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Pumping the brakes: rostromedial tegmental inhibition of compulsive cocaine seeking.
bioRxiv 2023: 10.04.560908

Vento, P.J., Watson, J.R., Pullmann, D., Black, S.L., Tomberlin, J.S., Jhou, T.C.

This preprint describes the role of the rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg) in persistent cocaine seeking under punishment and reveals a novel phenomenon whereby repeated optical stimulation of RMTg projections to the ventral tegmental area suppresses seeking of natural (food) rewards and produces long-lasting suppression of cue-induced cocaine seeking.

Three rostromedial tegmental afferents drive triply dissociable aspects of punishment learning and aversive valence encoding. Neuron 104(5): 987-999, 2019

Li, H.*, Vento, P.J.* (*co-first author), Pullmann, D., Eid, M., Chao. Y.S., Jhou, T.C.

In this paper we describe how three discrete neuronal inputs to the rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg), including the prelimbic cortex, lateral habenula, and parabrachial nucleus, mediate separable aspects of both learning from and responding to aversive experiences.

Learning from one's mistakes: a dual role for the rostromedial tegmental nucleus in the encoding and expression of punished reward seeking. 

Biological Psychiatry 81(12): 1041-1049, 2017

Vento, P.J., Burnham, N.W., Rowley, C.S., Jhou, T.C.

Here, we provide the first evidence that the rostromedial tegmental nucleus mediates not only learning from an aversive event, but also behavioral inhibition in anticipation of a future aversive outcome. We go on to characterize the involvement of this enigmatic brain region in a variety of rodent behavioral paradigms.

Gene expression and neurochemical characterization of the rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg) in rats and mice.

Brain Structure and Function 224(1): 219-238, 2019

Smith, R.J., Vento, P.J., Chao, Y.S., Jhou, T.C.

In this paper, spearheaded by Dr. Rachel Smith, we provide a detailed identification and comparison of the rostromedial tegmental nucleus in both rats and mice. Given inherent difficulties in delineating the boundaries of the RMTg in rodents, this paper unlocks a pathway for expanding research into this brain region through immunohistochemical staining for the protein FoxP1.

Bidirectional regulation of reward, punishment, and arousal, by dopamine, the lateral habenula, and the rostromedial tegmentum (RMTg).

Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences 26: 90-96, 2019

Jhou, T.C., Vento, P.J.  

In this review, we discuss recent advances in our understanding of the diverse roles of the RMTg, lateral habenula, and dopamine neurons, in aversive learning and behavior. We explore the potential involvement of these circuits in neuropsychiatric diseases, including depression and mania. 

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