Classical conditioning of feeding in Aplysia: II. Neurophysiological correlates. Academic Article uri icon


  • Feeding behavior in Aplysia californica can be classically conditioned using tactile stimulation of the lips as conditional stimulus (CS) and food as unconditional stimulus (US) [ (companion paper)]. Conditioning resulted in an increase in the number of CS-evoked bites that persisted for at least 24 hr after training. In this study, neurophysiological correlates of classical conditioning training were identified and characterized in an in vitro preparation of the cerebral and buccal ganglia. Stimulation of a lip nerve (AT(4)), which mediates mechanosensory information, resulted in a greater number of buccal motor patterns (BMPs) in ganglia isolated from animals that had received paired training than in ganglia from control animals. The majority of the evoked BMPs were classified as ingestion-like patterns. Intracellular recordings from pattern-initiating neuron B31/32 revealed that stimulation of AT(4) evoked greater excitatory input in B31/32 in preparations from animals that had received paired training than from control animals. In contrast, excitatory input to buccal neuron B4/5 in response to stimulation of AT(4) was not significantly increased by paired training. Moreover, correlates of classical conditioning were specific to stimulation of AT(4). The number of spontaneously occurring BMPs and the intrinsic properties of two buccal neurons (B4/5 and B31/32) did not differ between groups. These results suggest that appetitive classical conditioning of feeding resulted in the pairing-specific strengthening of the polysynaptic pathway between afferent fibers and pattern-initiating neurons of the buccal central pattern generator.

published proceedings

  • J Neurosci

author list (cited authors)

  • Lechner, H. A., Baxter, D. A., & Byrne, J. H.

citation count

  • 49

complete list of authors

  • Lechner, HA||Baxter, DA||Byrne, JH

publication date

  • May 2000