The memories that are formed between rewarding and drug-associated contextual cues have been suggested to contribute to drug addiction relapse. Recent evidence has indicated that the ventrolateral orbital cortex (VLO) plays important roles in reward-based learning and reversal learning. However, whether the VLO is required for methamphetamine-induced contextual memory formation is not well understood. In the present study, a three-phase methamphetamine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP) model was used to investigate the effects of VLO lesions on the formation of drug-associated contextual memories in rats. We found that the VLO lesions themselves elicited no observable effects on place preferences. However, the VLO lesions delayed the acquisition and extinction phases of CPP without affecting the expression level. Furthermore, the VLO lesions did not have an obvious influence on CPP reinstatement. These results indicate that electrolytic lesions of the bilateral ventrolateral orbital cortex can inhibit the formation of methamphetamine-induced contextual memories in rats. Moreover, VLO may not be critically involved in memory storage and retrieval.
Brain Research – Elsevier
Published: Oct 22, 2015
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