The present study tested whether presentation of a taste cue would support conditioned suppression of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) following a single taste-drug pairing. Nondeprived male Sprague-Dawley rats were given 20-min access to a 0.15% saccharin conditioned stimulus (CS). Immediately thereafter, experimental rats were injected with morphine (15 mg/kg ip); standard controls were injected with saline; and explicitly unpaired controls were injected with morphine, but approximately 24 hr later. All rats were then given one 20-min CS-only test. Microdialysis samples from the NAcc were measured over 20-min intervals before, during, and after CS access on the conditioning and test trial. The results showed that a single saccharin-morphine pairing led to a marked reduction in CS intake, and the reduction in intake was accompanied by a conditioned blunting of the accumbens dopamine response to the saccharin reward cue. In turn, a single exposure to the saccharin cue also blunted the unconditioned dopamine response to morphine. Reward comparison effects, then, are cross-modal, bidirectional, and immediate, resulting in both unconditioned and conditioned changes in brain and behavior.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Behavioral Neuroscience