Brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) supports neuronal survival, growth, and differentiation and is involved in forms of hippocampus-dependent learning, as well as hippocampus-dependent learning. Extinction learning (EL) comprises active inhibition of no-longer relevant learned information, in conjunction with a decreased response of a previously learned behavior. It is highly dependent on context, and evidence exists that it requires hippocampal activation. Concordantly, the participation of BDNF in hippocampus-dependent memory is experience-dependent. BDNF has been associated with synaptic plasticity needed for acquisition and extinction learning of fear conditioning. However, little is known about its influence on the extinction and renewal of spatial appetitive extinction learning (EL). In this study, in BDNF+/–mice we evaluated to what extent BDNF contributes to spatial appetitive EL in the presence (ABA) or absence (AAA) of a context change. Daily training, to reach acquisition criterion in a T-maze, resulted in a similar outcome in BDNF+/–mice or their wildtype (wt) littermates. EL was delayed in the AAA, and significantly impaired in the ABA-context compared to EL in wt littermates. When renewal was tested in the ABA paradigm we detected a significant response in wt controls, but not in BDNF+/–mice. Taken together, these results support an important role for BDNF in EL in AAA and ABA context, as well as renewal of a spatial appetitive task, processes that relate to information updating and retrieval.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience