A bitter substance induces specific orofacial and somatic behavioral reactions such as gapes in mice as well as monkeys and humans. These reactions have been proposed to represent affective disgust, and therefore, understanding the neuronal basis of the reactions would pave the way to understand affective disgust. It is crucial to identify and access the specific neuronal ensembles that are activated by bitter substances, such as quinine, the intake of which induces disgust reactions. However, the method to access the quinine-activated neurons has not been fully established yet. Here, we show evidence that a targeted recombination in active populations (TRAP) method, induces genetic recombination in the quinine-activated neurons in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA). CeA is one of the well-known emotional centers of the brain. We found that the intraoral quinine infusion, that resulted in disgust reactions, increased both cFos-positive cells and Arc-positive cells in the CeA. By using Arc-CreER;Ai3 TRAP mice, we induced genetic recombination in the quinine-activated neurons and labelled them with fluorescent protein. We confirmed that the quinine-TRAPed fluorescently-labelled cells preferentially coexpressed Arc after quinine infusion. Our results suggest that the TRAP method can be used to access specific functional neurons in the CeA.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience