Hedonic hot spots in the brain

  • Peciña S
  • Smith K
  • Berridge K
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Abstract

Hedonic "liking" for sensory pleasures is an important aspect of reward, and excessive 'liking' of particular rewards might contribute to excessive consumption and to disorders such as obesity. The present review aims to summarize recent advances in the identification of brain substrates for food 'liking' with a focus on opioid hot spots in the nucleus accumbens and ventral pallidum. Drug microinjection studies have shown that opioids in both areas amplify the 'liking' of sweet taste rewards. Modern neuroscience tools such as Fos plume mapping have further identified hedonic hot spots within the accumbens and pallidum, where opioids are especially tuned to magnify 'liking' of food rewards. Hedonic hot spots in different brain structures may interact with each other within the larger functional circuitry that interconnects them. Better understanding of how brain hedonic hot spots increase the positive affective impact of natural sensory pleasures will help characterize the neural mechanisms potentially involved in 'liking' for many rewards.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Fos plume
  • GABA
  • Hedonic
  • Liking
  • Nucleus accumbens
  • Opioid
  • Pleasure
  • Reward
  • Taste reactivity
  • Ventral pallidum

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Authors

  • Susana Peciña

  • Kyle S. Smith

  • Kent C. Berridge

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