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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 1997 Jan;21(1):55-65.

Parametric changes in response equilibrium during an intra-cranial self stimulation (ICSS) task: can reward value be assessed independently of absolute threshold?

Author information

1
Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.

Abstract

Traditional ICSS methodologies have attempted to evaluate changes in the rewarding value of brain stimulation by assessing the lowest value of the stimulation that will support responding. However, orderly changes in suprathreshold indicants of hedonic magnitude such as titration point have been shown. In the present experiments, rats were trained to respond on two ICSS autotitration schedules in which every response on one lever produced stimulation of the medial forebrain bundle, and every Xth response decreased either the stimulation current or the stimulation frequency. At any time, a response on a second "reset" lever restored the stimulation current or frequency available on the stimulation lever to its starting level and operationally defined changes in "reward value". In order to study this titration point measure, two response requirements (responses/stepdown; step size) and two stimulation parameters (initial stimulation level; train duration) were systematically varied. Under both current and frequency titration schedules, data indicated that response rate and titration point remained stable over repeated trials and multiple testing days--parameters being constant. Across all conditions, compared to the frequency titration schedule, subjects responding under the current titration schedule showed significantly higher titration points and lower rates of responding. Indicating the independence of rate and titration point data, parametric manipulations did not affect titration point and rate data concurrently. Results support the conclusion that titration point is a relative measure of "reward value" that is generally independent of response rate, but that is affected by manipulations that alter the amount of stimulation available between "resets". Additional work is needed in order to determine the relationship between the magnitude of stimulation needed to maintain minimal responding and that needed to maintain response equilibrium in an autotitration task.

PMID:
8994209
DOI:
10.1016/0149-7634(95)00065-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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