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Fear memory reactivation does not always lead to memory destabilization-reconsolidation. For instance, fear memories formed following withdrawal from chronic ethanol consumption or a stressful event are less likely to become destabilized after reactivation, with the effect of recall of these memories on the affective state still requiring elucidation. Here, we investigated the negative emotional-like responses following fear memory reactivation in ethanol-withdrawn (ETOH) rats by focusing on the possible role played by destabilization. Our findings indicated that ETOH rats displayed an increased freezing in a novel context and an anxiogenic-like response in the elevated plus maze (EPM) following memory reactivation, whereas the behavior of CON animals was not affected. The destabilization blockade by pre-reactivation nimodipine (16 mg/kg, s.c) administration promoted in CON animals a similar behavior in the EPM and in a novel environment as that exhibited by ETOH rats after the reminder. Moreover, facilitating destabilization by pre-reactivation d-cycloserine (5 mg/kg, i.p) administration prevented the emotional-like disturbances observed in ETOH rats. Finally, using restraint stress, which is also an inductor of a fear memory resistant to destabilization, an increased fear response in an unconditioned environment and an anxiogenic-like state was also found after the presentation of the fear reminder in stressed rats. Our results suggest that, in the context of resistant fear memories, the occurrence of destabilization influences how animals respond to subsequent environmental challenges following reactivation.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Progress in neuro-psychopharmacology & biological psychiatry
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