The research, by Dr. Adi Mizrahi of the Silberman Institute of Life Sciences and Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences at the Hebrew University, has just been published in the journal Neuron. It provides insight into how neural changes integrating odors and sounds lie behind a mouse mother’s ability to recognize and respond to distress calls from her pups.
“We know that distinct brain changes are linked with motherhood, but the impact of these changes on sensory processing and the emergence of maternal behaviors are largely unknown,” explains Mizrahi. “In mice, olfactory and auditory cues play a major role in the communication between a mother and her pups. Therefore, we hypothesized that there may be some interaction between olfactory and auditory processing so that pup odors might modulate the way pup calls are processed in the mother’s brain.”
Dr. Mizrahi and his post-doctoral colleague Dr. Lior Cohen examined whether the primary auditory cortex, a brain region that is involved in the recognition of sounds, might serve as an early processing region for integration of pup odors and pup calls. The primary auditory cortex is known as a site that undergoes functional changes in response to sensory input from the environment.
In their study, the researchers exposed regular mice, mice that had experienced interaction with their pups, and lactating mother mice to pup odors, and then monitored both spontaneous and sound-evoked activity of neurons in the auditory cortex. The odors triggered dramatic changes in auditory processing only in the females that had interacted with pups, while the lactating mothers were the most sensitive to pup sounds. The olfactory-auditory integration appeared in lactating mothers shortly after they had given birth and had a particularly strong effect on the detection of pup distress calls.
Taken together, the findings suggest that motherhood is associated with a previously un-described form of multisensory processing in the auditory cortex.
“We have shown that motherhood is associated with a rapid and robust appearance of olfactory-auditory integration in the primary auditory cortex occurring along with stimulus-specific adaptation to pup distress calls,” says Dr. Mizrahi. “These processes help to explain how changes in neocortical networks facilitate efficient detection of pups by their caring mothers.”
Jerry Barach | Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Self-organising system enables motile cells to form complex search pattern
07.05.2019 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Mouse studies show minimally invasive route can accurately administer drugs to brain
02.05.2019 | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer. The experiments were published in Physical Review Letters and the related theory in Physical Review B.
The spin of an electron is a promising candidate for use as the smallest information unit (qubit) of a quantum computer. Controlling and switching this spin or...
Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...
With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.
Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...
'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.
However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...
Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future
When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
23.05.2019 | Materials Sciences
23.05.2019 | Materials Sciences
23.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy