Behavioral functions of the mesolimbic dopaminergic system: an affective neuroethological perspective.
The relationship between brain self-stimulation and brain-stimulation induced sniffing behavior was examined at three brain sites (frontal cortex, hypothalamus and lower brain stem). In the first experiment, sniffing was elicited in the prefrontal cortex and pontine reticular formation (PRF) of anesthetized rats. These sites corresponded to reported self-stimulation sites. In non-anesthetized animals (Expt. 2), all self-stimulation sites in the medial prefrontal cortex (MPC) and lateral hypothalamic-medial forebrain bundle (LH-MFB) also supported sniffing. In the PRF, this was also the case except for one subject which exhibited self-stimulation and jaw movements without sniffing. After unilateral lesions either in the MPC or PRF, stimulation-induced sniffing from the ipsilateral LH-MFB was not influenced. While MPC lesions did not affect self-stimulation either, medial PRF lesions disrupted ipsilateral self-stimulation. In summary, stimulation-induced sniffing and self-stimulation behavior appear to share strikingly similar anatomical loci, but the PRF appears to be differentially involved in these behaviors. The results were discussed from an appetitive motivational hypothesis of self-stimulation.