Acute stress does not affect the impairing effect of chronic stress on memory retrieval

Document Type: Original Article


1 School of Biology, Damghan University, Damghan, Iran

2 Laboratory of Learning and Memory, Research Center and Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Semnan University of Medical Sciences, Semnan, Iran


Objective(s): Due to the prevalence and pervasiveness of stress in modern life and exposure to both chronic and acute stresses, it is not clear whether prior exposure to chronic stress can influence the impairing effects of acute stress on memory retrieval. This issue was tested in this study.
Materials and Methods: Adult male Wistar rats were randomly assigned to the following groups: control, acute, chronic, and chronic + acute stress groups. The rats were trained with six trials per day for 6 consecutive days in the water maze. Following training, the rats were either kept in control conditions or exposed to chronic stress in a restrainer 6 hr/day for 21 days. On day 22, a probe test was done to measure memory retention. Time spent in target and opposite areas, platform location latency, and proximity were used as indices of memory retention. To induce acute stress, 30 min before the probe test, animals received a mild footshock.
Results: Stressed animals spent significantly less time in the target quadrant and more time in the opposite quadrant than control animals. Moreover, the stressed animals showed significantly increased platform location latency and proximity as compared with control animals. No significant differences were found in these measures among stress exposure groups. Finally, both chronic and acute stress significantly increased corticosterone levels.
Conclusion: Our results indicate that both chronic and acute stress impair memory retrieval similarly. Additionally, the impairing effects of chronic stress on memory retrieval were not influenced by acute stress.


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