Multimodal Interrogation of Ventral Pallidum Projections Reveals Projection-Specific Signatures and Effects on Cocaine Reward

Nimrod Bernat, Rianne R. Campbell, Hyungwoo Nam, Mahashweta Basu, Tal Odesser, Gal Elyasaf, Michel Engeln, Ramesh Chandra, Shana Golden, Seth Ament, Mary Kay Lobo, Yonatan M. Kupchik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ventral pallidum (VP) is a central hub in the reward circuitry with diverse projections that have different behavioral roles attributed mostly to the connectivity with the downstream target. However, different VP projections may represent, as in the striatum, separate neuronal populations that differ in more than just connectivity. In this study, we performed in mice of both sexes a multimodal dissection of four major projections of the VP—to the lateral hypothalamus (VP→LH), ventral tegmental area (VP→VTA), lateral habenula (VP→LHb), and mediodorsal thalamus (VP→MDT)—with physiological, anatomical, genetic, and behavioral tools. We also tested for physiological differences between VP neurons receiving input from nucleus accumbens medium spiny neurons (MSNs) that express either the D1 (D1-MSNs) or the D2 (D2-MSNs) dopamine receptor. We show that each VP projection (1) when inhibited during a cocaine conditioned place preference (CPP) test affects performance differently, (2) receives a different pattern of inputs using rabies retrograde labeling, (3) shows differentially expressed genes using RNA sequencing, and (4) has projection-specific characteristics in excitability and synaptic input characteristics using whole-cell patch clamp. VP→LH and VPVTA projections have different effects on CPP and show low overlap in circuit tracing experiments, as VP→VTA neurons receive more striatal input, while VP→LH neurons receive more olfactory input. Additionally, VP→VTA neurons are less excitable, while VPLH neurons are more excitable than the average VP neuron, a difference driven mainly by D2-MSN-responding neurons. Thus, VP→VTA and VP→LH neurons may represent largely distinct populations of VP neurons.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere1469232024
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number18
StatePublished - 1 May 2024


  • RNA sequencing
  • addiction
  • circuit mapping
  • synaptic physiology
  • ventral pallidum

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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