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J Neurobiol. 1999 Feb 5;38(2):234-46.

Novelty-induced increased expression of immediate-early genes c-fos and arg 3.1 in the mouse brain.

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Department of Neurobiology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Hönggerberg, Zürich, Switzerland.


The detection of novel stimuli is a memory-dependent process. The presented stimulus has to be compared with memory contents to judge its novelty. In addition, the novelty of stimuli activates attention-related processes that facilitate memory formation. To determine the involvement of limbic and neocortical brain structures in novelty detection, we exposed mice to a novel gustatory stimulus (0.5% saccharin) added to their drinking fluid. We then compared the novelty-induced expression of the two immediate-early genes (IEGs) c-fos and arg 3.1, with their expression in mice familiarized with the same stimulus or mice not exposed to that stimulus. Exposure to taste novelty increased expression of c-fos and arg 3.1 mRNA in the cingulate cortex and deep layers of the parietal cortex. In addition, c-fos mRNA expression was increased in the amygdala and arg 3.1 mRNA was increased in the dentate gyrus. Expression of c-fos and arg 3.1 was elevated 30 min after the exposure to novelty. For arg 3.1, a second peak of expression was found 4.5 h after presentation of the novel stimulus. Our results indicate that the amygdala, the dentate gyrus, and the cingulate and parietal cortices may be involved in novelty detection and associated cognitive events, and suggest that c-fos and arg 3.1 play distinct roles in these processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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