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Papers of the Week

Papers: 20 Jul 2019 - 26 Jul 2019

Animal Studies

2019 Sep

Eur J Neurosci



Altered monoamine levels in the dorsal striatum of the rat are associated with alterations in behavioural selection and motivation following peripheral nerve injury and acute stress.


Chronic neuropathic pain and psychological stress interact to compromise goal-directed control over behaviour following mild psychological stress. The dorsomedial (DMS) and dorsolateral (DLS) striatum in the rat are crucial for the expression of goal-directed and habitual behaviours, respectively. This study investigated whether changes in monoamine levels in the DMS and DLS following nerve injury and psychological stress reflect these behavioural differences. Neuropathic pain was induced by a chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve in Sprague-Dawley rats. Acute stress was induced using a 15 minute restraint. Behavioural flexibility was assessed using the outcome devaluation paradigm. Noradrenaline, serotonin, dopamine and associated metabolites were measured bilaterally from the DLS and DMS. In uninjured rats, restraint increased dopaminergic markers in the left and serotonergic markers in the right of both the DMS and DLS, indicating a possible left hemisphere-mediated dominance. CCI led to a slightly different lateralised effect, with a larger effect in the DMS than in the DLS. Individual differences in behavioural flexibility following CCI negatively correlated with dopaminergic markers in the right DLS, but positively correlated with these markers in the left DMS. A combination of CCI and restraint reduced behavioural flexibility, which was associated with the loss of the left/DMS dominance. These data suggest that behavioural flexibility following psychological stress or pain is associated with a left hemisphere dominance within the dorsal striatum. The loss of behavioural flexibility following the combined stressors is then associated with a transition from left to right, and DMS to DLS dominance. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.