Role of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase-Akt-mammalian target of the rapamycin signaling pathway in long-term potentiation and trace fear conditioning memory in rat medial prefrontal cortex

Li Sui, Jing Wang, Bao-Ming Li
Learning & Memory 2008, 15 (10): 762-76
Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and its downstream targets, including Akt (also known as protein kinase B, PKB), mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), the 70-kDa ribosomal S6 kinase (p70S6k), and the eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E)-binding protein 1 (4E-BP1), may play important roles in long-term synaptic plasticity and memory in many brain regions, such as the hippocampus and the amygdala. The present study investigated the role of the PI3K/Akt-mTOR signaling pathway in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), also a crucial neural locus for the control of cognition and emotion. Western blot analysis of mPFC tissues showed an activation of phosphorylation of Akt at the Ser473 residues, mTOR, p70S6k, and 4E-BP1 in response to long-term potentiation (LTP)-inducing high-frequency stimulation (HFS). Infusion of PI3K inhibitors (wortmannin and LY294002) and an mTOR inhibitor (rapamycin) into the mPFC in vivo suppressed HFS-induced LTP as well as the phosphorylation of PI3K/Akt-mTOR signaling pathway. In parallel, these inhibitors interfered with the long-term retention of trace fear memory examined 3 d and 6 d after the trace fear conditioning training, whereas short-term trace fear memory and object recognition memory were kept intact. These results provide evidence of involvement of activation of the PI3K/Akt-mTOR signaling pathway in the mPFC for LTP and long-term retention of trace fear memory.

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