A novel mouse brain slice preparation of the hippocampo-accumbens pathway.

Matthews RT, Coker O, Winder DG
J Neurosci Methods. 2004 137 (1): 49-60

PMID: 15196826 · DOI:10.1016/j.jneumeth.2004.02.001

The nucleus accumbens (NAc) is an important component of circuitry that underlies reward related behaviors and the rewarding properties of drugs of abuse. Glutamatergic afferents to the nucleus are critical for its normal function and for behaviors related to drug addiction. An angled, sagittal mouse brain slice preparation has been designed to facilitate concurrent stimulation of two major glutamatergic afferent pathways to the nucleus accumbens. Medium spiny neurons at the medial core/shell boundary of the accumbens were depolarized by stimulation of either hippocampal or limbic cortical afferents through activation of AMPA-type glutamate receptors. High frequency but not low frequency stimulation of hippocampal afferents depolarized medium spiny neurons to a membrane potential that resembled the up state observed upon high frequency stimulation in vivo. The magnitude of the membrane depolarization was positively correlated with the amplitude of the stimulus-evoked EPSP. Concurrent stimulation of hippocampal and limbic cortical afferents at theta frequency selectively induced a long-term depression (LTD) in the magnitude of stimulus-evoked EPSPs on the hippocampal afferent only. These data suggest that this brain slice preparation can be used to study mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity at two of the critical glutamatergic afferent synapses in the nucleus accumbens as well as characterizing potential interactions between afferents. Additionally, LTD at hippocampo-accumbens synapses can be induced at a stimulus frequency known to support reinstatement of drug seeking behavior.

MeSH Terms (21)

Animals Disease Models, Animal Dissection Electric Stimulation Electrophysiology Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials Fornix, Brain Hippocampus Long-Term Synaptic Depression Male Mice Mice, Inbred C57BL Neuronal Plasticity Neurons Neurophysiology Nucleus Accumbens Organ Culture Techniques Receptors, AMPA Substance-Related Disorders Synaptic Transmission

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