Impact of putamen inhibition by DREADDs on schedule-induced drinking in rhesus monkeys

J Exp Anal Behav. 2022 May;117(3):493-504. doi: 10.1002/jeab.761. Epub 2022 Apr 12.


The putamen is a nucleus within the sensory-motor striatal network that is involved in automatic, habitual actions. Schedule-induced polydipsia (SIP) is highly automated behavior, reliably occurring under intermediate interval schedules of reinforcement. The effect of putamen inhibition in mediating SIP of water and ethanol (4% w/v) under a Fixed Time 5-min (FT-5 min) schedule for food delivery was tested in 12 rhesus monkeys (6 male, 6 female). Water and ethanol SIP sessions ended after set volumes were consumed. Baseline patterns of SIP intake differed between water and ethanol SIP in volume but not in pattern of drinking. Activation of the designer receptor exclusively activated by designer drug (DREADD: hM4Di) with deschloroclozapine (DCZ; 300 μg/kg, i.m.) administered 30 min prior to the onset of the SIP session, for four consecutive sessions. DCZ administration increased the postpellet drink volume and reduced the time to drink both water and ethanol. Although the effect of DCZ treatment was similar for increasing SIP with either water or ethanol, post-DCZ return to baseline SIP rates of differed, perhaps highlighting the effect of a state dependency with ethanol SIP. Overall, the study shows that targeting the putamen with the inhibitory DREADD produces a reversible, reproducible and reliable increase in adjunctive drinking.

Keywords: DREADDs; ethanol drinking; hM4Di; putamen; rhesus monkey; schedule induced polydipsia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drinking Behavior
  • Ethanol* / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Putamen*
  • Reinforcement Schedule
  • Water


  • Water
  • Ethanol