Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

BDNF, Dopamine, and Cocaine Reward

See allHide authors and affiliations

Sci. Signal.  19 Oct 2010:
Vol. 3, Issue 144, pp. ec326
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3144ec326

The nucleus accumbens plays a crucial role in mediating the rewarding effects of drugs of abuse. Different subpopulations of nucleus accumbens projection neurons exhibit balanced but antagonistic influences on their downstream outputs and behaviors. However, their roles in regulating reward behaviors remain unclear. Lobo et al. evaluated the roles of the two subtypes of nucleus accumbens projection neurons, those expressing dopamine D1 versus D2 receptors, in cocaine reward. Deleting TrkB, the receptor for brain-derived neurotrophic factor, selectively in each cell type and selectively controlling the firing of each cell type using optogenetic techniques allowed for confirmation that D1- and D2-containing neurons produced opposite effects on cocaine reward.

M. K. Lobo, H. E. Covington III, D. Chaudhury, A. K. Friedman, H. Sun, D. Damez-Werno, D. M. Dietz, S. Zaman, J. W. Koo, P. J. Kennedy, E. Mouzon, M. Mogri, R. L. Neve, K. Deisseroth, M.-H. Han, E. J. Nestler, Cell type–specific loss of BDNF signaling mimics optogenetic control of cocaine reward. Science 330, 385–390 (2010). [Abstract] [Full Text]