Biological Science Training Program (BSTP): "Pharmacological and Genetic Studies of Effort-Related Decision Making Using Rodent Models: the Roles of Dopamine in Motivated Behavior"
Dr. Jen-Hau Yang, Ph.D., at Yale School of Medicine Department of Psychiartry, will be giving the BSTP seminar. His talk is entitled, "Pharmacological and Genetic Studies of Effort-Related Decision Making Using Rodent Models: the Roles of Dopamine in Motivated Behavior". The seminar is hosted by the Department of Molecular Psychiatry.
Effort-based decision making tasks, which offer subjects choices between high effort/high reward and low effort/low reward options, have been widely used to study motivated behavior in experimental approaches. However, considering the fact that human studies often yield mixed results due to less controllable genetic heterogeneity, as well as the importance of developing clinical interventions for motivational symptoms, there is a need to establish animal models that are useful for understanding the neural mechanisms of motivation. The first part of the talk is related to the evaluations of the effort-related effects of the dopamine (DA) depleting agent tetrabenazine and DA/adenosine interactions in motivated behavior in rats, and the second part focuses on the development of the novel mouse touchscreen procedures and the assessment of the roles of DA in regulating effort-related decision making using genetic and pharmacological approaches. Collectively, the results suggested that animals with compromised DA transmissions showed low effort bias behavior, which is characterized as motivation impairments. More importantly, these motivation deficits could be reversed by increased synaptic DA transmissions and antagonized adenosine A2A receptors. Taken together, these animal models have clinical relevance for developing novel strategies for the treatment to motivational dysfunctions that are commonly seen in patients with psychiatric disorders.