Electrical stimulation of the lateral habenula produces an inhibitory effect on sucrose self-administration

Alexander Friedman, Elad Lax, Yahav Dikshtein, Lital Abraham, Yakov Flaumenhaft, Einav Sudai, Moshe Ben-Tzion, Gal Yadid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


The lateral habenula (LHb) plays a role in prediction of negative reinforcement, punishment and aversive responses. In the current study, we examined the role that the LHb plays in regulation of negative reward responses and aversion. First, we tested the effect of intervention in LHb activity on sucrose reinforcing behavior. An electrode was implanted into the LHb and rats were trained to self-administer sucrose (20%; 16 days) until at least three days of stable performance were achieved (as represented by the number of active lever presses in self-administration cages). Rats subsequently received deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the LHb, which significantly reduced sucrose self-administration levels. In contrast, lesion of the LHb increased sucrose-seeking behavior, as demonstrated by a delayed extinction response to substitution of sucrose with water. Furthermore, in a modified non-rewarding conditioned-place-preference paradigm, DBS of the LHb led to aversion to the context associated with stimulation of this brain region. We postulate that electrical stimulation of the LHb attenuates positive reward-associated reinforcement by natural substances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-387
Number of pages7
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Depression
  • Lateral habenula
  • Reward
  • Sucrose self-administration


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