As the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus has an important anatomical position as an output station for the striatum, its role in the mediation of behaviour stimulated by d-amphetamine and apomorphine was investigated. Bilateral ibotenate lesions were made in either the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus or, as a control, in the adjacent deep mesencephalic nucleus; sham lesions were made using phosphate buffer. Over the 14 days after surgery there were no significant differences in the rats' body weight or food intake. Deep mesencephalic lesioned rats spilled more food and drank more water (never more than 5 ml more) than controls or pedunculopontine tegmental lesioned rats. Spontaneous locomotion and that elicited by d-amphetamine or apomorphine were not affected by ibotenate lesions of either the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus or deep mesencephalic nucleus. At higher doses of d-amphetamine and apomorphine, however, excessive biting and licking were observed in the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus, but not deep mesencephalic nucleus, lesioned rats. Such orofacial stereotypies are never observed in normal rats after systemic injection of d-amphetamine. Post mortem analysis showed that ibotenate lesions of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus had destroyed cholinergic and non-cholinergic neurons there but had left the deep mesencephalic nucleus intact; ibotenate lesions of the deep mesencephalic nucleus destroyed neurons in that structure but not the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus. These data demonstrate that lesions in the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus and deep mesencephalic nucleus have different effects, measured histologically and behaviourally; that neither spontaneous locomotion nor that stimulated by d-amphetamine or apomorphine is dependent on the integrity of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus; and that the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus plays an important role in mediating orofacial activity stimulated by these drugs. The data are discussed in terms of their implications for understanding outflow from the caudate-putamen and nucleus accumbens.
- pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus