Yin HH, Knowlton BJ. The role of the basal ganglia in habit formation. Nat Rev 7: 464-476

Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, 5625 Fishers Lane, TS-13, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.
Nature reviews Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 31.43). 07/2006; 7(6):464-76. DOI: 10.1038/nrn1919
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Many organisms, especially humans, are characterized by their capacity for intentional, goal-directed actions. However, similar behaviours often proceed automatically, as habitual responses to antecedent stimuli. How are goal-directed actions transformed into habitual responses? Recent work combining modern behavioural assays and neurobiological analysis of the basal ganglia has begun to yield insights into the neural basis of habit formation.

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Available from: Henry Yin, Sep 27, 2014
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    • "The DS is important for many neurobehavioral processes such as learning, memory and motor control (Graybiel, 1998; Lalonde and Botez-Marquard, 1997; Saint-Cyr et al., 1995; Yin and Knowlton, 2006). This region is also important for non-hedonic stimulus for feeding by is involvement in the motor response necessary for obtaining and consuming food (Volkow et al., 2002). "
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    ABSTRACT: Nicotine exposure causes the release of dopamine from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to the nucleus accumbens (NAc). We have previously shown that maternal exposure to nicotine during lactation causes hyperleptinemia in dams and pups, and leptin is known to decrease dopamine release from the VTA. Here we evaluated whether maternal exposure to nicotine during lactation causes changes in dopamine and leptin signaling pathways at the end of exposure and after 5days of withdrawal in the: VTA, NAc, arcuate nucleus (ARC) and dorsal striatum (DS). On postnatal day (PN) 2, lactating Wistar rats were implanted with minipumps releasing nicotine (NIC; 6mg/Kg/day, s.c.) or saline (C) for 14days. Offspring were tested in the elevated plus maze (EPM) and open field on PN14 or PN20, and euthanized on PN15 or PN21. Entries into the open arms and head dips in the EPM were reduced in NIC pups at P20. At weaning (PN21), NIC dams had: lower tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), higher OBRb and SOCS3 contents in VTA; lower TH, higher D1R, D2R and DAT contents in NAc; higher TH content in DS; and higher D2R and SOCS3 contents in ARC. On PN15, NIC offspring had higher D1R, D2R and lower DAT contents in NAc, while on PN21, they had lower DAT in DS, and lower pSTAT3 content in ARC. We evidenced that postnatal nicotine exposure induces relevant changes in the brain reward system of dams and pups, possibly associated with changes in leptinemia and increased offspring anxiety-like behavior. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 07/2015; 136. DOI:10.1016/j.pbb.2015.07.012 · 2.78 Impact Factor
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    • "For conditioning, the three stages were presented in the same order at every session. Our VRT module can thus help to explain Pavlovian conditioning in AD (Yin & Knowlton, 2006). As a type of habit formation in the basal ganglia, the contingent pairing of a " high-risk situation " (conditional stimulus) and an outcome results in the acquisition of an " unpleasant feeling " (conditional response) to a previously " aversive situation " (unconditional stimulus) (Williams & Williams, 1969). "
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    ABSTRACT: Virtual reality therapy (VRT) uses multimodal stimulation that includes visual, auditory, olfactory, and gustatory stimuli. The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of VRT in treating subjects with alcohol dependence (AD) by evaluating changes in brain metabolism. The VRT protocol consisted of three steps: relaxation, presentation of a high-risk situation, and presentation of an aversive situation. Twelve alcohol-dependent subjects underwent 10 sessions of VRT. The alcohol-dependent subjects were assessed with 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography images before and after VRT, whereas the control group underwent imaging according to the same protocol only at baseline. Compared with the healthy control group, AD subjects showed higher metabolism in the right lentiform nucleus and right temporal lobe (BA20) at baseline (PFDR < .05 = .026). In addition, the metabolism in the left anterior cingulate was lower in subjects with AD (Puncorr = .001). After VRT, alcohol-dependent subjects showed decreased brain metabolism in the right lentiform nucleus (PFDR < .05 = .026) and right temporal lobe (BA38, PFDR < .05 = .032) relative to that at baseline. Our results suggest a neurobiological imbalance, notably, a high sensitivity to stimuli, in the limbic system in subjects with AD. Furthermore, we determined that metabolism decreased in the basal ganglia after VRT, which may explain the limbic-regulated responses of reward and regulation. Therefore, we tentatively recommend VRT to treat AD through its regulating effect on limbic circuits.
    Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs 07/2015; 76(4):620-627. DOI:10.15288/jsad.2015.76.620 · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    • "Although it was shown that nicotine stimulates the release of dopamine in the DS (Di Chiara and Imperato, 1988), in this study we did not observe any change in the protein synthesis of dopamine (TH), DAT and the dopaminergic receptors in animals programed by smoke cigarette. The DS is important for behaviors such as: motor activity, memory and learning (Saint-Cyr et al., 1995; Lalonde and Botez-Marquard, 1997; Graybiel, 1998; Yin and Knowlton, 2006), drug addiction (Nestler, 2005; Kreitzer and Malenka, 2008), and for the nonhedonic response to food intake (Volkow et al., 2002). The dopaminergic signalling in the DS and other central regions, in part, contributes to these processes. "
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    ABSTRACT: Children from pregnant smokers are more susceptible to become obese adults and to become drug or food addicts. Drugs and food activate the mesolimbic reward pathway, causing a sense of pleasure that induces further consumption. Here, we studied the relationship between tobacco smoke exposure during lactation with feeding, behavior and brain dopaminergic reward system parameters at adulthood. Nursing Wistar rats and their pups were divided into two groups: tobacco smoke-exposed (S: 4 times/day, from the 3(rd) to the 21(th) day of lactation), and ambient air-exposed (C). On PN175, both offspring groups were subdivided for a food challenge: S and C that received standard chow (SC) or that chose between high-fat (HFD) and high-sucrose diets (HSD). Food intake was recorded after 30 min and 12 h. Offspring were tested in the elevated plus maze and open field on PN178-179; they were euthanized for dopaminergic analysis on PN180. SSD (self-selected diet) animals presented a higher food intake compared to SC ones. S-SSD animals ate more than C-SSD ones at 30 min and 12 h. Both groups preferred the HFD. However, S-SSD animals consumed relatively more HFD than C-SSD at 30 min. No behavioral differences were observed between groups. S animals presented lower tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) content in the ventral tegmental area, lower TH, dopaminergic receptor 2, higher dopaminergic receptor 1 contents in the nucleus accumbens and lower OBRb in hypothalamic arcuate nucleus. Tobacco-smoke exposure during lactation increases preference for fat in the adult progeny possibly due to alterations in the dopaminergic system. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Neuroscience 06/2015; 301. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2015.06.001 · 3.36 Impact Factor
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