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ZF Optomodulomics — Result In Brief

Project ID: 300602
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: Switzerland

Dopamine effects in the brain

Dopamine (DA) is a very important chemical in both brain and body. Implicated in addiction and schizophrenia, EU researchers have investigated how it can change behaviour.
Dopamine effects in the brain
Also a player in cognitive functions such as attention, DA is also thought to figure in attention deficit disorder. The ZF OPTOMODULOMICS (Dopaminergic modulation of neuronal circuit function in the zebrafish olfactory system) project investigated the neuromodulatory effects of DA. Researchers looked into factors involved in modification of neuronal circuit function and nerve cell properties, synaptic signal transmission and neuronal plasticity.

Researchers investigated the effects of DA and another neuromodulator, acetylcholine (Ach), on odour processing and memory storage in the zebrafish. They bred special lines of fish that have DA or Ach positive neurons that could be silenced or activated using light or chemicals. In addition, they created lines that expressed reporters of activity in these neurons.

Using two-photon imaging, patterns of neuronal activity were captured during odour and optical stimulation. Results showed that optogenetic stimulation of dopaminergic neurons in the olfactory bulb decreased odour responses in an olfactory area. Optical stimulation of dopaminergic and cholinergic fibres in the olfactory cortex had more complex effects however.

Project partners are continuing to investigate the mechanisms involved using the molecular tools they developed. A combination of this data and behavioural patterns should determine if these effects are causally involved in olfactory memory.

ZF OPTOMODULOMICS research promises to give further insight into the role of cells and synapses in memory storage. New targets for treatment of DA-related disorders could also be identified.

Related information


Dopamine, brain, addiction, schizophrenia, acetylcholine, memory, olfactory
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