Published on Thu Jul 22 2021

Expression patterns of Arc mRNA after renewal of appetitive behavior in female rats.

Hilz, E. N., Agee, L. A., Jun, D. S., Monfils, M. H., Lee, H. J.

Estrous cycle stage (P, high hormone) or metestrus/diestrus (M/D, low hormone) was considered during two important learning and behavioral expression windows: at extinction training and during LTM/renewal testing. Rats in P during context-dependent extinction training but in some other stage of the estrous cycle

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Abstract

Renewal of appetitive behavior depends on the gonadal hormonal state of the female rat. In this experiment the effect of female rat estrous cycle stage on renewal of appetitive behaviors is replicated and extended upon to understand how endogenous hormonal states around the estrous cycle drive renewal at the neuronal population level. Estrous cycle stage (i.e., proestrus (P, high hormone) or metestrus/diestrus (M/D, low hormone)) was considered during two important learning and behavioral expression windows: at extinction training and during LTM/renewal testing. First, rats in P during context-dependent extinction training but in some other stage of the estrous cycle during long-term memory and renewal testing (Different) were shown to exhibit more renewal of conditioned foodcup (but not conditioned orienting) behavior compared to rats in other estrous cycle groups. Next, cellular compartment analysis of temporal activity using fluorescence in situ hybridization (catFISH) was used to examine immediate early gene activity of Arc mRNA in neuronal populations after distinct context-stimulus exposures (i.e., extinction and acquisition test contexts). Arc mRNA expression patterns were examined in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), amygdala, hippocampus (HPC), and paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus. P-different rats showed differential neuronal population activity in the infralimbic cortex of the PFC, the lateral amygdaloid nucleus, and both CA1 and CA3 regions of the dorsal HPC. In each region P-different rats exhibited more co-expression and less specificity of Arc mRNA compared to other hormonal groups, indicating that renewal of appetitive foodcup behavior induces Arc mRNA in overlapping neuronal populations in female rats.