Our new manuscript on “Recruitment and disruption of ventral pallidal cue encoding during alcohol seeking” was just published in the European Journal of Neuroscience. It can be access for free at this link. There are some important updates since we posted the preprint (located here) thanks to constructive reviewers comments, which can be read here. The data and analysis code for this project are available here. We show that conditioning with alcohol, or just alcohol exposure, has divergent effects on ventral pallidal (VP) encoding of instrumental versus Pavlovian reward cues. Previously, we found that the value of sucrose-predictive cues can be predicted by the activity of single neurons in VP, whether those cues gain value through Pavlovian or instrumental conditioning. Now, we report that VP neurons encode alcohol cues after instrumental conditioning, but not after Pavlovian conditioning. Furthermore, voluntary exposure to alcohol potentiates VP responses to sucrose cues learned via instrumental conditioning, and disrupts VP responses to Pavlovian sucrose cues. These bidirectional effects of alcohol exposure on VP responses to different types of cues may be one mechanism by which alcohol can bias decision-making.
Jocelyn wrote a commentary on recent work in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research from Jacqueline Barker’s lab (“Sex differences in ethanol reward seeking under conflict in mice”). Xie et al. found that female mice without a history of ethanol exposure are more compulsive than male mice. Furthermore, female mice with a history of ethanol vapor exposure, a model of alcohol dependence, were actually less compulsive, suggesting the relationship between alcohol exposure and compulsive alcohol seeking may differ for male and female rodents. Jocelyn discusses the implications of this study for research on compulsive alcohol use and alcohol dependence in male and female rodents . The original article can be found at this link and Jocelyn’s commentary can be found here.
This year’s meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism was in Minneapolis! That meant a lot of members got to attend their first alcohol meeting or national conference. MJ presented the lab’s first poster demonstrating that “Dependence-induced changes in cue-evoked alcohol-seeking differ based on sex and alcohol availability”. Jocelyn gave a talk in a session on “Neural circuits and molecular signaling in the basal ganglia for motivated and goal-directed alcohol seeking behavior” along with Dorit Ron (UCSF), Veronica Alvarez (NIAAA) and Doo-Sup Choi (Mayo Clinic). Jocelyn talked about how ventral pallidal neurons respond to alcohol cues, and how alcohol exposure alters ventral pallidal encoding of cues for other rewards, like sucrose. It was a great session and a fun meeting overall.
Check out Jocelyn’s commentary on recent work in Neuropsychopharmacology from Nadia Chaudhri’s lab (“Context and topography determine the role of basolateral amygdala metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 in appetitive Pavlovian responding”). Khoo et al. investigated the role of type 5 metabotropic glutamate receptors in Pavlovian conditioned behavior, systemically (throughout the brain) and locally in the basolateral amygdala and nucleus accumbens. Jocelyn discusses their results and the implications they have for the treatment of addiction. The original article can be found at this link and Jocelyn’s commentary can be found here.