Stress and CRF gate neural activation of BDNF in the mesolimbic reward pathway

Jessica J. Walsh, Allyson K. Friedman, Haosheng Sun, Elizabeth A. Heller, Stacy M. Ku, Barbara Juarez, Veronica L. Burnham, Michelle S. Mazei-Robison, Deveroux Ferguson, Sam A. Golden, Ja Wook Koo, Dipesh Chaudhury, Daniel J. Christoffel, Lisa Pomeranz, Jeffrey M. Friedman, Scott J. Russo, Eric J. Nestler, Ming Hu Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Mechanisms controlling release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the mesolimbic dopamine reward pathway remain unknown. We report that phasic optogenetic activation of this pathway increases BDNF amounts in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) of socially stressed mice but not of stress-naive mice. This stress gating of BDNF signaling is mediated by corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) acting in the NAc. These results unravel a stress context-detecting function of the brain's mesolimbic circuit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-29
Number of pages3
JournalNature Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Walsh, J. J., Friedman, A. K., Sun, H., Heller, E. A., Ku, S. M., Juarez, B., Burnham, V. L., Mazei-Robison, M. S., Ferguson, D., Golden, S. A., Koo, J. W., Chaudhury, D., Christoffel, D. J., Pomeranz, L., Friedman, J. M., Russo, S. J., Nestler, E. J., & Han, M. H. (2014). Stress and CRF gate neural activation of BDNF in the mesolimbic reward pathway. Nature Neuroscience, 17(1), 27-29.