GABA Stops Dopamine

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They found a direct link between GABA activation and dopamine suppression.

Then, via optical fibers, the researchers shined laser beams onto the genetically manipulated GABA neurons, activating them for 5 seconds during the cue period followed by reward. And on another day, they activated the neurons during reward consumption, when the animals were actively engaged in drinking the sugar water.

“And what we saw when we activated the cells during the cue period, or reward anticipation, it didn’t do anything to the behavioral response at all; they showed no difference compared to non-stimulated animalsAnd when they were actively engaging with the sucrose, we did see we could disrupt their reward consumption when we activated those cells. They immediately disengaged from drinking, stopped drinking the sucrose solution. And when the stimulus stopped, they would then return back and continue to drink it again.”During the “free licking” sessions, optical stimulation of GABA neurons resulted in disruption of sucrose consumption. The animals stopped drinking.

They found a direct link between GABA activation and dopamine suppression.

“…GABA neurons located in the VTA are just microns away from dopamine and are negative regulators of dopamine function,” Stuber proposes.

“When they become active, their basic job is to suppress dopamine release. A dysfunction in these GABA neurons might potentially underlie different aspects of neuropsychiatric illness, such as depression. Thus, we could think of them as a new physiological target for various aspects of neuropsychiatric diseases.”

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