Predator fear memory depends on glucocorticoid receptors and protein synthesis in the basolateral amygdala and ventral hippocampus

Fernando Midea Cuccovia V Reis, Leonardo Santana Novaes, Nilton Barreto dos Santos, Kélvia Carolina Ferreira-Rosa, Juliano Genaro Perfetto, Marcus Vinicius C. Baldo, Carolina Demarchi Munhoz, Newton Sabino Canteras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Previous studies have suggested that the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and the ventral hippocampus (VH) are critical sites for predator-related fear memory. Predator exposure is an intense emotional experience and should increase plasmatic corticosterone likely to modulate the emotion-related memories. However, it is unclear whether the BLA and VH harbor plastic events underlying predator-related fear memory storage and how molecular and endocrine mechanisms interact to modulate memory to the predatory threat. Here, we first examined the effects of protein synthesis inhibition in the BLA and VH on fear memory to a predatory threat. We next evaluated how exposure to a predatory threat impacts the corticosterone release and how the inhibition of corticosterone synthesis can influence predator-related fear memory. Finally, we examined how predator exposure triggers the activation of glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptors in the BLA and VH and whether the GR antagonist injection affects predator-related fear memory. We showed that predator-related contextual fear is dependent on protein synthesis in the BLA and VH. Moreover, we described the impact of rapid glucocorticoid release during predatory exposure on the formation of contextual fear responses and that GR-induced signaling facilitates memory consolidation within the BLA and VH. The results are relevant in understanding how life-threatening situations such as a predator encounter impact fear memory storage and open exciting perspectives to investigate GR-induced proteins as targets to deciphering and manipulating aversive memories.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105757
JournalPsychoneuroendocrinology
Volume141
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Contextual fear memory
  • Defensive behavior
  • Glucocorticoid receptor
  • Stress

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