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Ethanol stimulates the firing activity of midbrain dopamine (DA) neurons, leading to enhanced dopaminergic transmission in the mesolimbic system. This effect is thought to underlie the behavioral reinforcement of alcohol intake. Ethanol has been shown to directly enhance the intrinsic pacemaker activity of DA neurons, yet the cellular mechanism mediating(More)
Activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) causes membrane hyperpolarization in midbrain dopamine neurons. This hyperpolarization results from the opening of Ca(2+)-sensitive K(+) channels, which is mediated by the release of Ca(2+) from intracellular stores. Neurotransmitter-induced mobilization of Ca(2+) is generally ascribed to the action of(More)
During early postnatal development, midbrain dopamine (DA) neurons display anomalous firing patterns and amphetamine response. Spontaneous miniature hyperpolarizations (SMHs) are observed in DA neurons during the same period but not in adults. These hyperpolarizations have been shown to be dependent on the release of Ca2+ from internal stores and the(More)
Synaptically released glutamate evokes slow IPSPs mediated by metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) in midbrain dopamine neurons. These mGluR IPSPs are caused by release of Ca(2+) from intracellular stores and subsequent activation of small-conductance Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channels (SK channels). To further investigate the intracellular mechanisms(More)
Amphetamine is a highly addictive psychostimulant that promotes the release of the catecholamines dopamine and norepinephrine. Amphetamine-induced release of dopamine in the midbrain inhibits the activity of dopamine neurons through activation of D2 dopamine autoreceptors. Here we show that amphetamine may also excite dopamine neurons through modulation of(More)
BACKGROUND Activation of the dopaminergic (DA) neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) by ethanol has been implicated in its rewarding and reinforcing effects. At most central synapses, ethanol generally increases inhibitory synaptic transmission; however, no studies have explored the effect of acute ethanol on GABAergic transmission in the VTA. (More)
Ca2+ signals associated with action potentials (APs) and metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) activation exert distinct influences on neuronal activity and synaptic plasticity. However, it is not clear how these two types of Ca2+ signals are differentially regulated by neurotransmitter inputs in a single neuron. We investigated this issue in dopaminergic(More)
During sensorimotor learning, tonically active neurons (TANs) in the striatum acquire bursts and pauses in their firing based on the salience of the stimulus. Striatal cholinergic interneurons display tonic intrinsic firing, even in the absence of synaptic input, that resembles TAN activity seen in vivo. However, whether there are other striatal neurons(More)
Alcoholism is characterized by compulsive alcohol intake after a history of chronic consumption. A reduction in mesolimbic dopaminergic transmission observed during abstinence may contribute to the negative affective state that drives compulsive intake. Although previous in vivo recording studies in rodents have demonstrated profound decreases in the firing(More)
Bursts of spikes triggered by sensory stimuli in midbrain dopamine neurons evoke phasic release of dopamine in target brain areas, driving reward-based reinforcement learning and goal-directed behavior. NMDA-type glutamate receptors (NMDARs) play a critical role in the generation of these bursts. Here we report LTP of NMDAR-mediated excitatory transmission(More)