Our work with Mutli-Region Calcium imaging
Sex differences in cocaine actions on reward learning
Females exhibit increased addiction vulnerability when compared to their male counterparts. Our work aims to understand the circuit based differences that underlie this vulnerability. Using multi-region calcium imaging we are able to record the activity of multiple brain regions during tasks related to reward processing. In our recent publication, we recorded the activity of ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons and their terminals in the nucleus accumbens simultaneously during conditioned place preference (a task that measures the ability of an animal to associate rewards with predictive cues). We found that dopaminergic projections from the ventral tegmental area to the nucleus accumbens responded more to cocaine associated cues, driving animals to seek out the environment in which cocaine was previously available.