The effects of bilateral excitotoxic lesions of 3 major sources of afferents to the ventral striatum (nucleus accumbens) were compared on an open field test of food neophobia allowing the choice between familiar and novel food. Whereas lesions of the basolateral amygdala and ventral subiculum had qualitatively similar effects to reduce food neophobia (although not affecting the latency to eat), amygdala lesions increased and the ventral subiculum decreased locomotor activity. In contrast, damage to the ventromedial prelimbic prefrontal cortex only affected initial food choice and latency measures. By comparison, excitotoxic lesions of the nucleus accumbens itself and intra-accumbens infusion of the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist AP5 increased activity and attenuated food neophobia. Results are discussed in terms of the role of limbic and prefrontal neuronal networks converging in the nucleus accumbens to control different aspects of the behavioral response to novelty.
- Nucleus Accumbens