In the present study the role of the pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) in the preparation and execution of an externally-cued rewarded motor act was investigated. Animals were instructed to press down a lever at the presentation of a combined visual and acoustic signal and were required to hold down the lever until a trigger stimulus occurred after an unpredictable delay ranging from 2 to 4 s. The trigger stimulus required animals to release the lever and to press a second lever for food reinforcement. The time between instruction and trigger signals represented the preparation phase preceding movement. Unilateral ibotenic acid-induced focal degeneration of pedunculopontine neurons did not influence either reaction and movement times, or capacity of the animals to correctly respond to presentation of stimuli of behavioral significance. On the contrary, bilateral lesions increased both reaction and movement times, and dramatically reduced the percentage of correct responses. The analysis of incorrect responses suggested that the most striking deficit exhibited by the animals following the bilateral lesion was a lack of conditioned response to the signal initiating each trial. However, the animals retained the capability to respond correctly in some trials, and were able to collect the reward when delivered outside the behavioral context. Histological analysis of lesions showed that in addition to loss of neurons within the pedunculopontine region, reduction of tyrosine-hydroxylase positive neurons had occurred in the pars compacta of the substantia nigra. The data suggest that the PPN is involved in the preparation and execution of externally-cued movements, and demonstrate that its destruction mimics the main effects produced by the dopaminergic denervation of the dorsal striatum.

The function of the pedunculopontine nucleus in the preparation and execution of an externally-cued bar pressing task in the rat

FLORIO, TIZIANA MARILENA;CAPOZZO, ANNAMARIA;SCARNATI, Eugenio
1999-01-01

Abstract

In the present study the role of the pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) in the preparation and execution of an externally-cued rewarded motor act was investigated. Animals were instructed to press down a lever at the presentation of a combined visual and acoustic signal and were required to hold down the lever until a trigger stimulus occurred after an unpredictable delay ranging from 2 to 4 s. The trigger stimulus required animals to release the lever and to press a second lever for food reinforcement. The time between instruction and trigger signals represented the preparation phase preceding movement. Unilateral ibotenic acid-induced focal degeneration of pedunculopontine neurons did not influence either reaction and movement times, or capacity of the animals to correctly respond to presentation of stimuli of behavioral significance. On the contrary, bilateral lesions increased both reaction and movement times, and dramatically reduced the percentage of correct responses. The analysis of incorrect responses suggested that the most striking deficit exhibited by the animals following the bilateral lesion was a lack of conditioned response to the signal initiating each trial. However, the animals retained the capability to respond correctly in some trials, and were able to collect the reward when delivered outside the behavioral context. Histological analysis of lesions showed that in addition to loss of neurons within the pedunculopontine region, reduction of tyrosine-hydroxylase positive neurons had occurred in the pars compacta of the substantia nigra. The data suggest that the PPN is involved in the preparation and execution of externally-cued movements, and demonstrate that its destruction mimics the main effects produced by the dopaminergic denervation of the dorsal striatum.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11697/4184
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