PubMed 20335483

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Kir6.2

Title: Demonstration of a neural circuit critical for imprinting behavior in chicks.

Authors: Tomoharu Nakamori, Katsushige Sato, Yasuro Atoji, Tomoyuki Kanamatsu, Kohichi Tanaka, Hiroko Ohki-Hamazaki

Journal, date & volume: J. Neurosci., 2010 Mar 24 , 30, 4467-80

PubMed link:

Imprinting behavior in birds is elicited by visual and/or auditory cues. It has been demonstrated previously that visual cues are recognized and processed in the visual Wulst (VW), and imprinting memory is stored in the intermediate medial mesopallium (IMM) of the telencephalon. Alteration of neural responses in these two regions according to imprinting has been reported, yet direct evidence of the neural circuit linking these two regions is lacking. Thus, it remains unclear how memory is formed and expressed in this circuit. Here, we present anatomical as well as physiological evidence of the neural circuit connecting the VW and IMM and show that imprinting training during the critical period strengthens and refines this circuit. A functional connection established by imprint training resulted in an imprinting behavior. After the closure of the critical period, training could not activate this circuit nor induce the imprinting behavior. Glutamatergic neurons in the ventroposterior region of the VW, the core region of the hyperpallium densocellulare (HDCo), sent their axons to the periventricular part of the HD, just dorsal and afferent to the IMM. We found that the HDCo is important in imprinting behavior. The refinement and/or enhancement of this neural circuit are attributed to increased activity of HDCo cells, and the activity depended on NR2B-containing NMDA receptors. These findings show a neural connection in the telencephalon in Aves and demonstrate that NR2B function is indispensable for the plasticity of HDCo cells, which are key mediators of imprinting.