The present investigations sought to determine whether the ventral tegmental area (VTA), basolateral amygdala (BLA), and nucleus accumbens shell (NAC) comprise a circuitry that mediates heroin-induced conditioned immunomodulation. Rats were given conditioning trials in which they received an injection of heroin upon placement into a distinctive environment. Prior to testing, rats received unilateral intra-BLA microinfusion of a D1 antagonist concomitantly with unilateral intra-NAC shell microinfusion of an NMDA antagonist. Disconnection of the VTA–BLA–NAC circuit impaired the ability of the heroin-paired environment to suppress lipopolysaccharide-induced immune responses, defining for the first time a specific neural circuit involved in conditioned neural-immune interactions.
Szczytkowski-Thomson, Jennifer L.; Fuchs, Rita; and Lysle, Donald, "Ventral tegmental area-basolateral amygdala-nucleus accumbens shell neurocircuitry controls the expression of heroin-conditioned immunomodulation" (2011). Psychology Educator Scholarship. 34.