Brain News – While searching for ways to treat addiction and psychiatric disorders, researchers found a new reward circuitry beyond dopamine.
In a new study, researchers at the University of Washinton School of Medicine studied the science on the reward pathways of human brains and discovered the existence of another reward circuitry beyond dopamine.
The study findings claimed that the new reward pathway can play a pivotal role in rewards and reinforcement. The study showed that approximately 30% of brain cells in ventral tegmental area (VTA) are GABA neurons, which plays a key role in reward and aversion and are potential targets for various psychiatric disorders.
“This study opens new avenues to understanding reward circuitry that might be altered in abuse of nicotine, opiates, or other drugs as well as neuropsychiatric diseases that affect reward processing including depression,” said Dr. Michael Bruchas of, corresponding author of the study published in Nature Neuroscience.
“What we found are unique GABAergic cells that project broadly to the nucleus accumbens, but projections only to a specific portion contribute to reward reinforcement,” said Raajaram Gowrishankar, co-lead author of this study.
The study showed that ong-range GABA neurons from the VTA to the ventral, but not to the dorsal nucleus accumbent shell are involved in the reward and reinforcement behavior, and the GABAergic projection inhibit cholinergic interneurons are significant players in reward-related learning.
However, Gowrishankar later mentioned that the results have helped scientists to better understand the brain subregions and visualize the reward process in which specific neuromodulators are released.
To Know More You May Refer To:
Al-Hasani, R., Gowrishankar, R., Schmitz, G.P. et al. Ventral tegmental area GABAergic inhibition of cholinergic interneurons in the ventral nucleus accumbens shell promotes reward reinforcement. Nat Neurosci 24, 1414–1428 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41593-021-00898-2