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Keywords:

  • dependence;
  • diazepam;
  • hippocampus;
  • long-term potentiation;
  • memory

Abstract

Hippocampal synaptic plasticity has been related to learning and adaptive processes developed during chronic drug administration, suggesting the existence of a common neurobiological mechanism mediating drug addiction and memory. Moreover, protein kinase M zeta (PKMζ) is critical for the maintenance of hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) and spatial conditioned long-term memories. Also, a link between activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein (Arc), PKMζ and LTP has been proposed. Our previous results demonstrated that re-exposure to the withdrawal environment was able to evoke the memory acquired when the anxiety measured as a diazepam (DZ) withdrawal sign was experienced. In the present work we evaluated if the memory associated with DZ withdrawal could be affected by changes in the contextual cues presented during withdrawal and by intrahippocampal administration of a PKMζ inhibitor. We found that the context was relevant for the expression of withdrawal signs as changes in contextual cues prevented the expression of the anxiety-like behavior observed during plus-maze (PM) re-exposure, the associated enhanced synaptic plasticity and the increase in Arc expression. Furthermore, intrahippocampal administration of PKMζ inhibitor previous to re-exposure to the PM test also impaired expression of anxiety-like behavior and the facilitated LTP. These results support the relevance of the hippocampal synaptic plasticity in the maintenance of the memory trace during benzodiazepines withdrawal, adding new evidences for common mechanisms between memory and drug addiction that can be intervened for treatment or prevention of this pathology.