Neurophysiological analysis of brain-stimulation reward in the monkey

Brain Res. 1980 Aug 4;194(2):339-57. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(80)91216-0.


Neuronal activity related to brain-stimulation reward and to feeding was analyzed in rhesus monkeys and squirrel monkeys as follows. First, self-stimulation of the lateral hypothalamus, orbitofrontal cortex, amygdala and nucleus accumbens was found. Second, a population of single neurones in the lateral hypothalamus was found to be trans-synaptically activated from one or several self-stimulation sites. It was also found to populations of neurones in the orbitofrontal cortex and amygdala were activated from at least some of the self-stimulation sites. Thus, in the monkey, there is evidence for an interconnected set of self-stimulation sites, stimulation in any one of which may activate neurones in the other regions. These sites include the lateral hypothalamus, amygdala, and orbitofrontal cortex. Third, in one sample of 764 neurones in the lateral hypothalamus and substantia innominata which were activated from brain-stimulation reward sites, 13.6% were also activated during feeding, by the sight and/or taste of food. The responses of the neurones with activity associated with taste occurred only while some substances (e.g. sweet substances such as glucose) were in the mouth, depended on the concentration of the substances being tasted, and were independent of mouth movements made by the monkeys. Fourth, the responses of these neurones occurred to food when the monkeys were hungry, but not when they were satiated. Fifth, self-stimulation occurred in the region of these neurones in the lateral hypothalamus and substantia innominata, and was attenuated by satiety. These results suggest that self-stimulation of some brain sites occurs because of activation of neurones in the lateral hypothalamus and substantia innominata activated by the sight and/or taste of food in the hungry animal, and that these neurones are involved in responses to food reward.

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiology
  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Globus Pallidus / physiology
  • Haplorhini
  • Hypothalamus / physiology
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology
  • Reward
  • Saimiri
  • Satiety Response / physiology
  • Self Stimulation / physiology*
  • Thalamus / physiology