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Brain Res. 1993 Oct 8;624(1-2):1-10.

Where does damage lead to enhanced food aversion: the ventral pallidum/substantia innominata or lateral hypothalamus?

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Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48104-1687.

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  • Brain Res 1994 Apr 11;642(1-2):355.


It is well known that lesions of the lateral hypothalamus (LH) produce aphagia. Several previous studies have reported that lateral hypothalamus damage produces food aversion in addition to aphagia. However, damage to other regions near the LH also produce aphagia and enhanced aversion. The purpose of this study was to resolve where the site or sites for aversion-inducing lesions is/are located. Small, bilateral excitotoxin lesions (QUIN, 10 micrograms in 1 microliter or IBO, 15 micrograms in 1 microliter) or bilateral sham injections of vehicle were made into the globus pallidus (GP), the ventral pallidum/substantia innominata (VP/SI) or the lateral hypothalamus (LH). Affective reactions to taste were elicited by infusing sucrose solutions (1 M) into the mouth via chronic oral cannulae. The number of aversive responses (gapes, chin-rubbing, head-shaking and forelimb flails) emitted was tallied. Individual lesions were mapped and a single 'necessary and sufficient' site for damage-induced aversion was identified (the area of overlapping damage common to all rats that showed enhanced aversive reactions). To identify the lesions, two lesion-mapping techniques were used: (1) a conventional neuron-counting procedure in which an attempt is made to count all neurons within a brain region, and (2) a new modified 'fractionator' procedure consisting of exhaustive 400 x magnification counts at point locations within a brain region. Results indicated that aversive reactions to food are enhanced only following bilateral neuron loss (> 70%) from the caudal ventromedial VP/SI alone. This shared site has a lateral diameter of 1.0 mm, a dorsoventral diameter of 0.5 mm and a rostrocaudal diameter of 1.0 mm. Damage restricted to the LH never produced enhanced aversion even when it produced aphagia. The crucial region for aversion is located ventral and medial to the globus pallidus and dorsal and lateral to the lateral hypothalamus.

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