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Grenoble Institut des Neurosciences Grenoble Institut des Neurosciences

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Neural circuits for the social learning influence on food preference

on the September 20, 2018

Seminar by Michaël Loureiro (Department of Fundamental Neuroscience, University of Geneva)

Using information acquired from peers is a powerful strategy for many species to decide which food to eat. Exposure to an odor during conspecific interactions can influence food choice, a phenomenon dubbed social transmission of food preference (STFP). This decision requires the transformation of olfactory perceptions into value-based actions. The former is known to involve the piriform cortex (PiC), while consumption is driven by the activity of neurons in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). In the present study we show that the mPFC is a necessary relay for STFP undergoing plasticity when exposed to a conspecific. Neuroanatomical tracing showed a prominent connection from PiC onto mPFC neurons that target the nucleus accumbens (NAc-projectors). Conspecific interaction increased the excitatory-to-inhibitory balance in NAc-projectors, which were markedly engaged during food choice. Inhibition of PiC to mPFC pathway prevented STFP acquisition while the mPFC to NAc projection was necessary for the expression of food choice. Our results demonstrate that mPFC NAc-projectors are wired to process olfactory information impacting feeding decisions.

Hosts: Sébastien Carnicella and Frédéric Saudou.

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Updated on September 14, 2018

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