Mar 30, 2020

Temporally-precise basolateral amygdala activation is required for the formation of taste memories in the gustatory cortex

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Kana ShimizuKiyoshi Asai


Learning to associate malaise with the intake of novel food is critical for survival. Since food poisoning may take hours to affect, animals developed brain circuits to transform the current novel taste experience into a taste memory trace (TMT) and bridge this time lag. Ample studies showed that the basolateral amygdala (BLA), the nucleus basalis magnocellularis (NBM) and the gustatory cortex (GC) are involved in TMT formation and taste-malaise association. However, how dynamic activity across these brain regions during novel taste experience promotes the formation of these memories is currently unknown. We used the conditioned taste aversion (CTA) learning paradigm in combination with short-term optogenetics and electrophysiological recording in rats to test the hypothesis that temporally specific activation of BLA projection neurons is essential for TMT formation in the GC, and consequently CTA. We found that late-epoch (LE, >800ms), but not the early epoch (EE, 200-700ms), BLA activation during novel taste experience is essential for normal CTA, for early c-Fos expression in the GC (a marker of TMT formation) and for the subsequent changes in GC ensemble palatability coding. Interestingly, BLA activity was not required for ...Continue Reading

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