Enhanced Food-Related Motivation after Bilateral Lesions of the Subthalamic Nucleus

Christelle Baunez, Marianne Amalric, Trevor W. Robbins
2002 Journal of Neuroscience  
Although inactivation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) has beneficial effects on motor symptoms of parkinsonism, little is known of possible actions on nonmotor symptoms of cognition or mood. Here, we used several forms of converging evidence to show that STN lesions can enhance behavioral motivation. Thus, bilateral fiber-sparing lesions of the STN in rats reduced the time required to eat a standard number of food reward pellets, without affecting food intake, and altered performance on a
more » ... rformance on a number of behavioral measures consistent with enhanced motivation for food. Thus, STN-lesioned rats showed greater levels of locomotor activity conditioned to food presentation, enhanced control over responding by food-related conditioned reinforcers, and a higher breaking point associated with elevated rate of lever press under a progressive ratio schedule of reinforcement. These results reveal a new functional role schedule for STN, possibly because of its involvement in ventral, as well as dorsal, striatal circuitry and are relevant to the therapeutic effects of STN stimulation in Parkinson's disease.
doi:10.1523/jneurosci.22-02-00562.2002 pmid:11784803 fatcat:noedm4a3b5bllmgnjdwkw6zbpy