Pharmacological dissociation between the reinforcing, sensitizing, and response-releasing functions of reward in honeybee classical conditioning

Behav Neurosci. 1999 Aug;113(4):744-54.


Reserpine depletes biogenic amines from their stores in the honeybee (Apis mellifera carnica) brain and leads to impaired appetitive conditioning using sucrose as a reinforcer. Compensatory injection of octopamine or dopamine directly into the brain restores these behavioral losses. Dopamine rescues the slowing-down effect on motor patterns, but not sensitization or conditioning. Octopamine leaves the motor patterns as well as sensitization unchanged but rescues conditioning. Specifically, octopamine rescues acquisition but not retrieval. Serotonin has no significant effect on sensitization but impairs conditioning. The authors conclude that octopamine is involved in selectively mediating the reinforcing but not the sensitizing or response-releasing function of the sucrose reward, whereas dopamine is selectively involved in the expression of the motor response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists / pharmacology
  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Bees
  • Biogenic Amines / metabolism*
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Conditioning, Classical / drug effects*
  • Dopamine / pharmacology
  • Octopamine / pharmacology
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Reserpine / pharmacology
  • Reward*
  • Serotonin / pharmacology
  • Sucrose


  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors
  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists
  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists
  • Biogenic Amines
  • Octopamine
  • Serotonin
  • Sucrose
  • Reserpine
  • Dopamine