Corticostriatal plasticity, neuronal ensembles, and regulation of drug-seeking behavior

Ana Clara Bobadilla, Jasper A. Heinsbroek, Cassandra D. Gipson, William C. Griffin, Christie D. Fowler, Paul J. Kenny, Peter W. Kalivas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The idea that interconnected neuronal ensembles code for specific behaviors has been around for decades; however, recent technical improvements allow studying these networks and their causal role in initiating and maintaining behavior. In particular, the role of ensembles in drug-seeking behaviors in the context of addiction is being actively investigated. Concurrent with breakthroughs in quantifying ensembles, research has identified a role for synaptic glutamate spillover during relapse. In particular, the transient relapse-associated changes in glutamatergic synapses on accumbens neurons, as well as in adjacent astroglia and extracellular matrix, are key elements of the synaptic plasticity encoded by drug use and the metaplasticity induced by drug-associated cues that precipitate drug-seeking behaviors. Here, we briefly review the recent discoveries related to ensembles in the addiction field and then endeavor to link these discoveries with drug-induced striatal plasticity and cue-induced metaplasticity toward deeper neurobiological understandings of drug seeking.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProgress in Brain Research
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameProgress in Brain Research
ISSN (Print)0079-6123
ISSN (Electronic)1875-7855

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
A.-C.B. was funded by a postdoctoral study grant from the French Fyssen Foundation; C.D.G. by NIH R00 DA036569; C.D.F. by NIH DA032543; P.J.K. by NIH DA025983; and P.W.K. was funded by NIH DA003906, DA12513, and DA015369. The authors would like to thank all the members of the Kalivas lab for helpful discussions and comments on this manuscript. Thank you also to the Servier Medical Art for providing free open source designed medical elements used in the illustrations.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Cocaine self-administration
  • Cued reinstatement
  • Glutamate
  • Neuronal ensembles
  • Nucleus accumbens
  • Spines
  • Synaptic plasticity
  • Synaptic potentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)


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