Neurochemical Correlate of a Spatial Preference in Rats

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Science  16 Aug 1974:
Vol. 185, Issue 4151, pp. 623-625
DOI: 10.1126/science.185.4151.623


Spatial (left or right) preferences were determined for rats given foot shock in a T-maze. The animals were killed, and left and right striata were assayed separately for dopamine and left and right teldiencephalic regions were assayed for norepinephrine. Dopamine content was significantly higher (by 12 percent) in the striata contralateral to rats' side preferences than in the ipsilateral striata; there was no such difference for teldiencephalic norepinephrine. The small asymmetry in striatal dopamine content is not due to any learning- or stress-related change induced by the testing procedure but is probably inherent in normal rats. Some spatial behavior appears to be the manifestation of a normal and specific difference in the activity of left and right nigrostriatal systems.