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Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2008 Jul;90(1):245-54. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2008.03.009. Epub 2008 May 7.

Salivary conditioning with antennal gustatory unconditioned stimulus in an insect.

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  • 1Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University, Katahira 2-1-1, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8577, Japan.


Classical conditioning of olfactory conditioning stimulus (CS) with gustatory unconditioned stimulus (US) in insects has been used as a pertinent model for elucidation of neural mechanisms underlying learning and memory. However, a conditioning system in which stable intracellular recordings from brain neurons are feasibly obtained while monitoring the conditioning effect has remained to be established. Recently, we found classical conditioning of salivation in cockroaches Periplaneta americana, in which an odor was associated with sucrose solution applied to the mouth, and this conditioning could be monitored by activities of salivary neurons. Application of gustatory US to the mouth, however, leads to feeding movement accompanying a movement of the brain that prevents stable recordings from brain neurons. Here we investigated whether a gustatory stimulus presented to an antenna could serve as an effective US for producing salivary conditioning. Presentation of sucrose or sodium chloride solution to an antenna induced salivation and also increased activities of salivary neurons. A single pairing trial of an odor with antennal presentation of sucrose or sodium chloride solution produced conditioning of salivation or of activities of salivary neurons. Five pairing trials led to a conditioning effect that lasted for one day. Water or tactile stimulus presented to an antenna was not effective for producing conditioning. The results demonstrate that gustatory US presented to an antenna is as effective as that presented to the mouth for producing salivary conditioning. This conditioning system provides a useful model for studying the neural basis of learning at the level of singly identifiable neurons.

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