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Reward perseveration is shaped by GABA A -mediated dopamine pauses.

Publication ,  Journal Article
Burwell, SCV; Yan, H; Lim, SSX; Shields, BC; Tadross, MR
Published in: bioRxiv
May 9, 2024

Extinction learning is an essential form of cognitive flexibility, which enables obsolete reward associations to be discarded. Its downregulation can lead to perseveration, a symptom seen in several neuropsychiatric disorders. This balance is regulated by dopamine from VTA DA (ventral tegmental area dopamine) neurons, which in turn are largely controlled by GABA (gamma amino-butyric acid) synapses. However, the causal relationship of these circuit elements to extinction and perseveration remain incompletely understood. Here, we employ an innovative drug-targeting technology, DART (drug acutely restricted by tethering), to selectively block GABA A receptors on VTA DA neurons as mice engage in Pavlovian learning. DART eliminated GABA A -mediated pauses-brief decrements in VTA DA activity canonically thought to drive extinction learning. However, contrary to the hypothesis that blocking VTA DA pauses should eliminate extinction learning, we observed the opposite-accelerated extinction learning. Specifically, DART eliminated the naturally occurring perseveration seen in half of control mice. We saw no impact on Pavlovian conditioning, nor on other aspects of VTA DA neural firing. These findings challenge canonical theories, recasting GABA A -mediated VTA DA pauses from presumed facilitators of extinction to drivers of perseveration. More broadly, this study showcases the merits of targeted synaptic pharmacology, while hinting at circuit interventions for pathological perseveration.

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Published In

bioRxiv

DOI

Publication Date

May 9, 2024

Location

United States
 

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Burwell, S. C. V., Yan, H., Lim, S. S. X., Shields, B. C., & Tadross, M. R. (2024). Reward perseveration is shaped by GABA A -mediated dopamine pauses. BioRxiv. https://doi.org/10.1101/2024.05.09.593320
Burwell, Sasha C. V., Haidun Yan, Shaun S. X. Lim, Brenda C. Shields, and Michael R. Tadross. “Reward perseveration is shaped by GABA A -mediated dopamine pauses.BioRxiv, May 9, 2024. https://doi.org/10.1101/2024.05.09.593320.
Burwell SCV, Yan H, Lim SSX, Shields BC, Tadross MR. Reward perseveration is shaped by GABA A -mediated dopamine pauses. bioRxiv. 2024 May 9;
Burwell, Sasha C. V., et al. “Reward perseveration is shaped by GABA A -mediated dopamine pauses.BioRxiv, May 2024. Pubmed, doi:10.1101/2024.05.09.593320.
Burwell SCV, Yan H, Lim SSX, Shields BC, Tadross MR. Reward perseveration is shaped by GABA A -mediated dopamine pauses. bioRxiv. 2024 May 9;

Published In

bioRxiv

DOI

Publication Date

May 9, 2024

Location

United States