Basolateral amygdala – Nucleus accumbens circuitry regulates optimal cue-guided risk/reward decision making

Publication date: Available online 4 December 2019Source: Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological PsychiatryAuthor(s): Mieke van Holstein, Paula E. Macleod, Stan B. FlorescoAbstractMaladaptive decision making is a characteristic feature of substance use disorder and pathological gambling. Studies in humans and animals have implicated neural circuits that include the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and nucleus accumbens (NAc) in facilitating risk/reward decision making. However, the preclinical literature has focussed primarily on situations where animals use internally-generated information to adapt to changes in reward likelihood, whereas many real-life situations require the use of external stimuli to facilitate context-appropriate behavior. We recently developed the “Blackjack” task, to measure cued risk/reward decision making requiring rats to chose between a Small/Certain and Large/Risky rewards, with auditory cues at the start of each trial explicitly informing that the probability of obtaining a large reward was either good (50%) or poor (12.5%). Here we investigated the contribution of the BLA and its interaction with the NAc in guiding these types of decisions. In well-trained male rats, bilateral inactivation of the BLA induced suboptimal decision making, primarily by reducing risky choice on good-odds trials. In comparison, pharmacological disconnection of the BLA and NAc-shell also induced suboptimal decision making, diverting choice from more p...
Source: Progress in Neuro Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry - Category: Psychiatry Source Type: research

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