Abstract Psychophysical data consistent with rostro-caudal conduction along reward-relevant neurons linking the lateral hypothalamus (LH) and ventral tegmental area (VTA) have lead to the hypothesis that some of the directly activated neurons responsible for medial forebrain bundle (MFB) self-stimulation arise anterior to the level of the LH. This hypothesis has been challenged on the grounds that lesions to the anterior LH (ALH) often fail to degrade the rewarding value of stimulating more posterior MFB sites. The present study was aimed at investigating the effect of lesion location and stimulation current on the efficacy of ALH lesions in an effort to account for the inconsistencies in the earlier data. Self-stimulation thresholds were obtained for LH and VTA sites by estimating the number of pulses per stimulation train required for half-maximal responding at each of 3 currents. Electrolytic lesions (anodal, 1.0 mA for 10 s) were then made to the ALH at varying medial-lateral coordinates. In 7 of the 14 rats with MFB stimulation sites, lesions to the ALH produced increases in threshold which often declined over the next several days to weeks; in 5 cases thresholds remained elevated by 0.1 to 0.25 log 10 units above baseline up to the end of testing. In all but one case, the effective lesions were centered in the lateral ALH. Increases in threshold were more likely to be detected when stimulating at low currents; at low currents fewer neurons are recruited and the lesion can have a greater proportional effect on threshold. These data support the hypothesis that cell bodies, terminals, or fibers of passage in the ALH contribute to the rewarding effect of stimulating more posterior MFB sites.