Two hypotheses were tested in this study. First, blockade of neural activity by lidocaine immediately following the retrieval of a memory may impair the reconsolidation and subsequent expression of that memory. Second, a non-retrieved memory would not be affected by this lidocaine treatment. Since the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA) is involved in emotion-related memory, an intra-BLA lidocaine infusion was used immediately after the retrieval of two emotion-related memories, the step-through passive avoidance response (PA) and cocaine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP). Intra-BLA lidocaine infusion immediately after cocaine-induced CPP retrieval diminished CPP magnitude in retests. However, intra-BLA lidocaine infusion alone did not affect cocaine-induced CPP performance. Intra-BLA lidocaine infusion immediately after PA retrieval decreased PA performance in retests. Omission of PA retrieval procedure, intra-BLA lidocaine infusion did not affect subsequent PA performance. Surprisingly, intra-BLA lidocaine infusion immediately following the retrieval of PA or cocaine-induced CPP diminished both PA and cocaine-induced CPP performance in the retests. Finally, Fos-staining results revealed that a number of BLA neurons were activated by the retrieval of both cocaine-induced CPP and PA. We conclude that inactivation of neural activity in BLA immediately following retrieval of a fear or cocaine-conditioned memory can impair subsequent expression of both memories. More importantly, retrieval of a memory does not seem to be an absolute condition for rapidly changing the memory.
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