Conditioned context aversion learning in the laboratory mouse


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Kislal S., Blizard D. A.

LEARNING & BEHAVIOR, vol.44, no.4, pp.309-319, 2016 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 44 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.3758/s13420-016-0217-2
  • Journal Name: LEARNING & BEHAVIOR
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Sciences Citation Index, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.309-319
  • Keywords: Context aversion learning, Classical conditioning, ANTICIPATORY NAUSEA, TASTE-AVERSION, MICE, MEMORY, ACQUISITION, DRINKING, ETHANOL, STRAINS, HUMANS, SWEET

Abstract

It is well known that pairing of large contextual changes with illness can cause conditioned context aversion in laboratory rats. The aim of present study was to develop a paradigm to study this phenomenon in laboratory mice, a species widely employed in neurobehavioral studies. Genetically heterogeneous mice, drinking from plastic bottles in the colony room, learned to avoid glass bottles after a single conditioning trial when drinking from these was paired with injections of lithium chloride. The aversion was independent of any difference in the taste of water in plastic vs. glass bottles. When the variation in the visual stimulus was less distinct, development of a strong aversion required two conditioning trials and was not retained as well. The results also showed that conditioned context aversion, just like conditioned taste aversion, could also be developed across a 30-minute CS-UCS delay. The fact that taste was not a factor in distinguishing drinking from glass and plastic water bottles raises the possibility that, contextual stimuli, not taste, may have been the CS when rats (in Garcia's original experiments) avoided drinking from plastic bottles that had been paired with radiation. The development of contextual aversion conditioning protocols for mice will enable the molecular resources available for this species to be exploited. Furthermore, representation of the CS by discrete rather than the multimodal CSs typically used in most studies on contextual conditioning offers more focus when considering its neuroanatomical basis.