Different effects of nucleus accumbens and ventrolateral striatal dopamine depletions on instrumental response selection in the rat

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1993 Dec;46(4):943-51. doi: 10.1016/0091-3057(93)90226-j.


This experiment was undertaken to investigate dopaminergic involvement in food-related instrumental behavior. Rats were tested in an operant chamber in which there was a choice between pressing a lever to receive a preferred food (Bioserve pellets) or feeding upon a less preferred food (lab chow). The lever-pressing schedule was a fixed ratio 5 (FR5). Rats usually pressed the lever at high rates to obtain the preferred food, and typically ate little of the lab chow even though it was freely available in the chamber concurrently with the lever-pressing schedule. The neurotoxic agent 6-hydroxydopamine was injected directly into the nucleus accumbens, medial striatum, or ventrolateral striatum to determine the effects of dopamine depletion on the performance of this task. Depletion of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens led to a dramatic shift in behavior in which there was a significant decrease in lever pressing but a significant increase in consumption of lab chow. The shift away from lever pressing and towards chow consumption in rats with accumbens DA depletions was significantly correlated with a decrease in spontaneous locomotor activity. Dopamine depletions in the medial striatum did not significantly affect lever pressing or chow consumption. Ventrolateral striatal dopamine depletions decreased lever pressing but also tended to reduce consumption of lab chow. Rats with ventrolateral striatal dopamine depletions also showed profound deficits in home-cage feeding, and these rats had to receive wet mash or tube feeding to maintain body weight.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology*
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior / drug effects
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Neostriatum / anatomy & histology
  • Neostriatum / metabolism
  • Neostriatum / physiology*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / anatomy & histology
  • Nucleus Accumbens / metabolism
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology*
  • Oxidopamine / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Oxidopamine
  • Dopamine