Sommer S, Münster A, Fehrentz JA, Hauber W, 2022, Int J Neuropsychopharmacol., "Effects of Motivational Downshifts on Specific Pavlovian-Instrumental Transfer in Rats."

20. Juli 2023 / Wolfgang Hauber


Background: Pavlovian stimuli predictive of appetitive outcomes can exert a powerful influence on the selection and initiation of action, a phenomenon termed outcome-selective Pavlovian-instrumental transfer (sPIT). Rodent studies suggest that sPIT is insensitive to motivational downshift induced by outcome devaluation, an effect that is, however, relatively underexplored.

Methods: Here we examined in detail the effects of distinct shifts in motivation from hunger to a state of relative satiety on sPIT in rats.

Results: A motivational downshift by outcome-specific devaluation immediately prior to testing markedly reduced overall lever responding and magazine entries but left intact the sPIT effect. A motivational downshift prior testing by (1) giving ad libitum rather than restricted access to maintenance diet in the home cage for 24 hours or by (2) a systemic blockade of hormone secretagogue receptor subtype 1A receptors to inhibit orexigenic actions of ghrelin both reduced overall lever responding and magazine entries. Moreover, these latter motivational downshifts reduced the sPIT effect; however, the sizes of the sPIT effects were still large.

Conclusions: Collectively, our rodent findings indicate that major effects of various motivational downshifts are overall inhibition of lever pressing and magazine approach, possibly reflecting reduced general motivation. The observed effects of motivational downshifts on sPIT have implications with regard to the role of general motivating effects in sPIT and to the contribution of Pavlovian-instrumental interactions to excessive food seeking as well as obesity in humans.

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