Visualizing mushroom body response to a conditioned odor in honeybees

Naturwissenschaften. 2001 Nov;88(11):472-6. doi: 10.1007/s001140100263.


Combining differential conditioning with optophysiological recordings of bee brain activity allows the investigation of learning-related changes in complex neural systems. In this study we focused on the mushroom bodies of the bee brain. Presenting different odors to the animal leads to significant activation of the mushroom body lips. After differential conditioning, the rewarded odor leads to stronger activation than it did before training. Activation by the unrewarded odor remains unchanged. These results resemble findings in the bee's antennal lobes, which are the first olfactory relay station in the insect brain. As an integrative neural network, enhanced activation of the mushroom body lip may carry additional information, i.e., for processing odor concentrations.

MeSH terms

  • Agaricales
  • Animals
  • Bees / physiology*
  • Conditioning, Psychological*
  • Female
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Odorants*
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiology*
  • Reward