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Application of optogenetics and in vivo imaging approaches for elucidating the neurobiology of addiction

Abstract

The neurobiology of addiction has been an intense topic of investigation for more than 50 years. Over this time, technological innovation in methods for studying brain function rapidly progressed, leading to increasingly sophisticated experimental approaches. To understand how specific brain regions, cell types, and circuits are affected by drugs of abuse and drive behaviors characteristic of addiction, it is necessary both to observe and manipulate neural activity in addiction-related behavioral paradigms. In pursuit of this goal, there have been several key technological advancements in in vivo imaging and neural circuit modulation in recent years, which have shed light on the cellular and circuit mechanisms of addiction. Here we discuss some of these key technologies, including circuit modulation with optogenetics, in vivo imaging with miniaturized single-photon microscopy (miniscope) and fiber photometry, and how the application of these technologies has garnered novel insights into the neurobiology of addiction.

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Fig. 1: In vivo optical tools for studying addiction neural circuitry.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants F30-MH115536 (to C.R.V.) and R01-DA047269, R01-DA035217, and R01-MH121454 (to Q.-S.L.). It was also partially funded through the Research and Education Initiative Fund, a component of the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin. C.R.V. and S.T.S. are members of the Medical Scientist Training Program at MCW, which is partially supported by a training grant from NIGMS T32-GM080202.

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Vickstrom, C.R., Snarrenberg, S.T., Friedman, V. et al. Application of optogenetics and in vivo imaging approaches for elucidating the neurobiology of addiction. Mol Psychiatry (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-021-01181-3

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