This study examined the effects of the arousal level of the rat and exposure to a behavioral stressor on consolidation and reconsolidation of a nonaversive learning paradigm, the object recognition task. Learning was tested under two arousal conditions: no previous habituation to the experimental context (high novelty stress/arousal level) or extensive prior habituation (reduced novelty stress/arousal level). Results indicated that in the habituated rats, exposure to an out-of-context stressor (ie, elevated platform stress) impaired long-term consolidation and reconsolidation of object recognition. RU-486, a glucocorticoid receptor (GR) antagonist, infused into the basolateral amygdala (BLA), reversed the impairing effects of the stressor. In contrast, the nonhabituated aroused rats were impaired when consolidation was examined, but their memory was intact following reactivation of the memory trace. Exposure of nonhabituated rats to an out-of-context stressor enhanced the long-term consolidation of recognition memory, but impaired reconsolidation, and the effects were reversed by a GR antagonist infused into the BLA. Additionally, nonhabituated control rats showed intact retrieval following microinfusion of propranolol to the BLA immediately after the training, suggesting an involvement of beta-adrenoceptors in the BLA in the arousal-induced impairment of consolidation. These findings demonstrate opposite effects, detrimental and facilitative, of arousal and stress on memory consolidation and reconsolidation. In addition, the data suggests that although some general features underlie consolidation and reconsolidation, there is a possible dissimilarity between the two processes, which is dependent on the arousal level of the animal during training.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Supported by a grant from The National Institute for Psychobiology in Israel (no. 22-2004–5) to MM, by The Ebelin and Gerd Bucerius ZEIT Foundation to MM, and by a postdoctoral fellowship from The National Institute for Psychobiology in Israel to IA. We thank Larisa Pershin and Noam Hikind for technical help.
- Basolateral amygdala
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health