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Neural Plast. 2009;2009:754014. doi: 10.1155/2009/754014. Epub 2009 Apr 1.

Auditory stimulation dishabituates olfactory responses via noradrenergic cortical modulation.

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


Dishabituation is a return of a habituated response if context or contingency changes. In the mammalian olfactory system, metabotropic glutamate receptor mediated synaptic depression of cortical afferents underlies short-term habituation to odors. It was hypothesized that a known antagonistic interaction between these receptors and norepinephrine ss-receptors provides a mechanism for dishabituation. The results demonstrate that a 108 dB siren induces a two-fold increase in norepinephrine content in the piriform cortex. The same auditory stimulus induces dishabituation of odor-evoked heart rate orienting bradycardia responses in awake rats. Finally, blockade of piriform cortical norepinephrine ss-receptors with bilateral intracortical infusions of propranolol (100 microM) disrupts auditory-induced dishabituation of odor-evoked bradycardia responses. These results provide a cortical mechanism for a return of habituated sensory responses following a cross-modal alerting stimulus.

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