Neuroscience Experiment Exhibits How Dopamine Drives Hallucination-Like Notion in Mice

Hallucinating Mouse

A pc recreation that induces mice to expertise hallucination-like occasions may very well be a key to understanding the neurobiological roots of psychosis, in line with a examine from Washington College College of Medication in St. Louis. Credit score: J. Kuhl

A rise of dopamine within the mind’s striatum triggers auditory hallucination-like experiences in mice, revealing a potential causal position for dopamine-dependent neurological circuits in signs of psychosis. These findings from a brand new examine may inform novel focused approaches to treating these with psychotic problems, like schizophrenia.

Auditory and visible hallucinations — perceptions of listening to or seeing one thing with out observing exterior sensory stimuli — are central signs of psychotic problems and are thought by some to be attributable to extreme dopamine within the mind. Nevertheless, evaluating the dopamine speculation of psychosis is especially difficult, as hallucinatory experiences typically depend on self-reporting, a capability that mannequin organisms like mice lack. Consequently, understanding how greatest to successfully deal with psychotic problems stays restricted.

Katharina Schmack and colleagues developed a behavioral mannequin to quantify hallucination-like notion in mice. Schmack et al. skilled mice to reply to each visible and auditory cues, thus creating conditioned hallucination-like responses when the cues had been altered. Then, utilizing dopamine-sensor measurements and pharmacological manipulations, the authors demonstrated a mind circuit hyperlink between extreme striatal dopamine and hallucination-like expertise within the mice.

In accordance with the authors, the novel behavioral strategy opens the door for mice for use as a promising translational mannequin of widespread psychotic signs and, maybe, therapeutic approaches primarily based on selective modulation of dopamine perform.

“Though a lot stays to be explored in these circuits, the findings of Schmack et al. add to a rising physique of literature indicating that past striatal dopamine’s perform in reinforcement of studying and decision-making, it additionally performs a key position within the neuromodulation of notion,” writes Miriam Matamales in a associated Perspective.

“However, it’s beginning to develop into clear that elegantly designed behavioral neuroscience experiments can successfully bridge the hole between advanced psychiatric problems and the neural methods that underpin them.”

For extra on this analysis, learn Mice With Hallucination-Like Behaviors Reveal Insights Into Psychotic Illnesses.

Reference: “Striatal dopamine mediates hallucination-like notion in mice” by Okay. Schmack, M. Bosc, T. Ott, J. F. Sturgill and A. Kepecs, 2 April 2021, Science.
DOI: 10.1126/science.abf4740

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