Methylphenidate facilitates learning-induced amygdala plasticity

Kay M. Tye, Lynne D. Tye, Jackson J. Cone, Evelien F. Hekkelman, Patricia H. Janak, Antonello Bonci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although methylphenidate (Ritalin) has been used therapeutically for nearly 60 years, the mechanisms by which it acutely modifies behavioral performance are poorly understood. Here we combined intra-lateral amygdala in vivo pharmacology and ex vivo electrophysiology to show that acute administration of methylphenidate, as well as a selective dopamine transporter inhibitor, facilitated learning-induced strengthening of cortico-amygdala synapses through a postsynaptic increase in AMPA receptor-mediated currents, relative to those in saline-treated rats. Furthermore, local administration of methylphenidate in the lateral amygdala enhanced cue-reward learning through dopamine D1 receptor-dependent mechanisms and suppressed task-irrelevant behavior through D2 receptor-dependent mechanisms. These findings reveal critical and distinct roles for dopamine receptor subtypes in mediating methylphenidate-induced enhancements of neural transmission and learning performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-481
Number of pages7
JournalNature neuroscience
Volume13
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience

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