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Behav Brain Res. 2009 Jan 3;196(1):49-54. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2008.07.018. Epub 2008 Jul 25.

Early auditory enrichment with music enhances auditory discrimination learning and alters NR2B protein expression in rat auditory cortex.

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Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, College of Life Science, East China Normal University, 3663 North Zhongshan Road, Shanghai, China.


Previous studies have shown that the functional development of auditory system is substantially influenced by the structure of environmental acoustic inputs in early life. In our present study, we investigated the effects of early auditory enrichment with music on rat auditory discrimination learning. We found that early auditory enrichment with music from postnatal day (PND) 14 enhanced learning ability in auditory signal-detection task and in sound duration-discrimination task. In parallel, a significant increase was noted in NMDA receptor subunit NR2B protein expression in the auditory cortex. Furthermore, we found that auditory enrichment with music starting from PND 28 or 56 did not influence NR2B expression in the auditory cortex. No difference was found in the NR2B expression in the inferior colliculus (IC) between music-exposed and normal rats, regardless of when the auditory enrichment with music was initiated. Our findings suggest that early auditory enrichment with music influences NMDA-mediated neural plasticity, which results in enhanced auditory discrimination learning.

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