Change in neurons' responsiveness marks newly formed sensory associations during learning

During our waking hours, our brains are inundated with sensory information that shifts from one moment to the next. Recognizing meaningful associations between different snippets of this information is a basic form of learning that is essential for survival, even for animals with much simpler brains than our own. For learning to occur, these associations must be made and reinforced in some way at the neuronal level, but how this happens is poorly understood. Research reported this week sheds light on this problem by identifying a group of neurons whose activity changes during the learning process in a way that reflects the new association that is formed between two different sensory stimuli.

The findings are reported in Current Biology by Andr Fiala and colleagues at Bayerische Julius-Maximilians-Universitt Wrzburg, Germany.

To address the question of how the relevance of a stimulus is represented at the level of neuronal cells, the researchers used the fruit fly Drosophila as a model organism. These tiny animals can be trained to associate an otherwise neutral odor stimulus with a negative experience, such as a small electric shock, and ultimately learn to avoid this odor. Using sensitive imaging methods, the researchers observed the activity of certain neurons within the fly's brain during such training. They found that prior to training, these cells, which release the neurotransmitter dopamine, become especially activated if the negative stimulus--the small shock--occurs, but show only a weak activity in response to odors. Interestingly, after training, those cells respond with a prolonged activity toward the odor associated with the negative stimulus. In the course of training, the odor has acquired a negative relevance, which is reflected in this prolonged activity of dopamine-releasing cells. Interestingly, human brains seem to function in a similar way, with the difference that in our brains, rewarding stimuli (rather than negative stimuli) ar

Contact: Heidi Hardman
Cell Press

Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Changes in chromosomal constitution of preimplantation embryos suggest caution in genetic screening
2. Change in webcast time for Wednesday event on NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Center progress report
3. Granthams to fund Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London
4. Changes in west coast marine ecosystems significant
5. Changes in amino acids in the 1918 influenza virus cut transmission
6. Changes in dietary protein may override inherited skeletal abnormalities
7. Symposium Changes on Earth honors Yale Geologist Robert Berner
8. Symposium Environmental Change in Siberia -- Insights From Earth Observation and Modeling
9. Global Environmental Change: Regional Challenges
10. Living with Climate Variability and Change
11. Continuity + Change: Perspectives on Science and Religion

Post Your Comments:

(Date:8/15/2019)... ... August 15, 2019 , ... Make ... staff of routine tasks. That was the message at the world's largest gathering ... Information. The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) Annual Scientific Meeting was held ...
(Date:8/14/2019)... ... August 14, 2019 , ... Join Jonathan Riek, PhD, VP, ... on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 at 1pm EDT to learn about two common imaging ... , NAFLD is the most common diffuse liver disease, with a worldwide prevalence ...
(Date:8/14/2019)... ... August 13, 2019 , ... Join Anguraj Sadanandam, PhD, Team ... Cancer Research (ICR) in a live webinar on Wednesday, September 4, ... and companion diagnostic development including machine learning approaches in different gastrointestinal cancers and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/9/2019)... ... July 08, 2019 , ... Balluff has ... was recognized as the 2019 Innovative Product of the Year which highlights cutting-edge ... were during Sensors Expo & Conference 2019, held this week in ...
(Date:6/26/2019)... ... June 26, 2019 , ... Alice Branton today released research results from preclinical ... Magnesium Gluconate, which can prove to be beneficial for treating Hypomagnesemia. , The preclinical ... change in crystallite size , Over 142% increase in particle size , ...
(Date:6/18/2019)... (PRWEB) , ... June 18, 2019 , ... Personalized ... Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the FDA for use of a person’s own ... as a treatment of osteoarthritis in the knee. This IND is the first ...
(Date:6/11/2019)... , ... June 10, 2019 , ... ... its distribution network with the appointment of Biofeedback Tech Ltd as ... systems are an essential part of many therapeutic treatments and clinical assessment protocols ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: