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A key brain region for substance use disorders now has a searchable atlas of distinct cell populations

In a work of systematic biology that advances the field, researchers have identified 16 distinct cell populations in a complex area of the midbrain called the ventral tegmental area, or VTA. The VTA is important for its role in the dopamine neurotransmission involved in reward-directed behavior. Substance use disorders involve dysregulation of these reward circuits, leading to repeated drug-seeking despite adverse consequences.

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