Development switch in neural circuitry underlying odor-malaise learning.Learn Mem. 2006 Nov-Dec; 13(6):801-8.LM
Fetal and infant rats can learn to avoid odors paired with illness before development of brain areas supporting this learning in adults, suggesting an alternate learning circuit. Here we begin to document the transition from the infant to adult neural circuit underlying odor-malaise avoidance learning using LiCl (0.3 M; 1% of body weight, ip) and a 30-min peppermint-odor exposure. Conditioning groups included: Paired odor-LiCl, Paired odor-LiCl-Nursing, LiCl, and odor-saline. Results showed that Paired LiCl-odor conditioning induced a learned odor aversion in postnatal day (PN) 7, 12, and 23 pups. Odor-LiCl Paired Nursing induced a learned odor preference in PN7 and PN12 pups but blocked learning in PN23 pups. 14C 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG) autoradiography indicated enhanced olfactory bulb activity in PN7 and PN12 pups with odor preference and avoidance learning. The odor aversion in weanling aged (PN23) pups resulted in enhanced amygdala activity in Paired odor-LiCl pups, but not if they were nursing. Thus, the neural circuit supporting malaise-induced aversions changes over development, indicating that similar infant and adult-learned behaviors may have distinct neural circuits.