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Behav Neurosci. 1999 Feb;113(1):103-17.

Interactive contributions of intracellular calcium and protein phosphatases to massed-trials learning deficits in Hermissenda.

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Department of Psychology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway 08903, USA.


Using Hermissenda as subjects, massed-trials training deficits were examined. Associative pairings of light and rotation induced a progressively greater conditioned foot contraction in response to light as the intertrial interval (ITI) was extended (up to 8 min). In contrast, a short ITI (30 s) produced no evidence of learning. In a corresponding in vitro conditioning experiment that mimicked training of the intact animal, facilitation of neuronal excitability in the animal's B photoreceptors paralleled the results obtained in vivo. Imaging of intracellular Ca2+ using Fura-2 indicated that Ca2+ levels remained elevated during short ITIs. This Ca2+ accumulation appears to induce activation of protein phosphatases because normal facilitation of the B photoreceptors was induced with a short ITI if training occurred in the presence of a phosphatase inhibitor. These results suggest that intracellular Ca2+ and protein phosphatases contribute interactively to the kinetics of memory formation and provide evidence that an accumulation of intracellular Ca2+ across training trials may impede memory formation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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