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Nature. 2016 Jun 30;534(7609):688-92. doi: 10.1038/nature18601.

Basal forebrain projections to the lateral habenula modulate aggression reward.

Author information

1
Fishberg Department of Neuroscience and Friedman Brain Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York 10029, USA.
2
Graduate Program in Neuroscience, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York 10029, USA.
3
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University Medical Center, Palo Alto, California 94305, USA.
4
Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics and Institute for Systems Biomedicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York 10029, USA.

Abstract

Maladaptive aggressive behaviour is associated with a number of neuropsychiatric disorders and is thought to result partly from the inappropriate activation of brain reward systems in response to aggressive or violent social stimuli. Nuclei within the ventromedial hypothalamus, extended amygdala and limbic circuits are known to encode initiation of aggression; however, little is known about the neural mechanisms that directly modulate the motivational component of aggressive behaviour. Here we established a mouse model to measure the valence of aggressive inter-male social interaction with a smaller subordinate intruder as reinforcement for the development of conditioned place preference (CPP). Aggressors develop a CPP, whereas non-aggressors develop a conditioned place aversion to the intruder-paired context. Furthermore, we identify a functional GABAergic projection from the basal forebrain (BF) to the lateral habenula (lHb) that bi-directionally controls the valence of aggressive interactions. Circuit-specific silencing of GABAergic BF-lHb terminals of aggressors with halorhodopsin (NpHR3.0) increases lHb neuronal firing and abolishes CPP to the intruder-paired context. Activation of GABAergic BF-lHb terminals of non-aggressors with channelrhodopsin (ChR2) decreases lHb neuronal firing and promotes CPP to the intruder-paired context. Finally, we show that altering inhibitory transmission at BF-lHb terminals does not control the initiation of aggressive behaviour. These results demonstrate that the BF-lHb circuit has a critical role in regulating the valence of inter-male aggressive behaviour and provide novel mechanistic insight into the neural circuits modulating aggression reward processing.

PMID:
27357796
PMCID:
PMC4930107
DOI:
10.1038/nature18601
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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