J.S. and D.L. contributed equally to this work.
Impairment of aversive memory reconsolidation by localized intracranial electrical stimulation
Article first published online: 5 FEB 2009
© The Authors (2009). Journal Compilation © Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd
European Journal of Neuroscience
Volume 29, Issue 5, pages 964–969, March 2009
How to Cite
Stehberg, J., Levy, D. and Zangen, A. (2009), Impairment of aversive memory reconsolidation by localized intracranial electrical stimulation. European Journal of Neuroscience, 29: 964–969. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2009.06634.x
- Issue published online: 2 MAR 2009
- Article first published online: 5 FEB 2009
- Received 8 July 2008, revised 17 December 2008, accepted 19 December 2008
- CTA memory;
- deep brain stimulation;
Reconsolidation of long-term memory is blocked in animal models by macromolecular synthesis inhibitors, resulting in item-specific post-retrieval amnesia. The induction of such amnesia could ameliorate traumatic memories and phobias. However, this pharmacological approach is of limited value in humans because of toxicity. Here we report that reconsolidation of conditioned taste aversion in the rat is impaired by localized intracranial electrical stimulation. Lasting impairment was obtained only when stimulation was applied during memory reactivation and only to the dysgranular insular cortex bilaterally, which subserves the memory, but not to adjacent brain sites. The ability to learn a new association was not affected. The same method blocked new memory consolidation, but produced anterograde amnesia, reminiscent of the known effect of non-localized electroconvulsive therapy. Our results suggest that localized electrical microstimulation, such as produced by deep-brain stimulation or deep transcranial magnetic stimulation, could be used to impair long-term memory if applied during memory reactivation, and could lead to the development of a novel treatment for intractable post-traumatic stress disorder.