Drug discrimination learning in rats with excitotoxic lesions of nucleus basalis and ventral globus pallidus.

Article date: 1992/10/31

PubMed ID: 1482549

Journal name: Behavioural brain research (ISSN: 0166-4328)


Rats can readily acquire conditional discriminations in which mixtures of drugs serve as compound internal discriminative stimuli. Excitotoxic lesions in the region of the nucleus basalis have been shown to impair the acquisition of conditional discriminations based upon external visual stimuli, but nothing was known about their effects on discrimination of internal stimuli. A baseline of undiscriminated bar-pressing for food reinforcers was established prior to surgery. Lesions were made by infusing either ibotenic or quisqualic acid bilaterally into the basal forebrain (the ibotenate-induced lesions had been shown previously to impair cortical cholinergic function and to produce non-specific damage). After surgery, rats were trained to discriminate effects of drug mixtures using a standard, two-bar operant conditioning procedure. The ibotenate, but not the quisqualate, lesion impaired the acquisition of a discrimination of a mixture of (+)-amphetamine plus pentobarbitone, while neither lesion impaired acquisition with a mixture of (-)-nicotine plus midazolam. The ibotenate lesions also reduced overall rates of responding in both experiments. Thus, the deficit in the acquisition of drug discrimination in rats with ibotenate lesions had some pharmacological specificity, but could not be related easily to disturbances in neocortical cholinergic function. In comparisons with other published data, the results suggest a possible dichotomy in the processing of interoceptive and external information in the basal forebrain, a major target of ventral striatal overflow.

Author List: Marston H M, Garcha H S, Robbins T W, Stolerman I P

Publication Types: Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

Substances mentioned in the article: Ibotenic Acid; Nicotine; Quisqualic Acid; Pentobarbital; Midazolam; Dextroamphetamine;

Mesh terms: Animals; Basal Ganglia/drug effects; Dextroamphetamine/pharmacology; Discrimination Learning/drug effects; Extinction, Psychological/drug effects; Globus Pallidus/drug effects; Ibotenic Acid/pharmacology; Male; Midazolam/pharmacology; Nicotine/pharmacology; Pentobarbital/pharmacology; Quisqualic Acid/pharmacology; Rats;

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