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      Phasic Firing in Dopaminergic Neurons Is Sufficient for Behavioral Conditioning

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          Abstract

          Natural rewards and drugs of abuse can alter dopamine signaling, and ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopaminergic neurons are known to fire action potentials tonically or phasically under different behavioral conditions. However, without technology to control specific neurons with appropriate temporal precision in freely behaving mammals, the causal role of these action potential patterns in driving behavioral changes has been unclear. We used optogenetic tools to selectively stimulate VTA dopaminergic neuron action potential firing in freely behaving mammals. We found that phasic activation of these neurons was sufficient to drive behavioral conditioning and elicited dopamine transients with magnitudes not achieved by longer, lower-frequency spiking. These results demonstrate that phasic dopaminergic activity is sufficient to mediate mammalian behavioral conditioning.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          0404511
          7473
          Science
          Science
          Science (New York, N.Y.)
          0036-8075
          1095-9203
          15 November 2016
          23 April 2009
          22 May 2009
          24 January 2017
          : 324
          : 5930
          : 1080-1084
          Affiliations
          [1 ]Neuroscience Program, W080 Clark Center, 318 Campus Drive West, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
          [2 ]Department of Bioengineering, W083 Clark Center, 318 Campus Drive West, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
          [3 ]Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, W083 Clark Center, 318 Campus Drive West, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
          [4 ]Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center, Department of Neurology, Wheeler Center for the Neurobiology of Drug Addiction, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA
          Author notes
          []To whom correspondence should be addressed.: deissero@ 123456stanford.edu
          [*]

          These authors contributed equally to this work.

          Article
          PMC5262197 PMC5262197 5262197 nihpa194434
          10.1126/science.1168878
          5262197
          19389999
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