Phosphorylation of Tyrosine Receptor Kinase B in the Dorsal Striatum and Dorsal Hippocampus Is Associated With Response Learning in a Water Plus Maze

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The dorsal hippocampus and dorsal striatum have dissociable roles in learning and memory that are related to region-specific changes in proteins necessary for neuronal plasticity and memory formation. There is additional evidence that the hippocampus and striatum can interact during memory formation. Phosphorylation of tyrosine receptor kinase B is important for memory formation in the hippocampus, but whether or not it has a role in striatum-dependent learning, or in interactions between the hippocampus and striatum, has not been examined. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that response training increases pTrkB in the dorsal striatum, but decreases pTrkB in dorsal hippocampus, due to an interaction between the systems during memory formation. Results show a significant decrease in pTrkB levels in the dorsal hippocampus of rats trained on the response task compared with swim controls. Response training did not increase pTrkB levels in the dorsal striatum. Positive correlations were found between response learning and the total area of cells expressing pTrkB in the dorsal striatum, while no correlations were found in swim controls. Our results partially support our hypothesis and indicate that response learning is associated with a decrease in hippocampal pTrkB, while phosphorylation of TrkB in the dorsal striatum remains constant. This indicates that suppression of hippocampal pTrkB during response learning may be involved in striatum-dependent memory formation. Additionally, our findings suggest that activation of TrkB in a sparse arrangement of cells may be associated with faster acquisition of a response task.

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