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Stimulation of the Dopaminergic Midbrain as a Behavioral Reward in Instrumentally Conditioned Monkeys



Stimulation of the Dopaminergic Midbrain as a Behavioral Reward in Instrumentally Conditioned Monkeys



Brain Stimulation 8(5): 868-874



Since the mesocortical dopaminergic system of rodents has several differences to that found in primate species, including humans, there is the need for more exhaustively studying causative relationships between activation/stimulation of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and substantia nigra (SN) and behavior in monkeys. To gain causative relationships between VTA/SN stimulation and behavior, we investigated whether monkeys perform audiovisual (AV) tasks using brain stimulation reward (BSR) as the reinforcer, and how reward intensity affects performance during self-stimulation. Monkeys were required to touch a bar freely when self-stimulating or when instructed by an AV stimulus, to receive BSR. We were able to train monkeys to successfully perform the AV task for BSR within three days. Self-stimulation revealed an increase in the bar touch rate when using higher electrical currents, with no ceiling effects observed. During a training session the touch rate decreased, often before the monkeys had received 1000 deliveries of BSR, suggesting satiation. When BSR is applied directly to the VTA/SN, it can motivate monkeys to perform detection tasks, exhibit operant actions, and may be used as a substitute for fluid or food rewards. Monkeys ceased self-stimulation during a training session by their own volition, in contrast to work on rodents. This may be an important safety aspect for consideration in the development of electrical stimulation procedures for patients with dysfunctions of the dopaminergic system; thus, satiation may avert additional compulsions to already existing compulsive behaviors in patients.

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Accession: 058905974

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 26070295

DOI: 10.1016/j.brs.2015.04.007


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