^ abcMalenka RC, Nestler EJ, Hyman SE (2009). Sydor A, Brown RY, eds. Molecular Neuropharmacology: A Foundation for Clinical Neuroscience (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical. pp. 147–148, 367, 376. ISBN978-0-07-148127-4. VTA DA neurons play a critical role in motivation, reward-related behavior (Chapter 15), attention, and multiple forms of memory. This organization of the DA system, wide projection from a limited number of cell bodies, permits coordinated responses to potent new rewards. Thus, acting in diverse terminal fields, dopamine confers motivational salience (“wanting”) on the reward itself or associated cues (nucleus accumbens shell region), updates the value placed on different goals in light of this new experience (orbital prefrontal cortex), helps consolidate multiple forms of memory (amygdala and hippocampus), and encodes new motor programs that will facilitate obtaining this reward in the future (nucleus accumbens core region and dorsal striatum). In this example, dopamine modulates the processing of sensorimotor information in diverse neural circuits to maximize the ability of the organism to obtain future rewards. ... The brain reward circuitry that is targeted by addictive drugs normally mediates the pleasure and strengthening of behaviors associated with natural reinforcers, such as food, water, and sexual contact. Dopamine neurons in the VTA are activated by food and water, and dopamine release in the NAc is stimulated by the presence of natural reinforcers, such as food, water, or a sexual partner. ... The NAc and VTA are central components of the circuitry underlying reward and memory of reward. As previously mentioned, the activity of dopaminergic neurons in the VTA appears to be linked to reward prediction. The NAc is involved in learning associated with reinforcement and the modulation of motoric responses to stimuli that satisfy internal homeostatic needs. The shell of the NAc appears to be particularly important to initial drug actions within reward circuitry; addictive drugs appear to have a greater effect on dopamine release in the shell than in the core of the NAc.
^ abcCalipari ES, Bagot RC, Purushothaman I, Davidson TJ, Yorgason JT, Peña CJ, Walker DM, Pirpinias ST, Guise KG, Ramakrishnan C, Deisseroth K, Nestler EJ (March 2016). "In vivo imaging identifies temporal signature of D1 and D2 medium spiny neurons in cocaine reward". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 113 (10): 2726–2731. doi:10.1073/pnas.1521238113. PMC4791010. PMID26831103. Previous work has demonstrated that optogenetically stimulating D1 MSNs promotes reward, whereas stimulating D2 MSNs produces aversion. ... Studies using in vivo pharmacological approaches have demonstrated differential roles of NAc D1 and D2 receptors in drug conditioning by use of selective receptor agonists or antagonists, further supporting a role for both dopamine and D1 and D2 MSN subtypes in associative learning (27). Whereas this work has focused on the VTA-to-NAc dopamine circuit, tracking postsynaptic responses in NAc MSNs is particularly important because they integrate information not only from VTA dopamine neurons but also from numerous glutamatergic projections (28, 29). From a network perspective, D1 and D2 MSNs receive inputs from several regions known to encode and store information about context or context–drug associations such as the prefrontal cortex, basolateral amygdala, and hippocampus (30). ... Our data highlight the important role played by D1 MSNs in NAc core in establishing context–reward associations and in controlling the strength of these associations after cocaine exposure. ... Here we show that regulation of associative learning, and its dysregulation by cocaine, is driven primarily through alterations in D1 MSNs in NAc core, which both impair the extinction of previously learned associations and enhance reinstatement following abstinence.
^ abcBaliki MN, Mansour A, Baria AT, Huang L, Berger SE, Fields HL, Apkarian AV (October 2013). "Parceling human accumbens into putative core and shell dissociates encoding of values for reward and pain". J. Neurosci. 33 (41): 16383–16393. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1731-13.2013. PMC3792469. PMID24107968. Recent evidence indicates that inactivation of D2 receptors, in the indirect striatopallidal pathway in rodents, is necessary for both acquisition and expression of aversive behavior, and direct pathway D1 receptor activation controls reward-based learning (Hikida et al., 2010; Hikida et al., 2013). It seems we can conclude that direct and indirect pathways of the NAc, via D1 and D2 receptors, subserve distinct anticipation and valuation roles in the shell and core of NAc, which is consistent with observations regarding spatial segregation and diversity of responses of midbrain dopaminergic neurons for rewarding and aversive conditions, some encoding motivational value, others motivational salience, each connected with distinct brain networks and having distinct roles in motivational control (Bromberg-Martin et al., 2010; Cohen et al., 2012; Lammel et al., 2013). ... Thus, the previous results, coupled with the current observations, imply that the NAc pshell response reflects a prediction/anticipation or salience signal, and the NAc pcore response is a valuation response (reward predictive signal) that signals the negative reinforcement value of cessation of pain (i.e., anticipated analgesia).
^ abIncentive salience and aversive salience are forms of motivational salience that are associated with reward and aversion, respectively. Incentive salience manifests as both the desire and motivation to obtain a particular rewarding stimulus. Aversive salience manifests as both the desire and motivation to avoid a particular unpleasant stimulus.