Nitric oxide is necessary for visual learning in Octopus vulgaris.
We recently reported that inhibition of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) in Octopus vulgaris by intramuscular injections of an analog of L-arginine, N-omega-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), blocked touch learning in Octopus vulgaris. The inactive enantiomorph (D-NAME), which had no effect on learning, was used for control. We now report that essentially the same procedures block visual learning in this animal. We used a visual paradigm in which the octopus was trained to respond positively to a smooth black plastic ball 2.5 cm diameter and negatively to a similar white ball, or vice versa. One set of eight animals was trained to the black ball positive, and another set of six to the white ball positive. Each set was trained at different times by two different trainers. We found that a 1 h pretreatment with the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor L-NAME blocks visual learning in Octopus vulgaris in both sets of animals.
Robertson, JD; Bonaventura, J; Kohm, A; Hiscat, M
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