Neurobiology of learning and memory

Vasopressin/oxytocin-related peptides influence long-term memory of a passive avoidance task in the cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis.

PMID 19857582


The vasopressin (VP)/oxytocin (OT)-related peptides constitute a large superfamily found in a wide range of both vertebrate and invertebrate species. While intensive literature reports that these neuropeptides influence behavior, especially learning and memory, in numerous species from diverse vertebrate groups, their roles in behavioral regulation have never been studied in invertebrates. Here, we investigated the role of two VP/OT superfamily peptides, octopressin (OP) and cephalotocin (CT), on long-term memory (LTM) formation of a passive avoidance task in a cephalopod mollusc, the cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis. Subadult cuttlefish were intravenously injected, in a dose range of 3-60 microg/kg, 1h after the training phase (consolidation design); retention performance was tested 24h post-training. We found that administration of OP at low dose (3 microg/kg) enhanced LTM, whereas a dose of 60 microg/kg attenuated it. No effect of OP on LTM was observed for the 15 microg/kg dose. Conversely, an enhancement of retention performance was observed at all doses of CT tested. This study is the first to demonstrate the behavioral effects of VP/OT superfamily peptides in an invertebrate species. The valuable role of VP/OT-like peptides on memory processes offers new evolutionary perspectives on peptidergic transmission and neuromodulation.

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Y0000415 Felypressin, European Pharmacopoeia (EP) Reference Standard