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Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2011 Sep;96(2):136-42. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2011.03.007. Epub 2011 Mar 29.

Lidocaine attenuates anisomycin-induced amnesia and release of norepinephrine in the amygdala.

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Neuroscience Program, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL 61820, USA.


When administered near the time of training, protein synthesis inhibitors such as anisomycin impair later memory. A common interpretation of these findings is that memory consolidation requires new protein synthesis initiated by training. However, recent findings support an alternative interpretation that abnormally large increases in neurotransmitter release after injections of anisomycin may be responsible for producing amnesia. In the present study, a local anesthetic was administered prior to anisomycin injections in an attempt to mitigate neurotransmitter actions and thereby attenuate the resulting amnesia. Rats received lidocaine and anisomycin injections into the amygdala 130 and 120 min, respectively, prior to inhibitory avoidance training. Memory tests 48 h later revealed that lidocaine attenuated anisomycin-induced amnesia. In other rats, in vivo microdialysis was performed at the site of amygdala infusion of lidocaine and anisomycin. As seen previously, anisomycin injections produced large increases in release of norepinephrine in the amygdala. Lidocaine attenuated the anisomycin-induced increase in release of norepinephrine but did not reverse anisomycin inhibition of protein synthesis, as assessed by c-Fos immunohistochemistry. These findings are consistent with past evidence suggesting that anisomycin causes amnesia by initiating abnormal release of neurotransmitters in response to the inhibition of protein synthesis.

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