Quantitative analysis of the effect of lesions of the subthalamic nucleus on intertemporal choice: Further evidence for enhancement of the incentive value of food reinforcers

G. Bezzina, T. H C Cheung, S. Body, J. F W Deakin, I. M. Anderson, C. M. Bradshaw, E. Szabadi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Recent evidence suggests that the subthalamic nucleus (STN) is involved in regulating the incentive value of food reinforcers. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of lesions of the STN on intertemporal choice (choice between reinforcers differing in size and delay). Rats with bilateral quinolinic acid-induced lesions of the STN (n = 15) or sham lesions (n = 14) were trained in a discrete-trials progressive delay schedule to press levers A and B for a sucrose solution. Responses on A delivered 50 μl of the solution after a delay dA; responses on B delivered 100 μl after a delay dB. dB increased across blocks of trials; dA was manipulated across phases of the experiment. Indifference delay, dB(50) (value of dB corresponding to 50% choice of B), was estimated for each rat in each phase, and linear indifference functions (dB(50) vs. dA) were derived. The STN-lesioned group showed a flatter slope of the indifference function (implying higher instantaneous reinforcer values) than the sham-lesioned grou; the intercepts did not differ between the groups. The results agree with recent evidence for a role of the STN in incentive value. Unlike some earlier studies, these results do not indicate a role of the STN in delay discounting. © 2009 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)437-446
    Number of pages9
    JournalBehavioural Pharmacology
    Volume20
    Issue number5-6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009

    Keywords

    • Incentive value
    • Intertemporal choice
    • Lesion
    • Quinolinic acid
    • Rat
    • Subthalamic nucleus

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