106 | Attenuation of robust aversive memory through control of fear generalization during recall: effect of propranolol.

Cognition, Behavior, and Memory

Author: Marcelo Giachero | Email: mpgiachero@gmail.com

Marcelo Giachero , Agostina Sacson , Noelia Weisstaub , Pedro Bekinschtein

1° Laboratorio de Memoria y Cognición Molecular, Instituto de Neurociencia Cognitiva y Traslacional (CONICET – Universidad Favaloro – Fundación INECO)

Reconsolidation, a retrieval-dependent process, has been considered an opportunity for attenuating the negative features of traumatic memories. Memory weakened in this way suggests an effective therapeutic strategy to provide long-term relief. However, very aversive memories are often resistant to this process. Here, after the induction of a robust fear memory in mice using strong fear conditioning, we examined whether it is possible to render it susceptible to pharmacological disruption according to the degree of generalized fear (GF). For this, based on the perceptual similarity between the associated context (CA) and non-associated contexts (CB, CC, and CD) to the aversive event, we established an ordered gradient of GF. We observed that as the exposure context became less similar to CA, the fear response decreased (CA-CB vs CC-CD). Next, in conditioned mice, we injected propranolol (PROP) after exposure to the different contexts. In males, PROP treatment resulted in a reduced fear response following exposure to CA or CB, but not CC or CD, compared to the control group. In females, the decrease in fear response due to PROP was observed after exposure to CC, but not to the other contexts, compared to the control group. From a clinical viewpoint, this would be of considerable relevance since, following this strategy, the treatment of psychiatric disorders associated with traumatic memory formation would be more effective and less stressful.