Transcriptome profiling of the ventral pallidum reveals a role for pallido-thalamic neurons in cocaine reward

Michel Engeln, Megan E. Fox, Ramesh Chandra, Eric Y. Choi, Hyungwoo Nam, Houman Qadir, Shavin S. Thomas, Victoria M. Rhodes, Makeda D. Turner, Rae J. Herman, Cali A. Calarco, Mary Kay Lobo
. 2021-10-21; :
DOI: 10.1101/2021.10.20.465105

AbstractPsychostimulant exposure alters the activity of ventral pallidum (VP) projection-neurons. However, the molecular underpinnings of these circuit dysfunctions are unclear. Using RNA-sequencing followed by circuit-specific gene expression assays, we revealed a key role for the VP to mediodorsal thalamus (VP-MDT) projection neurons in cocaine-related behaviors in mice. Our analyses demonstrated that the transcription factor Nr4a1 bidirectionally modulated dendritic spine dynamics in VP-MDT neurons and positively regulated pathological drug use.

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