Disrupting effect of drug-induced reward on spatial but not cue-guided learning: implication of the striatal protein kinase A/cAMP response element-binding protein pathway.
Journal of Neuroscience. 2011-11-16; 31(46): 16517-16528
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The multiple memory systems hypothesis posits that different neural circuits function in parallel and may compete for information processing and storage. For example, instrumental conditioning would depend on the striatum, whereas spatial memory may be mediated by a circuit centered on the hippocampus. However, the nature of the task itself is not sufficient to select durably one system over the other. In this study, we investigated the effects of natural and pharmacological rewards on the selection of a particular memory system during learning. We compared the effects of food- or drug-induced activation of the reward system on cue-guided versus spatial learning using a Y-maze discrimination task. Drug-induced reward severely impaired the acquisition of a spatial discrimination task but spared the cued version of the task. Immunohistochemical analysis of the phosphorylated form of the cAMP response element binding (CREB) protein and c-Fos expression induced by behavioral testing revealed that the spatial deficit was associated with a decrease of both markers within the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex. In contrast, drug reward potentiated the cued learning-induced CREB phosphorylation within the dorsal striatum. Administration of the protein kinase A inhibitor 8-Bromo-adenosine-3′,5′-cyclic monophosphorothioate Rp isomer (Rp-cAMPS) into the dorsal striatum before training completely reversed the drug-induced spatial deficit and restored CREB phosphorylation levels within the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex. Therefore, drug-induced striatal hyperactivity may underlie the declarative memory deficit reported here. This
mechanism could represent an important early step toward the development of addictive behaviors by promoting conditioning to the detriment of more flexible forms of memory.