Amnesia Produced by Spreading Depression and ECS: Evidence for Time-Dependent Memory Trace Localization

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Science  14 May 1971:
Vol. 172, Issue 3984, pp. 746-749
DOI: 10.1126/science.172.3984.746


Rats were given electroconvulsive shock and bilateral cortical spreading depression, either alone or in combination, at various times after a single passive avoidance training trial. Assessment of retention deficits, 24 hours after training, revealed a U-shaped amnesic function for cortical spreading depression as compared with the short linear function consistently obtained with electroconvulsive shock in this situation. Induction of cortical spreading depression immediately after training resulted in an extension of the amnesic gradient produced by electroconvulsive shock, presumably by disruption of the subcortically confined memory trace. In addition to indicating a stibcortical locus of action for the amnesic effects of electroconvulsive shock, these results are interpreted as favoring a hypothesis of time-dependent memory trace localization in short-term memory processing, which involves an initial subcortical localization of the trace followed by a phase involving either direct or indlirect cortical participation in a mulltistage memory fixation process.