We are happy to share that our paper “Dynamic Processing of Hunger and Thirst by Common Mesolimbic Neural Ensembles” has been published in PNAS.
Eating and drinking both activate a subset of accumbal neurons but it was unknown whether same or different neurons represent distinct need states. We set out to study the state-coding principles of hunger and thirst in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) using two-photon calcium imaging of neural activity in awake mice during feeding and drinking. We find that highly overlapping sets of individual D1 and D2 neurons respond similarly to food and water with specific subsets showing distinct temporal activity patterns throughout the consummatory phase. Modulating D1 and D2 neurons elicited analogous effects on both behavioral programs. These data suggest a general role of NAc to regulate instinctive behaviors, likely by modulating motivation, and further indicate that need-specific representations and prioritizations are encoded elsewhere.
Read our full publication here.
Congrats to the entire team!