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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2018 Sep;235(9):2687-2702. doi: 10.1007/s00213-018-4963-z. Epub 2018 Jul 11.

Dual contributions of noradrenaline to behavioural flexibility and motivation.

Author information

1
Motivation, Brain and Behavior Team, Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Epinière, CNRS UMR 7225 - INSERM U1127 - UPMC UMR S 1127, Hôpital Pitié-Salpétrière, 47, Boulevard de l'Hôpital, 75013, Paris, France.
2
Sorbonne Paris Cité Universités, Université Paris Descartes, Frontières du Vivant, 75005, Paris, France.
3
Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford, OX1 3UD, UK.
4
Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
5
Institute for Translational Neuroscience of Paris IHU-A-ICM, 75013, Paris, France.
6
Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne, Université Paris 1, 75013, Paris, France.
7
Motivation, Brain and Behavior Team, Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Epinière, CNRS UMR 7225 - INSERM U1127 - UPMC UMR S 1127, Hôpital Pitié-Salpétrière, 47, Boulevard de l'Hôpital, 75013, Paris, France. sebastien.bouret@icm-institute.org.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

While several theories have highlighted the importance of the noradrenergic system for behavioral flexibility, a number of recent studies have also shown a role for noradrenaline in motivation, particularly in effort processing. Here, we designed a novel sequential cost/benefit decision task to test the causal influence of noradrenaline on these two functions in rhesus monkeys.

METHODS:

We manipulated noradrenaline using clonidine, an alpha-2 noradrenergic receptor agonist, which reduces central noradrenaline levels and examined how this manipulation influenced performance on the task.

RESULTS:

Clonidine had two specific and distinct effects: first, it decreased choice variability, without affecting the cost/benefit trade-off; and second, it reduced force production, without modulating the willingness to work.

CONCLUSIONS:

Together, these results support an overarching role for noradrenaline in facing challenging situations in two complementary ways: by modulating behavioral volatility, which would facilitate adaptation depending on the lability of the environment, and by modulating the mobilization of resources to face immediate challenges.

KEYWORDS:

Behavioral flexibility; Clonidine; Monkey; Motivation; Noradrenaline

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