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Brief olfactory learning drives perceptive sensitivity in newborn rabbits: New insights in peripheral processing of odor mixtures and induction

Abstract : Perception of the wide, complex and moving odor world requires that the olfactory system engages processing mechanisms ensuring detection, discrimination and environment adaptation, as early as the peripheral stages. Odor items are mainly elicited by odorant mixtures which give rise to either elemental or configural perceptions. Here, we first explored the contribution of the peripheral olfactory system to configural and elemental perception through odorant interactions at the olfactory receptor (OR) level. This was done in newborn rabbits, which offer the opportunity to pair peripheral electrophysiology and well characterized behavioral responses to two binary mixtures, AB and A'B', which differ in their component ratio (A: ethyl isobutyrate, B: ethyl maltol), and that rabbit pups respectively perceived configurally and elementally. Second, we studied the influence on peripheral reactivity of the brief but powerful learning of one mixture component (odorant B), conditioned by association with the mammary pheromone (MP), which allowed us to assess the possible implication of the phenomenon called induction in neonatal odor learning. Induction is a plasticity mechanism expected to alter both the peripheral electrophysiological responses to, and perceptual detection threshold of, the conditioned stimulus. The results reveal that perceptual modes are partly rooted in differential peripheral processes, the AB configurally perceived mixture mirroring odorant antagonist interactions at OR level to a lesser extent than the A'B' elementally perceived mixture. Further, the results highlight that a single and brief MP-induced odor learning episode is sufficient to alter peripheral responses to the conditioned stimulus and mixtures including it, and shifts the conditioned stimulus detection threshold towards lower concentrations. Thus, MP-induced odor learning relies on induction phenomenon in newborn rabbits.
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https://www.hal.inserm.fr/inserm-03007687
Contributor : Gérard Coureaud <>
Submitted on : Monday, November 23, 2020 - 2:53:10 PM
Last modification on : Monday, November 23, 2020 - 4:46:55 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - 7:26:36 PM

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Patricia Duchamp-Viret, Jiasmine Boyer, Florian La Villa, G. Coureaud. Brief olfactory learning drives perceptive sensitivity in newborn rabbits: New insights in peripheral processing of odor mixtures and induction. Physiology and Behavior, Elsevier, 2020, pp.113217. ⟨10.1016/j.physbeh.2020.113217⟩. ⟨inserm-03007687⟩

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