Sign and goal tracker rats process differently the incentive salience of a conditioned stimulus

Autoři: Almudena Serrano-Barroso aff001;  Juan Pedro Vargas aff001;  Estrella Diaz aff001;  Patricio O’Donnell aff002;  Juan Carlos López aff001
Působiště autorů: Departamento de Psicología Experimental, Universidad de Sevilla, Seville, Spain aff001;  Translational Research and Experimental Medicine, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(9)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0223109


Sign and goal tracker animals show different behavioral patterns in response to conditioned stimuli, which may be driven by different neural circuits involved in processing stimuli. Here, we explored whether sign and goal-tracker profiles implicated different brain regions and responses to incentive salience of stimuli. We performed three experiments using male Wistar rats. Experiment 1 showed that lesioning the medial prefrontal cortex increased the prevalence of the goal-tracker phenotype. Experiment 2 assessed the developmental trajectory of the salience incentive attribution to a conditioned stimulus, showing that increased incentive salience of stimuli increased the prevalence of the sign-tracker phenotype in mature, but not preadolescent rats. In experiment 3, the functional impact of the medial prefrontal cortex circuits was analyzed with a latent inhibition procedure. Sign tracker rats showed a reduced latent inhibition to stimuli previously exposed when compared to goal tracker or intermediate rats. The overall results of this study highlight a key role of the medial prefrontal cortex for sign tracking behavior. The expression of sign and goal tracker phenotypes changed after lesion to the medial prefrontal cortex (experiment 1), differed across development (experiment 2), and showed differences in the attentional processes to previously exposed stimuli, as preexposure to CS was ineffective in sign tracker animals (experiment 3). These data indicate that the responses to the incentive salience of stimuli in sign tracker and goal tracker profiles are likely driven by different neural circuitry, with a different role of prefrontal cortical function.

Klíčová slova:

Animal behavior – Animal performance – Behavior – Behavioral conditioning – Phenotypes – Prefrontal cortex – Rats – Magazines


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