Inactivation of the paraventricular thalamus abolishes the expression of cocaine conditioned place preference in rats

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014 Jan 1:134:387-390. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.09.021. Epub 2013 Sep 28.


Background: The paraventricular thalamus (PVT) is rapidly becoming recognized as part of the addiction circuitry. In addition to its strong anatomical connection to most of the brain regions underlying addiction, such as the nucleus accumbens, prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus, the PVT has recently been shown to contribute to cocaine sensitization and reinstatement. In the present study, we examined the role of the PVT in the expression of cocaine conditioned place preference (CPP).

Methods: We tested the impact of PVT inactivation by baclofen/muscimol (bac-mus) microinjection on the expression of cocaine-induced CPP in rats. Rats were implanted with guide cannulae into the PVT. Bac-mus (GABAB-GABAA agonists) or saline was injected into the PVT prior to CPP testing.

Results: Inactivation of the PVT by bac-mus prevented the expression of CPP, while placements outside the PVT did not affect CPP. Intra-PVT injections of bac-mus did not affect locomotor activity during the session.

Conclusions: In the present study, we contribute to the growing body of research supporting a role for the PVT in addiction by demonstrating that the PVT is necessary for the expression of cocaine CPP.

Keywords: Addiction; CPP; Cocaine; Inactivation; PVT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cocaine / administration & dosage*
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology*
  • GABA Agonists / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Microinjections / methods
  • Midline Thalamic Nuclei / drug effects
  • Midline Thalamic Nuclei / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • GABA Agonists
  • Cocaine