Caroline Dias

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Numerous studies have found that chronic cocaine increases dendritic spine density of medium spiny neurons in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Here, we used single-cell microinjections and advanced 3D imaging and analysis techniques to extend these findings in several important ways: by assessing cocaine regulation of dendritic spines in the core versus shell(More)
Repeated cocaine administration increases the dendritic arborization of nucleus accumbens neurons, but the underlying signaling events remain unknown. Here we show that repeated exposure to cocaine negatively regulates the active form of Rac1, a small GTPase that controls actin remodeling in other systems. Further, we show, using viral-mediated gene(More)
Regulator of G protein signaling 4 (Rgs4) is a signal transduction protein that controls the function of monoamine, opiate, muscarinic, and other G protein-coupled receptors via interactions with Gα subunits. Rgs4 is expressed in several brain regions involved in mood, movement, cognition, and addiction and is regulated by psychotropic drugs, stress, and(More)
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has a crucial role in modulating neural and behavioral plasticity to drugs of abuse. We found a persistent downregulation of exon-specific Bdnf expression in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in response to chronic opiate exposure, which was mediated by specific epigenetic modifications at the corresponding Bdnf gene(More)
Depression induces structural and functional synaptic plasticity in brain reward circuits, although the mechanisms promoting these changes and their relevance to behavioral outcomes are unknown. Transcriptional profiling of the nucleus accumbens (NAc) for Rho GTPase–related genes, which are known regulators of synaptic structure, revealed a sustained(More)
β-catenin is a multi-functional protein that has an important role in the mature central nervous system; its dysfunction has been implicated in several neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression. Here we show that in mice β-catenin mediates pro-resilient and anxiolytic effects in the nucleus accumbens, a key brain reward region, an effect mediated by(More)
Chronic social defeat stress in mice produces a susceptible phenotype characterized by several behavioral abnormalities consistent with human depression that are reversed by chronic but not acute exposure to antidepressant medications. Recent work in addiction models demonstrates that the transcription factor ΔFosB and protein kinase calmodulin-dependent(More)
Based on earlier gene expression and chromatin array data, we identified the protein, dishevelled (DVL)-2, as being regulated in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), a key brain reward region, in the mouse social defeat model of depression. Here, we validate these findings by showing that DVL2 mRNA and protein levels are downregulated in NAc of mice susceptible to(More)
Many of the long-term effects of cocaine on the brain's reward circuitry have been shown to be mediated by alterations in gene expression. Several chromatin modifications, including histone acetylation and methylation, have been implicated in this regulation, but the effect of other histone modifications remains poorly understood. Poly(ADP-ribose)(More)
Repeated cocaine exposure regulates transcriptional regulation within the nucleus accumbens (NAc), and epigenetic mechanisms-such as histone acetylation and methylation on Lys residues-have been linked to these lasting actions of cocaine. In contrast to Lys methylation, the role of histone Arg (R) methylation remains underexplored in addiction models. Here(More)