Acute stress negatively affects object recognition early memory consolidation and memory retrieval unrelated to state-dependency

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It is well known that stress affects memory performance. However, there still appears to be inconstancy in literature about how acute stress affects the different stages of memory: acquisition, consolidation and retrieval. In this study, we exposed rats to acute stress and measured the effect on memory performance in the object recognition task as a measure for episodic memory. Stress was induced 30min prior to the learning phase to affect acquisition, directly after the learning phase to affect consolidation, or 30min before the retrieval phase to affect retrieval. Additionally, we induced stress both 30min prior to the learning phase and 30min prior to the retrieval phase to test whether the effects were related to state-dependency. As expected, we found that acute stress did not affect acquisition but had a negative impact on retrieval. To our knowledge, we are the first to show that early consolidation was negatively affected by acute stress. We also show that stress does not have a state-dependent effect on memory.

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