Olfactory recognition: a simple memory system

Science  30 Nov 1990:
Vol. 250, Issue 4985, pp. 1223-1226
DOI: 10.1126/science.2147078


Mice have an olfactory (pheromone) recognition memory located at the first relay in the sensory system. It is acquired with one-trial learning, contingent upon norepinephrine activation at mating, and lasts for several weeks. The mechanism involves Hebbian (association-dependent) changes in synaptic efficacy at dendrodendritic synapses in the accessory olfactory bulb. As a result of this memory, males made familiar by mating are recognized by the females, thereby mitigating pregnancy block. Such a memory function is biologically important to the female, as it is required to sustain pregnancy in the presence of her stud male's odors.

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