Lateral ventricle injection of the protein synthesis inhibitor anisomycin impairs long-term memory in a spatial memory task

Brain Res. 1998 Apr 6;789(1):48-55. doi: 10.1016/s0006-8993(97)01528-x.


Although protein synthesis inhibition has been shown to affect long-term memory in a wide variety of animal species, cases have been reported in which protein synthesis inhibition failed to affect memory consolidation [S. Wittstock, R. Menzel, Color learning and memory in honey bees are not affected by protein synthesis inhibition, Behav. Neural Biol., 62 (1994) 224-229.]. Most findings argue that the critical time for protein synthesis is during or immediately after training. However, other reports show a second time window, hours after training, where protein synthesis inhibition can cause amnesia [F.M. Freeman, S.P.R. Rose, A.B. Scholey, Two time windows of anisomycin-induced amnesia for passive avoidance training in the day-old chick, Neurobiol. Learn. Mem., 63 (1995) 291-295.][G. Grecksch, H. Matthies, Two sensitive periods for the amnesic effect of anisomycin, Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav., 12 (1980) 663-665.]. In this study, we addressed two questions: (1) Is protein synthesis essential for spatial memory? and (2) At what injection time window(s) will protein synthesis inhibition cause spatial memory amnesia? We report that bilateral intraventricular microinjection of anisomycin (Ani) impairs consolidation of long-term memory, in the hippocampal-dependent Morris water maze spatial memory task. Memory was impaired in a dose-dependent manner without affecting short-term memory. Spatial memory was affected only if Ani was injected 20 min before performing the task and not in any other time window before or after the behavioral test. The inhibition did not affect pre-existing memories or the capability to memorize once the effect of the inhibition diminished.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anisomycin / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Protein Synthesis Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Protein Synthesis Inhibitors
  • Anisomycin