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Stress. 2015;18(2):188-97. doi: 10.3109/10253890.2015.1004628. Epub 2015 Jan 30.

Long-term changes in the CA3 associative network of fear-conditioned mice.

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Department of Genetics & Molecular Neurobiology, Institute of Biology, Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg , Magdeburg , Germany .


The CA3 associative network plays a critical role in the generation of network activity patterns related to emotional state and fear memory. We investigated long-term changes in the corticosterone (CORT)-sensitive function of this network following fear conditioning and fear memory reactivation. In acute slice preparations from mice trained in either condition, the ratio of orthodromic population spike (PS) to antidromic PS was reduced compared to unconditioned animals, indicating a decrease in efficacy of neuronal coupling within the associative CA3 network. However, spontaneous sharp wave-ripples (SW-R), which are thought to arise from this network, remained unaltered. Following CORT application, we observed an increase in orthodromic PS and a normalization to control levels of their ratio to antidromic PS, while SW-R increased in slices of fear conditioned and fear reactivated mice, but not in slices of unconditioned controls. Together with our previous observations of altered hippocampal gamma activity under these learning paradigms, these data suggest that fear conditioning and fear reactivation lastingly alters the CORT-sensitive configuration of different network activity patterns generated by the CA3 associational network. Observed changes in the mRNA expression of receptors for glutamate, GABA and cannabinoids in the stratum pyramidale of area CA3 may provide a molecular mechanism for these adaptive changes.


CA3 associative network; corticosterone; fear memory; glutamatergic receptors; sharp wave–ripples; ventral hippocampus

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