Changes in body weight and food-related behaviour induced by destruction of the ventral or dorsal noradrenergic bundle in the rat

B.J Sahakian, P. Winn, T.W. Robbins, R.J. Deeley, B.J. Everitt, L.T. Dunn, M. Wallace, W.P.T. James

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Three experiments contrasted the effects of 6-hydroxydopamine-induced lesions of the ventral noradrenergic and dorsal noradrenergic projections, predominantly to hypothalamus and cortex, respectively, upon body weight changes and food-related behaviour in the rat. In general, ventral noradrenergic bundle lesions enhanced weight gain and these effects were exaggerated by the provision of palatable cheese to the standard chow diet. In contrast, lesions of the dorsal noradrenergic bundle produced minor changes in body weight. Associated with the effects of ventral noradrenergic bundle lesions were hyperphagia, enhanced suppression of intake of food adulterated with quinine, (at high concentration), a small attenuation of food neophobia, and enhanced acquisition, but not performance, of the eating response to tail-pinch stimulation. These ventral noradrenergic bundle lesions failed to alter basal activity levels, amphetamine anorexia or the diurnal pattern of eating or activity. In contrast, lesions of the dorsal noradrenergic bundle did not produce either hyperphagia or enhanced rejection of food adulterated with quinine. However, there was a strong attenuation of food neophobia and a retarded acquisition (but unimpaired performance) of eating in response to tail-pinch stimulation. The results are discussed in connection with previous studies of ventral and dorsal noradrenergic bundle lesions, with the effects of ventromedial hypothalamic lesions and with the underlying behavioural and physiological processes that mediate these contrasting effects of different neuroanatomical patterns of central noradrenaline depletion. © 1983.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1405-1420
Number of pages16
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 1983


  • dopamine
  • dorsal/ventral noradrenergic bundle
  • 5-HT
  • serotonin
  • high performance liquid chromatography
  • 6-hydroxydopamine
  • ventral medial hypothalamus

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