Brief stress impairs recognition memory through amygdalar activation in animals with medial prefrontal cortex lesions

Jung Cheol Park, Yong Jae Jeon, Jeansok J. Kim, Jeiwon Cho, Dong Hee Choi, Jung Soo Han

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4 Scopus citations


The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is thought to exert inhibitory control over stress-induced activation of the amygdala and neurocognitive effects. As evidence to support this, we examined how exposure to either a brief or prolonged stress affected on amygdalar c-Fos levels and recognition memory of animals with mPFC chemical lesions. mPFC-lesioned and sham-operated animals were subjected to either a brief 20-min restraint+20 tailshocks or a prolonged 60-min restraint+60 tailshocks. Post-stress performances in the object recognition memory and c-Fos immunoreactivity in the amygdala were then assessed. In sham-operated animals, the object recognition memory was reliably impaired following the prolonged, but not following the brief stress exposure. On the other hand, in mPFC-lesioned animals, the brief stress significantly impaired recognition memory and enhanced c-Fos expression in the amygdala. Present findings of loss of mPFC activity exacerbating stress effects provide causal evidence that the mPFC exerts inhibitory control on stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article number135245
JournalNeuroscience Letters
StatePublished - 14 Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Korea Research Foundation Grants funded by the Korean Government ( NRF-2017R1A2B4011540 and NRF-2015M3C7A1031395 to J.S.H.; NRF - 2014R1A2A1A11050236 and NRF-2019R1A2C1006285 to D.H.C; and NRF- 2015M3C7A1028392 to J.W.C), and the National Institutes of Health Grant MH099073 to J.J.K.). The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Amygdala
  • c-Fos
  • Medial prefrontal cortex
  • Recognition memory
  • Stress


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