operant conditioning [keywords]
- Technique for venipuncture of the transverse facial vein in the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis). [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Zoo Biol 2016 Aug 29.
Through the use of operant conditioning, the authors developed a technique to facilitate obtaining blood samples from a black rhinoceros diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy. The technique involved operant conditioning to facilitate venipuncture of the transverse facial vein, at an anatomic landmark on the lateral side of the face ventral to the medial canthus of the eye, and dorsal to the lateral commissure of the mouth. The investigators used standard operant conditioning protocols to train the animal for desensitization to a needle puncture in the facial vein. Blood samples obtained from the facial location were free of excessive hemolysis and allowed for large volumes to be collected. The procedure was well-tolerated by the rhinoceros and could be performed regularly without complication. Zoo Biol. XX:XX-XX, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Role of vocal tract characteristics in individual discrimination by Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata). [Journal Article]
- Sci Rep 2016.:32042.
The Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata) exhibits a species-specific communication sound called the "coo call" to locate group members and maintain within-group contact. Monkeys have been demonstrated to be capable of discriminating between individuals based only on their voices, but there is still debate regarding how the fundamental frequencies (F0) and filter properties of the vocal tract characteristics (VTC) contribute to individual discrimination in nonhuman primates. This study was performed to investigate the acoustic keys used by Japanese macaques in individual discrimination. Two animals were trained with standard Go/NoGo operant conditioning to distinguish the coo calls of two unfamiliar monkeys. The subjects were required to continue depressing a lever until the stimulus changed from one monkey to the other. The test stimuli were synthesized by combining the F0s and VTC from each individual. Both subjects released the lever when the VTC changed, whereas they did not when the F0 changed. The reaction times to the test stimuli were not significantly different from that to the training stimuli that shared the same VTC. Our data suggest that vocal tract characteristics are important for the identification of individuals by Japanese macaques.
- Lesion of the rostromedial tegmental nucleus increases voluntary ethanol consumption and accelerates extinction of ethanol-induced conditioned taste aversion. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2016 Aug 23.
Ethanol has rewarding and aversive properties, and the balance of these properties influences voluntary ethanol consumption. Preclinical and clinical evidence show that the aversive properties of ethanol limit intake. The neural circuits underlying ethanol-induced aversion learning are not fully understood. We have previously shown that the lateral habenula (LHb), a region critical for aversive conditioning, plays an important role in ethanol-directed behaviors. However, the neurocircuitry through which LHb exerts its actions is unknown.In the present study, we investigate a role for the rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg), a major LHb projection target, in regulating ethanol-directed behaviors.Rats received either sham or RMTg lesions and were studied during voluntary ethanol consumption; operant ethanol self-administration, extinction, and yohimbine-induced reinstatement of ethanol-seeking; and ethanol-induced conditioned taste aversion (CTA).RMTg lesions increased voluntary ethanol consumption and accelerated extinction of ethanol-induced CTA.The RMTg plays an important role in regulating voluntary ethanol consumption, possibly by mediating ethanol-induced aversive conditioning.
- Win-stay and win-shift lever-press strategies in an appetitively reinforced task for rats. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Learn Behav 2016 Aug 18.
Two experiments examined acquisition of win-stay, win-shift, lose-stay, and lose-shift rules by which hungry rats could earn food reinforcement. In Experiment 1, two groups of rats were trained in a two-lever operant task that required them to follow either a win-stay/lose-shift or a win-shift/lose-stay contingency. The rates of acquisition of the individual rules within each contingency differed: lose-shift and lose-stay rules were acquired faster than win-stay and win-shift rules. Contrary to a number of previous reports, the win-shift rule was acquired less rapidly than any of the other rules. In Experiment 2, the four rules were taught separately, but subjects still acquired the win-shift rule more slowly than any of the other rules.
- THE INFERIOR OLIVE IS ESSENTIAL FOR LONG-TERM MAINTENANCE OF A SIMPLE MOTOR SKILL. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Neurophysiol 2016 Aug 17.:jn.00085.2016.
The inferior olive (IO) is essential for operant down-conditioning of the rat soleus H-reflex, a simple motor skill. To evaluate the role of the IO in long-term maintenance of this skill, the H-reflex was down-conditioned over 50 days, the IO was chemically ablated, and down-conditioning continued for up to 102 more days. H-reflex size just before IO ablation averaged 62(±2SE)% of its initial value (p<0.001 vs. initial). After IO ablation, H-reflex size rose to 75-80% over ~10 days, remained there for ~30 days, rose over 10 days to above its initial value, and averaged 140(±14)% for the final 10 days of study (p<0.01 vs. initial). This two-stage loss of down-conditioning maintenance correlated with IO neuronal loss (r=0.75, p<0.01) and was similar to the loss of down-conditioning that follows ablation of the cerebellar output nuclei dentate and interpositus. In control (i.e., unconditioned) rats, IO ablation has no long-term effect on H-reflex size. These results indicate that the IO is essential for long-term maintenance of a down-conditioned H-reflex. With previous data, they support the hypothesis that IO and cortical inputs to cerebellum combine to produce cerebellar plasticity that produces sensorimotor cortex plasticity that produces spinal cord plasticity that produces the smaller H-reflex. H-reflex down-conditioning appears to depend on a hierarchy of plasticity that may be guided by the IO and begin in the cerebellum. Similar hierarchies may underlie other motor learning.
- GLP-1 and estrogen conjugate acts in the supramammillary nucleus to reduce food-reward and body weight. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neuropharmacology 2016 Aug 2; 110(Pt A):396-406.
The obesity epidemic continues unabated and currently available pharmacological treatments are not sufficiently effective. Combining gut/brain peptide, GLP-1, with estrogen into a conjugate may represent a novel, safe and potent, strategy to treat diabesity. Here we demonstrate that the central administration of GLP-1-estrogen conjugate reduced food reward, food intake, and body weight in rats. In order to determine the brain location of the interaction of GLP-1 with estrogen, we avail of single-photon emission computed tomography imaging of regional cerebral blood flow and pinpoint a brain site unexplored for its role in feeding and reward, the supramammillary nucleus (SUM) as a potential target of the conjugated GLP-1-estrogen. We confirm that conjugated GLP-1 and estrogen directly target the SUM with site-specific microinjections. Additional microinjections of GLP-1-estrogen into classic energy balance controlling nuclei, the lateral hypothalamus (LH) and the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) revealed that the metabolic benefits resulting from GLP-1-estrogen injections are mediated through the LH and to some extent by the NTS. In contrast, no additional benefit of the conjugate was noted on food reward when the compound was microinjected into the LH or the NTS, identifying the SUM as the only neural substrate identified here to underlie the reward reducing benefits of GLP-1 and estrogen conjugate. Collectively we discover a surprising neural substrate underlying food intake and reward effects of GLP-1 and estrogen and uncover a new brain area capable of regulating energy balance and reward.
- Associations of emotional arousal, dissociation and symptom severity with operant conditioning in borderline personality disorder. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Psychiatry Res 2016 Jul 26.:194-201.
Those with borderline personality disorder (BPD) display altered evaluations regarding reward and punishment compared to others. The processing of rewards is basal for operant conditioning. However, studies addressing operant conditioning in BPD patients are rare. In the current study, an operant conditioning task combining learning acquisition and reversal was used. BPD patients and matched healthy controls (HCs) were exposed to aversive and neutral stimuli to assess the influence of emotion on learning. Picture content, dissociation, aversive tension and symptom severity were rated. Error rates were measured. Results showed no group interactions between aversive versus neutral scenes. The higher emotional arousal, dissociation and tension, the worse the acquisition, but not reversal, scores were for BPD patients. Scores from the Borderline Symptom List were associated with more errors in the reversal, but not the acquisition phase. The results are preliminary evidence for impaired acquisition learning due to increased emotional arousal, dissociation and tension in BPD patients. A failure to process punishment in the reversal phase was associated with symptom severity and may be related to neuropsychological dysfunctioning involving the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Conclusions are limited due to the correlational study design and the small sample size.
- The effects of social contact on cocaine intake under extended-access conditions in male rats. [Journal Article]
- Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 2016 Aug; 24(4):285-96.
Social learning theories of drug use propose that drug use is influenced by the behavior of peers. We previously reported that cocaine self-administration under limited-access conditions can be either facilitated or inhibited by social contact, depending on the behavior of a peer. The purpose of this study was to determine whether social contact influences cocaine self-administration under conditions that are more representative of problematic patterns of drug use. Male rats were assigned to either isolated or pair-housed conditions in which a social partner either had access to cocaine or did not have access to cocaine. Pair-housed rats were tested in custom-built operant conditioning chambers that allowed both rats to be tested simultaneously in the same chamber. In Experiment 1, rats were tested for 14 consecutive days during daily 6-hr test sessions. In Experiment 2, different doses of cocaine were tested in 23-hr test sessions conducted every 3 days. All groups of rats escalated their cocaine intake in Experiment 1; however, pair-housed rats with a partner without access to cocaine had lower levels of intake throughout the 14 days of testing. In Experiment 2, pair-housed rats with a partner without access to cocaine had lower levels of cocaine intake than did rats with a partner with access to cocaine, and this effect was observed at all doses of cocaine tested. These data indicate that the behavior of a social partner (i.e., whether or not that partner is also self-administering cocaine) influences cocaine self-administration under conditions that model problematic patterns of drug use. (PsycINFO Database Record
- Reinforcing Effects of Cathinone NPS in the Intravenous Drug Self-Administration Paradigm. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Curr Top Behav Neurosci 2016 Jul 19.
Since the mid- to late 2000s, there has been a dramatic rise in the use and abuse of synthetic derivatives of cathinone, a stimulant alkaloid found in the African shrub Catha edulis. Cathinone novel psychoactive substances (NPS), also referred to as synthetic cathinones or "bath salt"-type drugs, have gained popularity among drug users due to their potency, low cost, ease of procurement, and diverse array of evolving chemical structures. While the ability of cathinone NPS to produce psychotomimetic effects, multiple organ system toxicity, and death in humans is well documented, there has been limited scientific investigation into the reinforcing effects and abuse liability of these drugs. In this chapter, we will summarize the existing literature on the reinforcing effects of cathinone NPS in rodents using the intravenous self-administration (IVSA) paradigm. We will also compare the ability of cathinone NPS to serve as reinforcers to that of classical psychostimulants such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). The chapter will conclude with a summary and indications for future avenues of research on cathinone NPS.
- Melanocortin-3 receptors in the limbic system mediate feeding-related motivational responses during weight loss. [Journal Article]
- Mol Metab 2016 Jul; 5(7):566-79.
Appetitive responses to weight loss are mediated by a nutrient-sensing neural network comprised of melanocortin neurons. The role of neural melanocortin-3 receptors (MC3R) in mediating these responses is enigmatic. Mc3r knockout mice exhibit a paradoxical phenotype of obesity and reduced feeding-related behaviors in situations of nutrient scarcity. Here we examined whether MC3Rs expressed in mesolimbic neurons regulate feeding-related motivational responses.Interactions between Mc3r genotype, cognitive function and energy balance on food self-administration were assessed using operant conditioning with fixed- and progressive ratio (FR1/PR1) settings. Inhibition of Mc3r transcription by a loxP-flanked transcriptional blocker (TB) in C57BL/6JN mice (Mc3r (TB/TB) ) was reversed in mesolimbic neurons using DAT-Cre (DAT-MC3R).Caloric restriction (CR) caused 10-15% weight loss and increased motivation to acquire food rewards during training sessions. c-Fos-expression in the nucleus accumbens was increased 1 h following food presentation. While exhibiting weight loss, total food self-administration, enhanced motivation to self-administer food rewards in training sessions held during CR and c-Fos-activation in the nucleus accumbens following re-feeding were all markedly attenuated in Mc3r (TB/TB) mice. In contrast, cognitive abilities were normal in Mc3r (TB/TB) mice. Total food self-administration during FR1 sessions was not rescued in DAT-MC3R mice, however enhanced motivational responses to self-administer food rewards in PR1 conditions were restored. The nutrient-partitioning phenotype observed with Mc3r-deficiency was not rescued in DAT-MC3R mice.Mesolimbic MC3Rs mediate enhanced motivational responses during CR. However, they are insufficient to restore normal caloric loading when food is presented during CR and do not affect metabolic conditions altering nutrient partitioning.