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Gil-Lievana, Elvi; Balderas, Israela; Moreno-Castilla, Perla; Luis-Islas, Jorge; McDevitt, Ross A; Tecuapetla, Fatuel; Gutierrez, Ranier; Bonci, Antonello; Bermudez-Rattoni, Federico (2020)

GLUTAMATERGIC BASOLATERAL AMYGDALA TO ANTERIOR INSULAR CORTEX CIRCUITRY MAINTAINS REWARDING CONTEXTUAL MEMORY

Commun Biol 3(1):
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Findings have shown that anterior insular cortex (aIC) lesions disrupt the maintenance of drug addiction, while imaging studies suggest that connections between amygdala and aIC participate in drug-seeking. However, the role of the BLA → aIC pathway in rewarding contextual memory has not been assessed. Using a cre-recombinase under the tyrosine hydroxylase (TH+) promoter mouse model to induce a real-time conditioned place preference (rtCPP), we show that photoactivation of TH+ neurons induced electrophysiological responses in VTA neurons, dopamine release and neuronal modulation in the aIC. Conversely, memory retrieval induced a strong release of glutamate, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the aIC. Only intra-aIC blockade of the glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor accelerated rtCPP extinction. Finally, photoinhibition of glutamatergic BLA → aIC pathway produced disinhibition of local circuits in the aIC, accelerating rtCPP extinction and impairing reinstatement. Thus, activity of the glutamatergic projection from the BLA to the aIC is critical for maintenance of rewarding contextual memory.