Preference for Cocaine is Represented in the Orbitofrontal Cortex by an Increased Proportion of Cocaine Use-Coding Neurons.
Cereb. Cortex. 2017-01-04; :
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1. Cereb Cortex. 2018 Mar 1;28(3):819-832. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhw398.
Preference for Cocaine is Represented in the Orbitofrontal Cortex by an Increased
Proportion of Cocaine Use-Coding Neurons.
Guillem K(1)(2), Ahmed SH(1)(2).
(1)Université de Bordeaux, Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives, UMR 5293,
146 rue Léo-Saignat, F-33000 Bordeaux, France.
(2)CNRS, Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives, UMR 5293, 146 rue Léo-Saignat,
F-33000 Bordeaux, France.
Cocaine addiction is a harmful preference for drug use over and at the expense of
other nondrug-related activities. Here we identify in the rat orbitofrontal
cortex (OFC) a mechanism that explains individual preferences between cocaine use
and an alternative, nondrug action. OFC neuronal activity was recorded while rats
performed each of these 2 actions separately or while they chose between them.
First, we found that these actions are encoded by 2 nonoverlapping neuronal
populations and that the relative size of the cocaine population represented
individual preferences. A larger relative size was only observed in
cocaine-preferring individuals. Second, OFC neurons encoding a given individual’s
preferred action progressively fired more than other action-coding neurons few
seconds before the preferred action was actually chosen, suggesting a prechoice
neuronal competition for action selection. In cocaine-preferring rats, this
manifested by a prechoice ramping-up activity in favor of the cocaine population.
Finally, pharmacological manipulation of prechoice activity in favor of the
cocaine population caused nondrug-preferring rats to shift their choice to
cocaine. Overall, this study suggests that an individual preference for cocaine
is represented in the OFC by a population size bias that systematically
advantages cocaine use-coding neurons during prechoice competition for action
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