HDAC inhibition promotes both initial consolidation and reconsolidation of spatial memory in mice

Sci Rep. 2016 Jun 7;6:27015. doi: 10.1038/srep27015.


Accumulating evidence suggests a critical role for epigenetic regulations in long term memory (LTM) formation. Among them, post-translational modifications of proteins, as histone acetylation, are an important regulator of chromatin remodelling and gene transcription. While the implication of histone acetylation in memory consolidation is widely accepted, less is known about its role in memory reconsolidation i.e. during memory restabilization after its reactivation. In the present study, we investigated the role of histone acetylation during the initial consolidation and the reconsolidation of spatial memory, using a weak massed learning procedure in the Morris water maze paradigm in mice. Usually a weak learning is sufficient for short term memory (STM) formation, but insufficient to upgrade STM to LTM. We found that promoting histone acetylation through intra-hippocampal infusion of a class I selective histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor immediately after a subthreshold spatial learning improved LTM but not STM retention. More importantly, inhibiting HDAC activity after the reactivation of a weak memory promoted specifically LTM reconsolidation without affecting post-reactivation STM. These findings argue in favour of an important role for histone acetylation in memory consolidation, and more particularly during the reconsolidation of spatial memory in mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Animals
  • Butyric Acid / pharmacology*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Male
  • Maze Learning
  • Memory Consolidation / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Spatial Memory / drug effects*


  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Histones
  • Butyric Acid