DOI: 10.1101/464040Nov 6, 2018Paper

Characterization of glutamatergic VTA neural population responses to aversive and rewarding conditioning in freely-moving mice

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Quentin MontardyLiping Wang


The Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) is a midbrain structure known to integrate aversive and rewarding stimuli, a function involving VTA Dopaminergic and GABAergic neurons. VTA also contains a less known population: glutamatergic (VGluT2) neurons. Direct activation of VGluT2 soma evokes rewarding behaviors, while stimulation of their axonal projections to the Nucleus Accumbens (NAc) and the Lateral Habenula (LHb) evokes aversive behaviors. Here, a systematic investigation of the VTAVGluT2+ population response to aversive or rewarding conditioning facilitated our understanding these conflicting properties. We recorded calcium signals from VTA glutamatergic population neurons using fiber photometry in VGluT2-cre mice to investigate how the VTA glutamatergic neuronal population was recruited by aversive and rewarding stimulation, both during unconditioned and conditioned protocols. Our results revealed that, as a population, VTA-VGluT2+ neurons responded similarly to unconditioned-aversive and unconditioned-rewarding stimulation. During aversive and rewarding conditioning, the CS-evoked responses gradually increased across trials whilst the US-evoked response remained stable. Retrieval 24 h after conditioning, during which mice receiv...Continue Reading

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