Extinction of spatial memory alters CREB phosphorylation in hippocampal CA1

Hippocampus. 2011 Nov;21(11):1169-79. doi: 10.1002/hipo.20844. Epub 2010 Sep 16.


Although the importance of cAMP-response element binding protein (CREB) phosphorylation in long-term memory formation is well documented for hippocampus-dependent tasks, little is known about the changes in phosphorylated CREB (pCREB) that occur during the process of extinction. The purpose of this study was to characterize the temporal patterns of pCREB in the CA1 and the amygdala after the extinction of previously acquired spatial information in the water maze. Mice were trained to find a hidden platform located at a fixed position and then were given extinction sessions in which the platform was either absent (NoPF) or relocated every day (RandomPF). We show that water maze spatial training evoked a biphasic response of pCREB in the CA1, with two different peaks occurring 15 min and 8 h postacquisition. The extinction of the original spatial preference significantly reduced the two peaks of CA1 pCREB in both RandomPF and NoPF groups whereas CA1 pCREB at 60 min post-training remained unaffected. Moreover, the early and late phases of extinction training produced regionally dissociable effects on pCREB in the CA1 and the lateral nucleus of the amygdala. These findings provide new insights on the molecular dynamics and anatomical dissociations underlying spatial memory and extinction learning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / physiology*
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein / metabolism*
  • Extinction, Psychological / physiology*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Phosphorylation


  • Creb1 protein, mouse
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein