Habenula kisspeptin retrieves morphine impaired fear memory in zebrafish

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The habenula is an evolutionarily conserved brain structure, which has recently been implicated in fear memory. In the zebrafish, kisspeptin (Kiss1) is predominantly expressed in the habenula, which has been implicated as a modulator of fear response. Hence, in the present study, we questioned whether Kiss1 has a role in fear memory and morphine-induced fear memory impairment using an odorant cue (alarm substances, AS)-induced fear avoidance paradigm in adult zebrafish, whereby the fear-conditioned memory can be assessed by a change of basal place preference (= avoidance) of fish due to AS-induced fear experience. Subsequently, to examine the possible role of Kiss1 neurons-serotonergic pathway, kiss1 mRNA and serotonin levels were measured. AS exposure triggered fear episodes and fear-conditioned place avoidance. Morphine treatment followed by AS exposure, significantly impaired fear memory with increased time-spent in AS-paired compartment. However, fish administered with Kiss1 (10–21 mol/fish) after morphine treatment had significantly lower kiss1 mRNA levels but retained fear memory. In addition, the total brain serotonin levels were significantly increased in AS- and Kiss1-treated groups as compared to control and morphine treated group. These results suggest that habenular Kiss1 might be involved in consolidation or retrieval of fear memory through the serotonin system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19569
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

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