Optogenetic control of alcohol-seeking behavior via the dorsomedial striatal circuit. Academic Article uri icon


  • Alcohol consumption alters glutamatergic transmission in many brain regions, including the dorsomedial striatum (DMS); this aberrant plasticity is thought to be responsible for alcohol-seeking behavior. Recent studies reported that alcohol induced such plasticity specifically in direct pathway spiny projection neurons (dSPNs) of the DMS. However, it is unknown how this specific change contributes to alcohol-seeking behavior and relapse. Here, we first demonstrated that operant alcohol self-administration increased NMDA receptor activity in DMS dSPNs. Next, we found that optogenetic inhibition of dSPNs reversibly decreased operant lever presses for alcohol and alcohol intake. Furthermore, optogenetic stimulation of corticostriatal inputs at low and moderate frequencies induced reliable LTD in DMS slices. Surprisingly, in vivo delivery of the LTD-inducing protocol increased operant alcohol self-administration; this effect was blocked by a D2R antagonist. Importantly, LTD induction in the presence of both D1 and D2 receptor antagonists produced a long-lasting decrease in operant alcohol self-administration. Our results suggest that suppressing DMS dSPNs activity and their cortical inputs represents a novel treatment mechanism for alcohol use disorder.

published proceedings

  • Neuropharmacology

altmetric score

  • 3.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Roltsch Hellard, E., Binette, A., Zhuang, X., Lu, J., Ma, T., Jones, B., ... Wang, J.

citation count

  • 16

complete list of authors

  • Roltsch Hellard, Emily||Binette, Annalise||Zhuang, Xiaowen||Lu, Jiayi||Ma, Tengfei||Jones, Bradley||Williams, Eric||Jayavelu, Swetha||Wang, Jun

publication date

  • January 2019