There is a long-standing debate as to whether the memory process of consolidation is neurochemically similar to or the same as the set of processes involved in retrieval and reconsolidation of that memory. In addition, although we have previously shown that initial memory processing in the hippocampus causes a drainage of hippocampal glucose because of increased local metabolic demand, it is unknown what metabolic changes occur elsewhere in the brain or during subsequent processing of a previously consolidated memory. Male Sprague Dawley rats (3 months old) were implanted with unilateral microdialysis cannulae and in vivo microdialysis of amygdala extracellular fluid (ECF) was performed during both (i) initial learning and (ii) retrieval 24 h later of an aversively motivated avoidance memory task. ECF samples were analyzed for glucose, lactate, pyruvate and glutamate. Results showed close similarity between increases in local glycolysis seen during both consolidation and retrieval, but also suggested that there may perhaps be a difference in amygdalar oxidative phosphorylation stimulated by the two processes. Hence, our data suggest that memory formation places similar metabolic demands across neural systems, and that consolidation may be metabolically different from retrieval.
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