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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2016 Mar;41(4):960-70. doi: 10.1038/npp.2015.222. Epub 2015 Jul 23.

GABA-Mediated Inactivation of Medial Prefrontal and Agranular Insular Cortex in the Rat: Contrasting Effects on Hunger- and Palatability-Driven Feeding.

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Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA.
Neuroscience Training Program, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA.
Department of Psychology, Graduate School, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA.


A microanalysis of hunger-driven and palatability-driven feeding was carried out after muscimol-mediated inactivation of two frontal regions in rats, the agranular/dysgranular insular cortex (AIC) and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). Food and water intake, feeding microstructure, and general motor activity were measured under two motivational conditions: food-deprived rats given standard chow or ad libitum-fed rats given a palatable chocolate shake. Muscimol infusions into the AIC diminished intake, total feeding duration, and average feeding bout duration for the palatable-food condition only but failed to alter exploratory-like behavior (ambulation or rearing). In contrast, intra-vmPFC muscimol infusions did not alter the overall intake of chow or chocolate shake. However, these infusions markedly increased mean feeding bout duration for both food types and produced a modest but significant reduction of exploratory-like behavior. The lengthening of feeding-bout duration and reduction in rearing were mimicked by intra-vmPFC blockade of AMPA-type but not NMDA-type glutamate receptors. Neither water consumption nor the microstructure of water drinking was affected by inactivation of either site. These results indicate a regional heterogeneity in frontal control of feeding behavior. Neural processing in AIC supports palatability-driven feeding but is not necessary for intake of a standard food under a food-restriction condition, whereas ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and AMPA signaling therein, modulates the duration of individual feeding bouts regardless of motivational context. Results are discussed in the context of regionally heterogeneous frontal modulation of two distinct components of feeding behavior: reward valuation based upon taste perception (AIC) vs switching between ingestive and non-ingestive (eg, exploratory-like) behavioral repertoires (vmPFC).

[Available on 2017-03-01]
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