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Behav Neurosci. 2002 Aug;116(4):553-67.

Effects of selective excitotoxic lesions of the nucleus accumbens core, anterior cingulate cortex, and central nucleus of the amygdala on autoshaping performance in rats.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Abstract

The nucleus accumbens core (AcbC), anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) are required for normal acquisition of tasks based on stimulus-reward associations. However, it is not known whether they are involved purely in the learning process or are required for behavioral expression of a learned response. Rats were trained preoperatively on a Pavlovian autoshaping task in which pairing a visual conditioned stimulus (CS+) with food causes subjects to approach the CS+ while not approaching an unpaired stimulus (CS-). Subjects then received lesions of the AcbC, ACC, or CeA before being retested. AcbC lesions severely impaired performance; lesioned subjects approached the CS+ significantly less often than controls, failing to discriminate between the CS+ and CS-. ACC lesions also impaired performance but did not abolish discrimination entirely. CeA lesions had no effect on performance. Thus, the CeA is required for learning, but not expression, of a conditioned approach response, implying that it makes a specific contribution to the learning of stimulus-reward associations.

PMID:
12148923
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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