Double dissociation of the behavioural effects of R(+) 7-OH-DPAT infusions in the central and basolateral amygdala nuclei upon Pavlovian and instrumental conditioned appetitive behaviours

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1998 Dec;140(4):458-69. doi: 10.1007/s002130050790.


Dopaminergic cell bodies located within the ventral mesencephalon innervate the amygdaloid complex, a region critically involved in the attribution of affective significance to environmental stimuli. Recently, we have shown that post-session intra-amygdala administration of a D3 dopamine receptor agonist enhances selectively the acquisition of an appetitive conditioned response. In the present study, we have investigated the potential involvement of the central nucleus and the basolateral nuclei of the amygdala in mediating this effect. Thus, rats were trained to associate an arbitrary stimulus (CS+) with the availability of 10% sucrose reward. Post-session infusions of the D3 receptor-preferring agonist, R(+) 7-OH-DPAT, were made into either the central nucleus or basolateral nuclei. Acquisition of a conditioned approach response was enhanced by R(+) 7-OH-DPAT infusions within the central nucleus, but not within the basolateral nuclei. Drug infusions into either region failed to affect approach behaviour elicited by presentation of a control stimulus (CS-), explicitly unpaired with sucrose reward. The effects of pre-test infusions of R(+) 7-OH-DPAT on the instrumental properties of the stimuli were then determined. Rats were presented with two novel levers, depression of one lever resulted in presentation of the CS+, while presentation of the CS- was contingent upon depression of the other lever. Rates of response upon each lever as well as the ability of the conditioned stimuli subsequently to elicit conditioned approach behaviour were recorded. Data revealed a double dissociation of the effects of R(+) 7-OH-DPAT on the expression of the Pavlovian and instrumental properties of the reward-related stimulus. Thus, within the central nucleus R(+) 7-OH-DPAT dose-dependently attenuated expression of the conditioned approach response, but had no effect upon instrumental responding maintained by the conditioned reward. In contrast, within the basolateral nuclei, R(+) 7-OH-DPAT had no effect upon expression of conditioned approach behaviour, but abolished selectively the ability of the reward-associated stimulus to support the acquisition of a novel instrumental response. Hence, these data indicate that distinct regions of the amygdaloid complex process distinct aspects of conditioned appetitive behaviours.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / anatomy & histology
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Conditioning, Classical / drug effects*
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects*
  • Dopamine Agonists / administration & dosage
  • Dopamine Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Reward
  • Tetrahydronaphthalenes / administration & dosage
  • Tetrahydronaphthalenes / pharmacology*


  • Dopamine Agonists
  • Tetrahydronaphthalenes
  • 7-hydroxy-2-N,N-dipropylaminotetralin