OPEN Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | 23 Feb 2018
A Grelat, L Benoit, S Wagner, C Moigneu, PM Lledo and M Alonso
Olfaction is an important sensory modality driving fundamental behaviors. During odor-dependent learning, a positive value is commonly assigned to an odorant, and multiple forms of plasticity are involved when such odor-reward associations are formed. In rodents, one of the mechanisms underlying plasticity in the olfactory bulb consists in recruiting new neurons daily throughout life. However, it is still unknown whether adult-born neurons might participate in encoding odor value. Here, we demonstrate that exposure to reward-associated odors specifically increases activity of adult-born neurons but not preexisting neurons. Remarkably, adult-born neuron activation during rewarded odor presentation heightens discrimination learning and enhances the ability to update the odor value during reversal association. Moreover, in some cases, activation of this interneuron population can trigger olfactory learning without sensory stimulation. Taken together, our results show a specific involvement of adult-born neurons in facilitating odor-reward association during adaptive learning.
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