Journal Article

Changes in Odor Quality Discrimination following Recovery from Olfactory Nerve Transection

Karen K. Yee and Richard M. Costanzo

in Chemical Senses

Volume 23, issue 5, pages 513-519
Published in print October 1998 | ISSN: 0379-864X
Published online October 1998 | e-ISSN: 1464-3553 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/chemse/23.5.513
Changes in Odor Quality Discrimination following Recovery from Olfactory Nerve Transection

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Following recovery from olfactory nerve transection, animals regain their ability to discriminate between odors. Odor discrimination is restored after new neurons establish connections with the olfactory bulb. However, it is not known if the new connections alter odor quality perception. To address this question, 20 adult hamsters were first trained to discriminate between cinnamon and strawberry odors. After reaching criterion (≥90% correct response), half of the animals received a bilateral nerve transection (BTX) and half a surgical sham procedure. Animals were not tested again until day 40, a point in recovery when connections are re-established with the bulb. When BTX animals were tested without food reinforcement, they could not perform the odor discrimination task. Sham animals, however, could discriminate, demonstrating that the behavioral response had not been extinguished during the 40 day period. When reinforcement was resumed, BTX animals were able to discriminate between cinnamon and strawberry after four test sessions. In addition, their ability to discriminate between these two familiar odors was no different than that of BTX and sham animals tested with two novel odors, baby powder and coffee. These findings suggest that, after recovery from nerve transection, there are alterations in sensory perception and that restoration of odor quality discrimination requires that the animal must again learn to associate individual odor sensations with a behavioral response.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Molecular and Cell Biology

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