The tegmental pedunculopontine nucleus: a brain-stem output of the limbic system critical for the conditioned place preferences produced by morphine and amphetamine.

Article date: 1989/10/1

PubMed ID: 2795130

Journal name: The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience (ISSN: 0270-6474)


The potent reinforcing properties of psychoactive drugs have been attributed to the activation of motivational processes localized to the limbic system. We investigated the role of 2 specific outputs of the forebrain limbic system, the tegmental pedunculopontine nucleus (TPP) and the periacqueductal gray (PAG) of the pons-midbrain, in the positive motivational effects of morphine and amphetamine. We now report that the TPP, but not the PAG nor other nearby regions, is a critical site in the neural system subserving the rewarding effects of both opiates and stimulants. Bilateral ibotenic acid lesions of the TPP blocked the positive reinforcing effects of both morphine and amphetamine in naive rats as measured in a conditioned place preference paradigm. However, TPP lesioned animals were still capable of acquiring a conditioned place preference to an environment paired with the peripheral opiate antagonist methylnaltrexone. This suggested that TPP lesions did not cause nonspecific deficits in the basic learning mechanisms underlying conditioned place preferences. Furthermore, while the TPP was critical for the acquisition of a conditioned preference to an environment paired with morphine in naive rats, rats that had acquired a morphine conditioned place preference prior to the lesions were capable of retaining and demonstrating these place preferences after lesions of the TPP. This again demonstrates that TPP lesions are producing an unconditioned deficit in motivation rather than a deficit in learning or memory. Finally, direct comparisons of the place preference data of individual animals with their correspondent TPP lesion sites indicated that the most effective lesions overlapped to a greater degree TPP perikarya with descending, rather than ascending, axons. This suggests that motivational information generated by drug stimuli acting at “upstream” neural structures flows in a descending direction through the TPP region of the brain stem. These results suggest that opiates and stimulants must ultimately activate a single brain-stem substrate in order to have a positive motivational impact. It is hypothesized that the neural circuits mediating the rewarding effects of drug stimuli acting at forebrain sites exit the limbic system in the TPP region of the brain stem, where motivation may ultimately influence or be isomorphic with the elicitation of motor responses subserving approach and exploration.

This document is available from: http://directlinks.cc/files/muscimol/2795130.pdf

Author List: Bechara A, van der Kooy D

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

Substances mentioned in the article: Narcotic Antagonists; Psychotropic Drugs; Quaternary Ammonium Compounds; methylnaltrexone; Naltrexone; Morphine; Amphetamine;

Mesh terms: Amphetamine/pharmacology; Animals; Brain Stem/physiology; Conditioning (Psychology)/drug effects; Dose-Response Relationship, Drug; Limbic System/physiology; Male; Morphine/pharmacology; Naltrexone/analogs & derivatives; Narcotic Antagonists; Periaqueductal Gray/physiology; Pons/physiology; Psychotropic Drugs/pharmacology; Quaternary Ammonium Compounds; Rats; Rats, Inbred Strains; Retention (Psychology)/drug effects; Tegmentum Mesencephali/physiology;

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