Study reveals the role the ventral tegmental area of the brain plays in craving protein-rich foods.
Researchers have identified novel neurocircuitry between midbrain structures which are modulated by leptin to control eating behaviors in mice.
Researchers temporarily switched off the neural pathway between the ventral tegmental area and nucleus accumbens in primate models, negatively impacting motivation, but not learning.
Common green apple flavorant farnesene enhances nicotine reward in mouse models. The flavorant is also rewarding on its own. Researchers say with or without nicotine, flavored vapes, especially those containing farnesene, pose potential neurological risks, including addiction.
Estrogen level fluctuations appear to play a role in alcohol use disorder in women. Reducing the number of estrogen receptors in the ventral tegmental area decreased binge drinking behaviors in female mouse models.
Neurons in the caudal pedunculopontine nucleus, an area of the brain that regulates motor coordination, switch neurotransmitters from acetylcholine to GABA as a result of exercise. The switch appears to provide feedback control that regulates motor coordination and skill learning.
Reducing H3Q5dop in rat models of cocaine withdrawal significantly reversed cocaine mediated gene expression changes and reduced cocaine-seeking behaviors.
Study reveals a novel learning process orchestrated between the digestive system and brain that compels animals to seek out novel foods.
Novelty directly activates the dopamine system and enhances associative learning. The findings have implications for the development of new machine learning technologies and educational strategies.
Prenatal exposure to THC makes dopamine neurons hyperactive and increases the sensitivity to the behavioral effects of the compound during pre-adolescence. This may increase the risk of developing schizophrenia later in life. However, treatment with pregnenolone, a drug under clinical trials for ASD, cannabis use disorder, and schizophrenia, appears to correct the brain abnormalities and behavioral problems associated with prenatal cannabis exposure.
Inhibitory inputs to the neural circuit between the dorsolateral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (dlBNST) to the ventral tegmental area (VTA) increase when a person is in chronic pain. This alteration is mediated by enhanced corticotropin-releasing factor signaling within the dlBNST, leading to suppression of the mesolimbic dopaminergic system. The result is depressive mood and anhedonia associated with chronic pain.