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:4/26/2020)... ... ... A team of researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount ... that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This antibody is intended to block the virus from ... The efforts are being led by Mone Zaidi, MD, PhD, MACP, Director of the ...
(Date:4/22/2020)... ... , ... RCH Solutions (RCH ), a global provider of Bio-IT computing ... Michael Wlodarczyk as Director of Sales and Business Development. Based out of RCH’s location ... strong presence across the Northeast. , “We continue to see increased demand for specialized ...
(Date:4/22/2020)... ... 21, 2020 , ... USDM Life Sciences , a ... a new managed service to improve quality management for regulated companies, Unify Compliance ... Life Sciences (USDM) – Unify Compliance Cloud is a suite of applications for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/9/2020)... ... 2020 , ... Worldwide Business with kathy ireland® will be ... 10, 2020 and Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 8:00pm ET / PT – ... executives from Techolution and Bravado Pharmaceuticals . , As leaders ...
(Date:5/5/2020)... ... May 05, 2020 , ... ProductLife Group has marked the next ... the group after 13 years at Altran, where he was Group VP of Life ... and being a Pharmacist, Xavier was involved in his early career in the development ...
(Date:5/1/2020)... ... April 30, 2020 , ... The winners of Fast Company’s ... and concepts that are actively engaged and deeply committed to changing the world. ... out the top prize in the Experimental category. , The RASTRUM™ 3D Bioprinter ...
(Date:4/23/2020)... ... April 22, 2020 , ... Across the country, there is ... COVID-19. Virginia has only been receiving 50% to 7.7% of the personal protective ... Governor Northam told the Virginia Mercury, “While we appreciate what we’ve received from ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: