Epub – Cell Reports: Plasticity at Thalamo-Amygdala Synapses Regulates Cocaine-Cue Memory Formation and Extinction

January 22, 2019

Rich MT, Huang YH, Torregrossa MM

Repeated drug use has long-lasting effects on plasticity throughout the brain’s reward and memory systems. Environmental cues that are associated with drugs of abuse can elicit craving and relapse, but the neural circuits responsible for driving drug-cue-related behaviors have not been well delineated, creating a hurdle for the development of effective relapse prevention therapies. In this study, we used a cocaine+cue self- administration paradigm followed by cue re-exposure to establish that the strength of the drug cue association corresponds to the strength of synapses between the medial geniculate nucleus (MGN) of the thalamus and the lateral amygdala (LA). Furthermore, we demonstrate, via optogenetically induced LTD of MGN-LA synapses, that reversing cocaine-induced potentiation of this pathway is sufficient to inhibit cue- induced relapse-like behavior.

Rich MT, Huang YH, Torregrossa MM. Plasticity at Thalamo-Amygdala Synapses Regulates Cocaine-Cue Memory Formation and Extinction. Cell Rep. 2019 Jan 22;26(4):1010-1020.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.12.105. PMID: 30673597, PMCID: PMC6392072.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6392072

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