Effects of Muscimol in the Nucleus Accumbens Shell on Salt Appetite and Sucrose Intake: A Microstructural Study with a Comment on the Sensitization of Salt Intake
journal contributionposted on 22.11.2013, 00:00 by David Wirtshafter, Ignacio R. Covelo, Inga Salija, Thomas R. Stratford
Previous work has demonstrated that injections of the gamma-aminobutyric acid(A) (GABA(A)) agonist muscimol into the nucleus accumbens shell (AcbSh) induce pronounced increases in the intake of solid foods and sucrose solutions, but do not potentiate water intake. In order to clarify the range of situations in which inactivation of the AcbSh potentiates ingestive behavior, we examined the effects of muscimol injections on the intake of a 3% NaCl solution in sodium-depleted animals. Although sodium-depleted subjects avidly consumed this solution, muscimol injections had no effect either on the volume consumed or on a variety of microstructural licking parameters. In contrast, in these same animals, muscimol injections significantly increased licking of a 10% sucrose solution. These results suggest that inactivation of the AcbSh may selectively increase the intake of foods, but not that of other homeostatically relevant ingestates. Examination of microstructural parameters suggested that the effect of muscimol on sucrose intake was not mediated by alterations in the "palatability" of the sucrose solution. We also observed that sodium-depleted subjects displayed significantly larger salt intakes after their second experience with sodium depletion than their first, and microstructural analysis in this case indicated that this sensitization effect was produced in a manner consistent with the animals showing increased "hedonic responsiveness" to the salt solution.