The influence of ΔfosB in the nucleus accumbens on natural reward-related behavior

Deanna L. Wallace, Vincent Vialou, Loretta Rios, Tiffany L. Carle-Florence, Sumana Chakravarty, Arvind Kumar, Danielle L. Graham, Thomas A. Green, Anne Kirk, Sergio D. Iñiguez, Linda I. Perrotti, Michel Barrot, Ralph J. DiLeone, Eric J. Nestler, Carlos A. Bolaños-Guzmán

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


The transcription factor deltaFosB (ΔFosB), induced in nucleus accumbens (NAc) by chronic exposure to drugs of abuse, has been shown to mediate sensitized responses to these drugs. However, less is known about a role for ΔFosB in regulating responses to natural rewards. Here, we demonstrate that two powerful natural reward behaviors, sucrose drinking and sexual behavior, increase levels of ΔFosB in the NAc. We then use viral-mediated gene transfer to study how such ΔFosB induction influences behavioral responses to these natural rewards. We demonstrate that overexpression of ΔFosB in the NAc increases sucrose intake and promotes aspects of sexual behavior. In addition, we show that animals with previous sexual experience, which exhibit increased ΔFosB levels, also show an increase in sucrose consumption. This work suggests that ΔFosB is not only induced in the NAc by drugs of abuse, but also by natural rewarding stimuli. Additionally, our findings show that chronic exposure to stimuli that induce ΔFosB in the NAc can increase consumption of other natural rewards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10272-10277
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number41
StatePublished - Oct 8 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavior
  • Nucleus accumbens
  • Obesity
  • Reward
  • Sex
  • Sucrose
  • Transcription factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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