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Papers of the Week

Papers: 16 Dec 2023 - 22 Dec 2023

2023 Dec 20

Mol Psychiatry


Targeting Nociceptin/Orphanin FQ receptor to rescue cognitive symptoms in a mouse neuroendocrine model of chronic stress.


D'Oliveira da Silva F, Robert C, Lardant E, Pizzano C, Bruchas MR, Guiard BP, Chauveau F, Moulédous L


Chronic stress causes cognitive deficits, such as impairments in episodic-like hippocampus-dependent memory. Stress regulates an opioid-related neuropeptide named Nociceptin/Orphanin FQ (N/OFQ), the ligand of the G protein-coupled receptor NOP. Since this peptide has deleterious effects on memory, we hypothesized that the N/OFQ system could be a mediator of the negative effects of stress on memory. Chronic stress was mimicked by chronic exposure to corticosterone (CORT). The NOP receptor was either acutely blocked using selective antagonists, or knocked-down specifically in the hippocampus using genetic tools. Long-term memory was assessed in the object recognition (OR) and object location (OL) paradigms. Acute injection of NOP antagonists before learning had a negative impact on memory in naive mice whereas it restored memory performances in the chronic stress model. This rescue was associated with a normalization of neuronal cell activity in the CA3 part of the hippocampus. Chronic CORT induced an upregulation of the N/OFQ precursor in the hippocampus. Knock-down of the NOP receptor in the CA3/Dentate Gyrus region prevented memory deficits in the CORT model. These data demonstrate that blocking the N/OFQ system can be beneficial for long-term memory in a neuroendocrine model of chronic stress. We therefore suggest that NOP antagonists could be useful for the treatment of memory deficits in stress-related disorders.