Locus Coeruleus Activation Patterns Differentially Modulate Odor Discrimination Learning and Odor Valence in Rats

Ghosh, Abhinaba and Massaeli, Faghihe and Power, Kyron D. and Omoluabi, Tamunotonye and Torraville, Sarah E. and Pritchett, Julia B. and Sepahvand, Tayebeh and Strong, Vanessa Dawn and Reinhardt, Camila and Chen, Xihua and Martin, Gerard M. and Harley, Carolyn W. and Yuan, Qi (2021) Locus Coeruleus Activation Patterns Differentially Modulate Odor Discrimination Learning and Odor Valence in Rats. Cerebral Cortex Communications, 2 (2). ISSN 2632-7376

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The locus coeruleus (LC) produces phasic and tonic firing patterns that are theorized to have distinct functional consequences. However, how different firing modes affect learning and valence encoding of sensory information are unknown. Here, we show bilateral optogenetic activation of rat LC neurons using 10-Hz phasic trains of either 300 ms or 10 s accelerated acquisition of a similar odor discrimination. Similar odor discrimination learning was impaired by noradrenergic blockade in the piriform cortex (PC). However, 10-Hz phasic light-mediated learning facilitation was prevented by a dopaminergic antagonist in the PC, or by ventral tegmental area (VTA) silencing with lidocaine, suggesting a LC–VTA–PC dopamine circuitry involvement. Ten-hertz tonic stimulation did not alter odor discrimination acquisition, and was ineffective in activating VTA DA neurons. For valence encoding, tonic stimulation at 25 Hz induced conditioned odor aversion, whereas 10-Hz phasic stimulations produced an odor preference. Both conditionings were prevented by noradrenergic blockade in the basolateral amygdala (BLA). Cholera Toxin B retro-labeling showed larger engagement of nucleus accumbens-projecting neurons in the BLA with 10-Hz phasic activation, and larger engagement of central amygdala projecting cells with 25-Hz tonic light. These outcomes argue that the LC activation patterns differentially influence both target networks and behavior.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 15379
Additional Information: Memorial University Open Access Author's Fund
Keywords: locus coeruleus, odor discrimination, odor valence, optogenetic
Department(s): Medicine, Faculty of > Biomedical Sciences
Date: 5 April 2021
Date Type: Publication
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