Distinct populations of D1- and D2-dopamine receptor-expressing medium spiny neurons (D1-/D2-MSNs) comprise the nucleus accumbens, and activity in D1-MSNs promotes, whereas activity in D2-MSNs inhibits, motivated behaviors. We used chemogenetics to extend D1-/D2-MSN cell specific regulation to cue-reinstated cocaine seeking in a mouse model of self-administration and relapse, and found that either increasing activity in D1-MSNs or decreasing activity in D2-MSNs augmented cue-induced reinstatement. Both D1- and D2-MSNs provide substantial GABAergic innervation to the ventral pallidum, and chemogenetic inhibition of ventral pallidal neurons blocked the augmented reinstatement elicited by chemogenetic regulation of either D1- or D2-MSNs. Because D1- and D2-MSNs innervate overlapping populations of ventral pallidal neurons, we next used optogenetics to examine whether changes in synaptic plasticity in D1- versus D2-MSN GABAergic synapses in the ventral pallidum could explain the differential regulation of VP activity. In mice trained to self-administer cocaine, GABAergic LTD was abolished in D2-, but not in D1-MSN synapses. A μ opioid receptor antagonist restored GABA currents in D2-, but not D1-MSN synapses of cocaine-trained mice, indicating that increased enkephalin tone on presynaptic μ opioid receptors was responsible for occluding the LTD. These results identify a behavioral function for D1-MSN innervation of the ventral pallidum, and suggest that losing LTDGABA in D2-MSN, but not D1-MSN input to ventral pallidum may promote cue-induced reinstatement of cocaine-seeking.
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