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Keywords:

  • Electrophysiology;
  • Self-Administration;
  • Ensemble;
  • Recording Techniques;
  • Addiction

The advent of new chronic multineuron recording techniques for examining neural activity in behaving animals has initiated a new phase in the analysis of the neuronal mechanisms that underlie ethanol and other drug self-administration. The technique allows for the simultaneous recording of groups of individual neurons in one or more brain regions during ongoing behavior; therefore, the spatiotemporal patterns of neuronal activity during specific behavioral events can be determined. We have successfully applied this technique to rat models of cocaine and heroin self-administration. Recently, using rats, we have been able to record from neurons in areas of the mesocorticolimbic circuit during ethanol-reinforced operant responding. In this review, we describe the current and future application of this new behavioral neurophysiology to the investigation of the neurobiology of alcohol addiction.