Recent data from our laboratory have demonstrated that appetitive drug memories undergo protein synthesis-dependent reconsolidation in the basolateral amygdala (BLA), an area important in the formation of emotional memories. We here investigated the importance of the BLA in the reconsolidation of opiate conditioned withdrawal memories. Rats with bilateral cannulas implanted in the BLA were trained to respond for heroin (0.12 mg/kg, i.v.) under a seeking-taking schedule, which required responding on a seeking lever to gain the opportunity to self-administer heroin by a single response on a taking lever. After induction of opiate dependence with subcutaneously implanted, heroin-filled osmotic minipumps (3 mg·kg-1·d-1 heroin), rats received five consecutive pairings of a conditioned stimulus (CS) (tone, light, and odor compound) paired with naloxone (0.10 mg/kg, s.c.)-precipitated withdrawal. We replicated our previous findings that heroin seeking is suppressed in the presence of the withdrawal-associated CS. However, infusion of Zif268 antisense oligodeoxynucleotide into the BLA before reactivation of the CS-withdrawal association abolished this conditioned suppression in a reactivation-dependent manner. We also report that reconsolidation of CS-withdrawal memories upregulates Zif268 protein in the basolateral but not central nucleus of the amygdala and that Zif268 knockdown occurs selectively in the BLA. These results demonstrate that drug withdrawal memories undergo protein synthesis-dependent reconsolidation in the BLA and suggest a common mechanism for the reconsolidation of both appetitive and aversive drug memories. Copyright

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Journal of Neuroscience
Department of Neuroscience

Hellemans, K, Everitt, B.J. (Barry J.), & Lee, J.L.C. (Jonathan L. C.). (2006). Disrupting reconsolidation of conditioned withdrawal memories in the basolateral amygdala reduces suppression of heroin seeking in rats. Journal of Neuroscience, 26(49), 12694–12699. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3101-06.2006