The role of the Prelimbic prefrontal Cortex and the Basolateral Amygdala in reward seeking under threat of adversity
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Addiction is a worldwide problem with an enormous societal, economic and health burden, while treatment options are limited. A hallmark characterizing addiction is persistent drug seeking despite harmful consequences. The loss of control over drug use is mediated by the transition from goal-directed drug seeking and taking to habitual drug use. On the basis of their involvement in impulsecontrol, goal-directed behavior and modifying behavior on aversive events we investigated the role of the prelimbic prefrontal cortex (PrL) and the basolateral amygdala (BLA) in drug seeking despite negative consequences. The novel ‘seeking under threat of adversity (STA)model’ was used, which aims to reflect the situation of human drug addicts. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that inactivation of either the PrL and the BLA will increase loss of control over reward seeking in this task, meaning seeking behavior will be displayed despite the threat of adversity. Pharmacological inactivation of the PrL and the BLA, using the GABA receptor agonists baclofen and muscimol, did not increase loss of control over drug seeking under threat of adversity. Further research on these and other brain areas involved in addiction needs to be done to understand the underpinnings of this chronic, relapsing disorder and to develop effective treatment strategies for addiction.