Augmentation of ventral tegmental area stimulation-induced feeding by both stimulation and lesion of the contralateral ventral tegmental area in the rat
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Unilateral lesions of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) facilitate behavioral responses (feeding and exploration) induced by electrical stimulation of the VTA in the contralateral hemisphere. It was hypothesized that this facilitation may result from a lesion-induced compensatory increase in dopamine transmission in the intact hemisphere. In the present study we tested on the functional level the hypothesis that the activity of bilateral mesocorticolimbic systems is inversely related. For this purpose we compared the effect of unilateral subthreshold activation with the effect of subsequent unilateral lesion of VTA on feeding response evoked by electrical stimulation of the contralateral VTA. In male Wistar rats implanted with bilateral VTA electrodes stimulation-induced feeding was tested in a latency to feed - -stimulation frequency curve-shift paradigm. One electrode was used for induction of feeding reaction and the other electrode was used for concurrent stimulation (with the subthreshold current) and subsequent electrolytic lesioning of the contralateral VTA. It was found that both contralateral stimulation and subsequent lesion performed through the same electrode facilitated a feeding response that manifested as a decrease in the reaction's threshold and a leftward shift of the latency-frequency curve. The paradoxical similarity of the effects of the stimulation and lesion is discussed in terms of functional organization of the mesocorticolimbic system and adaptive changes in dopaminergic transmission.
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W. Trojniar, Department of Animal Physiology, University of Gdansk, 24 Kladki St., 80-822 Gdansk, Poland; Email: email@example.com