The effects of a reminder of underwater trauma on behaviour and memory-related mechanisms in the rat dentate gyrus

Ziv Ardi, Gilad Ritov, Morgan Lucas, Gal Richter-Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intrusive re-experiencing is a core symptom in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), often triggered by contextual cues associated with the trauma. It is not yet clear if intrusive re-experiencing is only the result, or whether it may contribute to the establishment of PTSD following acute stress. This study aimed at examining the impact of an underwater trauma (UWT) reminder on anxiety-like behaviour and on neuronal activity and plasticity in the hippocampus and the amygdala. Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to UWT and 24 h later were re-exposed to the context. The effects on behaviour, activation of the amygdala (BLA) and dentate gyrus (DG), and on long-term potentiation (LTP) and local circuit activity (frequency-dependent inhibition (FDI) and paired-pulse inhibition (PPI)) in the DG were assessed. The exposure to UWT by itself resulted in increased anxiety behaviour in the open field, together with increased PPI. Upon exposure to the UWT reminder, an additional increase in anxiety was also observed in the EPM and in FDI. Moreover, reminder exposure resulted in impaired DG LTP and a significant BLA extracellular-signal-regulated kinases (ERK) 2 activation. In conclusion, these observed effects of exposure to a trauma reminder, following the exposure to the initial trauma, might be associated with the progression of trauma-related pathologies and the development of related disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-580
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Basolateral amygdala
  • PTSD
  • dentate gyrus
  • local circuit
  • reminder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology


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