Dopaminergic Regulation of Striatal Interneurons in Reward and Addiction: Focus on Alcohol

Neural Plast. 2015;2015:814567. doi: 10.1155/2015/814567. Epub 2015 Jul 13.


Corticobasal ganglia networks coursing through the striatum are key structures for reward-guided behaviors. The ventral striatum (nucleus accumbens (nAc)) and its reciprocal connection with the ventral tegmental area (VTA) represent a primary component of the reward system, but reward-guided learning also involves the dorsal striatum and dopaminergic inputs from the substantia nigra. The majority of neurons in the striatum (>90%) are GABAergic medium spiny neurons (MSNs), but both the input to and the output from these neurons are dynamically controlled by striatal interneurons. Dopamine is a key neurotransmitter in reward and reward-guided learning, and the physiological activity of GABAergic and cholinergic interneurons is regulated by dopaminergic transmission in a complex manner. Here we review the role of striatal interneurons in modulating striatal output during drug reward, with special emphasis on alcohol.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / physiopathology*
  • Animals
  • Cholinergic Neurons / physiology
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Corpus Striatum / physiopathology
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • GABAergic Neurons / physiology
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Reward*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / physiopathology


  • Dopamine