Elizabeth A Heller

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Many behavioral and electrophysiological studies in animals and humans have suggested that sleep and circadian rhythms influence memory consolidation. In rodents, hippocampus-dependent memory may be particularly sensitive to sleep deprivation after training, as spatial memory in the Morris water maze is impaired by rapid eye movement sleep deprivation(More)
Chronic exposure to drugs of abuse or stress regulates transcription factors, chromatin-modifying enzymes and histone post-translational modifications in discrete brain regions. Given the promiscuity of the enzymes involved, it has not yet been possible to obtain direct causal evidence to implicate the regulation of transcription and consequent behavioral(More)
Sirtuins (SIRTs), class III histone deacetylases, are well characterized for their control of cellular physiology in peripheral tissues, but their influence in brain under normal and pathological conditions remains poorly understood. Here, we establish an essential role for SIRT1 and SIRT2 in regulating behavioral responses to cocaine and morphine through(More)
Mechanisms controlling release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the mesolimbic dopamine reward pathway remain unknown. We report that phasic optogenetic activation of this pathway increases BDNF amounts in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) of socially stressed mice but not of stress-naive mice. This stress gating of BDNF signaling is mediated by(More)
Classical electron microscopic studies of the mammalian brain revealed two major classes of synapses, distinguished by the presence of a large postsynaptic density (PSD) exclusively at type 1, excitatory synapses. Biochemical studies of the PSD have established the paradigm of the synapse as a complex signal-processing machine that controls synaptic(More)
Depression is a complex, heterogeneous disorder and a leading contributor to the global burden of disease. Most previous research has focused on individual brain regions and genes contributing to depression. However, emerging evidence in humans and animal models suggests that dysregulated circuit function and gene expression across multiple brain regions(More)
Precise neuronal networks underlie normal brain function and require distinct classes of synaptic connections. Although it has been shown that certain individual proteins can localize to different classes of synapses, the biochemical composition of specific synapse types is not known. Here, we have used a combination of genetically engineered mice, affinity(More)
Drugs of abuse modulate the function and activity of the mesolimbic dopamine circuit. To identify novel mediators of drug-induced neuroadaptations in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), we performed RNA sequencing analysis on VTA samples from mice administered repeated saline, morphine, or cocaine injections. One gene that was similarly up-regulated by both(More)
Previous studies have shown that chronic cocaine administration induces SIRT1, a Class III histone deacetylase, in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), a key brain reward region, and that such induction influences the gene regulation and place conditioning effects of cocaine. To determine the mechanisms by which SIRT1 mediates cocaine-induced plasticity in NAc, we(More)
Drug addiction involves long-term behavioral abnormalities and gene expression changes throughout the mesolimbic dopamine system. Epigenetic mechanisms establish/maintain alterations in gene expression in the brain, providing the impetus for investigations characterizing how epigenetic processes mediate the effects of drugs of abuse. This review focuses on(More)