It is generally assumed that infralimbic cortex (ILC) and prelimbic cortex, two adjacent areas of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) in rodents, provide selective excitatory glutamatergic inputs to the nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell and core, respectively. It is also generally believed that mPFC influences the extracellular levels of dopamine in the NAc primarily by an excitatory collateral to the ventral tegmental area (VTA). In the present study, we first established the existence of a selective functional connection between ILC and the posteromedial portions of the VTA (pmVTA) and the mNAc shell (pmNAc shell), by measuring striatal neuronal activation (immunohistochemical analysis of ERK1/2 phosphorylation) and glutamate release (in vivo microdialysis) upon ILC electrical stimulation. A novel optogenetic-microdialysis approach allowed the measurement of extracellular concentrations of glutamate and dopamine in the pmNAc shell upon local light-induced stimulation of glutamatergic terminals from ILC. Cortical electrical and local optogenetic stimulation produced significant increases in the extracellular concentrations of glutamate and dopamine in the pmNAc shell. Local blockade of glutamate release by perfusion of an adenosine A2A receptor antagonist in the pmNAc shell blocked the dopamine release induced by local optogenetic stimulation but only partially antagonized dopamine release induced by cortical electrical stimulation. The results demonstrate that ILC excitatory afferents directly modulate the extracellular concentration of dopamine in the pmNAc shell, but also supportthe involvement of an indirect mechanism of dopamine control, through a concomitant ILC-mediated activation of the pmVTA.
We established the existence of a functional connection between the infralimbic cortex (ILC) and the posteromedial portions of the ventral tegmental area (pmVTA) and the medial nucleus acumbens shell (pmNAc shell). A novel optogenetic-microdialysis approach allowed us to demonstrate that local glutamate release from glutamatergic terminals from the ILC exert a significant modulation of extracellular concentration of dopamine in the pmNAc shell. This mechanism provides the frame for a selective cortical-mediated tonic dopaminergic modulation of specific striatal compartments.
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The Journal of Neuroscience, January 20, 2016 • 36(3):851– 859 • 851
Systems/Circuits Local Control of Extracellular Dopamine Levels in the Medial Nucleus Accumbens by a Glutamatergic Projection from the Infralimbic Cortex
Ce´sar Quiroz, et al, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Intramural Research Program, Baltimore, Maryland 21224