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Coordinated activity of midbrain dopaminergic neurons during cognition and in rodent models of schizophrenia

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 46558

  • Start date

    1 March 2007

  • End date

    28 February 2009

Funded under:

FP6-MOBILITY

Coordinated by:

UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL

United Kingdom

Objective

This project will use state-of-the-art electrophysiology in freely-behaving rats to record simultaneously from networks of multiple single neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the midbrain during maze-based cognitive tasks. Hippocampal (HPC) and prefrontal cortical (PFC) activities are coupled in the 4-12 Hz theta frequency range.

When selectively enhanced, this coupling allows the PFC to direct behaviour appropriately by integrating spatial information from the HPC into a broader, decision-making network. Thus coordination of theta rhythms constitutes a mechanism through which the relative timing of disparate neural activities can be synchronized.

This project's central hypothesis is that dopaminergic projections from VTA to both HPC and PFC mediate or modulate this rhythmic coordination according to reward-related parameters encoded in the VTA during cognition. Dysfunctional dopaminergic neurotransmission, neural synchrony and working memory are all implicated in schizophrenia. Recordings will therefore be used to detail the nature of VTA activity in rat models of schizophrenia.

Future work will combine simultaneous recordings from VTA, HPC and PFC with pharmacological and genetic manipulations made using lentiviral vectors, addressing both fundamental mechanisms of brain function and the neural basis of psychiatric disorders. Through this work, Dr. Matthew Jones will continue to establish his independent research program in the EU, having learned and applied the latest tetrode recording techniques and analyses in the US.

His neuro-scientific interests and experience, research environment at the University of Bristol and growing network of UK, EU and US collaborators are all absolutely aligned with the FP6 bid to study 'Cortical information processing' and 'Schizophrenia: from genotype to phenotype'. This project thereby epitomizes the intentions of this Action in stemming the flow of researchers away from the EU.

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Coordinator

UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL

Address

Senate House, Tyndall Avenue
Bristol

United Kingdom

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 46558

  • Start date

    1 March 2007

  • End date

    28 February 2009

Funded under:

FP6-MOBILITY

Coordinated by:

UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL

United Kingdom