The activity of single dopamine (DA)-containing cells in the medial substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area was recorded in awake behaving rats. These rats were trained, using either instrumental or classical conditioning techniques, to respond for chocolate milk reinforcement. More than 50% of the cells tested showed changes in firing pattern associated with some aspect of the conditioned response. Furthermore, the incidence of active DA cells and their firing rates were increased in animals given the DA receptor blocker, haloperidol. Our results indicate that some DA cells change their firing pattern following behaviorally relevant stimuli, and that the incidence of spontaneously active DA neurons is low in the awake rat.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)