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Behav Neurosci. 2000 Oct;114(5):957-62.

Association of an odor with activation of olfactory bulb noradrenergic beta-receptors or locus coeruleus stimulation is sufficient to produce learned approach responses to that odor in neonatal rats.

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Department of Zoology, University of Oklahoma, Norman 73019, USA.


These experiments examined the sufficiency of pairing an odor with either intrabulbar activation of noradrenergic beta-receptors or pharmacological stimulation of the locus coeruleus to support learned odor preferences in Postnatal Day 6-7 rat pups. The results showed that pups exposed to odor paired with beta-receptor activation limited to the olfactory bulb (isoproterenol, 50 microM) displayed a conditioned approach response on subsequent exposure to that odor. Furthermore, putative stimulation of the locus coeruleus (2 microM idazoxan or 2 mM acetylcholine) paired with odor produced a subsequent preference for that odor. The effects of locus coeruleus stimulation could be blocked by a pretraining injection of the beta-receptor antagonist propranolol (20 mg/kg). Together these results suggest that convergence of odor input with norepinephrine release from the locus coeruleus terminals within the olfactory bulb is sufficient to support olfactory learning.

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