A neural pathway controlling motivation to exert effort

Christophe D. Proulx, Sage Aronson, Djordje Milivojevic, Cris Molina, Alan Loi, Bradley Monk, Steven J. Shabel, Roberto Malinow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

The neural mechanisms conferring reduced motivation, as observed in depressed individuals, is poorly understood. Here, we examine in rodents if reduced motivation to exert effort is controlled by transmission from the lateral habenula (LHb), a nucleus overactive in depressed-like states, to the rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg), a nucleus that inhibits dopaminergic neurons. In an aversive test wherein immobility indicates loss of effort, LHb→RMTg transmission increased during transitions into immobility, driving LHb→RMTg increased immobility, and inhibiting LHb→RMTg produced the opposite effects. In an appetitive test, driving LHb→RMTg reduced the effort exerted to receive a reward, without affecting the reward’s hedonic property. Notably, LHb→RMTg stimulation only affected specific aspects of these motor tasks, did not affect all motor tasks, and promoted avoidance, indicating that LHb→RMTg activity does not generally reduce movement but appears to carry a negative valence that reduces effort. These results indicate that LHb→RMTg activity controls the motivation to exert effort and may contribute to the reduced motivation in depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5792-5797
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume115
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - May 29 2018

Keywords

  • Fiber photometry
  • Lateral habenula
  • Motivation
  • Optogenetics
  • Rostromedial tegmental nucleus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A neural pathway controlling motivation to exert effort'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this