Differential recruitment of the infralimbic cortex in recent and remote retrieval and extinction of aversive memory in post-weanling rats.

Walaa Awad, Milly Kritman, Guillaume Ferreira, Mouna Maroun
International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. 2022-02-04; :
DOI: 10.1093/ijnp/pyac012

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We previously showed that the infralimbic medial prefrontal cortex (IL-mPFC) plays an important role in recent and remote memory retrieval and extinction of conditioned odor aversion (COA) and contextual fear conditioning (CFC) in adult rats. Because the mPFC undergoes maturation during post-weaning, here, we aimed to explore (1) whether post-weanling rats can form recent and remote COA and CFC memory, and (2) the role of the IL-mPFC in mediating these processes.

To investigate the retrieval process, we transiently inactivated the IL-mPFC with lidocaine prior to the retrieval test at either recent or remote time points. To target the consolidation process, we applied the protein synthesis inhibitor after the retrieval at recent or remote time points.

Our results show that the post-weanling animals were able to develop both recent and remote memory of both COA and CFC. IL-mPFC manipulations had no effect on retrieval or extinction of recent and remote COA memory, suggesting that the IL has no effect in COA at this developmental stage. In contrast, the IL-mPFC played a role in (1) the extinction of recent, but not remote, CFC memory, and (2) the retrieval of remote, but not recent, CFC memory. Moreover, remote, but not recent, CFC retrieval enhanced c-Fos protein expression in the IL-mPFC.

Altogether, these results point to a differential role of the IL-mPFC in recent and remote CFC memory retrieval and extinction and further confirm the differences in the role of IL-mPFC in these processes in post-weanling and adult animals.

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