Research paper information:
Title: Exposure to Chronic Psychosocial Stress and Corticosterone in the Rat: Effects on Spatial Discrimination Learning and Hippocampal Protein Kinase Cγ Immunoreactivity
Authors: Krugers, Harm J., Douma, Bas R.K., Andringa, Gerda, Bohus, Béla, , Korf, Jakob, , , Luiten, Paul G.M.
Resource Files: /papers2/f3585454-06bd-427a-82d7-392fb60ea112/
Abstract: Previous reports have demonstrated a striking increase of the immunoreactivity of the γ-isoform of protein kinase C (PKCγ-ir) in Ammon’s horn and dentate gyrus (DG) of rodent hippocampus after training in a spatial orientation task. In the present study, we investigated how 8 days of psychosocial stress affects spatial discrimination learning in a hole board and influences PKCγ-ir in the hippocampal formation. The acquisition of both reference memory and working memory was significantly delayed in the stressed animals during the entire training period. With respect to cellular plasticity, the training experience in both nonstressed and stressed groups yielded enhanced PKCγ-ir in the CA1 and CA3 regions of the posterior hippocampus but not in subfields of the anterior hippocampus. Stress enhanced PKCγ-ir in the DG and CA3 pyramidal cells of the anterior hippocampus. In stressed animals that were subsequently trained, the PKCγ-ir was increased in the posterior CA1 region to the same level as that found in nonstressed trained animals. Stress apparently abrogated the PKCγ-ir training response in the CA3 region. In a second experiment, the elevation of plasma corticosterone levels to values that are found during stress did not significantly influence reference memory scores but slightly and temporarily affected working memory. The training-induced enhancement of PKCγ-ir in the CA1 region was similar in trained and corticosterone-treated trained animals, but the learning-induced PKCγ-ir response in the posterior CA3 area was absent after corticosterone pretreatment. These results reveal that prolonged psychosocial stress causes spatial learning deficits, whereas artificial elevation of corticosterone levels to the levels that occur during stress only mildly affects spatial memory performance. The spatial learning deficits following stress are reflected only in part in the redistribution of hippocampal PKCγ-ir following training.