Optogenetic approaches to studying reward and substance abuse disorders
Antonello Bonci, MD Scientific Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse
Host: Luis de Lecea
The ventral tegmental area (VTA), nucleus accumbens (NAC) and prefrontal cortex (PFC) are all part of the limbic system and play a fundamental role in motivation, reward- and drug-dependent behaviors. A few years ago, my laboratory has shown that drugs of abuse such as cocaine can produce long-term synaptic plasticity and that the duration of such plasticity is dependent upon the modality of drug or reward administration. By applying a multidisciplinary approach that includes electrophysiology, optogenetics and behavioral procedures, my laboratory has produced a series of studies aimed at defining the pathways that control and modulate reward and drug-dependent behaviors. During my presentation, I will present the latest data on the cellular mechanisms and pathways that underlie reward substance use disorders.