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Conditioned taste aversion (CTA) is an adaptive behavior that benefits survival of animals including humans and also serves as a powerful model to study the neural mechanisms of learning. Memory formation is a necessary component of CTA learning and involves neural processing and regulation of gene expression in the amygdala. Many studies have been focused on the identification of intracellular signaling cascades involved in CTA, but not late responsive genes underlying the long-lasting behavioral plasticity. In this study, we explored in silico experiments to identify persistent changes in gene expression associated with CTA in rats. We used oligonucleotide microarrays to identify 248 genes in the amygdala regulated by CTA. Pathway Studio and IPA software analyses showed that the differentially expressed genes in the amygdala fall in diverse functional categories such as behavior, psychological disorders, nervous system development and function, and cell-to-cell signaling. Conditioned taste aversion is a complex behavioral trait which involves association of visceral and taste inputs, consolidation of taste and visceral information, memory formation, retrieval of stored information, and extinction phase. In silico analysis of differentially expressed genes is therefore necessary to manipulate specific phase/stage of CTA to understand the molecular insight.

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Neuroscience Journal, v. 2013, art. 739764