Our research is aimed at gaining knowledge about the mechanisms of chemical communication between brain structures that interact during aversive memory formation, as well as those without an evident emotional component, by using non-associative and associative taste and context learning models and manipulating the different structures involved in forming and retrieving memory. Behavioral, pharmacological and neurochemical findings to date indicate that complex structural and chemical interactions between cortical, basal and limbic areas of the brain occur during the acquisition, consolidation and evocation of memories. These studies are helping to better understand the similarities and differences in how memories of different types and strengths are processed.
Our questions are summarized as: What are the routes and the molecules responsible for encoding the stimuli which will make the memory for a taste, smell or context? How does smell influence the memory of a taste and what are the circuits which comprise these two stimuli during the formation of the taste memory? Are the neurotransmission structures and systems similar during the formation of incidental and aversive memories?
Interaction of the cortical, limbic and basal connections.
Chemical and structural interactions during the formation of the taste memory
1. Recognizing the new and the familiar
2. Recognizing the hedonic value
3. Formation of aversive or incidental (irrelevant) memories
4. Modulation of the aversive association
Taste memory has been a useful model for studying memory formation; using different approaches ranging from lesion studies, analysis of receptor and neurotransmitter activity, and measurement of intracellular signaling mechanisms, it has been possible to describe processes which may be involved in several types of memory. Taste memory includes the recognition of a taste as well as its characteristics related to the hedonic value, degree of familiarity, and the nutritive or toxic properties associated with that taste. In terms of evolutionary adaptation, taste memory is necessary for the proper identification of available nutritive foods and, of course, is essential to avoid deadly toxins.
Instituto de Neurobiología
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México,
Campus Juriquilla, Qro. Querétaro. México.
Tel: (55)56 23 4039; (442)238 1039.
Fax: (55)56 23 4046; (442)238 1046