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Cell. 2014 Jun 19;157(7):1535-51. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.05.017.

Natural neural projection dynamics underlying social behavior.

Author information

1
Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
2
Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA; Neuroscience Program, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
3
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
4
Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. Electronic address: deissero@stanford.edu.

Abstract

Social interaction is a complex behavior essential for many species and is impaired in major neuropsychiatric disorders. Pharmacological studies have implicated certain neurotransmitter systems in social behavior, but circuit-level understanding of endogenous neural activity during social interaction is lacking. We therefore developed and applied a new methodology, termed fiber photometry, to optically record natural neural activity in genetically and connectivity-defined projections to elucidate the real-time role of specified pathways in mammalian behavior. Fiber photometry revealed that activity dynamics of a ventral tegmental area (VTA)-to-nucleus accumbens (NAc) projection could encode and predict key features of social, but not novel object, interaction. Consistent with this observation, optogenetic control of cells specifically contributing to this projection was sufficient to modulate social behavior, which was mediated by type 1 dopamine receptor signaling downstream in the NAc. Direct observation of deep projection-specific activity in this way captures a fundamental and previously inaccessible dimension of mammalian circuit dynamics.

PMID:
24949967
PMCID:
PMC4123133
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2014.05.017
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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