Positive and negative brain zones in the snail
Balaban PM, Maksimova OA
Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology,
Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow.
Eur J Neurosci 1993 Jun 1; 5(6):768-74


Fine wire electrodes were surgically implanted in two regions of the brain of the snail Helix aspersa. To receive electrical stimulation of the brain, a tethered snail was required to displace the end of a rod. Self-stimulation delivered to the parietal ganglion resulted in non-repetition of the operant response, whereas self-stimulation delivered to the mesocerebrum resulted in an increase in response frequency. The reinforcing effect of local extracellular stimulation of two brain zones was investigated in a semi-intact preparation of a closely related species with an identical cellular map (H. lucorum). It was found that mesocerebral stimulation increased the frequency of the reinforced spontaneous movement, but decreased the frequency of the same movement if its absence was reinforced. These results allow us to attribute positive reinforcing effects to this brain area, which is involved in the control of sexual behaviour. Different results were obtained by contingent stimulation of the rostral part of the parietal ganglia, where giant cells controlling avoidance behaviour are located. Stimulation of this zone resulted in a decrease in the frequency of the ongoing spontaneous movements. These findings make possible intracellular investigations of the mechanisms of positive and negative reinforcement.
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