Dorsal hippocampal regulation of memory reconsolidation processes that facilitate drug context-induced cocaine-seeking behavior in rats

Eur J Neurosci. 2009 Sep;30(5):901-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2009.06889.x. Epub 2009 Aug 27.


Exposure to a cocaine-paired context increases the propensity for relapse in cocaine users and prompts cocaine-seeking behavior in rats. According to the reconsolidation hypothesis, upon context re-exposure, established cocaine-related associations are retrieved and can become labile. These associations must undergo reconsolidation into long-term memory to effect enduring stimulus control. The dorsal hippocampus (DH), dorsolateral caudate-putamen and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex are critical for the expression of context-induced cocaine seeking, and these brain regions may also play a role in the reconsolidation of cocaine-related memories that promote this behavior. To test this hypothesis, rats were trained to press a lever for unsignaled cocaine infusions (0.2 mg/infusion, i.v.) in a distinct environmental context (cocaine-paired context), followed by extinction training in a different context (extinction context). Rats were then re-exposed to the cocaine-paired context for 15 min in order to reactivate cocaine-related memories or received comparable exposure to a novel unpaired context. Immediately thereafter, rats received bilateral microinfusions of the protein synthesis inhibitor anisomycin, the sodium channel blocker tetrodotoxin or vehicle into one of the above brain regions. After additional extinction training in the extinction context, reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior (i.e., non-reinforced lever presses) was assessed in the cocaine-paired context. Tetrodotoxin, but not anisomycin, administered into the DH inhibited drug context-induced cocaine-seeking behavior in a memory reactivation-dependent manner. Other manipulations failed to alter this behavior. These findings suggest that the DH facilitates the reconsolidation of associative memories that maintain context-induced cocaine-seeking behavior, but it is not the site of anisomycin-sensitive memory restabilization per se.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Anisomycin / pharmacology
  • Basal Ganglia / drug effects
  • Basal Ganglia / physiology
  • Cocaine / administration & dosage*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects
  • Extinction, Psychological / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Neural Conduction / drug effects
  • Prefrontal Cortex / drug effects
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Protein Synthesis Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Recurrence
  • Self Administration
  • Tetrodotoxin / pharmacology


  • Protein Synthesis Inhibitors
  • Tetrodotoxin
  • Anisomycin
  • Cocaine