Novel Experience Prior to Training Attenuates the Amnestic Effects of Posttraining ECS

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In this article, mice were given a novel exploratory experience 1 hr prior to training on a one-trial inhibitory avoidance task or a Y-maze shock-motivated visual discrimination task. Half of the animals in each group received immediate posttraining electroconvulsive shock (ECS) delivered through implanted cortical screws. Retention was tested 24 hr later. In the inhibitory avoidance task, retention was assessed by the response latencies on Day 2. In the Y-maze, the discrimination was reversed on Day 2 and retention of the original discrimination was assessed by errors made on six reversal training trials. Comparable results were obtained in the two tasks: ECS impaired retention in controls not given the novel experience but did not affect retention in mice given the novel experience. These findings are interpreted in terms of previous evidence, which suggests that ECS-induced amnesia may be mediated by the release of brain β-endorphin.

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