Evidence supports a dysregulation of subcortical dopamine (DA) system function as acommonetiology of psychosis; however, the factors responsible for this aberrant DA system responsivity have not been delineated. Here, we demonstrate in an animal model of schizophrenia that a pathologically enhanced drive from the ventral hippocampus (vHipp) can result in aberrant dopamine neuron signaling. Adult rats in which development was disrupted by prenatal methylazoxymethanol acetate(MAM)administration display a significantly greater number of spontaneously firing ventral tegmental DA neurons. This appears to be a consequence of excessive hippocampal activity because, in MAM-treated rats, vHipp inactivation completely reversed the elevated DA neuron population activity and also normalized the augmented amphetamine-induced locomotor behavior. These data provide a direct link between hippocampal dysfunction and the hyper-responsivity of the DA system that is believed to underlie the augmented response to amphetamine in animal models and psychosis in schizophrenia patients.
- Animal model
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