Reduced Nuclear Factor kappa B activation in dentate gyrus after active avoidance training

Dionne O.L. Vernon, Svitvana Garbuzova-Davis, Tammy Desjarlais, R. Singh Rasile, Paul R. Sanberg, Alison E. Willing, Keith R. Pennypacker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Nuclear Factor kappa B (NF-κB) is a transcription factor associated with neuroplasticity and neuronal survival during injury. Although NF-κB has been proven to be involved in various processes of repair, there is also evidence that NF-κB is associated with learning and memory formation. Our laboratory has previously observed that mice lacking the NF-κB p50 subunit are not proficient in learning tasks associated with active avoidance training, an effective learning paradigm. The purpose of this study is to identify changes in NF-κB levels after active avoidance training using kappaB-dependent lacZ transgenic mice. Levels of NF-κB activity were detected immunohistochemically after active avoidance training in brain regions associated with learning and memory. NF-κB activity in trained mice was significantly decreased in the dentate gyrus, but no significant changes were found in other brain regions of trained mice compared to untrained mice. The number of p50-containing neurons was counted in the dentate gyrus and a significant increase was discovered in the trained mice relative to untrained mice. The decrease of NF-κB-containing neurons in the dentate gyrus coincides with elevated levels of activated p50 neurons and may be caused by the ability of p50 homodimers to inhibit NF-κB transactivation. These results indicate that increased p50 expression down-regulates NF-κB activity in the dentate gyrus after exposure to unconditioned stimulus. Therefore, a reduction of NF-κB activation and its target genes appears to be a necessary event for early stages of learning and memory consolidation associated with active avoidance training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 9 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NIH R01NS39141 to KRP.


  • Active avoidance
  • Dentate gyrus
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • NF-κB
  • p50/p50 homodimer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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