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Characterizing opposing BNST to VTA circuits that differentially regulate motivation and individual responses to stress

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 MotiVTA project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the MotiVTA project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "MotiVTA" about.

anxiety    hypothesize    projecting    behaviors    toll    engaged    inhibition    little    responsivity    relevance    thought    underlie    pattern    release    solid    dopamine    pathological    life    circuit    parallel    mental    behavior    manipulate    neuropharmacology    influence    drive    monitor    glutamatergic    modulates    natural    genetic    neuropeptide    resilient    daily    situations    crh    create    avoidance    host    modulation    behavioral    bnst    area    neurons    differences    linking    lab    negative    individual    optogenetics    terminalis    stress    lacking    gabaergic    enormous    motivation    activation    stria    mesolimbic    trigger    motivated    nucleus    trait    imaging    combination    first    correlates    tools    neuronal    motivational    determines    balance    society    whereas    differentially    ventral    calcium    vta    despite    health    decreased    influences    depression    tegmental    individuals    mechanisms    stressful    basal    outcomes    plays    found    reduce   

Project "MotiVTA" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: BATIMENT CE 3316 STATION 1
postcode: 1015

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Switzerland [CH]
 Total cost 191˙149 €
 EC max contribution 191˙149 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2019
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-RI
 Starting year 2020
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2020-07-01   to  2022-06-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

In our daily life, we face many challenges that create stressful situations. Some individuals experience stress as motivational drive, whereas in others, it can reduce motivation and trigger avoidance behavior. Pathological responses to stress, such as depression and anxiety, take an enormous toll on society. Despite the relevance of stress on mental health, little is understood about the neuronal circuit mechanisms that underlie the behavioral differences in stress responsivity and why some individuals are more resilient to the negative impact of stress than others. The mesolimbic dopamine system plays a major role in the stress response. Work in the host lab found that trait anxiety influences how an individual’s motivated behaviors change with stress and that the anxiety level correlates with differences in the response of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to the stress-induced neuropeptide CRH. Recently, two parallel pathways from the basal nucleus of stria terminalis (BNST) to the VTA –one glutamatergic and the other GABAergic– have been identified and are thought to influence anxiety and motivated behaviors. However, solid evidence linking activity in these pathways to behavioral outcomes is lacking. The goal of this proposal is to monitor and manipulate the activity of these pathways using a combination of optogenetics, calcium imaging, and behavioral testing. I hypothesize that the glutamatergic and GABAergic BNST-VTA pathways are differentially engaged during stress. The balance between these pathways modulates dopamine release from the VTA, which then determines whether an individual would experience increased or decreased motivation in response to stress. I will first determine the natural activity pattern of VTA-projecting BNST neurons and then investigate the consequences of activation or inhibition of this circuit on motivated behaviors and the role of CRH in the modulation of this circuit using genetic tools and neuropharmacology.

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The information about "MOTIVTA" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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