The cellular analog of sensitization in Aplysia emerges at the same time in development as behavioral sensitization

T. G. Nolen, T. J. Carew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent studies examining the development of learning and memory in the gill and siphon withdrawal reflex of Aplysia have shown that different forms of learning emerge according to very different developmental timetables. For example, in the previous paper, Rankin and Carew (1988) showed that, whereas habituation and dishabituation emerge early in juvenile development (in stage 9 and 10, respectively), sensitization emerges at least 60 d later (in late stage 12). This developmental separation of different learning processes provides the opportunity to examine the unique contribution of specific cellular mechanisms to each form of learning. As a first step in this cellular analysis, in the present paper we have examined the development of the cellular analog of sensitization (facilitation of nondecremented EPSPs) in the identified giant neuron R2, which can serve as a monitor of the afferent input in the gill and siphon withdrawal reflex (Rayport and Camardo, 1984). We have found 2 striking parallels between the development of behavioral sensitization and the development of its cellular analog: (1) Behavioral sensitization, produced by tail shock, emerges very late in juvenile development (stage 12), and the cellular analog of sensitization ( produced by activation of the tail pathway) emerges by exactly the same late juvenile stage; (2) prior to the emergence of behavioral sensitization, tail shock unexpectedly was found to produce significant reflex depression (Rankin and Carew, 1988), and prior to the emergence of the cellular analog of sensitization, activation of the tail pathway was found to produce significant depression of the synaptic input in the reflex pathway. Thus, the cellular analog of sensitization in the CNS develops and matures in close temporal register with the development of behavioral sensitization in juvenile Aplysia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-222
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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