Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) in the anterior bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (aBNST) is associated with chronic stress and avoidance behavior. However, CRF + BNST neurons project to reward- and motivation-related brain regions, suggesting a potential role in motivated behavior. We used chemogenetics to selectively activate CRF+ aBNST neurons in male and female CRF-ires-Cre mice during an effort-related choice task and a concurrent choice task. In both tasks, mice were given the option either to exert effort for high value rewards or to choose freely available low value rewards. Acute chemogenetic activation of CRF+ aBNST neurons reduced barrier climbing for a high value reward in the effort-related choice task in both males and females. Furthermore, acute chemogenetic activation of CRF+ aBNST neurons also reduced effortful lever pressing in high-performing males in the concurrent choice task. These data suggest a novel role for CRF+ aBNST neurons in effort-based decision and motivation behaviors.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health