Long-Term Memory Facilitation in Rats by Posttraining Epinephrine

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Effects of posttraining epinephrine (EPI) on retention of a massed (1 session, 30 trials) 2-way active avoidance task in rats were studied. The rats received an injection (ip) of 0.05 mg/kg EPI, 0.01 mg/kg EPI, or distilled water immediately after the training session. EPI did not improve retention 24 hr after the training session (Experiment 1) but enhanced retention 20 days after the training session (Experiment 2). The group receiving the smaller dose of EPI had better retention than the group receiving the larger dose, indicating dose dependency. The authors suggest that the process of consolidation of massed 2-way active avoidance conditioning is long and elaborative. Posttraining EPI would facilitate this active process of consolidation, improving performance as consolidation goes on. This facilitation needs, at least under certain conditions, more than 24 hr to be expressed as a higher level of performance on the retention test.

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