Editors' ChoiceNeurobiology

Learning and Relearning

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Science's STKE  27 Mar 2001:
Vol. 2001, Issue 75, pp. tw8
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2001.75.tw8

Experimental extinction, the disappearance of a conditioned behavior after repetitive trials in the absence of the unconditioned stimulus, is not simply a kind of forgetting but rather a new learning phenomenon. To address the cellular mechanisms underlying this phenomenon, Berman and Dudai studied conditioned taste aversion in the rat insular cortex. Both acquisition and extinction of conditioned taste aversion were impaired by inhibition of protein synthesis and involved β-adrenergic receptor activation. Acquisition, but not extinction, was decreased by antagonists of muscarinic receptors and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors and also by mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitors. There are thus clear differences between memory encoding and consolidation during retrieval.

D. E. Berman, Y. Dudai, Memory extinction, learning anew, and learning the new: Dissociations in the molecular machinery of learning in cortex. Science 291, 2417-2419 (2001). [Abstract] [Full Text]

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