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An inhibitory brainstem input to dopamine neurons encodes nicotine aversion

Nicotine stimulates the dopamine (DA) system, which is essential for its rewarding effect. Nicotine is also aversive at high doses; yet, our knowledge about nicotine’s dose-dependent effects on DA circuits remains limited. Here, we demonstrate that high doses of nicotine, which induce aversion-related behavior in mice, cause biphasic inhibitory and excitatory responses in VTA DA neurons that can be dissociated by distinct projections to lateral and medial nucleus accumben subregions, respectively.

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