Interactions between the amygdala and ventral striatum in stimulus-reward associations: studies using a second-order schedule of sexual reinforcement

Neuroscience. 1989;30(1):63-75. doi: 10.1016/0306-4522(89)90353-9.


Bilateral, N-methyl-D-aspartate-induced lesions of the basolateral region of the amygdaloid complex in male rats resulted in a marked decrease in instrumental responses maintained by a visual conditioned reinforcer in a paradigm in which sexual reinforcement was presented under a second-order schedule. There were no effects of lesions of the amygdala on the unconditioned sexual behaviour of the males, i.e. on behaviour elicited by primary reinforcers. Infusion of D-amphetamine bilaterally into the nucleus accumbens region of the ventral striatum resulted in a dose-dependent amelioration of the decrease in instrumental behaviour maintained by a conditioned reinforcer which followed lesions of the amygdala. This effect of D-amphetamine critically depended upon the presentation of the conditioned reinforcer (a previously neutral light which had gained reinforcing properties through its prior association with sexual interaction). The results indicate that the basolateral region of the amygdala may interact with dopamine-dependent processes in the ventral striatum in mediating the control by conditioned reinforcers over instrumental behaviour.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amphetamines / pharmacology*
  • Amygdala / drug effects
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Aspartic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Male
  • N-Methylaspartate
  • Neurotoxins / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Reward / physiology*
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology*


  • Amphetamines
  • Neurotoxins
  • Aspartic Acid
  • N-Methylaspartate