Relaxin receptor activation in the basolateral amygdala impairs memory consolidation


Dr A. L. Gundlach, as above.


The peptide-hormone relaxin has well-established actions in male and female reproductive tracts, and has functional effects in circumventricular regions of brain involved in neurohormonal secretion. In the current study, we initially mapped the distribution of mRNA encoding the relaxin receptor − leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor 7 (LGR7)- and [33P]-human relaxin-binding sites in extra-hypothalamic sites of male Sprague–Dawley rats. The basolateral amygdala (BLA) expressed high levels of LGR7 mRNA and relaxin-binding sites and, although relaxin peptide was not detected in the BLA, several brain regions that send projections to the BLA were found to contain relaxin-expressing neurons. As it is well established that the BLA is involved in regulating the consolidation of memory for emotionally arousing experiences, we investigated whether activation of LGR7 in the BLA modulated memory consolidation for aversively motivated inhibitory avoidance training. Bilateral infusions of human relaxin (10–200 ng in 0.2 µL) into the BLA immediately after inhibitory avoidance training impaired 48-h retention performance in a dose-dependent manner. Delayed infusions of relaxin into the BLA 3 h after training were ineffective, indicating that the retention impairment was due to influences on memory consolidation. Post-training infusions of relaxin into the adjacent central amygdala, which is devoid of LGR7, did not impair retention. These findings suggest a novel function for endogenous relaxin–LGR7 signalling in rat brain involving regulation of memory consolidation.