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Behav Neurosci. 2008 Jun;122(3):722-9. doi: 10.1037/0735-7044.122.3.722.

Eyeblink classical conditioning in the preweanling lamb.

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Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4466, USA.


Classical conditioning of eyeblink responses has been one of the most important models for studying the neurobiology of learning, with many comparative, ontogenetic, and clinical applications. The current study reports the development of procedures to conduct eyeblink conditioning in preweanling lambs and demonstrates successful conditioning using these procedures. These methods will permit application of eyeblink conditioning procedures in the analysis of functional correlates of cerebellar damage in a sheep model of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, which has significant advantages over more common laboratory rodent models. Because sheep have been widely used for studies of pathogenesis and mechanisms of injury with many different prenatal or perinatal physiological insults, eyeblink conditioning can provide a well-studied method to assess postnatal behavioral outcomes, which heretofore have not typically been pursued with ovine models of developmental insults.

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