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Learn Mem. 2005 Jul-Aug;12(4):407-13.

Social recognition memory requires two stages of protein synthesis in mice.

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Otto-von-Guericke-Universität, Institut für Medizinische Neurobiologie, D-39120 Magdeburg, Germany.


Olfactory recognition memory was tested in adult male mice using a social discrimination task. The testing was conducted to begin to characterize the role of protein synthesis and the specific brain regions associated with activity in this task. Long-term olfactory recognition memory was blocked when the protein synthesis inhibitor anisomycin was injected 20 min before, immediately after, or 6 h after sampling. No effect was observed when anisomycin was administered 3 h or 18 h after sampling. Immunohistochemical analysis of Fos expression revealed that sampling-like exposure to a juvenile increased the activity of a subset of cells in the accessory olfactory bulb and the brain areas that are associated with it. Additionally, increased Fos expression was measured in the main olfactory bulb and the piriform cortex, whereas no signs of activation were seen in the cortical nucleus of the amygdala, all components of the main olfactory system. No increases in Fos immunoreactivity were observed after 4 h. Our data suggest that long-lasting olfactory recognition memory requires two stages of protein synthesis. The first stage takes place within 1-2 h and the second stage between 6-7 h after sampling. The first but not the second stage is paralleled by an increase in the number of Fos-immunoreactive cells in brain areas associated with both the main and accessory olfactory systems. It therefore appears that the role of the second stage of protein synthesis in recognition memory depends on the integrity of the first stage of protein synthesis.

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