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Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor treatment retunes emotional valence in primate ventral striatum


Pasquereau, Benjamin; Drui, Guillaume; Saga, Yosuke; Richard, Augustin; Millot, Mathilde; Météreau, Elise; Sgambato, Véronique; Tobler, Philippe N; Tremblay, Léon (2021). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor treatment retunes emotional valence in primate ventral striatum. Neuropsychopharmacology, 46(12):2073-2082.

Abstract

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are widely used to treat psychiatric disorders with affective biases such as depression and anxiety. How SSRIs exert a beneficial action on emotions associated with life events is still unknown. Here we ask whether and how the effectiveness of the SSRI fluoxetine is underpinned by neural mechanisms in the ventral striatum. To address these issues, we studied the spiking activity of neurons in the ventral striatum of monkeys during an approach-avoidance task in which the valence assigned to sensory stimuli was manipulated. Neural responses to positive and negative events were measured before and during a 4-week treatment with fluoxetine. We conducted PET scans to confirm that fluoxetine binds within the ventral striatum at a therapeutic dose. In our monkeys, fluoxetine facilitated approach of rewards and avoidance of punishments. These beneficial effects were associated with changes in tonic and phasic activities of striatal neurons. Fluoxetine increased the spontaneous firing rate of striatal neurons and amplified the number of cells responding to rewards versus punishments, reflecting a drug-induced positive shift in the processing of emotionally valenced information. These findings reveal how SSRI treatment affects ventral striatum neurons encoding positive and negative valence and striatal signaling of emotional information. In addition to a key role in appetitive processing, our results shed light on the involvement of the ventral striatum in aversive processing. Together, the ventral striatum appears to play a central role in the action of SSRIs on emotion processing biases commonly observed in psychiatric disorders.

Abstract

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are widely used to treat psychiatric disorders with affective biases such as depression and anxiety. How SSRIs exert a beneficial action on emotions associated with life events is still unknown. Here we ask whether and how the effectiveness of the SSRI fluoxetine is underpinned by neural mechanisms in the ventral striatum. To address these issues, we studied the spiking activity of neurons in the ventral striatum of monkeys during an approach-avoidance task in which the valence assigned to sensory stimuli was manipulated. Neural responses to positive and negative events were measured before and during a 4-week treatment with fluoxetine. We conducted PET scans to confirm that fluoxetine binds within the ventral striatum at a therapeutic dose. In our monkeys, fluoxetine facilitated approach of rewards and avoidance of punishments. These beneficial effects were associated with changes in tonic and phasic activities of striatal neurons. Fluoxetine increased the spontaneous firing rate of striatal neurons and amplified the number of cells responding to rewards versus punishments, reflecting a drug-induced positive shift in the processing of emotionally valenced information. These findings reveal how SSRI treatment affects ventral striatum neurons encoding positive and negative valence and striatal signaling of emotional information. In addition to a key role in appetitive processing, our results shed light on the involvement of the ventral striatum in aversive processing. Together, the ventral striatum appears to play a central role in the action of SSRIs on emotion processing biases commonly observed in psychiatric disorders.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Pharmacology
Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Striatum, target validation
Language:English
Date:1 November 2021
Deposited On:09 Apr 2021 07:35
Last Modified:12 Oct 2021 01:04
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:0893-133X
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41386-021-00991-x

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