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Anxiety induces long-term memory forgetting in the crayfish

Abstract

When two male crayfish encounter, agonistic bouts are initiated and a winner–loser relationship is established. Larger animals are more likely to win with their physical advantage, but they are frequently beaten by small dominant animals with previous winning experience. This winner effect remains for several days. In mammals, anxiety impairs learning and induces memory forgetting. In this study, dominant crayfish were exposed to electrical shocks two days after their first win, after which they were paired with large or small naive opponents the following day. Our results showed that electrical shock-applied dominant animals were beaten by large naive opponents, but overcame small naive opponents, suggesting that electrical shocks cause animals to forget their previous winner effect. Electrical shocks appeared to elicit serotonin-mediated anxiety since electrical shocks had no effect on mianserin-injected dominant animals. A 0.5 µM serotonin injection induced a caused anxiety-like reaction, while a 1.0 µM serotonin injection-induced no changes in posture and walking activity. For pairings between dominant and naive animals 1 day after serotonin injection, 0.5 µM serotonin caused similar forgetting of the winner effect, but 1.0 µM serotonin had no effect. Serotonin of low concentrations mediated anxiety and stimulated forgetting of the winner’s memory.

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Data availability statement

Data are available upon request by contacting the correspondence author.

Abbreviations

5HT:

Serotonin

D50:

Dominant animal with 50 V electrical shocks

DA:

Dopamine

DtoS:

Animal who shifted dominant to subordinate status

dom:

Dominant

LN:

Large naive animal

SD:

Small dominant animal

SN:

Small naive animal

sub:

Subordinate

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by Grants- in-Aid from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sport, and Culture to TN (16K07432). We would like to thank Uni-edit for editing and proofreading this manuscript.

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SK and TN designed the experiments. SK conducted the experiments and performed the statistical analyses. SK and TN discussed the results, wrote the paper and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Toshiki Nagayama.

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The authors declare no competing or financial interests.

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All experiments were carried out in accordance with the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of Yamagata University (Japan).

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Kamada, S., Nagayama, T. Anxiety induces long-term memory forgetting in the crayfish. J Comp Physiol A 207, 459–467 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00359-021-01487-1

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Keywords

  • Winner effect
  • Learning
  • Long-term memory
  • Electrical shocks