Memory strengthening by a real-life episode during reconsolidation: an outcome of water deprivation via brain angiotensin II


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    Present address: Laboratorio de Neurobiología de la Memoria, 2do piso, Pabellón II, Intendente Güiraldes 2160, Ciudad Universitaria, C1428EGA, Ciudad de Autónoma de Buenos Aires, República Argentina.

Dr Alejandro Delorenzi, at *present address below.


A considerable body of evidence reveals that consolidated memories, recalled by a reminder, enter into a new vulnerability phase during which they are susceptible to disruption again. Consistently, reconsolidation was shown by the amnesic effects induced by administration of consolidation blockers after memory labilization. To shed light on the functional value of reconsolidation, we explored whether an endogenous process activated during a concurrent real-life experience improved this memory phase. Reconsolidation of long-term contextual memory has been well documented in the crab Chasmagnathus. Previously we showed that angiotensin II facilitates memory consolidation. Moreover, water deprivation increases brain angiotensin and improves memory consolidation and retrieval through angiotensin II receptors. Here, we tested whether concurrent water deprivation improves reconsolidation via endogenous angiotensin and therefore strengthens memory. We show that memory reconsolidation, induced by training context re-exposure, is facilitated by a concurrent episode of water deprivation, which induces a raise in endogenous brain angiotensin II. Positive modulation is expressed by full memory retention, despite a weak training, 24 or 72 but not 4 h after memory reactivation. This is the first evidence that memory can be positively modulated during reconsolidation through an identified endogenous process triggered during a real-life episode. We propose that the functional value for reconsolidation would be to make possible a change in memory strength by the influence of a concurrent experience. Reconsolidation improvement would lead to memory re-evaluation, not by altering memory content but by modifying the behaviour as an outcome of changing the hierarchy of the memories that control it.