This study assessed the role of the nucleus basalis magnocellularis (NBM) in specific memory phases of two-way active avoidance conditioning. We evaluated the effects of NBM electrical stimulation applied during different phases of the avoidance task. Rats were trained in a 30-trial acquisition session, and were tested again 24 and 48 h later. NBM stimulation was applied at different stages of memory formation of the conditioning: (1) immediately before the first training session to determine the effects on acquisition of the two-way avoidance task; (2) immediately after the first training session to evaluate effects on memory consolidation; and (3) immediately before the 24-h retention session to analyze the effects on the retrieval process. NBM stimulation before training significantly improved the acquisition of the task, without affecting subsequent retention at either 24 or 48 h. Stimulation of the NBM immediately after the first training session slightly impaired performance in the 24-h retention session. Stimulation of the NBM immediately before the 24-h retention session did not affect performance in either the 24 or 48-h retention sessions. Therefore, the NBM may play a more important role in acquisition of memory in aversively motivated conditioning tasks than in consolidation or retrieval of such memories. These results are discussed in the context of attention enhancement and cortical and amygdala activation. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- Aversive memories
- Memory modulation