- The lateral hypothalamus to lateral habenula projection, but not the ventral pallidum to lateral habenula projection, regulates voluntary ethanol consumption. [Journal Article]
- BBBehav Brain Res 2017 Apr 18
- The lateral habenula (LHb) is an epithalamic brain region implicated in aversive processing via negative modulation of midbrain dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) systems. Given the role of the LHb i...
The lateral habenula (LHb) is an epithalamic brain region implicated in aversive processing via negative modulation of midbrain dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) systems. Given the role of the LHb in inhibiting DA and 5-HT systems, it is thought to be involved in various psychiatric pathologies, including drug addiction. In support, it has been shown that LHb plays a critical role in cocaine- and ethanol-related behaviors, most likely by mediating drug-induced aversive conditioning. In our previous work, we showed that LHb lesions increased voluntary ethanol consumption and operant ethanol self-administration and blocked yohimbine-induced reinstatement of ethanol self-administration. LHb lesions also attenuated ethanol-induced conditioned taste aversion suggesting that a mechanism for the increased intake of ethanol may be reduced aversion learning. However, whether afferents to the LHb are required for mediating effects of the LHb on these behaviors remained to be investigated. Our present results show that lesioning the fiber bundle carrying afferent inputs to the LHb, the stria medullaris (SM), increases voluntary ethanol consumption, suggesting that afferent structures projecting to the LHb are important for mediating ethanol-directed behaviors. We then chose two afferent structures as the focus of our investigation. We specifically studied the role of the inputs from the lateral hypothalamus (LH) and ventral pallidum (VP) to the LHb in ethanol-directed behaviors. Our results show that the LH-LHb projection is necessary for regulating voluntary ethanol consumption. These results are an important first step towards understanding the functional role of afferents to LHb with regard to ethanol consumption.
- Successful treatment of infertility in a female Sumatran orangutan Pongo abelii. [Journal Article]
- ZBZoo Biol 2017; 36(2):132-135
- In 2011, a female Sumatran orangutan housed at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust became infertile following a massive antepartum hemorrhage in labor and the delivery of a stillborn infant. The plac...
In 2011, a female Sumatran orangutan housed at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust became infertile following a massive antepartum hemorrhage in labor and the delivery of a stillborn infant. The placenta was infected with Pantoea sp. Hysterosalpingography (HSG) revealed blocked fallopian tubes, and pressurized fallopian tube perfusion was used to reverse the tubal occlusion. She subsequently conceived and following an intensive training program, we were able to measure umbilical artery waveform analysis for fetal well-being and placental localization to exclude placenta previa, which could complicate pregnancy and lead to catastrophic hemorrhage. The female went on to deliver a healthy offspring. We suggest that these techniques should be considered for other infertile females in the global captive population.
- Discrimination of acoustically similar conspecific and heterospecific vocalizations by black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus). [Journal Article]
- ACAnim Cogn 2017 Apr 09
- Chickadees produce a multi-note chick-a-dee call in multiple socially relevant contexts. One component of this call is the D note, which is a low-frequency and acoustically complex note with a harmon...
Chickadees produce a multi-note chick-a-dee call in multiple socially relevant contexts. One component of this call is the D note, which is a low-frequency and acoustically complex note with a harmonic-like structure. In the current study, we tested black-capped chickadees on a between-category operant discrimination task using vocalizations with acoustic structures similar to black-capped chickadee D notes, but produced by various songbird species, in order to examine the role that phylogenetic distance plays in acoustic perception of vocal signals. We assessed the extent to which discrimination performance was influenced by the phylogenetic relatedness among the species producing the vocalizations and by the phylogenetic relatedness between the subjects' species (black-capped chickadees) and the vocalizers' species. We also conducted a bioacoustic analysis and discriminant function analysis in order to examine the acoustic similarities among the discrimination stimuli. A previous study has shown that neural activation in black-capped chickadee auditory and perceptual brain regions is similar following the presentation of these vocalization categories. However, we found that chickadees had difficulty discriminating between forward and reversed black-capped chickadee D notes, a result that directly corresponded to the bioacoustic analysis indicating that these stimulus categories were acoustically similar. In addition, our results suggest that the discrimination between vocalizations produced by two parid species (chestnut-backed chickadees and tufted titmice) is perceptually difficult for black-capped chickadees, a finding that is likely in part because these vocalizations contain acoustic similarities. Overall, our results provide evidence that black-capped chickadees' perceptual abilities are influenced by both phylogenetic relatedness and acoustic structure.
- Won't stop or can't stop? Food restriction as a habitual behavior among individuals with anorexia nervosa or atypical anorexia nervosa. [Journal Article]
- EBEat Behav 2017 Mar 22; 26:144-147
- Food restriction among individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN) is regarded as a goal-directed behavior. However, Walsh (2013) theorized that, although restriction is initially maintained by operant co...
Food restriction among individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN) is regarded as a goal-directed behavior. However, Walsh (2013) theorized that, although restriction is initially maintained by operant conditioning (with successful weight loss and external praise as salient rewards), it ultimately becomes a classically conditioned habit, persisting regardless of the presence of these once-salient rewards. Understanding food restriction as a well-ingrained habit may provide insight into treatment resistance. Further, it is not clear whether habitual food restriction is present among individuals with atypical AN (i.e. who engage in food restriction but are not low-weight). This study evaluated whether strength of habit predicted self-reported restriction above and beyond cognitive restraint. Seventy-eight individuals with AN or atypical AN completed the Eating Pathology Symptoms Inventory Restriction (EPSI-R) and Cognitive Restraint (EPSI-CR) subscales and the Self-Report Habit Index (SRHI) adapted for food restriction. We used a hierarchical multiple regression model to test whether habit strength predicted food restriction above and beyond cognitive restraint. After adding illness duration (step 1) and diagnosis (step 2) to the model, cognitive restraint (step 3) was not significant in explaining variation in restriction, whereas adding habit strength to the model (step 4) explained 27.9% of the variance in restriction (p<0.001). This is the first study to test a key component of Walsh's theory. Results provide support for food restriction maintenance through habit, rather than through effortful cognitive restraint. Because current models of AN characterize food restriction as purposeful, further research is needed to better understand habitual restriction in AN.
- Cdh13 and AdipoQ gene knockout alters instrumental and Pavlovian drug conditioning. [Journal Article]
- GBGenes Brain Behav 2017 Apr 07
- Genome-wide association studies in humans have suggested that variants of the cadherin-13 (CDH13) gene are associated with substance use disorder, subjective response to amphetamine, and attention de...
Genome-wide association studies in humans have suggested that variants of the cadherin-13 (CDH13) gene are associated with substance use disorder, subjective response to amphetamine, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. To examine the role of the Cdh13 and its peptide ligand adiponectin (AdipoQ) in addiction-related behaviors, we assessed Cdh13 knock-out rats and AdipoQ knock-out mice using intravenous cocaine self-administration and conditioned place preference paradigms. During intravenous cocaine self-administration, male Cdh13 heterozygous (+/-) and knock-out (-/-) rats showed increased cue-induced reinstatement compared to wild-type rats when presented with a cocaine-paired stimulus, whereas female Cdh13 rats showed no differences across genotype. Cdh13 -/- rats showed higher responding for a saccharin reinforcer and learned the choice reaction time task more slowly than wild-types. However, we found no differences between Cdh13 -/- and +/+ rats in responding for sensory reinforcement, number of premature responses in the reaction time task, tendency to approach a Pavlovian food cue, conditioned place preference and locomotor activation to cocaine (10 or 20 mg/kg). In AdipoQ -/- mice there was a significant increase in conditioned place preference to methamphetamine (1 mg/kg) but not to a range of d-amphetamine doses (0.5, 1, 2 and 4 mg/kg). Taken together, these data suggest that Cdh13 and AdipoQ regulate sensitivity to psychomotor stimulants and palatable rewards without producing major changes in other behaviors. In humans, these two genes may regulate sensitivity to natural and drug rewards, thus influencing susceptibility to the conditioned drug effects and relapse.
- Brain Acetaldehyde Exposure Impacts upon Neonatal Respiratory Plasticity and Ethanol-Related Learning in Rodents. [Journal Article]
- FBFront Behav Neurosci 2017; 11:39
- Prior studies indicate that neonates are very sensitive to ethanol's positive reinforcing effects and to its depressant effects upon breathing. Acetaldehyde (ACD) appears to play a major role in term...
Prior studies indicate that neonates are very sensitive to ethanol's positive reinforcing effects and to its depressant effects upon breathing. Acetaldehyde (ACD) appears to play a major role in terms of modulating early reinforcing effects of the drug. Yet, there is no pre-existing literature relative to the incidence of this metabolite upon respiratory plasticity. The present study analyzed physiological and behavioral effects of early central administrations of ethanol, acetaldehyde or vehicle. Respiration rates (breaths/min) were registered at post-natal days (PDs) 2 and 4 (post-administration time: 5, 60, or 120 min). At PD5, all pups were placed in a context (plethysmograph) where they had previously experienced the effects of central administrations and breathing patterns were recorded. Following this test, pups were evaluated using and operant conditioning procedure where ethanol or saccharin served as positive reinforcers. Body temperatures were also registered prior to drug administrations as well as at the beginning and the end of each specific evaluation. Across days, breathing responses were high at the beginning of the evaluation session and progressively declined as a function of the passage of time. At PDs 2 and 4, shortly after central administration (5 min), ACD exerted a significant depression upon respiration frequencies. At PD5, non-intoxicated pups with a prior history of ACD central administrations, exhibited a marked increase in respiratory frequencies; a result that probably indicates a conditioned compensatory response. When operant testing procedures were conducted, prior ethanol or ACD central administrations were found to reduce the reinforcing effects of ethanol. This was not the case when saccharin was employed as a reinforcer. As a whole, the results indicate a significant role of central ACD upon respiratory plasticity of the neonate and upon ethanol's reinforcing effects; phenomena that affect the physiological integrity of the immature organism and its subsequent affinity for ethanol operationalized through self-administration procedures.
- Relationship between individual and group learning in a marine teleost: A case study with sea bass under self-feeding conditions. [Journal Article]
- LBLearn Behav 2017 Apr 03
- Fish learning and cognition are usually approached by testing single individuals in various devices such as mazes that have serious drawbacks, especially in gregarious species, including the stress i...
Fish learning and cognition are usually approached by testing single individuals in various devices such as mazes that have serious drawbacks, especially in gregarious species, including the stress induced by the test procedure. This might impair the results and lead to misinterpretation about the learning abilities of the targeted species. In order to provide an alternative to the individual-based tests, we investigated for the first time the operant conditioning of four similar groups (50 individuals per tank) of sea bass. We used two computerized self-feeder devices per tank, each coupled with individual electronic identification and that were alternately activated during varying positive appetitive reinforcement period of time (7 to 1 day). Learning abilities were examined at both group and individual levels. At the group level, the operant conditioning was demonstrated as the triggering activity significantly decreased when the device was turned off and increased when it was turned on, whatever the reinforcement period duration. The individual level analysis revealed a more complex situation with fish showing different learning performances that can be best explained through the producer-scrounger game theory.
- Beware: Recruitment of Muscle Activity by the EEG-Neurofeedback Trainings of High Frequencies. [Journal Article]
- FHFront Hum Neurosci 2017; 11:119
- EEG-neurofeedback (NFB) became a very popular method aimed at improving cognitive and behavioral performance. However, the EMG frequency spectrum overlies the higher EEG oscillations and the NFB trai...
EEG-neurofeedback (NFB) became a very popular method aimed at improving cognitive and behavioral performance. However, the EMG frequency spectrum overlies the higher EEG oscillations and the NFB trainings focusing on these frequencies is hindered by the problem of EMG load in the information fed back to the subjects. In such a complex signal, it is highly probable that the most controllable component will form the basis for operant conditioning. This might cause different effects in the case of various training protocols and therefore needs to be carefully assessed before designing training protocols and algorithms. In the current experiment a group of healthy adults (n = 14) was trained by professional trainers to up-regulate their beta1 (15-22 Hz) band for eight sessions. The control group (n = 18) underwent the same training regime but without rewards for increasing beta. In half of the participants trained to up-regulate beta1 band (n = 7) a systematic increase in tonic EMG activity was identified offline, implying that muscle activity became a foundation for reinforcement in the trainings. The remaining participants did not present any specific increase of the trained beta1 band amplitude. The training was perceived effective by both trainers and the trainees in all groups. These results indicate the necessity of proper control of muscle activity as a requirement for the genuine EEG-NFB training, especially in protocols that do not aim at the participants' relaxation. The specificity of the information fed back to the participants should be of highest interest to all therapists and researchers, as it might irreversibly alter the results of the training.
- High-sucrose diets in male rats disrupt aspects of decision making tasks, motivation and spatial memory, but not impulsivity measured by operant delay-discounting. [Journal Article]
- BBBehav Brain Res 2017 Mar 30; 327:144-154
- Excessive consumption of sugar sweetened drinks is proposed to produce functional changes in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, leading to perturbations in behavioural control. Impairments in beh...
Excessive consumption of sugar sweetened drinks is proposed to produce functional changes in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, leading to perturbations in behavioural control. Impairments in behavioural control have been observed in obese people on tasks that involve making choices, including delay-discounting, indicative of increased impulsivity. In this study we examined the impact of 2h daily access to 10% sucrose (or no sucrose in controls) in young male rats on behavioural tasks reliant on hippocampal function including delay-discounting, T-maze forced choice alternation and place recognition memory, as well as progressive ratio to measure motivation. We observed deficits in place recognition memory and T-maze forced choice alternation, indicative of hippocampal deficits in rats with a history of sucrose consumption. Moreover, rats with a history of sucrose consumption were less motivated to lever press for rewards on a progressive ratio schedule. However, rats with a history of sucrose consumption performed equally to control animals during the delay-discounting task, suggesting that they discounted for reward size over a delay in a manner comparable to control animals. These findings indicate that high-sucrose diets impact on spatial and working memory processes, but do not induce impulsive-like choice behaviours in rats, suggesting that unhealthy diet choices may not influence this aspect of decision-making behaviour.
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- Acoustic startle modification as a tool for evaluating auditory function of the mouse: Progress, pitfalls, and potential. [Review]
- NBNeurosci Biobehav Rev 2017 Mar 19; 77:194-208
- Acoustic startle response (ASR) modification procedures, especially prepulse inhibition (PPI), are increasingly used as behavioral measures of auditory processing and sensorimotor gating in rodents d...
Acoustic startle response (ASR) modification procedures, especially prepulse inhibition (PPI), are increasingly used as behavioral measures of auditory processing and sensorimotor gating in rodents due to their perceived ease of implementation and short testing times. In practice, ASR and PPI procedures are extremely variable across animals, experimental setups, and studies, and the interpretation of results is subject to numerous caveats and confounding influences. We review considerations for modification of the ASR using acoustic stimuli, and we compare the sensitivity of PPI procedures to more traditional operant psychoacoustic techniques. We also discuss non-auditory variables that must be considered. We conclude that ASR and PPI measures cannot substitute for traditional operant techniques due to their low sensitivity. Additionally, a substantial amount of pilot testing must be performed to properly optimize an ASR modification experiment, negating any time benefit over operant conditioning. Nevertheless, there are some circumstances where ASR measures may be the only option for assessing auditory behavior, such as when testing mouse strains with early-onset hearing loss or learning impairments.