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Behav Brain Res. 2000 Nov 15;116(1):23-38.

Effects of reward anticipation, reward presentation, and spatial parameters on the firing of single neurons recorded in the subiculum and nucleus accumbens of freely moving rats.

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CNRS-College de France LPPA, 11 Place Marcelin Berthelot, 75231 Cedex 05, Paris, France.


The subiculum is the major output of the hippocampal formation (involved in spatial processing). Subicular afferents innervate the nucleus accumbens, which is thought to integrate limbic reward information with motor output. Rats were chronically implanted with extra-cellular recording electrodes aimed at both structures to investigate the functional relationship between them. Animals were then trained on a spatial task in which they searched for random locations where they would receive rewarding medial forebrain bundle stimulation. At random times a cue tone was sounded, indicating that the reward location was in the center of the environment. Rats quickly learned to run to the center upon hearing the tone in order to receive a reward. Simultaneously recorded groups of up to eight subicular and accumbens neurons were found to display alterations in firing rate after rewarding medial forebrain bundle stimulation. Moreover, neurons in both subiculum and accumbens displayed alterations in firing rate prior to arrival at the center during cued runs, i.e. they anticipated predictable rewards. Subicular and accumbens firing was also correlated with spatial location. However, neurons in accumbens were more likely to respond to task events, and these responses were more varied, than those seen in subiculum. Thus, while convergence of spatial and reward information occurs at the level of single cells in both subiculum and nucleus accumbens, these structures also display functional localization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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