Place cells and addictive drugs
BilZ0r at TAKETHISOUThotmail.com
Sat Jun 12 20:19:25 EST 2004
So what do you guys think of an experiment like this:
You have a set-up much like a conditioned place preference box, a two
compartment case, where a rat can walk from one comparment to the other.
You then record from several hippocampal place cells, and find ones that
corispond roughly to the the either of the 'rooms'.
Then you give the rat maybe, a microinfusion of methampehtamine into the
hippocampus, or electrically stimulate the ventral tegmental dopaminergic
neurons, only when the rat is in the right room.
So behaviourally, we would expect to see the rat spend its time in the
conditioned room, the right room, because that is where it recieves the
reward. But your also recording from the place cells. Now will you see an
increased rate of firing of the place cell?
My idea basically stemed from the fact that people always look at
synaptic placsticity in the VTA or the Nucleus Accumbens when they are
interested in drugs of abuse.. I don't really know why, I wouldn't have
thought palsticity there would have explained addiction very well. I
always thought that plasticity in the cortex would have far more
interesting, i.e. when the reward coincides with a stimuli, then the
cortical cells which code/interpret/are activated by that stimuli will
strengthen there synapses with other downstream neurons, increases the
attentional weighting of the stimuli. But it would be very hard to find a
neuron which is strongly activated by a particular stimuli (I assume). So
I thought, place cells seem easy enough to find...
I don't know, this stuff is really quite neurosciency for me, and a bit
out of my neuropharmacology background, but I don't want to get stuck
working in cultured neurons my whole life, and I'm thinking about a PhD
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