Enhanced aversive memory retrieval by chemogenetic activation of locus coeruleus norepinephrine neurons
Abstract: The ability to retrieve memory store in response to the environment is essential for animal behavioral adaptation. Norepinephrine (NE)-containing neurons in the brain play a key role in the modulation of synaptic plasticity underlying various processes of memory formation. However, the role of the central NE system in memory retrieval remains unclear. In this study, we developed a neural chemogenetic activation strategy using insect olfactory Ionotropic Receptors (IRs), and used it for selective stimulation of NE neurons in the locus coeruleus (LC) in transgenic mice. Ligand-induced activation of LC NE neurons resulted in enhancement of the retrieval process of conditioned taste aversion, which was mediated through at least partly adrenergic receptors in the amygdala. Pharmacological blockade of LC activity confirmed the facilitative role of these neurons in memory retrieval. Our findings indicate that the LC-amygdalar pathway is required and sufficient for enhancing the recall of taste associative memory.