Emily A. Ferenczi et al science 2016

Which brain regions are causally involved in reward-related behavior? Ferenczi et al.combined focal, cell type-specific, optogenetic manipulations with brain imaging, behavioral testing, and in vivo electrophysiology (see the Perspective by Robbins). Stimulation of midbrain dopamine neurons increased activity in a brain region called the striatum and was correlated with reward-seeking across individual animals. However, elevated excitability of an area called the medial prefrontal cortex reduced both striatal responses to the stimulation of dopamine neurons and the behavioral drive to seek the stimulation of dopamine neurons. Finally, modulating the excitability of medial prefrontal cortex pyramidal neurons drove changes in neural circuit synchrony, as well as corresponding anhedonic behavior. These observations resemble imaging and clinical phenotypes observed in human depression, addiction, and schizophrenia