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Brain Res. 1995 Jan 23;670(1):82-8.

Enhancement of odorant-induced mucosal activity patterns in rats trained on an odorant identification task.

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Department of Physiology, SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse 13210, USA.


Previous studies have demonstrated that there are intrinsic spatial patterns of odorant sensitivity across the rat olfactory mucosa. The question of how these patterns are determined and whether they are modifiable with experience remains open. Therefore, the present study examined whether the odorant-induced spatial activity patterns which are characteristic of different odorants would be altered by experience. Odorant exposure was achieved as a consequence of training and testing on a five odorant identification task in which rats were trained to differentially report (i.e. identify) the odorants propanol, ehtylacetoacetate, carvone, citral, and propyl acetate. At the completion of testing, each animal was sacrificed and their mucosal activity patterns recorded using optical techniques and a voltage-sensitive dye. Using the dye, di-4-ANEPPS, we monitored the fluorescence changes at 100 contiguous sites with a 10 x 10 photodiode array on the olfactory mucosa of each rat's septum and medial surface of the turbinates in response to the same five odorants. The recorded spatial activity patterns of trained animals were compared to those of age-matched controls. For the trained animals, both mucosal surfaces showed a significant increase in the average response magnitude. Furthermore, for the septal mucosa only, there was a significant increase in the distinctiveness of an odorant's characteristic 'hot spot'.

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