Cerebellar Modulation of Mesolimbic Dopamine Transmission Is Functionally Asymmetrical


Cerebral and cerebellar hemispheres are known to be asymmetrical in structure and function, and previous literature supports that asymmetry extends to the neural dopamine systems. Using in vivo fixed potential amperometry with carbon fiber microelectrodes in anesthetized mice, the current study assessed hemispheric lateralization of stimulation-evoked dopamine in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and the influence of the cerebellum in regulating this reward-associated pathway. Our results suggest that cerebellar output can modulate mesolimbic dopamine transmission, and this modulation contributes to asymmetrically lateralized dopamine release. Dopamine release did not differ between hemispheres when evoked by medial forebrain bundle (MFB) stimulation; however, dopamine release was significantly greater in the right NAc relative to the left when evoked by electrical stimulation of the cerebellar dentate nucleus (DN). Furthermore, cross-hemispheric talk between the left and right cerebellar DN does not seem to influence mesolimbic release given that lidocaine infused into the DN opposite to the stimulated DN did not alter release. These studies may provide a neurochemical mechanism for studies identifying the cerebellum as a relevant node for reward, motivational behavior, saliency, and inhibitory control. An increased understanding of the lateralization of dopaminergic systems may reveal novel targets for pharmacological interventions in neuropathology of the cerebellum and extending projections.

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