Nucleus Accumbens Neuron Ensembles Recruited by Cocaine and Sugar Are Different

Nucleus accumbens in the brain play a central role in the risk-reward circuit. Their operation is based chiefly on three essential neurotransmitters: dopamine, which promotes desire; serotonin, whose effects include satiety and inhibition; and glutamate, which drives goal-directed behaviors and responses to reward-associated cues and contexts. In a study using genetically modified mice, a University of Wyoming faculty member found that the nucleus accumbens ensembles recruited by cocaine use are largely distinct from nucleus accumbens ensembles recruited by sucrose, or table sugar. ….[READ]