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Neuronal activity in the cochlear nucleus was mapped in relation to acoustic stimuli that signalled a sensory-motor response, using Fos-like immunoreactivity. Rats were trained to associate an acoustic stimulus with a reward and then to discriminate between two sounds ('learning' rats; n = 18). The same stimuli carrying no behavioural significance were pseudo-randomly presented to 'control' rats (n = 4) to differentiate stimulus related- from learning related-activity. To establish a baseline, Fos-like immunoreactivity was determined in rats (n = 2) unexposed to acoustic stimulation. The number of Fos-positive cells was significantly increased in the rats exposed to sounds ('learning' and 'control') as compared to the non-stimulated animals. This stimulus related increase of Fos-like activity in the cochlear nucleus was most prominent in a subpopulation of small neurons, whose spatial distribution corresponds to that of the granule cells. There was also an increase in the number of Fos-positive neurons of larger size, but less prominent than for the small cells. Brief exposure to sounds (30 s) was sufficient to induce Fos-like activity.


Journal article


Neurosci Lett. 1999 Jan 8;259(2):123-6.