Noradrenergic induction of odor-specific neural habituation and olfactory memories.
For many mammals, individual recognition of conspecifics relies on olfactory cues. Certain individual recognition memories are thought to be stored when conspecific odor cues coincide with surges of noradrenaline (NA) triggered by intensely arousing social events. Such familiar stimuli elicit reduced behavioral responses, a change likely related to NA-dependent plasticity in the olfactory bulb (OB). In addition to its role in these ethological memories, NA signaling in the OB appears to be relevant for the discrimination of more arbitrary odorants as well. Nonetheless, no NA-gated mechanism of long-term plasticity in the OB has ever been directly observed in vivo. Here, we report that NA release from locus ceruleus (LC), when coupled to odor presentation, acts locally in the main OB to cause a specific long-lasting suppression of responses to paired odors. These effects were observed for both food odors and urine, an important social recognition cue. Moreover, in subsequent behavioral tests, mice exhibited habituation to paired urine stimuli, suggesting that this LC-mediated olfactory neural plasticity, induced under anesthesia, can store an individual recognition memory that is observable after recovery.
Shea, SD; Katz, LC; Mooney, R
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