For humans and rodents, ingesting sucrose is rewarding. This experiment tested the prediction that the neural activity produced by sapid sucrose reaches reward systems via projections from the pons through the limbic system. Gastric cannulas drained ingested fluid before absorption. For 10 days, the rats alternated an hour of this sham ingestion between sucrose and water. On the final test day, half of them sham drank water and the other half 0.6 M sucrose. Thirty minutes later, the rats were killed and their brains immunohistochemically stained for Fos. The groups consisted of controls and rats with excitotoxic lesions in the gustatory thalamus (TTA), the medial (gustatory) parabrachial nucleus (PBN), or the lateral (visceral afferent) parabrachial nucleus. In controls, compared with water, sham ingesting sucrose produced significantly more Fos-positive neurons in the nucleus of the solitary tract, PBN, TTA, and gustatory cortex (GC). In the ventral forebrain, sucrose sham licking increased Fos in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, central nucleus of amygdala, and the shell of nucleus accumbens. Thalamic lesions blocked the sucrose effect in GC but not in the ventral forebrain. After lateral PBN lesions, the Fos distributions produced by distilled H2O or sucrose intake did not differ from controls. Bilateral medial PBN damage, however, eliminated the sucrose-induced Fos increase not only in the TTA and GC but also in the ventral forebrain. Thus ventral forebrain areas associated with affective responses appear to be activated directly by PBN gustatory neurons rather than via the thalamocortical taste system.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology|
|State||Published - Sep 2008|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physiology (medical)