MAPPING NEURAL CIRCUITS INVOLVED IN OPIOID WITHDRAWAL-INDUCED EXCITATION OF THE NUCLEUS ACCUMBENS.
A major focus of our research is understanding how neuronal connections to the nucleus accumbens, a major neural substrate for reward processing, play a role in drug withdrawal. We have found that AMPA receptor-mediated activation of the nucleus accumbens is necessary for withdrawal-induced negative affective states, and we are interested in learning what nucleus accumbens excitatory afferents are necessary for this effect.
A current focus in these efforts is understanding how glutamatergic inputs from the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus (PVT) contribute to drug withdrawal-induced negative affective states.
In the figure above, Fos-labeled cells (green) in the PVT are contacted by orexin fibers (red).