Restricted Research - Award List, Note/Discussion Page

Fiscal Year: 2018

2010  The University of Texas at San Antonio  (75828)

Principal Investigator: Wanat, Matthew (Principal Investigator)  

Total Amount of Contract, Award, or Gift (Annual before 2011): $ 404,250

Exceeds $250,000 (Is it flagged?): Yes

Start and End Dates: 4/1/17 - 3/31/19

Restricted Research: YES

Academic Discipline: COS BIOLOGY  

Department, Center, School, or Institute: Neurosciences Institute (NI)  

Title of Contract, Award, or Gift: Dopamine's role in changing subjective preference

Name of Granting or Contracting Agency/Entity: Natl Inst of Health

Program Title: N/A
CFDA Linked: Drug Abuse and Addiction Research Programs


A critical component of decision-making involves evaluating the value between different options. Altered decision-making processes are a characteristic of many neurological disorders, including drug addiction, pathological gambling, eating disorders and depression. Thus, it is imperative to identify the neural systems mediating changes in how one evaluates the value between different rewards. In this proposal we hypothesize that the mesolimbic dopamine system is required for expressing a subjective preference, as well as for changing the relative preference between distinct rewards. To address these questions it is necessary to 1) manipulate the subjective preference between distinct rewards, 2) record dopamine release while the subjective preference changes, and 3) control the activity the dopamine system. We have validated a novel training paradigm in rats where we can either modulate or maintain the initial subjective preference between different flavors of food. In Aim 1 we will utilize fast-scan cyclic voltammetry to identify changes in reward-evoked dopamine release as the subjective preference evolves across training. In Aim 2 we will optogenetically manipulate dopamine neurons at the time of reward delivery to establish the necessity and sufficiency of dopamine in controlling subjective preference. Together, the findings from these proposed experiments will elucidate the role of mesolimbic dopamine in changing the subjective valuation of rewards.

Discussion: No discussion notes


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