Effects of GABA ligands injected into the nucleus accumbens shell on fear/anxiety-like and feeding behaviours in food-deprived rats

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Abstract

In an attempt to establish a relationship between food intake and fear/anxiety-related behaviours, the goal of this study was to investigate the effect of bilateral injections of GABAA (Muscimol, MUS, doses 25 and 50 ng/side) and GABAB (Baclofen, BAC, doses 32 and 64 ng/side) receptor agonists in the nucleus accumbens shell (AcbSh) on the level of fear/anxiety-like and feeding behaviours in 24 h food-deprived rats. The antagonists of GABAA (Bicuculline, BIC, doses 75 and 150 ng/side) and GABAB (Saclofen, SAC, doses 1.5 and 3 μg/side) were also tested. The results indicated that the total number of risk assessment behaviour decreased after the injection of both doses of GABAA agonist (MUS) into the AcbSh of 24 h food-deprived rats exposed to elevated plus maze. Similar results were obtained after treatment with both doses of GABAB (BAC) agonist in the AcbSh. These data indicated that the activation of both GABAA and GABAB receptors within the AcbSh caused anxiolysis in 24 h food-deprived rats. In addition, feeding behaviour (food intake, feeding latency and feeding duration) remained unchanged after treatment with both GABA agonists. In contrast, both food intake and feeding duration decreased after injections of both doses of BIC (GABAA antagonist), while the feeding latency remained unchanged after treatment with both GABA antagonists in the AcbSh of 24 h food-deprived rats. The treatment with SAC (GABAB antagonist) did not affect feeding behaviour. Collectively, these data suggest that emotional changes evoked by pharmacological manipulation of the GABA neurotransmission in the AcbSh are not linked with changes in food intake.

Highlights

▸ The effect of bilateral injection of GABAA and GABAB into nucleus accumbens shell. ▸ Activation of both GABAA and GABAB agonist receptors within the AcbSh caused anxiolysis. ▸ Feeding behaviour remained unchanged after treatment with both GABA agonists. ▸ Both doses of GABAA antagonist evoked hypophagic response into AcbSh.

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