Predator odor avoidance as a rodent model of anxiety: Learning-mediated consequences beyond the initial exposure

Lauren G. Staples*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    52 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Prey animals such as rats display innate defensive responses when exposed to the odor of a predator, providing a valuable means of studying the neurobiology of anxiety. While the unconditioned behavioral and neural responses to a single predator odor exposure have been well documented, the paradigm can also be used to study learning-dependent adaptations that occur following repeated exposure to a stressor or associated stimuli. In developing preclinical models for human anxiety disorders this is advantageous, as anxiety disorders seldom involve a single acute experience of anxiety, but rather are chronic and/or recurring illnesses. Part 1 of this review summarizes current research on the three most commonly used predator-related odors: cat odor, ferret odor, and trimethylthiazoline (a component of fox odor). Part 2 reviews the learning-based behavioral and neural adaptations that underlie predator odor-induced context conditioning, one-trial tolerance, sensitization, habituation and dishabituation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)435-445
    Number of pages11
    JournalNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
    Volume94
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010

    Keywords

    • Anxiety
    • Cat odor
    • Context conditioning
    • Ferret odor
    • Habituation/dishabituation
    • One-trial tolerance
    • Sensitization
    • TMT

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