CNUP Training Faculty

Yanhua Huang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Psychiatry

Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University (2006)

Office: Bridgeside Point II, Room 229

Cellular and circuitry mechanisms underlying drug addiction and sleep regulation of reward.

Research Summary:

We are interested in the neural circuit and plasticity that underlie motivational behaviors; specifically, those that mediate natural reward seeking as well as drug addiction.

One focus of the lab is to understand the neural plasticity mechanisms that underlie altered reward-seeking in drug addiction. We hypothesize that strong incentive stimuli, such as the experience of addictive drugs, shift the emotional and motivational states by rewiring the neural network within the brain reward circuitry. We have been examining several novel forms of neural plasticity within the brain reward circuitry upon exposure to cocaine.

The other focus of the lab is to examine the neural mechanisms by which sleep regulates natural and drug reward. We hypothesize that sleep (or sleep loss) alters the function of the brain reward circuitry and, consequently, the motivational responses. Current efforts are focused on characterizing the effects of sleep deprivation on neural activity in the nucleus accumbens, a key element at the limbic-motor interface that gates emotional/motivational responses during reward processing. The cellular and molecular mechanisms of which are studied in the context of both natural reward seeking and drug addiction.

We employ a multidisciplinary approach including brain slice electrophysiology, EEG recordings, molecular biology, and behavioral assays in rodents.

Selected Publications:

Chen, B., Wang, Y., Ma, Y., Wang, X., Schlüter, O.M., Dong, Y. and Huang, Y.H. Cocaine-induced Membrane Adaptation in the Central Nucleus of Amygdala.Neuropsychopharmacology [Epub ahead of print]

Krueger, J.M., Huang, Y.H., Rector, D.M. and Buysse, D.J. Sleep: a synchrony of cell activity-driven small network states. Eur J Neurosci [Epub ahead of print], 2013.

Otaka, M., Ishikawa, M., Lee, B.R., Liu, L., Neumann, P.A., Cui, R., Huang, Y.H., Schlüter, O.M. and Dong, Y. Exposure to Cocaine Regulates Inhibitory Synaptic Transmission in the Nucleus Accumbens. J Neurosci 33: 6753-6758, 2013.

Ishikawa, M., Otaka, M., Huang, Y.H., Neumann, P.A., Winters, B.D., Grace, A.A., Schlüter, O.M. and Dong, Y. Dopamine triggers heterosynaptic plasticity. J Neurosci 33: 6759-6765, 2013.

Suska, A., Lee, B.R., Huang, Y.H., Dong, Y. and Schlüter, O.M. Selective presynaptic enhancement of the prefrontal cortex to nucleus accumbens pathway by cocaine. Pro Natl Acad Sci 110: 713-718, 2013.

Winters, B.D., Krüger, J.M., Huang, X., Gallaher, Z.R., Ishikawa, M., Czaja, K., Krueger, J.M., Huang, Y.H., Schlüter, O.M. and Dong, Y. CB1-expressing Neurons in the Nucleus Accumbens. Pro Natl Acad Sci 109: E2717-E2725, 2012.

Huang, Y.H., Ishikawa, M., Lee, B.R., Nakanishi, N., Schlüter, O.M. and Dong, Y. Searching for Presynaptic NMDA Receptors in the Nucleus Accumbens. J Neurosci 31:18453-18463, 2011.

Brown, T.E., Lee, B.R., Mu, P., Huang, Y.H., Sorg, B.A., Zukin, R.S., Nestler, E.J., Dong, Y., and Schlüter, O.M. A silent synapse-based mechanism for cocaine-induced locomotor sensitization. J Neurosci 31: 8163-8174, 2011.

Winters, B.D., Huang, Y.H., Dong, Y. and Krueger, J.M. Sleep loss alters synaptic and intrinsic neuronal properties in mouse prefrontal cortex. Brain Res 1420: 1-7, 2011.