Mark A. Ungless

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Dopamine neurons play a key role in reward-related behaviors. Reward coding theories predict that dopamine neurons will be inhibited by or will not respond to aversive stimuli. Paradoxically, between 3 and 49% of presumed dopamine neurons are excited by aversive stimuli. We found that, in the ventral tegmental area of anesthetized rats, the population of(More)
Midbrain dopamine neurons play central roles in reward processing. It is widely assumed that all dopamine neurons encode the same information. Some evidence, however, suggests functional differences between subgroups of dopamine neurons, particularly with respect to processing nonrewarding, aversive stimuli. To directly test this possibility, we recorded(More)
Stress increases addictive behaviors and is a common cause of relapse. Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) plays a key role in the modulation of drug taking by stress. However, the mechanism by which CRF modulates neuronal activity in circuits involved in drug addiction is poorly understood. Here we show that CRF induces a potentiation of NMDAR(More)
The dopamine system is involved in motivation, reward and learning, and dysfunction in this system has been implicated in several disorders, including Parkinson's disease (PD) and schizophrenia. Key progress in our understanding of its functions has come from extracellular in vivo electrophysiological recordings from midbrain dopamine neurons. Numerous(More)
Midbrain dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area, substantia nigra and retrorubral field play key roles in reward processing, learning and memory, and movement. Within these midbrain regions and admixed with the dopamine neurons, are also substantial populations of GABAergic neurons that regulate dopamine neuron activity and have projection targets(More)
gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic neurons are widely distributed in brainstem structures involved in the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle, locomotion, and attention. These brainstem structures include the pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN), which is traditionally characterized by its population of cholinergic neurons that have local and wide-ranging(More)
The mesolimbic dopamine (DA) system originating in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) is involved in many drug-related behaviors, including ethanol self-administration. In particular, VTA activity regulating ethanol consummatory behavior appears to be modulated through GABA(A) receptors. Previous exposure to ethanol enhances ethanol self-administration, but(More)
November 2006 | Volume 3 | Issue 11 | e437 The consumption of a variety of natural and synthetic substances can lead to addiction, which is commonly defi ned by the loss of control and compulsive consumption despite negative consequences. Although addictive drugs have diverse molecular targets in the brain, they share the common initial effect of increasing(More)
Serotonin is widely implicated in aversive processing. It is not clear, however, whether serotonin neurons encode information about aversive stimuli. We found that, in the dorsal raphe of anesthetized rats, most neurochemically-identified clocklike serotonin neurons were phasically excited by noxious footshocks, whereas most bursting serotonin neurons were(More)
The efficient generation of striatal neurons from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) is fundamental for realising their promise in disease modelling, pharmaceutical drug screening and cell therapy for Huntington's disease. GABAergic medium-sized spiny neurons (MSNs) are the principal projection neurons of the(More)