Neurobiology of learning and memory

Mitogen-activated protein kinase in the amygdala plays a critical role in lithium chloride-induced taste aversion learning.

PMID 22085719


The intracellular mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway in the brain is necessary for the formation of a variety of memories including conditioned taste aversion (CTA) learning. However, the functional role of MAPK activation in the amygdala during lithium chloride (LiCl)-induced CTA learning has not been established. In the present study, we investigated if local microinjection of SL327, a MAPK kinase inhibitor, into the rat amygdala could alleviate LiCl-induced CTA learning. Our results revealed that acute administration of a high dose of LiCl (0.15M, 12 ml/kg, i.p.) rapidly increased the level of phosphorylated MAPK (pMAPK)-positive cells in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) and nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) of rats as measured by immunohistochemistry. Local microinjection of SL327 (1 μg/0.5 μl/hemisphere) into the CeA 10 min before LiCl administration decreased both the strength of LiCl-induced CTA paired with 0.125% saccharin and the level of LiCl-induced pMAPK-positive cells in the CeA, but not in the NTS. Our data suggest that the intracellular signaling cascade of the MAPK pathway in the CeA plays a critical role in the processing of visceral information induced by LiCl for CTA learning.

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Aminoacetonitrile, ≥98%