Transient Inactivation of Orbitofrontal Cortex Blocks Reinforcer Devaluation in Macaques

Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20007, USA.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.75). 10/2011; 31(42):15128-35. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3295-11.2011
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and its interactions with the basolateral amygdala (BLA) are critical for goal-directed behavior, especially for adapting to changes in reward value. Here we used a reinforcer devaluation paradigm to investigate the contribution of OFC to this behavior in four macaques. Subjects that had formed associations between objects and two different primary reinforcers (foods) were presented with choices of objects overlying the two different foods. When one of the two foods was devalued by selective satiation, the subjects shifted their choices toward the objects that represented the nonsated food reward (devaluation effect). Transient inactivation of OFC by infusions of the GABA(A) receptor agonist muscimol into area 13 blocked the devaluation effect: the monkeys did not reduce their selection of objects associated with the devalued food. This effect was observed when OFC was inactivated during both satiation and the choice test, and during the choice test only. This supports our hypothesis that OFC activity is required during the postsatiety object choice period to guide the selection of objects. This finding sharply contrasts with the role of BLA in the same devaluation process (Wellman et al., 2005). Whereas activity in BLA was required during the selective satiation procedure, it was not necessary for guiding the subsequent object choice. Our results are the first to demonstrate that transient inactivation of OFC is sufficient to disrupt the devaluation effect, and to document a role for OFC distinct from that of BLA for the conditioned reinforcer devaluation process in monkeys.

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