Rats decrease intake of a saccharin conditioned stimulus (CS) when followed by: (1) the administration of an aversive agent such as lithium chloride (referred to as a conditioned taste aversion, CTA); (2) access to a very palatable concentration of sucrose (referred to as an anticipatory contrast effect, ACE); or (3) the administration of a drug of abuse. It is not clear, however, whether the suppressive effects of drugs of abuse are mediated by their aversive or rewarding properties. The present set of experiments addressed this issue by examining the suppressive effects of morphine in rats with a lesion thought to dissociate the two phenomena (i.e., CTA and ACE). The results show that bilateral ibotenic acid lesions of the gustatory thalamus eliminate the suppressive effects of morphine, but fail to disrupt the suppressive effects of the aversive agent, lithium chloride. This pattern of results argues against the CTA account in favor of the reward comparison hypothesis. Specifically, the data suggest that rats suppress intake of a saccharin CS in anticipation of the availability of a preferred drug of abuse and that the gustatory thalamus is essential for this type of reward comparison process. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Neurology
- Developmental Biology