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Keywords:

  • conditioned taste aversion;
  • latent inhibition;
  • incidental learning;
  • propranolol;
  • norepinephrine;
  • consolidation

Abstract

In conditioned taste aversion (CTA), a subject learns to associate a novel taste (conditioned stimulus, CS) with visceral malaise (unconditioned stimulus, US). Considerable evidence indicates that the noradrenergic system in the amygdala plays an important role in memory consolidation for emotionally arousing experiences. The specific aim of the present set of experiments was to determine the involvement of noradrenergic activity in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) during the US presentation and consolidation of CTA as well as during the consolidation of a nonaversive/incidental gustatory memory. Selective bilateral microinfusions of the β-adrenergic antagonist propranolol administered into the BLA immediately before intraperitoneal (i.p.) lithium chloride (LiCl) injections disrupted CTA memory. Additionally, propranolol infused into the BLA immediately after a pre-exposure to the saccharin (CS) significantly attenuated latent inhibition. The present findings indicating that alterations in noradrenergic function in the BLA affect taste memory formation, provide additional evidence that the BLA plays a critical role in modulating the consolidation of memory and that the influence is mediated by interactions with other brain regions that support memory for different kinds of experiences.