Neuromodulation of memory in the
hippocampus by vasopressin

Alescio-Lautier B, Paban V, Soumireu-Mourat B.
Lab. de Neurobiologie des Comportements,
UMR CNRS 6562, Universite de Provence,
IBHOP, Traverse Charles Susini,
13388 Cedex 13, Marseille, France.
Eur J Pharmacol 2000 Sep 29;405(1-3):63-72


The involvement of [Arg(8)]vasopressin in memory processes was analyzed in the hippocampal structure, since we have reported that this is one of the main central target structures of the vasopressin-enhancing effect on memory. This structure is functionally differentiated along its dorsoventral axis, and the expression of the vasopressinergic system is dependent upon whether the dorsal or ventral part of the hippocampus is involved. For this reason, the effect of vasopressin injected into hippocampus was evaluated on the basis of the site of injection. We have shown, using a Go-No Go visual discrimination task with mice that both parts of the hippocampus are involved in the effect of endogenous or exogenous vasopressin, but with higher sensitivity for the ventral part. Based on the expression of Fos protein following intracerebroventricular injection of vasopressin in unconditioned or conditioned mice, we confirmed the greater involvement of the ventral hippocampus in the enhancing effect of vasopressin on memory processes. The effect of the peptide seems specific, since only a few of the hippocampal cells that expressed Fos protein in the unconditioned mice did so in the conditioned mice (cells in the dentate gyrus and the CA3 hippocampal field). Moreover, we have shown that in the ventral hippocampus, vasopressin generates different behavioral effects whether treatment is performed at the beginning or in the middle of the learning process, suggesting that the mnemonic context is an important factor for understanding the effect of vasopressin on memory in the ventral hippocampus.

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