Milan D. Valyear, Alexa Brown, Ghislaine Deyab, Franz R. Villaruel, Soraya Lahlou, Nina Caporicci‐Dinucci, Nadia Chaudhri

Augmenting glutamatergic, but not dopaminergic, activity in the nucleus accumbens shell disrupts responding to a discrete alcohol cue in an alcohol context

  • General Neuroscience

AbstractDiscrete alcohol cues and contexts are relapse triggers for people with alcohol use disorder exerting particularly powerful control over behaviour when they co‐occur. Here, we investigated the neural substrates subserving the capacity for alcohol‐associated contexts to elevate responding to an alcohol‐predictive conditioned stimulus (CS). Specifically, rats were trained in a distinct ‘alcohol context’ to respond by entering a fluid port during a discrete auditory CS that predicted the delivery of alcohol and were familiarized with a ‘neutral context’ wherein alcohol was never available. When conditioned CS responding was tested by presenting the CS without alcohol, we found that augmenting glutamatergic activity in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell by microinfusing α‐amino‐3‐hydroxy‐5‐methyl‐4‐isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) reduced responding to an alcohol CS in an alcohol, but not neutral, context. Further, AMPA microinfusion robustly affected behaviour, attenuating the number, duration and latency of CS responses selectively in the alcohol context. Although dopaminergic inputs to the NAc shell were previously shown to be necessary for CS responding in an alcohol context, here, chemogenetic excitation of ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine neurons and their inputs to the NAc shell did not affect CS responding. Critically, chemogenetic excitation of VTA dopamine neurons affected feeding behaviour and elevated c‐fos immunoreactivity in the VTA and NAc shell, validating the chemogenetic approach. These findings enrich our understanding of the substrates underlying Pavlovian responding for alcohol and reveal that the capacity for contexts to modulate responding to discrete alcohol cues is delicately underpinned by the NAc shell.

Need a simple solution for managing your BibTeX entries? Explore CiteDrive!

  • Web-based, modern reference management
  • Collaborate and share with fellow researchers
  • Integration with Overleaf
  • Comprehensive BibTeX/BibLaTeX support
  • Save articles and websites directly from your browser
  • Search for new articles from a database of tens of millions of references
Try out CiteDrive

More from our Archive