Characteristics of the Actions of Neurotensin on Motor Reactions in Rats in Response to Positive and Negative Conditioned Signals

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This study addressed the effects of microinjections of neurotensin into the caudate nucleus and substantia nigra on the performance of motor reactions in response to positive and negative conditioned signals, as well as the post-effects of microinjections in subsequent experiments. Neurotensin had positive effects on the extinction of non-reinforced motor reactions. Neurotensin had no effect on the number of motor responses to the non-reinforced signal, though the number decreased in subsequent experiments. There was an increase in the latent period of responses as compared with controls. The effect of neurotensin at the level of the caudate nucleus was more marked than that at the level of the substantia nigra. Neurotensin microinjections had no marked effect on performance of conditioned responses to positive signals. The behavioral effects of neurotensin are associated with normalization of the interactions of the brain's monoaminergic systems. It is suggested that the positive actions of neurotensin on extinction of motor responses to negative signals result from the formation of a contextual conditioned emotional state in the animals, this facilitating optimization of conditioned reflex activity.

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