Current studies examined whether temporary inactivation of the amygdala influenced the learning and/or expression of conditioned flavour preferences and whether interactions between the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens contribute to this learning. Experiments 1A and 1B examined temporary inactivation of the amygdala in rats, by the administration of muscimol through chronically implanted cannulae, given during acquisition and/or expression of flavour preferences based on a sucrose reinforcer. Despite differences in the number of training trials and control procedures, in both of Experiments 1A and 1B inactivation during training attenuated, but did not totally prevent, the acquisition of a preference for the CS+ (conditioned stimulus) flavour over the CS-. Inactivation during testing had no effect on the preference for the CS+. In Experiment 2A rats were given access to a CS+ flavour paired with fructose and a CS- flavour without fructose prior to testing the preference for the CS+ over the CS- in the absence of the reinforcer. In Experiment 2B the same rats were tested for their preference with another set of CS+ and CS- flavours and maltodextrin as the reinforcing solution. Contralateral unilateral lesions of the amygdala and nucleus accumbens attenuated, but did not totally prevent, flavour preference learning based on either fructose or maltodextrin compared to either ipsilateral or sham lesioned animals. These results suggest that the amygdala plays a role in the learning, but not expression, of flavour preferences and that this role is partially dependent on interactions with the nucleus accumbens.
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