Post-oral and perioral stimulations during nursing enhance appetitive olfactory memory in neonatal rabbits.
Chemical Senses. 2009-04-14; 34(5): 405-413
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1. Chem Senses. 2009 Jun;34(5):405-13. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjp014. Epub 2009 Apr 14.
Post-oral and perioral stimulations during nursing enhance appetitive olfactory
memory in neonatal rabbits.
Serra J(1), Ferreira G, Mirabito L, Lévy F, Nowak R.
(1)Equipe Comportement, Neurobiologie, Adaptation, Unité de Physiologie de la
Reproduction et des Comportements, UMR6175 CNRS INRA, Université de Tours, Haras
Nationaux, Nouzilly, France.
Nursing-suckling interactions facilitate olfactory learning in newborns as long
as suckling and the olfactory stimulus temporally overlap. We tested the
hypothesis that olfactory preferences would develop even with a long delay
between odor presentation and nursing. Thyme was presented to 2-day-old rabbit
pups by placing an odorized plate 2 cm above their nest box. Duration and time of
nursing were controlled and occurred before, during, or after odor presentation.
Controls were not nursed. When exposed to the odor for 15 min, control pups
preferred thyme to a novel odor in a 2-choice test immediately after exposure but
not 3 and 22 h later. When pups were nursed immediately before thyme exposure or
during exposure, they preferred the familiar odorant until 22 h later.
Identically, when nursing occurred 30 min before odor exposure, a preference for
thyme was maintained up to 22 h. This was not observed when nursing occurred 60
min before odor presentation. We concluded that enhancement of olfactory memory
occurs in neonates during nursing but also after post-oral stimulation by
postprandial internal state.
PMID: 19366788 [Indexed for MEDLINE]