The lateral habenula (LHb) plays a role in prediction of negative reinforcement, punishment and aversive responses. In the current study, we examined the role that the LHb plays in regulation of negative reward responses and aversion. First, we tested the effect of intervention in LHb activity on sucrose reinforcing behavior. An electrode was implanted into the LHb and rats were trained to self-administer sucrose (20%; 16 days) until at least three days of stable performance were achieved (as represented by the number of active lever presses in self-administration cages). Rats subsequently received deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the LHb, which significantly reduced sucrose self-administration levels. In contrast, lesion of the LHb increased sucrose-seeking behavior, as demonstrated by a delayed extinction response to substitution of sucrose with water. Furthermore, in a modified non-rewarding conditioned-place-preference paradigm, DBS of the LHb led to aversion to the context associated with stimulation of this brain region. We postulate that electrical stimulation of the LHb attenuates positive reward-associated reinforcement by natural substances.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by NIH (grant # R21DA027776 ) to GY. AF and EL were supported by a President’s Fellowship, Bar-Ilan University. The research reported in this article was completed as part of AF’s Ph.D. dissertation.
- Deep brain stimulation
- Lateral habenula
- Sucrose self-administration