Memory-Blocking Agents: Effects on Olfactory Discrimination in Homing Salmon

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Science  04 Jul 1969:
Vol. 165, Issue 3888, pp. 86-88
DOI: 10.1126/science.165.3888.86


Homing salmon were injected intracranially with puromycin, actinomycin D, or cycloheximide. From 4 to 7 hours after such treatment these agents markedly inhibited olfactory bulbar discrimination between home water and other natural waters, including spawning sites for other groups of salmon. At longer intervals after treatment there was a partial restoration of olfactory memory-based discrimination. The dosages of the inhibitors used could be shown to have depressed incorporation of H3-leucine into protein by 78 percent or of H3-uridine into RNA by 41 percent in the salmon brains 4 hours after intracranial injection. These findings suggest that acute blockage of RNA synthesis or protein synthesis can interfere with long-term olfactory memory in anadromous salmon, at least as this function can be analyzed by electrophysiological methods. This implies that long-term olfactory memory depends upon continued metabolism of RNA and continued protein synthesis.

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