Locus coeruleus activation during environmental novelty gates cocaine-induced long-term hyperactivity of dopamine neurons
iScience. 2022-04-01; 25(4): 104154
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Fois GR(1), Bosque-Cordero KY(2), Vazquez-Torres R(3), Miliano C(4), Nogues X(5), Jimenez-Rivera CA(3), Caille S(6), Georges F(1).
(1)CNRS, IMN, UMR5293, Université de Bordeaux, 33000 Bordeaux, France.
(2)Biology Department, University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus, San Juan,
(3)Physiology Department, University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus, San
Juan, Puerto Rico.
(4)Department of Biomedical Sciences, Division of Neuropsychopharmacology,
University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy.
(5)Université de Bordeaux, 33000 Bordeaux, France.
(6)CNRS, EPHE, INCIA, UMR5287, Université de Bordeaux, 33000 Bordeaux, France.
A key feature of the brain is the ability to handle novelty. Anything that is new
will stimulate curiosity and trigger exploration. Novelty preference has been
proposed to predict increased sensitivity to cocaine. Different brain circuits
are activated by novelty, but three specific brain regions are critical for
exploring a novel environment: the noradrenergic neurons originating from the
locus coeruleus (LC), the dopaminergic neurons from the ventral tegmental area
(VTA), and the hippocampus. However, how exploring a novel environment can
interfere with the reward system and control cocaine impact on VTA dopamine
neuron plasticity is unclear. Here, we first investigated the effects of exposure
to a novel environment on the tonic electrophysiological properties of VTA
dopamine neurons. Then, we explored how exposure to a novel environment controls
cocaine-evoked plasticity in dopamine neurons. Our findings indicate that LC
controls VTA dopamine neurons under physiological conditions but also after
© 2022 The Author(s).
Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare no competing interests.