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Anterior Paraventricular Thalamus to Nucleus Accumbens Projec
AAV-ChR2 was used to investigate the functional connections between the aPVT glutamatergic neurons and NAc MSNs.  (From BrainVTA
The viruses used in this article from BrainVTA are in the table below
Optogenetic  PT-0297 AAV2/9-CaMKIIa-ChR2-mCherry
Control  PT-0108 AAV2/9-CaMKIIa-mCherry
Jingjing Cheng, Jincheng Wang, Xiaolin Ma, Rahim Ullah, Yi Shen and Yu-Dong Zhou
Pub Date: 2018-06-07,  DOI: 10.3389/fnmol.2018.00202 Email: [email protected]
Foraging food in a novel environment is essential for survival. Animals coordinate the complex motivated states and decide whether to initiate feeding or escape from unfamiliar scenes. Neurons in the paraventricular thalamic nucleus (PVT) receive multiple inputs from the hypothalamus, forebrain, and caudal brainstem that are known to regulate feeding behavior. The PVT neurons also project to the forebrain regions that are involved in reward and motivation. Notably, the PVT neurons projecting to the nucleus accumbens (NAc) are activated when an incentive stimulus is presented. Optogenetic activation of the PVT-NAc path has been shown to increase the motivation for sucrose-seeking in instrumental tasks. However, how the PVT circuitry regulates the feeding behavior in a novel environment remains largely obscure. In the present study, we found that the activity of glutamatergic neurons in the anterior PVT (aPVT) projecting to the NAc dictates the novelty-suppressed feeding behavior in mice. Optogenetic activation of the aPVT-NAc projection increased the feeding time and food consumption in mice under a moderate food restriction in a novel open field where the food was placed in the central area. The exploratory and anxiety-like behaviors, however, were not altered by the aPVT-NAc activation. Our work reveals that activation of the aPVT-NAc pathway in mice generates a motivation to consume food in a novel environment.

Figure 1. Activation of the aPVT glutamatergic projections to the NAc promotes NSF behavior.
To reveal the role of the PVT-NAc circuit in the feeding behavior under approach-avoidance conflict, the authors used a modified open field test and a combination of the anterograde and retrograde virus tracing and electrophysiological recording methods to study. Together, the findings indicate that the aPVT-NAc circuit is involved in the motivated feeding behavior in an open field.
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