Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain Chemical Shown To Induce Both Desire And Dread

Date:
July 9, 2008
Source:
Society for Neuroscience
Summary:
The chemical dopamine induces both desire and dread, according to new animal research in the Journal of Neuroscience. Although dopamine is well known to motivate animals and people to seek positive rewards, the study indicates that it also can promote negative feelings like fear. The finding may help explain why dopamine dysfunction is implicated not only in drug addiction, which involves excessive desire, but in schizophrenia and some phobias, which involve excessive fear.

The chemical dopamine induces both desire and dread, according to new animal research in the July 9 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. Although dopamine is well known to motivate animals and people to seek positive rewards, the study indicates that it also can promote negative feelings like fear. The finding may help explain why dopamine dysfunction is implicated not only in drug addiction, which involves excessive desire, but in schizophrenia and some phobias, which involve excessive fear.

Related Articles


"This study changes our thinking about what dopamine does," said Howard Fields, MD, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, an expert unaffiliated with the study. "There is a huge body of evidence out there to support the idea that dopamine mediates positive effects, like reward, happiness, and pleasure. This study says, it does do that, but it can also promote negative behaviors through actions in an adjacent brain area," Fields said.

Kent Berridge, PhD, and his colleagues at the University of Michigan, identified dopamine's dual effect on the nucleus accumbens, a brain region that motivates people and animals to seek out pleasurable rewards like food, sex, or drugs, but is also involved in fear. They found that inhibiting dopamine's normal function prevented the nucleus accumbens neurons from inducing both rewarding and fearful behaviors, suggesting that dopamine is important in both.

In previous research, Berridge and colleagues showed that a distance of only a few millimeters separated desire and dread functions in the nucleus accumbens (which is only about 5 millimeters long in humans). Because dopamine is an important neurotransmitter in this brain structure, the researchers investigated its role in generating these functions in the current study.

When dopamine was allowed to act normally, injection of a chemical to model normal signaling in the front of the nucleus accumbens caused rats to eat nearly three times as much as they normally do. In contrast, injection of the chemical in the back of the nucleus accumbens caused rats to display fearful behavior normally shown in response to a predator.

"It has always been assumed that discrete neurotransmitters might separate fear from desire, but this report shows that transmitters such as dopamine play a constant role and that the anatomy is providing for emotional discretion," said Peter Kalivas, PhD, at the Medical University of South Carolina, who was unaffiliated with the study.

Berridge speculates that disruption of dopamine neurotransmission in one region of the nucleus accumbens may be a mechanism for pathological excesses of fear in disorders such as schizophrenia, whereas disruptions in dopamine neurotransmission in an adjacent region may be a mechanism for excessive reward-seeking in conditions like addiction.

The research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Neuroscience. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Neuroscience. "Brain Chemical Shown To Induce Both Desire And Dread." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080708173226.htm>.
Society for Neuroscience. (2008, July 9). Brain Chemical Shown To Induce Both Desire And Dread. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080708173226.htm
Society for Neuroscience. "Brain Chemical Shown To Induce Both Desire And Dread." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080708173226.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 3, 2015) Super Bowl champions Sidney Rice and Steve Weatherford donate their brains, post-mortem, to scientific research into repetitive brain trauma. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Newsy (Mar. 3, 2015) Researchers found an abnormal protein associated with Alzheimer&apos;s disease in the brains of 20-year-olds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Researchers gave lidocaine to 112 patients, and about 88 percent of the subjects said they needed less migraine-relief medicine the next day. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins