Destruction of the Medial Forebrain Bundle Caudal to the Site of Stimulation Reduces Rewarding Efficacy but Destruction Rostrally Does Not

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Rats with an electrode in the medial forebrain bundle (MFB) in or near the ventral tegmental area and another at the level of the rostral hypothalamus sustained large electrolytic lesions at either the rostral or the caudal electrode. The rewarding efficacy of stimulation through the other electrode was determined before and after the lesion. Massive damage to the MFB in the rostral lateral hypothalamus (LH) generally had little effect on the rewarding efficacy of more caudal stimulation, whereas large lesions in the caudal MFB generally reduced the rewarding efficacy of LH stimulation by 35–60%. Similar reductions were produced by knife cuts in the caudal MFB. These results appear to be inconsistent with the hypothesis that the reward fibers consist either of descending or ascending fibers coursing in or near the MFB. It is suggested that the reward fibers are collaterals from neurons with both their somata and their behaviorally significant terminals located primarily in the midbrain.

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