Sign-trackers have elevated myo-inositol in the nucleus accumbens and ventral hippocampus following Pavlovian conditioned approach

Associated faculty or student(s): Publication Date:
Monday, January 4, 2016

Pavlovian conditioned approach (PCA) is a behavioral procedure that can be used to assess individual differences in the addiction vulnerability of drug-naïve rats and identify addiction vulnerability factors. Using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1 H-MRS) ex vivo, we simultaneously analyzed concentrations of multiple neurochemicals throughout the mesocorticolimbic system two weeks after PCA training in order to identify potential vulnerability factors to addiction in drug naïve rats for future investigations. Levels of myo-inositol (Ins), a 1 H-MRS-detectable marker of glial activity/proliferation, were increased in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and ventral hippocampus (vHPC), but not dorsal hippocampus or medial prefrontal cortex, of sign-trackers compared to goal-trackers or intermediate responders. In addition, Ins levels positively correlated with PCA behavior in the NAc and vHPC. Because the sign-tracker phenotype is associated with increased drug-seeking behavior, these results observed in drug-naïve rats suggest that alterations in glial activity/proliferation within these regions may represent an addiction vulnerability factor.

Link to publication: