The globus pallidus (GP) is intimately involved in regulation of various aspects of hunger- and thirst-motivated behaviors. Our parallel neurochernical studies demonstrated the existence of GP neurons whose discharge rates are suppressed by glucose applied microelectrophoretically. In the present series of experiments, we aimed to provide complex, feeding-associated functional characterization-similar to that previously accomplished in the case of lateral hypothalamic and amygdabid chemosensitive neurons-of these glucose-sensitive (GS) and the glucose-insensitive (GIS) pallidal cells. To do so, extracellular single neuron activity of the GP was recorded in anesthetized rats and anesthetized or awake rhesus monkeys by means of carbon fiber, multibarreled glass microelectrodes during: a) microelectrophoretic administration of chemicals, b) gustatory, and c) olfactory stimulations. In alert primates, activity changes were also recorded during presentation of food and nonfood objects as well as during the performance of a conditioned, high fixed-ratio bar-press feeding task. The half of pallidal cells examined showed firing rate changes during phases of the conditioned alimentary task. In both species, about 1/7 of all neurons tested proved to be GS, while the proportion of cells responding to gustatory and olfactory stimulations was 19% and 16%, respectively. Task-related and taste- and smell-responsive units were mainly found among the GS neurons of the pallidum. These data, along with previous findings, indicate that chemosensitive cells of the GP, in an apparent overlap with units of the central gustatory representation, are involved in a hierarchically organized glucose-monitoring neural network, through which pallidal neurons exert their integrative functions in the central feeding control.
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