Targeted deletion of the GluR-1 AMPA receptor in mice dissociates general and outcome-specific influences of appetitive rewards on learning.
Johnson AW., Bannerman D., Rawlins N., Sprengel R., Good MA.
The authors assessed the hypothesis that deletion of the GluR-1 subtype of the alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate (AMPA) receptor in mice disrupts the associative activation of a sensory-specific representation of an appetitive reward. In Experiment 1, mice received training on a Pavlovian-instrumental transfer task. In the test stage, conditioned stimulus (CS) presentations enhanced instrumental actions in both groups. However, this effect was specific to the action that shared the same outcome as the CS in wild-type (WT), but not GluR-1-super(-/-), mice. In Experiment 2, the mice were trained on a heterogeneous instrumental chain in which rewards were obtained for emitting 1 response (R1, that was distal to reward delivery), followed by a 2nd response (R2, that was proximal to reward delivery). A change in general motivational state (from hungry to sated) reduced the number of R2 responses in both groups. In contrast, an outcome-specific satiety treatment produced a selective decline in R1 responding only in WT mice. The results support the hypothesis that GluR-1 deletion impairs the associative activation of a representation of the sensory-specific incentive motivational properties of an appetitive reward.