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Physiol Behav. 2006 Nov 30;89(4):531-5. Epub 2006 Jul 5.

Gustatory reward and the nucleus accumbens.

Author information

  • 1Department of Neural and Behavioral Sciences, H181, College of Medicine, The Pennsylvania State University, Hershey, PA 17033-0850, USA. rxn5@psu.edu

Abstract

The concept of reward is central to psychology, but remains a cipher for neuroscience. Considerable evidence implicates dopamine in the process of reward and much of the data derives from the nucleus accumbens. Gustatory stimuli are widely used for animal studies of reward, but the connections between the taste and reward systems are unknown. In a series of experiments, our laboratory has addressed this issue using functional neurochemistry and neuroanatomy. First, using microdialysis probes, we demonstrated that sapid sucrose releases dopamine in the nucleus accumbens. The effect is dependent on oral stimulation and concentration. We subsequently determined that this response was independent of the thalamocortical gustatory system, but substantially blunted by damage to the parabrachial limbic taste projection. Further experiments using c-fos histochemistry confirmed that the limbic pathway was the prime carrier for the gustatory afferent activity that drives accumbens dopamine release.

PMID:
16822531
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3114426
Free PMC Article

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