Volume 21 Issue 11, November 2018

Volume 21 Issue 11

The importance of being social

The cover artwork depicts the moment when an animal reaches a crossroads and is presented with a mutually exclusive choice. The darker path leads to relapse and being trapped in the endless cycle of drug addiction. The lighter path leads to abstinence from drug use, supported by a waiting “friend rat” and eventual freedom from addiction. This graphic is a metaphor for social-based contingency management treatment, in which alternative social supports are used as incentive to choose abstinence rather than drug use. Venniro et al. highlight the need for incorporating social factors into neuroscience-based addiction research by demonstrating that volitional social interaction prevents drug addiction and incubation of craving in rat models.

See Venniro et al.

Image: Marco Venniro. Cover Design: Marina Corral Spence.

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    What you choose depends on what information your brain considers and what it neglects when computing the value of actions. An early theory used this insight for a computational account of habits versus deliberation. It has ultimately helped uncover how choice in the brain goes beyond such simple dichotomies.

    • Nathaniel D. Daw
  • News & Views |

    Two recent studies have expanded our understanding of the circuits controlling urination: one described a projection from brainstem to spinal cord that relaxes the urethral sphincter, and the other revealed a subpopulation of brainstem-projecting layer 5 pyramidal neurons in primary motor cortex that direct the initiation of urination.

    • Zheyi Ni
    •  & Hailan Hu
  • News & Views |

    A new theory derives the sequential nature of hippocampal replay from first principles and, moreover, predicts the specific patterns of replay that are actually observed in multiple different experiments.

    • John Widloski
    •  & David J. Foster

Review Articles

  • Review Article |

    Somatic mutations occur after fertilization and are present in only some cells of an individual. Somatic mutations contribute to normal and abnormal brain development, including neurodevelopmental disorders like autism spectrum disorder.

    • Alissa M. D’Gama
    •  & Christopher A. Walsh

Brief Communications

Articles

  • Article |

    Venniro et al. report that drug-addicted rats reliably choose contact with another rat over drugs, even when group-housed between tests. They also do not show the increase in drug craving that normally occurs during forced abstinence.

    • Marco Venniro
    • , Michelle Zhang
    • , Daniele Caprioli
    • , Jennifer K. Hoots
    • , Sam A. Golden
    • , Conor Heins
    • , Marisela Morales
    • , David H. Epstein
    •  & Yavin Shaham
  • Article |

    BRS3 is a receptor regulating energy metabolism. The authors find that DMH Brs3 neurons control body temperature, energy expenditure, and heart rate, but not food intake. In contrast, PVH Brs3 neurons regulate food intake but not energy expenditure.

    • Ramón A. Piñol
    • , Sebastian H. Zahler
    • , Chia Li
    • , Atreyi Saha
    • , Brandon K. Tan
    • , Vojtěch Škop
    • , Oksana Gavrilova
    • , Cuiying Xiao
    • , Michael J. Krashes
    •  & Marc L. Reitman
  • Article |

    A small cluster of brainstem-projecting layer 5 neurons in primary motor cortex elicit contraction of the bladder muscle and trigger urination. These findings open new directions for treating urination-related disorders.

    • Jiwei Yao
    • , Quanchao Zhang
    • , Xiang Liao
    • , Qianwei Li
    • , Shanshan Liang
    • , Xianping Li
    • , Yalun Zhang
    • , Xiangning Li
    • , Haoyu Wang
    • , Han Qin
    • , Meng Wang
    • , Jingcheng Li
    • , Jianxiong Zhang
    • , Wenjing He
    • , Wen Zhang
    • , Tong Li
    • , Fuqiang Xu
    • , Hui Gong
    • , Hongbo Jia
    • , Xiaohong Xu
    • , Junan Yan
    •  & Xiaowei Chen
  • Article |

    Mátyás, Komlósi, et al. describe a highly specialized, calretinin-containing cell population in the dorsal medial thalamus. Connectivity, activity, and optogenetic manipulations identify these neurons as key mediators of forebrain arousal.

    • Ferenc Mátyás
    • , Gergely Komlósi
    • , Ákos Babiczky
    • , Kinga Kocsis
    • , Péter Barthó
    • , Boglárka Barsy
    • , Csaba Dávid
    • , Vivien Kanti
    • , Cesar Porrero
    • , Aletta Magyar
    • , Iván Szűcs
    • , Francisco Clasca
    •  & László Acsády
  • Article |

    The authors investigated the neocortical representations that mediate sensory–motor transformations in active sensing behavior. Layer 5 of vibrissae cortex generates a diverse, distributed network representation via active dendritic integration.

    • Gayathri N. Ranganathan
    • , Pierre F. Apostolides
    • , Mark T. Harnett
    • , Ning-Long Xu
    • , Shaul Druckmann
    •  & Jeffrey C. Magee
  • Article |

    Saccadic eye movements during free viewing exhibit patterns that reflect a strategy to increase neural responses by matching motor behavior with the statistics of the natural world and with the processing limitations of sensory systems.

    • Jason M. Samonds
    • , Wilson S. Geisler
    •  & Nicholas J. Priebe
  • Article |

    Distributed networks in visual cortex precisely link the fine-scale functional architecture with distant network elements and appear early in development, when heterogeneous local connections may seed long-range network interactions.

    • Gordon B. Smith
    • , Bettina Hein
    • , David E. Whitney
    • , David Fitzpatrick
    •  & Matthias Kaschube
  • Article |

    Mattar and Daw propose a normative theory predicting which memories should be accessed at each moment to optimize future decisions. This theory offers a simple explanation for numerous findings about hippocampal replay, bridging planning and learning.

    • Marcelo G. Mattar
    •  & Nathaniel D. Daw
  • Article |

    Widespread differences in H3K27ac, a key histone modification, are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. H3K27ac differences were enriched in genomic regions containing loci involved in the progression of Aβ and tau pathology.

    • Sarah J. Marzi
    • , Szi Kay Leung
    • , Teodora Ribarska
    • , Eilis Hannon
    • , Adam R. Smith
    • , Ehsan Pishva
    • , Jeremie Poschmann
    • , Karen Moore
    • , Claire Troakes
    • , Safa Al-Sarraj
    • , Stephan Beck
    • , Stuart Newman
    • , Katie Lunnon
    • , Leonard C. Schalkwyk
    •  & Jonathan Mill

Resources