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Forebrain serotonin depletion facilitates the acquisition and performance of a conditional visual discrimination task in rats

Ward, B.O, Wilkinson, Lawrence Stephen ORCID:, Robbins, T.W and Everitt, B.J 1999. Forebrain serotonin depletion facilitates the acquisition and performance of a conditional visual discrimination task in rats. Behavioural Brain Research 100 (1-2) , pp. 51-65. 10.1016/S0166-4328(98)00112-0

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Three experiments examined the effects of depleting forebrain 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) on the acquisition and performance of an operant conditional discrimination in the visual modality. In the first experiment, rats with 5-HT lesions induced by infusing the neurotoxin 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine intracerebroventricularly acquired the conditional visual discrimination more rapidly than the sham-operated controls. Following acquisition, a series of manipulations of the task parameters tested the effects of the lesion on cognitive, sensory and motivational aspects of performance. In experiment two, the performance of rats that had acquired the task to asymptote before receiving lesions was assessed. The performance of this second group of serotonin-lesioned rats was similar to that of the pre-acquisition lesioned group following all but one manipulation of the task parameters. When the rate of stimulus presentations was increased, rats with forebrain 5-HT depletions were protected from the disruptive effects on performance seen in the sham-operated controls. This latter finding was also observed in a third experiment, in which the infusion of the 5-HT1A receptor partial agonist, 8-hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino)tetralin (8-OHDPAT), directly into the dorsal raphé nucleus improved the performance of unlesioned rats following an increase in the rate of stimulus presentations. The results are discussed in terms of the behavioural, neurochemical and neuroanatomical specificity of serotonin function in appetitive learning and the implications for general theories of the function of serotoninergic processes in cognition.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0166-4328
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2022 10:35

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