Activation of Basolateral Amygdala to Nucleus Accumbens Projection Neurons Attenuates Chronic Corticosterone-Induced Behavioral Deficits in Male Mice

Andrew Dieterich, Joseph Floeder, Karina Stech, Jay Lee, Prachi Srivastava, David Barker, Benjamin A. Samuels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The basolateral amygdala (BLA) is critical for reward behaviors via a projection to the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Specifically, BLA-NAc projections are involved in reinforcement learning, reward-seeking, sustained instrumental responding, and risk behaviors. However, it remains unclear whether chronic stress interacts with BLA-NAc projection neurons to result in maladaptive behaviors. Here we take a chemogenetic, projection-specific approach to clarify how NAc-projecting BLA neurons affect avoidance, reward, and feeding behaviors in male mice. Then, we examine whether chemogenetic activation of NAc-projecting BLA neurons attenuates the maladaptive effects of chronic corticosterone (CORT) administration on these behaviors. CORT mimics the behavioral and neural effects of chronic stress exposure. We found a nuanced role of BLA-NAc neurons in mediating reward behaviors. Surprisingly, activation of BLA-NAc projections rescues CORT-induced deficits in the novelty suppressed feeding, a behavior typically associated with avoidance. Activation of BLA-NAc neurons also increases instrumental reward-seeking without affecting free-feeding in chronic CORT mice. Taken together, these data suggest that NAc-projecting BLA neurons are involved in chronic CORT-induced maladaptive reward and motivation behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number643272
JournalFrontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
Volume15
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 24 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Keywords

  • basolateral amygdala
  • chronic stress
  • depression models
  • instrumental behavior
  • motivation
  • nucleus accumbens
  • reward

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