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Learn Mem. 2004 Nov-Dec;11(6):748-54. Epub 2004 Nov 10.

Long-term memory for instrumental responses does not undergo protein synthesis-dependent reconsolidation upon retrieval.

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Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience Training Program, University of Wisconsin--Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53719, USA.


Recent evidence indicates that certain forms of memory, upon recall, may return to a labile state requiring the synthesis of new proteins in order to preserve or reconsolidate the original memory trace. While the initial consolidation of "instrumental memories" has been shown to require de novo protein synthesis in the nucleus accumbens, it is not known whether memories of this type undergo protein synthesis-dependent reconsolidation. Here we show that low doses of the protein synthesis inhibitor anisomycin (ANI; 5 or 20 mg/kg) administered systemically in rats immediately after recall of a lever-pressing task potently impaired performance on the following daily test sessions. We determined that the nature of this impairment was attributable to conditioned taste aversion (CTA) to the sugar reinforcer used in the task rather than to mnemonic or motoric impairments. However, by substituting a novel flavored reinforcer (chocolate pellets) prior to the administration of doses of ANI (150 or 210 mg/kg) previously shown to cause amnesia, a strong CTA to chocolate was induced sparing any aversion to sugar. Importantly, when sugar was reintroduced on the following session, we found that memory for the task was not significantly affected by ANI. Thus, these data suggest that memory for a well-learned instrumental response does not require protein synthesis-dependent reconsolidation as a means of long-term maintenance.

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