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The subthalamic nucleus: a key role in the control of inhibition, involving consequences for addiction
(Institut de Neurosciences de la Timone, CNRS & Aix-Marseille Université, France)
The subthalamic nucleus (STN) is the current target for the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease, but its involvement in non-motor processes has been also demonstrated and lead to also target it for the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorders. Here we will review data obtained in the rat showing the involvement of the subthalamic nucleus in the control of inhibition and how this can relate to addiction, a form of loss of control in reward-related processes, in which STN is also involved. We will first review the effects of STN inactivation on impulse control and will then review the role of STN in motivational processes. Finally, we will review the effects of STN inactivation by either lesions or DBS on cocaine, heroin, nicotine and alcohol intake in various conditions and associated with electrophysiological recordings in some experiments, providing interesting information regarding the encoding of reward information. Our results suggest that STN could represent an interesting target for the treatment of drug addiction.