Jul 28, 2016

Unexpected global impact of VTA dopamine neuron activation as measured by opto-fMRI

Molecular Psychiatry
S LohaniBita Moghaddam

Abstract

Dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are strongly implicated in cognitive and affective processing as well as in psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and substance abuse disorders. In human studies, dopamine-related functions are routinely assessed using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) measures of blood oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD) signals during the performance of dopamine-dependent tasks. There is, however, a critical void in our knowledge about whether and how activation of VTA dopamine neurons specifically influences regional or global fMRI signals. Here, we used optogenetics in Th::Cre rats to selectively stimulate VTA dopamine neurons while simultaneously measuring global hemodynamic changes using BOLD and cerebral blood volume-weighted (CBVw) fMRI. Phasic activation of VTA dopamine neurons increased BOLD and CBVw fMRI signals in VTA-innervated limbic regions, including the ventral striatum (nucleus accumbens). Surprisingly, basal ganglia regions that receive sparse or no VTA dopaminergic innervation, including the dorsal striatum and the globus pallidus, were also activated. In fact, the most prominent fMRI signal increase ...Continue Reading

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Citations

Mentioned in this Paper

Study
Volume Measurement
Alveolar Ventilation Function
Globus Pallidus
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Neostriatum
Schizophrenia
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