and the hippocampus.

  9. A rat model of radiofrequency ablation of trigeminal innervation via a ventral approach with stereotaxic surgery.

    PubMed

    Wong, Edward K; Kinyamu, Richard D; Graff, Jordan M; Chak, Garrick; Wong, Monique N; Agnic, Heidi; Kang, Eugene; Lin, Susan; Jain, Vinita; Chuck, Roy S

    2004-09-01

    Neurotrophic keratopathy (NK), a consequence of sensory denervation of the cornea, must be better understood in order to develop new approaches to therapy. The purpose of this study was to create a rat model for neurotrophic keratopathy by denervating the trigeminal nerve through a ventral approach with stereotaxic surgery. Stereotaxic coordinates were measured in 46 male Sprague Dawley rat cadavers for localization of V1. After further refining the coordinates in nine live animals, radiofrequency ablation was chosen as an effective method of disrupting the innervation to the cornea. Fifty-two live rats were treated with radiofrequency ablation to define the anatomical localization of the lesion by utilizing gross and histopathological studies. A gross lesion of the trigeminal nerve and/or ganglion was observed in 47 (90%) of the 52 animals. Histopathological studies revealed that all 52 animals had anatomical damage of the trigeminal innervation to the eye. Low mortality and little morbidity were observed in these animals. We have developed a rat model for neurotrophic keratopathy that is simple to produce, accurate in creating a lesion by utilizing stereotaxic techniques combined with radiofrequency ablation, and successful in decreasing morbidity and mortality.

  10. Rewarded associative and instrumental conditioning after neonatal ventral hippocampus lesions in rats.

    PubMed

    Macedo, Carlos Eduardo; Sandner, Guy; Angst, Marie-Josée; Guiberteau, Thierry

    2008-06-18

    Sprague Dawley rats were submitted to bilateral ventral hippocampus lesions 7 days after birth. This corresponds to the Lipska and Weinberger's procedure for modeling schizophrenia. The aim of the present work was to test the learning capacity of such rats with an associative Pavlovian and an instrumental learning paradigm, both methods using reward outcome (food, sucrose or polycose). The associative paradigm comprised also a second learning test with reversed learning contingencies. The instrumental conditioning comprised an extinction test under outcome devaluation conditions. Neonatally lesioned rats, once adults (over 60 days of age), showed a conditioning deficit in the associative paradigm but not in the instrumental one. Lesioned rats remained able to adapt as readily as controls to the reversed learning contingency and were as sensitive as controls to the devaluation of outcome. Such observations indicate that the active access (instrumental learning) to a reward could have compensated for the deficit observed under the "passive" stimulus-reward associative learning condition. This feature is compared to the memory management impairments observed in clinical patients.

  11. Influence of spaceflight on succinate dehydrogenase activity and soma size of rat ventral horn neurons

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ishihara, A.; Ohira, Y.; Roy, R. R.; Nagaoka, S.; Sekiguchi, C.; Hinds, W. E.; Edgerton, V. R.

    1996-01-01

    Succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) activities and soma cross-sectional areas (CSA) of neurons in the dorsolateral region of the ventral horn at the L5 segmental level of the spinal cord in the rat were determined after 14 days of spaceflight and after 9 days of recovery on earth. The results were compared to those in age-matched ground-based control rats. Spinal cords were quick-frozen, and the SDH activity and CSA of a sample of neurons with a visible nucleus were determined using a digitizer and a computer-assisted image analysis system. An inverse relationship between CSA and SDH activity of neurons was observed in all groups of rats. No change in mean CSA or mean SDH activity or in the size distribution of neurons was observed following spaceflight or recovery. However, there was a selective decrease in the SDH activity of neurons with soma CSA between 500 and 800 microns2 in the flight rats, and this effect persisted for at least 9 days following return to 1 g. It remains to be determined whether the selected population of motoneurons or the specific motor pools affected by spaceflight may be restricted to specific muscles.

  12. Pitfalls of invasive blood pressure monitoring using the caudal ventral artery in rats

    PubMed Central

    Ohta, Hiroki; Ohki, Takao; Kanaoka, Yuji; Koizumi, Makoto; Okano, Hirotaka J.

    2017-01-01

    During rodent experiments, the caudal ventral artery (CVA) is useful for blood pressure (BP) measurement. However, CVA measurements may not reflect the true BP. This study was performed to verify the site-specific accuracy of invasive arterial BP monitoring during surgery in rats. Invasive arterial BP was simultaneously measured in rats via the CVA and the common carotid artery (CCA). The BP values were analysed while the rats were subjected to cooling of the head or tail. Additionally, the rats underwent digital subtraction angiography and histological examination of these arteries. The pressure difference was more significant in the tail cooling group than in the head cooling group. Digital subtraction angiography revealed that angiospasms occurred more frequently in the CVA than in the CCA upon cooling. This phenomenon was supported by histological analysis, which showed that the tunica media area was significantly larger in the CVA than in the CCA. CVA pressure is susceptible to environmental changes and may not accurately reflect the true BP without a strictly controlled laboratory environment. Therefore, understanding the pitfalls of this method is necessary to avoid cooling of the tail during BP measurement. PMID:28198822

  13. Sleep Deprivation Alters Rat Ventral Prostate Morphology, Leading to Glandular Atrophy: A Microscopic Study Contrasted with the Hormonal Assays

    PubMed Central

    Venâncio, Daniel P.; Andersen, Monica L.; Vilamaior, Patricia S. L.; Santos, Fernanda C.; Zager, Adriano; Tufik, Sérgio; Taboga, Sebastião R.; De Mello, Marco T.

    2012-01-01

    We investigated the effect of 96 h paradoxical sleep deprivation (PSD) and 21-day sleep restriction (SR) on prostate morphology using stereological assays in male rats. After euthanasia, the rat ventral prostate was removed, weighed, and prepared for conventional light microscopy. Microscopic analysis of the prostate reveals that morphology of this gland was altered after 96 h of PSD and 21 days of SR, with the most important alterations occurring in the epithelium and stroma in the course of both procedures compared with the control group. Both 96 h PSD and 21-day SR rats showed lower serum testosterone and higher corticosterone levels than control rats. The significance of our result referring to the sleep deprivation was responsible for deep morphological alterations in ventral prostate tissue, like to castration microscopic modifications. This result is due to the marked alterations in hormonal status caused by PSD and SR. PMID:22927719

  14. Activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling in the pedunculopontine tegmental (PPT) cells is involved in the maintenance of sleep in rats

    PubMed Central

    Desarnaud, Frank; Macone, Brian W.; Datta, Subimal

    2010-01-01

    Considerable evidence suggests that receptor-mediated excitation and inhibition of brainstem pedunculopontine tegmental (PPT) neurons are critically involved in the regulation of sleep-wake states. However, the molecular mechanisms operating within the PPT controlling sleep-wake states remain relatively unknown. This study was designed to examine sleep-wake state-associated extracellular-signal-regulated kinase 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) transduction changes in the PPT of freely moving rats. The results of this study demonstrate that the levels of ERK1/2 expression, phosphorylation, and activity in the PPT increased with increased amount of time spent in sleep. The sleep-associated increases in ERK1/2 expression, phosphorylation, and activity were not observed in the cortex, or in the immediately adjacent medial pontine reticular formation. The results of regression analyses revealed significant positive relationships between the levels of ERK1/2 expression, phosphorylation, and activity in the PPT and amounts of time spent in slow-wave sleep, rapid eye movement sleep, and total sleep. Additionally, these regression analyses revealed significant negative relationships between the levels of ERK1/2 expression, phosphorylation, and activity in the PPT and amounts of time spent in wakefulness. Collectively, these results, for the first time, suggest that the increased ERK1/2 signaling in the PPT is associated with maintenance of sleep via suppression of wakefulness. PMID:21166678

  15. Neuronal hyperexcitability in the ventral posterior thalamus of neuropathic rats: modality selective effects of pregabalin

    PubMed Central

    Dickenson, Anthony H.

    2016-01-01

    Neuropathic pain represents a substantial clinical challenge; understanding the underlying neural mechanisms and back-translation of therapeutics could aid targeting of treatments more effectively. The ventral posterior thalamus (VP) is the major termination site for the spinothalamic tract and relays nociceptive activity to the somatosensory cortex; however, under neuropathic conditions, it is unclear how hyperexcitability of spinal neurons converges onto thalamic relays. This study aimed to identify neural substrates of hypersensitivity and the influence of pregabalin on central processing. In vivo electrophysiology was performed to record from VP wide dynamic range (WDR) and nociceptive-specific (NS) neurons in anesthetized spinal nerve-ligated (SNL), sham-operated, and naive rats. In neuropathic rats, WDR neurons had elevated evoked responses to low- and high-intensity punctate mechanical stimuli, dynamic brushing, and innocuous and noxious cooling, but less so to heat stimulation, of the receptive field. NS neurons in SNL rats also displayed increased responses to noxious punctate mechanical stimulation, dynamic brushing, noxious cooling, and noxious heat. Additionally, WDR, but not NS, neurons in SNL rats exhibited substantially higher rates of spontaneous firing, which may correlate with ongoing pain. The ratio of WDR-to-NS neurons was comparable between SNL and naive/sham groups, suggesting relatively few NS neurons gain sensitivity to low-intensity stimuli leading to a “WDR phenotype.” After neuropathy was induced, the proportion of cold-sensitive WDR and NS neurons increased, supporting the suggestion that changes in frequency-dependent firing and population coding underlie cold hypersensitivity. In SNL rats, pregabalin inhibited mechanical and heat responses but not cold-evoked or elevated spontaneous activity. PMID:27098028

  16. Potential contributions of efferents from medial prefrontal cortex to neural activation following sexual behavior in the male rat.

    PubMed

    Balfour, M E; Brown, J L; Yu, L; Coolen, L M

    2006-01-01

    The limbic system plays an important role in the regulation of sexual motivation and reward. At the core of this system is an interconnected mesocorticolimbic circuit, comprised of the ventral tegmental area, nucleus accumbens and medial prefrontal cortex. Previously, our laboratory showed that sexual behavior causes neural activation in the ventral tegmental area of male rats. The main goal of this study is to identify afferent inputs to ventral tegmental area neurons that may contribute to their activation during sexual behavior. Hence, the anterograde tracer biotinylated dextran amine was injected into subregions of the rat medial prefrontal cortex, which is known to project to the ventral tegmental area. Visualization of biotinylated dextran amine-labeled axons was combined with immunostaining for sex-induced Fos expression. Quantitative analysis showed that the majority of sex-activated ventral tegmental area neurons receive putative contacts from the infralimbic and prelimbic--but not the anterior cingulate--subregions of the medial prefrontal cortex. Thus, inputs from infralimbic area and prelimbic are in an anatomical position to provide a major source of input during sexual behavior. A second goal of this study was to determine if the medial prefrontal cortex projects to sex-activated neurons in other brain regions important for sexual behavior and motivation. Infralimbic area and prelimbic area sent projections to nucleus accumbens, medial preoptic area, principal nucleus of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, basolateral amygdala, and parvocellular subparafasicular thalamic nucleus. Thus, the infralimbic and prelimbic subregions of the medial prefrontal cortex may also influence sexual behavior and motivation via brain regions other than the ventral tegmental area.

  17. Haloperidol and clozapine affect social behaviour in rats postnatally lesioned in the ventral hippocampus.

    PubMed

    Becker, Axel; Grecksch, Gisela

    2003-08-01

    Neonatal ibotenic acid lesion of the ventral hippocampus results in altered patterns of social behaviour. After puberty, lesioned animals spent less time in social interaction and the nonaggressive/aggressive behaviour ratio shifted towards increased aggressiveness. In this study, the effects on social behaviour of the neuroleptic drugs haloperidol (HAL) and clozapine (CLO) after acute and subchronic treatment were studied. Seven-day-old rats were lesioned and social behaviour was tested at the age of 13 weeks. Drug effects were tested after acute (HAL 0.025 mg/kg, CLO 1.0 mg/kg) and subchronic (10 injections, HAL 0.075 mg/kg, CLO 5.0 mg/kg) administration. For comparison, diazepam (DZP, 0.5 mg/kg) was used in the acute experiment. After acute administration, DZP had no effect on social behaviour in sham-lesioned rats, but nonaggressive behaviour increased significantly in lesioned animals. CLO and HAL did reduce the time sham-lesioned rats spent in social contact, and CLO also increased % nonaggressive behaviour in lesioned rats. Here, HAL had no effect. Subchronic administration did not alter social behaviour in sham-lesioned animals. However, CLO increased the time lesioned animals spent in social interaction, whereas HAL had an effect on nonaggressive behaviour. The results of this study indicate that the lesion model is sensitive to differentiated effects of classical neuroleptic drugs such as HAL and atypical neuroleptic drugs like CLO. It might be a useful tool in the search for potential neuroleptic drugs.

  18. Neonatal ventral hippocampus lesion alters the dopamine content in the limbic regions in postpubertal rats.

    PubMed

    Alquicer, Glenda; Silva-Gómez, Adriana B; Peralta, Fernando; Flores, Gonzalo

    2004-04-01

    The neonatal ventral Hippocampus (nVH) lesion in rats has been used as a model to test the hypothesis that early neurodevelopmental abnormalities lead to behavioral changes putatively linked to schizophrenia. The schizophrenic patients tend to social isolation. In addition, considerable evidence from behavioral and neurochemistry studies strongly implicate the dopamine (DA) system and the medial part of the prefrontal cortex (mPFC) in the pathophysiology of the social isolation syndrome. In order to assess effects of the postweaning social isolation (pwSI) on the DA system of the nVH lesions, we investigated the DA content and its metabolite, DOPAC in different limbic subregions in rats postpubertally at postnatal day (P) 78 following nVH lesions at P7 with and without pwSI for 8 weeks. The DA and DOPAC were measured by HPLC with electrochemical detection. The nVH lesion induces increase in the DA content in the hippocampus with no effect in the mPFC, nucleus accumbens and caudate-putamen, while the pwSI induces major increase in the DA content in limbic subregions such as the mPFC, nucleus accumbens and hipocampus with opposite effect in the caudate-putamen. These results suggest that while pwSI has an effect in the postpubertal content of DA in both sham and nVH lesions in rats, the nVH-lesioned rats appear to be affected to a greater extent than the sham animals underscoring the influence of pwSI differences in the development of behaviors in the nVH-lesioned animals.

  19. Stimulation of androgen-dependent gene expression by the adrenal precursors dehydroepiandrosterone and androstenedione in the rat ventral prostate

    SciTech Connect

    Labrie, C.; Simard, J.; Zhao, H.F.; Belanger, A.; Pelletier, G.; Labrie, F. )

    1989-06-01

    Androgens play a major role in the development, growth, and function of accessory sexual organs, especially the prostate. However, the testis is not the sole source of circulating androgens in man, since the adrenal gland secretes dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), DHEA sulfate, and androstenedione (delta 4-dione) in large quantities. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of plasma concentrations of DHEA and delta 4-dione similar to those found in adult man on sensitive and specific markers of androgen action in the rat ventral prostate. In addition to ventral prostate weight, we have measured the steady state levels of the mRNAs encoding the C1 component of rat prostatic binding protein (PBP-C1) and spermine-binding protein (SBP) using 35S-labeled cDNA probes for in situ hybridization. One week after castration, ventral prostate weight fell 84%, while prostatic 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and androgen-dependent mRNAs were undetectable. When administered via Silastic implants to castrated adult rats for 1 week, plasma concentrations of 1.37 +/- 0.06 ng/ml DHEA or 0.43 +/- 0.08 ng/ml delta 4-dione independently caused increases in ventral prostate weight to 33% and 65% of normal values, respectively. The same plasma levels of DHEA and delta 4-dione resulted in high intraprostatic levels of DHT to 1.19 +/- 0.34 and 3.66 +/- 0.89 ng/g tissue, respectively. Furthermore, DHEA caused an increase in the steady state levels of PBP-C1 and SBP mRNAs to 50% and 57% of the normal state, respectively, while delta 4-dione caused increases corresponding to 80% and 119% of control values, respectively. Castrated adult rats receiving testosterone at a concentration of 1.66 +/- 0.37 ng/ml plasma maintained normal ventral prostate weight and gene expression levels.

  20. Association of contextual cues with morphine reward increases neural and synaptic plasticity in the ventral hippocampus of rats.

    PubMed

    Alvandi, Mina Sadighi; Bourmpoula, Maria; Homberg, Judith R; Fathollahi, Yaghoub

    2017-09-22

    Drug addiction is associated with aberrant memory and permanent functional changes in neural circuits. It is known that exposure to drugs like morphine is associated with positive emotional states and reward-related memory. However, the underlying mechanisms in terms of neural plasticity in the ventral hippocampus, a region involved in associative memory and emotional behaviors, are not fully understood. Therefore, we measured adult neurogenesis, dendritic spine density and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and TrkB mRNA expression as parameters for synaptic plasticity in the ventral hippocampus. Male Sprague Dawley rats were subjected to the CPP (conditioned place preference) paradigm and received 10 mg/kg morphine. Half of the rats were used to evaluate neurogenesis by immunohistochemical markers Ki67 and doublecortin (DCX). The other half was used for Golgi staining to measure spine density and real-time quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction to assess BDNF/TrkB expression levels. We found that morphine-treated rats exhibited more place conditioning as compared with saline-treated rats and animals that were exposed to the CPP without any injections. Locomotor activity did not change significantly. Morphine-induced CPP significantly increased the number of Ki67 and DCX-labeled cells in the ventral dentate gyrus. Additionally, we found increased dendritic spine density in both CA1 and dentate gyrus and an enhancement of BDNF/TrkB mRNA levels in the whole ventral hippocampus. Ki67, DCX and spine density were significantly correlated with CPP scores. In conclusion, we show that morphine-induced reward-related memory is associated with neural and synaptic plasticity changes in the ventral hippocampus. Such neural changes could underlie context-induced drug relapse. © 2017 Society for the Study of Addiction.

  1. Lesions of the ventral hippocampus attenuate the acquisition but not expression of sign-tracking behavior in rats.

    PubMed

    Fitzpatrick, Christopher J; Creeden, Justin F; Perrine, Shane A; Morrow, Jonathan D

    2016-11-01

    Individual variation in the attribution of motivational salience to reward-related cues is believed to underlie addiction vulnerability. Pavlovian conditioned approach measures individual variation in motivational salience by identifying rats that are attracted to and motivated by reward cues (sign-trackers) or motivationally fixed on the reward itself (goal-trackers). Previously, it has been demonstrated that sign-trackers are more vulnerable to addiction-like behavior. Moreover, sign-trackers release more dopamine in the nucleus accumbens than goal-trackers in response to reward-related cues, and sign- but not goal-tracking behavior is dopamine-dependent. In the present study, we investigated whether the ventral hippocampus, a potent driver of dopaminergic activity in the nucleus accumbens, modulates the acquisition and expression of Pavlovian conditioned approach behavior. In Experiment 1, lesions of the ventral, but not dorsal or total hippocampus, decreased sign-tracking behavior. In Experiment 2, lesions of the ventral hippocampus did not affect the expression of sign- or goal-tracking behaviors nor conditioned reinforcement. In addition, temporary inactivation of the ventral subiculum, the main output pathway of the ventral hippocampus, did not affect the expression of sign- or goal-tracking behaviors. High-pressure liquid chromatography of nucleus accumbens tissue punches revealed that ventral hippocampal lesions decreased levels of homovanillic acid and the homovanillic acid/dopamine ratio (a marker of dopamine release and metabolism) in only sign-trackers, and decreased accumbal norepinephrine levels in both sign- and goal-trackers. These results suggest that the ventral hippocampus is important for the acquisition but not expression of sign-tracking behavior, possibly as a result of altered dopamine and norepinephrine in the nucleus accumbens. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  2. Chronic deep brain stimulation of the rat ventral medial prefrontal cortex disrupts hippocampal-prefrontal coherence.

    PubMed

    Insel, Nathan; Pilkiw, Maryna; Nobrega, José N; Hutchison, William D; Takehara-Nishiuchi, Kaori; Hamani, Clement

    2015-07-01

    Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subgenual cingulate gyrus (SCG) has been used to treat patients with treatment-resistant depression. As in humans, DBS applied to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex of rats induces antidepressant-like responses. Physiological interactions between structures that play a role in depression and antidepressant treatment are still unknown. The present study examined the effect of DBS on inter-region communication by measuring the coherence of local field potentials in the rat infralimbic cortex (IL; homologue of the SCG) and one of its major afferents, the ventral hippocampus (VH). Rats received daily IL DBS treatment (100 μA, 90 μs, 130 Hz; 8h/day). Recordings were conducted in unrestrained, behaving animals on the day before treatment, after 1 and 10 days of treatment, and 10 days stimulation offset. VH-IL coherence in the 2-4 Hz range was reduced in DBS-treated animals compared with shams after 10 days, but not after only 1 day of treatment. No effect of DBS was observed in the 6-10 Hz (theta) range, where coherence was generally high and could be further evoked with a loud auditory stimulus. Finally, coherence was not affected by fluoxetine (10mg/kg), suggesting that the effects of DBS were not likely mediated by increased serotonin levels. While these data support the hypothesis that DBS disrupts communication between regions important for expectation-based control of emotion, they also suggest that lasting physiological effects require many days of treatment and, furthermore, may be specific to lower-frequency patterns, the nature and scope of which await further investigation.

  3. Anatomic, intrinsic, and synaptic properties of dorsal and ventral division neurons in rat medial geniculate body.

    PubMed

    Bartlett, E L; Smith, P H

    1999-05-01

    Anatomic, intrinsic, and synaptic properties of dorsal and ventral division neurons in rat medial geniculate body. Presently little is known about what basic synaptic and cellular mechanisms are employed by thalamocortical neurons in the two main divisions of the auditory thalamus to elicit their distinct responses to sound. Using intracellular recording and labeling methods, we characterized anatomic features, membrane properties, and synaptic inputs of thalamocortical neurons in the dorsal (MGD) and ventral (MGV) divisions in brain slices of rat medial geniculate body. Quantitative analysis of dendritic morphology demonstrated that tufted neurons in both divisions had shorter dendrites, smaller dendritic tree areas, more profuse branching, and a greater dendritic polarization compared with stellate neurons, which were only found in MGD. Tufted neuron dendritic polarization was not as strong or consistent as earlier Golgi studies suggested. MGV and MGD cells had similar intrinsic properties except for an increased prevalence of a depolarizing sag potential in MGV neurons. The sag was the only intrinsic property correlated with cell morphology, seen only in tufted neurons in either division. Many MGV and MGD neurons received excitatory and inhibitory inferior colliculus (IC) inputs (designated IN/EX or EX/IN depending on excitation/inhibition sequence). However, a significant number only received excitatory inputs (EX/O) and a few only inhibitory (IN/O). Both MGV and MGD cells displayed similar proportions of response combinations, but suprathreshold EX/O responses only were observed in tufted neurons. Excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs and IPSPs) had multiple distinguishable amplitude levels implying convergence. Excitatory inputs activated alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors the relative contributions of which were variable. For IN/EX cells with suprathreshold inputs

  4. Electron microscopic localization of M2-muscarinic receptors in cholinergic and noncholinergic neurons of the laterodorsal tegmental and pedunculopontine nuclei of the rat mesopontine tegmentum.

    PubMed

    Garzón, Miguel; Pickel, Virginia M

    2016-10-15

    Muscarinic m2 receptors (M2Rs) are implicated in autoregulatory control of cholinergic output neurons located within the pedunculopontine (PPT) and laterodorsal tegmental (LTD) nuclei of the mesopontine tegmentum (MPT). However, these nuclei contain many noncholinergic neurons in which activation of M2R heteroceptors may contribute significantly to the decisive role of the LTD and PPT in sleep-wakefulness. We examined the electron microscopic dual immunolabeling of M2Rs and the vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VAchT) in the MPT of rat brain to identify the potential sites for M2R activation. M2R immunogold labeling was predominately seen in somatodendritic profiles throughout the PPT/LTD complex. In somata, M2R immunogold particles were often associated with Golgi lamellae and cytoplasmic endomembrannes, but were rarely in contact with the plasma membrane, as was commonly seen in dendrites. Approximately 36% of the M2R-labeled somata and 16% of the more numerous M2R-labeled dendrites coexpressed VAchT. M2R and M2R/VAchT-labeled dendritic profiles received synapses from inhibitory- and excitatory-type axon terminals, over 88% of which were unlabeled and others contained exclusively M2R or VAchT immunoreactivity. In axonal profiles M2R immunogold was localized to plasmalemmal and cytoplasmic regions and showed a similar distribution in many VAchT-negative glial profiles. These results provide ultrastructural evidence suggestive of somatic endomembrane trafficking of M2Rs, whose activation serves to regulate the postsynaptic excitatory and inhibitory responses in dendrites of cholinergic and noncholinergic neurons in the MPT. They also suggest the possibility that M2Rs in this brain region mediate the effects of acetylcholine on the release of other neurotransmitters and on glial signaling. J. Comp. Neurol. 524:3084-3103, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  5. Physiological properties of periodontal mechanosensitive neurones in the posteromedial ventral nucleus of rat thalamus.

    PubMed

    Tabata, T; Yamaki, A; Takahashi, Y; Hayashi, H

    2002-09-01

    Unitary discharges of periodontal mechanosensitive (PM) neurones responding to mechanical tooth stimulation were recorded from the posteromedial ventral nucleus (VPM) of rat thalamus. PM neurones are distributed in the ventromedial area in the rostral two-thirds of the VPM nucleus. Maxillary and mandibular tooth-sensitive neurones are arranged in dorsoventral sequence. Of the PM neurones, 36% were slowly adapting to pressure applied to the tooth and 67% were rapidly adapting. The majority of PM units were sensitive to the contralateral incisor tooth. Response magnitudes of the slowly adapting neurones varied with stimulus direction and were directionally selective to mechanical tooth stimulation. The optimal stimulus direction was labiolingual or linguolabial. Rapidly adapting neurones were directionally non-selective to tooth stimulation. The threshold for mechanical stimulation was <0.05 N. Mean response latencies evoked by electrical stimulation of the peripheral receptive fields were 4.6 ms in the slowly adapting neurones and 5.8 ms in the rapidly adapting neurones.

  6. Acidic-phosphoprotein phosphatase activity of rat ventral prostate nuclei: apparent lack of effect of androgens.

    PubMed

    Wilson, M J; Ahmed, K; Fischbach, T J

    1978-08-03

    A protein phosphatase activity has been demonstrated in nuclei of rat ventral prostate utilizing 32P-labelled phosvitin as a model acidic phosphoprotein substrate. This phosphoprotein phosphatase has a pH optimum of 6.7, is unaffected by the sulphydryl protecting agent 2-mercaptoethanol, and requires a divalent cation for maximal activity. Of the various divalent cations tested, Mg2+ is the most effective in reactivating the EDTA-inhibited enzyme. The phosphatase is inhibited by sodium flouride, sodium oxalate, N-ethylmaleimide, ATP and ADP but is relatively insensitive to ammonium molybdate. Increased ionic strength of the reaction medium also causes a reduction in the enzyme activity, e.g., by 48% at 200 mM sodium chloride. The activity of the acidic phosphoprotein phosphatase did not change significantly at 48 h or 96 h post-orchiectomy when expressed per unit of nuclear protein. However, it is reduced by approx. 30% at these times after castration if based on DNA content. The decline in activity per nucleus reflects the decrease in the realtive nuclear protein content observed at 48 h or 96 h post-orchiectomy. This suggests that the decline in the phosphorylation of prostatic nuclear acidic proteins which occurs upon androgen withdrawal is not due to increased nuclear phosphatase activity.

  7. Postnatal developmental changes in activation profiles of the respiratory neuronal network in the rat ventral medulla

    PubMed Central

    Oku, Yoshitaka; Masumiya, Haruko; Okada, Yasumasa

    2007-01-01

    Two putative respiratory rhythm generators (RRGs), the para-facial respiratory group (pFRG) and the pre-Bötzinger complex (preBötC), have been identified in the neonatal rodent brainstem. To elucidate their functional roles during the neonatal period, we evaluated developmental changes of these RRGs by optical imaging using a voltage-sensitive dye. Optical signals, recorded from the ventral medulla of brainstem–spinal cord preparations of neonatal (P0–P4) rats (n = 44), were analysed by a cross correlation method. With development during the first few postnatal days, the respiratory-related activity in the pFRG reduced and shifted from a preinspiratory (P0–P1) to an inspiratory (P2–P4) pattern, whereas preBötC activity remained unchanged. The μ-opioid agonist [d-Ala(2),N-Me-Phe(4),Gly(5)-ol]-enkephalin (DAMGO) augmented preinspiratory activity in the pFRG, while the μ-opioid antagonist naloxone induced changes in spatiotemporal activation profiles that closely mimicked the developmental changes. These results are consistent with the recently proposed hypothesis by Janczewski and Feldman that the pFRG is activated to compensate for the depression of the preBötC by perinatal opiate surge. We conclude that significant reorganization of the respiratory neuronal network, characterized by a reduction of preinspiratory activity in the pFRG, occurs at P1–P2 in rats. The changes in spatiotemporal activation profiles of the pFRG neurones may reflect changes in the mode of coupling of the two respiratory rhythm generators. PMID:17884928

  8. Dendritic morphology of neurons in prefrontal cortex and ventral hippocampus of rats with neonatal amygdala lesion.

    PubMed

    Vázquez-Roque, Rubén Antonio; Solis, Oscar; Camacho-Abrego, Israel; Rodríguez-Moreno, Antonio; Cruz, Fidel De La; Zamudio, Sergio; Flores, Gonzalo

    2012-05-01

    Neonatal basolateral amygdala (nBLA) lesions in rats have been widely used as a neurodevelopmental model that mimics schizophrenia-like behaviors. Recently, we reported that nBLA lesions result in significant decreases in the dendritic spine number of layer 3 prefrontal cortex (PFC) pyramidal cells and medium spiny neurons of the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), which all changes after puberty. At present, we aimed to evaluate the effect of this lesion in pyramidal neurons of CA1 of the ventral hippocampus (VH) and layer 5 of the PFC. In order to assess the effects of nBLA lesions on the dendritic morphology of the PFC and VH neurons, we carried out nBLA lesions in rats on postnatal day (PD) 7, and then we studied the dendritic morphology of these two limbic subregions at prepubertal (PD35) and postpubertal (PD60) ages. Dendritic characteristics were measured by Golgi-Cox procedure followed by Sholl analysis. We also evaluated the effects of nBLA lesions on the prepulse inhibition (PPI) and acoustic startle responses. The nBLA lesion induced a significant increase in dendritic length of layer 5 pyramidal neurons of the PFC at both ages, with a decrease in the dendritic spines density after puberty. The spine density of CA1 VH pyramidal neurons showed significant decreases at both ages. PPI was decreased in adulthood in the animals with an nBLA lesion. These results show that an nBLA lesion alters the dendritic morphology at the level of the PFC and VH in distinct ways before puberty, suggesting a disconnection between these limbic structures at an early age, and increasing our understanding of the implications of the VH in early amygdala dysfunction in schizophrenia. Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  9. Effects of naloxone and nalmefene in rat spinal cord injury induced by the ventral compression technique.

    PubMed

    Benzel, E C; Khare, V; Fowler, M R

    1992-03-01

    The neural injury prevention capabilities of narcotic antagonists have previously been reported. Of the available narcotic antagonists, naloxone has been the most widely studied. Other agents with higher potency, longer half-lives, and greater specificity, however, may be more desirable for the prevention of the "secondary injury" following a primary neural insult. The relative neural injury prevention efficacies of the various narcotic antagonists is not known. The establishment of the relative effectiveness of these drugs is warranted and is of potential clinical importance. Therefore, a study was undertaken to compare the effects of the two narcotic antagonists, naloxone and nalmefene, with respect to their neuro-protective efficacy following experimental spinal cord injury (SCI) in rats. Ninety adult Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into three groups--control; naloxone (2 mg/kg i.p., 45 min following injury); and nalmefene (0.1 mg/kg i.p., 45 min following injury)--following lesioning with the ventral SCI technique. Results were evaluated by the inclined-plane technique and neurologic examination at 1 day and 1 week following injury. Histomorphological evaluation of the injured segment of spinal cord was performed following euthanasia at 1 week following injury. A significant improvement (compared with the control group) was noted in both treatment groups. This was observed with respect to neurological examination and inclined-plane scores in both treatment groups at 24 h and 1 week following lesioning (with a significance level of at least p less than 0.001; analysis of variance). The nalmefene group demonstrated a greater level of function than the naloxone group at both 24 h and 1 week following injury (not significant; p greater than 0.05).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

  10. Galanin inhibits acetylcholine release in the ventral hippocampus of the rat: histochemical, autoradiographic, in vivo, and in vitro studies

    SciTech Connect

    Fisone, G.; Wu, C.F.; Consolo, S.; Nordstroem, O.; Brynne, N.; Bartfai, T.; Melander, T.; Hoekfelt, T.

    1987-10-01

    A high density of galanin binding sites was found by using /sup 125/I-labeled galanin, iodinated by chloramine-T, followed by autoradiography in the ventral, but not in the dorsal, hippocampus of the rat. Lesions of the fimbria and of the septum caused disappearance of a major population of these binding sites, suggesting that a large proportion of them is localized on cholinergic nerve terminals of septal afferents. As a functional correlate to these putative galanin receptor sites, it was shown, both in vivo and in vitro, that galanin, in a concentration-dependent manner, inhibited the evoked release of acetylcholine in the ventral, but not in the dorsal, hippocampus. Intracerebroventricularly applied galanin fully inhibited the scopolamine stimulated release of acetylcholine in the ventral, but not in the dorsal, hippocampus, as measured by the microdialysis technique. In vitro, galanin inhibited the 25 mM K/sup +/-evoked release of (/sup 3/H)acetylcholine from slices of the ventral hippocampus, with an IC/sub 50/ value of approx. = 50 nM. These results are discussed with respect to the colocalization of galanin- and choline acetyltransferase-like immunoreactivity in septal somata projecting to the hippocampus.

  11. Dexamethasone induces different morphological changes in the dorsal and ventral hippocampus of rats.

    PubMed

    Silva-Gómez, Adriana Berenice; Aguilar-Salgado, Yuritze; Reyes-Hernández, Diego Octavio; Flores, Gonzalo

    2013-01-01

    Dexamethasone (DEX), a synthetic glucocorticoid widely used in neurological illnesses because of its antiinflammatory properties, has many serious side effects, including severe psychiatric symptoms such as psychoses. The hippocampus is divided in the dorsal hippocampus (DH) and ventral hippocampus (VH) with each region having a subfield of CA1 and CA3 pyramidal layers. Great interest has recently emerged showing that the DH and VH are functionally different. In our work we determined whether, and what, changes occurred, after five days of DEX (0.2mg/kg) treatment, on the dendritic morphology of the CA1 and CA3 pyramidal neurons of the DH and VH of adult Sprague-Dawley rats. The dendritic morphology and characteristics were measured by using the Golgi-Cox procedure followed by a Sholl analysis. DEX decreased the number of dendritic spines of both apical and basolateral dendrites. Interestingly, this decrease was more pronounced in the VH. Only the VH neurons were affected by DEX with a decrease in their total dendritic length (TDL). An interesting point is that the VH neurons are longer that the DH neurons among the groups injected with saline only as the control. The length per branch order was only altered in the apical dendritic tree of the CA1 neurons. These data taken together show that the VH is more susceptible to DEX and its neurons are larger than the DH neurons. These results support previous observations related to differences between the DH and VH and suggest differences in the expression of the glucocorticoid receptors in connectivity and the space to elongate their dendritic arbor. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  12. Activation of presynaptic oxytocin receptors enhances glutamate release in the ventral hippocampus of prenatally restraint stressed rats.

    PubMed

    Mairesse, Jérôme; Gatta, Eleonora; Reynaert, Marie-Line; Marrocco, Jordan; Morley-Fletcher, Sara; Soichot, Marion; Deruyter, Lucie; Camp, Gilles Van; Bouwalerh, Hammou; Fagioli, Francesca; Pittaluga, Anna; Allorge, Delphine; Nicoletti, Ferdinando; Maccari, Stefania

    2015-12-01

    Oxytocin receptors are known to modulate synaptic transmission and network activity in the hippocampus, but their precise function has been only partially elucidated. Here, we have found that activation of presynaptic oxytocin receptor with the potent agonist, carbetocin, enhanced depolarization-evoked glutamate release in the ventral hippocampus with no effect on GABA release. This evidence paved the way for examining the effect of carbetocin treatment in "prenatally restraint stressed" (PRS) rats, i.e., the offspring of dams exposed to repeated episodes of restraint stress during pregnancy. Adult PRS rats exhibit an anxious/depressive-like phenotype associated with an abnormal glucocorticoid feedback regulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, and, remarkably, with a reduced depolarization-evoked glutamate release in the ventral hippocampus. Chronic systemic treatment with carbetocin (1mg/kg, i.p., once a day for 2-3 weeks) in PRS rats corrected the defect in glutamate release, anxiety- and depressive-like behavior, and abnormalities in social behavior, in the HPA response to stress, and in the expression of stress-related genes in the hippocampus and amygdala. Of note, carbetocin treatment had no effect on these behavioral and neuroendocrine parameters in prenatally unstressed (control) rats, with the exception of a reduced expression of the oxytocin receptor gene in the amygdala. These findings disclose a novel function of oxytocin receptors in the hippocampus, and encourage the use of oxytocin receptor agonists in the treatment of stress-related psychiatric disorders in adult life.

  13. Androgen metabolism and regulation of rat ventral prostate growth and acid phosphatase during sexual maturation.

    PubMed

    Orlowski, J; Bird, C E; Clark, A F

    1988-01-01

    Androgen metabolism and the regulation of rat ventral prostate cell proliferation and secretory function were examined during sexual maturation. Changes in acid phosphatase (AP) characteristics were measured as a marker of androgen-dependent prostatic secretory function. In immature (21-day-old) rats, total AP activity per cell was low (14.2 +/- 1.3 mol p-nitrophenol phosphate hydrolysed/h per mg DNA); it increased threefold as the weight, protein and DNA contents of the prostate increased to adult (65-day) levels. This corresponded with significant (P less than 0.001) increases in the staining intensities of three of the four bands of secretory AP on isoelectric focusing gels. The extent of inhibition of AP by tartrate decreased at the same time. Secretory AP is known to be relatively tartrate-resistant. The changes in AP activity occurred after prostatic 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone (5 alpha-DHT) levels increased from 4.6 +/- 0.7 pmol/mg DNA (21 days) to reach a peak of 17.6 +/- 2.3 pmol/mg DNA at 58 days. Prostatic 5 alpha-DHT concentrations were always higher than testosterone levels. Prostatic 5 alpha-androstane-3 alpha,17 beta-diol (3 alpha-Adiol) levels were lower than 5 alpha-DHT levels except on day 58 when levels peaked dramatically at 26.2 +/- 5.5 pmol/mg DNA. Changes in prostatic 5 alpha-DHT and 3 alpha-Adiol levels corresponded with changes in 5 alpha-reductase and 3 alpha-hydroxysteroid oxidoreductase (3 alpha-HSOR) activities. The oxidative reaction of 3 alpha-HSOR was approximately fourfold higher than the reductive reaction, indicating a preference for the formation of 5 alpha-DHT. The plasma levels of testosterone, 5 alpha-DHT and 3 alpha-Adiol cannot account for their respective prostatic levels, indicating the importance of the steroid-metabolizing enzymes in regulating intracellular androgen levels. Changes in the AP characteristics could be correlated with the androgen status of the prostate.

  14. Histological correlates of N40 auditory evoked potentials in adult rats after neonatal ventral hippocampal lesion: animal model of schizophrenia.

    PubMed

    Romero-Pimentel, A L; Vázquez-Roque, R A; Camacho-Abrego, I; Hoffman, K L; Linares, P; Flores, G; Manjarrez, E

    2014-11-01

    The neonatal ventral hippocampal lesion (NVHL) is an established neurodevelopmental rat model of schizophrenia. Rats with NVHL exhibit several behavioral, molecular and physiological abnormalities that are similar to those found in schizophrenics. Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric illness characterized by profound disturbances of mental functions including neurophysiological deficits in brain information processing. These deficits can be assessed by auditory evoked potentials (AEPs), where schizophrenics exhibit abnormalities in amplitude, duration and latency of such AEPs. The aim of the present study was to compare the density of cells in the temporal cerebral cortex and the N40-AEP of adult NVHL rats versus adult sham rats. We found that rats with NVHL exhibit significant lower amplitude of the N40-AEP and a significant lower number of cells in bilateral regions of the temporal cerebral cortex compared to sham rats. Because the AEP recordings were obtained from anesthetized rats, we suggest that NVHL leads to inappropriate innervation in thalamic-cortical pathways in the adult rat, leading to altered function of cortical networks involved in processing of primary auditory information.

  15. OPIOID FACILITATION OF REWARDING ELECTRICAL BRAIN STIMULATION IS SUPPRESSED IN RATS WITH NEUROPATHIC PAIN

    PubMed Central

    Ewan, Eric E.; Martin, Thomas J.

    2011-01-01

    Introduction Opioids are powerful analgesics but are also common drugs of abuse. Few studies have examined how neuropathic pain alters the pharmacology of opioids in modulating limbic pathways that underlie abuse liability. Methods Rats with or without spinal nerve ligation (SNL) were implanted with electrodes into the left ventral tegmental area and trained to lever press for electrical stimulation. The effects of morphine, heroin, and cocaine on facilitating electrical stimulation of the ventral tegmental area and mechanical allodynia were assessed in SNL and control subjects. Results Responding for electrical stimulation of the ventral tegmental area was similar in control and SNL rats. The frequency at which rats emitted 50% of maximal responding was 98.2 ± 5.1 Hz (mean ± s.e.m.) and 93.7 ± 2.8 Hz in control and SNL rats, respectively. Morphine reduced the frequency at which rats emitted 50% of maximal responding in control (maximal shift of 14.8 ±3.1 Hz) but not SNL (2.3 ± 2.2 Hz) rats. Heroin was less potent in SNL rats while cocaine produced similar shifts in control (42.3 ± 2.0 Hz) and SNL (37.5 ± 4.2 Hz) rats. Conclusions Nerve injury suppressed potentiation of electrical stimulation of the ventral tegmental area by opioids, suggesting that the positive reinforcing effects are diminished by chronic pain. Given concerns regarding prescription opioid abuse, developing strategies that assess both analgesia and abuse liability within the context of chronic pain may aid in determining which opioids are most suitable for treating chronic pain when abuse is a concern. PMID:21293250

  16. Cholinergic ventral forebrain grafts into the neocortex improve passive avoidance memory in a rat model of Alzheimer disease.

    PubMed Central

    Fine, A; Dunnett, S B; Björklund, A; Iversen, S D

    1985-01-01

    The memory dysfunction of Alzheimer disease has been associated with a cortical cholinergic deficiency and loss of cholinergic neurons of the nucleus basalis of Meynert. This cholinergic component of Alzheimer disease can be modeled in the rat by ibotenic acid lesions of the cholinergic nucleus basalis magnocellularis. The memory impairment caused by such unilateral lesions, as reflected in passive avoidance behavior, is reversed by grafts into the deafferented neocortex of embryonic neurons of the cholinergic ventral forebrain, but not by grafts of noncholinergic hippocampal cells. Images PMID:3860857

  17. Intact neurobehavioral development and dramatic impairments of procedural-like memory following neonatal ventral hippocampal lesion in rats.

    PubMed

    Lecourtier, L; Antal, M-C; Cosquer, B; Schumacher, A; Samama, B; Angst, M-J; Ferrandon, A; Koning, E; Cassel, J-C; Nehlig, A

    2012-04-05

    Neonatal ventral hippocampal lesions (NVHL) in rats are considered a potent developmental model of schizophrenia. After NVHL, rats appear normal during their preadolescent time, whereas in early adulthood, they develop behavioral deficits paralleling symptomatic aspects of schizophrenia, including hyperactivity, hypersensitivity to amphetamine (AMPH), prepulse and latent inhibition deficits, reduced social interactions, and spatial working and reference memory alterations. Surprisingly, the question of the consequences of NVHL on postnatal neurobehavioral development has not been addressed. This is of particular importance, as a defective neurobehavioral development could contribute to impairments seen in adult rats. Therefore, at several time points of the early postsurgical life of NVHL rats, we assessed behaviors accounting for neurobehavioral development, including negative geotaxis and grip strength (PD11), locomotor coordination (PD21), and open-field (PD25). At adulthood, the rats were tested for anxiety levels, locomotor activity, as well as spatial reference memory performance. Using a novel task, we also investigated the consequences of the lesions on procedural-like memory, which had never been tested following NVHL. Our results point to preserved neurobehavioral development. They also confirm the already documented locomotor hyperactivity, spatial reference memory impairment, and hyperresponsiveness to AMPH. Finally, our rseults show for the first time that NVHL disabled the development of behavioral routines, suggesting dramatic procedural memory deficits. The presence of procedural memory deficits in adult rats subjected to NHVL suggests that the lesions lead to a wider range of cognitive deficits than previously shown. Interestingly, procedural or implicit memory impairments have also been reported in schizophrenic patients.

  18. Exposure to short photoperiod regime reduces ventral subicular lesion-induced anxiety-like behavior in Wistar rats.

    PubMed

    Subhadeep, Duttagupta; Srikumar, B N; Shankaranarayana Rao, B S; Kutty, Bindu M

    2017-03-01

    Neurodegeneration of hippocampal structures is implicated in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Patients with AD exhibit 'sundown syndrome' featuring mood swings and anxiety. Although there are studies demonstrating circadian rhythm disruption associated with sundown phenomenon, the mechanisms underlying the emotional disturbances remain elusive. In the present study, we examined the relationship between subiculum (a key hippocampal output structure) and anxiety. Our study demonstrates that bilateral ventral subicular lesion (VSL) leads to anxiogenic behavior. In the elevated plus maze test, VSL rats made less number of entries into the open arms and spent significantly more time in the closed arms. Similarly, in the light-dark exploration test, VSL rats spent significantly more time in the dark chamber and made fewer entries into the light chamber. VSL also produced significant neurodegeneration in the paraventricular, suprachiasmatic and dorsomedial nuclei of the hypothalamus. Exposing VSL rats to a short photoperiod regime (SPR; 06/18h light-dark cycle) for 21days ameliorated the anxiety-like behavior. VSL rats on SPR also exhibited increased food consumption and higher core body temperature. Our study supports the hypothesis that the ventral subiculum regulates anxiety-like behavior and that SPR helps in the alleviation of such behavior. Even though the mechanisms underlying anxiolytic effects of light-dark cycle manipulation are yet to be elucidated, such non-pharmacological strategies can help to mitigate anxiety-like behavior. A proper understanding of the effectiveness of photoperiod manipulation will help in developing strategies in the management of emotional disturbances associated with affective and neurodegenerative disorders including AD. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  19. Effect of Silodosin, an Alpha1A-Adrenoceptor Antagonist, on Ventral Prostatic Hyperplasia in the Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat

    PubMed Central

    Shimizu, Shogo; Shimizu, Takahiro; Tsounapi, Panagiota; Higashi, Youichirou; Martin, Darryl T.; Nakamura, Kumiko; Honda, Masashi; Inoue, Keiji; Saito, Motoaki

    2015-01-01

    Background A decreased prostatic blood flow could be one of the risk factors for benign prostatic hyperplasia/benign prostatic enlargement. The spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) shows a chronic prostatic ischemia and hyperplastic morphological abnormalities in the ventral prostate. The effect of silodosin, a selective alpha1A-adrenoceptor antagonist, was investigated in the SHR prostate as a prostatic hyperplasia model focusing on prostatic blood flow. Methods Twelve-week-old male SHRs were administered perorally with silodosin (100 μg/kg/day) or vehicle once daily for 6 weeks. Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats were used as normotensive controls and were treated with the vehicle. The effect of silodosin on blood pressure and prostatic blood flow were estimated and then the prostates were removed and weighed. The tissue levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), interleukin-6 (IL-6), chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 1/cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant 1 (CXCL1/CINC1), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) were measured. The histological evaluation was also performed by hematoxylin and eosin staining. Results There was a significant increase in blood pressure, prostate weight, prostate body weight ratio (PBR), tissue levels of MDA, IL-6, CXCL1/CINC1, TNF-α, TGF-β1, bFGF and α-SMA in the SHR compared to the WKY rat. The ventral prostate in the SHR showed the morphological abnormalities compared to the WKY rat. Prostatic blood flow was decreased in the SHR. However, treatment with silodosin significantly restored the decreased prostatic blood flow in the SHR. Moreover, silodosin normalized tissue levels of MDA, IL-6, CXCL1/CINC1, TNF-α, TGF-β1, bFGF and α-SMA, and it ameliorated ventral prostatic hyperplasia in the SHR excluding blood pressure. Silodosin decreased PBR but not prostate weight in the SHR. Conclusions Silodosin can inhibit the

  20. Role of projections from ventral subiculum to nucleus accumbens shell in context-induced reinstatement of heroin seeking in rats

    PubMed Central

    Bossert, Jennifer M.; Adhikary, Sweta; St Laurent, Robyn; Marchant, Nathan J.; Wang, Hui-Ling; Morales, Marisela; Shaham, Yavin

    2015-01-01

    Rationale and objective In humans, exposure to contexts previously associated with heroin use can provoke relapse. In rats, exposure to heroin-paired contexts after extinction of drug-reinforced responding in different contexts reinstates heroin seeking. We previously demonstrated that the projections from ventral medial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) to nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell play a role in this reinstatement. The ventral subiculum (vSub) sends glutamate projections to NAc shell and vmPFC. Here, we determined whether these projections contribute to context-induced reinstatement. Methods We trained rats to self-administer heroin (0.05–0.1 mg/kg/infusion) for 3 h per day for 12 days; drug infusions were paired with a discrete tone-light cue. Lever pressing in the presence of the discrete cue was subsequently extinguished in a different context. We then tested the rats for reinstatement in the heroin- and extinction-associated contexts under extinction conditions. We combined Fos with the retrograde tracer Fluoro-Gold (FG) to determine projection-specific activation during the context-induced reinstatement tests. We also used anatomical disconnection procedures to determine whether the vSub→NAc shell and vSub→vmPFC projections are functionally involved in this reinstatement. Results Exposure to the heroin but not the extinction context reinstated lever pressing. Context-induced reinstatement of heroin seeking was associated with increased Fos expression in vSub neurons, including those projecting to NAc shell and vmPFC. However, anatomical disconnection of the vSub→NAc shell projection, but not the vSub→vmPFC projection, decreased this reinstatement. Conclusions Our data indicate that the vSub→NAc shell glutamatergic projection, but not the vSub→vmPFC projection, contributes to context-induced reinstatement of heroin seeking. PMID:26344108

  1. Role of projections from ventral subiculum to nucleus accumbens shell in context-induced reinstatement of heroin seeking in rats.

    PubMed

    Bossert, Jennifer M; Adhikary, Sweta; St Laurent, Robyn; Marchant, Nathan J; Wang, Hui-Ling; Morales, Marisela; Shaham, Yavin

    2016-05-01

    In humans, exposure to contexts previously associated with heroin use can provoke relapse. In rats, exposure to heroin-paired contexts after extinction of drug-reinforced responding in different contexts reinstates heroin seeking. We previously demonstrated that the projections from ventral medial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) to nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell play a role in this reinstatement. The ventral subiculum (vSub) sends glutamate projections to NAc shell and vmPFC. Here, we determined whether these projections contribute to context-induced reinstatement. We trained rats to self-administer heroin (0.05-0.1 mg/kg/infusion) for 3 h per day for 12 days; drug infusions were paired with a discrete tone-light cue. Lever pressing in the presence of the discrete cue was subsequently extinguished in a different context. We then tested the rats for reinstatement in the heroin- and extinction-associated contexts under extinction conditions. We combined Fos with the retrograde tracer Fluoro-Gold (FG) to determine projection-specific activation during the context-induced reinstatement tests. We also used anatomical disconnection procedures to determine whether the vSub → NAc shell and vSub → vmPFC projections are functionally involved in this reinstatement. Exposure to the heroin but not the extinction context reinstated lever pressing. Context-induced reinstatement of heroin seeking was associated with increased Fos expression in vSub neurons, including those projecting to NAc shell and vmPFC. Anatomical disconnection of the vSub → NAc shell projection, but not the vSub → vmPFC projection, decreased this reinstatement. Our data indicate that the vSub → NAc shell glutamatergic projection, but not the vSub → vmPFC projection, contributes to context-induced reinstatement of heroin seeking.

  2. Depression-like behavior in rat: Involvement of galanin receptor subtype 1 in the ventral periaqueductal gray

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Peng; Li, Hui; Barde, Swapnali; Zhang, Ming-Dong; Sun, Jing; Wang, Tong; Zhang, Pan; Luo, Hanjiang; Wang, Yongjun; Yang, Yutao; Wang, Chuanyue; Svenningsson, Per; Theodorsson, Elvar; Hökfelt, Tomas G. M.; Xu, Zhi-Qing David

    2016-01-01

    The neuropeptide galanin coexists in rat brain with serotonin in the dorsal raphe nucleus and with noradrenaline in the locus coeruleus (LC), and it has been suggested to be involved in depression. We studied rats exposed to chronic mild stress (CMS), a rodent model of depression. As expected, these rats showed several endophenotypes relevant to depression-like behavior compared with controls. All these endophenotypes were normalized after administration of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. The transcripts for galanin and two of its receptors, galanin receptor 1 (GALR1) and GALR2, were analyzed with quantitative real-time PCR using laser capture microdissection in the following brain regions: the hippocampal formation, LC, and ventral periaqueductal gray (vPAG). Only Galr1 mRNA levels were significantly increased, and only in the latter region. After knocking down Galr1 in the vPAG with an siRNA technique, all parameters of the depressive behavioral phenotype were similar to controls. Thus, the depression-like behavior in rats exposed to CMS is likely related to an elevated expression of Galr1 in the vPAG, suggesting that a GALR1 antagonist could have antidepressant effects. PMID:27457954

  3. Oxidative stress in ventral prostate, ovary, and breast by 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid in pre- and postnatal exposed rats.

    PubMed

    Pochettino, Aristides A; Bongiovanni, Bettina; Duffard, Ricardo O; Evangelista de Duffard, Ana María

    2013-01-01

    The herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) has been widely used in agriculture and forestry since the 1940s. 2,4-D has been shown to produce a wide range of adverse effects-from embryotoxicity and teratogenicity to neurotoxicity-on animal and human health. The purpose of this study was to determine the possible effects of pre- and postnatal exposure to 2,4-D on oxidative stress in ventral prostate, ovary and breast. Pregnant rats were daily exposed to oral doses of 70 mg/kg/day of 2,4-D from 16 days of gestation up to 23 days after delivery. Then, the pups were sacrificed by decapitation at postnatal day (PND) 45, 60, or 90. Antioxidant enzyme activities and some parameters of the oxidative stress were assessed in ventral prostate, breast, and ovary. Results show that 2,4-D produced three different effects. First, it increased the concentration of some radical oxygen species and the rates of lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation in ventral prostate, thereby causing oxidative stress at all ages studied. Although an increase in the activity of some antioxidant enzymes was detected, this seemed to have been not enough to counteract the oxidative stress. Second, 2,4-D promoted the oxidative stress in the breasts, mainly during puberty and adulthood, probably because the developing gland is more sensitive to xenobiotics than the adult organ. Third, 2,4-D altered the activity of some antioxidant enzymes and increased lipid peroxide concentration in the ovary. This effect could reflect the variety of ovarian cell types and their different responses to endocrine changes during development. Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  4. IMMUNOREACTIVITY FOR THE NMDA NR1 SUBUNIT IN BULBOSPINAL CATECHOLAMINE AND SEROTONIN NEURONS OF RAT VENTRAL MEDULLA

    PubMed Central

    Llewellyn-Smith, Ida J.; Mueller, Patrick J.

    2013-01-01

    Bulbospinal neurons in the ventral medulla play important roles in the regulation of sympathetic outflow. Physiological evidence suggests that these neurons are activated by N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and non-NMDA subtypes of glutamate receptors. In this study, we examined bulbospinal neurons in the ventral medulla for the presence of immunoreactivity for the NMDA NR1 subunit, which is essential for NMDA receptor function. Rats received bilateral injections of cholera toxin B into the tenth thoracic spinal segment to label bulbospinal neurons. Triple immunofluorescent labelling was used to detect cholera toxin B with a blue fluorophore, NR1 with a red fluorophore and either tyrosine hydroxylase or tryptophan hydroxylase with a green fluorophore. In the rostral ventrolateral medulla, NR1 occurred in all bulbospinal tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons and 96% of bulbospinal tyrosine hydroxylase-negative neurons, which were more common in sections containing the facial nucleus. In raphé pallidus, the parapyramidal region and the marginal layer, 98% of bulbospinal tryptophan hydroxylase-positive neurons contained NR1-immunoreactivity. NR1 was also present in all of the bulbospinal tryptophan hydroxylase-negative neurons, which comprised 20% of bulbospinal neurons in raphé pallidus and the parapyramidal region. These results show that virtually all bulbospinal tyrosine hydroxylase and non-tyrosine hydroxylase neurons in the rostral ventrolateral medulla and virtually all bulbospinal serotonin and non-serotonin neurons in raphé pallidus and the parapyramidal region express NR1, the obligatory subunit of the NMDA receptor. NMDA receptors on bulbospinal neurons in the rostral ventral medulla likely influence sympathoexcitation in normal and pathological conditions. PMID:23562375

  5. Region-specific roles of the prelimbic cortex, the dorsal CA1, the ventral DG and ventral CA1 of the hippocampus in the fear return evoked by a sub-conditioning procedure in rats.

    PubMed

    Fu, Juan; Xing, Xiaoli; Han, Mengfi; Xu, Na; Piao, Chengji; Zhang, Yue; Zheng, Xigeng

    2016-02-01

    The return of learned fear is an important issue in anxiety disorder research since an analogous process may contribute to long-term fear maintenance or clinical relapse. A number of studies demonstrate that mPFC and hippocampus are important in the modulation of post-extinction re-expression of fear memory. However, the region-specific role of these structures in the fear return evoked by a sub-threshold conditioning (SC) is not known. In the present experiments, we first examined specific roles of the prelimbic cortex (PL), the dorsal hippocampus (DH, the dorsal CA1 area in particular), the ventral hippocampus (the ventral dentate gyrus (vDG) and the ventral CA1 area in particular) in this fear return process. Then we examined the role of connections between PL and vCA1 with this behavioral approach. Rats were subjected to five tone-shock pairings (1.0-mA shock) to induce conditioned fear (freezing), followed by three fear extinction sessions (25 tone-alone trials each session). After a post-test for extinction memory, some rats were retrained with the SC procedure to reinstate tone-evoked freezing. Rat groups were injected with low doses of the GABAA agonist muscimol to selectively inactivate PL, DH, vDG, or vCA1 120 min before the fear return test. A disconnection paradigm with ipsilateral or contralateral muscimol injection of the PL and the vCA1 was used to examine the role of this pathway in the fear return. We found that transient inactivation of these areas significantly impaired fear return (freezing): inactivation of the prelimbic cortex blocked SC-evoked fear return in particular but did not influence fear expression in general; inactivation of the DH area impaired fear return, but had no effect on the extinction retrieval process; both ventral DG and ventral CA1 are required for the return of extinguished fear whereas only ventral DG is required for the extinction retrieval. These findings suggest that PL, DH, vDG, and vCA1 all contribute to the fear

  6. Somatotopic organization of lumbar muscle-innervating neurons in the ventral horn of the rat spinal cord.

    PubMed

    Takahashi, Yuzuru; Ohtori, Seiji; Takahashi, Kazuhisa

    2010-04-01

    The ventral horn of the rat spinal cord was investigated with respect to the somatotopic organization of the motor neurons that innervate the lumbar muscles. Neurotracer 1,1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethylindocarbocyanine perchlorate (DiI) was applied to specific sites in lumbar muscles. Spinal cord segments at L1 through L4 levels were cut into 40-mum serial transverse sections. Labeled neurons were located in the ventromedial nucleus (VM) and lateromedial nucleus (LM) nuclei of Rexed's lamina IX. Motor neurons innervating the m. interspinales lumborum and m. multifidus were without exception present in the VM, whereas all motor neurons innervating the m. rectus abdominis were present in the LM. Forty percent of motor neurons innervating the m. quadratus lumborum were present in the VM and the other 60% were in the LM. Although most of the motor neurons innervating the m. psoas major were present in the LM, a few labeled neurons existed in the VM. These results suggest that the border zone demarcating the areas of innervation of the dorsal and ventral rami of spinal nerves crosses the m. quadratus lumborum.

  7. Voxelized computational model for convection-enhanced delivery in the rat ventral hippocampus: comparison with in vivo MR experimental studies.

    PubMed

    Kim, Jung Hwan; Astary, Garrett W; Kantorovich, Svetlana; Mareci, Thomas H; Carney, Paul R; Sarntinoranont, Malisa

    2012-09-01

    Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) is a promising local delivery technique for overcoming the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and treating diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). For CED, therapeutics are infused directly into brain tissue and the drug agent is spread through the extracellular space, considered to be highly tortuous porous media. In this study, 3D computational models developed using magnetic resonance (MR) diffusion tensor imaging data sets were used to predict CED transport in the rat ventral hippocampus using a voxelized modeling previously developed by our group. Predicted albumin tracer distributions were compared with MR-measured distributions from in vivo CED in the ventral hippocampus up to 10 μL of Gd-DTPA albumin tracer infusion. Predicted and measured tissue distribution volumes and distribution patterns after 5 and 10 μL infusions were found to be comparable. Tracers were found to occupy the underlying landmark structures with preferential transport found in regions with less fluid resistance such as the molecular layer of the dentate gyrus. Also, tracer spread was bounded by high fluid resistance layers such as the granular cell layer and pyramidal cell layer of dentate gyrus. Leakage of tracers into adjacent CSF spaces was observed towards the end of infusions.

  8. Programming of Dopaminergic Neurons by Neonatal Sex Hormone Exposure: Effects on Dopamine Content and Tyrosine Hydroxylase Expression in Adult Male Rats.

    PubMed

    Espinosa, Pedro; Silva, Roxana A; Sanguinetti, Nicole K; Venegas, Francisca C; Riquelme, Raul; González, Luis F; Cruz, Gonzalo; Renard, Georgina M; Moya, Pablo R; Sotomayor-Zárate, Ramón

    2016-01-01

    We sought to determine the long-term changes produced by neonatal sex hormone administration on the functioning of midbrain dopaminergic neurons in adult male rats. Sprague-Dawley rats were injected subcutaneously at postnatal day 1 and were assigned to the following experimental groups: TP (testosterone propionate of 1.0 mg/50 μL); DHT (dihydrotestosterone of 1.0 mg/50 μL); EV (estradiol valerate of 0.1 mg/50 μL); and control (sesame oil of 50 μL). At postnatal day 60, neurochemical studies were performed to determine dopamine content in substantia nigra-ventral tegmental area and dopamine release in nucleus accumbens. Molecular (mRNA expression of tyrosine hydroxylase) and cellular (tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity) studies were also performed. We found increased dopamine content in substantia nigra-ventral tegmental area of TP and EV rats, in addition to increased dopamine release in nucleus accumbens. However, neonatal exposure to DHT, a nonaromatizable androgen, did not affect midbrain dopaminergic neurons. Correspondingly, compared to control rats, levels of tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA and protein were significantly increased in TP and EV rats but not in DHT rats, as determined by qPCR and immunohistochemistry, respectively. Our results suggest an estrogenic mechanism involving increased tyrosine hydroxylase expression, either by direct estrogenic action or by aromatization of testosterone to estradiol in substantia nigra-ventral tegmental area.

  9. Programming of Dopaminergic Neurons by Neonatal Sex Hormone Exposure: Effects on Dopamine Content and Tyrosine Hydroxylase Expression in Adult Male Rats

    PubMed Central

    Espinosa, Pedro; Silva, Roxana A.; Sanguinetti, Nicole K.; Venegas, Francisca C.; Riquelme, Raul; González, Luis F.; Cruz, Gonzalo; Renard, Georgina M.; Moya, Pablo R.; Sotomayor-Zárate, Ramón

    2016-01-01

    We sought to determine the long-term changes produced by neonatal sex hormone administration on the functioning of midbrain dopaminergic neurons in adult male rats. Sprague-Dawley rats were injected subcutaneously at postnatal day 1 and were assigned to the following experimental groups: TP (testosterone propionate of 1.0 mg/50 μL); DHT (dihydrotestosterone of 1.0 mg/50 μL); EV (estradiol valerate of 0.1 mg/50 μL); and control (sesame oil of 50 μL). At postnatal day 60, neurochemical studies were performed to determine dopamine content in substantia nigra-ventral tegmental area and dopamine release in nucleus accumbens. Molecular (mRNA expression of tyrosine hydroxylase) and cellular (tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity) studies were also performed. We found increased dopamine content in substantia nigra-ventral tegmental area of TP and EV rats, in addition to increased dopamine release in nucleus accumbens. However, neonatal exposure to DHT, a nonaromatizable androgen, did not affect midbrain dopaminergic neurons. Correspondingly, compared to control rats, levels of tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA and protein were significantly increased in TP and EV rats but not in DHT rats, as determined by qPCR and immunohistochemistry, respectively. Our results suggest an estrogenic mechanism involving increased tyrosine hydroxylase expression, either by direct estrogenic action or by aromatization of testosterone to estradiol in substantia nigra-ventral tegmental area. PMID:26904299

  10. PERINATAL EXPOSURE TO ESTROGENIC COMPOUNDS AND THE SUBSEQUENT EFFECTS ON THE PROSTRATE OF THE ADULT RAT: EVALUATION OF INFLAMMATION IN THE VENTRAL AND LATERAL LOBES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Perinatal exposure to estrogenic compounds and the subsequent effects on the prostate of the adult rat: evaluation of inflammation in the ventral and lateral lobes.

    Stoker TE, Robinette CL, Cooper RL.

    Endocrinology Branch, Reproductive Toxicology Division, National ...

  11. PERINATAL EXPOSURE TO ESTROGENIC COMPOUNDS AND THE SUBSEQUENT EFFECTS ON THE PROSTRATE OF THE ADULT RAT: EVALUATION OF INFLAMMATION IN THE VENTRAL AND LATERAL LOBES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Perinatal exposure to estrogenic compounds and the subsequent effects on the prostate of the adult rat: evaluation of inflammation in the ventral and lateral lobes.

    Stoker TE, Robinette CL, Cooper RL.

    Endocrinology Branch, Reproductive Toxicology Division, National ...

  12. Survival and functional restoration of human fetal ventral mesencephalon following transplantation in a rat model of Parkinson's disease.

    PubMed

    Rath, Anika; Klein, Alexander; Papazoglou, Anna; Pruszak, Jan; Garcia, Joanna; Krause, Martin; Maciaczyk, Jaroslaw; Dunnett, Stephen B; Nikkhah, Guido

    2013-01-01

    Cell replacement therapy by intracerebral transplantation of fetal dopaminergic neurons has become a promising therapeutic option for patients suffering from Parkinson's disease during the last decades. However, limited availability of human fetal tissue as well as ethical issues, lack of alternative nonfetal donor cells, and the absence of standardized transplantation protocols have prevented neurorestorative therapies from becoming a routine procedure in patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. Improvement of graft survival, surgery techniques, and identification of the optimal target area are imperative for further optimization of this novel treatment. In the present study, human primary fetal ventral mesencephalon-derived tissue from 7- to 9-week-old human fetuses was transplanted into 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned adult Sprague-Dawley rats. Graft survival, fiber outgrowth, and drug-induced rotational behavior up to 14 weeks posttransplantation were compared between different intrastriatal transplantation techniques (full single cell suspension vs. partial tissue pieces suspension injected by glass capillary or metal cannula) and the intranigral glass capillary injection of a full (single cell) suspension. The results demonstrate a higher survival rate of dopamine neurons, a greater reduction in amphetamine-induced rotations (overcompensation), and more extensive fiber outgrowth for the intrastriatally transplanted partial (tissue pieces) suspension compared to all other groups. Apomorphine-induced rotational bias was significantly reduced in all groups including the intranigral group. The data confirm that human ventral mesencephalon-derived cells serve as a viable cell source, survive in a xenografting paradigm, and functionally integrate into the host tissue. In contrast to rat donor cells, keeping the original (fetal) neuronal network by preparing only a partial suspension containing tissue pieces seems to be beneficial for human cells, although a

  13. The tegmental-accumbal dopaminergic system mediates the anxiolytic effect of acupuncture during ethanol withdrawal.

    PubMed

    Zhao, ZhengLin; Kim, Sang Chan; Zhao, RongJie; Wu, YiYan; Zhang, Jie; Liu, HongFeng; Kim, Young Woo; Zhu, XiaoDong; Gu, ChangHong; Lee, Chul Won; Lee, Bong Hyo; Jang, Eun Young; Ko, Hae Li; Yang, Chae Ha

    2015-06-15

    This study investigated the involvement of the mesolimbic dopamine (DA) system in the anxiolytic effects of acupuncture during ethanol withdrawal (EW). Rats were intraperitoneally treated with 3g/kg/day of ethanol for 28 days and experienced 3 days of withdrawal. During EW, the rats were bilaterally treated with acupuncture at acupoints HT7 (Shenmen) or PC6 (Neiguan) or at a non-acupoint (tail) once daily for 1min over 3 days. High-performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC) analysis showed that EW significantly decreased both DA and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) levels in the nucleus accumbens shell (NaccSh); however, these processes were inhibited by acupuncture at HT7 but not at PC6. Real-time polymerase chain reaction and western blot assays also revealed that acupuncture at HT7 prevented the EW-induced reductions in tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA expression in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and tyrosine hydroxylase protein expression in the NaccSh. A prior intra-NaccSh infusion of a cocktail of the selective DA1 receptor antagonist SCH23390 and the selective DA2 receptor antagonist eticlopride blocked the anxiolytic effect of acupuncture at HT7 in elevated plus maze tests. In addition, acupuncture at HT7 suppressed EW-induced increased BDNF levels in the VTA. These findings suggest that acupuncture at HT7 improves the VTA-Nacc DAergic function via inhibition of BDNF expression in the VTA, thereby exerting anxiolytic effects during EW.

  14. Intrinsic excitability of CA1 pyramidal neurones from the rat dorsal and ventral hippocampus.

    PubMed

    Dougherty, Kelly A; Islam, Tasnim; Johnston, Daniel

    2012-11-15

    The hippocampus has a central role in learning and memory. Although once considered a relatively homogenous structure along the longitudinal axis, it has become clear that the rodent hippocampus can be anatomically and functionally divided into a dorsal component generally associated with spatial navigation, and a ventral component primarily associated with non-spatial functions that involve an emotional component. The ventral hippocampus (VHC) is also more sensitive to epileptogenic stimuli than the dorsal hippocampus (DHC), and seizures tend to originate in the VHC before spreading to other brain regions. Although synaptic and biochemical differences in DHC and VHC have been investigated, the intrinsic excitability of individual neurones from the DHC and VHC has received surprisingly little attention. In this study, we have characterized the intrinsic electrophysiological properties of CA1 pyramidal neurones from the DHC and the VHC using the whole-cell current-clamp method. Our results demonstrate that somatic current injections of equal magnitude elicit significantly more action potentials in VHC neurones than DHC neurones, and that this difference stems from the more depolarized resting membrane potential (RMP; 7 mV) and higher input resistance (R(in); 46 M measured from RMP) observed in VHC neurones. These differences in RMP and R(in) were also observed in dendritic whole-cell current-clamp recordings. Furthermore, morphological reconstructions of individual neurones revealed significant differences in the dendritic branching pattern between DHC and VHC neurones that could, in principle, contribute to the lower somatic R(in) of DHC neurones. Together, our results highlight significant differences in the intrinsic electrophysiological properties of CA1 pyramidal neurones across the longitudinal hippocampal axis, and suggest that VHC neurones are intrinsically more excitable than DHC neurones. This difference is likely to predispose the VHC to hyperexcitability.

  15. Intrinsic excitability of CA1 pyramidal neurones from the rat dorsal and ventral hippocampus

    PubMed Central

    Dougherty, Kelly A; Islam, Tasnim; Johnston, Daniel

    2012-01-01

    The hippocampus has a central role in learning and memory. Although once considered a relatively homogenous structure along the longitudinal axis, it has become clear that the rodent hippocampus can be anatomically and functionally divided into a dorsal component generally associated with spatial navigation, and a ventral component primarily associated with non-spatial functions that involve an emotional component. The ventral hippocampus (VHC) is also more sensitive to epileptogenic stimuli than the dorsal hippocampus (DHC), and seizures tend to originate in the VHC before spreading to other brain regions. Although synaptic and biochemical differences in DHC and VHC have been investigated, the intrinsic excitability of individual neurones from the DHC and VHC has received surprisingly little attention. In this study, we have characterized the intrinsic electrophysiological properties of CA1 pyramidal neurones from the DHC and the VHC using the whole-cell current-clamp method. Our results demonstrate that somatic current injections of equal magnitude elicit significantly more action potentials in VHC neurones than DHC neurones, and that this difference stems from the more depolarized resting membrane potential (RMP; Δ7 mV) and higher input resistance (Rin; Δ46 MΩ measured from RMP) observed in VHC neurones. These differences in RMP and Rin were also observed in dendritic whole-cell current-clamp recordings. Furthermore, morphological reconstructions of individual neurones revealed significant differences in the dendritic branching pattern between DHC and VHC neurones that could, in principle, contribute to the lower somatic Rin of DHC neurones. Together, our results highlight significant differences in the intrinsic electrophysiological properties of CA1 pyramidal neurones across the longitudinal hippocampal axis, and suggest that VHC neurones are intrinsically more excitable than DHC neurones. This difference is likely to predispose the VHC to hyperexcitability

  16. Basolateral amygdala projections to ventral hippocampus modulate the consolidation of footshock, but not contextual, learning in rats

    PubMed Central

    Emmons, Eric B.; Narayanan, Nandakumar S.; LaLumiere, Ryan T.

    2016-01-01

    The basolateral amygdala (BLA) modulates memory consolidation for a variety of types of learning, whereas other brain regions play more selective roles in specific kinds of learning suggesting a role for differential consolidation via distinct BLA pathways. The ventral hippocampus (VH), an efferent target of the BLA, has been suggested to selectively process emotion-related learning, yet whether the BLA → VH pathway modulates memory consolidation, and does so in a learning-specific manner, is unknown. To address this issue, the BLA of male Sprague-Dawley rats was bilaterally transduced to express either ChR2(E123A) or eArchT3.0. Fiber optic probes were implanted in the VH to provide illumination of BLA axons. Rats then underwent a modified contextual fear conditioning task permitting separation of context and footshock learning. On day 1, rats received 3 min of pre-exposure to the apparatus. On day 2, rats were placed into the apparatus, received an immediate footshock, and quickly removed. Retention was tested on day 4. Optical stimulation of the BLA → VH pathway following footshock, but not context, training using trains of 40-Hz light pulses enhanced retention. Continuous optical inhibition of this pathway for 15 min starting 25 min after footshock training impaired retention. These findings indicate that BLA → VH projections influence the consolidation for footshock, but not context, learning of a modified CFC task and provide direct evidence that BLA projections to other brain regions modulate memory consolidation selectively depending on the kind of learning involved. PMID:26773098

  17. Directing Dopaminergic Fiber Growth Along a Preformed Molecular Pathway From Embryonic Ventral Mesencephalon Transplants in the Rat Brain

    PubMed Central

    Jin, Y.; Zhang, C.; Ziemba, K.S.; Goldstein, G.A.; Sullivan, P.G.; Smith, G.M.

    2012-01-01

    To identify guidance molecules to promote long-distance growth of dopaminergic axons from transplanted embryonic ventral mesencephalon (VM) tissue, three pathways were created by expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP), glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), or a combination of GDNF/GDNF receptor α1 (GFRα1) along the corpus callosum. To generate the guidance pathway, adenovirus encoding these transcripts was injected at four positions along the corpus callosum. In all groups, GDNF adenovirus was also injected on the right side 2.5 mm from the midline at the desired transplant site. Four days later, a piece of VM tissue from embryonic day 14 rats was injected at the transplant site. All rats also received daily subcutaneous injections of N-acetyl-L-cysteinamide (NACA; 100 μg per rat) as well as chondroitinase ABC at transplant site (10 U/ml, 2 μl). Two weeks after transplantation, the rats were perfused and the brains dissected out. Coronal sections were cut and immunostained with antibody to tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) to identify and count dopaminergic fibers in the corpus callosum. In GFP-expressing pathways, TH+ fibers grew out of the transplants for a short distance in the corpus callosum. Very few TH+ fibers grew across the midline. However, pathways expressing GDNF supported more TH+ fiber growth across the midline into the contralateral hemisphere. Significantly greater numbers of TH+ fibers grew across the midline in animals expressing a combination of GDNF and GFRα1 in the corpus callosum. These data suggest that expression of GDNF or a combination of GDNF and GFRα1 can support the long-distance dopaminergic fiber growth from a VM transplant, with the combination having a superior effect. PMID:21337366

  18. Electroacupuncture improves gait locomotion, H-reflex and ventral root potentials of spinal compression injured rats.

    PubMed

    Escobar-Corona, Carlos; Torres-Castillo, Sergio; Rodríguez-Torres, Erika Elizabeth; Segura-Alegría, Bertha; Jiménez-Estrada, Ismael; Quiroz-González, Salvador

    2017-05-01

    This study explored the effect of electroacupuncture stimulation (EA) on alterations in the Hoffman reflex (H-reflex) response and gait locomotion provoked by spinal cord injury (SCI) in the rat. A compression lesion of the spinal cord was evoked by insufflating a Fogarty balloon located in the epidural space at the T8-9 spinal level of adult Wistar male rats (200-250 gr; n=60). In different groups of SCI rats, EA (frequencies: 2, 50 and 100Hz) was applied simultaneously to Huantiao (GB30), Yinmen (BL37), Jizhong (GV6) and Zhiyang (GV9) acupoints from the third post-injury day until the experimental session. At 1, 2, 3 and 4 post-injury weeks, the BBB scores of the SCI group of rats treated with EA at 50Hz showed a gradual but greater enhancement of locomotor activity than the other groups of rats. Unrestrained gait kinematic analysis of SCI rats treated with EA-50Hz stimulation showed a significant improvement in stride duration, length and speed (p<0.05), whereas a discrete recovery of gait locomotion was observed in the other groups of animals. After four post-injury weeks, the H-reflex amplitude and H-reflex/M wave amplitude ratio obtained in SCI rats had a noticeable enhancement (217%) compared to sham rats (n=10). Meanwhile, SCI rats treated with EA at 50Hz manifested a decreased facilitation of the H-reflex amplitude and H/M amplitude ratio (154%) and a reduced frequency-dependent amplitude depression of the H-reflex (66%). In addition, 50 Hz-EA treatment induced a recovery of the presynaptic depression of the Gs-VRP evoked by PBSt conditioning stimulation in the SCI rat (63.2±8.1%; n=9). In concordance with the latter, it could be suggested that 50 Hz-EA stimulation reduced the hyper-excitability of motoneurons and provokes a partial improvement of the locomotive performance and H reflex responses by a possible recovery of presynaptic mechanisms in the spinal cord of experimentally injured rats. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  19. Bladder volume-dependent excitatory and inhibitory influence of lumbosacral dorsal and ventral roots on bladder activity in rats.

    PubMed

    Sugaya, Kimio; de Groat, William C

    2007-08-01

    This study was undertaken to examine the role of the afferent and efferent pathways of the lumbosacral spinal nerve roots in the tonic control of bladder activity. Changes of isovolumetric bladder activity were recorded in 21 sympathectomized female rats under urethane anesthesia following transection of the dorsal (DRT) and ventral (VRT) lumbosacral spinal roots, and after intraperitoneal administration of hexamethonium. DRT altered the baseline intravesical pressure in a bladder volume-dependent manner in each animal. The percent change of baseline pressure after VRT following DRT was also dependent upon bladder volume. The percent change of baseline pressure after VRT alone was similarly dependent on bladder volume, but not after VRT followed by DRT. The percent change of baseline intravesical pressure (y)(-9 to +8 cm H(2)O, -56 to +46%) after DRT and VRT depended upon bladder volume (x)(y = 44.7 x -40.4) in all rats. Hexamethonium increased the amplitude of small myogenic bladder contractions after DRT and VRT. In conclusion, the bladder is tonically excited or inhibited by a local reflex pathway and by a parasympathetic reflex pathway that depends on connections with the lumbosacral spinal cord and the pelvic nerves. Both reflex mechanisms are influenced by bladder volume.

  20. Thermally identified subgroups of marginal zone neurons project to distinct regions of the ventral posterior lateral nucleus in rats.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xijing; Davidson, Steve; Giesler, Glenn J

    2006-05-10

    Spinal marginal zone (MZ) neurons play a crucial role in the transmission of nociceptive and thermoreceptive information to the brain. The precise areas to which physiologically characterized MZ neurons project in the ventral posterior lateral (VPL) nucleus of the thalamus have not been clearly established. Here, we examine this projection in rats using the method of antidromic activation to map the axon terminals of neurons recorded from the MZ. Thirty-three neurons were antidromically activated using pulses of < or =30 microA in the contralateral VPL. In every case, the most rostral point from which the MZ neuron could be antidromically activated was surrounded by stimulating tracks in which large-amplitude current pulses failed to activate the examined neuron, indicating the termination of the spinothalamic tract (STT) axon. Each of 30 examined neurons responded to noxious but not innocuous mechanical stimuli applied to their cutaneous receptive fields, which ranged in size from two digits to the entire limb. Of 17 thermally tested neurons, 16 responded to innocuous or noxious thermal stimuli. Among STT neurons that responded to thermal stimuli, 50% responded to innocuous cooling as well as noxious heat and cold, 31% responded to noxious heat and cold, and 19% responded only to noxious heat. Axons from cells responsive to innocuous cooling terminated in the core region of VPL, significantly dorsal and medial relative to other thermally responsive subgroups. In rats, thermally responsive subgroups of MZ neurons project directly to distinct regions of VPL.

  1. No effect of hypergravity on adult rat ventral horn neuron size or SDH activity

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Roy, R. R.; Ishihara, A.; Moran, M. M.; Wade, C. E.; Edgerton, V. R.

    2001-01-01

    BACKGROUND: Spaceflights of short duration (approximately 2 wk) result in adaptations in the size and/or metabolic properties of a select population of motoneurons located in the lumbosacral region of the rat spinal cord. A decrease in succinate dehydrogenase (SDH, an oxidative marker enzyme) activity of moderately sized (500-800 microm2) motoneurons in the retrodorsolateral region of the spinal cord (L6) has been observed after a 14-d flight. HYPOTHESIS: Our hypothesis was that exposure to short-term hypergravity would result in adaptations in the opposite direction, reflecting a continuum of morphological and biochemical responses in the spinal motoneurons from zero gravity to hypergravity. METHODS: Young, male rats were centrifuged at either 1.5 or 2.0 G for 2 wk. The size and SDH activity of a population of motoneurons in the retrodorsolateral region of the spinal cord (L5) were determined and compared with age-matched rats maintained at 1.0 G. The absolute and relative (to body weight) masses of the soleus, gastrocnemius, adductor longus and tibialis anterior muscles were compared among the three groups. RESULTS: There were no effects of either hypergravity intervention on the motoneuron properties. Rats maintained under hypergravity conditions gained less body mass than rats kept at 1.0 G. For the 1.5 and 2.0 G groups, the muscle absolute mass was smaller and relative mass similar to that observed in the 1.0 G rats, except for the adductor longus. The adductor longus absolute mass was similar to and the relative mass larger in both hypergravity groups than in the 1.0 G group. CONCLUSIONS: Our hypothesis was rejected. The findings suggest that rat motoneurons are more responsive to short-term chronic exposure to spaceflight than to hypergravity conditions.

  2. Delayed recall of fear extinction in rats with lesions of ventral medial prefrontal cortex.

    PubMed

    Lebrón, Kelimer; Milad, Mohammed R; Quirk, Gregory J

    2004-01-01

    Extinction of auditory fear conditioning is thought to form a new memory. We previously found that rats with vmPFC lesions could extinguish fear to the tone within a session, but showed no recall of extinction 24 h later. One interpretation is that the vmPFC is the sole storage site of extinction memory. However, it is also possible that lesioned rats were unable to retrieve extinction memory stored in other structures. To determine if a latent extinction memory could be retrieved with additional training, we repeated the experiment but added an additional 5 d of extinction reminder trials. Replicating our previous findings, vmPFC-lesioned rats extinguished normally on day 1, but showed no recall of extinction on day 2. Over the next 5 d, however, lesioned rats showed significant savings in their rate of re-extinction. Thus, the vmPFC is not the only site where extinction memory is stored. Nevertheless, lesioned rats receiving only two extinction trials per day required twice as many days to initiate extinction as controls. Although recall of extinction is possible without the vmPFC, it is significantly delayed. We suggest that the vmPFC accelerates extinction by permitting access to recently learned extinction trials, thereby maximizing behavioral flexibility.

  3. Analgesic effects of tramadol, carprofen or multimodal analgesia in rats undergoing ventral laparotomy.

    PubMed

    Zegre Cannon, Coralie; Kissling, Grace E; Goulding, David R; King-Herbert, Angela P; Blankenship-Paris, Terry

    2011-03-01

    In this study, the authors evaluated the analgesic efficacy of tramadol (an opioid-like analgesic), carprofen (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) and a combination of both drugs (multimodal therapy) in a rat laparotomy model. The authors randomly assigned rats to undergo either surgery (abdominal laparotomy with visceral manipulation and anesthesia) or anesthesia only. Rats in each group were treated with tramadol (12.5 mg per kg body weight), carprofen (5 mg per kg body weight), a combination of tramadol and carprofen (12.5 mg per kg body weight and 5 mg per kg body weight, respectively) or saline (anesthesia control group only; 5 mg per kg body weight). The authors administered analgesia 10 min before anesthesia, 4 h after surgery or (for the rats that received anesthesia only) anesthesia and 24 h after surgery or anesthesia. They measured locomotor activity, running wheel activity, feed and water consumption, body weight and fecal corticosterone concentration of each animal before and after surgery. Clinical observations were made after surgery or anesthesia to evaluate signs of pain and distress. The authors found that carprofen, tramadol and a combination of carprofen and tramadol were all acceptable analgesia regimens for a rat laparotomy model.

  4. Anxiogenic effects in the rat elevated plus-maze of 5-HT(2C) agonists into ventral but not dorsal hippocampus.

    PubMed

    Alves, S H; Pinheiro, G; Motta, V; Landeira-Fernandez, J; Cruz, A P M

    2004-02-01

    The effect of the non-selective 5-HT2C receptor agonist trifluoromethyl-phenylpiperazine (TFMPP, 0.75, 1.5 and 3.0 microg) and the preferential 5-HT2C agonist 6-chloro-2(1-piperazinyl)pyrazine (MK-212, 0.1, 0.3 and 1.0 microg) microinjected into the ventral or dorsal hippocampus was investigated in anxiety measures of rats exposed to the elevated plus-maze test. Ventral hippocampal (VH) microinjections of the 0.75 or 1.5 microg doses of TFMPP reduced open-arm exploration without affecting the number of closed-arm entries, indicating a selective anxiogenic profile. The highest dose (3.0 microg) reduced open- and closed-arm entries, suggesting interference in locomotor activity. The 0.1 microg dose of MK-212 also caused a selective anxiogenic effect when microinjected into the ventral hippocampus, without disturbing locomotor activity. Microinjections of the two higher doses of MK-212 (0.3 or 1.0 microg) into the ventral hippocampus led to a decrease of exploration in both arms of the maze. In contrast to the anxiogenic effect observed in the VH, neither TFMPP nor MK-212 significantly changed anxiety measures when microinjected into the dorsal hippocampus. These results suggest that activation of 5-HT2C postsynaptic receptors located in the ventral, but not in the dorsal, hippocampus play an important role in anxiety triggered by the elevated plus-maze test.

  5. Intrastriatal grafts of fetal ventral mesencephalon improve allodynia-like withdrawal response to mechanical stimulation in a rat model of Parkinson's disease.

    PubMed

    Takeda, Ryuichiro; Ishida, Yasushi; Ebihara, Kosuke; Abe, Hiroshi; Matsuo, Hisae; Ikeda, Tetsuya; Koganemaru, Go; Kuramashi, Aki; Funahashi, Hideki; Magata, Yasuhiro; Kawai, Keiichi; Nishimori, Toshikazu

    2014-06-24

    We previously reported that a unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) rat model of Parkinson's disease showed allodynia-like withdrawal response to mechanical stimulation of the ipsilateral side of the rat hindpaw. The goal of this study was to investigate the effect of intrastriatal grafts of fetal ventral mesencephalon (VM) on the withdrawal response in 6-OHDA rats. The withdrawal threshold in response to the mechanical stimulation of the rat hindpaw was measured using von Frey filaments. In the ipsilateral side of the 6-OHDA lesions, the withdrawal threshold in response to mechanical stimulation significantly increased in 6-OHDA rats with VM grafts compared with those with sham grafts, but did not change in the contralateral side at 5 weeks after transplantation. The present results suggest that the intrastriatal grafts of fetal VM may relieve pain sensation induced by mechanical stimulation in 6-OHDA rats. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Activation of cannabinoid CB1 receptors in the ventral hippocampus improved stress-induced amnesia in rat.

    PubMed

    Mohammadmirzaei, Negin; Rezayof, Ameneh; Ghasemzadeh, Zahra

    2016-09-01

    The ventral hippocampus (VH) has a high distribution of cannabinoid CB1 receptors which are important in modulating stress responses. Stress exposure activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) which can impact hippocampal formation to change hippocampus-based memories. The purpose of the present study was to determine the possible role of the VH cannabinoid CB1 receptors in stress-induced amnesia using a step-through passive avoidance procedure in male Wistar rats. In order to induce acute stress, the animals were placed on an elevated platform for different time periods (10, 20 and 30min). Our results indicated that post-training 20 and 30min exposure to stress, but not 10min, induced amnesia. Post-training microinjection of a cannabinoid CB1 receptor agonist, arachydonilcyclopropylamide (ACPA; 2.5-7.5ng/rat) into the VH (intra-VH) induced amnesia. Interestingly, post-training intra-VH microinjection of the same doses of ACPA improved stress-induced amnesia. On the other hand, post-training intra-VH microinjection of a selective CB1 receptor antagonist, AM-251 (20-50ng/rat) with exposure to an ineffective stress (10min) potentiated the effect of stress on memory consolidation and induced amnesia. It should be noted that post-training intra-VH microinjection of the same doses of AM-251 alone had no effect on memory consolidation. Our results revealed that post-training intra-VH microinjection of AM-251, prior to ACPA microinjection, inhibited the reversal effect of ACPA on acute elevated platform stress. Taken together, it can be concluded that exposure to post-training inescapable stress impaired memory consolidation. The impairing effects of stress on memory retrieval may be mediated by the VH cannabinoid CB1 receptors. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  7. Delayed Recall of Fear Extinction in Rats with Lesions of Ventral Medial Prefrontal Cortex

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lebron, Kelimer; Milad, Mohammed R.; Quirk, Gregory J.

    2004-01-01

    Extinction of auditory fear conditioning is thought to form a new memory. We previously found that rats with vmPFC lesions could extinguish fear to the tone within a session, but showed no recall of extinction 24 h later. One interpretation is that the vmPFC is the sole storage site of extinction memory. However, it is also possible that lesioned…

  8. Delayed Recall of Fear Extinction in Rats with Lesions of Ventral Medial Prefrontal Cortex

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lebron, Kelimer; Milad, Mohammed R.; Quirk, Gregory J.

    2004-01-01

    Extinction of auditory fear conditioning is thought to form a new memory. We previously found that rats with vmPFC lesions could extinguish fear to the tone within a session, but showed no recall of extinction 24 h later. One interpretation is that the vmPFC is the sole storage site of extinction memory. However, it is also possible that lesioned…

  9. Metabotropic glutamate receptor 7 modulates the rewarding effects of cocaine in rats: involvement of a ventral pallidal GABAergic mechanism.

    PubMed

    Li, Xia; Li, Jie; Peng, Xiao-Qing; Spiller, Krista; Gardner, Eliot L; Xi, Zheng-Xiong

    2009-06-01

    The metabotropic glutamate receptor 7 (mGluR7) has received much attention as a potential target for the treatment of epilepsy, major depression, and anxiety. In this study, we investigated the possible involvement of mGluR7 in cocaine reward in animal models of drug addiction. Pretreatment with the selective mGluR7 allosteric agonist N,N'-dibenzyhydryl-ethane-1,2-diamine dihydrochloride (AMN082; 1-20 mg/kg, i.p.) dose-dependently inhibited cocaine-induced enhancement of electrical brain-stimulation reward and intravenous cocaine self-administration under both fixed-ratio and progressive-ratio reinforcement conditions, but failed to alter either basal or cocaine-enhanced locomotion or oral sucrose self-administration, suggesting a specific inhibition of cocaine reward. Microinjections of AMN082 (1-5 microg/microl per side) into the nucleus accumbens (NAc) or ventral pallidum (VP), but not dorsal striatum, also inhibited cocaine self-administration in a dose-dependent manner. Intra-NAc or intra-VP co-administration of 6-(4-methoxyphenyl)-5-methyl-3-pyridin-4-ylisoxazolo[4,5-c]pyridin-4(5H)-one (MMPIP, 5 microg/microl per side), a selective mGluR7 allosteric antagonist, significantly blocked AMN082's action, suggesting an effect mediated by mGluR7 in these brain regions. In vivo microdialysis demonstrated that cocaine (10 mg/kg, i.p.) priming significantly elevated extracellular DA in the NAc or VP, while decreasing extracellular GABA in VP (but not in NAc). AMN082 pretreatment selectively blocked cocaine-induced changes in extracellular GABA, but not in DA, in both naive rats and cocaine self-administration rats. These data suggest: (1) mGluR7 is critically involved in cocaine's acute reinforcement; (2) GABA-, but not DA-, dependent mechanisms in the ve