A simple method for detection of food foraging behavior in the rat: Involvement of NMDA and dopamine receptors in the behavior

F Li, W Cao, Y Xu, J Zhang, Jian-Wei Zhang, Xue-Gang Luo, Ru-Ping Dai, Xin-Fu Zhou, Chang-Qi Li

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Food foraging behavior involves food removing, hoarding, and competitive preying upon other animals. It is also associated with high cognitive functions such as investing effort into decision making, but no established laboratory model is available to detect the behaviors. In the present study, we have developed a novel laboratory rodent model to detect competitive, non-competitive, and no-hurdle foraging conditions that can mimic the corresponding environment in nature. We found that normal rats consistently foraged the food from a food container to the field and spread food into piles in the open field. There was no difference between male and female rats in the amount of foraged food in the competitive, non-competitive, and no-hurdle food foraging tests. The amount of foraged food was consistent each day for five consecutive days with a slight increase in following days. There was no significant difference in the amount of food foraged in the presence or absence of bedding materials. A dramatic decrease of foraged food was found in the rats after administration of haloperidol (dopamine D2 receptor antagonist) in the competitive, non-competitive, and no-hurdle food foraging tests. Treatment with MK-801 (non-competitive N-methy-D-aspartate receptor antagonist) reduced the foraged food in the competitive food foraging test, but did not affect the foraged food in the non-competitive and no-hurdle food foraging tests. Our study provides a simple but consistent analogue of natural food foraging behavior. Our study also suggests that dopaminergic and glutaminergic systems are differentially involved in the food foraging behaviors.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)73-80
    Number of pages8
    JournalNeuroscience
    Volume205
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2012

    Keywords

    • Food foraging behavior
    • Haloperidol
    • MK-801
    • Rat

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