Mammalian social organizations require the ability to recognize and remember individual conspecifics. This social recognition memory (SRM) can be examined in rodents using their innate tendency to investigate novel conspecifics more persistently than familiar ones. Here we used the SRM paradigm to examine the influence of housing conditions on the social memory of adult rats. We found that acute social isolation caused within few days a significant impairment in acquisition of short-term SRM of male and female rats. Moreover, SRM consolidation into long-term memory was blocked following only one day of social isolation. Both impairments were reversible, but with different time courses. Furthermore, only the impairment in SRM consolidation was reversed by systemic administration of arginine-vasopressin (AVP). In contrast to SRM, object recognition memory was not affected by social isolation. We conclude that acute social isolation rapidly induces reversible changes in the brain neuronal and molecular mechanisms underlying SRM, which hamper its acquisition and completely block its consolidation. These changes occur via distinct, AVP sensitive and insensitive mechanisms. Thus, acute social isolation of rats swiftly causes changes in their brain and interferes with their normal social behavior.
|State||Published - 31 May 2013|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)