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Keywords:

  • field potential;
  • mating;
  • mice;
  • olfactory memory;
  • pheromone;
  • single-unit activity

Abstract

When female mice are mated, they form a memory to the pheromonal signal of their male partner. The neural changes underlying this memory occur in the accessory olfactory bulb, depend upon vaginocervical stimulation at mating and involve changes at the reciprocal synapses between mitral and granule cells. However, the action of vaginocervical stimulation on the reciprocal interactions between mitral and granule cells remains to be elucidated. We have examined the effects of vaginocervical stimulation on paired-pulse depression of amygdala-evoked field potentials recorded in the external plexiform layer of the accessory olfactory bulb (AOB) and the single-unit activity of mitral cells antidromically stimulated from the amygdala in urethane-anaesthetized female mice. Artificial vaginocervical stimulation reduced paired-pulse depression (considered to be due to feedback inhibition of the mitral cell dendrites from the granule cells via reciprocal dendrodendritic synapses) recorded in the AOB external plexiform layer. As would be expected from this result, vaginocervical stimulation also enhanced the spontaneous activity of a proportion of the mitral cells tested. These results suggest that vaginocervical stimulation reduces dendrodendritic feedback inhibition to mitral cells and enhances their activity.