Mediodorsal thalamic lesions block the stress-induced inversion of serial memory retrieval pattern in mice.
Behavioural Brain Research. 2009-11-01; 203(2): 270-278
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This study examines the effects of ibotenic acid lesions of the mediodorsal nucleus of the thalamus (MD) on serial contextual memory retrieval in non-stress and stress conditions. Independent groups of mice learned two successive contextual serial discriminations (D1 and D2) in a four-hole board. The discriminations differed each by the color and texture of the floor. Twenty-four hours later, memory testing occurred in independent groups of mice on one of the
two floors of the initial acquisition session. Half of the subjects received three electric footschocks (0.9mA, 2s) 5min prior to testing. Results showed that (i) stress induced a plasma corticosterone rise of same magnitude in sham-operated and MD-lesioned mice; (ii) non-stressed sham-operated mice accurately remembered D1 but not D2, whereas stressed sham-operated animals remembered D2 but not D1; (iii) non-stressed MD-lesioned mice exhibited a memory
retrieval pattern similar to that observed in non-stressed sham-operated mice; (iv) however, the stress-induced inversion of the memory retrieval pattern was not observed in MD animals. The effects of MD lesions on memory retrieval in this task are similar to those observed in earlier studies in prefrontal cortex or amygdala-lesioned mice (Chauveau F, Piérard C, Coutan M, Drouet I, Liscia P, Béracochéa D. Prefrontal cortex or basolateral amygdala lesions blocked the stress-induced inversion of serial memory pattern in mice. Neurobiol Learn Mem 2008;90:395-403); they are however in sharp contrast with mice exhibiting hippocampal lesions (Chauveau F, Pierard C, Tronche C, Coutan M, Drouet I, Liscia P, et al. The hippocampus and prefrontal cortex are differentially involved in serial memory retrieval in non-stress and stress condition. Neurobiol Learn Mem; in press; Chauveau F, Pierard C, Tronche C, Coutan M, Drouet I, Liscia P, et al. Rapid stress-induced corticosterone rise in the hippocampus reverses serial memory retrieval pattern. Hippocampus; in press). Overall, the present findings highlight the involvement of the MD in an AMG/PFC system mediating the rapid effects of stress on serial memory retrieval.