Differential activity pattern of c-Fos in the nucleus accumbens between adult and aged rats during flavor recognition memory.

Affiliation

Department of Psychobiology, Institute of Neurosciences, Center for Biomedical Research (CIBM), University of Granada, Spain. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Previous studies have addressed the role of the nucleus accumbens core (NAcbC) and shell (NAcbSh) in taste aversion learning and in the processing of taste palatability which is affected by aging. However, little is known about its implication in safe taste memory and the aging impact. To explore the role of the NAcb in flavor neophobia and its attenuation during aging, we applied c-Fos immunohistochemistry as an index of neural activity of the NAcbC and NAcbSh. Twenty one adult (5-month-old) and 24 aged (24-month-old) male Wistar rats were exposed to a 3% cider vinegar solution for 1, 2 or 6 consecutive days (n = 7 adult and n = 8 aged rats per group). Aged rats exhibited slower attenuation of flavor neophobia than adult rats. Adult rats showed increased NAcbSh c-Fos activity on day 2 compared to days 1 and 6, while this increase was delayed to day 6 in aged rats. There were no differences in the number of NAcbC c-Fos positive cells. This suggests that changes in the activity of neural circuits of palatability processing during normal aging could contribute to the slower attenuation of flavor neophobia in aged rats.

Keywords

Accumbens,Aging,Attenuation of neophobia,Flavor,Recognition memory,Taste,c-Fos,