Catecholaminergic depletion in nucleus accumbens enhances trace conditioning

AJD Nelson, KE Thur, C Spicer, CA Marsden, HJ Cassaday
2011 Advances in Medical Sciences  
Purpose: To examine the effect of dopamine depletion in nucleus accumbens on trace conditioning; to distinguish the role of core and shell sub-regions, as far as possible. Material/Methods: 6-hydroxydopamine was used to lesion dopamine terminals within the core and shell accumbens. Experiment 1 assessed conditioning to a tone conditioned stimulus that had previously been paired with footshock (unconditioned stimulus) at a 30s trace interval. Experiment 2 subsequently assessed contiguous
more » ... contiguous conditioning (at 0s trace) using a light conditioned stimulus directly followed by the unconditioned stimulus. Results: Both sham and shell-lesioned animals showed the normal trace effect of reduced conditioning to the trace conditioned stimulus but 6-hydroxydopamine injections targeted on the core subregion of the nucleus accumbens abolished this effect and enhanced conditioning to the trace conditioned stimulus. However, the depletion produced by this lesion placement extended to the shell. In Experiment 2 (at 0s trace), there was no effect of either lesion placement as all animals showed comparable levels of conditioning to the light conditioned stimulus. Neurochemical analysis across core, shell and comparison regions showed some effects on noradrenalin as well as dopamine. Conclusions: The pattern of changes in noradrenalin did not systematically relate to the observed behavioural changes after core injections. The pattern of changes in dopamine suggested that depletion in core mediated the increased conditioning to the trace conditioned stimulus seen in the present study. However, the comparison depletion restricted to the shell subregion was less substantial, and a role for secondarily affected brain regions cannot be excluded.
doi:10.2478/v10039-011-0014-2 pmid:21515488 fatcat:5qtgw7mwfnam7nrqcbvho3jclq