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Behavioral Neuroscience

John Montgomery, Krista Perks
The elaborate structure of the cerebellum has been long known, although its contribution to a remarkable diversity of behavior is only recently appreciated. Taking an evolutionary perspective, we consider the wider function of the cerebellum based on insight from the function of so-called cerebellum-like structures. Cerebellum-like structures cancel the effects of self-stimulation, a function that has been well characterized in both elasmobranch and weakly electric fish. This function depends on the implementation of an adaptive filter, which provides an input-output transformation modified by specific learning rules...
April 22, 2019: Behavioral Neuroscience
Deniz Dohmen, Steffen R Hage
Taking turns plays an important role in primate communication and involves individuals producing species-specific calls in response to conspecific vocalizations. Recent studies have revealed that marmoset monkeys are an ideal primate model system to investigate vocal turn-taking behavior and the corresponding sensory-motor interactions. However, it is largely unknown how external factors such as conspecific call latency influence this vocal behavior. Using interactive playback, we systematically answered vocalizations of monkeys with either short- or long-call response latencies...
April 22, 2019: Behavioral Neuroscience
Kerry A Howard, Amy Silvestri Hunter
The present study investigated immediate and long-lasting cognitive effects of chronic sleep restriction (CSR) in adolescent rats. After 10 days of CSR produced by gentle handling, both hippocampal-dependent and non-hippocampal-dependent long-term memory abilities were tested using the object location task and the object recognition task, respectively. Testing occurred in adolescence and after a 4-week delay during which rats slept freely and matured to adulthood. Rats exposed to CSR showed impaired memory on the object location task during adolescence that persisted into adulthood...
March 21, 2019: Behavioral Neuroscience
Ajeesh Koshy Cherian, Natalie C Tronson, Vinay Parikh, Aaron Kucinski, Randy D Blakely, Martin Sarter
Previous research emphasized the impact of traumatic brain injury on cholinergic systems and associated cognitive functions. Here we addressed the converse question: Because of the available evidence indicating cognitive and neuronal vulnerabilities in humans expressing low-capacity cholinergic systems or with declining cholinergic systems, do injuries cause more severe cognitive decline in such subjects, and what cholinergic mechanisms contribute to such vulnerability? Using mice heterozygous for the choline transporter (CHT+/- mice) as a model for a limited cholinergic capacity, we investigated the cognitive and neuronal consequences of repeated, mild concussion injuries (rmCc)...
March 21, 2019: Behavioral Neuroscience
Lauren B Burhans, Bernard G Schreurs
For almost 75 years, classical eyeblink conditioning has been an invaluable tool for assessing associative learning processes across many species, thanks to its high translatability and well-defined neural circuitry. Our laboratory has adapted the paradigm to extensively detail associative changes in the rabbit reflexive eyeblink response (unconditioned response, UR), characterized by postconditioning increases in the frequency, size, and latency of the UR when the periorbital shock unconditioned stimulus (US) is presented alone, termed conditioning-specific reflex modification (CRM)...
March 14, 2019: Behavioral Neuroscience
Gillian M Clark, Michael P Barham, Anna T Ware, James M A Plumridge, Bernadette O'Sullivan, Kristie Lyons, Tegan Fitzgibbon, Bree Buck, George J Youssef, Michael T Ullman, Peter G Enticott, Jarrad A G Lum
The primary motor area (M1) has been implicated in visuomotor sequence learning. However, it has been suggested there are multiple neural networks that undertake visuomotor sequence learning. The role of M1 in sequence learning may be specific to learning simple sequences comprising predictable associations between adjacent movements. This study aimed to investigate the role of M1 in learning simple ("first-order conditional") and more complex ("second-order conditional") sequences. It was hypothesized that continuous theta burst stimulation (cTBS) over M1 would result in poorer learning of the simple sequence only...
March 14, 2019: Behavioral Neuroscience
Trinity I Russell, Mike J F Robinson
Reward uncertainty is a common characteristic of gambling and may powerfully enhance attraction to gambling-related cues, thus promoting maladaptive gambling behaviors in susceptible individuals. The co-occurrence of gambling disorder with tobacco use disorder (60.4%) suggests a common mechanism for their pathology, and comorbid anxiety (41.3%) might further promote the maintenance of these behaviors. However, it is unknown how nicotine or anxiety might contribute to cue and reward attraction, or promote disordered gambling behavior...
March 14, 2019: Behavioral Neuroscience
Luis Acaba, David Sidibe, John Thygesen, Harrison Van der Kloot, Laura E Been
Motivated behaviors share the common feature of activating the mesolimbic dopamine system. Repeated experience with motivated behaviors can cause long-lasting structural changes in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). The molecular mechanisms underlying this experience-dependent plasticity in the NAc have been well described following experience with drugs of abuse. In particular, the transcription factor Delta FosB (ΔFosB) is a key regulator of drug-related neuroplasticity. Fewer studies have examined the molecular mechanisms underlying experience-dependent plasticity in the NAc following naturally motivated behaviors, but previous research has demonstrated that sexual experience increases the accumulation of ΔFosB in the NAc of female hamsters and male rats...
March 14, 2019: Behavioral Neuroscience
Sarah E Bae, Rick Richardson
Behavioral tagging, which is well-established in adults, has recently been shown to also occur in infants. Interestingly, while familiarizing the novel experience abolishes behavioral tagging in adults, it appears to be without effect in infants. Familiarization, at least in infants, may act as an experience-dependent switch, closing the hippocampal critical period and thus accelerating the maturation of the hippocampus. In this study, infant (i.e., Postnatal Day 17) rats were placed in a context and shocked...
March 4, 2019: Behavioral Neuroscience
Surbhi, Kelcie C Schatz, Robert F Kyne, Randy J Nelson, Matthew J Paul
In many species, seasonal changes in photoperiod regulate several behaviors and physiological systems, including reproduction, energy balance, and immune function. MicroRNAs (miRs) regulate numerous physiological processes and developmental transitions through translational repression and mRNA degradation. Their role in seasonal transitions has been vastly understudied, with only a few reports in animals. Furthermore, no study has assessed whether there are sex differences in seasonal regulation of miRs. miR-155 is a primary candidate for seasonal regulation because it influences immune responses, energetics, and reproductive function...
February 11, 2019: Behavioral Neuroscience
Gonzalo R Quintana, Brunella González, Eric Borduas, Valérie Lemay, Francisco Yarur, James G Pfaus
Male rats develop a conditioned ejaculatory preference (CEP) toward females bearing an odor or somatosensory cue (rodent jacket) when those stimuli are paired with the postejaculatory reward state. As with a copulatory conditioned place preference, CEP for an odor depends on endogenous opioid transmission after ejaculation. The nonselective opioid receptor antagonist naloxone (NAL) disrupts CEP for an odor cue on female rats when injected systemically to males prior to each conditioning trial. Here, we evaluated whether NAL would disrupt the development of a CEP for the somatosensory cue...
February 4, 2019: Behavioral Neuroscience
Gonzalo R Quintana, Steve Desbiens, Sarah Marceau, Narges Kalantari, James Bowden, James G Pfaus
Male and female rats form a conditioned preference to copulate and/or mate with conspecifics bearing an odor that was paired with either the postejaculatory reward state in males, or paced sexual contact in females, making the odor act as a discrete partner-related cue. Here, we asked whether a somatosensory cue, a rodent jacket, could act as a discrete cue to establish a conditioned partner choice (CPC). In the first study, sexually naïve Long-Evans males and females underwent 14 copulatory conditioning trials for 30 min with their opposite sex partner in unilevel pacing chambers...
February 4, 2019: Behavioral Neuroscience
Allison R Bechard, Peter U Hamor, Lizhen Wu, Marek Schwendt, Lori A Knackstedt
Research using the cocaine self-administration and reinstatement animal model of relapse finds that the beta-lactam antibiotic, ceftriaxone, attenuates cocaine-primed reinstatement of cocaine seeking and upregulates two proteins that regulate glutamate release and reuptake (xCT and GLT-1, respectively) in the nucleus accumbens core (NAc). We tested three compounds with beta-lactam rings for their ability to attenuate cue-primed reinstatement and increase GLT-1 and xCT expression in the NAc and prefrontal cortex (PFC)...
February 4, 2019: Behavioral Neuroscience
Gongbei Zhu, Xiaofei Sun, Yun Yang, Yao Du, Yuhan Lin, Jianming Xiang, Ningna Zhou
The GABAergic neuroplasticity dysfunction (GND) has been proposed as a distinct pathology for late-life anxiety disorder (LLAD). Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a critical signaling molecule that regulates the GABAergic neuroplasticity. This research was designed to explore our hypothesis that the reduction of BDNF along with aging could induce GND, which might contribute to LLAD, and application of exogenous BDNF might reverse LLAD by restoring the GABAergic neuroplasticity. We focused on the hippocampus because it is the neural core of mood regulation and can be affected by aging...
February 4, 2019: Behavioral Neuroscience
Sergio D Iñiguez, Lyonna F Parise, Mary Kay Lobo, Francisco J Flores-Ramirez, Israel Garcia-Carachure, Brandon L Warren, Alfred J Robison
The hippocampus mediates responses to affect-related behavior in preclinical models of pharmacological antidepressant efficacy, such as the forced swim test. However, the molecular mechanisms that regulate escape-directed behavior in this preclinical model of despair are not well understood. Here, using viral-mediated gene transfer, we assessed how overexpression of extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK)-2 within the dorsal hippocampus influenced behavioral reactivity to inescapable swimming stress in adult male Sprague-Dawley rats...
April 2019: Behavioral Neuroscience
Tyler R Orem, Muriah D Wheelock, Adam M Goodman, Nathaniel G Harnett, Kimberly H Wood, Ethan W Gossett, Douglas A Granger, Sylvie Mrug, David C Knight
Stress elicits a variety of psychophysiological responses that show large interindividual variability. Determining the neural mechanisms that mediate individual differences in the emotional response to stress would provide new insight that would have important implications for understanding stress-related disorders. Therefore, the present study examined individual differences in the relationship between brain activity and the emotional response to stress. In the largest stress study to date, 239 participants completed the Montreal Imaging Stress Task (MIST) while heart rate, skin conductance response (SCR), cortisol, self-reported stress, and blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) functional MRI (fMRI) signal responses were measured...
April 2019: Behavioral Neuroscience
Donna L Korol, Robert S Gardner, Tumay Tunur, Paul E Gold
Growing evidence indicates that hippocampal lactate, released from astrocytes, is an important regulator of learning and memory processing. This study evaluated the selective involvement of hippocampal and striatal lactate in two object recognition tasks. The tasks tested recognition memory after a change in location of two target objects (double object location; dOL) or after replacement of familiar targets with two new objects set in the original locations (double object replacement; dOR). Rats received three study sessions across which exploration times decreased...
April 2019: Behavioral Neuroscience
Kurt M Fraser, Peter C Holland
Occasion setting refers to the ability of 1 stimulus, an occasion setter, to modulate the efficacy of the association between another, conditioned stimulus (CS) and an unconditioned stimulus (US) or reinforcer. Occasion setters and simple CSs are readily distinguished. For example, occasion setters are relatively immune to extinction and counterconditioning, and their combination and transfer functions differ substantially from those of simple CSs. Similarly, the acquisition of occasion setting is favored when stimuli are separated by longer intervals, by empty trace intervals, and are of different modalities, whereas the opposite conditions typically favor the acquisition of simple associations...
April 2019: Behavioral Neuroscience
Bruno Ouimet, Élise Pépin, Yan Bergeron, Laure Chagniel, Jean Martin Beaulieu, Guy Massicotte, Michel Cyr
Akt protein family (Akt1, Akt2 and Akt3) of serine/threonine kinases, also known as protein kinase B, are enzymes implicated in many physiological and pathological processes in the central nervous system. A striking feature of these enzymes is their ability to interact with several molecular targets such as the glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK-3). Among Akt isoforms, the Akt3 is significantly more expressed in the brain and the present investigation was designed to determine whether the Akt3/GSK-3 pathway plays a role in the learning of a complex motor skill...
February 2019: Behavioral Neuroscience
Aaron Kucinski, Youngsoo Kim, Martin Sarter
Sign- and goal-tracking behavior signifies the influence of opposed cognitive-motivational styles, with the former being characterized by a tendency for approaching and contacting reward cues, including a readiness for attending, bottom-up, to salient cues, and a relatively greater vulnerability for developing and maintaining addiction-like behaviors. We previously demonstrated that these styles also impact the cognitive-motor interactions that are taxed during traversal of dynamic surfaces, with goal-trackers (GTs) making less movement errors and falling less frequently than sign-trackers (STs)...
February 2019: Behavioral Neuroscience
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