, Volume 232, Issue 7, pp 1187–1196 | Cite as

Role of ionotropic glutamate receptors in delay and probability discounting in the rat

  • Justin R. Yates
  • Seth R. Batten
  • Michael T. Bardo
  • Joshua S. Beckmann
Original Investigation



Discounting of delayed and probabilistic reinforcement is linked to increased drug use and pathological gambling. Understanding the neurobiology of discounting is important for designing treatments for these disorders. Glutamate is considered to be involved in addiction-like behaviors; however, the role of ionotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs) in discounting remains unclear.


The current study examined the effects of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) glutamate receptor blockade on performance in delay and probability discounting tasks.


Following training in either delay or probability discounting, rats (n = 12, each task) received pretreatments of the NMDA receptor antagonists MK-801 (0, 0.01, 0.03, 0.1, or 0.3 mg/kg, s.c.) or ketamine (0, 1.0, 5.0, or 10.0 mg/kg, i.p.), as well as the AMPA receptor antagonist CNQX (0, 1.0, 3.0, or 5.6 mg/kg, i.p.). Hyperbolic discounting functions were used to estimate sensitivity to delayed/probabilistic reinforcement and sensitivity to reinforcer amount.


An intermediate dose of MK-801 (0.03 mg/kg) decreased sensitivity to both delayed and probabilistic reinforcement. In contrast, ketamine did not affect the rate of discounting in either task but decreased sensitivity to reinforcer amount. CNQX did not alter sensitivity to reinforcer amount or delayed/probabilistic reinforcement.


These results show that blockade of NMDA receptors, but not AMPA receptors, decreases sensitivity to delayed/probabilistic reinforcement (MK-801) and sensitivity to reinforcer amount (ketamine). The differential effects of MK-801 and ketamine demonstrate that sensitivities to delayed/probabilistic reinforcement and reinforcer amount are pharmacologically dissociable.


Discounting Delayed reinforcement Probabilistic reinforcement NMDA receptor AMPA receptor Rat 



The authors would like to thank Emily Denehy and Travis McCuddy for technical assistance.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin R. Yates
    • 1
    • 2
  • Seth R. Batten
    • 3
  • Michael T. Bardo
    • 2
    • 4
  • Joshua S. Beckmann
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychological ScienceNorthern Kentucky UniversityHighland HeightsUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Anatomy and NeurobiologyUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  4. 4.Center for Drug Abuse Research TranslationUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

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