We have shown previously that the inhibitory control functions of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) are disrupted by serotonin, but not dopamine depletions. However, both dopamine and serotonin terminals and receptors are present within the OFC and thus the aim of the present study was to determine the differential contributions of these neurotransmitters to orbitofrontal function. OFC and dopamine are involved in the process by which neutral stimuli take on reinforcing properties, by virtue of their prior association with reward, and guide behavior. Thus, we compared the performance of marmosets with dopaminergic or serotoninergic OFC depletions on a test of conditioned reinforcement. To further our understanding of serotonin in behavioral flexibility, the effect of these depletions was also compared on the extinction of a visual discrimination. Monkeys with serotonin depletions of the OFC displayed stimulus-bound responding on both tests of conditioned reinforcement and discrimination extinction suggesting that orbitofrontal serotonin plays a specific role in preventing competing, task irrelevant, salient stimuli from biasing responding. In contrast, monkeys with dopamine depletion were insensitive to conditioned reinforcers and displayed persistent responding in the absence of reward in extinction, a pattern of deficits that may reflect basic deficits in the associative processing of reward.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/uk/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
You do not currently have access to this article.