ERIC Number: EJ861300
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Novelty-Induced Arousal Enhances Memory for Cued Classical Fear Conditioning: Interactions between Peripheral Adrenergic and Brainstem Glutamatergic Systems
King, Stanley O., II; Williams, Cedric L.
Learning & Memory, v16 n10 p625-634 Oct 2009
Exposure to novel contexts produce heightened states of arousal and biochemical changes in the brain to consolidate memory. However, processes permitting simple exposure to unfamiliar contexts to elevate sympathetic output and to improve memory are poorly understood. This shortcoming was addressed by examining how novelty-induced changes in peripheral and/or central arousal modulates memory for Pavlovian fear conditioning. Male rats were either exposed to the conditioning chamber for 5-min or given no exposure 24 h before conditioning with five tone-shock (0.35 mA) pairings. Retention was assessed 48 h later in a different context. Non-pre-exposed animals exhibited significantly greater freezing during conditioned stimulus (CS) presentations than did pre-exposed animals (P less than 0.05). The improvement in retention produced by novelty was attenuated by pretraining a blockade of peripheral beta-adrenergic receptors with sotalol (6 mg/kg, i.p.). Study 2 revealed that novelty-induced increases in peripheral autonomic output are conveyed to the brain by visceral afferents that synapse upon brainstem neurons in the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS). Blocking AMPA receptor activity in the NTS with CNQX (1.0 micrograms) significantly reduced freezing to the CS in non-pre-exposed animals (P less than 0.01). Study 3 showed that elevating epinephrine levels in habituated animals influences learning through mechanisms similar to those produced by novelty-induced arousal. Pre-exposed animals given epinephrine (0.1 mg/kg) froze significantly more than saline controls (P less than 0.01), and this effect was attenuated by intra-NTS infusion of CNQX. The findings demonstrate that novelty-induced arousal or increasing sympathetic activity with epinephrine in pre-exposed animals enhances memory through adrenergic mechanisms initiated in the periphery and transmitted centrally via the vagus/NTS complex.
Descriptors: Animals, Stimuli, Classical Conditioning, Memory, Brain, Fear, Time Factors (Learning), Drug Use, Habituation, Motion
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A