Brain Cells Involved In Pavlovian Response Identified

Posted: Mar 23 2017, 12:40pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Brain Cells Involved in Pavlovian Response Identified
A study has traced the Pavlovian response to a small cluster of brain cells -- the same neurons that go awry during Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease and Tourette's syndrome. Credit: Getty Images
  • Certain Brain Cells implicated in Several Diseases also play part in Conditioned Response

It so happens to be the case that certain brain cells implicated in several diseases also play a part in Pavlov’s conditioned response.

The Russian scientist, Ivan Pavlov made history by ringing a bell in conjunction with salivation in dogs. Soon enough the canines began salivating at the mere sound of the bell instead of in synch with food.

The Pavlovian response is mainly due to a certain group of brain cells that are responsible for Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Tourette’s Syndrome. Thus this research points towards new ways of curing these diseases.

Normally species survive and thrive on earth due to their senses which are in tune with food and water. The brain’s neurons which are linked with these reward centers have been explored in depth by the scientists.

Learning and behavioral strategies associated with this pleasure seeking have been mapped too. Reward, activity and choices are all tied up in this complex system.

Mice were exposed to the scents of banana and lemon in the lab. These scents were followed by a drop of concentrated milk. After awhile the mice decided that the smells were linked to a sweet treat and they began licking their tongues in anticipation of the smell.

This association is called a conditioned response. The next step for scientists was the silencing of the reward centers in the brains of these mice.

Approximately 2% of the cells play a very important role in the reward response. When the cells were switched off, the mice began licking the air half as often as before.

The encoded Pavlovian response seemed to be at work here. The cells especially happened to be very important in mice which were just beginning to get a feel for the conditioned response.

Thus misfiring brain cells could lead to neurological disorders. Conversely via restoring brain functions, these disorders could be healed too. This research has opened new doors on brain ailments that have no cure at present.

The findings of this study got published in the journal Neuron.

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