Effect of intensity of unconditional stimulus on reconsolidation of contextual fear memory.

Memory reconsolidation is ubiquitous across species and various memory tasks. It is a dynamic process in which memory is modified and/or updated. In experimental conditions, memory reconsolidation is usually characterized by the fact that the consolidated memory is disrupted by a combination of memory reactivation and inhibition of protein synthesis. However, under some experimental conditions, the reactivated memory is not disrupted by inhibition of protein synthesis. This so called "boundary condition" of reconsolidation may be related to memory strength. In Pavlovian fear conditioning, the intensity of unconditional stimulus (US) determines the strength of the fear memory. In this study, we examined the effect of the intensity of US on the reconsolidation of contextual fear memory. Strong contextual fear memory, which is conditioned with strong US, is not disrupted by inhibition of protein synthesis after its reactivation; however, a weak fear memory is often disrupted. This suggests that a US of strong intensity can inhibit reconsolidation of contextual fear memory.