Featured Paper of the Month – December 2022
The lateral habenula (LHb) is a brain region receiving information from brain areas involved in decision making, with influence on motivation, reward, and movement. This interface between thoughts, emotions, and actions is how the LHb permits adaptive behavior, and LHb dysfunction is implicated in psychiatric and drug use disorders. Silencing the LHb impairs control over cocaine seeking in rats and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChR) are also implicated. Here, we show that in rats trained to seek cocaine reward, blocking a subtype of mAChR (the M2 receptors) in the LHb causes the loss of the ability to stop seeking the drug despite learning previously that it is no longer available. Our study also identifies where M2 receptors are located in the LHb and how they affect LHb neuron activity. By extension, this work shows that LHb M2 receptors may represent a target for treating cocaine use disorder.
In: J Neurosci, vol. 42, no. 28, pp. 5552–5563, 2022, ISSN: 1529-2401.