Patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders such as substance-related and addictive disorders exhibit altered decision-making patterns, which may be associated with their behavioral abnormalities. However, the neuronal mechanisms underlying such impairments are largely unknown. Using a gambling test, we demonstrated that methamphetamine (METH)-treated rats chose a high-risk/high-reward option more frequently and assigned higher value to high returns than control rats, suggestive of changes in decision-making choice strategy. Immunohistochemical analysis following the gambling test revealed aberrant activation of the insular cortex (INS) and nucleus accumbens in METH-treated animals. Pharmacological studies, together with in vivo microdialysis, showed that the insular neural system played a crucial role in decision-making. Moreover, manipulation of INS activation using designer receptor exclusively activated by designer drug technology resulted in alterations to decision-making. Our findings suggest that the INS is a critical region involved in decision-making and that insular neural dysfunction results in risk-taking behaviors associated with altered decision-making.
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 21-07-2015|
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