Assessing recent and remote associative olfactory memory in rats using the social transmission of food preference paradigm

Benjamin Bessières, Olivier Nicole, Bruno Bontempi
Nat Protoc. 2017-06-22; 12(7): 1415-1436
DOI: 10.1038/nprot.2017.050

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1. Nat Protoc. 2017 Jul;12(7):1415-1436. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2017.050. Epub 2017 Jun
22.

Assessing recent and remote associative olfactory memory in rats using the social
transmission of food preference paradigm.

Bessières B(1)(2), Nicole O(1)(2), Bontempi B(1)(2).

Author information:
(1)Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives, CNRS, Bordeaux, France.
(2)Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives, Université de Bordeaux, Bordeaux,
France.

Rats have the ability to learn about potential food sources by sampling their
odors on the breath of conspecifics. Although this ethologically based social
behavior has been transposed to the laboratory to probe nonspatial associative
olfactory memory, only a few studies have taken full advantage of its unique
features to examine the organization of recently and remotely acquired
information. We provide a set of standardized procedures and technical
refinements that are particularly useful in achieving this goal while minimizing
confounding factors. These procedures, built upon a three-stage protocol (odor
exposure, social interaction and preference test), are designed to optimize
performance across variable retention delays, thus enabling the reliable
assessment of recent and remote memory, and underlying processes, including
encoding, consolidation, retrieval and forgetting. The different variants of the
social transmission of food preference paradigm, which take a few days to several
weeks to perform, make it an attractive and versatile tool that can be coupled to
many applications in CNS research. The paradigm can be easily implemented in a
typical rodent facility by personnel with standard animal behavioral expertise.

DOI: 10.1038/nprot.2017.050
PMID: 28686584 [Indexed for MEDLINE]


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