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Brain Res. 1989 Mar 6;481(2):286-97.

Response properties of lateral hypothalamic neurons during ingestive behavior with special reference to licking of various taste solutions.

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Department of Oral Physiology, Faculty of Dentistry, Osaka University, Japan.


Activity of 58 single neurons in the lateral hypothalamic area (LHA) was recorded while Wistar male rats were drinking water and various taste solutions in a test box. A cue tone was presented before opening of a shutter for access to a drinking spout. Except 8 neurons which were non-responsive in the present experimental paradigm, 50 neurons were classified into 3 types according to their response properties: (1) 10 neurons changed their activity with arousal state or circadian rhythm, (2) 10 neurons responded to specific sensory stimuli, i.e. 2 were classified as taste-responsive neurons, which responded excitatory to sodium salts, 3 neurons responded to olfactory stimulation, 5 to somatosensory stimulation applied to the perioral region, and (3) the remaining 30 decreased their activity during licking of liquids regardless of their qualities. Besides this classification, activity of 28 of 58 LHA neurons was altered after onset of the cue tone (or before start of licking), i.e. 24 increased their activity (learned anticipatory response), and 3 modulated their tonic activity into burst discharges corresponding to sniffing, and 1 increased its activity in relation to stepping toward the drinking spout. These data suggest that about half of the LHA neurons increased their activity in anticipatory (searching or approaching) periods just before ingestion, and decreased activity in rewarding periods during ingestion of water or sapid solutions.

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