Antonello Bonci Bonci

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How do drugs of abuse modify neural circuitry and thereby lead to addictive behaviour? As for many forms of experience-dependent plasticity, modifications in glutamatergic synaptic transmission have been suggested to be particularly important. Evidence of such changes in response to in vivo administration of drugs of abuse is lacking, however. Here we show(More)
Drug seeking and drug self-administration in both animals and humans can be triggered by drugs of abuse themselves or by stressful events. Here, we demonstrate that in vivo administration of drugs of abuse with different molecular mechanisms of action as well as acute stress both increase strength at excitatory synapses on midbrain dopamine neurons.(More)
Dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) represent a critical site of synaptic plasticity induced by addictive drugs. Orexin/hypocretin-containing neurons in the lateral hypothalamus project to the VTA, and behavioral studies have suggested that orexin neurons play an important role in motivation, feeding, and adaptive behaviors. However, the(More)
A compelling model of experience-dependent plasticity is the long-lasting sensitization to the locomotor stimulatory effects of drugs of abuse. Adaptations in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), a component of the mesolimbic dopamine system, are thought to contribute to this behavioral change. Here we examine excitatory synaptic transmission in NAc slices prepared(More)
Natural rewards and drugs of abuse can alter dopamine signaling, and ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopaminergic neurons are known to fire action potentials tonically or phasically under different behavioral conditions. However, without technology to control specific neurons with appropriate temporal precision in freely behaving mammals, the causal role of(More)
The activities of many neuronal proteins are modulated by ethanol, but the fundamental mechanisms underlying behavioral effects of ethanol remain unclear. To identify mechanisms responsible for intoxication, we screened for Caenorhabditis elegans mutants with altered behavioral responses to ethanol. We found that slo-1 mutants, which were previously(More)
The mesolimbic system is known to play a role in self-administration of opioids and psychostimulants. Although morphine and cocaine act by separate cellular mechanisms initially, the present study describes a common change in synaptic regulation of dopamine cells in the ventral tegmental area 1 week after termination of chronic treatment with either drug.(More)
Persistent drug-seeking behavior is hypothesized to co-opt the brain's natural reward-motivational system. Although ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine (DA) neurons represent a crucial component of this system, the synaptic adaptations underlying natural rewards and drug-related motivation have not been fully elucidated. Here, we show that(More)
The initiation of the psychostimulant sensitization process depends on the mesolimbic system, which projects from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to the nucleus accumbens. Although such initiation is primarily dependent on glutamatergic activity in VTA neurons, the exact role VTA excitatory synapses play in this process is poorly understood. Here, we(More)
Coincident signaling by dopamine and glutamate is thought to be crucial for a variety of motivated behaviors. Previous work has suggested that some midbrain dopamine neurons are themselves capable of glutamate corelease, but this phenomenon remains poorly understood. Here, we expressed the light-activated cation channel Channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) in(More)