Limbic-striatal interactions in reward-related processes

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 1989 Summer-Fall;13(2-3):155-62. doi: 10.1016/s0149-7634(89)80025-9.


Stimuli with formerly motivationally neutral properties gain incentive properties from their predictive association with primary reinforcement, and are termed conditioned reinforcers. Infusions of the indirect dopamine (DA) agonist d-amphetamine into the ventral striatum selectively enhanced responding for a light that was positively correlated with water. These selective stimulatory effects were blocked by 6-OHDA lesions of the ventral, but not dorsal striatum, and resembled those produced by DA itself when infused into the ventral striatum. However, the choice of the lever producing the conditioned reinforcer was not affected by ventral striatal DA depletion. This choice was, however, attenuated by excitotoxic lesions of the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala, suggesting an interaction between this structure and DA-dependent processes of the ventral striatum in the processes by which reward-related stimuli come to affect action. Parallel findings were obtained using a second order schedule of sexual reinforcement. Other observations indicated that the amygdala lesion did not impair the discriminative property of the reward-related stimuli, or affect primary motivation. Experiments using explicit conditional visuo-spatial discrimination tasks suggest that similar discriminative properties are preserved following DA depletion from the ventral, but not the dorsal, striatum. These results possibly represent a dissociation between stimulus-response (or habit) and stimulus-reward associative mechanisms, modulated respectively by the dorsal and ventral striatum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Psychological / physiology
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Dopamine / physiology
  • Humans
  • Limbic System / physiology*
  • Motivation
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Reward*


  • Dopamine