Cholinergic interneurons (CINs) are critical regulators of striatal network activity and output. Changes in CIN activity are thought to encode salient changes in the environment and stimulus–response– outcome associations. Here we report that the stress-associated neuropeptide corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) produces a profound and reliable increase in the spontaneous firing of CINs in both dorsal striatum and nucleus accumbens (NAc) through activation of CRF type 1 receptors, production of cAMP and reduction in spike accommodation in male mice. The increase of CIN firing by CRF results in the activation muscarinic acetylcholine receptors type 5, which mediate potentiation of dopamine transmission in the striatum. This study provides critical mechanistic insight into how CRF modulates striatal activity and dopamine transmission in the NAc to likely account for CRF facilitation of appetitive behaviors.
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- Dopamine transmission
- Muscarinic receptors
- Nucleus accumbens