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Title: Subthalamic nucleus involvement in drug consumption behavior and its modulation by social context
Institut des neurosciences de la Timone – Marseille
The subthalamic nucleus (STN) is a cerebral nucleus belonging to the basal ganglia and serves as the current target for the deep brain stimulation surgery to treat Parkinsonism. We have provided evidence in the rat and the macaque that it could also serve as a surgical target for the treatment of addiction. These results will be reviewed. In another set of translational experiments carried out in rats and in human drug users, we have shown that drug consumption can be modulated by the direct presence of an observing peer depending on its familiarity and drug experience. In the rat, we have also shown that the STN also contributes to these latter modulations induced by the social context such as presence of a peer or playback of ultrasonic vocalizations of a peer. These results position the STN in a network that links motivation and social cognition and should also contribute to develop harm reduction strategies for stimulant users.
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