Rapid and Reversible Impairments of Short- and Long-Term Social Recognition Memory Are Caused by Acute Isolation of Adult Rats via Distinct Mechanisms

Hadar Shahar-Gold, Rotem Gur, Shlomo Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere65085
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 31 May 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology

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