Greenberg A, Ward-Flanagan R, Dickson CT, Treit D
Hippocampus 2014 Jun;
Although hippocampal function is typically described in terms of memory, recent evidence suggests a differentiation along its dorsal/ventral axis, with dorsal regions serving memory and ventral regions serving emotion. While long-term memory is thought to be dependent on de novo protein synthesis because it is blocked by translational inhibitors such as anisomycin (ANI), online (moment-to-moment) functions of the hippocampus (such as unconditioned emotional responding) should not be sensitive to such manipulations since they are unlikely to involve neuroplasticity. However, ANI has recently been shown to suppress neural activity which suggests 1) that protein synthesis is critical for neural function, and 2) that paradigms using ANI are confounded by its inactivating effects. We tested this idea by using a neuro-behavioral assay which compared the influence of intra-hippocampal infusions of ANI at dorsal and ventral sites on unconditioned emotional behavior of rats. We show that ANI infusions in ventral, but not dorsal, hippocampus produced a suppression of anxiety-related responses in two well-established rodent tests: the elevated plus-maze and shock-probe burying tests. These results are similar to those previously observed when ventral hippocampal activity is directly suppressed (e.g., by using sodium channel blockers). The present study offers compelling behavioral evidence for the proposal that ANI adversely affects ongoing neural function and therefore its influence is not simply limited to impairing the consolidation of long-term memories. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.