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Neural Plasticity
Volume 6, Issue 3, Pages 53-61

Passive Avoidance Training and Recall are Associated With Increased Glutamate Levels in the Intermediate Medial Hyperstriatum Ventrale of the Day-Old Chick

1Brain Research Group, The Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK
2Project Group Juvenile Learning, Leibniz-Institute for Neurobiology, Brenneckestrasse 6, Magdeburg 39118, Germany
3Lab C-05, Depto de Plasticidad Neural, Instituto Cajal, Avda. Dr. Arce 37, Madrid 28002, Spain

Copyright © 1998 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In the young chick, the intermediate medial hyperstriatum ventrale is involved in learning paradigms, including imprinting and passive avoidance learning. Biochemical changes in the intermediate medial hyperstriatum ventrale following learning include an up-regulation of amino-acid transmitter levels and receptor activity. To follow the changes of extracellular amino acid levels during passive avoidance training, we used an in vivo microdialysis technique. Probes were implanted in chicks before training the animals, either on a methyl- anthranylate-or water-coated bead. One hour later, recall was tested in both groups by presenting a similar bead. An increase of extra-cellular glutamate levels accompanied training and testing in both groups; during training, glutamate release was higher in methylanthranylate- trained than in water-trained chicks. When compared with the methylanthranylate-trained chicks during testing, the water-trained chicks showed enhanced extra-cellular glutamate levels. No other amino acid examined showed significant changes. After testing, the chicks were anesthetized and release- stimulated with an infusion of 50 mM potassium. Extra-cellular glutamate and taurine levels were significantly increased in both methylanthranylate-and water-trained chicks. The presentation of methylanthranylate as an. olfactory stimulus significantly enhanced glutamate levels, especially in methylanthranylate-trained chicks. The results suggest that such changes in extra-cellular glutamate levels in the intermediate medial hyperstriatum ventrale accompany pecking at either the water- or the methylanthranylate-bead. The taste of the aversant may be responsible for the greater increases found in methylanthranylate-trained birds.