Hedonic Interactions of Medial Prefrontal Cortex and Nucleus Reticularis Gigantocellularis

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It has been shown that ‘pure reward’ and ‘reward-escape’ sites in the lateral hypothalamus (LH) of rats respectively ameliorate and exacerbate nucleus reticularis gigantocellularis (NGC) stimulation-induced aversion52. Conversely, the present studies found that ‘rewarding’ medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) stimulation increased escape from NGC stimulation regardless of whether the MPFC site tested was ‘pure reward’ or ‘reward-escape’ in type. This suggested that a simple algebraic summation model of positive and negative affective processes may not adequately describe the NGC-MPFC interaction. In a subsequent study, rats were observed both to barpress less to obtain, and more to escape from, ‘rewarding’ MPFC stimulation during continuous NGC stimulation, supporting the hypothesis that the observed MPFC stimulation-mediated increase in NGC stimulation escape reflected an exacerbation of aversion. Finally, NGC stimulation was seen to increase barpressing to obtain ‘subreward’ MPFC current trains, indicating a potentiation of the reward value of such current. Results of this series of studies suggests a hedonic interaction model of NGC and MPFC characterized by reciprocal neuromodulation. The model is conceptuallized as a ‘neural opponent process’ subserving affective ‘balance’ and ‘feature enhancement’, and its possible relevance to the putative role of the MPFC in cocaine use is discussed.


Orignally published;

Miserendino, Mindy, Coons, Edgar. "Hedonic Interactions of Medial Prefrontal Cortex and Nucleus Reticularis Gigantocellularis." Brain Research 483.2 (1989): 233-250.