Affordable Access

Endogenous Opioids and Their Role in Odor Preference Acquisition and Consolidation Following Odor–Shock Conditioning in Infant Rats

Publication Date
  • Article
  • Biology
  • Chemistry


We assessed the neurochemical basis of olfactory learning induced by presentations of odor and moderate shock in infant rats. Paradoxically, shock conditioning produces an odor preference in 8-day-olds, but an odor aversion in 12-day-olds. Studies have demonstrated the importance of opioids in early olfactory learning; their specific role remains undefined. In this study, postnatal Days 8 and 12 pups were systemically injected with naltrexone, a nonspecific opioid antagonist, or saline and received either paired or backward presentations of odor-moderate shock or odor-only presentations. Blocking the opioid system during conditioning disrupted acquisition of the Day 8 odor preference, but not the Day 12 odor aversion. Additional Day 8 pups were given naltrexone posttraining. Naltrexone not only blocked consolidation of an odor preference but also yielded an odor aversion. These results suggest that the opioid system has a critical role in both olfactory learning and consolidation of odor preferences during the sensitive period.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.


Seen <100 times