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Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2004 Feb;24(1):25-36.

Molecular signals into the insular cortex and amygdala during aversive gustatory memory formation.

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Department of Neurosciences, Institute of Cellular Physiology, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apartado Postal 70-253, 04510 México DF, México.


In this paper, we will provide evidence of the putative molecular signals and biochemical events that mediate the formation of long-lasting gustatory memory trace. When an animal drinks a novel taste (the conditioned stimulus; CS) and it is later associated with malaise (unconditioned stimulus; US), the animal will reject it in the next presentation, developing a long-lasting taste aversion, i.e., the taste cue becomes an aversive signal, and this is referred to as conditioning taste aversion. Different evidence indicates that the novel stimulus (taste) induces a rapid and strong cortical acetylcholine activity that decreases when the stimulus becomes familiar after several presentations. Cholinergic activation via muscarinic receptors initiates a series of intracellular events leading to plastic changes that could be related to short- and/or long-term memory gustatory trace. Such plastic changes facilitate the incoming US signals carried out by, in part, the glutamate release induced by the US. Altogether, these events could produce the cellular changes related to the switch from safe to aversive taste memory trace. A proposed working model to explain the biochemical sequence of signals during taste memory formation will be discussed.

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