Recent studies have indicated that the lateral habenula (LHb) mediates the association of a conditioned stimulus (CS) with the absence of an unconditioned stimulus (US). We generated a CS-no US association using an explicit unpaired training procedure and evaluated the conditioned inhibitory properties using the modified version of the retardation-of-acquisition procedure, one of the procedures for assessing conditioned inhibition. First, rats in the unpaired group received explicit unpaired light (CS) and food (US) presentations, followed by light-food pairings. Rats in the comparison group received paired training alone. The rats in the two groups showed increased food-cup responses to light over paired training. However, rats in the unpaired group showed a slower acquisition of light and food excitatory conditioning than those in the comparison group. Light acquired conditioned inhibitory properties through explicitly unpaired training, as evidenced by its slowness. Second, we examined the effects of the LHb lesions on the decremental effects of unpaired learning on subsequent excitatory learning. Sham-operated rats exhibited decremental effects of unpaired learning on subsequent excitatory learning, while rats with LHb neurotoxic lesions did not. Third, we tested whether preexposure to the same number of lights presented in the unpaired training retarded the acquisition of subsequent excitatory conditioning. Preexposure to light did not significantly retard the acquisition of subsequent excitatory associations, with no LHb lesion effects. These findings indicate that LHb is critically involved in the association between CS and the absence of US.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Bio & Medical Technology Development Program of the National Research Foundation (NRF) and funded by the Korean government ( MSIT ) ( NRF- 2020M3E5D9080734 to JSH & NRF-2022M3E5E8018421 to JC).
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- Appetitive conditioning
- Conditioned inhibition
- Lateral habenula
- Pavlovian conditioning