The role of the ventrolateral caudoputamen in predatory hunting

Lucélia Mendes dos Santos, Suelen Lúcio Boschen, Mariza Bortolanza, Wagner Fernandes de Oliveira, Isadora Clivatti Furigo, Sandra Regina Mota-Ortiz, Claudio Da Cunha, Newton Sabino Canteras

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The ventrolateral caudoputamen (VLCP) is well known to participate in the control of orofacial movements and forepaw usage accompanying feeding behavior. Previous studies from our laboratory have shown that insect hunting is associated with a distinct Fos up-regulation in the VLCP at intermediate rostro-caudal levels. Moreover, using the reversible blockade with lidocaine, we have previously suggested that the VLCP implements the stereotyped actions seen during prey capture and handling, and may influence the motivational drive to start attacking the roaches, as well. However, considering that (1) lidocaine suppresses action potentials not only in neurons, but also in fibers-of-passage, rendering the observed behavioral effect not specific to the ventrolateral caudoputamen; (2) the short lidocaine-induced inactivation period had left a relatively narrow window to observe the behavioral changes; and (3) that the restriction stress to inject the drug could have also disturbed hunting behavior, in the present study, we have examined the role of the VLCP in predatory hunting by placing bilateral NMDA lesions three weeks previous to the behavior testing. We were able to confirm that the VLCP serves to implement the stereotyped sequence of actions seen during prey capture and handling, but the study did not confirm its role in influencing the motivational drive to hunt. Together with other studies from our group, the present work serves as an important piece of information that helps to reveal the neural systems underlying predatory hunting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-898
Number of pages6
JournalPhysiology & Behavior
Issue number3
Early online date28 Oct 2011
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Open access under the Elsevier OA license.


Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP) (05/59286-4) to N.S.C, and from Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) to N.S.C. and C.C.; W.F.O. and I.C.F. were supported by FAPESP fellowship.


  • Ventrolateral caudoputamen
  • Sensorimotor striatum
  • Hunting behavior
  • Action selection
  • Motivated behavior
  • Basal ganglia


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