Home > From ensembles to meta-ensembles: specific reward encoding by correlated network activity.

Körber, Christoph and Sommer, Wolfgang H (2022) From ensembles to meta-ensembles: specific reward encoding by correlated network activity. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 16, 977474. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2022.977474.

External website: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC95139...

Neuronal ensembles are local, sparsely distributed populations of neurons that are reliably re-activated by a specific stimulus, context or task. Such discrete cell populations can be defined either functionally, by electrophysiological recordings or calcium imaging, or anatomically, using the expression of markers such as the immediate early gene cFos. A typical example of tasks that involve the formation of neuronal ensembles is reward learning, such as the cue-reward pairing during operant conditioning. These ensembles are re-activated during cue-presentation and increasing evidence suggests that this re-activation is the neurophysiological basis for the execution of reward-seeking behavior. Whilst the pursuit of rewards is a common daily activity, it is also related to the consumption of drugs, such as alcohol, and may result in problematic behaviors including addiction.

Recent research has identified neuronal ensembles in several reward-related brain regions that control distinct aspects of a conditioned response, e.g., contextual information about the availability of a specific reward or the actions needed to retrieve this reward under the given circumstances. Here, we review studies using the activity marker cFos to identify and characterize neuronal ensembles related to alcohol and non-drug rewards with a special emphasis on the discrimination between different rewards by meta-ensembles, i.e., by dynamic co-activation of multiple ensembles across different brain areas.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Review, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Harm reduction, Screening / Assessment
September 2022
Identification #
doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2022.977474
Frontiers Media

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