Nucleus Accumbens

Publication Title: 
Biological Psychiatry

BACKGROUND: Prenatal cannabis exposure has been linked to addiction vulnerability, but the neurobiology underlying this risk is unknown. METHODS: Striatal dopamine and opioid-related genes were studied in human fetal subjects exposed to cannabis (as well as cigarettes and alcohol). Cannabis-related gene disturbances observed in the human fetus were subsequently characterized with an animal model of prenatal ?-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (.15 mg/kg) exposure.

Author(s): 
DiNieri, Jennifer A.
Wang, Xinyu
Szutorisz, Henrietta
Spano, Sabrina M.
Kaur, Jasbir
Casaccia, Patrizia
Dow-Edwards, Diana
Hurd, Yasmin L.
Publication Title: 
Biological Psychiatry

BACKGROUND: Marijuana use by teenagers often predates the use of harder drugs, but the neurobiological underpinnings of such vulnerability are unknown. Animal studies suggest enhanced heroin self-administration (SA) and dysregulation of the endogenous opioid system in the nucleus accumbens shell (NAcsh) of adults following adolescent ?(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) exposure. However, a causal link between proenkephalin (Penk) expression and vulnerability to heroin has yet to be established.

Author(s): 
Tomasiewicz, Hilarie C.
Jacobs, Michelle M.
Wilkinson, Matthew B.
Wilson, Steven P.
Nestler, Eric J.
Hurd, Yasmin L.
Publication Title: 
Neuropsychopharmacology: Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology

Chronic social defeat stress in mice produces a susceptible phenotype characterized by several behavioral abnormalities consistent with human depression that are reversed by chronic but not acute exposure to antidepressant medications. Recent work in addiction models demonstrates that the transcription factor ?FosB and protein kinase calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) are co-regulated in nucleus accumbens (NAc), a brain reward region implicated in both addiction and depression models including social defeat.

Author(s): 
Robison, A. J.
Vialou, Vincent
Sun, Hao-Sheng
LabontÈ, Benoit
Golden, Sam A.
Dias, Caroline
Turecki, Gustavo
Tamminga, Carol
Russo, Scott
Mazei-Robison, Michelle
Nestler, Eric J.
Publication Title: 
Nihon Shinkei Seishin Yakurigaku Zasshi = Japanese Journal of Psychopharmacology

Recent human brain imaging studies have examined differences in activity in the nucleus accumbens (N.Acc.) in response to heat stimuli between controls and patients with chronic pain, and have revealed that the N.Acc. plays a role in predicting the value of a noxious stimulus and its offset, and in the consequent changes in the motivational state. Nevertheless, the molecular mechanisms of change in the circuitry involved in emotion and motivation in response to chronic pain stimuli were not fully explored.

Author(s): 
Ikegami, Daigo
Yamashita, Akira
Narita, Minoru
Publication Title: 
Nature Neuroscience

Chronic exposure to drugs of abuse or stress regulates transcription factors, chromatin-modifying enzymes and histone post-translational modifications in discrete brain regions. Given the promiscuity of the enzymes involved, it has not yet been possible to obtain direct causal evidence to implicate the regulation of transcription and consequent behavioral plasticity by chromatin remodeling that occurs at a single gene.

Author(s): 
Heller, Elizabeth A.
Cates, Hannah M.
PeÒa, Catherine J.
Sun, HaoSheng
Shao, Ningyi
Feng, Jian
Golden, Sam A.
Herman, James P.
Walsh, Jessica J.
Mazei-Robison, Michelle
Ferguson, Deveroux
Knight, Scott
Gerber, Mark A.
Nievera, Christian
Han, Ming-Hu
Russo, Scott J.
Tamminga, Carol S.
Neve, Rachael L.
Shen, Li
Zhang, H. Steve
Zhang, Feng
Nestler, Eric J.
Publication Title: 
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

The biological mechanisms underlying long-term partner bonds in humans are unclear. The evolutionarily conserved neuropeptide oxytocin (OXT) is associated with the formation of partner bonds in some species via interactions with brain dopamine reward systems. However, whether it plays a similar role in humans has as yet not been established. Here, we report the results of a discovery and a replication study, each involving a double-blind, placebo-controlled, within-subject, pharmaco-functional MRI experiment with 20 heterosexual pair-bonded male volunteers.

Author(s): 
Scheele, Dirk
Wille, Andrea
Kendrick, Keith M.
Stoffel-Wagner, Birgit
Becker, Benjamin
G¸nt¸rk¸n, Onur
Maier, Wolfgang
Hurlemann, RenÈ
Publication Title: 
Psychological Science

Compassion is a key motivator of altruistic behavior, but little is known about individuals' capacity to cultivate compassion through training. We examined whether compassion may be systematically trained by testing whether (a) short-term compassion training increases altruistic behavior and (b) individual differences in altruism are associated with training-induced changes in neural responses to suffering. In healthy adults, we found that compassion training increased altruistic redistribution of funds to a victim encountered outside of the training context.

Author(s): 
Weng, Helen Y.
Fox, Andrew S.
Shackman, Alexander J.
Stodola, Diane E.
Caldwell, Jessica Z. K.
Olson, Matthew C.
Rogers, Gregory M.
Davidson, Richard J.
Publication Title: 
Neuropsychopharmacology: Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology

This is a pilot examination of the hypothesis that some of the effects of smoking cigarettes in humans are mediated through nicotine activation of opioid and dopamine (DA) neurotransmission. Neuroimaging was performed using positron emission tomography and the radiotracers [11C]carfentanil and [11C]raclopride, labeling mu-opioid and DA D2 receptors, respectively. Six healthy male smokers were abstinent overnight. After radiotracer administration, subjects smoked two denicotinized cigarettes, followed 45 min later by two average nicotine cigarettes.

Author(s): 
Scott, David J.
Domino, Edward F.
Heitzeg, Mary M.
Koeppe, Robert A.
Ni, Lisong
Guthrie, Sally
Zubieta, Jon-Kar
Publication Title: 
Neuron

Expectations, positive or negative, are modulating factors influencing behavior. They are also thought to underlie placebo effects, impacting perceptions and biological processes. Using healthy human subjects, we examined the role of the nucleus accumbens (NAC), a region centrally involved in the encoding of reward expectation, in the formation of placebo responses.

Author(s): 
Scott, David J.
Stohler, Christian S.
Egnatuk, Christine M.
Wang, Heng
Koeppe, Robert A.
Zubieta, Jon-Kar
Publication Title: 
The Journal of Neuroscience: The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience

The underlying neurophysiology of acute pain is fairly well characterized, whereas the central mechanisms operative in chronic pain states are less well understood. Fibromyalgia (FM), a common chronic pain condition characterized by widespread pain, is thought to originate largely from altered central neurotransmission. We compare a sample of 17 FM patients and 17 age- and sex-matched healthy controls, using mu-opioid receptor (MOR) positron emission tomography.

Author(s): 
Harris, Richard E.
Clauw, Daniel J.
Scott, David J.
McLean, Samuel A.
Gracely, Richard H.
Zubieta, Jon-Kar

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