Cholinergic Control Over Attention in Rats Prone to Attribute Incentive Salience to Reward Cues.

Cholinergic Control over Attention in Rats Prone to Attribute Incentive Salience to Reward Cues.

J Neurosci. 2013 May 8; 33(19): 8321-35
Paolone G, Angelakos CC, Meyer PJ, Robinson TE, Sarter M

Some rats [sign-trackers (STs)] are especially prone to attribute incentive salience to reward cues, relative to others [goal-trackers (GTs)]. Thus, reward cues are more likely to promote maladaptive reward-seeking behavior in STs than GTs. Here, we asked whether STs and GTs differ on another trait that can contribute to poor restraint over behavior evoked by reward cues. We report that, relative to GTs, STs have poor control over attentional performance, due in part to insufficient cholinergic stimulation of cortical circuitry. We found that, relative to GTs, STs showed poor performance on a sustained attention task (SAT). Furthermore, their performance fluctuated rapidly between periods of good to near-chance performance. This finding was reproduced using a separate cohort of rats. As demonstrated earlier, performance on the SAT was associated with increases in extracellular levels of cortical acetylcholine (ACh); however, SAT performance-associated increases in ACh levels were significantly attenuated in STs relative to GTs. Consistent with the view that the modulatory effects of ACh involve stimulation of ?4?2* nicotinic ACh receptors (nAChRs), systemic administration of the partial nAChR agonist ABT-089 improved SAT performance in STs and abolished the difference between SAT-associated ACh levels in STs and GTs. Neither the nonselective nAChR agonist nicotine nor the psychostimulant amphetamine improved SAT performance. These findings suggest that individuals who have a propensity to attribute high-incentive salience to reward cues also exhibit relatively poor attentional control. A combination of these traits may render individuals especially vulnerable to disorders, such as obesity and addiction. HubMed – addiction


Imbalances in Prefrontal Cortex CC-Homer1 versus CC-Homer2 Expression Promote Cocaine Preference.

J Neurosci. 2013 May 8; 33(19): 8101-13
Ary AW, Lominac KD, Wroten MG, Williams AR, Campbell RR, Ben-Shahar O, von Jonquieres G, Klugmann M, Szumlinski KK

Homer postsynaptic scaffolding proteins regulate forebrain glutamate transmission and thus, are likely molecular candidates mediating hypofrontality in addiction. Protracted withdrawal from cocaine experience increases the relative expression of Homer2 versus Homer1 isoforms within medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Thus, this study used virus-mediated gene transfer strategies to investigate the functional relevance of an imbalance in mPFC Homer1/2 expression as it relates to various measures of sensorimotor, cognitive, emotional and motivational processing, as well as accompanying alterations in extracellular glutamate in C57BL/6J mice. mPFC Homer2b overexpression elevated basal glutamate content and blunted cocaine-induced glutamate release within the mPFC, whereas Homer2b knockdown produced the opposite effects. Despite altering mPFC glutamate, Homer2b knockdown failed to influence cocaine-elicited conditioned place preferences, nor did it produce consistent effects on any other behavioral measures. In contrast, elevating the relative expression of Homer2b versus Homer1 within mPFC, by overexpressing Homer2b or knocking down Homer1c, shifted the dose-response function for cocaine-conditioned reward to the left, without affecting cocaine locomotion or sensitization. Intriguingly, both these transgenic manipulations produced glutamate anomalies within the nucleus accumbens (NAC) of cocaine-naive animals that are reminiscent of those observed in cocaine experienced animals, including reduced basal extracellular glutamate content, reduced Homer1/2 and glutamate receptor expression, and augmented cocaine-elicited glutamate release. Together, these data provide novel evidence in support of opposing roles for constitutively expressed Homer1 and Homer2 isoforms in regulating mPFC glutamate transmission in vivo and support the hypothesis that cocaine-elicited increases in the relative amount of mPFC Homer2 versus Homer1 signaling produces abnormalities in NAC glutamate transmission that enhance vulnerability to cocaine reward. HubMed – addiction


Constraints on decision making: Implications from genetics, personality, and addiction.

Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2013 May 9;
Baker TE, Stockwell T, Holroyd CB

An influential neurocomputational theory of the biological mechanisms of decision making, the “basal ganglia go/no-go model,” holds that individual variability in decision making is determined by differences in the makeup of a striatal system for approach and avoidance learning. The model has been tested empirically with the probabilistic selection task (PST), which determines whether individuals learn better from positive or negative feedback. In accordance with the model, in the present study we examined whether an individual’s ability to learn from positive and negative reinforcement can be predicted by genetic factors related to the midbrain dopamine system. We also asked whether psychiatric and personality factors related to substance dependence and dopamine affect PST performance. Although we found characteristics that predicted individual differences in approach versus avoidance learning, these observations were qualified by additional findings that appear inconsistent with the predictions of the go/no-go model. These results highlight a need for future research to validate the PST as a measure of basal ganglia reward learning. HubMed – addiction