A number of studies have suggested that the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTg) may play a role in reward-related behaviour. The present study was intended to investigate this further using conditioned place preference. In conditioned place preference paradigms the amount of time spent in a preferred environment is proportional to the value of the reinforcement present, until a maximum is reached. In the present experiments we aimed to determine whether this relationship was affected by lesions of the PPTg by examining the formation of a conditioned place preference to either 4%, 12% or 20% sucrose solutions in food-deprived PPTg lesioned rats. The conditioned place preference apparatus had two compartments different in colour, smell and floor texture. During conditioning, rats were restricted to one compartment or the other, one of which was paired with sucrose. This was carried out during 30 min sessions, alternating conditioned or nonconditioned trials for 14 days. On the test day, rats were given access to both compartments through a connecting chamber, and were scored for side preference over 15 min. Both PPTg and sham lesioned rats showed a conditioned place preference to 12% and 20% sucrose, but no place preference was formed by either group to 4% sucrose. There was no significant difference between the groups in the place preference shown. Consumption of 4% sucrose was not affected by excitotoxic lesions of the PPTg, but PPTg lesioned rats consumed significantly more 12% and 20% sucrose than sham controls. This suggests that perception of reward value, as judged by CPP formation, is unchanged by excitotoxic lesions of the PPTg. The increased consumption of 12% and 20% sucrose shown by rats bearing such lesions is therefore not likely to be a product of altered reward perception.
- pontomesencephalic tegmentum