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Science. 2017 Sep 15;357(6356):1149-1155. doi: 10.1126/science.aan6747.

Thirst-associated preoptic neurons encode an aversive motivational drive.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
2
Neurosciences Program, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
3
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
4
Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
5
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
6
Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
7
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. deissero@stanford.edu lluo@stanford.edu.
8
Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. deissero@stanford.edu lluo@stanford.edu.

Abstract

Water deprivation produces a drive to seek and consume water. How neural activity creates this motivation remains poorly understood. We used activity-dependent genetic labeling to characterize neurons activated by water deprivation in the hypothalamic median preoptic nucleus (MnPO). Single-cell transcriptional profiling revealed that dehydration-activated MnPO neurons consist of a single excitatory cell type. After optogenetic activation of these neurons, mice drank water and performed an operant lever-pressing task for water reward with rates that scaled with stimulation frequency. This stimulation was aversive, and instrumentally pausing stimulation could reinforce lever-pressing. Activity of these neurons gradually decreased over the course of an operant session. Thus, the activity of dehydration-activated MnPO neurons establishes a scalable, persistent, and aversive internal state that dynamically controls thirst-motivated behavior.

Comment in

PMID:
28912243
PMCID:
PMC5723384
DOI:
10.1126/science.aan6747
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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