The effects of temporary inactivation of the core and the shell subregions of the nucleus accumbens on prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle reflex and activity in rats

Helen H.J. Pothuizen, Ana L. Jongen-Rêlo, Joram Feldon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The nucleus accumbens can be dissociated into at least two subregions: a 'core' and a 'shell'. Using temporary chemical inactivation of these subregions, we investigated whether they are differentially involved in the regulation of prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the acoustic startle reflex and activity. For this purpose, rats were bilaterally implanted with guide cannulae aimed at either the core or the shell and infused with the GABAA receptor agonist muscimol (0.5 μg/0.2 μl per side). The control group consisted of vehicle infused and unoperated rats. To ascertain the region selectivity of the infusions, 0.2 μl of [3H]muscimol was infused into either the core or the shell of an additional group of rats. The behavioral results demonstrated that in comparison to the control group, inactivation of the core led to a loss of the prepulse intensity dependency of PPI. Moreover, core inactivation resulted in akinesia directly after infusion, but in hyperactivity 24 and 72 h thereafter in contrast to the control group. In both experiments, inactivation of the shell was ineffective compared to controls. Analysis of the autoradiograms revealed that the spread of drug into the other subregion was minimal, supporting the region selectivity of the inactivation. These results lend further support to the existence of a functional dissociation between the core and the shell, with the former being preferentially involved in PPI and locomotion. The persistent hyperactivity after the muscimol infusion into the core could be explained by compensatory mechanisms taking place in the nucleus accumbens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-696
Number of pages14
JournalNeuropsychopharmacology
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Accumbens
  • GABA receptor
  • Locomotor activity
  • Microinfusion
  • Sensorimotor gating
  • Ventral striatum

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