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Modulation nicotinique des neurones dopaminergiques de l'aire tegmentale ventrale : une approche optogénétique et opto-pharmacologique

Abstract : Nicotine addiction is a condition that affects one third of the world's adult population and is often associated with other psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, mood- and stress-related disorders. Every year, nearly 8 million people die from the consequences of tobacco use. This pathology is the leading cause of preventable death in the world. This phenomenon of tobacco dependence is induced by nicotine, the main addictive and psychoactive substance in tobacco, which acts on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) and thus hijacks the normal functioning of various neuronal circuits. Acute nicotine directly acts on nAChRs and activates neural networks. In the longer term, it will induce synaptic plasticity and disrupt endogenous nicotinic transmission. In particular, nicotine disrupts the dopaminergic system, a key player in reinforcement learning, motivation and reward evaluation. These neural changes not only lead to reinforcement but also to a disruption of different behavioral traits such as decision-making, exploration, vulnerability to stress, etc. These relationships between symptoms and features could explain the strong comorbidities observed between substance abuse, and particularly tobacco addiction, and other pathologies such as stress-related disorders. During this thesis, I first addressed the neurophysiological bases underlying these comorbidities, by proposing dopamine as a common substrate for the effects of social stress, nicotine and associated decision-making disorders (impulsivity, reward sensitivity, risk assessment, etc.). I have shown that the increase in dopamine neuron activity observed after exposure to nicotine or social stress is responsible for disrupting choice behavior in mice. Indeed, we could reproduce these behavioral maladaptations by artificially increasing the activity level of dopaminergic neurons using optogenetic stimuli. The dissection of the mechanisms by which nicotine diverts neuronal circuits is currently hampered by a lack of tools for selective, reversible, spatially and temporally precise manipulation of the molecular players involved. A second part of my thesis work consisted in the in vivo implementation in mice of optogenetic pharmacology for nAChR. The photoinhibition of beta2-containing nAChRs revealed the impact of endogenous cholinergic modulation on the activity of dopaminergic neurons. We could optically inhibit the response of these same neurons to acute intravenous injection of nicotine and the associated reinforcement in a task of conditioned place preference for nicotine.
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Romain Durand-de Cuttoli. Modulation nicotinique des neurones dopaminergiques de l'aire tegmentale ventrale : une approche optogénétique et opto-pharmacologique. Neurosciences [q-bio.NC]. Sorbonne Université, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018SORUS421⟩. ⟨tel-02410193⟩

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