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Studies over the past decade have enunciated silent synapses as prominent cellular substrates for synaptic plasticity in the developing brain. However, little is known about whether silent synapses can be generated postdevelopmentally. Here, we demonstrate that highly salient in vivo experience, such as exposure to cocaine, generates silent synapses in the(More)
Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by loss of A9 dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc). An association has been reported between PD and exposure to mitochondrial toxins, including environmental pesticides paraquat, maneb, and rotenone. Here, using a robust, patient-derived stem cell model of PD allowing comparison of(More)
The nucleus accumbens (NAc) regulates motivated behavior by, in part, processing excitatory synaptic projections from several brain regions. Among these regions, the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and basolateral amygdala, convey executive control and affective states, respectively. Whereas glutamatergic synaptic transmission within the NAc has been recognized as(More)
The neuroadaptation theory of addiction suggests that, similar to the development of most memories, exposure to drugs of abuse induces adaptive molecular and cellular changes in the brain which likely mediate addiction-related memories or the addictive state. Compared to other types of memories, addiction-related memories develop fast and last extremely(More)
In rat models of drug relapse and craving, cue-induced cocaine seeking progressively increases after withdrawal from the drug. This 'incubation of cocaine craving' is partially mediated by time-dependent adaptations at glutamatergic synapses in nucleus accumbens (NAc). However, the circuit-level adaptations mediating this plasticity remain elusive. We(More)
Locomotor sensitization is a common and robust behavioral alteration in rodents whereby following exposure to abused drugs such as cocaine, the animal becomes significantly more hyperactive in response to an acute drug challenge. Here, we further analyzed the role of cocaine-induced silent synapses in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell and their contribution(More)
Head direction (HD) cells discharge as a function of the rat's directional orientation with respect to its environment. Because animals with posterior parietal cortex (PPC) lesions exhibit spatial and navigational deficits, and the PPC is indirectly connected to areas containing HD cells, we determined the effects of bilateral PPC lesions on HD cells(More)
The nucleus accumbens shell (NAc) is a key brain region mediating emotional and motivational learning. In rodent models, dynamic alterations have been observed in synaptic NMDA receptors (NMDARs) within the NAc following incentive stimuli, and some of these alterations are critical for acquiring new emotional/motivational states. NMDARs are prominent(More)
Although learning and memory theories hypothesize that memories are encoded by specific circuits, it has proven difficult to localize learning within a cortical area. Neural network theories predict that activation of a small fraction of the neurons in a circuit can activate that circuit. Consequently, altering the physiology of a small group of neurons(More)
Medium spiny neurons (MSNs) within the nucleus accumbens shell (NAc) function to gate and prioritize emotional/motivational arousals for behavioral output. The neuronal output of NAc MSNs is mainly determined by the integration of membrane excitability and excitatory/inhibitory synaptic inputs. Whereas cocaine-induced alterations at excitatory synapses and(More)