Indexed on: 08 Dec '17Published on: 08 Dec '17Published in: Neuron
Dopamine (DA) transmission mediates numerous aspects of behavior. Although DA release is strongly linked to firing of DA neurons, recent developments indicate the importance of presynaptic modulation at striatal dopaminergic terminals. The endocannabinoid (eCB) system regulates DA release and is a canonical gatekeeper of goal-directed behavior. Here we report that extracellular DA increases induced by selective optogenetic activation of cholinergic neurons in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) are inhibited by CB1 agonists and eCBs. This modulation requires CB1 receptors on cortical glutamatergic afferents. Dopamine increases driven by optogenetic activation of prefrontal cortex (PFC) terminals in the NAc are similarly modulated by activation of these CB1 receptors. We further demonstrate that this same population of CB1 receptors modulates optical self-stimulation sustained by activation of PFC afferents in the NAc. These results establish local eCB actions on PFC terminals within the NAc that inhibit mesolimbic DA release and constrain reward-driven behavior.