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Undernutrition during the brain growth period of the rat significantly delays the development of processes mediating Pavlovian trace conditioning

Rudy, J.W.; Castro, C.A.

Behavioral and Neural Biology 53(3): 307-320

1990


ISSN/ISBN: 0163-1047
PMID: 2350318
DOI: 10.1016/0163-1047(90)90170-b
Accession: 039012491

Pavlovian trace conditioning procedures allow one to assess the ability of animals to associate events that are temporally separated because the conditioned stimulus terminates prior to the occurrence of the unconditioned stimulus. We report that undernutrition during Postnatal Days 2-18 significantly delays the development of trace conditioning to a visual stimulus. Previously undernourished 20-day-old rats conditioned when no temporal interval separated the termination of the CS and US onset (0-s trace interval). However, it was not until the undernourished pups were 30 days old that they conditioned when the trace interval was 10 or 30 s. In contrast, control pups only 20 days old were able to condition when a 10-s trace interval separated the CS and US events, and 25-day-old control pups conditioned when the interval was either 10 or 30 s. These results suggest that undernutrition delays the development of processes that enable the rat to sustain a representation of a visual CS during the trace interval.

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