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IQSE AMO QO Seminar Series

"Optogenetics as a tool to understand drug addiction: Bidirectional and persistent control of alcohol-seeking behavior by corticostriatal long-term potentiation and depression"

Jun Wang
Texas A&M University


Drug addiction is proposed to arise from alterations in synaptic strength via mechanisms of long-term potentiation (LTP) and depression (LTD). However, the causality between these synaptic processes and addictive behaviors is difficult to demonstrate. Here we report that LTP/LTD induction persistently altered operant alcohol self-administration, a motivated drug-seeking behavior. We first induced LTP by pairing presynaptic glutamatergic stimulation with optogenetic postsynaptic depolarization in the dorsomedial striatum, a brain region known to control goal-directed behavior. Blockade of this LTP by NMDA receptor inhibition unmasked an endocannabinoid-dependent LTD. In vivo application of the LTP-inducing protocol persistently increased alcohol-seeking behavior, while the LTD protocol persistently decreased this behavior. We further identified that optogenetic LTP/LTD induction at cortical inputs onto specific striatal dopamine D1 receptor-expressing neurons controlled these behavioral changes. Our results demonstrate a causal link between synaptic plasticity and alcohol-seeking behavior, confirming that modulation of this plasticity provides a therapeutic target for addiction.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
IQSE Seminar Room, 12:00 Noon
(578 MPHY)

Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering
Texas A&M University

Lunch (sandwich) will be served 15 minutes prior to start time