Bruce Thomas Hope, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Behavioral Neuroscience Branch, Neuronal Ensembles in Drug Addiction

NIDA

251 Bayview Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21224

443-740-2585

bhope@mail.nih.gov

Research Topics

When using drugs of abuse, learned associations are formed between the drugs and stimuli present in the drug-taking environment. With continued use, these stimuli can become cues that promote drug relapse. Our research is focused on figuring out how these memories are stored in the brain. We have identified sparsely distributed patterns of neurons in the brain called ‘neuronal ensembles’ that are selectively activated by drug-related cues and thought to encode the learned associations that mediate drug seeking behavior. Drug-related cues activate specific genes such as c-fos within these neuronal ensembles and allow us to identify them in the brain. We exploit the c-fos promoter to turn on different transgenes in transgenic rats that allow us to manipulate specific neuronal ensembles and assess their role in drug-related memories. We also developed a fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) procedure for purifying these activated ensembles and found unique molecular alterations within their cell bodies and synapses. We have developed novel c-fos-GFP transgenic rats that produce green fluorescent protein (GFP) in activated neurons and found unique synaptic alterations using slice electrophysiology. Using a combination of novel viruses and transgenic rats developed in collaboration with Dr. Brandon Harvey, we continue to search and characterize drug-related memory engrams in the brain that promote drug relapse.

Selected Publications

  1. Koya E, Cruz FC, Ator R, Golden SA, Hoffman AF, Lupica CR, Hope BT. Silent synapses in selectively activated nucleus accumbens neurons following cocaine sensitization. Nat Neurosci. 2012;15(11):1556-62.

  2. Whitaker LR, Warren BL, Venniro M, Harte TC, McPherson KB, Bossert JM, Shaham Y, Bonci A, Hope BT. Bidirectional modulation of intrinsic excitability in rat prelimbic cortex neuronal ensembles and non-ensembles following operant learning. J Neurosci. 2017.

  3. Warren BL, Mendoza MP, Cruz FC, Leao RM, Caprioli D, Rubio FJ, Whitaker LR, McPherson KB, Bossert JM, Shaham Y, Hope BT. Distinct Fos-Expressing Neuronal Ensembles in the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex Mediate Food Reward and Extinction Memories. J Neurosci. 2016;36(25):6691-703.

  4. Rubio FJ, Liu QR, Li X, Cruz FC, Leão RM, Warren BL, Kambhampati S, Babin KR, McPherson KB, Cimbro R, Bossert JM, Shaham Y, Hope BT. Context-induced reinstatement of methamphetamine seeking is associated with unique molecular alterations in Fos-expressing dorsolateral striatum neurons. J Neurosci. 2015;35(14):5625-39.

  5. Cruz FC, Koya E, Guez-Barber DH, Bossert JM, Lupica CR, Shaham Y, Hope BT. New technologies for examining the role of neuronal ensembles in drug addiction and fear. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2013;14(11):743-54.


This page was last updated on August 6th, 2017