Deroche MA - Lassalle O - Castell L - Valjent E - Manzoni OJ
The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
The nucleus accumbens (NAc) is a mesocorticolimbic structure that integrates cognitive, emotional and motor functions. Although its role in psychiatric disorders is widely acknowledged, the understanding of its circuitry is not complete. Here, we combined optogenetic and whole-cell recordings to draw a functional portrait of excitatory disambiguated synapses onto D1 and D2 medium spiny neurons (MSNs) in the adult male mouse NAc core. Comparing synaptic properties of ventral hippocampus (vHipp), basolateral amygdala (BLA) and prefrontal cortex (PFC) inputs revealed a hierarchy of synaptic inputs that depends on the identity of the postsynaptic target MSN. Thus, the BLA is the dominant excitatory pathway onto D1 MSNs (BLA > PFC = vHipp) while PFC inputs dominate D2 MSNs (PFC > vHipp > BLA). We also tested the hypothesis that endocannabinoids endow excitatory circuits with pathway- and cell-specific plasticity. Thus, whereas CB1 receptors (CB1R) uniformly depress excitatory pathways regardless of MSNs identity, TRPV1 receptors (TRPV1R) bidirectionally control inputs onto the NAc core in a pathway-specific manner. Finally, we show that the interplay of TRPV1R/CB1R shapes plasticity at BLA-NAc synapses. Together these data shed new light on synapse and circuit specificity in the adult NAc core and illustrate how endocannabinoids contribute to pathway-specific synaptic plasticity. We examined the impact of connections from the ventral hippocampus (vHipp,) basolateral amygdala (BLA) and prefrontal cortex (PFC) onto identified medium spiny neurons (MSNs) in the adult accumbens core. We found BLA inputs were strongest at D1 MSNs while PFC inputs dominate D2 MSNs. Pathway- and cell-specific circuit control was also facilitated by endocannabinoids that endow bidirectional synaptic plasticity at identified BLA-NAc synapses. These data provide mechanistic insights on synapse and circuit specificity in the adult NAc core.