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Papers of the Week

Papers: 27 Jan 2024 - 2 Feb 2024

2024 Jan 16



Opioid-driven disruption of the septal complex reveals a role for neurotensin-expressing neurons in withdrawal.


Simon RC, Fleming WT, Senthilkumar P, Briones BA, Ishii KK, Hjort MM, Martin MM, Hashikawa K, Sanders AD, Golden SA, Stuber GD


Because opioid withdrawal is an intensely aversive experience, persons with opioid use disorder (OUD) often relapse to avoid it. The lateral septum (LS) is a forebrain structure that is important in aversion processing, and previous studies have linked the lateral septum (LS) to substance use disorders. It is unclear, however, which precise LS cell types might contribute to the maladaptive state of withdrawal. To address this, we used single-nucleus RNA-sequencing to interrogate cell type specific gene expression changes induced by chronic morphine and withdrawal. We discovered that morphine globally disrupted the transcriptional profile of LS cell types, but Neurotensin-expressing neurons ( ; LS- neurons) were selectively activated by naloxone. Using two-photon calcium imaging and electrophysiology, we next demonstrate that LS- neurons receive enhanced glutamatergic drive in morphine-dependent mice and remain hyperactivated during opioid withdrawal. Finally, we showed that activating and silencing LS- neurons during opioid withdrawal regulates pain coping behaviors and sociability. Together, these results suggest that LS- neurons are a key neural substrate involved in opioid withdrawal and establish the LS as a crucial regulator of adaptive behaviors, specifically pertaining to OUD.