The aims of the present study were (1) to determine whether selective lesions of the accumbens cholinergic interneurons impair feeding and body weight regulation, and (2) to characterize the nature of disturbances using motivational and metabolic challenges. Rats with bilateral cholinotoxic (AF64A) lesions in the nucleus accumbens showed a significant and lasting lag in body weight gain in comparison to the sham-operated controls. This failure to gain weight was not due to a decrease in feeding because lesioned rats actually ate more food and drank more water than controls under basal conditions. Lesion-induced deficits were also exposed when the rats were challenged with food deprivation or cold exposure. Lesioned rats ate less than controls when 24 h food deprived and maintained both a higher core temperature and a higher metabolic rate than controls following either 24-h food deprivation or exposure to cold. Thyroid hormones, insulin, and blood glucose levels were, however, within the physiological range, and no sensory and motor disturbances were observed. The results suggest that the altered body weight regulation is partly due to the enhanced metabolic responsiveness to stress. Possible explanations for the effects of the lesions are also discussed in the context of motivational alterations, including possible dopamine-acetylcholine interactions. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.
- Cold stress
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience