A portrait of the substrate for self-stimulation

C. R. Gallistel, Peter Shizgal, John S. Yeomans
1981 Psychological review  
Quantitative properties of the neural system mediating the rewarding and priming effects of medial forebrain bundle (MFB) stimulation in the rat have been determined by experiments that trade one parameter of the electrical stimulus against another. The first-order neurons in this substrate are for the most part long, thin, myelinated axons, coursing in the MFB and ventral tegmentum, with absolute refractory periods in the range .5-1.2 msec and conduction velocities of 2-8 m/sec. Local
more » ... s in these axons decay with a time constant of about .1 msec. A supernormal period follows the recovery from refractoriness. These axons integrate current over exceptionally long intervals, accommodate slowly, and fire on the break of prolonged anodal pulses. These properties rule out the hypothesis that catecholamine pathways constitute the first-order axons. The second-order (postsynaptic) part of the substrate shows surprisingly simple spatial and temporal integrating characteristics. We examine the logic that permits conclusions of this sort to be derived from behavioral data and the role of these derivations in establishing neurobehavioral linkage hypotheses.
doi:10.1037//0033-295x.88.3.228 fatcat:isf7oxayerfibmep72blstmbzi