Brain Circuits Modulating Reward and Addiction

Habenular modulation of dopamine neurons and its relevance for cocaine addiction
2011 Seed Grant
Michela Marinelli, Ph.D.
Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology
Rosalind Franklin University

These studies will determine how the activity of the brain reward area called “ventral tegmental area” is modulated by specific inputs from another brain reward area called “lateral habenula”. To dissect the role of these inputs, we will use the technique of optogenetics, whereby specific inputs can be activated by brief pulses of light. Experiments will be performed both in baseline conditions and in a rat model of addiction. These studies will provide novel insight on brain circuits modulating reward and addiction.

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