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Relation of activation of neurones in the pons and medulla to brain-stimulation reward

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  1. 1.

    A number of neurones in the nucleus reticularis parvicellularis of the medulla and in or near the locus coeruleus were found to be directly excited or trans-synaptically activated in self-stimulation of sites in the lateral hypothalamus, midbrain tegmentum and pontine tegmentum. A number of neurones in the same lateral regions of the medulla and pons were trans-synaptically activated in self-stimulation of the sulcal and the medial prefrontal cortex.

  2. 2.

    Neurones in these regions were not activated by stimulation applied to nucleus accumbens self-stimulation electrodes. Therefore activation of neurones in these regions may not be necessary for brain-stimulation reward.

  3. 3.

    Neurones in the ventromedial reticular formation of the pons and medulla (close to the decussation of the superior cerebellar penduncle, and in the nucleus reticularis pontis caudalis and the nucleus reticularis gigantocellularis of the medulla) were activated from the self-stimulation sites and were also activated from non-self-stimulation, motor effect sites in the midbrain tegmentum. Therefore the activation of these neurones may be related to the motor effects, respiratory changes and other side effects which often accompany self-stimulation.

  4. 4.

    It is concluded that the activation of neurones in the region of the locus coeruleus and the nucleus reticularis parvicellularis is closely related to self-stimulation of many brain sites, but is not necessary for brain-stimulation reward.

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Cooper, S.J., Rolls, E.T. Relation of activation of neurones in the pons and medulla to brain-stimulation reward. Exp Brain Res 20, 207–222 (1974). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00238313

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Key words

  • Locus coeruleus
  • Reward
  • Brainstem
  • Self-Stimulation