Transitions in infant learning are modulated by dopamine in the amygdala

Nat Neurosci. 2009 Nov;12(11):1367-9. doi: 10.1038/nn.2403. Epub 2009 Sep 27.

Abstract

Behavioral transitions characterize development. Young infant rats paradoxically prefer odors that are paired with shock, but older pups learn aversions. This transition is amygdala and corticosterone dependent. Using microarrays and microdialysis, we found downregulated dopaminergic presynaptic function in the amygdala with preference learning. Corticosterone-injected 8-d-old pups and untreated 12-d-old pups learned aversions and had dopaminergic upregulation in the amygdala. Dopamine injection into the amygdala changed preferences to aversions, whereas dopamine antagonism reinstated preference learning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Amygdala / drug effects
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Avoidance Learning / drug effects
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology*
  • Conditioning, Classical / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology*
  • Corticosterone / blood
  • Corticosterone / pharmacology
  • Dopamine / genetics
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Dopamine Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Electrochemical Techniques / methods
  • Electroshock / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Microdialysis / methods
  • Odorants
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis / methods
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans

Substances

  • Dopamine Antagonists
  • Dopamine
  • Corticosterone