Acetylcholine release in the hippocampus and prelimbic cortex during acquisition of a socially transmitted food preference

P. E. Gold, R. A. Countryman, D. Dukala, Q. Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Interference with cholinergic functions in hippocampus and prefrontal cortex impairs learning and memory for social transmission of food preference, suggesting that acetylcholine (ACh) release in the two brain regions may be important for acquiring the food preference. This experiment examined release of ACh in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex of rats during training for social transmission of food preference. After demonstrator rats ate a food with novel flavor and odor, a social transmission of food preference group of rats was allowed to interact with the demonstrators for 30. min, while in vivo microdialysis collected samples for later measurement of ACh release with HPLC methods. A social control group observed a demonstrator that had eaten food without novel flavor and odor. An odor control group was allowed to smell but not ingest food with novel odor. Rats in the social transmission but not control groups preferred the novel food on a trial 48. h later. ACh release in prefrontal cortex, with probes that primarily sampled prelimbic cortex, did not increase during acquisition of the social transmission of food preference, suggesting that training-initiated release of ACh in prelimbic cortex is not necessary for acquisition of the food preference. In contrast, ACh release in the hippocampus increased substantially (200%) upon exposure to a rat that had eaten the novel food. Release in the hippocampus increased significantly less (25%) upon exposure to a rat that had eaten normal food and did not increase significantly in the rats exposed to the novel odor; ACh release in the social transmission group was significantly greater than that of the either of the control groups. Thus, ACh release in the hippocampus but not prelimbic cortex distinguished well the social transmission vs. control conditions, suggesting that cholinergic mechanisms in the hippocampus but not prelimbic cortex are important for acquiring a socially transmitted food preference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-503
Number of pages6
JournalNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
Volume96
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Acetylcholine
  • Hippocampus
  • Learning
  • Memory formation
  • Memory modulation
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Social transmission of food preference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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