Memory consolidation and expression of object recognition are susceptible to retroactive interference

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With the aim of analyzing if object recognition long-term memory (OR-LTM) formation is susceptible to retroactive interference (RI), we submitted rats to sequential sample sessions using the same arena but changing the identity of a pair of objects placed in it. Separate groups of animals were tested in the arena in order to evaluate the LTM for these objects. Our results suggest that OR-LTM formation was retroactively interfered within a critical time window by the exploration of a new, but not familiar, object. This RI acted on the consolidation of the object explored in the first sample session because its OR-STM measured 3 h after training was not affected, whereas the OR-LTM measured at 24 h was impaired. This sample session also impaired the expression of OR memory when it took place before the test. Moreover, local inactivation of the dorsal Hippocampus (Hp) or the medial Prefrontal Cortex (mPFC) previous to the exploration of the second pair of objects impaired their consolidation restoring the LTM for the objects explored in the first session. This data suggests that both brain regions are involved in the processing of OR-memory and also that if those regions are engaged in another process before finishing the first consolidation process its LTM will be impaired by RI.

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