Basolateral and central amygdala differentially recruit and maintain dorsolateral striatum-dependent cocaine-seeking habits

Nat Commun. 2015 Dec 14;6:10088. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10088.


In the development of addiction, drug seeking becomes habitual and controlled by drug-associated cues, and the neural locus of control over behaviour shifts from the ventral to the dorsolateral striatum. The neural mechanisms underlying this functional transition from recreational drug use to drug-seeking habits are unknown. Here we combined functional disconnections and electrophysiological recordings of the amygdalo-striatal networks in rats trained to seek cocaine to demonstrate that functional shifts within the striatum are driven by transitions from the basolateral (BLA) to the central (CeN) amygdala. Thus, while the recruitment of dorsolateral striatum dopamine-dependent control over cocaine seeking is triggered by the BLA, its long-term maintenance depends instead on the CeN. These data demonstrate that limbic cortical areas both tune the function of cognitive territories of the striatum and thereby underpin maladaptive cocaine-seeking habits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basolateral Nuclear Complex / drug effects*
  • Basolateral Nuclear Complex / physiology
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Central Amygdaloid Nucleus / drug effects*
  • Central Amygdaloid Nucleus / physiology
  • Cocaine / administration & dosage*
  • Drug-Seeking Behavior / drug effects
  • Drug-Seeking Behavior / physiology*
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / administration & dosage
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Isoxazoles / pharmacology
  • Male
  • N-Methylaspartate / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Glutamate
  • Self Administration
  • Tetrazoles / pharmacology


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Isoxazoles
  • Receptors, Glutamate
  • Tetrazoles
  • N-Methylaspartate
  • Cocaine
  • 2-amino-3-(3-hydrox-5(2-methyl-2H-tetrazol-5-yl)isoxazol-4-yl)propionic acid