Article Publish Status: FREE
Abstract Title:

Social Isolation During Adolescence Strengthens Retention of Fear Memories and Facilitates Induction of Late-Phase Long-Term Potentiation.

Abstract Source:

Mol Neurobiol. 2015 Dec ;52(3):1421-1429. Epub 2014 Oct 28. PMID: 25860250

Abstract Author(s):

Ji-Hong Liu, Qiang-Long You, Mei-Dan Wei, Qian Wang, Zheng-Yi Luo, Song Lin, Lang Huang, Shu-Ji Li, Xiao-Wen Li, Tian-Ming Gao

Article Affiliation:

Ji-Hong Liu


Social isolation during the vulnerable period of adolescence produces emotional dysregulation that often manifests as abnormal behavior in adulthood. The enduring consequence of isolation might be caused by a weakened ability to forget unpleasant memories. However, it remains unclear whether isolation affects unpleasant memories. To address this, we used a model of associative learning to induce the fear memories and evaluated the influence of isolation mice during adolescence on the subsequent retention of fear memories and its underlying cellular mechanisms. Following adolescent social isolation, we found that mice decreased their social interaction time and had an increase in anxiety-related behavior. Interestingly, when we assessed memory retention, we found that isolated mice were unable to forget aversive memories when tested 4 weeks after the original event. Consistent with this, we observed that a single train of high-frequency stimulation (HFS) enabled a late-phase long-term potentiation (L-LTP) in the hippocampal CA1 region of isolated mice, whereas only an early-phase LTP was observed with the same stimulation in the control mice. Social isolation during adolescence also increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression in the hippocampus, and application of a tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) receptor inhibitor ameliorated the facilitated L-LTP seen after isolation. Together, our results suggest that adolescent isolation may result in mental disorders during adulthood and that this may stem from an inability to forget the unpleasant memories via BDNF-mediated synaptic plasticity. These findings may give us a new strategy to prevent mental disorders caused by persistent unpleasant memories.

Study Type : Animal Study

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