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Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2003 Jan;79(1):57-71.

Exposure to a retrieval cue in rats induces changes in regional brain glucose metabolism in the amygdala and other related brain structures.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Neurobiologie de l'Apprentissage, de la Mémoire et de la Communication, CNRS UMR 8620, Université Paris Sud, 91405 Orsay Cedex, France.


Pre-test exposure to training-related cues is known to improve subsequent retention performance. To identify brain regions engaged in processes promoted by retrieval cues, a brain imaging approach using the [6-14C]glucose autoradiographic technique was used. Sprague-Dawley rats trained in a brightness discrimination avoidance task were submitted to different cueing conditions after a 1- or a 21-day training-to-test interval (TTI). Animals were either non-cued, cued with a box, or cued with a box and the light that served as a discriminative stimulus. Effects of the different cueing conditions on retention performance or on metabolic activity in 58 different brain regions were investigated. Rats cued with the light exhibited a subsequent improvement of their retention performance relative to controls, when tested at the 1- but not 21-days TTI, confirming our previous results. At the 1-day retention interval, a comparison between rats cued with the box and rats cued with the box and the light showed that the light cue significantly increased glucose uptake in a neuronal network composed of the lateral, basal, and central nuclei of the amygdala, the anterior and suprachiasmatic hypothalamic nuclei, the nucleus accumbens, the medial septum, and the insular cortex. In contrast, at the 21-day retention interval, both groups demonstrated similar cerebral metabolic activity. The present results indicate that exposure to a light cue increased metabolic activity in the previously mentioned brain structures only when the light acted as an effective retrieval cue, suggesting an involvement of this network in the processes triggered by a retrieval cue. Arguments are provided supporting the notion that the amygdala may play a key role in these processes. Whether the amygdala is a part of a neural network involved in retrieval processes or in neuromodulating systems that favour the efficacy of retrieval processes is also discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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