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Functional heterogeneity within the rodent lateral orbitofrontal cortex dissociates outcome devaluation and reversal learning deficits

  1. Marios C Panayi  Is a corresponding author
  2. Simon Killcross
  1. University of New South Wales, Australia
Research Article
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Cite this article as: eLife 2018;7:e37357 doi: 10.7554/eLife.37357


The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is critical for updating reward-directed behaviours flexibly when outcomes are devalued or when task contingencies are reversed. Failure to update behaviour in outcome devaluation and reversal learning procedures are considered canonical deficits following OFC lesions in non-human primates and rodents. We examined the generality of these findings in rodents using lesions of the rodent lateral OFC (LO) in instrumental action-outcome and Pavlovian cue-outcome devaluation procedures. LO lesions disrupted outcome devaluation in Pavlovian but not instrumental procedures. Furthermore, although both anterior and posterior LO lesions disrupted Pavlovian outcome devaluation, only posterior LO lesions were found to disrupt reversal learning. Posterior but not anterior LO lesions were also found to disrupt the attribution of motivational value to Pavlovian cues in sign-tracking. These novel dissociable task- and subregion-specific effects suggest a way to reconcile contradictory findings between rodent and non-human primate OFC research.

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Author details

  1. Marios C Panayi

    School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-2635-5638
  2. Simon Killcross

    School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.


Australian Research Council (DP0989027)

  • Simon Killcross

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.


Animal experimentation: All animal research was carried out in accordance with the National Institute of Health Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratories Animals (NIH publications No. 80-23, revised 1996) and approved by the University of New South Wales Animal Care and Ethics Committee.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Geoffrey Schoenbaum, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: April 7, 2018
  2. Accepted: July 24, 2018
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: July 25, 2018 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: August 20, 2018 (version 2)


© 2018, Panayi & Killcross

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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