Optogenetics reveals a role for accumbal medium spiny neurons expressing dopamine D2 receptors in cocaine-induced behavioral sensitization

Shelly Sooyun Song, Byeong Jun Kang, Hyo Jin Lee, Hye Ri Sim, Tae Hyong Kim, Sehyoun Yoon, Bong June Yoon, Ja Hyun Baik*, Lei Wen, George J. Augustine, Lei Wen, Lei Wen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Long-lasting, drug-induced adaptations within the nucleus accumbens (NAc) have been proposed to contribute to drug-mediated addictive behaviors. Here we have used an optogenetic approach to examine the role of NAc medium spiny neurons (MSNs) expressing dopamine D2 receptors (D2Rs) in cocaine-induced behavioral sensitization. Adeno-associated viral vectors encoding channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) were delivered into the NAc of D2R-Cre transgenic mice. This allowed us to selectively photostimulate D2R-MSNs in NAc. D2R-MSNs form local inhibitory circuits, because photostimulation of D2R-MSN evoked inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) in neighboring MSNs. Photostimulation of NAc D2R-MSN in vivo affected neither the initiation nor the expression of cocaine-induced behavioral sensitization. However, photostimulation during the drug withdrawal period attenuated expression of cocaine-induced behavioral sensitization. These results show that D2R-MSNs of NAc play a key role in withdrawal-induced plasticity and may contribute to relapse after cessation of drug abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number336
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
Volume8
Issue numberOCT
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 13 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cocaine
  • Dopamine D2 receptors
  • Drug addiction
  • Medium spiny neurons
  • Optogenetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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