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Stress. 2012 Mar;15(2):237-42. doi: 10.3109/10253890.2011.607525. Epub 2011 Aug 29.

Dopamine D1 receptors are responsible for stress-induced emotional memory deficit in mice.

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Section of Brain and Behavior, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, PR China.


It is established that stress impairs spatial learning and memory via the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis response. Dopamine D1 receptors were also shown to be responsible for a stress-induced deficit of working memory. However, whether stress affects the subsequent emotional learning and memory is not elucidated yet. Here, we employed the well-established one-trial step-through task to study the effect of an acute psychological stress (induced by tail hanging for 5, 10, or 20 min) on emotional learning and memory, and the possible mechanisms as well. We demonstrated that tail hanging induced an obvious stress response. Either an acute tail-hanging stress or a single dose of intraperitoneally injected dopamine D1 receptor antagonist (SCH23390) significantly decreased the step-through latency in the one-trial step-through task. However, SCH23390 prevented the acute tail-hanging stress-induced decrease in the step-through latency. In addition, the effects of tail-hanging stress and/or SCH23390 on the changes in step-through latency were not through non-memory factors such as nociceptive perception and motor function. Our data indicate that the hyperactivation of dopamine D1 receptors mediated the stress-induced deficit of emotional learning and memory. This study may have clinical significance given that psychological stress is considered to play a role in susceptibility to some mental diseases such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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