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Sample records for conditioned fear memories

  1. [Mechanisms for regulation of fear conditioning and memory].

    PubMed

    Kida, Satoshi

    2014-11-01

    Pavlovian fear conditioning is a model of fear learning and memory. The mechanisms regulating fear conditioning and memory have been investigated in humans and rodents. In this paradigm, animals learn and memorize an association between a conditioned stimulus (CS), such as context, and an unconditioned stimulus (US), such as an electrical footshock that induces fear. Fear memory generated though fear conditioning is stabilized via a memory consolidation process. Moreover, recent studies have shown the existence of memory processes that control fear memory following the retrieval of consolidated memory. Indeed, when fear memory is retrieved by re-exposure to the CS, the retrieved memory is re-stabilized via the reconsolidation process. On the other hand, the retrieval of fear memory by prolonged re-exposure to the CS also leads to fear memory extinction, new inhibitory learning against the fear memory, in which animals learn that they do not need to respond to the CS. Importantly, the reinforcement of fear memory after retrieval (i.e., re-experience such as flashbacks or nightmares) has been thought to be associated with the development of emotional disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In this review, I summarize recent progress in studies on the mechanism of fear conditioning and memory consolidation, reconsolidation and extinction, and furthermore, introduce our recent establishment of a mouse PTSD model that shows enhancement of fear memory after retrieval.

  2. [Mechanisms for regulation of fear conditioning and memory].

    PubMed

    Kida, Satoshi

    2014-11-01

    Pavlovian fear conditioning is a model of fear learning and memory. The mechanisms regulating fear conditioning and memory have been investigated in humans and rodents. In this paradigm, animals learn and memorize an association between a conditioned stimulus (CS), such as context, and an unconditioned stimulus (US), such as an electrical footshock that induces fear. Fear memory generated though fear conditioning is stabilized via a memory consolidation process. Moreover, recent studies have shown the existence of memory processes that control fear memory following the retrieval of consolidated memory. Indeed, when fear memory is retrieved by re-exposure to the CS, the retrieved memory is re-stabilized via the reconsolidation process. On the other hand, the retrieval of fear memory by prolonged re-exposure to the CS also leads to fear memory extinction, new inhibitory learning against the fear memory, in which animals learn that they do not need to respond to the CS. Importantly, the reinforcement of fear memory after retrieval (i.e., re-experience such as flashbacks or nightmares) has been thought to be associated with the development of emotional disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In this review, I summarize recent progress in studies on the mechanism of fear conditioning and memory consolidation, reconsolidation and extinction, and furthermore, introduce our recent establishment of a mouse PTSD model that shows enhancement of fear memory after retrieval. PMID:25536762

  3. Fear Memory.

    PubMed

    Izquierdo, Ivan; Furini, Cristiane R G; Myskiw, Jociane C

    2016-04-01

    Fear memory is the best-studied form of memory. It was thoroughly investigated in the past 60 years mostly using two classical conditioning procedures (contextual fear conditioning and fear conditioning to a tone) and one instrumental procedure (one-trial inhibitory avoidance). Fear memory is formed in the hippocampus (contextual conditioning and inhibitory avoidance), in the basolateral amygdala (inhibitory avoidance), and in the lateral amygdala (conditioning to a tone). The circuitry involves, in addition, the pre- and infralimbic ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the central amygdala subnuclei, and the dentate gyrus. Fear learning models, notably inhibitory avoidance, have also been very useful for the analysis of the biochemical mechanisms of memory consolidation as a whole. These studies have capitalized on in vitro observations on long-term potentiation and other kinds of plasticity. The effect of a very large number of drugs on fear learning has been intensively studied, often as a prelude to the investigation of effects on anxiety. The extinction of fear learning involves to an extent a reversal of the flow of information in the mentioned structures and is used in the therapy of posttraumatic stress disorder and fear memories in general. PMID:26983799

  4. Fear Memory.

    PubMed

    Izquierdo, Ivan; Furini, Cristiane R G; Myskiw, Jociane C

    2016-04-01

    Fear memory is the best-studied form of memory. It was thoroughly investigated in the past 60 years mostly using two classical conditioning procedures (contextual fear conditioning and fear conditioning to a tone) and one instrumental procedure (one-trial inhibitory avoidance). Fear memory is formed in the hippocampus (contextual conditioning and inhibitory avoidance), in the basolateral amygdala (inhibitory avoidance), and in the lateral amygdala (conditioning to a tone). The circuitry involves, in addition, the pre- and infralimbic ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the central amygdala subnuclei, and the dentate gyrus. Fear learning models, notably inhibitory avoidance, have also been very useful for the analysis of the biochemical mechanisms of memory consolidation as a whole. These studies have capitalized on in vitro observations on long-term potentiation and other kinds of plasticity. The effect of a very large number of drugs on fear learning has been intensively studied, often as a prelude to the investigation of effects on anxiety. The extinction of fear learning involves to an extent a reversal of the flow of information in the mentioned structures and is used in the therapy of posttraumatic stress disorder and fear memories in general.

  5. Hippocampal Structural Plasticity Accompanies the Resulting Contextual Fear Memory Following Stress and Fear Conditioning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Giachero, Marcelo; Calfa, Gaston D.; Molina, Victor A.

    2013-01-01

    The present research investigated the resulting contextual fear memory and structural plasticity changes in the dorsal hippocampus (DH) following stress and fear conditioning. This combination enhanced fear retention and increased the number of total and mature dendritic spines in DH. Intra-basolateral amygdala (BLA) infusion of midazolam prior to…

  6. Effects of sleep on memory for conditioned fear and fear extinction

    PubMed Central

    Pace-Schott, Edward F.; Germain, Anne; Milad, Mohammed R.

    2015-01-01

    Learning and memory for extinction of conditioned fear is a basic mammalian mechanism for regulating negative emotion. Sleep promotes both the consolidation of memory and the regulation of emotion. Sleep can influence consolidation and modification of memories associated with both fear and its extinction. After brief overviews of the behavior and neural circuitry associated with fear conditioning, extinction learning and extinction memory in the rodent and human, interactions of sleep with these processes will be examined. Animal and human studies suggest that sleep can serve to consolidate both fear and extinction memory. In humans, sleep also promotes generalization of extinction memory. Time-of-day effects on extinction learning and generalization are also seen. REM may be a sleep stage of particular importance for the consolidation of both fear and extinction memory as evidenced by selective REM deprivation experiments. REM sleep is accompanied by selective activation of the same limbic structures implicated in the learning and memory of fear and extinction. Preliminary evidence also suggests extinction learning can take place during slow wave sleep. Study of low-level processes such as conditioning, extinction and habituation may allow sleep effects on emotional memory to be identified and inform study of sleep’s effects on more complex, emotionally salient declarative memories. Anxiety disorders are marked by impairments of both sleep and extinction memory. Improving sleep quality may ameliorate anxiety disorders by strengthening naturally acquired extinction. Strategically timed sleep may be used to enhance treatment of anxiety by strengthening therapeutic extinction learned via exposure therapy. PMID:25894546

  7. Topiramate diminishes fear memory consolidation and extinguishes conditioned fear in rats

    PubMed Central

    do Prado-Lima, Pedro Antônio Schmidt; Perrenoud, Myriam Fortes; Kristensen, Christian Haag; Cammarota, Martin; Izquierdo, Ivan

    2011-01-01

    Background Topiramate has been recognized as a drug that can induce memory and cognitive impairment. Using the one-trial inhibitory avoidance task, we sought to verify the effect of topiramate on consolidation and extinction of aversive memory. Our hypothesis was that topiramate inhibits the consolidation and enhances the extinction of this fear memory. Methods In experiment 1, which occured immediately or 3 hours after training, topiramate was administered to rats, and consolidation of memory was verified 18 days after the conditioning session. In experiment 2, which occured 18–22 days after the training session, rats were submitted to the extinction protocol. Rats received topiramate 14 days before or during the extinction protocol. Results Topiramate blocked fear memory retention (p < 0.01) and enhanced fear memory extinction (p < 0.001) only when administered during the extinction protocol. Limitations This experimental design did not allow us to determine whether topiramate also blocked the reconsolidation of fear memory. Conclusion Topiramate diminishes fear memory consolidation and promotes extinction of inhibitory avoidance memory. PMID:21392483

  8. Effects of sleep on memory for conditioned fear and fear extinction.

    PubMed

    Pace-Schott, Edward F; Germain, Anne; Milad, Mohammed R

    2015-07-01

    Learning and memory for extinction of conditioned fear is a basic mammalian mechanism for regulating negative emotion. Sleep promotes both the consolidation of memory and the regulation of emotion. Sleep can influence consolidation and modification of memories associated with both fear and its extinction. After brief overviews of the behavior and neural circuitry associated with fear conditioning, extinction learning, and extinction memory in the rodent and human, interactions of sleep with these processes will be examined. Animal and human studies suggest that sleep can serve to consolidate both fear and extinction memory. In humans, sleep also promotes generalization of extinction memory. Time-of-day effects on extinction learning and generalization are also seen. Rapid eye movement (REM) may be a sleep stage of particular importance for the consolidation of both fear and extinction memory as evidenced by selective REM deprivation experiments. REM sleep is accompanied by selective activation of the same limbic structures implicated in the learning and memory of fear and extinction. Preliminary evidence also suggests extinction learning can take place during slow wave sleep. Study of low-level processes such as conditioning, extinction, and habituation may allow sleep effects on emotional memory to be identified and inform study of sleep's effects on more complex, emotionally salient declarative memories. Anxiety disorders are marked by impairments of both sleep and extinction memory. Improving sleep quality may ameliorate anxiety disorders by strengthening naturally acquired extinction. Strategically timed sleep may be used to enhance treatment of anxiety by strengthening therapeutic extinction learned via exposure therapy. (PsycINFO Database Record

  9. Brain Region-Specific Activity Patterns after Recent or Remote Memory Retrieval of Auditory Conditioned Fear

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kwon, Jeong-Tae; Jhang, Jinho; Kim, Hyung-Su; Lee, Sujin; Han, Jin-Hee

    2012-01-01

    Memory is thought to be sparsely encoded throughout multiple brain regions forming unique memory trace. Although evidence has established that the amygdala is a key brain site for memory storage and retrieval of auditory conditioned fear memory, it remains elusive whether the auditory brain regions may be involved in fear memory storage or…

  10. The roles of Eph receptors in contextual fear conditioning memory formation.

    PubMed

    Dines, Monica; Grinberg, Svetlana; Vassiliev, Maria; Ram, Alon; Tamir, Tal; Lamprecht, Raphael

    2015-10-01

    Eph receptors regulate glutamate receptors functions, neuronal morphology and synaptic plasticity, cellular events believed to be involved in memory formation. In this study we aim to explore the roles of Eph receptors in learning and memory. Toward that end, we examined the roles of EphB2 and EphA4 receptors, key regulators of synaptic functions, in fear conditioning memory formation. We show that mice lacking EphB2 (EphB2(-/-)) are impaired in short- and long-term contextual fear conditioning memory. Mice that express a carboxy-terminally truncated form of EphB2 that lacks forward signaling, instead of the full EphB2, are impaired in long-term, but not short-term, contextual fear conditioning memory. Long-term contextual fear conditioning memory is attenuated in CaMKII-cre;EphA4(lx/-) mice where EphA4 is removed from all pyramidal neurons of the forebrain. Mutant mice with targeted kinase-dead EphA4 (EphA4(KD)) exhibit intact long-term contextual fear conditioning memory showing that EphA4 kinase-mediated forward signaling is not needed for contextual fear memory formation. The ability to form long-term conditioned taste aversion (CTA) memory is not impaired in the EphB2(-/-) and CaMKII-cre;EphA4(lx/-) mice. We conclude that EphB2 forward signaling is required for long-term contextual fear conditioning memory formation. In contrast, EphB2 mediates short-term contextual fear conditioning memory formation in a forward signaling-independent manner. EphA4 mediates long-term contextual fear conditioning memory formation in a kinase-independent manner. PMID:26165136

  11. The roles of Eph receptors in contextual fear conditioning memory formation.

    PubMed

    Dines, Monica; Grinberg, Svetlana; Vassiliev, Maria; Ram, Alon; Tamir, Tal; Lamprecht, Raphael

    2015-10-01

    Eph receptors regulate glutamate receptors functions, neuronal morphology and synaptic plasticity, cellular events believed to be involved in memory formation. In this study we aim to explore the roles of Eph receptors in learning and memory. Toward that end, we examined the roles of EphB2 and EphA4 receptors, key regulators of synaptic functions, in fear conditioning memory formation. We show that mice lacking EphB2 (EphB2(-/-)) are impaired in short- and long-term contextual fear conditioning memory. Mice that express a carboxy-terminally truncated form of EphB2 that lacks forward signaling, instead of the full EphB2, are impaired in long-term, but not short-term, contextual fear conditioning memory. Long-term contextual fear conditioning memory is attenuated in CaMKII-cre;EphA4(lx/-) mice where EphA4 is removed from all pyramidal neurons of the forebrain. Mutant mice with targeted kinase-dead EphA4 (EphA4(KD)) exhibit intact long-term contextual fear conditioning memory showing that EphA4 kinase-mediated forward signaling is not needed for contextual fear memory formation. The ability to form long-term conditioned taste aversion (CTA) memory is not impaired in the EphB2(-/-) and CaMKII-cre;EphA4(lx/-) mice. We conclude that EphB2 forward signaling is required for long-term contextual fear conditioning memory formation. In contrast, EphB2 mediates short-term contextual fear conditioning memory formation in a forward signaling-independent manner. EphA4 mediates long-term contextual fear conditioning memory formation in a kinase-independent manner.

  12. The retrosplenial cortex is involved in the formation of memory for context and trace fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Kwapis, Janine L; Jarome, Timothy J; Lee, Jonathan L; Helmstetter, Fred J

    2015-09-01

    The retrosplenial cortex (RSC) is known to play a role in the retrieval of context memory, but its involvement in memory formation and consolidation is unclear. To better characterize the role of the RSC, we tested its involvement in the formation and retrieval of memory for trace fear conditioning, a task that requires the association of two cues separated by an empty period of time. We have previously shown that trace fear extinction requires the RSC (Kwapis, Jarome, Lee, Gilmartin, & Helmstetter, 2014) and have hypothesized that trace memory may be stored in a distributed cortical network that includes prelimbic and retrosplenial cortices (Kwapis, Jarome, & Helmstetter, 2015). Whether the RSC participates in acquiring and storing cued trace fear, however, is currently unknown. Here, we demonstrate that blocking protein synthesis in the RSC before, but not after acquisition impairs rats' memory for trace CS and context fear without affecting memory for the CS in standard delay fear conditioning. We also show that NMDA receptor blockade in the RSC transiently impairs memory retrieval for trace, but not delay memory. The RSC therefore appears to critically contribute to formation of trace and context fear memory in addition to its previously recognized role in context memory retrieval.

  13. Brain region-specific activity patterns after recent or remote memory retrieval of auditory conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Kwon, Jeong-Tae; Jhang, Jinho; Kim, Hyung-Su; Lee, Sujin; Han, Jin-Hee

    2012-01-01

    Memory is thought to be sparsely encoded throughout multiple brain regions forming unique memory trace. Although evidence has established that the amygdala is a key brain site for memory storage and retrieval of auditory conditioned fear memory, it remains elusive whether the auditory brain regions may be involved in fear memory storage or retrieval. To investigate this possibility, we systematically imaged the brain activity patterns in the lateral amygdala, MGm/PIN, and AuV/TeA using activity-dependent induction of immediate early gene zif268 after recent and remote memory retrieval of auditory conditioned fear. Consistent with the critical role of the amygdala in fear memory, the zif268 activity in the lateral amygdala was significantly increased after both recent and remote memory retrieval. Interesting, however, the density of zif268 (+) neurons in both MGm/PIN and AuV/TeA, particularly in layers IV and VI, was increased only after remote but not recent fear memory retrieval compared to control groups. Further analysis of zif268 signals in AuV/TeA revealed that conditioned tone induced stronger zif268 induction compared to familiar tone in each individual zif268 (+) neuron after recent memory retrieval. Taken together, our results support that the lateral amygdala is a key brain site for permanent fear memory storage and suggest that MGm/PIN and AuV/TeA might play a role for remote memory storage or retrieval of auditory conditioned fear, or, alternatively, that these auditory brain regions might have a different way of processing for familiar or conditioned tone information at recent and remote time phases. PMID:22993170

  14. Relationship between Fear Conditionability and Aversive Memories: Evidence from a Novel Conditioned-Intrusion Paradigm

    PubMed Central

    Wegerer, Melanie; Blechert, Jens; Kerschbaum, Hubert; Wilhelm, Frank H.

    2013-01-01

    Intrusive memories – a hallmark symptom of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – are often triggered by stimuli possessing similarity with cues that predicted or accompanied the traumatic event. According to learning theories, intrusive memories can be seen as a conditioned response to trauma reminders. However, direct laboratory evidence for the link between fear conditionability and intrusive memories is missing. Furthermore, fear conditioning studies have predominantly relied on standardized aversive stimuli (e.g. electric stimulation) that bear little resemblance to typical traumatic events. To investigate the general relationship between fear conditionability and aversive memories, we tested 66 mentally healthy females in a novel conditioned-intrusion paradigm designed to model real-life traumatic experiences. The paradigm included a differential fear conditioning procedure with neutral sounds as conditioned stimuli and short violent film clips as unconditioned stimuli. Subsequent aversive memories were assessed through a memory triggering task (within 30 minutes, in the laboratory) and ambulatory assessment (involuntary aversive memories in the 2 days following the experiment). Skin conductance responses and subjective ratings demonstrated successful differential conditioning indicating that naturalistic aversive film stimuli can be used in a fear conditioning experiment. Furthermore, aversive memories were elicited in response to the conditioned stimuli during the memory triggering task and also occurred in the 2 days following the experiment. Importantly, participants who displayed higher conditionability showed more aversive memories during the memory triggering task and during ambulatory assessment. This suggests that fear conditioning constitutes an important source of persistent aversive memories. Implications for PTSD and its treatment are discussed. PMID:24244407

  15. Revealing context-specific conditioned fear memories with full immersion virtual reality.

    PubMed

    Huff, Nicole C; Hernandez, Jose Alba; Fecteau, Matthew E; Zielinski, David J; Brady, Rachael; Labar, Kevin S

    2011-01-01

    The extinction of conditioned fear is known to be context-specific and is often considered more contextually bound than the fear memory itself (Bouton, 2004). Yet, recent findings in rodents have challenged the notion that contextual fear retention is initially generalized. The context-specificity of a cued fear memory to the learning context has not been addressed in the human literature largely due to limitations in methodology. Here we adapt a novel technology to test the context-specificity of cued fear conditioning using full immersion 3-D virtual reality (VR). During acquisition training, healthy participants navigated through virtual environments containing dynamic snake and spider conditioned stimuli (CSs), one of which was paired with electrical wrist stimulation. During a 24-h delayed retention test, one group returned to the same context as acquisition training whereas another group experienced the CSs in a novel context. Unconditioned stimulus expectancy ratings were assayed on-line during fear acquisition as an index of contingency awareness. Skin conductance responses time-locked to CS onset were the dependent measure of cued fear, and skin conductance levels during the interstimulus interval were an index of context fear. Findings indicate that early in acquisition training, participants express contingency awareness as well as differential contextual fear, whereas differential cued fear emerged later in acquisition. During the retention test, differential cued fear retention was enhanced in the group who returned to the same context as acquisition training relative to the context shift group. The results extend recent rodent work to illustrate differences in cued and context fear acquisition and the contextual specificity of recent fear memories. Findings support the use of full immersion VR as a novel tool in cognitive neuroscience to bridge rodent models of contextual phenomena underlying human clinical disorders.

  16. Revealing Context-Specific Conditioned Fear Memories with Full Immersion Virtual Reality

    PubMed Central

    Huff, Nicole C.; Hernandez, Jose Alba; Fecteau, Matthew E.; Zielinski, David J.; Brady, Rachael; LaBar, Kevin S.

    2011-01-01

    The extinction of conditioned fear is known to be context-specific and is often considered more contextually bound than the fear memory itself (Bouton, 2004). Yet, recent findings in rodents have challenged the notion that contextual fear retention is initially generalized. The context-specificity of a cued fear memory to the learning context has not been addressed in the human literature largely due to limitations in methodology. Here we adapt a novel technology to test the context-specificity of cued fear conditioning using full immersion 3-D virtual reality (VR). During acquisition training, healthy participants navigated through virtual environments containing dynamic snake and spider conditioned stimuli (CSs), one of which was paired with electrical wrist stimulation. During a 24-h delayed retention test, one group returned to the same context as acquisition training whereas another group experienced the CSs in a novel context. Unconditioned stimulus expectancy ratings were assayed on-line during fear acquisition as an index of contingency awareness. Skin conductance responses time-locked to CS onset were the dependent measure of cued fear, and skin conductance levels during the interstimulus interval were an index of context fear. Findings indicate that early in acquisition training, participants express contingency awareness as well as differential contextual fear, whereas differential cued fear emerged later in acquisition. During the retention test, differential cued fear retention was enhanced in the group who returned to the same context as acquisition training relative to the context shift group. The results extend recent rodent work to illustrate differences in cued and context fear acquisition and the contextual specificity of recent fear memories. Findings support the use of full immersion VR as a novel tool in cognitive neuroscience to bridge rodent models of contextual phenomena underlying human clinical disorders. PMID:22069384

  17. Eye Movements Index Implicit Memory Expression in Fear Conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Hopkins, Lauren S.; Schultz, Douglas H.; Hannula, Deborah E.; Helmstetter, Fred J.

    2015-01-01

    The role of contingency awareness in simple associative learning experiments with human participants is currently debated. Since prior work suggests that eye movements can index mnemonic processes that occur without awareness, we used eye tracking to better understand the role of awareness in learning aversive Pavlovian conditioning. A complex real-world scene containing four embedded household items was presented to participants while skin conductance, eye movements, and pupil size were recorded. One item embedded in the scene served as the conditional stimulus (CS). One exemplar of that item (e.g. a white pot) was paired with shock 100 percent of the time (CS+) while a second exemplar (e.g. a gray pot) was never paired with shock (CS-). The remaining items were paired with shock on half of the trials. Participants rated their expectation of receiving a shock during each trial, and these expectancy ratings were used to identify when (i.e. on what trial) each participant became aware of the programmed contingencies. Disproportionate viewing of the CS was found both before and after explicit contingency awareness, and patterns of viewing distinguished the CS+ from the CS-. These observations are consistent with “dual process” models of fear conditioning, as they indicate that learning can be expressed in patterns of viewing prior to explicit contingency awareness. PMID:26562298

  18. Eye Movements Index Implicit Memory Expression in Fear Conditioning.

    PubMed

    Hopkins, Lauren S; Schultz, Douglas H; Hannula, Deborah E; Helmstetter, Fred J

    2015-01-01

    The role of contingency awareness in simple associative learning experiments with human participants is currently debated. Since prior work suggests that eye movements can index mnemonic processes that occur without awareness, we used eye tracking to better understand the role of awareness in learning aversive Pavlovian conditioning. A complex real-world scene containing four embedded household items was presented to participants while skin conductance, eye movements, and pupil size were recorded. One item embedded in the scene served as the conditional stimulus (CS). One exemplar of that item (e.g. a white pot) was paired with shock 100 percent of the time (CS+) while a second exemplar (e.g. a gray pot) was never paired with shock (CS-). The remaining items were paired with shock on half of the trials. Participants rated their expectation of receiving a shock during each trial, and these expectancy ratings were used to identify when (i.e. on what trial) each participant became aware of the programmed contingencies. Disproportionate viewing of the CS was found both before and after explicit contingency awareness, and patterns of viewing distinguished the CS+ from the CS-. These observations are consistent with "dual process" models of fear conditioning, as they indicate that learning can be expressed in patterns of viewing prior to explicit contingency awareness.

  19. Amygdala upregulation of NCAM polysialylation induced by auditory fear conditioning is not required for memory formation, but plays a role in fear extinction.

    PubMed

    Markram, Kamila; Lopez Fernandez, Miguel Angel; Abrous, Djoher Nora; Sandi, Carmen

    2007-05-01

    There is much interest to understand the mechanisms leading to the establishment, maintenance, and extinction of fear memories. The amygdala has been critically involved in the processing of fear memories and a number of molecular changes have been implicated in this brain region in relation to fear learning. Although neural cell adhesion molecules (NCAMs) have been hypothesized to play a role, information available about their contribution to fear memories is scarce. We investigate here whether polysialylated NCAM (PSA-NCAM) contributes to auditory fear conditioning in the amygdala. First, PSA-NCAM expression was evaluated in different amygdala nuclei after auditory fear conditioning at two different shock intensities. Results showed that PSA-NCAM expression was increased 24 h post-training only in animals subjected to the highest shock intensity (1mA). Second, PSA-NCAM was cleaved in the basolateral amygdaloid complex through micro-infusions of the enzyme endoneuraminidase N, and the consequences of such treatment were investigated on the acquisition, consolidation, remote memory expression, and extinction of conditioned fear memories. Intra-amygdaloid cleavage of PSA-NCAM did not affect acquisition, consolidation or expression of remote fear memories. However, intra-amygdaloid PSA-NCAM cleavage enhanced fear extinction processes. These results suggest that upregulation of PSA-NCAM is a correlate of fear conditioning that is not necessary for the establishment of fear memory in the amygdala, but participates in mechanisms precluding fear extinction. These findings point out PSA-NCAM as a potential target for the treatment of psychopathologies that involve impairment in fear extinction.

  20. Modafinil and memory: effects of modafinil on Morris water maze learning and Pavlovian fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Shuman, Tristan; Wood, Suzanne C; Anagnostaras, Stephan G

    2009-04-01

    Modafinil has been shown to promote wakefulness and some studies suggest the drug can improve cognitive function. Because of many similarities, the mechanism of action may be comparable to classical psychostimulants, although the exact mechanisms of modafinil's actions in wakefulness and cognitive enhancement are unknown. The current study aims to further examine the effects of modafinil as a cognitive enhancer on hippocampus-dependent memory in mice. A high dose of modafinil (75 mg/kg ip) given before training improved acquisition on a Morris water maze. When given only before testing, modafinil did not affect water maze performance. We also examined modafinil (0.075 to 75 mg/kg) on Pavlovian fear conditioning. A low dose of pretraining modafinil (0.75 mg/kg) enhanced memory of contextual fear conditioning (tested off-drug 1 week later) whereas a high dose (75 mg/kg) disrupted memory. Pretraining modafinil did not affect cued conditioning at any dose tested, and immediate posttraining modafinil had no effect on either cued or contextual fear. These results suggest that modafinil's effects of memory are more selective than amphetamine or cocaine and specific to hippocampus-dependent memory.

  1. Low levels of estradiol are associated with elevated conditioned responding during fear extinction and with intrusive memories in daily life.

    PubMed

    Wegerer, Melanie; Kerschbaum, Hubert; Blechert, Jens; Wilhelm, Frank H

    2014-12-01

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be conceptualized as a disorder of emotional memory showing strong (conditioned) responses to trauma reminders and intrusive memories among other symptoms. Women are at greater risk of developing PTSD than men. Recent studies have demonstrated an influence of ovarian steroid hormones in both fear conditioning and intrusive memory paradigms. However, although intrusive memories are considered non-extinguished emotional reactions to trauma reminders, none of the previous studies has investigated effects of ovarian hormones on fear conditioning mechanisms and intrusive memories in conjunction. This may have contributed to an overall inconsistent picture of the role of these hormones in emotional learning and memory. To remedy this, we exposed 37 healthy women with a natural menstrual cycle (during early follicular or luteal cycle phase) to a novel conditioned-intrusion paradigm designed to model real-life traumatic experiences. The paradigm included a differential fear conditioning procedure with short violent film clips as unconditioned stimuli. Intrusive memories about the film clips were assessed ambulatorily on subsequent days. Women with lower levels of estradiol displayed elevated differential conditioned skin conductance responding during fear extinction and showed stronger intrusive memories. The inverse relationship between estradiol and intrusive memories was at least partially accounted for by the conditioned responding observed during fear extinction. Progesterone levels were not associated with either fear acquisition/extinction or with intrusive memories. This suggests that lower levels of estradiol might promote stronger symptoms of PTSD through associative processes.

  2. Low levels of estradiol are associated with elevated conditioned responding during fear extinction and with intrusive memories in daily life.

    PubMed

    Wegerer, Melanie; Kerschbaum, Hubert; Blechert, Jens; Wilhelm, Frank H

    2014-12-01

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be conceptualized as a disorder of emotional memory showing strong (conditioned) responses to trauma reminders and intrusive memories among other symptoms. Women are at greater risk of developing PTSD than men. Recent studies have demonstrated an influence of ovarian steroid hormones in both fear conditioning and intrusive memory paradigms. However, although intrusive memories are considered non-extinguished emotional reactions to trauma reminders, none of the previous studies has investigated effects of ovarian hormones on fear conditioning mechanisms and intrusive memories in conjunction. This may have contributed to an overall inconsistent picture of the role of these hormones in emotional learning and memory. To remedy this, we exposed 37 healthy women with a natural menstrual cycle (during early follicular or luteal cycle phase) to a novel conditioned-intrusion paradigm designed to model real-life traumatic experiences. The paradigm included a differential fear conditioning procedure with short violent film clips as unconditioned stimuli. Intrusive memories about the film clips were assessed ambulatorily on subsequent days. Women with lower levels of estradiol displayed elevated differential conditioned skin conductance responding during fear extinction and showed stronger intrusive memories. The inverse relationship between estradiol and intrusive memories was at least partially accounted for by the conditioned responding observed during fear extinction. Progesterone levels were not associated with either fear acquisition/extinction or with intrusive memories. This suggests that lower levels of estradiol might promote stronger symptoms of PTSD through associative processes. PMID:25463649

  3. Low levels of estradiol are associated with elevated conditioned responding during fear extinction and with intrusive memories in daily life

    PubMed Central

    Wegerer, Melanie; Kerschbaum, Hubert; Blechert, Jens; Wilhelm, Frank H.

    2014-01-01

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be conceptualized as a disorder of emotional memory showing strong (conditioned) responses to trauma reminders and intrusive memories among other symptoms. Women are at greater risk of developing PTSD than men. Recent studies have demonstrated an influence of ovarian steroid hormones in both fear conditioning and intrusive memory paradigms. However, although intrusive memories are considered non-extinguished emotional reactions to trauma reminders, none of the previous studies has investigated effects of ovarian hormones on fear conditioning mechanisms and intrusive memories in conjunction. This may have contributed to an overall inconsistent picture of the role of these hormones in emotional learning and memory. To remedy this, we exposed 37 healthy women with a natural menstrual cycle (during early follicular or luteal cycle phase) to a novel conditioned-intrusion paradigm designed to model real-life traumatic experiences. The paradigm included a differential fear conditioning procedure with short violent film clips as unconditioned stimuli. Intrusive memories about the film clips were assessed ambulatorily on subsequent days. Women with lower levels of estradiol displayed elevated differential conditioned skin conductance responding during fear extinction and showed stronger intrusive memories. The inverse relationship between estradiol and intrusive memories was at least partially accounted for by the conditioned responding observed during fear extinction. Progesterone levels were not associated with either fear acquisition/extinction or with intrusive memories. This suggests that lower levels of estradiol might promote stronger symptoms of PTSD through associative processes. PMID:25463649

  4. Learning and memory in conditioned fear extinction: effects of D-cycloserine.

    PubMed

    Vervliet, Bram

    2008-03-01

    This review addresses the effects of the cognitive enhancer D-cycloserine (DCS) on the memory processes that occur in conditioned fear extinction, which is the experimental model for exposure techniques to reduce clinical anxiety. All reported rat studies show an enhanced fear extinction effect when DCS is administered acutely before or shortly after extinction training. DCS also promotes the generalization of this fear extinction effect. In addition, DCS reduces some forms of relapse (reduced reinstatement, reduced spontaneous recovery), but not others (contextual renewal, rapid reacquisition). It is argued that this pattern of results is best explained by assuming that DCS promotes extinction learning to the background context, resulting in enhanced contextual inhibition. Four human studies have produced mixed results, but some methodological issues complicate the reported failures. It is concluded that DCS is a promising tool as an adjunct to extinction techniques in exposure treatment, but that more pre-clinical and clinical research is needed to fully characterize its behavioral consequences.

  5. Mice lacking synapsin III show abnormalities in explicit memory and conditioned fear

    PubMed Central

    Porton, Barbara; Rodriguiz, Ramona M.; Phillips, Lindsey E.; Gilbert, John W.; Feng, Jian; Greengard, Paul; Kao, Hung-Teh; Wetsel, William C.

    2010-01-01

    Synapsin III is a neuron-specific phosphoprotein that plays an important role in synaptic transmission and neural development. While synapsin III is abundant in embryonic brain, expression of the protein in adults is reduced and limited primarily to the hippocampus, olfactory bulb, and cerebral cortex. Given the specificity of synapsin III to these brain areas and because it plays a role in neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus, we investigated whether it may affect learning and memory processes in mice. To address this point, synapsin III knockout mice were examined in a general behavioral screen, several tests to assess learning and memory function, and conditioned fear. Mutant animals displayed no anomalies in sensory and motor function or in anxiety- and depressive-like behaviors. Although mutants showed minor alterations in the Morris water maze, they were deficient in object recognition 24 hr and 10 days after training and in social transmission of food preference at 20 min and 24 hr. Additionally, mutants displayed abnormal responses in contextual and cued fear conditioning when tested 1 or 24 hr after conditioning. The synapsin III knockout mice also showed aberrant responses in fear-potentiated startle. Since synapsin III protein is decreased in schizophrenic brain and because the mutant mice do not harbor obvious anatomical deficits or neurological disorders, these mutants may represent a unique neurodevelopmental model for dissecting the molecular pathways that are related to certain aspects of schizophrenia and related disorders. PMID:20050925

  6. Effects of enhanced zinc and copper in drinking water on spatial memory and fear conditioning

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Chrosniak, L.D.; Smith, L.N.; McDonald, C.G.; Jones, B.F.; Flinn, J.M.

    2006-01-01

    Ingestion of enhanced zinc can cause memory impairments and copper deficiencies. This study examined the effect of zinc supplementation, with and without copper, on two types of memory. Rats raised pre- and post-natally on 10 mg/kg ZnCO3 or ZnSO4 in the drinking water were tested in a fear-conditioning experiment at 11 months of age. Both zinc groups showed a maladaptive retention of fearful memories compared to controls raised on tap water. Rats raised on 10 mg/kg ZnCO3, 10 mg/kg ZnCO3 + 0.25 mg/kg CuCl2, or tap water, were tested for spatial memory ability at 3 months of age. Significant improvements in performance were found in the ZnCO3 + CuCl2 group compared to the ZnCO3 group, suggesting that some of the cognitive deficits associated with zinc supplementation may be remediated by addition of copper. ?? 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  7. Retrieving fear memories, as time goes by….

    PubMed

    Do Monte, F H; Quirk, G J; Li, B; Penzo, M A

    2016-08-01

    Research in fear conditioning has provided a comprehensive picture of the neuronal circuit underlying the formation of fear memories. In contrast, our understanding of the retrieval of fear memories is much more limited. This disparity may stem from the fact that fear memories are not rigid, but reorganize over time. To bring some clarity and raise awareness about the time-dependent dynamics of retrieval circuits, we review current evidence on the neuronal circuitry participating in fear memory retrieval at both early and late time points following auditory fear conditioning. We focus on the temporal recruitment of the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus (PVT) for the retrieval and maintenance of fear memories. Finally, we speculate as to why retrieval circuits change with time, and consider the functional strategy of recruiting structures not previously considered as part of the retrieval circuit.

  8. Retrieving fear memories, as time goes by….

    PubMed

    Do Monte, F H; Quirk, G J; Li, B; Penzo, M A

    2016-08-01

    Research in fear conditioning has provided a comprehensive picture of the neuronal circuit underlying the formation of fear memories. In contrast, our understanding of the retrieval of fear memories is much more limited. This disparity may stem from the fact that fear memories are not rigid, but reorganize over time. To bring some clarity and raise awareness about the time-dependent dynamics of retrieval circuits, we review current evidence on the neuronal circuitry participating in fear memory retrieval at both early and late time points following auditory fear conditioning. We focus on the temporal recruitment of the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus (PVT) for the retrieval and maintenance of fear memories. Finally, we speculate as to why retrieval circuits change with time, and consider the functional strategy of recruiting structures not previously considered as part of the retrieval circuit. PMID:27217148

  9. Serotonin in fear conditioning processes.

    PubMed

    Bauer, Elizabeth P

    2015-01-15

    This review describes the latest developments in our understanding of how the serotonergic system modulates Pavlovian fear conditioning, fear expression and fear extinction. These different phases of classical fear conditioning involve coordinated interactions between the extended amygdala, hippocampus and prefrontal cortices. Here, I first define the different stages of learning involved in cued and context fear conditioning and describe the neural circuits underlying these processes. The serotonergic system can be manipulated by administering serotonin receptor agonists and antagonists, as well as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and these can have significant effects on emotional learning and memory. Moreover, variations in serotonergic genes can influence fear conditioning and extinction processes, and can underlie differential responses to pharmacological manipulations. This research has considerable translational significance as imbalances in the serotonergic system have been linked to anxiety and depression, while abnormalities in the mechanisms of conditioned fear contribute to anxiety disorders.

  10. Activation of ERK/MAP kinase in the amygdala is required for memory consolidation of pavlovian fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Schafe, G E; Atkins, C M; Swank, M W; Bauer, E P; Sweatt, J D; LeDoux, J E

    2000-11-01

    Although much has been learned about the neurobiological mechanisms underlying Pavlovian fear conditioning at the systems and cellular levels, relatively little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying fear memory consolidation. The present experiments evaluated the role of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinase (ERK/MAPK) signaling cascade in the amygdala during Pavlovian fear conditioning. We first show that ERK/MAPK is transiently activated-phosphorylated in the amygdala, specifically the lateral nucleus (LA), at 60 min, but not 15, 30, or 180 min, after conditioning, and that this activation is attributable to paired presentations of tone and shock rather than to nonassociative auditory stimulation, foot shock sensitization, or unpaired tone-shock presentations. We next show that infusions of U0126, an inhibitor of ERK/MAPK activation, aimed at the LA, dose-dependently impair long-term memory of Pavlovian fear conditioning but leaves short-term memory intact. Finally, we show that bath application of U0126 impairs long-term potentiation in the LA in vitro. Collectively, these results demonstrate that ERK/MAPK activation is necessary for both memory consolidation of Pavlovian fear conditioning and synaptic plasticity in the amygdala.

  11. Pre-test metyrapone impairs memory recall in fear conditioning tasks: lack of interaction with β-adrenergic activity

    PubMed Central

    Careaga, Mariella B. L.; Tiba, Paula A.; Ota, Simone M.; Suchecki, Deborah

    2015-01-01

    Cognitive processes, such as learning and memory, are essential for our adaptation to environmental changes and consequently for survival. Numerous studies indicate that hormones secreted during stressful situations, such as glucocorticoids (GCs), adrenaline and noradrenaline, regulate memory functions, modulating aversive memory consolidation and retrieval, in an interactive and complementary way. Thus, the facilitatory effects of GCs on memory consolidation as well as their suppressive effects on retrieval are substantially explained by this interaction. On the other hand, low levels of GCs are also associated with negative effects on memory consolidation and retrieval and the mechanisms involved are not well understood. The present study sought to investigate the consequences of blocking the rise of GCs on fear memory retrieval in multiple tests, assessing the participation of β-adrenergic signaling on this effect. Metyrapone (GCs synthesis inhibitor; 75 mg/kg), administered 90 min before the first test of contextual or tone fear conditioning (TFC), negatively affected animals’ performances, but this effect did not persist on a subsequent test, when the conditioned response was again expressed. This result suggested that the treatment impaired fear memory retrieval during the first evaluation. The administration immediately after the first test did not affect the animals’ performances in contextual fear conditioning (CFC), suggesting that the drug did not interfere with processes triggered by memory reactivation. Moreover, metyrapone effects were independent of β-adrenergic signaling, since concurrent administration with propranolol (2 mg/kg), a β-adrenergic antagonist, did not modify the effects induced by metyrapone alone. These results demonstrate that pre-test metyrapone administration led to negative effects on fear memory retrieval and this action was independent of a β-adrenergic signaling. PMID:25784866

  12. Dissociating response systems: erasing fear from memory.

    PubMed

    Soeter, Marieke; Kindt, Merel

    2010-07-01

    In addition to the extensive evidence in animals, we previously showed that disrupting reconsolidation by noradrenergic blockade produced amnesia for the original fear response in humans. Interestingly, the declarative memory for the fear association remained intact. These results asked for a solid replication. Moreover, given the constructive nature of memories, the intact recollection of the fear association could eventually 'rebuild' the fear memory, resulting in the spontaneous recovery of the fear response. Yet, perseverance of the amnesic effects would have substantial clinical implications, as even the most effective treatments for psychiatric disorders display high percentages of relapse. Using a differential fear conditioning procedure in humans, we replicated our previous findings by showing that administering propranolol (40mg) prior to memory reactivation eliminated the startle fear response 24h later. But most importantly, this effect persisted at one month follow-up. Notably, the propranolol manipulation not only left the declarative memory for the acquired contingency untouched, but also skin conductance discrimination. In addition, a close association between declarative knowledge and skin conductance responses was found. These findings are in line with the supposed double dissociation of fear conditioning and declarative knowledge relative to the amygdala and hippocampus in humans. They support the view that skin conductance conditioning primarily reflects contingency learning, whereas the startle response is a rather specific measure of fear. Furthermore, the results indicate the absence of a causal link between the actual knowledge of a fear association and its fear response, even though they often operate in parallel. Interventions targeting the amygdalar fear memory may be essential in specifically and persistently dampening the emotional impact of fear. From a clinical and ethical perspective, disrupting reconsolidation points to promising

  13. Trace fear conditioning in mice.

    PubMed

    Lugo, Joaquin N; Smith, Gregory D; Holley, Andrew J

    2014-03-20

    In this experiment we present a technique to measure learning and memory. In the trace fear conditioning protocol presented here there are five pairings between a neutral stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus. There is a 20 sec trace period that separates each conditioning trial. On the following day freezing is measured during presentation of the conditioned stimulus (CS) and trace period. On the third day there is an 8 min test to measure contextual memory. The representative results are from mice that were presented with the aversive unconditioned stimulus (shock) compared to mice that received the tone presentations without the unconditioned stimulus. Trace fear conditioning has been successfully used to detect subtle learning and memory deficits and enhancements in mice that are not found with other fear conditioning methods. This type of fear conditioning is believed to be dependent upon connections between the medial prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus. One current controversy is whether this method is believed to be amygdala-independent. Therefore, other fear conditioning testing is needed to examine amygdala-dependent learning and memory effects, such as through the delay fear conditioning.

  14. Worrying affects associative fear learning: a startle fear conditioning study.

    PubMed

    Gazendam, Femke J; Kindt, Merel

    2012-01-01

    A valuable experimental model for the pathogenesis of anxiety disorders is that they originate from a learned association between an intrinsically non-aversive event (Conditioned Stimulus, CS) and an anticipated disaster (Unconditioned Stimulus, UCS). Most anxiety disorders, however, do not evolve from a traumatic experience. Insights from neuroscience show that memory can be modified post-learning, which may elucidate how pathological fear can develop after relatively mild aversive events. Worrying--a process frequently observed in anxiety disorders--is a potential candidate to strengthen the formation of fear memory after learning. Here we tested in a discriminative fear conditioning procedure whether worry strengthens associative fear memory. Participants were randomly assigned to either a Worry (n = 23) or Control condition (n = 25). After fear acquisition, the participants in the Worry condition processed six worrisome questions regarding the personal aversive consequences of an electric stimulus (UCS), whereas the Control condition received difficult but neutral questions. Subsequently, extinction, reinstatement and re-extinction of fear were tested. Conditioned responding was measured by fear-potentiated startle (FPS), skin conductance (SCR) and UCS expectancy ratings. Our main results demonstrate that worrying resulted in increased fear responses (FPS) to both the feared stimulus (CS(+)) and the originally safe stimulus (CS(-)), whereas FPS remained unchanged in the Control condition. In addition, worrying impaired both extinction and re-extinction learning of UCS expectancy. The implication of our findings is that they show how worry may contribute to the development of anxiety disorders by affecting associative fear learning.

  15. Effects of sleep deprivation on different phases of memory in the rat: dissociation between contextual and tone fear conditioning tasks

    PubMed Central

    Rossi, Vanessa Contatto; Tiba, Paula Ayako; Moreira, Karin Di Monteiro; Ferreira, Tatiana Lima; Oliveira, Maria Gabriela Menezes; Suchecki, Deborah

    2014-01-01

    Numerous studies show that sleep deprivation (SD) impacts negatively on cognitive processes, including learning and memory. Memory formation encompasses distinct phases of which acquisition, consolidation and retrieval are better known. Previous studies with pre-training SD induced by the platform method have shown impairment in fear conditioning tasks. Nonetheless, pre-training manipulations do not allow the distinction between effects on acquisition and/or consolidation, interfering, ultimately, on recall of/performance in the task. In the present study, animals were first trained in contextual and tone fear conditioning (TFC) tasks and then submitted to SD with the purpose to evaluate the effect of this manipulation on different stages of the learning process, e.g., in the uptake of (new) information during learning, its encoding and stabilization, and the recall of stored memories. Besides, we also investigated the effect of SD in the extinction of fear memory and a possible state-dependent learning induced by this manipulation. For each task (contextual or TFC), animals were trained and then distributed into control, not sleep-deprived (CTL) and SD groups, the latter being submitted to the modified multiple platform paradigm for 96 h. Subsets of eight rats in each group/experiment were submitted to the test of the tasks, either immediately or at different time intervals after SD. The results indicated that (a) pre- but not post-training SD impaired recall in the contextual and TFC; (b) this impairment was not state-dependent; and (c) in the contextual fear conditioning (CFC), pre-test SD prevented extinction of the learned task. Overall, these results suggest that SD interferes with acquisition, recall and extinction, but not necessarily with consolidation of emotional memory. PMID:25426040

  16. Prefrontal neuronal circuits of contextual fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Rozeske, R R; Valerio, S; Chaudun, F; Herry, C

    2015-01-01

    Over the past years, numerous studies have provided a clear understanding of the neuronal circuits and mechanisms involved in the formation, expression and extinction phases of conditioned cued fear memories. Yet, despite a strong clinical interest, a detailed understanding of these memory phases for contextual fear memories is still missing. Besides the well-known role of the hippocampus in encoding contextual fear behavior, growing evidence indicates that specific regions of the medial prefrontal cortex differentially regulate contextual fear acquisition and storage in both animals and humans that ultimately leads to expression of contextual fear memories. In this review, we provide a detailed description of the recent literature on the role of distinct prefrontal subregions in contextual fear behavior and provide a working model of the neuronal circuits involved in the acquisition, expression and generalization of contextual fear memories. PMID:25287656

  17. Absence of verbal recall or memory for symptom acquisition in fear and trauma exposure: a conceptual case for fear conditioning and learned nonuse in assessment and treatment.

    PubMed

    Seifert, A Ronald

    2012-01-01

    Absence of memory or verbal recall for symptom acquisition in fear and trauma exposure, as well as absence of successful coping behavior for life events, is associated with a number of diagnoses, including traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress disorder, pain, and anxiety. The difficulty with diagnosis and treatment planning based on the absence of recall, memory, and successful coping behavior is threefold: (1) these assessments do not distinguish between disruption of behavior and lack of capacity, (2) the absence of verbal recall and memory complicates cognitive-based treatment, and (3) a confounding issue is the same absent behavior can be observed at different times and contexts. While memory of the specific details of the initial traumatic event(s) may not be available to verbal report, the existence of time- and context-dependent relationships for the initial as well as subsequent experiences is arguable. The absence of memory or lack of verbal recall does not rule out measurable physiological bodily responses for the initial trauma(s), nor does it help to establish the effects of subsequent experiences for symptom expression. Also, the absence of memory must include the prospect of fear-based learning that does not require or involve the cortex. It is posited that the literatures of fear conditioning and learned nonuse provide complementary illustrations of how the time and context of the initial trauma(s) and subsequent experiences affect behavior, which is not dependent on the effected individual being able to provide a memory-based verbal report. The replicated clinical application demonstrates that, without scientific demonstration, neither neuroanatomy nor verbal report can be assumed sufficient to predict overt behavior or physiologic responses. For example, while commonly assumed to be predictively so, autonomic nervous system innervation is insufficient to define the unique stimulus- and context-dependent physiological responses of an

  18. Absence of verbal recall or memory for symptom acquisition in fear and trauma exposure: a conceptual case for fear conditioning and learned nonuse in assessment and treatment.

    PubMed

    Seifert, A Ronald

    2012-01-01

    Absence of memory or verbal recall for symptom acquisition in fear and trauma exposure, as well as absence of successful coping behavior for life events, is associated with a number of diagnoses, including traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress disorder, pain, and anxiety. The difficulty with diagnosis and treatment planning based on the absence of recall, memory, and successful coping behavior is threefold: (1) these assessments do not distinguish between disruption of behavior and lack of capacity, (2) the absence of verbal recall and memory complicates cognitive-based treatment, and (3) a confounding issue is the same absent behavior can be observed at different times and contexts. While memory of the specific details of the initial traumatic event(s) may not be available to verbal report, the existence of time- and context-dependent relationships for the initial as well as subsequent experiences is arguable. The absence of memory or lack of verbal recall does not rule out measurable physiological bodily responses for the initial trauma(s), nor does it help to establish the effects of subsequent experiences for symptom expression. Also, the absence of memory must include the prospect of fear-based learning that does not require or involve the cortex. It is posited that the literatures of fear conditioning and learned nonuse provide complementary illustrations of how the time and context of the initial trauma(s) and subsequent experiences affect behavior, which is not dependent on the effected individual being able to provide a memory-based verbal report. The replicated clinical application demonstrates that, without scientific demonstration, neither neuroanatomy nor verbal report can be assumed sufficient to predict overt behavior or physiologic responses. For example, while commonly assumed to be predictively so, autonomic nervous system innervation is insufficient to define the unique stimulus- and context-dependent physiological responses of an

  19. Improvement of memory recall by quercetin in rodent contextual fear conditioning and human early-stage Alzheimer's disease patients.

    PubMed

    Nakagawa, Toshiyuki; Itoh, Masanori; Ohta, Kazunori; Hayashi, Yuichi; Hayakawa, Miki; Yamada, Yasushi; Akanabe, Hiroshi; Chikaishi, Tokio; Nakagawa, Kiyomi; Itoh, Yoshinori; Muro, Takato; Yanagida, Daisuke; Nakabayashi, Ryo; Mori, Tetsuya; Saito, Kazuki; Ohzawa, Kaori; Suzuki, Chihiro; Li, Shimo; Ueda, Masashi; Wang, Miao-Xing; Nishida, Emika; Islam, Saiful; Tana; Kobori, Masuko; Inuzuka, Takashi

    2016-06-15

    Patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) experience a wide array of cognitive deficits, which typically include the impairment of explicit memory. In previous studies, the authors reported that a flavonoid, quercetin, reduces the expression of ATF4 and delays memory deterioration in an early-stage AD mouse model. In the present study, the effects of long-term quercetin intake on memory recall were assessed using contextual fear conditioning in aged wild-type mice. In addition, the present study examined whether memory recall was affected by the intake of quercetin-rich onion (a new cultivar of hybrid onion 'Quergold') powder in early-stage AD patients. In-vivo analysis indicated that memory recall was enhanced in aged mice fed a quercetin-containing diet. Memory recall in early-stage AD patients, determined using the Revised Hasegawa Dementia Scale, was significantly improved by the intake of quercetin-rich onion (Quergold) powder for 4 weeks compared with the intake of control onion ('Mashiro' white onion) powder. These results indicate that quercetin might influence memory recall. PMID:27145228

  20. Individual differences in conditioned fear expression are associated with enduring differences in endogenous Fibroblast Growth Factor-2 and hippocampal-mediated memory performance.

    PubMed

    Walters, Emily; Richardson, Rick; Graham, Bronwyn M

    2016-10-01

    Rodent studies of individual differences in fear expression following Pavlovian fear conditioning are thought to provide useful means by which to examine the factors associated with vulnerability and resilience to anxiety and trauma- and stressor-related disorders in humans. We have recently demonstrated that rats that naturally exhibit low levels of conditioned fear have greater hippocampal expression of the neurotrophic factor Fibroblast Growth Factor-2 (FGF2), relative to rats that naturally exhibit high levels of conditioned fear. In the present study we determined whether individual variance in conditioned fear expression is associated with distinct behavioral profiles across a range of tasks designed to assess expression of trait anxiety and non-emotional memory performance, and whether the differences in hippocampal FGF2 are relatively stable across time. Results indicated that, relative to rats naturally exhibiting low levels of fear, rats naturally exhibiting high levels of fear in the presence of a previously conditioned cue and context also showed heightened levels of trait anxiety, reduced ability to discriminate between a previously conditioned context and a safe context, and impaired performance on the hippocampal-mediated place recognition task, but not on the non-hippocampal-mediated object recognition task. Moreover, differences in hippocampal FGF2 expression were evident between high and low fear rats even three months following the tests for conditioned fear expression. Together, these results suggest that individual differences in conditioned fear expression may be mediated partly by enduring differences in hippocampal functioning.

  1. Differences in memory development among C57BL/6NCrl, 129S2/SvPasCrl, and FVB/NCrl mice after delay and trace fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    March, Amelia; Borchelt, David; Golde, Todd; Janus, Christopher

    2014-02-01

    Fear-conditioning testing paradigms have been used to study differences in memory formation between inbred mouse strains, including numerous mouse models of human diseases. In this study, we characterized the conditioned fear memory of 3 inbred strains: C57BL/6NCrl, 129S2/SvPasCrl, and FVB/NCrl, obtained from Charles River Laboratories. We used 2 training paradigms: delay conditioning, in which an unconditional stimulus coterminates with the presentation of a conditional stimulus, and trace conditioning, in which the conditional and unconditional stimuli are separated by a trace interval. In each paradigm, we evaluated the recent (3 d) and remote (25 d) memory of the mice by using a longitudinal design. Our results showed that both C57BL/6NCrl and 129S2/SvPasCrl mice developed strong and long-lasting context and tone memories in both paradigms, but FVB/NCrl mice showed a weaker but nevertheless consistent tone memory after delay training. Tone memory in the FVB strain was stronger in male than female mice. The remote tone memory of 129S2/SvPasCrl mice diminished after delay training but was stable and stronger than that of C57BL/6NCrl mice after trace training. In conclusion, both C57BL/6NCrl and 129S2/SvPasCrl mice showed reliable and long-lasting fear memory after delay or trace training, with 129 mice showing particularly strong tone memory after trace conditioning. The FVB/NCrl strain, especially male mice, showed reliable tone fear memory after delay training. Our findings confirm that both C57BL/6NCrl and 129S2/SvPasCrl mice develop strong context and tone memory in delay and trace fear-conditioning paradigms. PMID:24672832

  2. MOLECULAR MECHANISMS OF FEAR LEARNING AND MEMORY

    PubMed Central

    Johansen, Joshua P.; Cain, Christopher K.; Ostroff, Linnaea E.; LeDoux, Joseph E.

    2011-01-01

    Pavlovian fear conditioning is a useful behavioral paradigm for exploring the molecular mechanisms of learning and memory because a well-defined response to a specific environmental stimulus is produced through associative learning processes. Synaptic plasticity in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA) underlies this form of associative learning. Here we summarize the molecular mechanisms that contribute to this synaptic plasticity in the context of auditory fear conditioning, the form of fear conditioning best understood at the molecular level. We discuss the neurotransmitter systems and signaling cascades that contribute to three phases of auditory fear conditioning: acquisition, consolidation, and reconsolidation. These studies suggest that multiple intracellular signaling pathways, including those triggered by activation of Hebbian processes and neuromodulatory receptors, interact to produce neural plasticity in the LA and behavioral fear conditioning. Together, this research illustrates the power of fear conditioning as a model system for characterizing the mechanisms of learning and memory in mammals, and potentially for understanding fear related disorders, such as PTSD and phobias. PMID:22036561

  3. Inhibiting corticosterone synthesis during fear memory formation exacerbates cued fear extinction memory deficits within the single prolonged stress model.

    PubMed

    Keller, Samantha M; Schreiber, William B; Stanfield, Briana R; Knox, Dayan

    2015-01-01

    Using the single prolonged stress (SPS) animal model of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), previous studies suggest that enhanced glucocorticoid receptor (GR) expression leads to cued fear extinction retention deficits. However, it is unknown how the endogenous ligand of GRs, corticosterone (CORT), may contribute to extinction retention deficits in the SPS model. Given that CORT synthesis during fear learning is critical for fear memory consolidation and SPS enhances GR expression, CORT synthesis during fear memory formation could strengthen fear memory in SPS rats by enhancing GR activation during fear learning. In turn, this could lead to cued fear extinction retention deficits. We tested the hypothesis that CORT synthesis during fear learning leads to cued fear extinction retention deficits in SPS rats by administering the CORT synthesis inhibitor metyrapone to SPS and control rats prior to fear conditioning, and observed the effect this had on extinction memory. Inhibiting CORT synthesis during fear memory formation in control rats tended to decrease cued freezing, though this effect never reached statistical significance. Contrary to our hypothesis, inhibiting CORT synthesis during fear memory formation disrupted extinction retention in SPS rats. This finding suggests that even though SPS exposure leads to cued fear extinction memory deficits, CORT synthesis during fear memory formation enhances extinction retention in SPS rats. This suggests that stress-induced CORT synthesis in previously stressed rats can be beneficial.

  4. Involvement of dopaminergic and cholinergic systems in social isolation-induced deficits in social affiliation and conditional fear memory in mice.

    PubMed

    Okada, R; Fujiwara, H; Mizuki, D; Araki, R; Yabe, T; Matsumoto, K

    2015-07-23

    Post-weaning social isolation rearing (SI) in rodents elicits various behavioral abnormalities including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder-like behaviors. In order to obtain a better understanding of SI-induced behavioral abnormalities, we herein investigated the effects of SI on social affiliation and conditioned fear memory as well as the neuronal mechanism(s) underlying these effects. Four-week-old male mice were group-housed (GH) or socially isolated for 2-4 weeks before the experiments. The social affiliation test and fear memory conditioning were conducted at the age of 6 and 7 weeks, respectively. SI mice were systemically administered saline or test drugs 30 min before the social affiliation test and fear memory conditioning. Contextual and auditory fear memories were elucidated 1 and 4 days after fear conditioning. Social affiliation and contextual and auditory fear memories were weaker in SI mice than in GH mice. Methylphenidate (MPH), an inhibitor for dopamine transporters, ameliorated the SI-induced social affiliation deficit and the effect was attenuated by SCH23390, a D1 receptor antagonist, but not by sulpiride, a D2 receptor antagonist. On the other hand, tacrine, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, had no effect on this deficit. In contrast, tacrine improved SI-induced deficits in fear memories in a manner that was reversed by the muscarinic receptor antagonist scopolamine, while MPH had no effect on memory deficits. Neurochemical studies revealed that SI down-regulated the expression levels of the phosphorylated forms of neuro-signaling proteins, calmodulin-dependent kinase II (p-CaMKII), and cyclic AMP-responsive element binding protein (p-CREB), as well as early growth response protein-1 (Egr-1) in the hippocampus. The administration of MPH or tacrine before fear conditioning had no effect on the levels of the phosphorylated forms of the neuro-signaling proteins elucidated following completion of the auditory fear memory test; however

  5. Memory suppression trades prolonged fear and sleep-dependent fear plasticity for the avoidance of current fear

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuriyama, Kenichi; Honma, Motoyasu; Yoshiike, Takuya; Kim, Yoshiharu

    2013-07-01

    Sleep deprivation immediately following an aversive event reduces fear by preventing memory consolidation during homeostatic sleep. This suggests that acute insomnia might act prophylactically against the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) even though it is also a possible risk factor for PTSD. We examined total sleep deprivation and memory suppression to evaluate the effects of these interventions on subsequent aversive memory formation and fear conditioning. Active suppression of aversive memory impaired retention of event memory. However, although the remembered fear was more reduced in sleep-deprived than sleep-control subjects, suppressed fear increased, and seemed to abandon the sleep-dependent plasticity of fear. Active memory suppression, which provides a psychological model for Freud's ego defense mechanism, enhances fear and casts doubt on the potential of acute insomnia as a prophylactic measure against PTSD. Our findings bring into question the role of sleep in aversive-memory consolidation in clinical PTSD pathophysiology.

  6. Deletion of Glutamate Delta-1 Receptor in Mouse Leads to Enhanced Working Memory and Deficit in Fear Conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Yadav, Roopali; Hillman, Brandon G.; Gupta, Subhash C.; Suryavanshi, Pratyush; Bhatt, Jay M.; Pavuluri, Ratnamala; Stairs, Dustin J.; Dravid, Shashank M.

    2013-01-01

    Glutamate delta-1 (GluD1) receptors are expressed throughout the forebrain during development with high levels in the hippocampus during adulthood. We have recently shown that deletion of GluD1 receptor results in aberrant emotional and social behaviors such as hyperaggression and depression-like behaviors and social interaction deficits. Additionally, abnormal expression of synaptic proteins was observed in amygdala and prefrontal cortex of GluD1 knockout mice (GluD1 KO). However the role of GluD1 in learning and memory paradigms remains unknown. In the present study we evaluated GluD1 KO in learning and memory tests. In the eight-arm radial maze GluD1 KO mice committed fewer working memory errors compared to wildtype mice but had normal reference memory. Enhanced working memory in GluD1 KO was also evident by greater percent alternation in the spontaneous Y-maze test. No difference was observed in object recognition memory in the GluD1 KO mice. In the Morris water maze test GluD1 KO mice showed no difference in acquisition but had longer latency to find the platform in the reversal learning task. GluD1 KO mice showed a deficit in contextual and cue fear conditioning but had normal latent inhibition. The deficit in contextual fear conditioning was reversed by D-Cycloserine (DCS) treatment. GluD1 KO mice were also found to be more sensitive to foot-shock compared to wildtype. We further studied molecular changes in the hippocampus, where we found lower levels of GluA1, GluA2 and GluK2 subunits while a contrasting higher level of GluN2B in GluD1 KO. Additionally, we found higher postsynaptic density protein 95 (PSD95) and lower glutamate decarboxylase 67 (GAD67) expression in GluD1 KO. We propose that GluD1 is crucial for normal functioning of synapses and absence of GluD1 leads to specific abnormalities in learning and memory. These findings provide novel insights into the role of GluD1 receptors in the central nervous system. PMID:23560106

  7. How to erase memory traces of pain and fear.

    PubMed

    Sandkühler, Jürgen; Lee, Jonathan

    2013-06-01

    Pain and fear are both aversive experiences that strongly impact on behaviour and well being. They are considered protective when they lead to meaningful, adaptive behaviour such as the avoidance of situations that are potentially dangerous to the integrity of tissue (pain) or the individual (fear). Pain and fear may, however, become maladaptive if expressed under inappropriate conditions or at excessive intensities for extended durations. Currently emerging concepts of maladaptive pain and fear suggest that basic neuronal mechanisms of memory formation are relevant for the development of pathological forms of pain and fear. Thus, the processes of erasing memory traces of pain and fear may constitute promising targets for future therapies. PMID:23602194

  8. Encoding of fear learning and memory in distributed neuronal circuits.

    PubMed

    Herry, Cyril; Johansen, Joshua P

    2014-12-01

    How sensory information is transformed by learning into adaptive behaviors is a fundamental question in neuroscience. Studies of auditory fear conditioning have revealed much about the formation and expression of emotional memories and have provided important insights into this question. Classical work focused on the amygdala as a central structure for fear conditioning. Recent advances, however, have identified new circuits and neural coding strategies mediating fear learning and the expression of fear behaviors. One area of research has identified key brain regions and neuronal coding mechanisms that regulate the formation, specificity and strength of fear memories. Other work has discovered critical circuits and neuronal dynamics by which fear memories are expressed through a medial prefrontal cortex pathway and coordinated activity across interconnected brain regions. Here we review these recent advances alongside prior work to provide a working model of the extended circuits and neuronal coding mechanisms mediating fear learning and memory.

  9. Encoding of fear learning and memory in distributed neuronal circuits.

    PubMed

    Herry, Cyril; Johansen, Joshua P

    2014-12-01

    How sensory information is transformed by learning into adaptive behaviors is a fundamental question in neuroscience. Studies of auditory fear conditioning have revealed much about the formation and expression of emotional memories and have provided important insights into this question. Classical work focused on the amygdala as a central structure for fear conditioning. Recent advances, however, have identified new circuits and neural coding strategies mediating fear learning and the expression of fear behaviors. One area of research has identified key brain regions and neuronal coding mechanisms that regulate the formation, specificity and strength of fear memories. Other work has discovered critical circuits and neuronal dynamics by which fear memories are expressed through a medial prefrontal cortex pathway and coordinated activity across interconnected brain regions. Here we review these recent advances alongside prior work to provide a working model of the extended circuits and neuronal coding mechanisms mediating fear learning and memory. PMID:25413091

  10. Post-training re-exposure to fear conditioned stimuli enhances memory consolidation and biases rats toward the use of dorsolateral striatum-dependent response learning.

    PubMed

    Leong, Kah-Chung; Goodman, Jarid; Packard, Mark G

    2015-09-15

    In a dual-solution task that can be acquired using either hippocampus-dependent "place" or dorsolateral striatum-dependent "response" learning, emotional arousal induced by unconditioned stimuli (e.g. anxiogenic drug injections or predator odor exposure) biases rats toward response learning. In the present experiments emotionally-arousing conditioned stimuli were used to modulate the relative use of multiple memory systems. In Experiment 1, adult male Long-Evans rats initially received three standard fear-conditioning trials in which a tone (2 kHz, 75 dB) was paired with a brief electrical shock (1 mA, 2s). On day 2, the rats were trained in a dual-solution plus-maze task to swim from the same start arm (South) to a hidden escape platform always located in the same goal arm (East). Immediately following training, rats received post-training re-exposure to the fear-conditioned stimuli (i.e. tone and context) without shock. On day 3, the relative use of place or response learning was assessed on a probe trial in which rats were started from the opposite start arm (North). Post-training re-exposure to fear-conditioned stimuli produced preferential use of a response strategy. In Experiment 2, different rats received fear conditioning and were then trained in a single-solution task that required the use of response learning. Immediately following training, rats received post-training re-exposure to the fear-conditioned stimuli without shock. Re-exposure to fear-conditioned stimuli enhanced memory consolidation in the response learning task. Thus, re-exposure to fear-conditioned stimuli biases rats toward the use of dorsolateral striatum-dependent response learning and enhances memory consolidation of response learning.

  11. Brief fear preexposure facilitates subsequent fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Iwasaki, Satoshi; Sakaguchi, Tetsuya; Ikegaya, Yuji

    2015-06-01

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that occurs following an unexpected exposure to a severe psychological event. A history of a brief trauma is reported to affect a risk for future PTSD development; however, little is known about the mechanisms by which a previous trauma exposure drives the sensitivity to a late-coming trauma. Using a mouse PTSD model, we found that a prior foot shock enhances contextual fear conditioning. This shock-induced facilitation of fear conditioning (i.e., priming effect) persisted for 7 days and was prevented by MK801, an N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist. Other types of trauma, such as forced swimming or tail pinch, did not induce a priming effect on fear conditioning. Thus, a trauma is unlikely generalized to modify the sensitivity to other traumatic experiences. The behavioral procedure employed in this study may be a useful tool to elucidate the etiology of PTSD.

  12. Cannabinoid functions in the amygdala contribute to conditioned fear memory in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice: Interaction with glutamatergic functions.

    PubMed

    Ikeda, Hiroko; Ikegami, Megumi; Kai, Misa; Kamei, Junzo

    2015-07-01

    The role of cannabinoid systems in conditioned fear memory was investigated in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic mice. The cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN-55,212-2 (1mg/kg, i.p.), when injected into normal mice after conditioning, significantly prolonged the duration of freezing behavior. This effect was significantly inhibited by the cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist AM 251 (3mg/kg, s.c.), but not by the cannabinoid CB2 receptor antagonist AM 630 (1mg/kg, s.c.). The duration of freezing in STZ-induced diabetic mice was significantly longer than that in non-diabetic mice. The injection of WIN-55,212-2 (1mg/kg, i.p.) after conditioning significantly prolonged the duration of freezing in non-diabetic mice, but not in STZ-induced diabetic mice. In contrast, the injection of AM 251 (3mg/kg, s.c.) after conditioning significantly shortened the duration of freezing in STZ-induced diabetic mice, but not in non-diabetic mice. The injection of AM 251 (3mg/kg, s.c.) before conditioning or before testing did not significantly affect the duration of freezing in STZ-induced diabetic mice. The protein levels of cannabinoid CB1 receptors in the amygdala were increased in STZ-induced diabetic mice. In contrast, the protein levels of cannabinoid CB2 receptors and diacylglycerol lipase α, the enzyme that synthesizes endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol, in the amygdala did not differ between non-diabetic and STZ-induced diabetic mice. None of these proteins in the hippocampus was different between non-diabetic and STZ-induced diabetic mice. The injection of AM 251 (50 ng/side) into the basolateral amygdala significantly inhibited the duration of freezing in STZ-induced diabetic mice. Since endocannabinoid is controlled by glutamatergic function, we further examined the role of glutamatergic function in the increased fear memory in STZ-induced diabetic mice. The amounts of glutamine and glutamic acid in the amygdala of STZ-induced diabetic mice were significantly increased

  13. The amygdala, synaptic plasticity, and fear memory.

    PubMed

    Maren, Stephen

    2003-04-01

    The nature and mechanisms of synaptic plasticity in the amygdala and the relation of amygdaloid plasticity to behavior are exciting new areas of study in neuroscience. These issues were at the heart of presentations by Paul Chapman, Michael Fanselow, Patricia Shinnick-Gallagher, and Michael Rogawski in a session entitled "Long-Term Plasticity in Amygdala Synaptic Transmission" that was held at the conference featured in this volume. In this chapter, I briefly summarize these talks and give my perspective on the presentations as the session chair. I argue that we must first understand the role of the amygdala in learning and memory in order to understand the contribution of amygdaloid synaptic plasticity to behavior. Although it is generally agreed that the amygdala is involved in several forms of emotional learning and memory such as pavlovian fear conditioning, a recent debate has emerged concerning the precise role of the amygdala in learning versus performing fear responses. I discuss data from my laboratory that unravel this issue. I argue that the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA) normally plays an essential role in associative processes in fear conditioning. Nonetheless, rats with BLA lesions acquire and express conditional fear under some conditions. A neuroanatomical model that accounts for these data is presented.

  14. High Trait Anxiety: A Challenge for Disrupting Fear Memory Reconsolidation

    PubMed Central

    Soeter, Marieke; Kindt, Merel

    2013-01-01

    Disrupting reconsolidation may be promising in the treatment of anxiety disorders but the fear-reducing effects are thus far solely demonstrated in the average organism. A relevant question is whether disrupting fear memory reconsolidation is less effective in individuals who are vulnerable to develop an anxiety disorder. By collapsing data from six previous human fear conditioning studies we tested whether trait anxiety was related to the fear-reducing effects of a pharmacological agent targeting the process of memory reconsolidation - n = 107. Testing included different phases across three consecutive days each separated by 24 h. Fear responding was measured by the eye-blink startle reflex. Disrupting the process of fear memory reconsolidation was manipulated by administering the β-adrenergic receptor antagonist propranolol HCl either before or after memory retrieval. Trait anxiety uniquely predicted the fear-reducing effects of disrupting memory reconsolidation: the higher the trait anxiety, the less fear reduction. Vulnerable individuals with the propensity to develop anxiety disorders may need higher dosages of propranolol HCl or more retrieval trials for targeting and changing fear memory. Our finding clearly demonstrates that we cannot simply translate observations from fundamental research on fear reduction in the average organism to clinical practice. PMID:24260096

  15. Paradoxical mineralocorticoid receptor-mediated effect in fear memory encoding and expression of rats submitted to an olfactory fear conditioning task.

    PubMed

    Souza, Rimenez R; Dal Bó, Silvia; de Kloet, E Ronald; Oitzl, Melly S; Carobrez, Antonio P

    2014-04-01

    There is general agreement that the substantial modification in memory and motivational states exerted by corticosteroids after a traumatic experience is mediated in complementary manner by the mineralocorticoid (MR) and glucocorticoid (GR) receptors. Here we tested the hypothesis that pharmacological manipulation of MR activity would affect behavioral strategy and information storage in an olfactory fear conditioning (OFC) task. Male Wistar rats were submitted to the OFC with different training intensities. We observed that following high intensity OFC acquisition, a set of defensive coping strategies, which includes avoidance and risk assessment behaviors, was elicited when subjects were exposed to the conditioned stimulus (CS) 48 h later. In addition, following either OFC acquisition or retrieval (CS-I test) a profound corticosterone secretion was also detected. Systemic administration of the MR antagonist spironolactone altered the behavioral coping style irrespective the antagonist was administered 60 min prior to the acquisition or before the retrieval session. Surprisingly, the MR agonist fludrocortisone given 60 min prior to acquisition or retrieval of OFC had similar effects as the antagonist. In addition, post-training administration of fludrocortisone, following a weak training procedure, facilitated the consolidation of OFC. Fludrocortisone rather than spironolactone reduced serum corticosterone levels, suggesting that, at least in part, the effects of the MR agonist may derive from additional GR-mediated HPA-axis suppression. In conclusion, the present study suggests the involvement of the MR in the fine-tuning of behavioral adaptation necessary for optimal information storage and expression, as revealed by the marked alterations in the risk assessment behavior.

  16. Durable fear memories require PSD-95

    PubMed Central

    Fitzgerald, Paul J.; Pinard, Courtney R.; Camp, Marguerite C.; Feyder, Michael; Sah, Anupam; Bergstrom, Hadley; Graybeal, Carolyn; Liu, Yan; Schlüter, Oliver; Grant, Seth G.N.; Singewald, Nicolas; Xu, Weifeng; Holmes, Andrew

    2014-01-01

    Traumatic fear memories are highly durable but also dynamic, undergoing repeated reactivation and rehearsal over time. While overly persistent fear memories underlie anxiety disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder, the key neural and molecular mechanisms underlying fear memory durability remain unclear. Post-synaptic density 95 (PSD-95) is a synaptic protein regulating glutamate receptor anchoring, synaptic stability and certain types of memory. Employing a loss-of-function mutant mouse lacking the guanylate kinase domain of PSD-95 (PSD-95GK), we analyzed the contribution of PSD-95 to fear memory formation and retrieval, and sought to identify the neural basis of PSD-95-mediated memory maintenance using ex vivo immediate-early gene mapping, in vivo neuronal recordings and viral-mediated knockdown approaches. We show that PSD-95 is dispensable for the formation and expression of recent fear memories, but essential for the formation of precise and flexible fear memories and for the maintenance of memories at remote time points. The failure of PSD-95GK mice to retrieve remote cued fear memories was associated with hypoactivation of the infralimbic cortex (IL) (not anterior cingulate (ACC) or prelimbic cortex), reduced IL single-unit firing and bursting, and attenuated IL gamma and theta oscillations. Adeno-associated PSD-95 virus-mediated knockdown in the IL, not ACC, was sufficient to impair recent fear extinction and remote fear memory, and remodel IL dendritic spines. Collectively, these data identify PSD-95 in the IL as a critical mechanism supporting the durability of fear memories over time. These preclinical findings have implications for developing novel approaches to treating trauma-based anxiety disorders that target the weakening of overly persistent fear memories. PMID:25510511

  17. Durable fear memories require PSD-95.

    PubMed

    Fitzgerald, P J; Pinard, C R; Camp, M C; Feyder, M; Sah, A; Bergstrom, H C; Graybeal, C; Liu, Y; Schlüter, O M; Grant, S G; Singewald, N; Xu, W; Holmes, A

    2015-07-01

    Traumatic fear memories are highly durable but also dynamic, undergoing repeated reactivation and rehearsal over time. Although overly persistent fear memories underlie anxiety disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, the key neural and molecular mechanisms underlying fear memory durability remain unclear. Postsynaptic density 95 (PSD-95) is a synaptic protein regulating glutamate receptor anchoring, synaptic stability and certain types of memory. Using a loss-of-function mutant mouse lacking the guanylate kinase domain of PSD-95 (PSD-95(GK)), we analyzed the contribution of PSD-95 to fear memory formation and retrieval, and sought to identify the neural basis of PSD-95-mediated memory maintenance using ex vivo immediate-early gene mapping, in vivo neuronal recordings and viral-mediated knockdown (KD) approaches. We show that PSD-95 is dispensable for the formation and expression of recent fear memories, but essential for the formation of precise and flexible fear memories and for the maintenance of memories at remote time points. The failure of PSD-95(GK) mice to retrieve remote cued fear memory was associated with hypoactivation of the infralimbic (IL) cortex (but not the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) or prelimbic cortex), reduced IL single-unit firing and bursting, and attenuated IL gamma and theta oscillations. Adeno-associated virus-mediated PSD-95 KD in the IL, but not the ACC, was sufficient to impair recent fear extinction and remote fear memory, and remodel IL dendritic spines. Collectively, these data identify PSD-95 in the IL as a critical mechanism supporting the durability of fear memories over time. These preclinical findings have implications for developing novel approaches to treating trauma-based anxiety disorders that target the weakening of overly persistent fear memories. PMID:25510511

  18. Durable fear memories require PSD-95.

    PubMed

    Fitzgerald, P J; Pinard, C R; Camp, M C; Feyder, M; Sah, A; Bergstrom, H C; Graybeal, C; Liu, Y; Schlüter, O M; Grant, S G; Singewald, N; Xu, W; Holmes, A

    2015-07-01

    Traumatic fear memories are highly durable but also dynamic, undergoing repeated reactivation and rehearsal over time. Although overly persistent fear memories underlie anxiety disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, the key neural and molecular mechanisms underlying fear memory durability remain unclear. Postsynaptic density 95 (PSD-95) is a synaptic protein regulating glutamate receptor anchoring, synaptic stability and certain types of memory. Using a loss-of-function mutant mouse lacking the guanylate kinase domain of PSD-95 (PSD-95(GK)), we analyzed the contribution of PSD-95 to fear memory formation and retrieval, and sought to identify the neural basis of PSD-95-mediated memory maintenance using ex vivo immediate-early gene mapping, in vivo neuronal recordings and viral-mediated knockdown (KD) approaches. We show that PSD-95 is dispensable for the formation and expression of recent fear memories, but essential for the formation of precise and flexible fear memories and for the maintenance of memories at remote time points. The failure of PSD-95(GK) mice to retrieve remote cued fear memory was associated with hypoactivation of the infralimbic (IL) cortex (but not the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) or prelimbic cortex), reduced IL single-unit firing and bursting, and attenuated IL gamma and theta oscillations. Adeno-associated virus-mediated PSD-95 KD in the IL, but not the ACC, was sufficient to impair recent fear extinction and remote fear memory, and remodel IL dendritic spines. Collectively, these data identify PSD-95 in the IL as a critical mechanism supporting the durability of fear memories over time. These preclinical findings have implications for developing novel approaches to treating trauma-based anxiety disorders that target the weakening of overly persistent fear memories.

  19. Postreactivation Glucocorticoids Impair Recall of Established Fear Memory

    PubMed Central

    Cai, Wen-Hui; Blundell, Jacqueline; Han, Jie; Greene, Robert W.; Powell, Craig M.

    2014-01-01

    Pavlovian fear conditioning provides one of the best rodent models of acquired anxiety disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder. Injection of a variety of drugs after training in fear-conditioning paradigms can impair consolidation of fear memories. Indeed, early clinical trials suggest that immediate administration of such drugs after a traumatic event may decrease the risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder in humans (Pitman et al., 2002; Vaiva et al., 2003). The use of such a treatment is limited by the difficulty of treating every patient at risk and by the difficulty in predicting which patients will experience chronic adverse consequences. Recent clinical trials suggest that administration of glucocorticoids may have a beneficial effect on established posttraumatic stress disorder (Aerni et al., 2004) and specific phobia (Soravia et al., 2006). Conversely, glucocorticoid administration after training is known to enhance memory consolidation (McGaugh and Roozendaal, 2002; Roozendaal, 2002). From a clinical perspective, enhancement of a fear memory or a reactivated fear memory would not be desirable. We report here that when glucocorticoids are administered immediately after reactivation of a contextual fear memory, subsequent recall is significantly diminished. Additional experiments support the interpretation that glucocorticoids not only decrease fear memory retrieval but, in addition, augment consolidation of fear memory extinction rather than decreasing reconsolidation. These findings provide a rodent model for a potential treatment of established acquired anxiety disorders in humans, as suggested by others (Aerni et al., 2004; Schelling et al., 2004), based on a mechanism of enhanced extinction. PMID:16971540

  20. Mesolimbic dopaminergic pathways in fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Pezze, Marie A; Feldon, Joram

    2004-12-01

    One of the most common paradigms used to study the biological basis of emotion, as well as of learning and memory, is Pavlovian fear conditioning. In the acquisition phase of a fear conditioning experiment, an emotionally neutral conditioned stimulus (CS)--which can either be a discrete stimulus, such as a tone, or a contextual stimulus, such as a specific environment--is paired with an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US), for example a foot shock. As a result, the CS elicits conditioned fear responses when subsequently presented alone during the expression phase of the experiment. While considerable work has been done in relating specific circuits of the brain to fear conditioning, less is known about its regulation by neuromodulators; the understanding of which would be of therapeutic relevance for fear related diseases such as phobia, panic attacks, post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, or generalized anxiety disorder. Dopamine is one of the neuromodulators most potently acting on the mechanisms underlying states of fear and anxiety. Recently, a growing body of evidence has suggested that dopaminergic mechanisms are significant for different aspects of affective memory, namely its formation, expression, retrieval, and extinction. The aim of this review is to clarify the complex actions of dopamine in fear conditioning with respect to the wide-spread distribution of dopaminergic innervation over structures constituting the fear related circuitry. A particular effort is made to understand how dopamine in the amygdala, medial prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens--target structures of the mesolimbic dopamine system originating from the ventral tegmental area--could relate to different aspects of fear conditioning.

  1. Young and old Pavlovian fear memories can be modified with extinction training during reconsolidation in humans

    PubMed Central

    Steinfurth, Elisa C.K.; Kanen, Jonathan W.; Raio, Candace M.; Clem, Roger L.; Huganir, Richard L.; Phelps, Elizabeth A.

    2014-01-01

    Extinction training during reconsolidation has been shown to persistently diminish conditioned fear responses across species. We investigated in humans if older fear memories can benefit similarly. Using a Pavlovian fear conditioning paradigm we compared standard extinction and extinction after memory reactivation 1 d or 7 d following acquisition. Participants who underwent extinction during reconsolidation showed no evidence of fear recovery, whereas fear responses returned in participants who underwent standard extinction. We observed this effect in young and old fear memories. Extending the beneficial use of reconsolidation to older fear memories in humans is promising for therapeutic applications. PMID:24934333

  2. Role of NPY Y1 receptor on acquisition, consolidation and extinction on contextual fear conditioning: dissociation between anxiety, locomotion and non-emotional memory behavior.

    PubMed

    Lach, Gilliard; de Lima, Thereza Christina Monteiro

    2013-07-01

    Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is the most abundant peptide in the central nervous system (CNS) and is densely localized in the brain regions involved in stress, memory, fear and anxiety. Although previous research supports a role for NPY in the mediation of rodent and human emotional behavior, there is currently a lack of information on the effects of low doses of NPY that could have a potential therapeutic advantage, minimizing side-effects such as cognition impairment or sedation. Herein, we assessed the effects of intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) administration of low doses of NPY, and of the Y1-agonist Leu31Pro34-NPY (LP-NPY) on contextual fear conditioning (CFC), as they have no effect on unconditioned anxiety-like, locomotor activity and non-emotional memory. NPY (3 pmol) and LP-NPY (1 pmol) inhibited freezing behavior when administered in the acquisition or consolidation stages, indicating a reduction of fear. When injected in the extinction phase, only NPY inhibited freezing behavior on CFC. Pre-treatment with the Y1-antagonist BIBO3304 before NPY and LP-NPY was able to prevent the inhibition of fear responses induced by both NPY agonists. Taken together, our results demonstrate robust fear-inhibiting effects of i.c.v. injection of NPY on contextual fear conditioning in rats, a response that is mediated, at least in part, by the Y1 receptor. Moreover, these treatments were unable to change locomotor activity or to show an anxiolytic-like effect, as evaluated in an open-field and an elevated plus-maze. This specific fear reduction effect may underlie resilience systems in the CNS and has potential therapeutic relevance in PTSD.

  3. Social Modeling of Conditioned Fear in Mice by Non-fearful Conspecifics

    PubMed Central

    Guzman, Yomayra F.; Tronson, Natalie C.; Guedea, Anita; Huh, Kyu Hwan; Gao, Can; Radulovic, Jelena

    2009-01-01

    Social interactions with conspecifics markedly alter the neuroendocrine, behavioral and emotional responses to stressful events. Some of these effects involve observational learning and result in lasting changes of fear-motivated behavior. While most evidence reveals increased fearfulness after observation of fearful demonstrators (models) in a number of species, a few reports from human and non-human primates indicate that observational learning can also attenuate some forms of fear. In the present study, we set out to determine the effects of social modeling and observational learning on fear conditioning in the mouse. Observers were pre-exposed to a novel context in the presence of fearful (F group) or non-fearful (NF group) demonstrators. Mice of the F group acquired control levels of conditioned fear. On the other hand, mice of the NF group exhibited profound and persistent reduction of fear. The decrease of fear in NF observers was most likely due to context-specific impairments of fear conditioning, as revealed by selective effects on long- but not short-term contextual fear memory, and normal fear conditioning in response to a novel context or cue. The effect was lasting, but constrained by the shock intensity. Attenuation of fear conditioning resulting from interactions with non-fearful conspecifics was largely, but not entirely, mediated by vicarious learning. These findings identify an important social buffering process serving to prevent a lasting induction of fear in response to isolated, moderately intense stressful events. PMID:19428631

  4. Arc expression identifies the lateral amygdala fear memory trace

    PubMed Central

    Gouty-Colomer, L A; Hosseini, B; Marcelo, I M; Schreiber, J; Slump, D E; Yamaguchi, S; Houweling, A R; Jaarsma, D; Elgersma, Y; Kushner, S A

    2016-01-01

    Memories are encoded within sparsely distributed neuronal ensembles. However, the defining cellular properties of neurons within a memory trace remain incompletely understood. Using a fluorescence-based Arc reporter, we were able to visually identify the distinct subset of lateral amygdala (LA) neurons activated during auditory fear conditioning. We found that Arc-expressing neurons have enhanced intrinsic excitability and are preferentially recruited into newly encoded memory traces. Furthermore, synaptic potentiation of thalamic inputs to the LA during fear conditioning is learning-specific, postsynaptically mediated and highly localized to Arc-expressing neurons. Taken together, our findings validate the immediate-early gene Arc as a molecular marker for the LA neuronal ensemble recruited during fear learning. Moreover, these results establish a model of fear memory formation in which intrinsic excitability determines neuronal selection, whereas learning-related encoding is governed by synaptic plasticity. PMID:25802982

  5. Amygdala inhibitory circuits and the control of fear memory.

    PubMed

    Ehrlich, Ingrid; Humeau, Yann; Grenier, François; Ciocchi, Stephane; Herry, Cyril; Lüthi, Andreas

    2009-06-25

    Classical fear conditioning is a powerful behavioral paradigm that is widely used to study the neuronal substrates of learning and memory. Previous studies have clearly identified the amygdala as a key brain structure for acquisition and storage of fear memory traces. Whereas the majority of this work has focused on principal cells and glutamatergic transmission and its plasticity, recent studies have started to shed light on the intricate roles of local inhibitory circuits. Here, we review current understanding and emerging concepts of how local inhibitory circuits in the amygdala control the acquisition, expression, and extinction of conditioned fear at different levels.

  6. Extinction in human fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Hermans, Dirk; Craske, Michelle G; Mineka, Susan; Lovibond, Peter F

    2006-08-15

    Although most extinction research is conducted in animal laboratories, the study of extinction learning in human fear conditioning has gained increasing attention over the last decade. The most important findings from human fear extinction are reviewed in this article. Specifically, we review experimental investigations of the impact of conditioned inhibitors, conditioned exciters, context renewal, and reinstatement on fear extinction in human samples. We discuss data from laboratory studies of the extinction of aversively conditioned stimuli, as well as results from experimental clinical work with fearful or anxious individuals. We present directions for future research, in particular the need for further investigation of differences between animal and human conditioning outcomes, and research examining the role of both automatic and higher-order cognitive processes in human conditioning and extinction.

  7. Intact neurogenesis is required for benefits of exercise on spatial memory but not motor performance or contextual fear conditioning in C57BL/6J mice.

    PubMed

    Clark, P J; Brzezinska, W J; Thomas, M W; Ryzhenko, N A; Toshkov, S A; Rhodes, J S

    2008-09-01

    The mammalian hippocampus continues to generate new neurons throughout life. Experiences such as exercise, anti-depressants, and stress regulate levels of neurogenesis. Exercise increases adult hippocampal neurogenesis and enhances behavioral performance on rotarod, contextual fear and water maze in rodents. To directly test whether intact neurogenesis is required for gains in behavioral performance from exercise in C57BL/6J mice, neurogenesis was reduced using focal gamma irradiation (3 sessions of 5 Gy). Two months after treatment, mice (total n=42 males and 42 females) (Irradiated or Sham), were placed with or without running wheels (Runner or Sedentary) for 54 days. The first 10 days mice received daily injections of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) to label dividing cells. The last 14 days mice were tested on water maze (two trials per day for 5 days, then 1 h later probe test), rotarod (four trials per day for 3 days), and contextual fear conditioning (2 days), then measured for neurogenesis using immunohistochemical detection of BrdU and neuronal nuclear protein (NeuN) mature neuronal marker. Consistent with previous studies, in Sham animals, running increased neurogenesis fourfold and gains in performance were observed for the water maze (spatial learning and memory), rotarod (motor performance), and contextual fear (conditioning). These positive results provided the reference to determine whether gains in performance were blocked by irradiation. Irradiation reduced neurogenesis by 50% in both groups, Runner and Sedentary. Irradiation did not affect running or baseline performance on any task. Minimal changes in microglia associated with inflammation (using immunohistochemical detection of cd68) were detected at the time of behavioral testing. Irradiation did not reduce gains in performance on rotarod or contextual fear, however it eliminated gain in performance on the water maze. Results support the hypothesis that intact exercise-induced hippocampal neurogenesis

  8. Sleep to forget: interference of fear memories during sleep

    PubMed Central

    Rolls, A; Makam, M; Kroeger, D; Colas, D; de Lecea, L; Heller, H Craig

    2016-01-01

    Memories are consolidated and strengthened during sleep. Here we show that memories can also be weakened during sleep. We used a fear-conditioning paradigm in mice to condition footshock to an odor (conditioned stimulus (CS)). Twenty-four hours later, presentation of the CS odor during sleep resulted in an enhanced fear response when tested during subsequent wake. However, if the re-exposure of the CS odor during sleep was preceded by bilateral microinjections of a protein synthesis inhibitor into the basolateral amygdala, the subsequent fear response was attenuated. These findings demonstrate that specific fear memories can be selectively reactivated and either strengthened or attenuated during sleep, suggesting the potential for developing sleep therapies for emotional disorders. PMID:24081009

  9. Selective synaptic remodeling of amygdalocortical connections associated with fear memory.

    PubMed

    Yang, Yang; Liu, Dan-Qian; Huang, Wei; Deng, Juan; Sun, Yangang; Zuo, Yi; Poo, Mu-Ming

    2016-10-01

    Neural circuits underlying auditory fear conditioning have been extensively studied. Here we identified a previously unexplored pathway from the lateral amygdala (LA) to the auditory cortex (ACx) and found that selective silencing of this pathway using chemo- and optogenetic approaches impaired fear memory retrieval. Dual-color in vivo two-photon imaging of mouse ACx showed pathway-specific increases in the formation of LA axon boutons, dendritic spines of ACx layer 5 pyramidal cells, and putative LA-ACx synaptic pairs after auditory fear conditioning. Furthermore, joint imaging of pre- and postsynaptic structures showed that essentially all new synaptic contacts were made by adding new partners to existing synaptic elements. Together, these findings identify an amygdalocortical projection that is important to fear memory expression and is selectively modified by associative fear learning, and unravel a distinct architectural rule for synapse formation in the adult brain. PMID:27595384

  10. Young and Old Pavlovian Fear Memories Can Be Modified with Extinction Training during Reconsolidation in Humans

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Steinfurth, Elisa C. K.; Kanen, Jonathan W.; Raio, Candace M.; Clem, Roger L.; Huganir, Richard L.; Phelps, Elizabeth A.

    2014-01-01

    Extinction training during reconsolidation has been shown to persistently diminish conditioned fear responses across species. We investigated in humans if older fear memories can benefit similarly. Using a Pavlovian fear conditioning paradigm we compared standard extinction and extinction after memory reactivation 1 d or 7 d following acquisition.…

  11. Surface expression of hippocampal NMDA GluN2B receptors regulated by fear conditioning determines its contribution to memory consolidation in adult rats

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Yan-Yan; Cai, Wei; Yu, Jie; Liu, Shu-Su; Zhuo, Min; Li, Bao-Ming; Zhang, Xue-Han

    2016-01-01

    The number and subtype composition of N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) at synapses determines their functional properties and role in learning and memory. Genetically increased or decreased amount of GluN2B affects hippocampus-dependent memory in the adult brain. But in some experimental conditions (e.g., memory elicited by a single conditioning trial (1 CS-US)), GluN2B is not a necessary factor, which indicates that the precise role of GluN2B in memory formation requires further exploration. Here, we examined the role of GluN2B in the consolidation of fear memory using two training paradigms. We found that GluN2B was only required for the consolidation of memory elicited by five conditioning trials (5 CS-US), not by 1 CS-US. Strikingly, the expression of membrane GluN2B in CA1was training-strength-dependently increased after conditioning, and that the amount of membrane GluN2B determined its involvement in memory consolidation. Additionally, we demonstrated the increases in the activities of cAMP, ERK, and CREB in the CA1 after conditioning, as well as the enhanced intrinsic excitability and synaptic efficacy in CA1 neurons. Up-regulation of membrane GluN2B contributed to these enhancements. These studies uncover a novel mechanism for the involvement of GluN2B in memory consolidation by its accumulation at the cell surface in response to behavioral training. PMID:27487820

  12. The formation and extinction of fear memory in tree shrews

    PubMed Central

    Shang, Shujiang; Wang, Cong; Guo, Chengbing; Huang, Xu; Wang, Liecheng; Zhang, Chen

    2015-01-01

    Fear is an emotion that is well-studied due to its importance for animal survival. Experimental animals, such as rats and mice, have been widely used to model fear. However, higher animals such as nonhuman primates have rarely been used to study fear due to ethical issues and high costs. Tree shrews are small mammals that are closely related to primates; they have been used to model human-related psychosocial conditions such as stress and alcohol tolerance. Here, we describe an experimental paradigm to study the formation and extinction of fear memory in tree shrews. We designed an experimental apparatus of a light/dark box with a voltage foot shock. We found that tree shrews preferred staying in the dark box in the daytime without stimulation and showed avoidance to voltage shocks applied to the footplate in a voltage-dependent manner. Foot shocks applied to the dark box for 5 days (10 min per day) effectively reversed the light–dark preference of the tree shrews, and this memory lasted for more than 50 days without any sign of memory decay (extinction) in the absence of further stimulation. However, this fear memory was reversed with 4 days of reverse training by applying the same stimulus to the light box. When reducing the stimulus intensity during the training period, a memory extinction and subsequently reinstatement effects were observed. Thus, our results describe an efficient method of monitoring fear memory formation and extinction in tree shrews. PMID:26283941

  13. Effects of Cortisol on Reconsolidation of Reactivated Fear Memories.

    PubMed

    Drexler, Shira Meir; Merz, Christian J; Hamacher-Dang, Tanja C; Tegenthoff, Martin; Wolf, Oliver T

    2015-12-01

    The return of conditioned fear after successful extinction (eg, following exposure therapy) is a significant problem in the treatment of anxiety disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Targeting the reconsolidation of fear memories may allow a more lasting effect as it intervenes with the original memory trace. Indeed, several pharmacological agents and behavioral interventions have been shown to alter (enhance, impair, or otherwise update) the reconsolidation of reactivated memories of different types. Cortisol is a stress hormone and a potent modulator of learning and memory, yet its effects on fear memory reconsolidation are unclear. To investigate whether cortisol intervenes with the reconsolidation of fear memories in healthy males and how specific this effect might be, we built a 3-day reconsolidation design with skin conductance response (SCR) as a measure of conditioned fear: Fear acquisition on day 1; reactivation/no-reactivation of one conditioned stimulus and pharmacological intervention on day 2; extinction learning followed by reinstatement and reinstatement test on day 3. The groups differed only in the experimental manipulation on day 2: Reactivation+Cortisol Group, Reactivation+Placebo Group, or No-reactivation+Cortisol Group. Our results revealed an enhancing effect of cortisol on reconsolidation of the reactivated memory. The effect was highly specific, strengthening only the memory of the reactivated conditioned stimulus and not the non-reactivated one. Our findings are in line with previous findings showing an enhancing effect of behavioral stress on the reconsolidation of other types of memories. These results have implications for the understanding and treatment of anxiety disorders and PTSD. PMID:26058664

  14. Effects of Cortisol on Reconsolidation of Reactivated Fear Memories.

    PubMed

    Drexler, Shira Meir; Merz, Christian J; Hamacher-Dang, Tanja C; Tegenthoff, Martin; Wolf, Oliver T

    2015-12-01

    The return of conditioned fear after successful extinction (eg, following exposure therapy) is a significant problem in the treatment of anxiety disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Targeting the reconsolidation of fear memories may allow a more lasting effect as it intervenes with the original memory trace. Indeed, several pharmacological agents and behavioral interventions have been shown to alter (enhance, impair, or otherwise update) the reconsolidation of reactivated memories of different types. Cortisol is a stress hormone and a potent modulator of learning and memory, yet its effects on fear memory reconsolidation are unclear. To investigate whether cortisol intervenes with the reconsolidation of fear memories in healthy males and how specific this effect might be, we built a 3-day reconsolidation design with skin conductance response (SCR) as a measure of conditioned fear: Fear acquisition on day 1; reactivation/no-reactivation of one conditioned stimulus and pharmacological intervention on day 2; extinction learning followed by reinstatement and reinstatement test on day 3. The groups differed only in the experimental manipulation on day 2: Reactivation+Cortisol Group, Reactivation+Placebo Group, or No-reactivation+Cortisol Group. Our results revealed an enhancing effect of cortisol on reconsolidation of the reactivated memory. The effect was highly specific, strengthening only the memory of the reactivated conditioned stimulus and not the non-reactivated one. Our findings are in line with previous findings showing an enhancing effect of behavioral stress on the reconsolidation of other types of memories. These results have implications for the understanding and treatment of anxiety disorders and PTSD.

  15. Contextual fear conditioning induces differential alternative splicing.

    PubMed

    Poplawski, Shane G; Peixoto, Lucia; Porcari, Giulia S; Wimmer, Mathieu E; McNally, Anna G; Mizuno, Keiko; Giese, K Peter; Chatterjee, Snehajyoti; Koberstein, John N; Risso, Davide; Speed, Terence P; Abel, Ted

    2016-10-01

    The process of memory consolidation requires transcription and translation to form long-term memories. Significant effort has been dedicated to understanding changes in hippocampal gene expression after contextual fear conditioning. However, alternative splicing by differential transcript regulation during this time period has received less attention. Here, we use RNA-seq to determine exon-level changes in expression after contextual fear conditioning and retrieval. Our work reveals that a short variant of Homer1, Ania-3, is regulated by contextual fear conditioning. The ribosome biogenesis regulator Las1l, small nucleolar RNA Snord14e, and the RNA-binding protein Rbm3 also change specific transcript usage after fear conditioning. The changes in Ania-3 and Las1l are specific to either the new context or the context-shock association, while the changes in Rbm3 occur after context or shock only. Our analysis revealed novel transcript regulation of previously undetected changes after learning, revealing the importance of high throughput sequencing approaches in the study of gene expression changes after learning. PMID:27451143

  16. Predicting aversive events and terminating fear in the mouse anterior cingulate cortex during trace fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Steenland, Hendrik W; Li, Xiang-Yao; Zhuo, Min

    2012-01-18

    A variety of studies have implicated the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in fear, including permanent storage of fear memory. Recent pharmacological and genetic studies indicate that early synaptic plasticity in the ACC may also contribute to certain forms of fear memory at early time points. However, no study has directly examined the possible changes in neuronal activity of ACC neurons in freely behaving mice during early learning. In the present study, we examined the neural responses of the ACC during trace fear conditioning. We found that ACC putative pyramidal and nonpyramidal neurons were involved in the termination of fear behavior ("un-freezing"), and the spike activity of these neurons was reduced during freezing. Some of the neurons were also found to acquire un-freezing locked activity and change their tuning. The results implicate the ACC neurons in fear learning and controlling the abolition of fear behavior. We also show that the ACC is important for making cue-related fear memory associations in the trace fear paradigm as measured with tone-evoked potentials and single-unit activity. Collectively, our findings indicate that the ACC is involved in predicting future aversive events and terminating fear during trace fear. PMID:22262906

  17. Noradrenergic enhancement of associative fear memory in humans.

    PubMed

    Soeter, Marieke; Kindt, Merel

    2011-09-01

    Ample evidence in animals and humans supports the noradrenergic modulation in the formation of emotional memory. However, in humans the effects of stress on emotional memory are traditionally investigated by declarative memory tests (e.g., recall, recognition) for non-associative emotional stimuli (e.g., stories, pictures). Given that anxiety disorders are thought to originate from associative learning processes and are characterized by distressing emotional responses, the existing literature seems to be inconclusive for the understanding of these disorders. Here, we tested whether noradrenaline strengthens the emotional expression of associative fear memory by using a differential fear conditioning procedure in humans. Stimulation of the noradrenergic system by the administration of yohimbine HCl (20mg) during memory formation did not directly augment the differential startle fear response 48 h later. Yet, the other retention tests uncovered that the administration of yohimbine HCl contrary to placebo pill extensively delayed the process of extinction learning and generated a superior recovery of fear (i.e., reinstatement and reacquisition). Conversely, the yohimbine HCl manipulation did not affect the skin conductance responding and the US expectancy ratings, emphasizing the concept of multiple memory systems. To our knowledge this is the first demonstration in humans that increased noradrenaline release during or shortly after a stressful event strengthens the formation of associative fear memory traces. The present findings suggest that noradrenaline may play an important role in the etiology and maintenance of anxiety disorders. PMID:21624479

  18. Fear Conditioning is Disrupted by Damage to the Postsubiculum

    PubMed Central

    Robinson, Siobhan; Bucci, David J.

    2011-01-01

    The hippocampus plays a central role in spatial and contextual learning and memory, however relatively little is known about the specific contributions of parahippocampal structures that interface with the hippocampus. The postsubiculum (PoSub) is reciprocally connected with a number of hippocampal, parahippocampal and subcortical structures that are involved in spatial learning and memory. In addition, behavioral data suggest that PoSub is needed for optimal performance during tests of spatial memory. Together, these data suggest that PoSub plays a prominent role in spatial navigation. Currently it is unknown whether the PoSub is needed for other forms of learning and memory that also require the formation of associations among multiple environmental stimuli. To address this gap in the literature we investigated the role of PoSub in Pavlovian fear conditioning. In Experiment 1 male rats received either lesions of PoSub or Sham surgery prior to training in a classical fear conditioning procedure. On the training day a tone was paired with foot shock three times. Conditioned fear to the training context was evaluated 24 hr later by placing rats back into the conditioning chamber without presenting any tones or shocks. Auditory fear was assessed on the third day by presenting the auditory stimulus in a novel environment (no shock). PoSub-lesioned rats exhibited impaired acquisition of the conditioned fear response as well as impaired expression of contextual and auditory fear conditioning. In Experiment 2, PoSub lesions were made 1 day after training to specifically assess the role of PoSub in fear memory. No deficits in the expression of contextual fear were observed, but freezing to the tone was significantly reduced in PoSub-lesioned rats compared to shams. Together, these results indicate that PoSub is necessary for normal acquisition of conditioned fear, and that PoSub contributes to the expression of auditory but not contextual fear memory. PMID:22076971

  19. Monetary effects on fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Qu, Chen; Zhang, Aiyi; Chen, Qishan

    2013-04-01

    Previous research has found that the loss of money as a negative secondary reinforcer was as effective as a primary reinforcer during fear conditioning. The purpose of the present study was to explore the effect of monetary gain as a positive secondary reinforcer in fear conditioning. Participants were assigned to a high-reward group or low-reward group. Three kinds of squares prompting non-compensation shock, compensation shock, and no shock were presented. Skin conductance responses (SCRs) and self-ratings were recorded. The results revealed that (a) both SCRs and self-ratings in the compensation shock condition were lower than in the non-compensation shock condition, suggesting that money might block the learning stage of fear conditioning; and (b) a higher ratio of fear reduction was present in self-rating when compared to SCRs, suggesting that people might overstate the utility of money, subjectively. Monetary effects, the effects of different amounts of money, and the differences between subjective and physiological levels are discussed.

  20. Fear conditioning is disrupted by damage to the postsubiculum.

    PubMed

    Robinson, Siobhan; Bucci, David J

    2012-06-01

    The hippocampus plays a central role in spatial and contextual learning and memory, however relatively little is known about the specific contributions of parahippocampal structures that interface with the hippocampus. The postsubiculum (PoSub) is reciprocally connected with a number of hippocampal, parahippocampal and subcortical structures that are involved in spatial learning and memory. In addition, behavioral data suggest that PoSub is needed for optimal performance during tests of spatial memory. Together, these data suggest that PoSub plays a prominent role in spatial navigation. Currently it is unknown whether the PoSub is needed for other forms of learning and memory that also require the formation of associations among multiple environmental stimuli. To address this gap in the literature we investigated the role of PoSub in Pavlovian fear conditioning. In Experiment 1 male rats received either lesions of PoSub or Sham surgery prior to training in a classical fear conditioning procedure. On the training day a tone was paired with foot shock three times. Conditioned fear to the training context was evaluated 24 hr later by placing rats back into theconditioning chamber without presenting any tones or shocks. Auditory fear was assessed on the third day by presenting the auditory stimulus in a novel environment (no shock). PoSub-lesioned rats exhibited impaired acquisition of the conditioned fear response as well as impaired expression of contextual and auditory fear conditioning. In Experiment 2, PoSub lesions were made 1 day after training to specifically assess the role of PoSub in fear memory. No deficits in the expression of contextual fear were observed, but freezing to the tone was significantly reduced in PoSub-lesioned rats compared to shams. Together, these results indicate that PoSub is necessary for normal acquisition of conditioned fear, and that PoSub contributes to the expression of auditory but not contextual fear memory.

  1. The neurobiology of fear memory reconsolidation and psychoanalytic theory.

    PubMed

    Gorman, Jack M; Roose, Steven P

    2011-12-01

    Advances in both experimental neuroscience and psychoanalytic theory and technique have made it possible to consider mechanisms by which psychodynamic psychotherapies might have an impact at the cellular and molecular level. Here potential analogies are drawn between (1) the mechanisms and results of blocking the reconsolidation of conditioned fear memories in the laboratory and (2) several key aspects of psychoanalytic process. A review of the biology of conditioned fear memory, including differences between extinction and inhibition of reconsolidation, indicates that this biology may have relevance to various ways in which psychoanalytic therapy is effective. The ideas proposed here might lead to further experimental attempts to understand the molecular biology of psychoanalysis.

  2. The neurobiology of fear memory reconsolidation and psychoanalytic theory.

    PubMed

    Gorman, Jack M; Roose, Steven P

    2011-12-01

    Advances in both experimental neuroscience and psychoanalytic theory and technique have made it possible to consider mechanisms by which psychodynamic psychotherapies might have an impact at the cellular and molecular level. Here potential analogies are drawn between (1) the mechanisms and results of blocking the reconsolidation of conditioned fear memories in the laboratory and (2) several key aspects of psychoanalytic process. A review of the biology of conditioned fear memory, including differences between extinction and inhibition of reconsolidation, indicates that this biology may have relevance to various ways in which psychoanalytic therapy is effective. The ideas proposed here might lead to further experimental attempts to understand the molecular biology of psychoanalysis. PMID:22080504

  3. Retrieval induces reconsolidation of fear extinction memory.

    PubMed

    Rossato, Janine I; Bevilaqua, Lia R; Izquierdo, Iván; Medina, Jorge H; Cammarota, Martín

    2010-12-14

    The nonreinforced expression of long-tem memory may lead to two opposite protein synthesis-dependent processes: extinction and reconsolidation. Extinction weakens consolidated memories, whereas reconsolidation allows incorporation of additional information into them. Knowledge about these two processes has accumulated in recent years, but their possible interaction has not been evaluated yet. Here, we report that inhibition of protein synthesis in the CA1 region of the dorsal hippocampus after retrieval of fear extinction impedes subsequent reactivation of the extinction memory trace without affecting its storage or that of the initial fear memory. Our results suggest that extinction memory is susceptible to a retrieval-induced process similar to reconsolidation in the hippocampus.

  4. The ventromedial hypothalamus mediates predator fear memory.

    PubMed

    Silva, Bianca A; Mattucci, Camilla; Krzywkowski, Piotr; Cuozzo, Rachel; Carbonari, Laura; Gross, Cornelius T

    2016-06-01

    The amygdala has been shown to be essential for the processing of acute and learned fear across animal species. However, the downstream neural circuits that mediate these fear responses differ according to the nature of the threat, with separate pathways having been identified for predator, conspecific and physically harmful threats. In particular, the dorsomedial part of the ventromedial hypothalamus (VHMdm) is critical for the expression of defensive responses to predators. Here, we tested the hypothesis that this circuit also participates in predator fear memory by transient pharmacogenetic inhibition of the VMHdm and its downstream effector, the dorsal periaqueductal grey, during predator fear learning in the mouse. Our data demonstrate that neural activity in the VMHdm is required for both the acquisition and recall of predator fear memory, whereas that of its downstream effector, the dorsal periaqueductal grey, is required only for the acute expression of fear. These findings are consistent with a role for the medial hypothalamus in encoding an internal emotional state of fear. PMID:26991018

  5. [GABA-Receptors in Modulation of Fear Memory Extinction].

    PubMed

    Dubrovina, N I

    2016-01-01

    GABA is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system determining the efficacy of neuronal interaction. GABA-receptors play a key role in different aspects of fear memory--acquisition and consolidation, retention, reconsolidation and extinction. Extinction is an important behavioural phenomenon which allows organism to adapt its behavior to a changing environment. Extinction of fear memory is a form of new inhibitory learning which interferes with expression of the initial acquired fear conditioning. Resistance to extinction is symptom of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. The aim of the present review was to summarize own and literary data about GABAergic modulation of fear extinction and pharmacological correction of extinction impairment at influences on GABA(A)- and GABA(B)- receptors. PMID:27538279

  6. Neural and Cellular Mechanisms of Fear and Extinction Memory Formation

    PubMed Central

    Orsini, Caitlin A.; Maren, Stephen

    2012-01-01

    Over the course of natural history, countless animal species have evolved adaptive behavioral systems to cope with dangerous situations and promote survival. Emotional memories are central to these defense systems because they are rapidly acquired and prepare organisms for future threat. Unfortunately, the persistence and intrusion of memories of fearful experiences are quite common and can lead to pathogenic conditions, such as anxiety and phobias. Over the course of the last thirty years, neuroscientists and psychologists alike have attempted to understand the mechanisms by which the brain encodes and maintains these aversive memories. Of equal interest, though, is the neurobiology of extinction memory formation as this may shape current therapeutic techniques. Here we review the extant literature on the neurobiology of fear and extinction memory formation, with a strong focus on the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying these processes. PMID:22230704

  7. Tracking the Fear Memory Engram: Discrete Populations of Neurons within Amygdala, Hypothalamus, and Lateral Septum Are Specifically Activated by Auditory Fear Conditioning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Butler, Christopher W.; Wilson, Yvette M.; Gunnersen, Jenny M.; Murphy, Mark

    2015-01-01

    Memory formation is thought to occur via enhanced synaptic connectivity between populations of neurons in the brain. However, it has been difficult to localize and identify the neurons that are directly involved in the formation of any specific memory. We have previously used "fos-tau-lacZ" ("FTL") transgenic mice to identify…

  8. Identification and Characterization of the V(D)J Recombination Activating Gene 1 in Long-Term Memory of Context Fear Conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Castro-Pérez, Edgardo; Soto-Soto, Emilio; Pérez-Carambot, Marizabeth; Dionisio-Santos, Dawling; Saied-Santiago, Kristian; Ortiz-Zuazaga, Humberto G.; Peña de Ortiz, Sandra

    2016-01-01

    An increasing body of evidence suggests that mechanisms related to the introduction and repair of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) may be associated with long-term memory (LTM) processes. Previous studies from our group suggested that factors known to function in DNA recombination/repair machineries, such as DNA ligases, polymerases, and DNA endonucleases, play a role in LTM. Here we report data using C57BL/6 mice showing that the V(D)J recombination-activating gene 1 (RAG1), which encodes a factor that introduces DSBs in immunoglobulin and T-cell receptor genes, is induced in the amygdala, but not in the hippocampus, after context fear conditioning. Amygdalar induction of RAG1 mRNA, measured by real-time PCR, was not observed in context-only or shock-only controls, suggesting that the context fear conditioning response is related to associative learning processes. Furthermore, double immunofluorescence studies demonstrated the neuronal localization of RAG1 protein in amygdalar sections prepared after perfusion and fixation. In functional studies, intra-amygdalar injections of RAG1 gapmer antisense oligonucleotides, given 1 h prior to conditioning, resulted in amygdalar knockdown of RAG1 mRNA and a significant impairment in LTM, tested 24 h after training. Overall, these findings suggest that the V(D)J recombination-activating gene 1, RAG1, may play a role in LTM consolidation. PMID:26843989

  9. Effects of transient global ischaemia on freezing behaviour and activity in a context-dependent fear conditioning task--implications for memory investigations.

    PubMed

    Henrich-Noack, Petra; Krautwald, Karla; Reymann, Klaus G; Wetzel, Wolfram

    2011-07-15

    Transient global ischaemia induces cell death in the CA1 layer of the hippocampus. To evaluate the functional consequences, we performed context-dependent fear conditioning. Ischaemia was induced by 2-vessel-occlusion (2VO) in gerbils. On day 6 post ischaemia or sham procedures (in control group) gerbils were placed in a test chamber and after 3 min adaption time exposed to foot-shocks (training session). On the next day the animals were placed in the same test chamber without foot-shocks (test session). As a parameter for memory performance we used the standard method of measuring the total freezing time via a cumulative time-sampling procedure during the test session. We found a significant longer total freezing time in control animals than in ischaemic animals. In addition, however, we applied a more detailed analysis of (i) quantifying the number of freezing bouts, (ii) the average duration of single freezing bouts, (iii) the activity pattern during the training and test situation and (iv) we differentially evaluated all the single time segments of the experiment. These analyses revealed that although maintenance of freezing (duration of freezing bout) was significantly lower in ischaemic animals compared to controls, the initiation of freezing (number of freezing bouts) was not significantly different between the two groups during the test session. The activity scores of ischaemic and non-ischaemic gerbils were similar during the adaption time of the training session. The foot-shock, however, induced a significantly different pattern of behaviour in the ischaemic animals, which was selectively reproduced during the test session. In conclusion, ischaemic gerbils reacted to a fearsome thread with a behavioural pattern different from unlesioned animals and they revealed this specific foot-shock induced behaviour again during the test session. This indicated that CA1 hippocampal death did not interrupt memory performance but changed expression of fear. Therefore

  10. Effects of transient global ischaemia on freezing behaviour and activity in a context-dependent fear conditioning task--implications for memory investigations.

    PubMed

    Henrich-Noack, Petra; Krautwald, Karla; Reymann, Klaus G; Wetzel, Wolfram

    2011-07-15

    Transient global ischaemia induces cell death in the CA1 layer of the hippocampus. To evaluate the functional consequences, we performed context-dependent fear conditioning. Ischaemia was induced by 2-vessel-occlusion (2VO) in gerbils. On day 6 post ischaemia or sham procedures (in control group) gerbils were placed in a test chamber and after 3 min adaption time exposed to foot-shocks (training session). On the next day the animals were placed in the same test chamber without foot-shocks (test session). As a parameter for memory performance we used the standard method of measuring the total freezing time via a cumulative time-sampling procedure during the test session. We found a significant longer total freezing time in control animals than in ischaemic animals. In addition, however, we applied a more detailed analysis of (i) quantifying the number of freezing bouts, (ii) the average duration of single freezing bouts, (iii) the activity pattern during the training and test situation and (iv) we differentially evaluated all the single time segments of the experiment. These analyses revealed that although maintenance of freezing (duration of freezing bout) was significantly lower in ischaemic animals compared to controls, the initiation of freezing (number of freezing bouts) was not significantly different between the two groups during the test session. The activity scores of ischaemic and non-ischaemic gerbils were similar during the adaption time of the training session. The foot-shock, however, induced a significantly different pattern of behaviour in the ischaemic animals, which was selectively reproduced during the test session. In conclusion, ischaemic gerbils reacted to a fearsome thread with a behavioural pattern different from unlesioned animals and they revealed this specific foot-shock induced behaviour again during the test session. This indicated that CA1 hippocampal death did not interrupt memory performance but changed expression of fear. Therefore

  11. Cannabinoid facilitation of fear extinction memory recall in humans

    PubMed Central

    Rabinak, Christine A.; Angstadt, Mike; Sripada, Chandra S.; Abelson, James L.; Liberzon, Israel; Milad, Mohammed R.; Phan, K. Luan

    2012-01-01

    A first-line approach to treat anxiety disorders is exposure-based therapy, which relies on extinction processes such as repeatedly exposing the patient to stimuli (conditioned stimuli; CS) associated with the traumatic, fear-related memory. However, a significant number of patients fail to maintain their gains, partly attributed to the fact that this inhibitory learning and its maintenance is temporary and conditioned fear responses can return. Animal studies have shown that activation of the cannabinoid system during extinction learning enhances fear extinction and its retention. Specifically, CB1 receptor agonists, such as Δ9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC), can facilitate extinction recall by preventing recovery of extinguished fear in rats. However, this phenomenon has not been investigated in humans. We conducted a study using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, between-subjects design, coupling a standard Pavlovian fear extinction paradigm and simultaneous skin conductance response (SCR) recording with an acute pharmacological challenge with oral dronabinol (synthetic THC) or placebo (PBO) 2 hours prior to extinction learning in 29 healthy adult volunteers (THC = 14; PBO = 15) and tested extinction retention 24 hours after extinction learning. Compared to subjects that received PBO, subjects that received THC showed low SCR to a previously extinguished CS when extinction memory recall was tested 24 hours after extinction learning, suggesting that THC prevented the recovery of fear. These results provide the first evidence that pharmacological enhancement of extinction learning is feasible in humans using cannabinoid system modulators, which may thus warrant further development and clinical testing. PMID:22796109

  12. Natural amyloid-β oligomers acutely impair the formation of a contextual fear memory in mice.

    PubMed

    Kittelberger, Kara A; Piazza, Fabrizio; Tesco, Giuseppina; Reijmers, Leon G

    2012-01-01

    Memory loss is one of the hallmark symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (AD). It has been proposed that soluble amyloid-beta (Abeta) oligomers acutely impair neuronal function and thereby memory. We here report that natural Abeta oligomers acutely impair contextual fear memory in mice. A natural Abeta oligomer solution containing Abeta monomers, dimers, trimers, and tetramers was derived from the conditioned medium of 7PA2 cells, a cell line that expresses human amyloid precursor protein containing the Val717Phe familial AD mutation. As a control we used 7PA2 conditioned medium from which Abeta oligomers were removed through immunodepletion. Separate groups of mice were injected with Abeta and control solutions through a cannula into the lateral brain ventricle, and subjected to fear conditioning using two tone-shock pairings. One day after fear conditioning, mice were tested for contextual fear memory and tone fear memory in separate retrieval trials. Three experiments were performed. For experiment 1, mice were injected three times: 1 hour before and 3 hours after fear conditioning, and 1 hour before context retrieval. For experiments 2 and 3, mice were injected a single time at 1 hour and 2 hours before fear conditioning respectively. In all three experiments there was no effect on tone fear memory. Injection of Abeta 1 hour before fear conditioning, but not 2 hours before fear conditioning, impaired the formation of a contextual fear memory. In future studies, the acute effect of natural Abeta oligomers on contextual fear memory can be used to identify potential mechanisms and treatments of AD associated memory loss.

  13. Adult-Onset Hypothyroidism Enhances Fear Memory and Upregulates Mineralocorticoid and Glucocorticoid Receptors in the Amygdala

    PubMed Central

    Montero-Pedrazuela, Ana; Fernández-Lamo, Iván; Alieva, María; Pereda-Pérez, Inmaculada; Venero, César; Guadaño-Ferraz, Ana

    2011-01-01

    Hypothyroidism is the most common hormonal disease in adults, which is frequently accompanied by learning and memory impairments and emotional disorders. However, the deleterious effects of thyroid hormones deficiency on emotional memory are poorly understood and often underestimated. To evaluate the consequences of hypothyroidism on emotional learning and memory, we have performed a classical Pavlovian fear conditioning paradigm in euthyroid and adult-thyroidectomized Wistar rats. In this experimental model, learning acquisition was not impaired, fear memory was enhanced, memory extinction was delayed and spontaneous recovery of fear memory was exacerbated in hypothyroid rats. The potentiation of emotional memory under hypothyroidism was associated with an increase of corticosterone release after fear conditioning and with higher expression of glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptors in the lateral and basolateral nuclei of the amygdala, nuclei that are critically involved in the circuitry of fear memory. Our results demonstrate for the first time that adult-onset hypothyroidism potentiates fear memory and also increases vulnerability to develop emotional memories. Furthermore, our findings suggest that enhanced corticosterone signaling in the amygdala is involved in the pathophysiological mechanisms of fear memory potentiation. Therefore, we recommend evaluating whether inappropriate regulation of fear in patients with post-traumatic stress and other mental disorders is associated with abnormal levels of thyroid hormones, especially those patients refractory to treatment. PMID:22039511

  14. The amygdala is critical for trace, delay, and contextual fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Kochli, Daniel E; Thompson, Elaine C; Fricke, Elizabeth A; Postle, Abagail F; Quinn, Jennifer J

    2015-02-01

    Numerous investigations have definitively shown amygdalar involvement in delay and contextual fear conditioning. However, much less is known about amygdala contributions to trace fear conditioning, and what little evidence exists is conflicting as noted in previous studies. This discrepancy may result from selective targeting of individual nuclei within the amygdala. The present experiments further examine the contributions of amygdalar subnuclei to trace, delay, and contextual fear conditioning. Rats were trained using a 10-trial trace, delay, or unpaired fear conditioning procedure. Pretraining lesions targeting the entire basolateral amygdala (BLA) resulted in a deficit in trace, delay, and contextual fear conditioning. Immediate post-training infusions of the protein synthesis inhibitor, cycloheximide, targeting the basal nucleus of the amygdala (BA) attenuated trace and contextual fear memory expression, but had no effect on delay fear conditioning. However, infusions targeting the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA) immediately following conditioning attenuated contextual fear memory expression, but had no effect on delay or trace fear conditioning. In follow-up experiments, rats were trained using a three-trial delay conditioning procedure. Immediate post-training infusions targeting the LA produced deficits in both delay tone and context fear, while infusions targeting the BA produced deficits in context but not delay tone fear. These data fully support a role for the BLA in trace, delay, and contextual fear memories. Specifically, these data suggest that the BA may be more critical for trace fear conditioning, whereas the LA may be more critical for delay fear memories.

  15. Electrolytic Lesions of the Medial Prefrontal Cortex Do Not Interfere with Long-Term Memory of Extinction of Conditioned Fear

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Garcia, Rene; Chang, Chun-hui; Maren, Stephen

    2006-01-01

    Lesion studies indicate that rats without the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) have difficulty recalling fear extinction acquired the previous day. Several electrophysiological studies have also supported this observation by demonstrating that extinction-related increases in neuronal activity in the mPFC participate in expression of fear…

  16. Novelty-Induced Arousal Enhances Memory for Cued Classical Fear Conditioning: Interactions between Peripheral Adrenergic and Brainstem Glutamatergic Systems

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    King, Stanley O., II; Williams, Cedric L.

    2009-01-01

    Exposure to novel contexts produce heightened states of arousal and biochemical changes in the brain to consolidate memory. However, processes permitting simple exposure to unfamiliar contexts to elevate sympathetic output and to improve memory are poorly understood. This shortcoming was addressed by examining how novelty-induced changes in…

  17. Human serotonin transporter availability predicts fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Åhs, Fredrik; Frick, Andreas; Furmark, Tomas; Fredrikson, Mats

    2015-12-01

    Serotonin facilitates fear learning in animals. We therefore predicted that individual differences in the capacity to regulate serotonergic transmission in the human neural fear circuit would be inversely related to fear conditioning. The capacity to regulate serotonergic transmission was indexed by serotonin transporter availability measured with [(11)C]-DASB positron emission tomography. Results indicate that lower serotonin transporter availability in the amygdala, insula and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex predicts enhanced conditioned autonomic fear responses. Our finding supports serotonergic modulation of fear conditioning in humans and may aid in understanding susceptibility for developing anxiety conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder. PMID:25498766

  18. Human serotonin transporter availability predicts fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Åhs, Fredrik; Frick, Andreas; Furmark, Tomas; Fredrikson, Mats

    2015-12-01

    Serotonin facilitates fear learning in animals. We therefore predicted that individual differences in the capacity to regulate serotonergic transmission in the human neural fear circuit would be inversely related to fear conditioning. The capacity to regulate serotonergic transmission was indexed by serotonin transporter availability measured with [(11)C]-DASB positron emission tomography. Results indicate that lower serotonin transporter availability in the amygdala, insula and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex predicts enhanced conditioned autonomic fear responses. Our finding supports serotonergic modulation of fear conditioning in humans and may aid in understanding susceptibility for developing anxiety conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

  19. False Context Fear Memory in Rats

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bae, Sarah; Holmes, Nathan M.; Westbrook, R. Frederick

    2015-01-01

    Four experiments used rats to study false context fear memories. In Experiment 1, rats were pre-exposed to a distinctive chamber (context A) or to a control environment (context C), shocked after a delay in a second chamber (context B) and tested either in B or A. Rats pre-exposed to A froze just as much as control rats in B but more than control…

  20. Conditioned fear modulates visual selection.

    PubMed

    Mulckhuyse, Manon; Crombez, Geert; Van der Stigchel, Stefan

    2013-06-01

    Eye movements reflect the dynamic interplay between top-down- and bottom-up-driven processes. For example, when we voluntarily move our eyes across the visual field, salient visual stimuli in the environment may capture our attention, our eyes, or modulate the trajectory of an eye movement. Previous research has shown that the behavioral relevance of a salient stimulus modulates these processes. This study investigated whether a stimulus signaling an aversive event modulates saccadic behavior. Using a differential fear-conditioning procedure, we presented a threatening (conditional stimulus: CS+) and a nonthreatening stimulus distractor (CS-) during an oculomotor selection task. The results show that short-latency saccades deviated more strongly toward the CS+ than toward the CS- distractor, whereas long-latency saccades deviated more strongly away from the CS+ than from the CS- distractor. Moreover, the CS+ distractor captured the eyes more often than the CS- distractor. Together, these results demonstrate that conditioned fear has a direct and immediate influence on visual selection. The findings are interpreted in terms of a neurobiological model of emotional visual processing. PMID:23356561

  1. The role of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons in fear and extinction memory.

    PubMed

    Knox, Dayan

    2016-09-01

    Cholinergic input to the neocortex, dorsal hippocampus (dHipp), and basolateral amygdala (BLA) is critical for neural function and synaptic plasticity in these brain regions. Synaptic plasticity in the neocortex, dHipp, ventral Hipp (vHipp), and BLA has also been implicated in fear and extinction memory. This finding raises the possibility that basal forebrain (BF) cholinergic neurons, the predominant source of acetylcholine in these brain regions, have an important role in mediating fear and extinction memory. While empirical studies support this hypothesis, there are interesting inconsistencies among these studies that raise questions about how best to define the role of BF cholinergic neurons in fear and extinction memory. Nucleus basalis magnocellularis (NBM) cholinergic neurons that project to the BLA are critical for fear memory and contextual fear extinction memory. NBM cholinergic neurons that project to the neocortex are critical for cued and contextual fear conditioned suppression, but are not critical for fear memory in other behavioral paradigms and in the inhibitory avoidance paradigm may even inhibit contextual fear memory formation. Medial septum and diagonal band of Broca cholinergic neurons are critical for contextual fear memory and acquisition of cued fear extinction. Thus, even though the results of previous studies suggest BF cholinergic neurons modulate fear and extinction memory, inconsistent findings among these studies necessitates more research to better define the neural circuits and molecular processes through which BF cholinergic neurons modulate fear and extinction memory. Furthermore, studies determining if BF cholinergic neurons can be manipulated in such a manner so as to treat excessive fear in anxiety disorders are needed.

  2. The role of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons in fear and extinction memory.

    PubMed

    Knox, Dayan

    2016-09-01

    Cholinergic input to the neocortex, dorsal hippocampus (dHipp), and basolateral amygdala (BLA) is critical for neural function and synaptic plasticity in these brain regions. Synaptic plasticity in the neocortex, dHipp, ventral Hipp (vHipp), and BLA has also been implicated in fear and extinction memory. This finding raises the possibility that basal forebrain (BF) cholinergic neurons, the predominant source of acetylcholine in these brain regions, have an important role in mediating fear and extinction memory. While empirical studies support this hypothesis, there are interesting inconsistencies among these studies that raise questions about how best to define the role of BF cholinergic neurons in fear and extinction memory. Nucleus basalis magnocellularis (NBM) cholinergic neurons that project to the BLA are critical for fear memory and contextual fear extinction memory. NBM cholinergic neurons that project to the neocortex are critical for cued and contextual fear conditioned suppression, but are not critical for fear memory in other behavioral paradigms and in the inhibitory avoidance paradigm may even inhibit contextual fear memory formation. Medial septum and diagonal band of Broca cholinergic neurons are critical for contextual fear memory and acquisition of cued fear extinction. Thus, even though the results of previous studies suggest BF cholinergic neurons modulate fear and extinction memory, inconsistent findings among these studies necessitates more research to better define the neural circuits and molecular processes through which BF cholinergic neurons modulate fear and extinction memory. Furthermore, studies determining if BF cholinergic neurons can be manipulated in such a manner so as to treat excessive fear in anxiety disorders are needed. PMID:27264248

  3. Fear conditioning to subliminal fear relevant and non fear relevant stimuli.

    PubMed

    Lipp, Ottmar V; Kempnich, Clare; Jee, Sang Hoon; Arnold, Derek H

    2014-01-01

    A growing body of evidence suggests that conscious visual awareness is not a prerequisite for human fear learning. For instance, humans can learn to be fearful of subliminal fear relevant images--images depicting stimuli thought to have been fear relevant in our evolutionary context, such as snakes, spiders, and angry human faces. Such stimuli could have a privileged status in relation to manipulations used to suppress usually salient images from awareness, possibly due to the existence of a designated sub-cortical 'fear module'. Here we assess this proposition, and find it wanting. We use binocular masking to suppress awareness of images of snakes and wallabies (particularly cute, non-threatening marsupials). We find that subliminal presentations of both classes of image can induce differential fear conditioning. These data show that learning, as indexed by fear conditioning, is neither contingent on conscious visual awareness nor on subliminal conditional stimuli being fear relevant.

  4. Fear conditioning to subliminal fear relevant and non fear relevant stimuli.

    PubMed

    Lipp, Ottmar V; Kempnich, Clare; Jee, Sang Hoon; Arnold, Derek H

    2014-01-01

    A growing body of evidence suggests that conscious visual awareness is not a prerequisite for human fear learning. For instance, humans can learn to be fearful of subliminal fear relevant images--images depicting stimuli thought to have been fear relevant in our evolutionary context, such as snakes, spiders, and angry human faces. Such stimuli could have a privileged status in relation to manipulations used to suppress usually salient images from awareness, possibly due to the existence of a designated sub-cortical 'fear module'. Here we assess this proposition, and find it wanting. We use binocular masking to suppress awareness of images of snakes and wallabies (particularly cute, non-threatening marsupials). We find that subliminal presentations of both classes of image can induce differential fear conditioning. These data show that learning, as indexed by fear conditioning, is neither contingent on conscious visual awareness nor on subliminal conditional stimuli being fear relevant. PMID:25198514

  5. Forming competing fear learning and extinction memories in adolescence makes fear difficult to inhibit.

    PubMed

    Baker, Kathryn D; Richardson, Rick

    2015-11-01

    Fear inhibition is markedly impaired in adolescent rodents and humans. The present experiments investigated whether this impairment is critically determined by the animal's age at the time of fear learning or their age at fear extinction. Male rats (n = 170) were tested for extinction retention after conditioning and extinction at different ages. We examined neural correlates of impaired extinction retention by detection of phosphorylated mitogen-activated protein kinase immunoreactivity (pMAPK-IR) in several brain regions. Unexpectedly, adolescent rats exhibited good extinction retention if fear was acquired before adolescence. Further, fear acquired in adolescence could be successfully extinguished in adulthood but not within adolescence. Adolescent rats did not show extinction-induced increases in pMAPK-IR in the medial prefrontal cortex or the basolateral amygdala, or a pattern of reduced caudal central amygdala pMAPK-IR, as was observed in juveniles. This dampened prefrontal and basolateral amygdala MAPK activation following extinction in adolescence occurred even when there was no impairment in extinction retention. In contrast, only adolescent animals that exhibited impaired extinction retention showed elevated pMAPK-IR in the posterior paraventricular thalamus. These data suggest that neither the animal's age at the time of fear acquisition or extinction determines whether impaired extinction retention is exhibited. Rather, it appears that forming competing fear conditioning and extinction memories in adolescence renders this a vulnerable developmental period in which fear is difficult to inhibit. Furthermore, even under conditions that promote good extinction, the neural correlates of extinction in adolescence are different than those recruited in animals of other ages. PMID:26472643

  6. Forming competing fear learning and extinction memories in adolescence makes fear difficult to inhibit.

    PubMed

    Baker, Kathryn D; Richardson, Rick

    2015-11-01

    Fear inhibition is markedly impaired in adolescent rodents and humans. The present experiments investigated whether this impairment is critically determined by the animal's age at the time of fear learning or their age at fear extinction. Male rats (n = 170) were tested for extinction retention after conditioning and extinction at different ages. We examined neural correlates of impaired extinction retention by detection of phosphorylated mitogen-activated protein kinase immunoreactivity (pMAPK-IR) in several brain regions. Unexpectedly, adolescent rats exhibited good extinction retention if fear was acquired before adolescence. Further, fear acquired in adolescence could be successfully extinguished in adulthood but not within adolescence. Adolescent rats did not show extinction-induced increases in pMAPK-IR in the medial prefrontal cortex or the basolateral amygdala, or a pattern of reduced caudal central amygdala pMAPK-IR, as was observed in juveniles. This dampened prefrontal and basolateral amygdala MAPK activation following extinction in adolescence occurred even when there was no impairment in extinction retention. In contrast, only adolescent animals that exhibited impaired extinction retention showed elevated pMAPK-IR in the posterior paraventricular thalamus. These data suggest that neither the animal's age at the time of fear acquisition or extinction determines whether impaired extinction retention is exhibited. Rather, it appears that forming competing fear conditioning and extinction memories in adolescence renders this a vulnerable developmental period in which fear is difficult to inhibit. Furthermore, even under conditions that promote good extinction, the neural correlates of extinction in adolescence are different than those recruited in animals of other ages.

  7. Sound tuning of amygdala plasticity in auditory fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Park, Sungmo; Lee, Junuk; Park, Kyungjoon; Kim, Jeongyeon; Song, Beomjong; Hong, Ingie; Kim, Jieun; Lee, Sukwon; Choi, Sukwoo

    2016-01-01

    Various auditory tones have been used as conditioned stimuli (CS) for fear conditioning, but researchers have largely neglected the effect that different types of auditory tones may have on fear memory processing. Here, we report that at lateral amygdala (LA) synapses (a storage site for fear memory), conditioning with different types of auditory CSs (2.8 kHz tone, white noise, FM tone) recruits distinct forms of long-term potentiation (LTP) and inserts calcium permeable AMPA receptor (CP-AMPAR) for variable periods. White noise or FM tone conditioning produced brief insertion (<6 hr after conditioning) of CP-AMPARs, whereas 2.8 kHz tone conditioning induced more persistent insertion (≥6 hr). Consistently, conditioned fear to 2.8 kHz tone but not to white noise or FM tones was erased by reconsolidation-update (which depends on the insertion of CP-AMPARs at LA synapses) when it was performed 6 hr after conditioning. Our data suggest that conditioning with different auditory CSs recruits distinct forms of LA synaptic plasticity, resulting in more malleable fear memory to some tones than to others. PMID:27488731

  8. Sound tuning of amygdala plasticity in auditory fear conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Park, Sungmo; Lee, Junuk; Park, Kyungjoon; Kim, Jeongyeon; Song, Beomjong; Hong, Ingie; Kim, Jieun; Lee, Sukwon; Choi, Sukwoo

    2016-01-01

    Various auditory tones have been used as conditioned stimuli (CS) for fear conditioning, but researchers have largely neglected the effect that different types of auditory tones may have on fear memory processing. Here, we report that at lateral amygdala (LA) synapses (a storage site for fear memory), conditioning with different types of auditory CSs (2.8 kHz tone, white noise, FM tone) recruits distinct forms of long-term potentiation (LTP) and inserts calcium permeable AMPA receptor (CP-AMPAR) for variable periods. White noise or FM tone conditioning produced brief insertion (<6 hr after conditioning) of CP-AMPARs, whereas 2.8 kHz tone conditioning induced more persistent insertion (≥6 hr). Consistently, conditioned fear to 2.8 kHz tone but not to white noise or FM tones was erased by reconsolidation-update (which depends on the insertion of CP-AMPARs at LA synapses) when it was performed 6 hr after conditioning. Our data suggest that conditioning with different auditory CSs recruits distinct forms of LA synaptic plasticity, resulting in more malleable fear memory to some tones than to others. PMID:27488731

  9. Stability of Recent and Remote Contextual Fear Memory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Frankland, Paul W.; Ding, Hoi-Ki; Takahashi, Eiki; Suzuki, Akinobu; Kida, Satoshi; Silva, Alcino J.

    2006-01-01

    Following initial encoding, memories undergo a prolonged period of reorganization. While such reorganization may occur in many different memory systems, its purpose is not clear. Previously, we have shown that recall of recent contextual fear memories engages the dorsal hippocampus (dHPC). In contrast, recall of remote contextual fear memories…

  10. Fear Extinction Memory Consolidation Requires Potentiation of Pontine-Wave Activity during REM Sleep

    PubMed Central

    Datta, Subimal; O'Malley, Matthew W .

    2013-01-01

    Sleep plays an important role in memory consolidation within multiple memory systems including contextual fear extinction memory, but little is known about the mechanisms that underlie this process. Here, we show that fear extinction training in rats, which extinguished conditioned fear, increased both slow-wave sleep and rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep. Surprisingly, 24 h later, during memory testing, only 57% of the fear-extinguished animals retained fear extinction memory. We found that these animals exhibited an increase in phasic pontine-wave (P-wave) activity during post-training REM sleep, which was absent in the 43% of animals that failed to retain fear extinction memory. The results of this study provide evidence that brainstem activation, specifically potentiation of phasic P-wave activity, during post-training REM sleep is critical for consolidation of fear extinction memory. The results of this study also suggest that, contrary to the popular hypothesis of sleep and memory, increased sleep after training alone does not guarantee consolidation and/or retention of fear extinction memory. Rather, the potentiation of specific sleep-dependent physiological events may be a more accurate predictor for successful consolidation of fear extinction memory. Identification of this unique mechanism will significantly improve our present understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie the sleep-dependent regulation of emotional memory. Additionally, this discovery may also initiate development of a new, more targeted treatment method for clinical disorders of fear and anxiety in humans that is more efficacious than existing methods such as exposure therapy that incorporate only fear extinction. PMID:23467372

  11. Hippocampal--prefrontal BDNF and memory for fear extinction.

    PubMed

    Rosas-Vidal, Luis E; Do-Monte, Fabricio H; Sotres-Bayon, Francisco; Quirk, Gregory J

    2014-08-01

    Infusing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) into the infralimbic (IL) prefrontal cortex is capable of inducing extinction. Little is known, however, about the circuits mediating BDNF effects on extinction or the extent to which extinction requires BDNF in IL. Using local pharmacological infusion of BDNF protein, or an antibody against BDNF, we found that BDNF in the IL, but not prelimbic (PL) prefrontal cortex, is both necessary and sufficient for fear extinction. Furthermore, we report that BDNF in IL can induce extinction of older fear memories (14 days) as well as recent fear memories (1 day). Using immunocytochemistry, we show that BDNF is increased in the ventral hippocampus (vHPC), but not IL or PL, following extinction training. Finally, we observed that infusing BDNF into the vHPC increased the firing rate of IL, but not PL neurons in fear conditioned rats. These findings indicate that an extinction-induced increase in BDNF within the vHPC enhances excitability in IL targets, thereby supporting extinction memories.

  12. Updating versus Exposure to Prevent Consolidation of Conditioned Fear.

    PubMed

    Pile, Victoria; Barnhofer, Thorsten; Wild, Jennifer

    2015-01-01

    Targeting the consolidation of fear memories following trauma may offer a promising method for preventing the development of flashbacks and other unwanted re-experiencing symptoms that characterise Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Research has demonstrated that performing visuo-spatial tasks after analogue trauma can block the consolidation of fear memory and reduce the frequency of flashbacks. However, no research has yet used verbal techniques to alter memories during the consolidation window. This is surprising given that the most effective treatments for PTSD are verbally-based with exposure therapy and trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy gaining the most evidence of efficacy. Psychological therapies aim to reduce the conditioned fear response, which is in keeping with the preliminary finding that an increased propensity for fear conditioning may be a vulnerability factor for PTSD. Our research had two aims. We investigated the degree to which individual differences in fear conditioning predict the development of PTSD symptoms. We also compared the preventative effects of two clinically informed psychological techniques administered during the consolidation window: exposure to the trauma memory and updating the meaning of the trauma. 115 healthy participants underwent a fear conditioning paradigm in which traumatic film stimuli (unconditioned stimuli) were paired with neutral stimuli (conditioned stimuli). Participants were randomly allocated to an updating, exposure or control group to compare the effects on the conditioned fear response and on PTSD symptomatology. The results showed that stronger conditioned responses at acquisition significantly predicted the development of PTSD symptoms. The updating group, who verbally devalued the unconditioned stimulus within the consolidation window, experienced significantly lower levels of PTSD symptoms during follow-up than the exposure and control groups. These findings are consistent with clinical

  13. Reactivation of fear memory renders consolidated amygdala synapses labile.

    PubMed

    Kim, Jeongyeon; Song, Beomjong; Hong, Ingie; Kim, Jihye; Lee, Junuk; Park, Sungmo; Eom, Jae Yong; Lee, C Justin; Lee, Sukwon; Choi, Sukwoo

    2010-07-14

    It is believed that memory reactivation transiently renders consolidated memory labile and that this labile or deconsolidated memory is reconsolidated in a protein synthesis-dependent manner. The synaptic correlate of memory deconsolidation upon reactivation, however, has not been fully characterized. Here, we show that 3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine (DHPG), an agonist for group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRI), induces synaptic depotentiation only at thalamic input synapses onto the lateral amygdala (T-LA synapses) where synaptic potentiation is consolidated, but not at synapses where synaptic potentiation is not consolidated. Using this mGluRI-induced synaptic depotentiation (mGluRI-depotentiation) as a marker of consolidated synapses, we found that mGluRI-depotentiation correlated well with the state of memory deconsolidation and reconsolidation in a predictable manner. DHPG failed to induce mGluRI-depotentiation in slices prepared immediately after reactivation when the reactivated memory was deconsolidated. DHPG induced mGluRI-depotentiation 1 h after reactivation when the reactivated memory was reconsolidated, but it failed to do so when reconsolidation was blocked by a protein synthesis inhibitor. To test the memory-specificity of mGluRI-depotentiation, conditioned fear was acquired twice using two discriminative tones (2.8 and 20 kHz). Under this condition, mGluRI-depotentiation was fully impaired in slices prepared immediately after reactivation with both tones, whereas mGluRI-depotentiation was partially impaired immediately after reactivation with the 20 kHz tone. Consistently, microinjection of DHPG into the LA 1 h after reactivation reduced fear memory retention, whereas DHPG injection immediately after reactivation failed to do so. Our findings suggest that, upon memory reactivation, consolidated T-LA synapses enter a temporary labile state, displaying insensitivity to mGluRI-depotentiation.

  14. Adrenergic Transmission Facilitates Extinction of Conditional Fear in Mice

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Barad, Mark; Cain, Christopher K.; Blouin, Ashley M.

    2004-01-01

    Extinction of classically conditioned fear, like its acquisition, is active learning, but little is known about its molecular mechanisms. We recently reported that temporal massing of conditional stimulus (CS) presentations improves extinction memory acquisition, and suggested that temporal spacing was less effective because individual CS…

  15. Transcranial direct current stimulation of the prefrontal cortex: a means to modulate fear memories.

    PubMed

    Mungee, Aditya; Kazzer, Philipp; Feeser, Melanie; Nitsche, Michael A; Schiller, Daniela; Bajbouj, Malek

    2014-05-01

    Targeting memory processes by noninvasive interventions is a potential gateway to modulate fear memories as shown by animal and human studies in recent years. Modulation of fear memories by noninvasive brain stimulation techniques might be an attractive approach, which, however, has not been examined so far. We investigated the effect of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) applied to the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and left supraorbital region on fear memories in humans. Seventy-four young, healthy individuals were assigned randomly to two groups, which underwent fear conditioning with mild electric stimuli paired with a visual stimulus. Twenty-four hours later, both groups were shown a reminder of the conditioned fearful stimulus. Shortly thereafter, they received either tDCS (right prefrontal--anodal, left supraorbital--cathodal) for 20 min at 1 mA current intensity or sham stimulation. A day later, fear responses of both groups were compared by monitoring skin conductance. On day 3, during fear response assessment, the tDCS group had a significantly (P<0.05) higher mean skin conductance in comparison with the sham group. These results suggest that tDCS (right prefrontal--anodal, left supraorbital--cathodal) enhanced fear memories, possibly by influencing the prefrontal cortex-amygdala circuit underlying the memory for fear.

  16. An "egr-1" ("zif268") Antisense Oligodeoxynucleotide Infused into the Amygdala Disrupts Fear Conditioning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Donley, Melanie P.; Rosen, Jeffrey B.; Malkani, Seema; Wallace, Karin J.

    2004-01-01

    Studies of gene expression following fear conditioning have demonstrated that the inducible transcription factor, "egr-1," is increased in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala shortly following fear conditioning. These studies suggest that "egr-1" and its protein product Egr-1 in the amygdala are important for learning and memory of fear. To…

  17. Controlled cortical impact before or after fear conditioning does not affect fear extinction in mice

    PubMed Central

    Sierra-Mercado, Demetrio; McAllister, Lauren M.; Lee, Christopher C.H.; Milad, Mohammed R.; Eskandar, Emad N.; Whalen, Michael J.

    2015-01-01

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized in part by impaired extinction of conditioned fear. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is thought to be a risk factor for development of PTSD. We tested the hypothesis that controlled cortical impact (CCI) would impair extinction of fear learned by Pavlovian conditioning, in mice. To mimic the scenarios in which TBI occurs prior to or after exposure to an aversive event, severe CCI was delivered to the left parietal cortex at one of two time points: (1) Prior to fear conditioning, or (2) after conditioning. Delay auditory conditioning was achieved by pairing a tone with a foot shock in “context A”. Extinction training involved the presentation of tones in a different context (context B) in the absence of foot shock. Test for extinction memory was achieved by presentation of additional tones alone in context B over the following two days. In pre- or post-injury paradigms, CCI did not influence fear learning and extinction. Furthermore, CCI did not affect locomotor activity or elevated plus maze testing. Our results demonstrate that, within the time frame studied, CCI does not impair the acquisition and expression of conditioned fear or extinction memory. PMID:25721797

  18. Controlled cortical impact before or after fear conditioning does not affect fear extinction in mice.

    PubMed

    Sierra-Mercado, Demetrio; McAllister, Lauren M; Lee, Christopher C H; Milad, Mohammed R; Eskandar, Emad N; Whalen, Michael J

    2015-05-01

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized in part by impaired extinction of conditioned fear. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is thought to be a risk factor for development of PTSD. We tested the hypothesis that controlled cortical impact (CCI) would impair extinction of fear learned by Pavlovian conditioning, in mice. To mimic the scenarios in which TBI occurs prior to or after exposure to an aversive event, severe CCI was delivered to the left parietal cortex at one of two time points: (1) Prior to fear conditioning, or (2) after conditioning. Delay auditory conditioning was achieved by pairing a tone with a foot shock in "context A". Extinction training involved the presentation of tones in a different context (context B) in the absence of foot shock. Test for extinction memory was achieved by presentation of additional tones alone in context B over the following two days. In pre- or post-injury paradigms, CCI did not influence fear learning and extinction. Furthermore, CCI did not affect locomotor activity or elevated plus maze testing. Our results demonstrate that, within the time frame studied, CCI does not impair the acquisition and expression of conditioned fear or extinction memory.

  19. Cannabinoid facilitation of fear extinction memory recall in humans.

    PubMed

    Rabinak, Christine A; Angstadt, Mike; Sripada, Chandra S; Abelson, James L; Liberzon, Israel; Milad, Mohammed R; Phan, K Luan

    2013-01-01

    A first-line approach to treat anxiety disorders is exposure-based therapy, which relies on extinction processes such as repeatedly exposing the patient to stimuli (conditioned stimuli; CS) associated with the traumatic, fear-related memory. However, a significant number of patients fail to maintain their gains, partly attributed to the fact that this inhibitory learning and its maintenance is temporary and conditioned fear responses can return. Animal studies have shown that activation of the cannabinoid system during extinction learning enhances fear extinction and its retention. Specifically, CB1 receptor agonists, such as Δ9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC), can facilitate extinction recall by preventing recovery of extinguished fear in rats. However, this phenomenon has not been investigated in humans. We conducted a study using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, between-subjects design, coupling a standard Pavlovian fear extinction paradigm and simultaneous skin conductance response (SCR) recording with an acute pharmacological challenge with oral dronabinol (synthetic THC) or placebo (PBO) 2 h prior to extinction learning in 29 healthy adult volunteers (THC = 14; PBO = 15) and tested extinction retention 24 h after extinction learning. Compared to subjects that received PBO, subjects that received THC showed low SCR to a previously extinguished CS when extinction memory recall was tested 24 h after extinction learning, suggesting that THC prevented the recovery of fear. These results provide the first evidence that pharmacological enhancement of extinction learning is feasible in humans using cannabinoid system modulators, which may thus warrant further development and clinical testing. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Cognitive Enhancers'. PMID:22796109

  20. Impairment of fear memory consolidation and expression by antihistamines.

    PubMed

    Nonaka, Ayako; Masuda, Fumitaka; Nomura, Hiroshi; Matsuki, Norio

    2013-02-01

    Antihistamines are widely used to treat allergy symptoms. First-generation antihistamines have adverse effects on the central nervous system (CNS), such as hypnotic and amnesic effects, whereas second-generation antihistamines have poor brain penetration, and therefore, have fewer CNS-related adverse effects. Memory consists of several phases, including acquisition, consolidation, expression, and extinction. It remains unclear whether these phases are affected by antihistamines. We investigated the effects of diphenhydramine, a first-generation antihistamine, and levocetirizine and olopatadine, second-generation antihistamines, on memory phases. Mice were subjected to fear conditioning on day 1 and tested on day 2. Antihistamines were administered before conditioning, immediately after conditioning, or before the test session. Diphenhydramine (30mg/kg) decreased freezing time when administered immediately after conditioning or before the test session. These effects were not attributable to a change in locomotor activity. Levocetirizine (0.1, 1, 10mg/kg) and olopatadine (1, 10, 20mg/kg) had no effects on conditioned fear. We also examined the effect of diphenhydramine and levocetirizine on the expression of an activity-dependent gene associated with the test session. Diphenhydramine, but not levocetirizine, increased Arc transcription in the central nucleus of the amygdala. These data indicate that diphenhydramine, but not levocetirizine or olopatadine, impairs the consolidation and expression of conditioned fear. PMID:23178698

  1. Impact of Life History on Fear Memory and Extinction

    PubMed Central

    Remmes, Jasmin; Bodden, Carina; Richter, S. Helene; Lesting, Jörg; Sachser, Norbert; Pape, Hans-Christian; Seidenbecher, Thomas

    2016-01-01

    Behavioral profiles are strongly shaped by an individual's whole life experience. The accumulation of negative experiences over lifetime is thought to promote anxiety-like behavior in adulthood (“allostatic load hypothesis”). In contrast, the “mismatch hypothesis” of psychiatric disease suggests that high levels of anxiety-like behavior are the result of a discrepancy between early and late environment. The aim of the present study was to investigate how different life histories shape the expression of anxiety-like behavior and modulate fear memory. In addition, we aimed to clarify which of the two hypotheses can better explain the modulation of anxiety and fear. For this purpose, male mice grew up under either adverse or beneficial conditions during early phase of life. In adulthood they were further subdivided in groups that either matched or mismatched the condition experienced before, resulting in four different life histories. The main results were: (i) Early life benefit followed by late life adversity caused decreased levels of anxiety-like behavior. (ii) Accumulation of adversity throughout life history led to impaired fear extinction learning. Late life adversity as compared to late life benefit mainly affected extinction training, while early life adversity as compared to early life benefit interfered with extinction recall. Concerning anxiety-like behavior, the results do neither support the allostatic load nor the mismatch hypothesis, but rather indicate an anxiolytic effect of a mismatched early beneficial and later adverse life history. In contrast, fear memory was strongly affected by the accumulation of adverse experiences over the lifetime, therefore supporting allostatic load hypothesis. In summary, this study highlights that anxiety-like behavior and fear memory are differently affected by specific combinations of adverse or beneficial events experienced throughout life. PMID:27757077

  2. Reconsolidation in a human fear conditioning study: a test of extinction as updating mechanism.

    PubMed

    Kindt, Merel; Soeter, Marieke

    2013-01-01

    Disrupting reconsolidation seems to be a promising approach to dampen the expression of fear memory. Recently, we demonstrated that disrupting reconsolidation by a pharmacological manipulation specifically targeted the emotional expression of memory (i.e., startle response). Here we test in a human differential fear-conditioning paradigm with fear-relevant stimuli whether the spacing of a single unreinforced retrieval trial relative to extinction learning allows for "rewriting" the original fear association, thereby preventing the return of fear. In contrast to previous findings reported by Schiller et al. (2010), who used a single-method for indexing fear (skin conductance response) and fear-irrelevant stimuli, we found that extinction learning within the reconsolidation window did not prevent the recovery of fear on multiple indices of conditioned responding (startle response, skin conductance response and US-expectancy). These conflicting results ask for further critical testing given the potential impact on the field of emotional memory and its application to clinical practice.

  3. Adrenal-dependent diurnal modulation of conditioned fear extinction learning.

    PubMed

    Woodruff, Elizabeth R; Greenwood, Benjamin N; Chun, Lauren E; Fardi, Sara; Hinds, Laura R; Spencer, Robert L

    2015-06-01

    Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with altered conditioned fear extinction expression and impaired circadian function including dysregulation of glucocorticoid hormone secretion. We examined in adult male rats the relationship between conditioned fear extinction learning, circadian phase, and endogenous glucocorticoids (CORT). Rats maintained on a 12h light:dark cycle were trained and tested across 3 separate daily sessions (conditioned fear acquisition and 2 extinction sessions) that were administered during either the rats' active or inactive circadian phase. In an initial experiment we found that rats at both circadian phases acquired and extinguished auditory cue conditioned fear to a similar degree in the first extinction session. However, rats trained and tested at zeitgeber time-16 (ZT16) (active phase) showed enhanced extinction memory expression during the second extinction session compared to rats trained and tested at ZT4 (inactive phase). In a follow-up experiment, adrenalectomized (ADX) or sham surgery rats were similarly trained and tested across 3 separate daily sessions at either ZT4 or ZT16. ADX had no effect on conditioned fear acquisition or conditioned fear memory. Sham ADX rats trained and tested at ZT16 exhibited better extinction learning across the two extinction sessions compared to all other groups of rats. These results indicate that conditioned fear extinction learning is modulated by time of day, and this diurnal modulation requires the presence of adrenal hormones. These results support an important role of CORT-dependent circadian processes in regulating conditioned fear extinction learning, which may be capitalized upon to optimize effective treatment of PTSD.

  4. Competition between engrams influences fear memory formation and recall.

    PubMed

    Rashid, Asim J; Yan, Chen; Mercaldo, Valentina; Hsiang, Hwa-Lin Liz; Park, Sungmo; Cole, Christina J; De Cristofaro, Antonietta; Yu, Julia; Ramakrishnan, Charu; Lee, Soo Yeun; Deisseroth, Karl; Frankland, Paul W; Josselyn, Sheena A

    2016-07-22

    Collections of cells called engrams are thought to represent memories. Although there has been progress in identifying and manipulating single engrams, little is known about how multiple engrams interact to influence memory. In lateral amygdala (LA), neurons with increased excitability during training outcompete their neighbors for allocation to an engram. We examined whether competition based on neuronal excitability also governs the interaction between engrams. Mice received two distinct fear conditioning events separated by different intervals. LA neuron excitability was optogenetically manipulated and revealed a transient competitive process that integrates memories for events occurring closely in time (coallocating overlapping populations of neurons to both engrams) and separates memories for events occurring at distal times (disallocating nonoverlapping populations to each engram). PMID:27463673

  5. From Contextual Fear to a Dynamic View of Memory Systems

    PubMed Central

    Fanselow, Michael S

    2009-01-01

    The brain does not learn and remember in a unitary fashion. Rather, different circuits specialize in certain classes of problems and encode different types of information. Damage to one of these systems typically results in amnesia only for the form of memory that is the affected region's specialty. How does the brain allocate a specific category of memory to a particular circuit? This question has received little attention. The currently dominant view, Multiple Memory Systems Theory, assumes that such abilities are hard-wired. Using fear conditioning as a paradigmatic case, I propose an alternative model in which mnemonic processing is allocated to specific circuits through a dynamic process. Potential circuits compete to form memories with the most efficient circuits emerging as winners. However, alternate circuits compensate when these “primary” circuits are compromised. PMID:19939724

  6. Role of conceptual knowledge in learning and retention of conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Dunsmoor, Joseph E; Martin, Alex; LaBar, Kevin S

    2012-02-01

    Associating sensory cues with aversive outcomes is a relatively basic process shared across species. Yet higher-order cognitive processes likely contribute to associative fear learning in many circumstances, especially in humans. Here we ask whether fears can be acquired based on conceptual knowledge of object categories, and whether such concept-based fear conditioning leads to enhanced memory representations for conditioned objects. Participants were presented with a heterogeneous collection of images of animals and tools. Objects from one category were reinforced by an electrical shock, whereas the other category was never reinforced. Results confirmed concept-based fear learning through subjective report of shock expectancy, heightened skin conductance responses, and enhanced 24h recognition memory for items from the conditioned category. These results provide novel evidence that conditioned fear can generalize through knowledge of object concepts, and sheds light on the persistent nature of fear memories and category-based fear responses symptomatic of some anxiety disorders.

  7. Disrupting Reconsolidation of Fear Memory in Humans by a Noradrenergic β-Blocker

    PubMed Central

    Kindt, Merel; Soeter, Marieke; Sevenster, Dieuwke

    2014-01-01

    The basic design used in our human fear-conditioning studies on disrupting reconsolidation includes testing over different phases across three consecutive days. On day 1 - the fear acquisition phase, healthy participants are exposed to a series of picture presentations. One picture stimulus (CS1+) is repeatedly paired with an aversive electric stimulus (US), resulting in the acquisition of a fear association, whereas another picture stimulus (CS2-) is never followed by an US. On day 2 - the memory reactivation phase, the participants are re-exposed to the conditioned stimulus without the US (CS1-), which typically triggers a conditioned fear response. After the memory reactivation we administer an oral dose of 40 mg of propranolol HCl, a β-adrenergic receptor antagonist that indirectly targets the protein synthesis required for reconsolidation by inhibiting the noradrenaline-stimulated CREB phosphorylation. On day 3 - the test phase, the participants are again exposed to the unreinforced conditioned stimuli (CS1- and CS2-) in order to measure the fear-reducing effect of the manipulation. This retention test is followed by an extinction procedure and the presentation of situational triggers to test for the return of fear. Potentiation of the eye blink startle reflex is measured as an index for conditioned fear responding. Declarative knowledge of the fear association is measured through online US expectancy ratings during each CS presentation. In contrast to extinction learning, disrupting reconsolidation targets the original fear memory thereby preventing the return of fear. Although the clinical applications are still in their infancy, disrupting reconsolidation of fear memory seems to be a promising new technique with the prospect to persistently dampen the expression of fear memory in patients suffering from anxiety disorders and other psychiatric disorders. PMID:25549103

  8. Chronic Cannabinoid Administration in Vivo Compromises Extinction of Fear Memory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lin, Hui-Ching; Mao, Sheng-Chun; Chen, Po-See; Gean, Po-Wu

    2008-01-01

    Endocannabinoids are critically involved in the extinction of fear memory. Here we examined the effects of repeated cannabinoid administration on the extinction of fear memory in rats and on inhibitory synaptic transmission in medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) slices. Rats were treated with the CB1 receptor agonist WIN55212-2 (WIN 10 mg/kg, i.p.)…

  9. Trib3 is developmentally and nutritionally regulated in the brain but is dispensable for spatial memory, fear conditioning and sensing of amino acid-imbalanced diet.

    PubMed

    Örd, Tiit; Innos, Jürgen; Lilleväli, Kersti; Tekko, Triin; Sütt, Silva; Örd, Daima; Kõks, Sulev; Vasar, Eero; Örd, Tõnis

    2014-01-01

    Tribbles homolog 3 (TRIB3) is a mammalian pseudokinase that is induced in neuronal cell cultures in response to cell death-inducing stresses, including neurotrophic factor deprivation. TRIB3 is an inhibitor of activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4), the central transcriptional regulator in the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2α (eIF2α) phosphorylation pathway that is involved in the cellular stress response and behavioral processes. In this article, we study the expression of Trib3 in the mouse brain, characterize the brain morphology of mice with a genetic ablation of Trib3 and investigate whether Trib3 deficiency alters eIF2α-dependent cognitive abilities. Our data show that the consumption of a leucine-deficient diet induces Trib3 expression in the anterior piriform cortex, the brain region responsible for detecting essential amino acid intake imbalance. However, the aversive response to leucine-devoid diet does not differ in Trib3 knockout and wild type mice. Trib3 deletion also does not affect long-term spatial memory and reversal learning in the Morris water maze and auditory or contextual fear conditioning. During embryonic development, Trib3 expression increases in the brain and persists in the early postnatal stadium. Neuroanatomical characterization of mice lacking Trib3 revealed enlarged lateral ventricles. Thus, although the absence of Trib3 does not alter the eIF2α pathway-dependent cognitive functions of several areas of the brain, including the hippocampus, amygdala and anterior piriform cortex, Trib3 may serve a role in other central nervous system processes and molecular pathways.

  10. Overexpression of Protein Kinase Mζ in the Prelimbic Cortex Enhances the Formation of Long-Term Fear Memory.

    PubMed

    Xue, Yan-Xue; Zhu, Zhen-Zhen; Han, Hai-Bin; Liu, Jian-Feng; Meng, Shi-Qiu; Chen, Chen; Yang, Jian-Li; Wu, Ping; Lu, Lin

    2015-08-01

    Neuroplasticity in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) after fear conditioning has been suggested to regulate the formation and expression of fear memory. Protein kinase Mζ (PKMζ), an isoform of protein kinase C with persistent activity, is involved in the formation and maintenance of memory. However, less is known about the role of PKMζ in the PFC in the formation of fear memory. We investigated whether the overexpression of PKMζ enhances the formation of auditory fear memory in rats. We found that microinfusion of lentiviral vector-expressing PKMζ into the prelimbic cortex (PrL) selectively enhanced the expression of PKMζ without influencing the expression of other isoforms of PKC. The overexpression of PKMζ in the PrL enhanced the formation of long-term fear memory without affecting short-term fear memory, whereas the overexpression of PKMζ in the infralimbic cortex had no effect on either short-term or long-term fear memory. The overexpression of PKMζ in the PrL had no effect on anxiety-like behavior or locomotor activity. We also found that PKMζ overexpression potentiated the fear conditioning-induced increase in the membrane levels of glutamate subunit 2 of AMPA receptors in the PrL. These results demonstrate that the overexpression of PKMζ in the PrL but not infralimbic cortex selectively enhanced the formation of long-term fear memory, and PKMζ in the PrL may be involved in the formation of fear memory.

  11. A study on fear memory retrieval and REM sleep in maternal separation and isolation stressed rats.

    PubMed

    Sampath, Dayalan; Sabitha, K R; Hegde, Preethi; Jayakrishnan, H R; Kutty, Bindu M; Chattarji, Sumantra; Rangarajan, Govindan; Laxmi, T R

    2014-10-15

    As rapid brain development occurs during the neonatal period, environmental manipulation during this period may have a significant impact on sleep and memory functions. Moreover, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep plays an important role in integrating new information with the previously stored emotional experience. Hence, the impact of early maternal separation and isolation stress (MS) during the stress hyporesponsive period (SHRP) on fear memory retention and sleep in rats were studied. The neonatal rats were subjected to maternal separation and isolation stress during postnatal days 5-7 (6h daily/3d). Polysomnographic recordings and differential fear conditioning was carried out in two different sets of rats aged 2 months. The neuronal replay during REM sleep was analyzed using different parameters. MS rats showed increased time in REM stage and total sleep period also increased. MS rats showed fear generalization with increased fear memory retention than normal control (NC). The detailed analysis of the local field potentials across different time periods of REM sleep showed increased theta oscillations in the hippocampus, amygdala and cortical circuits. Our findings suggest that stress during SHRP has sensitized the hippocampus-amygdala-cortical loops which could be due to increased release of corticosterone that generally occurs during REM sleep. These rats when subjected to fear conditioning exhibit increased fear memory and increased fear generalization. The development of helplessness, anxiety and sleep changes in human patients, thus, could be related to the reduced thermal, tactile and social stimulation during SHRP on brain plasticity and fear memory functions.

  12. Factors Regulating the Effects of Hippocampal Inactivation on Renewal of Conditional Fear after Extinction

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Corcoran, Kevin A.; Maren, Stephen

    2004-01-01

    After extinction of fear to a Pavlovian conditional stimulus (CS), contextual stimuli come to regulate the expression of fear to that CS. There is growing evidence that the context dependence of memory retrieval after extinction involves the hippocampus. In the present experiment, we examine whether hippocampal involvement in memory retrieval…

  13. Electrolytic Lesions of the Dorsal Hippocampus Disrupt Renewal of Conditional Fear after Extinction

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ji, Jinzhao; Maren, Stephen

    2005-01-01

    There is a growing body of evidence that the hippocampus is critical for context-dependent memory retrieval. In the present study, we used Pavlovian fear conditioning in rats to examine the role of the dorsal hippocampus (DH) in the context-specific expression of fear memory after extinction (i.e., renewal). Pre-training electrolytic lesions of…

  14. Optogenetic Activation of Presynaptic Inputs in Lateral Amygdala Forms Associative Fear Memory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kwon, Jeong-Tae; Nakajima, Ryuichi; Hyung-Su, Kim; Jeong, Yire; Augustine, George J.; Han, Jin-Hee

    2014-01-01

    In Pavlovian fear conditioning, the lateral amygdala (LA) has been highlighted as a key brain site for association between sensory cues and aversive stimuli. However, learning-related changes are also found in upstream sensory regions such as thalamus and cortex. To isolate the essential neural circuit components for fear memory association, we…

  15. Angiotensin-(1-7)/Mas axis modulates fear memory and extinction in mice.

    PubMed

    Lazaroni, Thiago Luiz do Nascimento; Bastos, Cristiane Perácio; Moraes, Márcio Flávio Dutra; Santos, Robson Souza; Pereira, Grace Schenatto

    2016-01-01

    Inappropriate defense-alerting reaction to fear is a common feature of neuropsychiatric diseases. Therefore, impairments in brain circuits, as well as in molecular pathways underlying the neurovegetative adjustments to fear may play an essential role on developing neuropsychiatric disorders. Here we tested the hypothesis that interfering with angiotensin-(1-7) [Ang-(1-7)]/Mas receptor axis homeostasis, which appears to be essential to arterial pressure control, would affect fear memory and extinction. Mas knockout (MasKO) mice, in FVB/N background, showed normal cued fear memory and extinction, but increased freezing in response to context. Next, as FVB/N has poor performance in contextual fear memory, we tested MasKO in mixed 129xC57BL/6 background. MasKO mice behaved similarly to wild-type (WT), but memory extinction was slower in contextual fear conditioning to a weak protocol (1CS/US). In addition, delayed extinction in MasKO mice was even more pronounced after a stronger protocol (3CS/US). We showed previously that Angiotensin II receptor AT1 antagonist, losantan, rescued object recognition memory deficit in MasKO mice. Here, losartan was also effective. Memory extinction was accelerated in MasKO mice after treatment with losartan. In conclusion, we showed for the first time that Ang-(1-7)/Mas axis may modulate fear memory extinction. Furthermore, we suggest MasKO mice as an animal model to study post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

  16. Optogenetic activation of presynaptic inputs in lateral amygdala forms associative fear memory.

    PubMed

    Kwon, Jeong-Tae; Nakajima, Ryuichi; Kim, Hyung-Su; Jeong, Yire; Augustine, George J; Han, Jin-Hee

    2014-11-01

    In Pavlovian fear conditioning, the lateral amygdala (LA) has been highlighted as a key brain site for association between sensory cues and aversive stimuli. However, learning-related changes are also found in upstream sensory regions such as thalamus and cortex. To isolate the essential neural circuit components for fear memory association, we tested whether direct activation of presynaptic sensory inputs in LA, without the participation of upstream activity, is sufficient to form fear memory in mice. Photostimulation of axonal projections from the two main auditory brain regions, the medial geniculate nucleus of the thalamus and the secondary auditory cortex, was paired with aversive footshock. Twenty-four hours later the same photostimulation induced robust conditioned freezing and this fear memory formation was disrupted when glutamatergic synaptic transmission was locally blocked in the LA. Therefore, our results prove for the first time that synapses between sensory input areas and the LA, previously implicated as a crucial brain site for fear memory formation, actually are sufficient to serve as a conditioned stimulus. Our results strongly support the idea that the LA may be sufficient to encode and store associations between neutral cue and aversive stimuli during natural fear conditioning as a critical part of a broad fear memory engram.

  17. NMDA receptor-dependent LTD is required for consolidation but not acquisition of fear memory.

    PubMed

    Liu, Xing; Gu, Qin-Hua; Duan, Kaizheng; Li, Zheng

    2014-06-25

    NMDA receptor-dependent long-term depression (NMDAR-LTD) is a form of synaptic plasticity leading to long-lasting decreases in synaptic strength. NMDAR-LTD is essential for spatial and working memory, but its role in hippocampus-dependent fear memory has yet to be determined. Induction of NMDAR-LTD requires the activation of caspase-3 by cytochrome c. Cytochrome c normally resides in mitochondria and during NMDAR-LTD is released from mitochondria, a process promoted by Bax (Bcl-2-associated X protein). Bax induces cell death in apoptosis, but it plays a nonapoptotic role in NMDAR-LTD. Here, we investigated the role of NMDAR-LTD in fear memory in CA1-specific Bax knock-out mice. In hippocampal slices from these knock-out mice, while long-term potentiation of synaptic transmission, basal synaptic transmission, and paired-pulse ratio are intact, LTD in both young and fear-conditioned adult mice is obliterated. Interestingly, in CA1-specific Bax knock-out mice, long-term contextual fear memory is impaired, but the acquisition of fear memory and innate fear are normal. Moreover, these conditional Bax knock-out mice exhibit less behavioral despair. These findings indicate that NMDAR-LTD is required for consolidation, but not the acquisition of fear memory. Our study also shows that Bax plays an important role in depressive behavior.

  18. Social transmission of Pavlovian fear: fear-conditioning by-proxy in related female rats.

    PubMed

    Jones, Carolyn E; Riha, Penny D; Gore, Andrea C; Monfils, Marie-H

    2014-05-01

    Pairing a previously neutral conditioned stimulus (CS; e.g., a tone) to an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US; e.g., a foot-shock) leads to associative learning such that the tone alone will elicit a conditioned response (e.g., freezing). Individuals can also acquire fear from a social context, such as through observing the fear expression of a conspecific. In the current study, we examined the influence of kinship/familiarity on social transmission of fear in female rats. Rats were housed in triads with either sisters or non-related females. One rat from each cage was fear conditioned to a tone CS+ shock US. On day two, the conditioned rat was returned to the chamber accompanied by one of her cage mates. Both rats were allowed to behave freely, while the tone was played in the absence of the foot-shock. The previously untrained rat is referred to as the fear-conditioned by-proxy (FCbP) animal, as she would freeze based on observations of her cage-mate's response rather than due to direct personal experience with the foot-shock. The third rat served as a cage-mate control. The third day, long-term memory tests to the CS were performed. Consistent with our previous application of this paradigm in male rats (Bruchey et al. in Behav Brain Res 214(1):80-84, 2010), our results revealed that social interactions between the fear conditioned and FCbP rats on day two contribute to freezing displayed by the FCbP rats on day three. In this experiment, prosocial behavior occurring at the termination of the cue on day two was significantly greater between sisters than their non-sister counterparts, and this behavior resulted in increased freezing on day three. Our results suggest that familiarity and/or kinship influences the social transmission of fear in female rats.

  19. Striatal dopamine D1 receptor is essential for contextual fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Ikegami, Masaru; Uemura, Takeshi; Kishioka, Ayumi; Sakimura, Kenji; Mishina, Masayoshi

    2014-02-05

    Fear memory is critical for animals to trigger behavioural adaptive responses to potentially threatening stimuli, while too much or inappropriate fear may cause psychiatric problems. Numerous studies have shown that the amygdala, hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex play important roles in Pavlovian fear conditioning. Recently, we showed that striatal neurons are required for the formation of the auditory fear memory when the unconditioned stimulus is weak. Here, we found that selective ablation of striatal neurons strongly diminished contextual fear conditioning irrespective of the intensity of footshock. Furthermore, contextual fear conditioning was strongly reduced in striatum-specific dopamine D1 receptor knockout mice. On the other hand, striatum-specific dopamine D2 receptor knockout mice showed freezing responses comparable to those of control mice. These results suggest that striatal D1 receptor is essential for contextual fear conditioning.

  20. The role of sleep and sleep deprivation in consolidating fear memories.

    PubMed

    Menz, M M; Rihm, J S; Salari, N; Born, J; Kalisch, R; Pape, H C; Marshall, L; Büchel, C

    2013-07-15

    Sleep, in particular REM sleep, has been shown to improve the consolidation of emotional memories. Here, we investigated the role of sleep and sleep deprivation on the consolidation of fear memories and underlying neuronal mechanisms. We employed a Pavlovian fear conditioning paradigm either followed by a night of polysomnographically monitored sleep, or wakefulness in forty healthy participants. Recall of learned fear was better after sleep, as indicated by stronger explicitly perceived anxiety and autonomous nervous responses. These effects were positively correlated with the preceding time spent in REM sleep and paralleled by activation of the basolateral amygdala. These findings suggest REM sleep-associated consolidation of fear memory in the human amygdala. In view of the critical participation of fear learning mechanisms in the etiology of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, deprivation of REM sleep after exposure to distressing events is an interesting target for further investigation.

  1. Hippocampal glutamate receptors in fear memory consolidation.

    PubMed

    Cammarota, Martín; Bevilaqua, Lia R M; Bonini, Juliana S; Rossatto, Janine I; Medina, Jorge H; Izquierdo, N

    2004-01-01

    It is thought that activity-dependent changes in synaptic efficacy driven by biochemical pathways responsive to the action of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate are critical components of the mechanisms responsible for memory formation. In particular, the early activation of the NMDA (rNMDA) and AMPA (rAMPA) subtypes of ionotropic glutamate receptors has been demonstrated to be a necessary event for the acquisition of several types of memory. In the rat, consolidation of the long-term memory for a one-trial, step-down inhibitory avoidance task is blocked by antagonists of the rNMDA and rAMPA infused into the CA1 region of the dorsal hippocampus early after training and is associated with a rapid and reversible increase in the total number of [3H]AMPA binding sites. The learning-induced increase in [[3H]AMPA is accompanied by translocation of the GluR1 subunit of the rAMPA to the post-synaptic terminal together with its phosphorylation at Ser831. In addition, learning of the mentioned fear-motivated task induces the activation and rNMDA-dependent translocation of CaMKII to the post-synaptic density. Inhibition of this protein kinase as well as blockade of the rNMDA abolishes both the learning-induced translocation of GluR1 and its phosphorylation. Our data suggest that learning of an avoidance task enhances hippocampal rAMPA signaling through rNMDA and CaMKII-dependent mechanisms.

  2. BDNF-dependent consolidation of fear memories in the perirhinal cortex

    PubMed Central

    Schulz-Klaus, Brigitte; Lessmann, Volkmar; Endres, Thomas

    2013-01-01

    In the recent years the perirhinal cortex (PRh) has been identified as a crucial brain area in fear learning. Since the neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is an important mediator of synaptic plasticity and also crucially involved in memory consolidation of several learning paradigms, we analyzed now whether fear conditioning influences the expression of BDNF protein in the PRh. Here we observed a specific increase of BDNF protein 120 min after fear conditioning training. In order to test whether this increase of BDNF protein level is also required for the consolidation of the fear memory, we locally applied the Trk receptor inhibitor k252a into the PRh during this time window in a second series of experiments. By interfering with Trk-signaling during this critical time window, the formation of a long-term fear memory was completely blocked, indicated by a complete lack of fear potentiated startle 1 day later. In conclusion the present study further emphasizes the important role of the PRh in cued fear learning and identified BDNF as an important mediator for fear memory consolidation in the PRh. PMID:24381548

  3. Modification of Fear Memory by Pharmacological and Behavioural Interventions during Reconsolidation

    PubMed Central

    Thome, Janine; Koppe, Georgia; Hauschild, Sophie; Liebke, Lisa; Schmahl, Christian; Lis, Stefanie; Bohus, Martin

    2016-01-01

    Background Dysfunctional fear responses play a central role in many mental disorders. New insights in learning and memory suggest that pharmacological and behavioural interventions during the reconsolidation of reactivated fear memories may increase the efficacy of therapeutic interventions. It has been proposed that interventions applied during reconsolidation may modify the original fear memory, and thus prevent the spontaneous recovery and reinstatement of the fear response. Methods We investigated whether pharmacological (propranolol) and behavioural (reappraisal, multisensory stimulation) interventions reduce fear memory, and prevent reinstatement of fear in comparison to a placebo control group. Eighty healthy female subjects underwent a differential fear conditioning procedure with three stimuli (CS). Two of these (CS+) were paired with an electric shock on day 1. On day 2, 20 subjects were pseudo-randomly assigned to either the propranolol or placebo condition, or underwent one of the two behavioural interventions after one of the two CS+ was reactivated. On day 3, all subjects underwent an extinction phase, followed by a reinstatement test. Dependent variables were US expectancy ratings, fear-potentiated startle, and skin conductance response. Results Differential fear responses to the reactivated and non-reactivated CS+ were observed only in the propranolol condition. Here, the non-reactivated CS+ evoked stronger fear-potentiated startle-responses compared to the placebo group. None of the interventions prevented the return of the extinguished fear response after re-exposure to the unconditioned stimulus. Conclusions Our data are in line with an increasing body of research stating that the occurrence of reconsolidation may be constrained by boundary conditions such as subtle differences in experimental manipulations and instructions. In conclusion, our findings do not support a beneficial effect in using reconsolidation processes to enhance effects of

  4. Dorsal subcoeruleus nucleus (SubCD) involvement in context-associated fear memory consolidation

    PubMed Central

    Siwek, Donald F.; Knapp, Clifford M.; Kaur, Gurcharan; Datta, Subimal

    2014-01-01

    The neurobiological mechanisms of emotional memory processing can be investigated using classical fear conditioning as a model system, and evidence from multiple lines of research suggests that sleep influences consolidation of emotional memory. In rodents, some of this evidence comes from a common finding that sleep deprivation from 0 to 6 h after fear conditioning training impairs processing of conditioned fear memory. Here, we show that during a 6-h session of sleep–wake (S–W) recording, immediately after a session of context-associated fear conditioning training, rats spent more time in wakefulness (W) and less time in slow-wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This context-associated fear conditioning training-induced reduction in SWS lasts for 2 h, and the REM sleep reduction lasts throughout the entire 6-h post-training S–W recording period. Interestingly, these reductions in SWS and REM sleep during this 6-h period did not impair memory consolidation for context-associated fear conditioning. The results of this study show, for the first time, that lesions within the dorsal part of the subcoeruleus nucleus (SubCD), which were unintentionally caused by the implantation of bipolar recording electrodes, impair consolidation of context-associated fear conditioning memory. Together, the results of these experiments suggest that emotional memory processing associated with fear conditioning can be completed successfully within less than a normal amount of sleep, but it requires a structurally and functionally intact SubCD, an area in the brain stem where phasic pontine wave (P-wave) generating cells are located. PMID:24525958

  5. Muscarinic receptors in amygdala control trace fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Baysinger, Amber N; Kent, Brianne A; Brown, Thomas H

    2012-01-01

    Intelligent behavior requires transient memory, which entails the ability to retain information over short time periods. A newly-emerging hypothesis posits that endogenous persistent firing (EPF) is the neurophysiological foundation for aspects or types of transient memory. EPF is enabled by the activation of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs) and is triggered by suprathreshold stimulation. EPF occurs in several brain regions, including the lateral amygdala (LA). The present study examined the role of amygdalar mAChRs in trace fear conditioning, a paradigm that requires transient memory. If mAChR-dependent EPF selectively supports transient memory, then blocking amygdalar mAChRs should impair trace conditioning, while sparing delay and context conditioning, which presumably do not rely upon transient memory. To test the EPF hypothesis, LA was bilaterally infused, prior to trace or delay conditioning, with either a mAChR antagonist (scopolamine) or saline. Computerized video analysis quantified the amount of freezing elicited by the cue and by the training context. Scopolamine infusion profoundly reduced freezing in the trace conditioning group but had no significant effect on delay or context conditioning. This pattern of results was uniquely anticipated by the EPF hypothesis. The present findings are discussed in terms of a systems-level theory of how EPF in LA and several other brain regions might help support trace fear conditioning.

  6. Olfactory Fear Conditioning Induces Field Potential Potentiation in Rat Olfactory Cortex and Amygdala

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Messaoudi, Belkacem; Granjon, Lionel; Mouly, Anne-Marie; Sevelinges, Yannick; Gervais, Remi

    2004-01-01

    The widely used Pavlovian fear-conditioning paradigms used for studying the neurobiology of learning and memory have mainly used auditory cues as conditioned stimuli (CS). The present work assessed the neural network involved in olfactory fear conditioning, using olfactory bulb stimulation-induced field potential signal (EFP) as a marker of…

  7. Presynaptic Excitation via GABAB Receptors in Habenula Cholinergic Neurons Regulates Fear Memory Expression.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Juen; Tan, Lubin; Ren, Yuqi; Liang, Jingwen; Lin, Rui; Feng, Qiru; Zhou, Jingfeng; Hu, Fei; Ren, Jing; Wei, Chao; Yu, Tao; Zhuang, Yinghua; Bettler, Bernhard; Wang, Fengchao; Luo, Minmin

    2016-07-28

    Fear behaviors are regulated by adaptive mechanisms that dampen their expression in the absence of danger. By studying circuits and the molecular mechanisms underlying this adaptive response, we show that cholinergic neurons of the medial habenula reduce fear memory expression through GABAB presynaptic excitation. Ablating these neurons or inactivating their GABAB receptors impairs fear extinction in mice, whereas activating the neurons or their axonal GABAB receptors reduces conditioned fear. Although considered exclusively inhibitory, here, GABAB mediates excitation by amplifying presynaptic Ca(2+) entry through Cav2.3 channels and potentiating co-release of glutamate, acetylcholine, and neurokinin B to excite interpeduncular neurons. Activating the receptors for these neurotransmitters or enhancing neurotransmission with a phosphodiesterase inhibitor reduces fear responses of both wild-type and GABAB mutant mice. We identify the role of an extra-amygdalar circuit and presynaptic GABAB receptors in fear control, suggesting that boosting neurotransmission in this pathway might ameliorate some fear disorders. PMID:27426949

  8. Effects of the swimming exercise on the consolidation and persistence of auditory and contextual fear memory.

    PubMed

    Faria, Rodolfo Souza; Gutierres, Luís Felipe Soares; Sobrinho, Fernando César Faria; Miranda, Iris do Vale; Reis, Júlia Dos; Dias, Elayne Vieira; Sartori, Cesar Renato; Moreira, Dalmo Antonio Ribeiro

    2016-08-15

    Exposure to negative environmental events triggers defensive behavior and leads to the formation of aversive associative memory. Cellular and molecular changes in the central nervous system underlie this memory formation, as well as the associated behavioral changes. In general, memory process is established in distinct phases such as acquisition, consolidation, evocation, persistence, and extinction of the acquired information. After exposure to a particular event, early changes in involved neural circuits support the memory consolidation, which corresponds to the short-term memory. Re-exposure to previously memorized events evokes the original memory, a process that is considered essential for the reactivation and consequent persistence of memory, ensuring that long-term memory is established. Different environmental stimuli may modulate the memory formation process, as well as their distinct phases. Among the different environmental stimuli able of modulating memory formation is the physical exercise which is a potent modulator of neuronal activity. There are many studies showing that physical exercise modulates learning and memory processes, mainly in the consolidation phase of the explicit memory. However, there are few reports in the literature regarding the role of physical exercise in implicit aversive associative memory, especially at the persistence phase. Thus, the present study aimed to investigate the relationship between swimming exercise and the consolidation and persistence of contextual and auditory-cued fear memory. Male Wistar rats were submitted to sessions of swimming exercise five times a week, over six weeks. After that, the rats were submitted to classical aversive conditioning training by a pairing tone/foot shock paradigm. Finally, rats were evaluated for consolidation and persistence of fear memory to both auditory and contextual cues. Our results demonstrate that classical aversive conditioning with tone/foot shock pairing induced

  9. Effects of the swimming exercise on the consolidation and persistence of auditory and contextual fear memory.

    PubMed

    Faria, Rodolfo Souza; Gutierres, Luís Felipe Soares; Sobrinho, Fernando César Faria; Miranda, Iris do Vale; Reis, Júlia Dos; Dias, Elayne Vieira; Sartori, Cesar Renato; Moreira, Dalmo Antonio Ribeiro

    2016-08-15

    Exposure to negative environmental events triggers defensive behavior and leads to the formation of aversive associative memory. Cellular and molecular changes in the central nervous system underlie this memory formation, as well as the associated behavioral changes. In general, memory process is established in distinct phases such as acquisition, consolidation, evocation, persistence, and extinction of the acquired information. After exposure to a particular event, early changes in involved neural circuits support the memory consolidation, which corresponds to the short-term memory. Re-exposure to previously memorized events evokes the original memory, a process that is considered essential for the reactivation and consequent persistence of memory, ensuring that long-term memory is established. Different environmental stimuli may modulate the memory formation process, as well as their distinct phases. Among the different environmental stimuli able of modulating memory formation is the physical exercise which is a potent modulator of neuronal activity. There are many studies showing that physical exercise modulates learning and memory processes, mainly in the consolidation phase of the explicit memory. However, there are few reports in the literature regarding the role of physical exercise in implicit aversive associative memory, especially at the persistence phase. Thus, the present study aimed to investigate the relationship between swimming exercise and the consolidation and persistence of contextual and auditory-cued fear memory. Male Wistar rats were submitted to sessions of swimming exercise five times a week, over six weeks. After that, the rats were submitted to classical aversive conditioning training by a pairing tone/foot shock paradigm. Finally, rats were evaluated for consolidation and persistence of fear memory to both auditory and contextual cues. Our results demonstrate that classical aversive conditioning with tone/foot shock pairing induced

  10. High-dose corticosterone after fear conditioning selectively suppresses fear renewal by reducing anxiety-like response.

    PubMed

    Wang, Hongbo; Xing, Xiaoli; Liang, Jing; Bai, Yunjing; Lui, Zhengkui; Zheng, Xigeng

    2014-09-01

    Exposure therapy is widely used to treat anxiety disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, preventing the return of fear is still a major challenge after this behavioral treatment. An increasing number of studies suggest that high-dose glucocorticoid treatment immediately after trauma can alleviate the symptoms of PTSD in humans. Unknown is whether high-dose glucocorticoid treatment following fear conditioning suppresses the return of fear. In the present study, a typical fear renewal paradigm (AAB) was used, in which the fear response to an auditory cue can be restored in a novel context (context B) when both training and extinction occur in the same context (context A). We trained rats for auditory fear conditioning and administered corticosterone (CORT; 5 and 25mg/kg, i.p.) or vehicle with different delays (1 and 24h). Forty-eight hours after drug injection, extinction was conducted with no drug in the training context, followed by a test of tone-induced freezing behavior in the same (AAA) or a shifted (AAB) context. Both immediate and delayed administration of high-dose CORT after fear conditioning reduced fear renewal. To examine the anxiolytic effect of CORT, independent rats were trained for cued or contextual fear conditioning, followed by an injection of CORT (5 and 25mg/kg, i.p.) or vehicle at a 1 or 24h delay. One week later, anxiety-like behavior was assessed in the elevated plus maze (EPM) before and after fear expression. We found that high-dose CORT decreased anxiety-like behavior without changing tone- or context-induced freezing. These findings indicate that a single high-dose CORT administration given after fear conditioning may selectively suppress fear renewal by reducing anxiety-like behavior and not by altering the consolidation, retrieval, or extinction of fear memory.

  11. Mechanisms contributing to the induction and storage of Pavlovian fear memories in the lateral amygdala

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Dongbeom; Paré, Denis; Nair, Satish S.

    2013-01-01

    The relative contributions of plasticity in the amygdala vs. its afferent pathways to conditioned fear remain controversial. Some believe that thalamic and cortical neurons transmitting information about the conditioned stimulus (CS) to the lateral amygdala (LA) serve a relay function. Others maintain that thalamic and/or cortical plasticity is critically involved in fear conditioning. To address this question, we developed a large-scale biophysical model of the LA that could reproduce earlier findings regarding the cellular correlates of fear conditioning in LA. We then conducted model experiments that examined whether fear memories depend on (1) training-induced increases in the responsiveness of thalamic and cortical neurons projecting to LA, (2) plasticity at the synapses they form in LA, and/or (3) plasticity at synapses between LA neurons. These tests revealed that training-induced increases in the responsiveness of afferent neurons are required for fear memory formation. However, once the memory has been formed, this factor is no longer required because the efficacy of the synapses that thalamic and cortical neurons form with LA cells has augmented enough to maintain the memory. In contrast, our model experiments suggest that plasticity at synapses between LA neurons plays a minor role in maintaining the fear memory. PMID:23864645

  12. Activity in Prelimbic Cortex Subserves Fear Memory Reconsolidation over Time

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stern, Cristina A. J.; Gazarini, Lucas; Vanvossen, Ana C.; Hames, Mayara S.; Bertoglio, Leandro J.

    2014-01-01

    The prelimbic cortex has been implicated in the consolidation of previously learned fear. Herein, we report that temporarily inactivating this medial prefrontal cortex subregion with the GABA [subscript A] agonist muscimol (4.0 nmol in 0.2 µL per hemisphere) was able to equally disrupt 1-, 7-, and 21-d-old contextual fear memories after their…

  13. Mineralocorticoid receptors in control of emotional arousal and fear memory.

    PubMed

    Brinks, V; Berger, S; Gass, P; de Kloet, E R; Oitzl, M S

    2009-08-01

    The stress hormone corticosterone acts via two receptor types in the brain: the mineralocorticoid (MR) and the glucocorticoid receptor (GR). Both receptors are involved in processing of stressful events. A disbalance of MR:GR functions is thought to promote stress-related disorders. Here we studied the effect of stress on emotional and cognitive behaviors in mice with forebrain-specific inactivation of the MR gene (MR(CaMKCre), 4 months old; and control littermates). MR(CaMKCre) mice responded to prior stress (5 min of restraint) with higher arousal and less locomotor activity in an exploration task. A fear conditioning paradigm allowed assessing in one experimental procedure both context- and cue-related fear. During conditioning, MR(CaMKCre) mice expressed more cue-related freezing. During memory test, contextual freezing remained potentiated, while control mice distinguished between cue (more freezing) and context episodes (less freezing) in the second memory test. At this time, plasma corticosterone levels of MR(CaMKCre) mice were 40% higher than in controls. We conclude that control of emotional arousal and adaptive behaviors is lost in the absence of forebrain MR, and thus, anxiety-related responses are and remain augmented. We propose that such a disbalance in MR:GR functions in MR(CaMKCre) mice provides the conditions for an animal model for anxiety-related disorders.

  14. Extinction during memory reconsolidation blocks recovery of fear in adolescents.

    PubMed

    Johnson, D C; Casey, B J

    2015-01-01

    Adolescence is a time of intensified emotional experiences, during which anxiety and stress-related disorders peak. The most effective behavioral therapies for treating these disorders share exposure-based techniques as a core component. Exposure-based therapies build on the principles of fear extinction learning and involve desensitizing the individual to cues that trigger anxiety. Yet, recent evidence shows an adolescent-specific diminished capacity to extinguish fear responses, suggesting that adolescents may respond less well to exposure-based therapies than other age groups. Here we demonstrate an alternative method for blocking the recall of fear memories in adolescents, building on principles of memory reconsolidation in adults. During memory reconsolidation, a memory that is recalled becomes labile during which time it can be updated. Prior research has shown that extinction training during memory reconsolidation attenuates the recovery of fear memory in human adults and in rodents. Using this method, we show attenuation of fear memory in adolescent humans. These findings have significant implications for treating one of the most vulnerable populations to anxiety and stress related disorders - adolescents - by optimizing exposure therapy based on principles of memory reconsolidation. PMID:25749583

  15. Activity in prelimbic cortex subserves fear memory reconsolidation over time

    PubMed Central

    Stern, Cristina A.J.; Gazarini, Lucas; Vanvossen, Ana C.; Hames, Mayara S.; Bertoglio, Leandro J.

    2014-01-01

    The prelimbic cortex has been implicated in the consolidation of previously learned fear. Herein, we report that temporarily inactivating this medial prefrontal cortex subregion with the GABAA agonist muscimol (4.0 nmol in 0.2 μL per hemisphere) was able to equally disrupt 1-, 7-, and 21-d-old contextual fear memories after their brief retrieval in rats. In all cases, this effect was prevented when memory reactivation was omitted. These results indicate that recent and remote fear memories are susceptible to reconsolidation blockade induced by prelimbic cortex inactivation. It was also demonstrated that the disrupting effect of prelimbic cortex inactivation on fear memory persisted over 11 d, and did not show extinction-related features, such as reinstatement. Infusing the same dose and volume of muscimol bilaterally into the infralimbic cortex after brief retrieval/reactivation of the fear memory did not disrupt it, as seen in prelimbic cortex-inactivated animals. The expression of Zif268/Egr1, the product of an immediate early gene related to memory reconsolidation, was also less pronounced in the infralimbic cortex than in prelimbic cortex following memory retrieval/reactivation. Altogether, the present findings highlight that activity in the prelimbic cortex may reestablish reactivated aversive memories and, therefore, contribute to their maintenance over time. PMID:24344180

  16. Pavlovian fear conditioning as a behavioral assay for hippocampus and amygdala function: cautions and caveats.

    PubMed

    Maren, Stephen

    2008-10-01

    Pavlovian fear conditioning has become an important model for investigating the neural substrates of learning and memory in rats, mice and humans. The hippocampus and amygdala are widely believed to be essential for fear conditioning to contexts and discrete cues, respectively. Indeed, this parsing of function within the fear circuit has been used to leverage fear conditioning as a behavioral assay of hippocampal and amygdala function, particularly in transgenic mouse models. Recent work, however, blurs the anatomical segregation of cue and context conditioning and challenges the necessity for the hippocampus and amygdala in fear learning. Moreover, nonassociative factors may influence the performance of fear responses under a variety of conditions. Caution must therefore be exercised when using fear conditioning as a behavioral assay for hippocampal- and amygdala-dependent learning.

  17. Pavlovian fear conditioning as a behavioral assay for hippocampus and amygdala function: cautions and caveats.

    PubMed

    Maren, Stephen

    2008-10-01

    Pavlovian fear conditioning has become an important model for investigating the neural substrates of learning and memory in rats, mice and humans. The hippocampus and amygdala are widely believed to be essential for fear conditioning to contexts and discrete cues, respectively. Indeed, this parsing of function within the fear circuit has been used to leverage fear conditioning as a behavioral assay of hippocampal and amygdala function, particularly in transgenic mouse models. Recent work, however, blurs the anatomical segregation of cue and context conditioning and challenges the necessity for the hippocampus and amygdala in fear learning. Moreover, nonassociative factors may influence the performance of fear responses under a variety of conditions. Caution must therefore be exercised when using fear conditioning as a behavioral assay for hippocampal- and amygdala-dependent learning. PMID:18973583

  18. Post-Retrieval Late Process Contributes to Persistence of Reactivated Fear Memory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Nakayama, Daisuke; Yamasaki, Yoshiko; Matsuki, Norio; Nomura, Hiroshi

    2013-01-01

    Several studies have demonstrated the mechanisms involved in memory persistence after learning. However, little is known about memory persistence after retrieval. In this study, a protein synthesis inhibitor, anisomycin, was infused into the basolateral amygdala of mice 9.5 h after retrieval of contextual conditioned fear. Anisomycin attenuated…

  19. Forming Competing Fear Learning and Extinction Memories in Adolescence Makes Fear Difficult to Inhibit

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Baker, Kathryn D.; Richardson, Rick

    2015-01-01

    Fear inhibition is markedly impaired in adolescent rodents and humans. The present experiments investigated whether this impairment is critically determined by the animal's age at the time of fear learning or their age at fear extinction. Male rats (n = 170) were tested for extinction retention after conditioning and extinction at different ages.…

  20. Effects of transcranial direct current stimulation on consolidation of fear memory.

    PubMed

    Asthana, Manish; Nueckel, Katharina; Mühlberger, Andreas; Neueder, Dorothea; Polak, Thomas; Domschke, Katharina; Deckert, Jürgen; Herrmann, Martin J

    2013-01-01

    It has been shown that applying transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) influences declarative memory processes. This study investigates the efficacy of tDCS on emotional memory consolidation, especially experimental fear conditioning. We applied an auditory fear-conditioning paradigm, in which two differently colored squares (blue and yellow) were presented as conditioned stimuli (CS) and an auditory stimulus as unconditioned stimulus (UCS). Sixty-nine participants were randomly assigned into three groups: anodal, cathodal, and sham stimulation. The participants of the two active groups (i.e., anodal and cathodal) received tDCS over the left DLPFC for 12 min after fear conditioning. The effect of fear conditioning and consolidation (24 h later) was measured by assessing the skin conductance response (SCR) to the CS. The results provide evidence that cathodal stimulation of the left DLPFC leads to an inhibitory effect on fear memory consolidation compared to anodal and sham stimulation, as indicated by decreased SCRs to CS+ presentation during extinction training at day 2. In conclusion, current work suggests that cathodal stimulation interferes with processes of fear memory consolidation.

  1. The hypocretin/orexin system mediates the extinction of fear memories.

    PubMed

    Flores, África; Valls-Comamala, Victòria; Costa, Giulia; Saravia, Rocío; Maldonado, Rafael; Berrendero, Fernando

    2014-11-01

    Anxiety disorders are often associated with an inability to extinguish learned fear responses. The hypocretin/orexin system is involved in the regulation of emotional states and could also participate in the consolidation and extinction of aversive memories. Using hypocretin receptor-1 and hypocretin receptor-2 antagonists, hypocretin-1 and hypocretin-2 peptides, and hypocretin receptor-1 knockout mice, we investigated the role of the hypocretin system in cue- and context-dependent fear conditioning and extinction. Hypocretins were crucial for the consolidation of fear conditioning, and this effect was mainly observed in memories with a high emotional component. Notably, after the acquisition of fear memory, hypocretin receptor-1 blockade facilitated fear extinction, whereas hypocretin-1 administration impaired this extinction process. The extinction-facilitating effects of the hypocretin receptor-1 antagonist SB334867 were associated with increased expression of cFos in the basolateral amygdala and the infralimbic cortex. Intra-amygdala, but neither intra-infralimbic prefrontal cortex nor intra-dorsohippocampal infusion of SB334867 enhanced fear extinction. These results reveal a key role for hypocretins in the extinction of aversive memories and suggest that hypocretin receptor-1 blockade could represent a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of diseases associated with inappropriate retention of fear, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and phobias.

  2. N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist MK-801 impairs learning but not memory fixation or expression of classical fear conditioning in goldfish (Carassius auratus).

    PubMed

    Xu, X; Davis, R E

    1992-04-01

    The amnestic effects of the noncompetitive antagonist MK-801 on visually mediated, classic fear conditioning in goldfish (Carassius auratus) was examined in 5 experiments. MK-801 was administered 30 min before the training session on Day 1 to look for anterograde amnestic effects, immediately after training to look for retrograde amnestic effects, and before the training or test session, or both, to look for state-dependence effects. The results showed that MK-801 produced anterograde amnesia at doses that did not produce retrograde amnesia or state dependency and did not impair the expression of conditioned or unconditioned branchial suppression responses (BSRs) to the conditioned stimulus. The results indicate that MK-801 disrupts the mechanism of learning of the conditioned stimulus-unconditioned stimulus relation. Evidence is also presented that the learning processes that are disrupted by MK-801 occur during the initial stage of BSR conditioning.

  3. Antagonism of Lateral Amygdala Alpha1-Adrenergic Receptors Facilitates Fear Conditioning and Long-Term Potentiation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lazzaro, Stephanie C.; Hou, Mian; Cunha, Catarina; LeDoux, Joseph E.; Cain, Christopher K.

    2010-01-01

    Norepinephrine receptors have been studied in emotion, memory, and attention. However, the role of alpha1-adrenergic receptors in fear conditioning, a major model of emotional learning, is poorly understood. We examined the effect of terazosin, an alpha1-adrenergic receptor antagonist, on cued fear conditioning. Systemic or intra-lateral amygdala…

  4. Fear but not fright: re-evaluating traumatic experience attenuates anxiety-like behaviors after fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Costanzi, Marco; Saraulli, Daniele; Cannas, Sara; D'Alessandro, Francesca; Florenzano, Fulvio; Rossi-Arnaud, Clelia; Cestari, Vincenzo

    2014-01-01

    Fear allows organisms to cope with dangerous situations and remembering these situations has an adaptive role preserving individuals from injury and death. However, recalling traumatic memories can induce re-experiencing the trauma, thus resulting in a maladaptive fear. A failure to properly regulate fear responses has been associated with anxiety disorders, like Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Thus, re-establishing the capability to regulate fear has an important role for its adaptive and clinical relevance. Strategies aimed at erasing fear memories have been proposed, although there are limits about their efficiency in treating anxiety disorders. To re-establish fear regulation, here we propose a new approach, based on the re-evaluation of the aversive value of traumatic experience. Mice were submitted to a contextual-fear-conditioning paradigm in which a neutral context was paired with an intense electric footshock. Three weeks after acquisition, conditioned mice were treated with a less intense footshock (pain threshold). The effectiveness of this procedure in reducing fear expression was assessed in terms of behavioral outcomes related to PTSD (e.g., hyper-reactivity to a neutral tone, anxiety levels in a plus maze task, social avoidance, and learning deficits in a spatial water maze) and of amygdala activity by evaluating c-fos expression. Furthermore, a possible role of lateral orbitofrontal cortex (lOFC) in mediating the behavioral effects induced by the re-evaluation procedure was investigated. We observed that this treatment: (i) significantly mitigates the abnormal behavioral outcomes induced by trauma; (ii) persistently attenuates fear expression without erasing contextual memory; (iii) prevents fear reinstatement; (iv) reduces amygdala activity; and (v) requires an intact lOFC to be effective. These results suggest that an effective strategy to treat pathological anxiety should address cognitive re-evaluation of the traumatic experience mediated

  5. Contextual Information Drives the Reconsolidation-Dependent Updating of Retrieved Fear Memories.

    PubMed

    Jarome, Timothy J; Ferrara, Nicole C; Kwapis, Janine L; Helmstetter, Fred J

    2015-12-01

    Stored memories enter a temporary state of vulnerability following retrieval known as 'reconsolidation', a process that can allow memories to be modified to incorporate new information. Although reconsolidation has become an attractive target for treatment of memories related to traumatic past experiences, we still do not know what new information triggers the updating of retrieved memories. Here, we used biochemical markers of synaptic plasticity in combination with a novel behavioral procedure to determine what was learned during memory reconsolidation under normal retrieval conditions. We eliminated new information during retrieval by manipulating animals' training experience and measured changes in proteasome activity and GluR2 expression in the amygdala, two established markers of fear memory lability and reconsolidation. We found that eliminating new contextual information during the retrieval of memories for predictable and unpredictable fear associations prevented changes in proteasome activity and glutamate receptor expression in the amygdala, indicating that this new information drives the reconsolidation of both predictable and unpredictable fear associations on retrieval. Consistent with this, eliminating new contextual information prior to retrieval prevented the memory-impairing effects of protein synthesis inhibitors following retrieval. These results indicate that under normal conditions, reconsolidation updates memories by incorporating new contextual information into the memory trace. Collectively, these results suggest that controlling contextual information present during retrieval may be a useful strategy for improving reconsolidation-based treatments of traumatic memories associated with anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

  6. Differential involvement of amygdala and cortical NMDA receptors activation upon encoding in odor fear memory.

    PubMed

    Hegoburu, Chloé; Parrot, Sandrine; Ferreira, Guillaume; Mouly, Anne-Marie

    2014-12-01

    Although the basolateral amygdala (BLA) plays a crucial role for the acquisition of fear memories, sensory cortices are involved in their long-term storage in rats. However, the time course of their respective involvement has received little investigation. Here we assessed the role of the glutamatergic N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the BLA and olfactory cortex at discrete moments of an odor fear conditioning session. We showed that NMDA receptors in BLA are critically involved in odor fear acquisition during the first association but not during the next ones. In the cortex, NMDA receptor activation at encoding is not necessary for recent odor fear memory while its role in remote memory storage needs further investigation.

  7. Differential involvement of amygdala and cortical NMDA receptors activation upon encoding in odor fear memory.

    PubMed

    Hegoburu, Chloé; Parrot, Sandrine; Ferreira, Guillaume; Mouly, Anne-Marie

    2014-12-01

    Although the basolateral amygdala (BLA) plays a crucial role for the acquisition of fear memories, sensory cortices are involved in their long-term storage in rats. However, the time course of their respective involvement has received little investigation. Here we assessed the role of the glutamatergic N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the BLA and olfactory cortex at discrete moments of an odor fear conditioning session. We showed that NMDA receptors in BLA are critically involved in odor fear acquisition during the first association but not during the next ones. In the cortex, NMDA receptor activation at encoding is not necessary for recent odor fear memory while its role in remote memory storage needs further investigation. PMID:25403452

  8. Differential involvement of amygdala and cortical NMDA receptors activation upon encoding in odor fear memory

    PubMed Central

    Hegoburu, Chloé; Parrot, Sandrine; Ferreira, Guillaume

    2014-01-01

    Although the basolateral amygdala (BLA) plays a crucial role for the acquisition of fear memories, sensory cortices are involved in their long-term storage in rats. However, the time course of their respective involvement has received little investigation. Here we assessed the role of the glutamatergic N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the BLA and olfactory cortex at discrete moments of an odor fear conditioning session. We showed that NMDA receptors in BLA are critically involved in odor fear acquisition during the first association but not during the next ones. In the cortex, NMDA receptor activation at encoding is not necessary for recent odor fear memory while its role in remote memory storage needs further investigation. PMID:25403452

  9. Treatment of fear memories: interactions between extinction and reconsolidation.

    PubMed

    Fiorenza, Natália G; Sartor, Dagieli; Myskiw, Jociane C; Izquierdo, Iván

    2011-12-01

    Retrieval labilizes memory traces and these gates two protein synthesis-dependent processes in the brain: extinction, which inhibits further retrieval, and reconsolidation, which may enhance retrieval or change its content. Extinction may itself suffer reconsolidation. Interactions among these processes may be applied to treatments of fear memories, such as those underlying post-traumatic stress disorders.

  10. Uncertainty-Dependent Extinction of Fear Memory in an Amygdala-mPFC Neural Circuit Model.

    PubMed

    Li, Yuzhe; Nakae, Ken; Ishii, Shin; Naoki, Honda

    2016-09-01

    Uncertainty of fear conditioning is crucial for the acquisition and extinction of fear memory. Fear memory acquired through partial pairings of a conditioned stimulus (CS) and an unconditioned stimulus (US) is more resistant to extinction than that acquired through full pairings; this effect is known as the partial reinforcement extinction effect (PREE). Although the PREE has been explained by psychological theories, the neural mechanisms underlying the PREE remain largely unclear. Here, we developed a neural circuit model based on three distinct types of neurons (fear, persistent and extinction neurons) in the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). In the model, the fear, persistent and extinction neurons encode predictions of net severity, of unconditioned stimulus (US) intensity, and of net safety, respectively. Our simulation successfully reproduces the PREE. We revealed that unpredictability of the US during extinction was represented by the combined responses of the three types of neurons, which are critical for the PREE. In addition, we extended the model to include amygdala subregions and the mPFC to address a recent finding that the ventral mPFC (vmPFC) is required for consolidating extinction memory but not for memory retrieval. Furthermore, model simulations led us to propose a novel procedure to enhance extinction learning through re-conditioning with a stronger US; strengthened fear memory up-regulates the extinction neuron, which, in turn, further inhibits the fear neuron during re-extinction. Thus, our models increased the understanding of the functional roles of the amygdala and vmPFC in the processing of uncertainty in fear conditioning and extinction. PMID:27617747

  11. Uncertainty-Dependent Extinction of Fear Memory in an Amygdala-mPFC Neural Circuit Model

    PubMed Central

    Li, Yuzhe; Nakae, Ken; Ishii, Shin; Naoki, Honda

    2016-01-01

    Uncertainty of fear conditioning is crucial for the acquisition and extinction of fear memory. Fear memory acquired through partial pairings of a conditioned stimulus (CS) and an unconditioned stimulus (US) is more resistant to extinction than that acquired through full pairings; this effect is known as the partial reinforcement extinction effect (PREE). Although the PREE has been explained by psychological theories, the neural mechanisms underlying the PREE remain largely unclear. Here, we developed a neural circuit model based on three distinct types of neurons (fear, persistent and extinction neurons) in the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). In the model, the fear, persistent and extinction neurons encode predictions of net severity, of unconditioned stimulus (US) intensity, and of net safety, respectively. Our simulation successfully reproduces the PREE. We revealed that unpredictability of the US during extinction was represented by the combined responses of the three types of neurons, which are critical for the PREE. In addition, we extended the model to include amygdala subregions and the mPFC to address a recent finding that the ventral mPFC (vmPFC) is required for consolidating extinction memory but not for memory retrieval. Furthermore, model simulations led us to propose a novel procedure to enhance extinction learning through re-conditioning with a stronger US; strengthened fear memory up-regulates the extinction neuron, which, in turn, further inhibits the fear neuron during re-extinction. Thus, our models increased the understanding of the functional roles of the amygdala and vmPFC in the processing of uncertainty in fear conditioning and extinction. PMID:27617747

  12. Uncertainty-Dependent Extinction of Fear Memory in an Amygdala-mPFC Neural Circuit Model.

    PubMed

    Li, Yuzhe; Nakae, Ken; Ishii, Shin; Naoki, Honda

    2016-09-01

    Uncertainty of fear conditioning is crucial for the acquisition and extinction of fear memory. Fear memory acquired through partial pairings of a conditioned stimulus (CS) and an unconditioned stimulus (US) is more resistant to extinction than that acquired through full pairings; this effect is known as the partial reinforcement extinction effect (PREE). Although the PREE has been explained by psychological theories, the neural mechanisms underlying the PREE remain largely unclear. Here, we developed a neural circuit model based on three distinct types of neurons (fear, persistent and extinction neurons) in the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). In the model, the fear, persistent and extinction neurons encode predictions of net severity, of unconditioned stimulus (US) intensity, and of net safety, respectively. Our simulation successfully reproduces the PREE. We revealed that unpredictability of the US during extinction was represented by the combined responses of the three types of neurons, which are critical for the PREE. In addition, we extended the model to include amygdala subregions and the mPFC to address a recent finding that the ventral mPFC (vmPFC) is required for consolidating extinction memory but not for memory retrieval. Furthermore, model simulations led us to propose a novel procedure to enhance extinction learning through re-conditioning with a stronger US; strengthened fear memory up-regulates the extinction neuron, which, in turn, further inhibits the fear neuron during re-extinction. Thus, our models increased the understanding of the functional roles of the amygdala and vmPFC in the processing of uncertainty in fear conditioning and extinction.

  13. Novel learning accelerates systems consolidation of a contextual fear memory.

    PubMed

    Haubrich, Josue; Cassini, Lindsey Freitas; Diehl, Felipe; Santana, Fabiana; Fürstenau de Oliveira, Lucas; de Oliveira Alvares, Lucas; Quillfeldt, Jorge Alberto

    2016-07-01

    After initial encoding memories may undergo a time-dependent reorganization, becoming progressively independent from the hippocampus (HPC) and dependent on cortical regions such as the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Although the mechanisms underlying systems consolidation are somewhat known, the factors determining its temporal dynamics are still poorly understood. Here, we studied the influence of novel learning occurring between training and test sessions on the time-course of HPC- and ACC-dependency of contextual fear conditioning (CFC) memory expression. We found that muscimol was disruptive when infused into the HPC up to 35 days after training, while the ACC is vulnerable only after 45 days. However, when animals were subjected to a series of additional, distinct tasks to be learned within the first 3 weeks, muscimol became effective sooner. Muscimol had no effect in the HPC at 20 days after training, exactly when the ACC becomes responsive to this treatment. Thus, our data indicates that the encoding of new information generates a tight interplay between distinct memories, accelerating the reorganization of previously stored long term memories between the hippocampal and cortical areas. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  14. Differential roles of the dorsal and ventral hippocampus in predator odor contextual fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Wang, Melissa E; Fraize, Nicolas P; Yin, Linda; Yuan, Robin K; Petsagourakis, Despina; Wann, Ellen G; Muzzio, Isabel A

    2013-06-01

    The study of fear memory is important for understanding various anxiety disorders in which patients experience persistent recollections of traumatic events. These memories often involve associations of contextual cues with aversive events; consequently, Pavlovian classical conditioning is commonly used to study contextual fear learning. The use of predator odor as a fearful stimulus in contextual fear conditioning has become increasingly important as an animal model of anxiety disorders. Innate fear responses to predator odors are well characterized and reliable; however, attempts to use these odors as unconditioned stimuli in fear conditioning paradigms have proven inconsistent. Here we characterize a contextual fear conditioning paradigm using coyote urine as the unconditioned stimulus. We found that contextual conditioning induced by exposure to coyote urine produces long-term freezing, a stereotypic response to fear observed in mice. This paradigm is context-specific and parallels shock-induced contextual conditioning in that it is responsive to extinction training and manipulations of predator odor intensity. Region-specific lesions of the dorsal and ventral hippocampus indicate that both areas are independently required for the long-term expression of learned fear. These results in conjunction with c-fos immunostaining data suggest that while both the dorsal and ventral hippocampus are required for forming a contextual representation, the ventral region also modulates defensive behaviors associated with predators. This study provides information about the individual contributions of the dorsal and ventral hippocampus to ethologically relevant fear learning.

  15. Foreground Contextual Fear Memory Consolidation Requires Two Independent Phases of Hippocampal ERK/CREB Activation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Trifilieff, Pierre; Vanhoutte, Peter; Caboche, Jocelyne; Desmedt, Aline; Riedel, Gernot; Mons, Nicole; Micheau, Jacques; Herry, Cyril

    2006-01-01

    Fear conditioning is a popular model for investigating physiological and cellular mechanisms of memory formation. In this paradigm, a footshock is either systematically associated to a tone (paired conditioning) or is pseudorandomly distributed (unpaired conditioning). In the former procedure, the tone/shock association is acquired, whereas in the…

  16. Plastic Synaptic Networks of the Amygdala for the Acquisition, Expression, and Extinction of Conditioned Fear

    PubMed Central

    Pape, Hans-Christian; Pare, Denis

    2009-01-01

    The last ten years have witnessed a surge of interest for the mechanisms underlying the acquisition and extinction of classically conditioned fear responses. In part, this results from the realization that abnormalities in fear learning mechanisms likely participate to the development and/or maintenance of human anxiety disorders. The simplicity and robustness of this learning paradigm, coupled to the fact that the underlying circuitry is evolutionarily well conserved makes it an ideal model to study the basic biology of memory and identify genetic factors and neuronal systems that regulate the normal and pathological expressions of learned fear. Critical advances have been made in determining how modified neuronal functions upon fear acquisition become stabilized during fear memory consolidation and how these processes are controlled in the course of fear memory extinction. With these advances, came the realization that activity in remote neuronal networks must be coordinated for these events to take place. In this paper, we review these mechanisms of coordinated network activity and the molecular cascades leading to enduring fear memory, and allowing for their extinction. We will focus on Pavlovian fear conditioning as a model and the amygdala as a key component for the acquisition and extinction of fear responses. PMID:20393190

  17. A temporal shift in the circuits mediating retrieval of fear memory

    PubMed Central

    Do-Monte, Fabricio H.; Quinones-Laracuente, Kelvin; Quirk, Gregory J.

    2014-01-01

    Fear memories allow organisms to avoid danger, thereby increasing their chances of survival. Fear memories can be retrieved long after learning1,2, but little is known about how retrieval circuits change with time3,4. Here we show that the dorsal midline thalamus of rats is required for retrieval of auditory conditioned fear at late timepoints (24 h, 7 d, 28 d), but not early timepoints (0.5 h, 6 h) after learning. Consistent with this, the paraventricular subregion of the dorsal midline thalamus (PVT) showed increased cFos expression only at late timepoints, indicating that PVT is gradually recruited for fear retrieval. Accordingly, the conditioned tone responses of PVT neurons increased with time following training. The prelimbic (PL) prefrontal cortex, which is necessary for fear retrieval5–7, sends dense projections to PVT8. Retrieval at late timepoints activated PL neurons projecting to PVT, and optogenetic silencing of these projections impaired retrieval at late, but not early times. In contrast, silencing of PL inputs to the basolateral amygdala (BLA) impaired retrieval at early, but not late times, indicating a time-dependent shift in retrieval circuits. Retrieval at late timepoints also activated PVT neurons projecting to the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA), and silencing these projections at late, but not early, times induced a persistent attenuation of fear. Thus, PVT may serve as a critical thalamic node recruited into cortico-amygalar networks for retrieval and maintenance of long-term fear memories. PMID:25600268

  18. Abnormal Fear Memory as a Model for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

    PubMed

    Desmedt, Aline; Marighetto, Aline; Piazza, Pier-Vincenzo

    2015-09-01

    For over a century, clinicians have consistently described the paradoxical co-existence in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) of sensory intrusive hypermnesia and declarative amnesia for the same traumatic event. Although this amnesia is considered as a critical etiological factor of the development and/or persistence of PTSD, most current animal models in basic neuroscience have focused exclusively on the hypermnesia, i.e., the persistence of a strong fear memory, neglecting the qualitative alteration of fear memory. The latest is characterized by an underrepresentation of the trauma in the context-based declarative memory system in favor of its overrepresentation in a cue-based sensory/emotional memory system. Combining psychological and neurobiological data as well as theoretical hypotheses, this review supports the idea that contextual amnesia is at the core of PTSD and its persistence and that altered hippocampal-amygdalar interaction may contribute to such pathologic memory. In a first attempt to unveil the neurobiological alterations underlying PTSD-related hypermnesia/amnesia, we describe a recent animal model mimicking in mice some critical aspects of such abnormal fear memory. Finally, this line of argument emphasizes the pressing need for a systematic comparison between normal/adaptive versus abnormal/maladaptive fear memory to identify biomarkers of PTSD while distinguishing them from general stress-related, potentially adaptive, neurobiological alterations.

  19. Abnormal Fear Memory as a Model for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

    PubMed

    Desmedt, Aline; Marighetto, Aline; Piazza, Pier-Vincenzo

    2015-09-01

    For over a century, clinicians have consistently described the paradoxical co-existence in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) of sensory intrusive hypermnesia and declarative amnesia for the same traumatic event. Although this amnesia is considered as a critical etiological factor of the development and/or persistence of PTSD, most current animal models in basic neuroscience have focused exclusively on the hypermnesia, i.e., the persistence of a strong fear memory, neglecting the qualitative alteration of fear memory. The latest is characterized by an underrepresentation of the trauma in the context-based declarative memory system in favor of its overrepresentation in a cue-based sensory/emotional memory system. Combining psychological and neurobiological data as well as theoretical hypotheses, this review supports the idea that contextual amnesia is at the core of PTSD and its persistence and that altered hippocampal-amygdalar interaction may contribute to such pathologic memory. In a first attempt to unveil the neurobiological alterations underlying PTSD-related hypermnesia/amnesia, we describe a recent animal model mimicking in mice some critical aspects of such abnormal fear memory. Finally, this line of argument emphasizes the pressing need for a systematic comparison between normal/adaptive versus abnormal/maladaptive fear memory to identify biomarkers of PTSD while distinguishing them from general stress-related, potentially adaptive, neurobiological alterations. PMID:26238378

  20. The Role of the Medial Prefrontal Cortex in the Conditioning and Extinction of Fear

    PubMed Central

    Giustino, Thomas F.; Maren, Stephen

    2015-01-01

    Once acquired, a fearful memory can persist for a lifetime. Although learned fear can be extinguished, extinction memories are fragile. The resilience of fear memories to extinction may contribute to the maintenance of disorders of fear and anxiety, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As such, considerable effort has been placed on understanding the neural circuitry underlying the acquisition, expression, and extinction of emotional memories in rodent models as well as in humans. A triad of brain regions, including the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and amygdala, form an essential brain circuit involved in fear conditioning and extinction. Within this circuit, the prefrontal cortex is thought to exert top-down control over subcortical structures to regulate appropriate behavioral responses. Importantly, a division of labor has been proposed in which the prelimbic (PL) and infralimbic (IL) subdivisions of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) regulate the expression and suppression of fear in rodents, respectively. Here, we critically review the anatomical and physiological evidence that has led to this proposed dichotomy of function within mPFC. We propose that under some conditions, the PL and IL act in concert, exhibiting similar patterns of neural activity in response to aversive conditioned stimuli and during the expression or inhibition of conditioned fear. This may stem from common synaptic inputs, parallel downstream outputs, or cortico-cortical interactions. Despite this functional covariation, these mPFC subdivisions may still be coding for largely opposing behavioral outcomes, with PL biased towards fear expression and IL towards suppression. PMID:26617500

  1. Systems reconsolidation reveals a selective role for the anterior cingulate cortex in generalized contextual fear memory expression.

    PubMed

    Einarsson, Einar Ö; Pors, Jennifer; Nader, Karim

    2015-01-01

    After acquisition, hippocampus-dependent memories undergo a systems consolidation process, during which they become independent of the hippocampus and dependent on the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) for memory expression. However, consolidated remote memories can become transiently hippocampus-dependent again following memory reactivation. How this systems reconsolidation affects the role of the ACC in remote memory expression is not known. Using contextual fear conditioning, we show that the expression of 30-day-old remote memory can transiently be supported by either the ACC or the dorsal hippocampus following memory reactivation, and that the ACC specifically mediates expression of remote generalized contextual fear memory. We found that suppression of neural activity in the ACC with the AMPA/kainate receptor antagonist 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (CNQX) impaired the expression of remote, but not recent, contextual fear memory. Fear expression was not affected by this treatment if preceded by memory reactivation 6 h earlier, nor was it affected by suppression of neural activity in the dorsal hippocampus with the GABA-receptor agonist muscimol. However, simultaneous targeting of both the ACC and the dorsal hippocampus 6 h after memory reactivation disrupted contextual fear memory expression. Second, we observed that expression of a 30-day-old generalized contextual fear memory in a novel context was not affected by memory reactivation 6 h earlier. However, intra-ACC CNQX infusion before testing impaired contextual fear expression in the novel context, but not the original training context. Together, these data suggest that although the dorsal hippocampus may be recruited during systems reconsolidation, the ACC remains necessary for the expression of generalized contextual fear memory. PMID:25091528

  2. Fear conditioned responses and PTSD symptoms in children: Sex differences in fear-related symptoms.

    PubMed

    Gamwell, Kaitlyn; Nylocks, Maria; Cross, Dorthie; Bradley, Bekh; Norrholm, Seth D; Jovanovic, Tanja

    2015-11-01

    Fear conditioning studies in adults have found that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with heightened fear responses and impaired discrimination. The objective of the current study was to examine the association between PTSD symptoms and fear conditioned responses in children from a highly traumatized urban population. Children between 8 and 13 years old participated in a fear conditioning study in addition to providing information about their trauma history and PTSD symptoms. Results showed that females showed less discrimination between danger and safety signals during conditioning compared to age-matched males. In boys, intrusive symptoms were predictive of fear responses, even after controlling for trauma exposure. However, in girls, conditioned fear to the danger cue was predictive of self-blame and fear of repeated trauma. This study suggests there are early sex differences in the patterns of fear conditioning and that these sex differences may translate to differential risk for trauma-related psychopathology.

  3. Dual functions of perirhinal cortex in fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Kent, Brianne A; Brown, Thomas H

    2012-10-01

    The present review examines the role of perirhinal cortex (PRC) in Pavlovian fear conditioning. The focus is on rats, partly because so much is known, behaviorally and neurobiologically, about fear conditioning in these animals. In addition, the neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of rat PRC have been described in considerable detail at the cellular and systems levels. The evidence suggests that PRC can serve at least two types of mnemonic functions in Pavlovian fear conditioning. The first function, termed "stimulus unitization," refers to the ability to treat two or more separate items or stimulus elements as a single entity. Supporting evidence for this perceptual function comes from studies of context conditioning as well as delay conditioning to discontinuous auditory cues. In a delay paradigm, the conditional stimulus (CS) and unconditional stimulus (US) overlap temporally and co-terminate. The second PRC function entails a type of "transient memory." Supporting evidence comes from studies of trace cue conditioning, where there is a temporal gap or trace interval between the CS offset and the US onset. For learning to occur, there must be a transient CS representation during the trace interval. We advance a novel neurophysiological mechanism for this transient representation. These two hypothesized functions of PRC are consistent with inferences based on non-aversive forms of learning.

  4. An organization of visual and auditory fear conditioning in the lateral amygdala.

    PubMed

    Bergstrom, Hadley C; Johnson, Luke R

    2014-12-01

    Pavlovian fear conditioning is an evolutionary conserved and extensively studied form of associative learning and memory. In mammals, the lateral amygdala (LA) is an essential locus for Pavlovian fear learning and memory. Despite significant progress unraveling the cellular mechanisms responsible for fear conditioning, very little is known about the anatomical organization of neurons encoding fear conditioning in the LA. One key question is how fear conditioning to different sensory stimuli is organized in LA neuronal ensembles. Here we show that Pavlovian fear conditioning, formed through either the auditory or visual sensory modality, activates a similar density of LA neurons expressing a learning-induced phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (p-ERK1/2). While the size of the neuron population specific to either memory was similar, the anatomical distribution differed. Several discrete sites in the LA contained a small but significant number of p-ERK1/2-expressing neurons specific to either sensory modality. The sites were anatomically localized to different levels of the longitudinal plane and were independent of both memory strength and the relative size of the activated neuronal population, suggesting some portion of the memory trace for auditory and visually cued fear conditioning is allocated differently in the LA. Presenting the visual stimulus by itself did not activate the same p-ERK1/2 neuron density or pattern, confirming the novelty of light alone cannot account for the specific pattern of activated neurons after visual fear conditioning. Together, these findings reveal an anatomical distribution of visual and auditory fear conditioning at the level of neuronal ensembles in the LA.

  5. Reciprocal Patterns of c-Fos Expression in the Medial Prefrontal Cortex and Amygdala after Extinction and Renewal of Conditioned Fear

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Knapska, Ewelina; Maren, Stephen

    2009-01-01

    After extinction of conditioned fear, memory for the conditioning and extinction experiences becomes context dependent. Fear is suppressed in the extinction context, but renews in other contexts. This study characterizes the neural circuitry underlying the context-dependent retrieval of extinguished fear memories using c-Fos immunohistochemistry.…

  6. Hippocampal neurogenesis enhancers promote forgetting of remote fear memory after hippocampal reactivation by retrieval

    PubMed Central

    Ishikawa, Rie; Fukushima, Hotaka; Frankland, Paul W; Kida, Satoshi

    2016-01-01

    Forgetting of recent fear memory is promoted by treatment with memantine (MEM), which increases hippocampal neurogenesis. The approaches for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) using rodent models have focused on the extinction and reconsolidation of recent, but not remote, memories. Here we show that, following prolonged re-exposure to the conditioning context, enhancers of hippocampal neurogenesis, including MEM, promote forgetting of remote contextual fear memory. However, these interventions are ineffective following shorter re-exposures. Importantly, we find that long, but not short re-exposures activate gene expression in the hippocampus and induce hippocampus-dependent reconsolidation of remote contextual fear memory. Furthermore, remote memory retrieval becomes hippocampus-dependent after the long-time recall, suggesting that remote fear memory returns to a hippocampus dependent state after the long-time recall, thereby allowing enhanced forgetting by increased hippocampal neurogenesis. Forgetting of traumatic memory may contribute to the development of PTSD treatment. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.17464.001

  7. Hippocampal neurogenesis enhancers promote forgetting of remote fear memory after hippocampal reactivation by retrieval

    PubMed Central

    Ishikawa, Rie; Fukushima, Hotaka; Frankland, Paul W; Kida, Satoshi

    2016-01-01

    Forgetting of recent fear memory is promoted by treatment with memantine (MEM), which increases hippocampal neurogenesis. The approaches for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) using rodent models have focused on the extinction and reconsolidation of recent, but not remote, memories. Here we show that, following prolonged re-exposure to the conditioning context, enhancers of hippocampal neurogenesis, including MEM, promote forgetting of remote contextual fear memory. However, these interventions are ineffective following shorter re-exposures. Importantly, we find that long, but not short re-exposures activate gene expression in the hippocampus and induce hippocampus-dependent reconsolidation of remote contextual fear memory. Furthermore, remote memory retrieval becomes hippocampus-dependent after the long-time recall, suggesting that remote fear memory returns to a hippocampus dependent state after the long-time recall, thereby allowing enhanced forgetting by increased hippocampal neurogenesis. Forgetting of traumatic memory may contribute to the development of PTSD treatment. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.17464.001 PMID:27669409

  8. Noradrenergic signaling in infralimbic cortex increases cell excitability and strengthens memory for fear extinction.

    PubMed

    Mueller, Devin; Porter, James T; Quirk, Gregory J

    2008-01-01

    Emotional arousal strengthens memory. This is most apparent in aversive conditioning, in which the stress-related neurotransmitter norepinephrine (NE) enhances associations between sensory stimuli and fear-inducing events. In contrast to conditioning, extinction decreases fear responses, and is thought to form a new memory. It is not known, however, whether NE is necessary for extinction learning. Previous work has shown that the infralimbic prefrontal cortex (IL) is a site of extinction consolidation. Here, we show that blocking noradrenergic beta-receptors in IL before extinction training impaired retrieval of extinction the following day, consistent with a weakened extinction memory. We further found that the sequelae of beta-receptor activation, including protein kinase A (PKA), gene transcription and translation in IL, are necessary for extinction. To determine whether activation of this cascade modulates IL excitability, we measured the response of IL pyramidal neurons to injected current. NE increased the excitability of IL neurons in a beta-receptor- and PKA-dependent manner. We suggest that NE released in IL during fear extinction activates a PKA-mediated molecular cascade that strengthens extinction memory. Thus, emotional arousal evoked by conditioned fear paradoxically promotes the subsequent extinction of that fear, thereby ensuring behavioral flexibility.

  9. Conditioned Fear Acquisition and Generalization in Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

    PubMed

    Tinoco-González, Daniella; Fullana, Miquel Angel; Torrents-Rodas, David; Bonillo, Albert; Vervliet, Bram; Blasco, María Jesús; Farré, Magí; Torrubia, Rafael

    2015-09-01

    Abnormal fear conditioning processes (including fear acquisition and conditioned fear-generalization) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of anxiety disorders. Previous research has shown that individuals with panic disorder present enhanced conditioned fear-generalization in comparison to healthy controls. Enhanced conditioned fear-generalization could also characterize generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), but research so far is inconclusive. An important confounding factor in previous research is comorbidity. The present study examined conditioned fear-acquisition and fear-generalization in 28 patients with GAD and 30 healthy controls using a recently developed fear acquisition and generalization paradigm assessing fear-potentiated startle and online expectancies of the unconditioned stimulus. Analyses focused on GAD patients without comorbidity but included also patients with comorbid anxiety disorders. Patients and controls did not differ as regards fear acquisition. However, contrary to our hypothesis, both groups did not differ either in most indexes of conditioned fear-generalization. Moreover, dimensional measures of GAD symptoms were not correlated with conditioned fear-generalization indexes. Comorbidity did not have a significant impact on the results. Our data suggest that conditioned fear-generalization is not enhanced in GAD. Results are discussed with special attention to the possible effects of comorbidity on fear learning abnormalities.

  10. Conditioned Fear Extinction and Reinstatement in a Human Fear-Potentiated Startle Paradigm

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Norrholm, Seth D.; Jovanovic, Tanja; Vervliet, Bram; Myers, Karyn M.; Davis, Michael; Rothbaum, Barbara O.; Duncan, Erica J.

    2006-01-01

    The purpose of this study was to analyze fear extinction and reinstatement in humans using fear-potentiated startle. Participants were fear conditioned using a simple discrimination procedure with colored lights as the conditioned stimuli (CSs) and an airblast to the throat as the unconditioned stimulus (US). Participants were extinguished 24 h…

  11. An appetitive experience after fear memory destabilization attenuates fear retention: involvement GluN2B-NMDA receptors in the Basolateral Amygdala Complex.

    PubMed

    Ferrer Monti, Roque I; Giachero, Marcelo; Alfei, Joaquín M; Bueno, Adrián M; Cuadra, Gabriel; Molina, Victor A

    2016-09-01

    It is known that a consolidated memory can return to a labile state and become transiently malleable following reactivation. This instability is followed by a restabilization phase termed reconsolidation. In this work, we explored whether an unrelated appetitive experience (voluntary consumption of diluted sucrose) can affect a contextual fear memory in rats during the reactivation-induced destabilization phase. Our findings show that exposure to an appetitive experience following reactivation can diminish fear retention. This effect persisted after 1 wk. Importantly, it was achieved only under conditions that induced fear memory destabilization. This result could not be explained as a potentiated extinction, because sucrose was unable to promote extinction. Since GluN2B-containing NMDA receptors in the basolateral amygdala complex (BLA) have been implicated in triggering fear memory destabilization, we decided to block pharmacologically these receptors to explore the neurobiological bases of the observed effect. Intra-BLA infusion with ifenprodil, a GluN2B-NMDA antagonist, prevented the fear reduction caused by the appetitive experience. In sum, these results suggest that the expression of a fear memory can be dampened by an unrelated appetitive experience, as long as memory destabilization is achieved during reactivation. Possible mechanisms behind this effect and its clinical implications are discussed.

  12. An appetitive experience after fear memory destabilization attenuates fear retention: involvement GluN2B-NMDA receptors in the Basolateral Amygdala Complex.

    PubMed

    Ferrer Monti, Roque I; Giachero, Marcelo; Alfei, Joaquín M; Bueno, Adrián M; Cuadra, Gabriel; Molina, Victor A

    2016-09-01

    It is known that a consolidated memory can return to a labile state and become transiently malleable following reactivation. This instability is followed by a restabilization phase termed reconsolidation. In this work, we explored whether an unrelated appetitive experience (voluntary consumption of diluted sucrose) can affect a contextual fear memory in rats during the reactivation-induced destabilization phase. Our findings show that exposure to an appetitive experience following reactivation can diminish fear retention. This effect persisted after 1 wk. Importantly, it was achieved only under conditions that induced fear memory destabilization. This result could not be explained as a potentiated extinction, because sucrose was unable to promote extinction. Since GluN2B-containing NMDA receptors in the basolateral amygdala complex (BLA) have been implicated in triggering fear memory destabilization, we decided to block pharmacologically these receptors to explore the neurobiological bases of the observed effect. Intra-BLA infusion with ifenprodil, a GluN2B-NMDA antagonist, prevented the fear reduction caused by the appetitive experience. In sum, these results suggest that the expression of a fear memory can be dampened by an unrelated appetitive experience, as long as memory destabilization is achieved during reactivation. Possible mechanisms behind this effect and its clinical implications are discussed. PMID:27531837

  13. Short-term inhibition of 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 reversibly improves spatial memory but persistently impairs contextual fear memory in aged mice.

    PubMed

    Wheelan, Nicola; Webster, Scott P; Kenyon, Christopher J; Caughey, Sarah; Walker, Brian R; Holmes, Megan C; Seckl, Jonathan R; Yau, Joyce L W

    2015-04-01

    High glucocorticoid levels induced by stress enhance the memory of fearful events and may contribute to the development of anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder. In contrast, elevated glucocorticoids associated with ageing impair spatial memory. We have previously shown that pharmacological inhibition of the intracellular glucocorticoid-amplifying enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) improves spatial memory in aged mice. However, it is not known whether inhibition of 11β-HSD1 will have any beneficial effects on contextual fear memories in aged mice. Here, we examined the effects of UE2316, a selective 11β-HSD1 inhibitor which accesses the brain, on both spatial and contextual fear memories in aged mice using a vehicle-controlled crossover study design. Short-term UE2316 treatment improved spatial memory in aged mice, an effect which was reversed when UE2316 was substituted with vehicle. In contrast, contextual fear memory induced by foot-shock conditioning was significantly reduced by UE2316 in a non-reversible manner. When the order of treatment was reversed following extinction of the original fear memory, and a second foot-shock conditioning was given in a novel context, UE2316 treated aged mice (previously on vehicle) now showed increased fear memory compared to vehicle-treated aged mice (previously on UE2316). Renewal of the original extinguished fear memory triggered by exposure to a new environmental context may explain these effects. Thus 11β-HSD1 inhibition reverses spatial memory impairments with ageing while reducing the strength and persistence of new contextual fear memories. Potentially this could help prevent anxiety-related disorders in vulnerable elderly individuals.

  14. Pavlovian fear conditioning activates a common pattern of neurons in the lateral amygdala of individual brains.

    PubMed

    Bergstrom, Hadley C; McDonald, Craig G; Johnson, Luke R

    2011-01-12

    Understanding the physical encoding of a memory (the engram) is a fundamental question in neuroscience. Although it has been established that the lateral amygdala is a key site for encoding associative fear memory, it is currently unclear whether the spatial distribution of neurons encoding a given memory is random or stable. Here we used spatial principal components analysis to quantify the topography of activated neurons, in a select region of the lateral amygdala, from rat brains encoding a Pavlovian conditioned fear memory. Our results demonstrate a stable, spatially patterned organization of amygdala neurons are activated during the formation of a Pavlovian conditioned fear memory. We suggest that this stable neuronal assembly constitutes a spatial dimension of the engram.

  15. Modulation of cannabinoid signaling by amygdala α2-adrenergic system in fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Nasehi, Mohammad; Zamanparvar, Majid; Ebrahimi-Ghiri, Mohaddeseh; Zarrindast, Mohammad-Reza

    2016-03-01

    The noradrenergic system plays a critical role in the modulation of emotional state, primarily related to anxiety, arousal, and stress. Growing evidence suggests that the endocannabinoid system mediates stress responses and emotional homeostasis, in part, by targeting noradrenergic circuits. In addition, there is an interaction between the cannabinoid and noradrenergic system that has significant functional and behavioral implications. Considering the importance of these systems in forming memories for fearful events, we have investigated the involvement of basolateral amygdala (BLA) α2-adrenoceptors on ACPA (as selective cannabinoid CB1 agonist)-induced inhibition of the acquisition of contextual and auditory conditioned fear. A contextual and auditory fear conditioning apparatus for assess fear memory in adult male NMRI mice was used. Pre-training, intraperitoneal administration of ACPA decreased the percentage freezing time in contextual (at doses of 0.05 and 0.1mg/kg) and auditory (at dose of 0.1 mg/kg) in the fear conditioning task, indicating memory acquisition deficit. The same result was observed with intra-BLA microinjection of clonidine (0.001-0.5 μg/mouse, for both memories), as α2-adrenoceptor agonist and yohimbine (at doses of 0.005 and 0.05 for contextual and at dose of 0.05 μg/mouse for auditory fear memory), as α2-adrenoceptor antagonist. In addition, intra-BLA microinjection of clonidine (0.0005 μg/mouse) did not alter ACPA response in both conditions, while the same dose of yohimbine potentiated ACPA response at the lower dose on contextual fear memory. It is concluded that BLA α2-adrenergic receptors may be involved in context- but not tone-dependent fear memory impairment induced by activation of CB1 receptors.

  16. Double dissociation of amygdala and hippocampal contributions to trace and delay fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Raybuck, Jonathan D; Lattal, K Matthew

    2011-01-19

    A key finding in studies of the neurobiology of learning memory is that the amygdala is critically involved in Pavlovian fear conditioning. This is well established in delay-cued and contextual fear conditioning; however, surprisingly little is known of the role of the amygdala in trace conditioning. Trace fear conditioning, in which the CS and US are separated in time by a trace interval, requires the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. It is possible that recruitment of cortical structures by trace conditioning alters the role of the amygdala compared to delay fear conditioning, where the CS and US overlap. To investigate this, we inactivated the amygdala of male C57BL/6 mice with GABA (A) agonist muscimol prior to 2-pairing trace or delay fear conditioning. Amygdala inactivation produced deficits in contextual and delay conditioning, but had no effect on trace conditioning. As controls, we demonstrate that dorsal hippocampal inactivation produced deficits in trace and contextual, but not delay fear conditioning. Further, pre- and post-training amygdala inactivation disrupted the contextual but the not cued component of trace conditioning, as did muscimol infusion prior to 1- or 4-pairing trace conditioning. These findings demonstrate that insertion of a temporal gap between the CS and US can generate amygdala-independent fear conditioning. We discuss the implications of this surprising finding for current models of the neural circuitry involved in fear conditioning.

  17. Amygdala kindling disrupts trace and delay fear conditioning with parallel changes in Fos protein expression throughout the limbic brain.

    PubMed

    Botterill, J J; Fournier, N M; Guskjolen, A J; Lussier, A L; Marks, W N; Kalynchuk, L E

    2014-04-18

    Amygdala kindling is well known to increase unconditioned fear and anxiety. However, relatively little is known about whether this form of kindling causes functional changes within the neural circuitry that mediates fear learning and the retrieval of fear memories. To address this issue, we examined the effect of short- (i.e., 30 stimulations) and long-term (i.e., 99 stimulations) amygdala kindling in rats on trace and delay fear conditioning, which are aversive learning tasks that rely predominantly on the hippocampus and amygdala, respectively. After memory retrieval, we analyzed the pattern of neural activity with Fos, the protein product of the immediate early gene c-fos. We found that kindling had no effect on acquisition of the trace fear conditioning task but it did selectively impair retrieval of this fear memory. In contrast, kindling disrupted both acquisition and retrieval of fear memory in the delay fear conditioning task. We also found that kindling-induced impairments in memory retrieval were accompanied by decreased Fos expression in several subregions of the hippocampus, parahippocampus, and amygdala. Interestingly, decreased freezing in the trace conditioning task was significantly correlated with dampened Fos expression in hippocampal and parahippocampal regions whereas decreased freezing in the delay conditioning task was significantly correlated with dampened Fos expression in hippocampal, parahippocampal, and amygdaloid circuits. Overall, these results suggest that amygdala kindling promotes functional changes in brain regions involved in specific types of fear learning and memory.

  18. Opioid receptors regulate the extinction of Pavlovian fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    McNally, Gavan P; Westbrook, R Frederick

    2003-12-01

    Rats received a single pairing of an auditory conditioned stimulus (CS) with a footshock unconditioned stimulus (US). The fear (freezing) that had accrued to the CS was then extinguished. Injection of naloxone prior to this extinction significantly impaired the development of extinction. This impairment was mediated by opioid receptors in the brain and was not observed when naloxone was injected after extinction training. Finally, an injection of naloxone on test failed to reinstate extinguished responding that had already accrued to the CS. These experiments show that opioid receptors regulate the development, but not the expression, of fear extinction and are discussed with reference to the roles of opioid receptors in US processing, memory, and appetitive motivation.

  19. Prefrontal Consolidation Supports the Attainment of Fear Memory Accuracy

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Vieira, Philip A.; Lovelace, Jonathan W.; Corches, Alex; Rashid, Asim J.; Josselyn, Sheena A.; Korzus, Edward

    2014-01-01

    The neural mechanisms underlying the attainment of fear memory accuracy for appropriate discriminative responses to aversive and nonaversive stimuli are unclear. Considerable evidence indicates that coactivator of transcription and histone acetyltransferase cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) binding protein (CBP) is critically required…

  20. Effects of Postnatal Serotonin Agonism on Fear Response and Memory

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT) also acts as a neurogenic compound in the developing brain. Early administration of a 5-HT agonist could alter the development of the serotonergic circuitry, altering behaviors mediated by 5-HT signaling, such as memory, fear and aggression. White leghorn chicks...

  1. The contextual brain: implications for fear conditioning, extinction and psychopathology

    PubMed Central

    Maren, Stephen; Phan, K. Luan; Liberzon, Israel

    2016-01-01

    Contexts surround and imbue meaning to events; they are essential for recollecting the past, interpreting the present and anticipating the future. Indeed, the brain’s capacity to contextualize information permits enormous cognitive and behavioural flexibility. Studies of Pavlovian fear conditioning and extinction in rodents and humans suggest that a neural circuit including the hippocampus, amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex is involved in the learning and memory processes that enable context-dependent behaviour. Dysfunction in this network may be involved in several forms of psychopathology, including post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and substance abuse disorders. PMID:23635870

  2. Effects of Post-Training Hippocampal Injections of Midazolam on Fear Conditioning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gafford, Georgette M.; Parsons, Ryan G.; Helmstetter, Fred J.

    2005-01-01

    Benzodiazepines have been useful tools for investigating mechanisms underlying learning and memory. The present set of experiments investigates the role of hippocampal GABA[subscript A]/benzodiazepine receptors in memory consolidation using Pavlovian fear conditioning. Rats were prepared with cannulae aimed at the dorsal hippocampus and trained…

  3. The Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor Valproic Acid Enhances Acquisition, Extinction, and Reconsolidation of Conditioned Fear

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bredy, Timothy W.; Barad, Mark

    2008-01-01

    Histone modifications contribute to the epigenetic regulation of gene expression, a process now recognized to be important for the consolidation of long-term memory. Valproic acid (VPA), used for many years as an anticonvulsant and a mood stabilizer, has effects on learning and memory and enhances the extinction of conditioned fear through its…

  4. The Cannabinoid System in the Retrosplenial Cortex Modulates Fear Memory Consolidation, Reconsolidation, and Extinction

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sachser, Ricardo Marcelo; Crestani, Ana Paula; Quillfeldt, Jorge Alberto; e Souza, Tadeu Mello; de Oliveira Alvares, Lucas

    2015-01-01

    Despite the fact that the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1R) plays a pivotal role in emotional memory processing in different regions of the brain, its function in the retrosplenial cortex (RSC) remains unknown. Here, using contextual fear conditioning in rats, we showed that a post-training intra-RSC infusion of the CB1R antagonist AM251…

  5. Hippocampus and Medial Prefrontal Cortex Contributions to Trace and Contextual Fear Memory Expression over Time

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Beeman, Christopher L.; Bauer, Philip S.; Pierson, Jamie L.; Quinn, Jennifer J.

    2013-01-01

    Previous work has shown that damage to the dorsal hippocampus (DH) occurring at recent, but not remote, timepoints following acquisition produces a deficit in trace conditioned fear memory expression. The opposite pattern has been observed with lesions to the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). The present studies address: (1) whether these lesion…

  6. Generalization of Conditioned Fear along a Dimension of Increasing Fear Intensity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dunsmoor, Joseph E.; Mitroff, Stephen R.; LaBar, Kevin S.

    2009-01-01

    The present study investigated the extent to which fear generalization in humans is determined by the amount of fear intensity in nonconditioned stimuli relative to a perceptually similar conditioned stimulus. Stimuli consisted of graded emotionally expressive faces of the same identity morphed between neutral and fearful endpoints. Two…

  7. Prefrontal inputs to the amygdala instruct fear extinction memory formation

    PubMed Central

    Bukalo, Olena; Pinard, Courtney R.; Silverstein, Shana; Brehm, Christina; Hartley, Nolan D.; Whittle, Nigel; Colacicco, Giovanni; Busch, Erica; Patel, Sachin; Singewald, Nicolas; Holmes, Andrew

    2015-01-01

    Persistent anxiety after a psychological trauma is a hallmark of many anxiety disorders. However, the neural circuits mediating the extinction of traumatic fear memories remain incompletely understood. We show that selective, in vivo stimulation of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC)–amygdala pathway facilitated extinction memory formation, but not retrieval. Conversely, silencing the vmPFC-amygdala pathway impaired extinction formation and reduced extinction-induced amygdala activity. Our data demonstrate a critical instructional role for the vmPFC-amygdala circuit in the formation of extinction memories. These findings advance our understanding of the neural basis of persistent fear, with implications for posttraumatic stress disorder and other anxiety disorders. PMID:26504902

  8. Brain sites involved in fear memory reconsolidation and extinction of rodents.

    PubMed

    Baldi, Elisabetta; Bucherelli, Corrado

    2015-06-01

    Fear memory is a motivational system essential for organisms survival having a central role in organization of defensive behaviors to threat. In the last years there has been a growing interest on conditioned fear memory reconsolidation and extinction, two specific phases of memorization process, both induced by memory retrieval. Understanding the mechanisms underlying these two mnemonic processes may allow to work out therapeutic interventions for treatment of human fear and anxiety disorders, such as specific phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder. Based on the use of one-trial conditioning paradigms, which allow to follow the evolution of a mnemonic trace in its various phases, the present paper has attempted to reorganize the current literature relative to the rodents highlighting both the role of several brain structures in conditioned fear memory reconsolidation and extinction and the selective cellular processes involved. A crucial role seems to be play by medial prefrontal cortex, in particular by prelimbic and infralimbic cortices, and by distinct connections between them and the amygdala, hippocampus and entorhinal cortex.

  9. Epigenetic alterations are critical for fear memory consolidation and synaptic plasticity in the lateral amygdala.

    PubMed

    Monsey, Melissa S; Ota, Kristie T; Akingbade, Irene F; Hong, Ellie S; Schafe, Glenn E

    2011-01-01

    Epigenetic mechanisms, including histone acetylation and DNA methylation, have been widely implicated in hippocampal-dependent learning paradigms. Here, we have examined the role of epigenetic alterations in amygdala-dependent auditory Pavlovian fear conditioning and associated synaptic plasticity in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA) in the rat. Using Western blotting, we first show that auditory fear conditioning is associated with an increase in histone H3 acetylation and DNMT3A expression in the LA, and that training-related alterations in histone acetylation and DNMT3A expression in the LA are downstream of ERK/MAPK signaling. Next, we show that intra-LA infusion of the histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor TSA increases H3 acetylation and enhances fear memory consolidation; that is, long-term memory (LTM) is enhanced, while short-term memory (STM) is unaffected. Conversely, intra-LA infusion of the DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) inhibitor 5-AZA impairs fear memory consolidation. Further, intra-LA infusion of 5-AZA was observed to impair training-related increases in H3 acetylation, and pre-treatment with TSA was observed to rescue the memory consolidation deficit induced by 5-AZA. In our final series of experiments, we show that bath application of either 5-AZA or TSA to amygdala slices results in significant impairment or enhancement, respectively, of long-term potentiation (LTP) at both thalamic and cortical inputs to the LA. Further, the deficit in LTP following treatment with 5-AZA was observed to be rescued at both inputs by co-application of TSA. Collectively, these findings provide strong support that histone acetylation and DNA methylation work in concert to regulate memory consolidation of auditory fear conditioning and associated synaptic plasticity in the LA.

  10. Role of the somatostatin system in contextual fear memory and hippocampal synaptic plasticity.

    PubMed

    Kluge, Christian; Stoppel, Christian; Szinyei, Csaba; Stork, Oliver; Pape, Hans-Christian

    2008-04-01

    Somatostatin has been implicated in various cognitive and emotional functions, but its precise role is still poorly understood. Here, we have made use of mice with somatostatin deficiency, based upon genetic invalidation or pharmacologically induced depletion, and Pavlovian fear conditioning in order to address the contribution of the somatostatin system to associative fear memory. The results demonstrate an impairment of foreground and background contextual but not tone fear conditioning in mice with targeted ablation of the somatostatin gene. These deficits were associated with a decrease in long-term potentiation in the CA1 area of the hippocampus. Both the behavioral and the electrophysiological phenotypes were mimicked in wild-type mice through application of the somatostatin-depleting substance cysteamine prior to fear training, whereas no further deficits were observed upon application in the somatostatin null mutants. These results suggest that the somatostatin system plays a critical role in the acquisition of contextual fear memory, but not tone fear learning, and further highlights the role of hippocampal synaptic plasticity for information processing concerning contextual information.

  11. Single dose of L-dopa makes extinction memories context-independent and prevents the return of fear.

    PubMed

    Haaker, Jan; Gaburro, Stefano; Sah, Anupam; Gartmann, Nina; Lonsdorf, Tina B; Meier, Kolja; Singewald, Nicolas; Pape, Hans-Christian; Morellini, Fabio; Kalisch, Raffael

    2013-06-25

    Traumatic events can engender persistent excessive fear responses to trauma reminders that may return even after successful treatment. Extinction, the laboratory analog of behavior therapy, does not erase conditioned fear memories but generates competing, fear-inhibitory "extinction memories" that, however, are tied to the context in which extinction occurred. Accordingly, a dominance of fear over extinction memory expression--and, thus, return of fear--is often observed if extinguished fear stimuli are encountered outside the extinction (therapy) context. We show that postextinction administration of the dopamine precursor L-dopa makes extinction memories context-independent, thus strongly reducing the return of fear in both mice and humans. Reduced fear is accompanied by decreased amygdala and enhanced ventromedial prefrontal cortex activation in both species. In humans, ventromedial prefrontal cortex activity is predicted by enhanced resting-state functional coupling of the area with the dopaminergic midbrain during the postextinction consolidation phase. Our data suggest that dopamine-dependent boosting of extinction memory consolidation is a promising avenue to improving anxiety therapy.

  12. The endocannabinoid system in anxiety, fear memory and habituation

    PubMed Central

    Ruehle, S; Rey, A Aparisi; Remmers, F

    2012-01-01

    Evidence for the involvement of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in anxiety and fear has been accumulated, providing leads for novel therapeutic approaches. In anxiety, a bidirectional influence of the ECS has been reported, whereby anxiolytic and anxiogenic responses have been obtained after both increases and decreases of the endocannabinoid tone. The recently developed genetic tools have revealed different but complementary roles for the cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptor on GABAergic and glutamatergic neuronal populations. This dual functionality, together with the plasticity of CB1 receptor expression, particularly on GABAergic neurons, as induced by stressful and rewarding experiences, gives the ECS a unique regulatory capacity for maintaining emotional homeostasis. However, the promiscuity of the endogenous ligands of the CB1 receptor complicates the interpretation of experimental data concerning ECS and anxiety. In fear memory paradigms, the ECS is mostly involved in the two opposing processes of reconsolidation and extinction of the fear memory. Whereas ECS activation deteriorates reconsolidation, proper extinction depends on intact CB1 receptor signalling. Thus, both for anxiety and fear memory processing, endocannabinoid signalling may ensure an appropriate reaction to stressful events. Therefore, the ECS can be considered as a regulatory buffer system for emotional responses. PMID:21768162

  13. Posterior insular cortex is necessary for conditioned inhibition of fear.

    PubMed

    Foilb, Allison R; Flyer-Adams, Johanna G; Maier, Steven F; Christianson, John P

    2016-10-01

    Veridical detection of safety versus danger is critical to survival. Learned signals for safety inhibit fear, and so when presented, reduce fear responses produced by danger signals. This phenomenon is termed conditioned inhibition of fear. Here, we report that CS+/CS- fear discrimination conditioning over 5 days in rats leads the CS- to become a conditioned inhibitor of fear, as measured by the classic tests of conditioned inhibition: summation and retardation of subsequent fear acquisition. We then show that NMDA-receptor antagonist AP5 injected to posterior insular cortex (IC) before training completely prevented the acquisition of a conditioned fear inhibitor, while intra-AP5 to anterior and medial IC had no effect. To determine if the IC contributes to the recall of learned fear inhibition, injections of the GABAA agonist muscimol were made to posterior IC before a summation test. This resulted in fear inhibition per se, which obscured inference to the effect of IC inactivation with recall of the safety cue. Control experiments sought to determine if the role of the IC in conditioned inhibition learning could be reduced to simpler fear discrimination function, but fear discrimination and recall were unaffected by AP5 or muscimol, respectively, in the posterior IC. These data implicate a role of posterior IC in the learning of conditioned fear inhibitors. PMID:27523750

  14. Acute and chronic effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor treatment on fear conditioning: implications for underlying fear circuits.

    PubMed

    Burghardt, N S; Bauer, E P

    2013-09-01

    Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are widely used for the treatment of a spectrum of anxiety disorders, yet paradoxically they may increase symptoms of anxiety when treatment is first initiated. Despite extensive research over the past 30 years focused on SSRI treatment, the precise mechanisms by which SSRIs exert these opposing acute and chronic effects on anxiety remain unknown. By testing the behavioral effects of SSRI treatment on Pavlovian fear conditioning, a well characterized model of emotional learning, we have the opportunity to identify how SSRIs affect the functioning of specific brain regions, including the amygdala, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) and hippocampus. In this review, we first define different stages of learning involved in cued and context fear conditioning and describe the neural circuits underlying these processes. We examine the results of numerous rodent studies investigating how acute SSRI treatment modulates fear learning and relate these effects to the known functions of serotonin in specific brain regions. With these findings, we propose a model by which acute SSRI administration, by altering neural activity in the extended amygdala and hippocampus, enhances both acquisition and expression of cued fear conditioning, but impairs the expression of contextual fear conditioning. Finally, we review the literature examining the effects of chronic SSRI treatment on fear conditioning in rodents and describe how downregulation of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the amygdala and hippocampus may mediate the impairments in fear learning and memory that are reported. While long-term SSRI treatment effectively reduces symptoms of anxiety, their disruptive effects on fear learning should be kept in mind when combining chronic SSRI treatment and learning-based therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy.

  15. The conditions that promote fear learning: prediction error and Pavlovian fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Li, Susan Shi Yuan; McNally, Gavan P

    2014-02-01

    A key insight of associative learning theory is that learning depends on the actions of prediction error: a discrepancy between the actual and expected outcomes of a conditioning trial. When positive, such error causes increments in associative strength and, when negative, such error causes decrements in associative strength. Prediction error can act directly on fear learning by determining the effectiveness of the aversive unconditioned stimulus or indirectly by determining the effectiveness, or associability, of the conditioned stimulus. Evidence from a variety of experimental preparations in human and non-human animals suggest that discrete neural circuits code for these actions of prediction error during fear learning. Here we review the circuits and brain regions contributing to the neural coding of prediction error during fear learning and highlight areas of research (safety learning, extinction, and reconsolidation) that may profit from this approach to understanding learning.

  16. Pair exposure with conspecific during fear conditioning induces the link between freezing and passive avoidance behaviors in rats.

    PubMed

    Lee, Hyunchan; Noh, Jihyun

    2016-07-01

    Social factor plays an important role in dealing with posttraumatic stress disorder related to excessive physiological fear response and insufficient fear memory extinction of the brain. However, although social circumstances occurred not only during contextual retrieval but also during fear conditioning, most previous studies focused on the advantageous aspects of social buffering in fear retrieval period. To demonstrate the association between fear responses and fear memory from social stimuli during fear conditioning, pair exposed rats with conspecific as social buffering were subjected to a fear conditioning of passive avoidance test to evaluate memory function and freezing behavior. Whereas single exposed rats showed the significant increase of freezing behaviors and passive avoidance behaviors compared to control rats, pair exposed rats showed significant alleviation of the freezing behaviors and passive avoidance behaviors compared to single exposed rats. Furthermore, we determined a significant correlation between freezing and passive avoidance behavioral alteration in pair exposed rats. Taken together, we suggest that pair exposure with conspecific during fear conditioning helps to cope with both freezing response and fear memory systems and their reciprocal interaction has a crucial potential as a resource for the relief of unreasonable stress responses in posttraumatic stress disorder.

  17. Multiple memory systems, development and conditioning.

    PubMed

    Stanton, M E

    2000-06-01

    A century of behavioral and neurobiological research suggests that Pavlovian conditioning involves three component memory systems: sensorimotor, affective and cognitive. In classical eyeblink conditioning, there is evidence that these three memory systems involve, respectively, the cerebellum, amygdala and hippocampus. This article reviews developmental research on eyeblink conditioning in rodents that is beginning to characterize ontogenetic dissociations and interactions among these memory systems. This research shows that the functional development of the affective system (conditioned fear response) precedes that of the sensorimotor system (conditioned eyeblink reflex). Modulation of these two systems by cognitive processes also seems to emerge at different points in ontogeny. Implications for cognitive development and research on multiple memory systems are discussed.

  18. Impaired Contextual Modulation of Memories in PTSD: An fMRI and Psychophysiological Study of Extinction Retention and Fear Renewal

    PubMed Central

    Abelson, James L.; King, Anthony P.; Sripada, Rebecca K.; Wang, Xin; Gaines, Laura M.; Liberzon, Israel

    2014-01-01

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients display pervasive fear memories, expressed indiscriminately. Proposed mechanisms include enhanced fear learning and impaired extinction or extinction recall. Documented extinction recall deficits and failure to use safety signals could result from general failure to use contextual information, a hippocampus-dependent process. This can be probed by adding a renewal phase to standard conditioning and extinction paradigms. Human subjects with PTSD and combat controls were conditioned (skin conductance response), extinguished, and tested for extinction retention and renewal in a scanner (fMRI). Fear conditioning (light paired with shock) occurred in one context, followed by extinction in another, to create danger and safety contexts. The next day, the extinguished conditioned stimulus (CS+E) was re-presented to assess extinction recall (safety context) and fear renewal (danger context). PTSD patients showed impaired extinction recall, with increased skin conductance and heightened amygdala activity to the extinguished CS+ in the safety context. However, they also showed impaired fear renewal; in the danger context, they had less skin conductance response to CS+E and lower activity in amygdala and ventral-medial prefrontal cortex compared with combat controls. Control subjects displayed appropriate contextual modulation of memory recall, with extinction (safety) memory prevailing in the safety context, and fear memory prevailing in the danger context. PTSD patients could not use safety context to sustain suppression of extinguished fear memory, but they also less effectively used danger context to enhance fear. They did not display globally enhanced fear expression, but rather showed a globally diminished capacity to use contextual information to modulate fear expression. PMID:25274821

  19. Systemic administration of riluzole enhances recognition memory and facilitates extinction of fear memory in rats.

    PubMed

    Sugiyama, Azusa; Saitoh, Akiyoshi; Inagaki, Masatoshi; Oka, Jun-Ichiro; Yamada, Mitsuhiko

    2015-10-01

    Strategies to enhance recognition memory and facilitate extinction of fear memory have attracted increasing attention for enhancing the effectiveness of exposure therapy for anxiety disorders. Previously, we demonstrated that systemic administration of riluzole has clear anxiolytic-like effects, without impairing memory, in rats. In the present study, we examined whether riluzole could have therapeutic potential for anxiety disorders when combined with exposure therapy. Both riluzole and D-cycloserine enhanced recognition memory in the novel object recognition test and facilitated extinction learning in the contextual fear conditioning in rats. Interestingly, the facilitatory effect of riluzole on extinction learning was clearly observed even after a short re-exposure to the context, while D-cycloserine was ineffective at facilitating extinction when a short duration exposure session was given. In contrast, diazepam impaired both recognition memory and the extinction of fear memory. Our findings strongly suggest that systemic administration of riluzole may have therapeutic efficacy when combined with exposure therapy for treating a range of anxiety disorders. Clinical trials to examine the efficacy of riluzole in combination with exposure therapy in these patients are warranted.

  20. Involvement of the dopaminergic system in the consolidation of fear conditioning in hippocampal CA3 subregion.

    PubMed

    Wen, Jia-Ling; Xue, Li; Wang, Run-Hua; Chen, Zi-Xiang; Shi, Yan-Wei; Zhao, Hu

    2015-02-01

    The hippocampus, the primary brain structure related to learning and memory, receives sparse but comprehensive dopamine innervations and contains dopamine D1 and D2 receptors. Systematic hippocampal dopaminergic dysfunction can cause deficits in spatial working memory and impair consolidation of contextual fear memories. CA3 is involved in the rapid acquisition of new memories and has extensive nerve fibre connections with other brain structures such as CA1, the amygdala, and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). A bidirectional fibrous connection between CA3 and the amygdala reflects the importance of CA3 in fear conditioning. The present study evaluated the effects of a 6-OHDA lesion in CA3 on the acquisition and expression of conditioned fear. The results showed CA3 involvement in the expression but not the acquisition of conditioned fear. Injection of SCH23390 and quinpirole into the bilateral CA3 attenuated a conditioned fear-related freezing response, whereas SKF38393 and sulpiride were not associated with this effect. The present study found that a 6-OHDA lesion in CA3 up-regulated the expression of GluR1 in BLA and down-regulated NR2B in CA1 and the basolateral amygdala (BLA). Our data suggest that dopamine depletion in hippocampal subdivision CA3 may not be necessary for the acquisition of conditioned fear, but the expression of conditioned fear is likely dependent on the integrity of mesohippocampal dopaminergic connections. It is probable that both D1 and D2 dopaminergic receptors modulate the expression of conditioned fear. Changes in the expression of NR2B and GluR1 indicate that CA3 may modulate the activities of other brain structures. PMID:25446753

  1. Mice selectively bred for High and Low fear behavior show differences in the number of pMAPK (p44/42 ERK) expressing neurons in lateral amygdala following Pavlovian fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Coyner, Jennifer; McGuire, Jennifer L; Parker, Clarissa C; Ursano, Robert J; Palmer, Abraham A; Johnson, Luke R

    2014-07-01

    Individual variability in the acquisition, consolidation and extinction of conditioned fear potentially contributes to the development of fear pathology including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Pavlovian fear conditioning is a key tool for the study of fundamental aspects of fear learning. Here, we used a selected mouse line of High and Low Pavlovian conditioned fear created from an advanced intercrossed line (AIL) in order to begin to identify the cellular basis of phenotypic divergence in Pavlovian fear conditioning. We investigated whether phosphorylated MAPK (p44/42 ERK/MAPK), a protein kinase required in the amygdala for the acquisition and consolidation of Pavlovian fear memory, is differentially expressed following Pavlovian fear learning in the High and Low fear lines. We found that following Pavlovian auditory fear conditioning, High and Low line mice differ in the number of pMAPK-expressing neurons in the dorsal sub nucleus of the lateral amygdala (LAd). In contrast, this difference was not detected in the ventral medial (LAvm) or ventral lateral (LAvl) amygdala sub nuclei or in control animals. We propose that this apparent increase in plasticity at a known locus of fear memory acquisition and consolidation relates to intrinsic differences between the two fear phenotypes. These data provide important insights into the micronetwork mechanisms encoding phenotypic differences in fear. Understanding the circuit level cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie individual variability in fear learning is critical for the development of effective treatment of fear-related illnesses such as PTSD.

  2. Molecular Mechanisms of Stress-Induced Increases in Fear Memory Consolidation within the Amygdala

    PubMed Central

    Aubry, Antonio V.; Serrano, Peter A.; Burghardt, Nesha S.

    2016-01-01

    Stress can significantly impact brain function and increase the risk for developing various psychiatric disorders. Many of the brain regions that are implicated in psychiatric disorders and are vulnerable to the effects of stress are also involved in mediating emotional learning. Emotional learning has been a subject of intense investigation for the past 30 years, with the vast majority of studies focusing on the amygdala and its role in associative fear learning. However, the mechanisms by which stress affects the amygdala and amygdala-dependent fear memories remain unclear. Here we review the literature on the enhancing effects of acute and chronic stress on the acquisition and/or consolidation of a fear memory, as measured by auditory Pavlovian fear conditioning, and discuss potential mechanisms by which these changes occur in the amygdala. We hypothesize that stress-mediated activation of glucocorticoid receptors (GR) and norepinephrine release within the amygdala leads to the mobilization of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptors to the synapse, which underlies stress-induced increases in fear memory. We discuss the implications of this hypothesis for evaluating the effects of stress on extinction and for developing treatments for anxiety disorders. Understanding how stress-induced changes in glucocorticoid and norepinephrine signaling might converge to affect emotional learning by increasing the trafficking of AMPA receptors and enhancing amygdala excitability is a promising area for future research.

  3. Identification of functional circuitry between retrosplenial and postrhinal cortices during fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Robinson, Siobhan; Poorman, Caroline E; Marder, Thomas J; Bucci, David J

    2012-08-29

    The retrosplenial cortex (RSP) and postrhinal cortex (POR) are heavily interconnected with medial temporal lobe structures involved in learning and memory. Previous studies indicate that RSP and POR are necessary for contextual fear conditioning, but it remains unclear whether these regions contribute individually or instead work together as a functional circuit to modulate learning and/or memory. In Experiment 1, learning-related neuronal activity was assessed in RSP from home cage, shock-only, context-only, or fear-conditioned rats using real-time PCR and immunohistochemical methods to quantify immediate-early gene expression. A significant increase in activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein (Arc) mRNA and Arc and c-Fos protein expression was detected in RSP from fear-conditioned rats compared with all other groups. In Experiment 2, retrograde tracing combined with immunohistochemistry revealed that, compared with controls, a significant proportion of cells projecting from RSP to POR were immunopositive for c-Fos in fear-conditioned rats. These results demonstrate that neurons projecting from RSP to POR are indeed active during fear conditioning. In Experiment 3, a functional disconnection paradigm was used to further examine the interaction between RSP and POR during fear conditioning. Compared with controls, rats with unilateral lesions of RSP and POR on opposite sides of the brain exhibited impaired contextual fear memory, whereas rats with unilateral lesions in the same hemisphere displayed intermediate levels of freezing compared with controls and rats with contralateral lesions. Collectively, these results are the first to show that RSP and POR function as a cortical network necessary for contextual fear learning and memory.

  4. Identification of Functional Circuitry Between Retrosplenial and Postrhinal Cortices During Fear Conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Robinson, Siobhan; Poorman, Caroline E.; Marder, Thomas J.; Bucci, David J.

    2012-01-01

    The retrosplenial (RSP) and postrhinal (POR) cortices are heavily interconnected with medial temporal lobe structures involved in learning and memory. Previous studies indicate that RSP and POR are necessary for contextual fear conditioning, but it remains unclear whether these regions contribute individually or instead work together as a functional circuit to modulate learning and/or memory. In Experiment 1, learning-related neuronal activity was assessed in RSP from home-cage, shock-only, context-only or fear conditioned rats using real-time PCR and immunohistochemical methods to quantify immediate early gene expression. A significant increase in Arc (activity regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein) mRNA and Arc and c-Fos protein expression was detected in RSP from fear conditioned rats compared to all other groups. In Experiment 2, retrograde tracing combined with immunohistochemistry revealed that compared to controls, a significant proportion of cells projecting from RSP to POR were immunopositive for c-Fos in fear conditioned rats. These results demonstrate that neurons projecting from RSP to POR are indeed active during fear conditioning. In Experiment 3, a functional disconnection paradigm was used to further examine the interaction between RSP and POR during fear conditioning. Compared to controls, rats with unilateral lesions of RSP and POR on opposite sides of the brain exhibited impaired contextual fear memory whereas rats with unilateral lesions in the same hemisphere displayed intermediate levels of freezing compared to controls and rats with contralateral lesions. Collectively these results are the first to show that RSP and POR function as a cortical network necessary for contextual fear learning and memory. PMID:22933791

  5. Asymmetrical Stimulus Generalization following Differential Fear Conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Bang, Sun Jung; Allen, Timothy A.; Jones, Lauren K.; Boguszewski, Pawel; Brown, Thomas H.

    2008-01-01

    Rodent ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) are ethologically critical social signals. Rats emit 22 kHz USVs and 50 kHz USVs, respectively, in conjunction with negative and positive affective states. Little is known about what controls emotional reactivity to these social signals. Using male Sprague-Dawley rats, we examined unconditional and conditional freezing behavior in response to the following auditory stimuli: three 22 kHz USVs, a discontinuous tone whose frequency and on-off pattern matched one of the USVs, a continuous tone with the same or lower frequencies, a 4 kHz discontinuous tone with an on-off pattern matched to one of the USVs, and a 50 kHz USV. There were no differences among these stimuli in terms of the unconditional elicitation of freezing behavior. Thus, the stimuli were equally neutral before conditioning. During differential fear conditioning, one of these stimuli (the CS+) always co-terminated with a footshock unconditional stimulus (US) and another stimulus (the CS−) was explicitly unpaired with the US. There were no significant differences among these cues in CS+-elicited freezing behavior. Thus, the stimuli were equally salient or effective as cues in supporting fear conditioning. When the CS+ was a 22 kHz USV or a similar stimulus, rats discriminated based on the principal frequency and/or the temporal pattern of the stimulus. However, when these same stimuli served as the CS−, discrimination failed due to generalization from the CS+. Thus, the stimuli differed markedly in the specificity of conditioning. This strikingly asymmetrical stimulus generalization is a novel bias in discrimination. PMID:18434217

  6. Overexpression of SIRT6 in the hippocampal CA1 impairs the formation of long-term contextual fear memory

    PubMed Central

    Yin, Xi; Gao, Yuan; Shi, Hai-Shui; Song, Li; Wang, Jie-Chao; Shao, Juan; Geng, Xu-Hong; Xue, Gai; Li, Jian-Li; Hou, Yan-Ning

    2016-01-01

    Histone modifications have been implicated in learning and memory. Our previous transcriptome data showed that expression of sirtuins 6 (SIRT6), a member of Histone deacetylases (HDACs) family in the hippocampal cornu ammonis 1 (CA1) was decreased after contextual fear conditioning. However, the role of SIRT6 in the formation of memory is still elusive. In the present study, we found that contextual fear conditioning inhibited translational expression of SIRT6 in the CA1. Microinfusion of lentiviral vector-expressing SIRT6 into theCA1 region selectively enhanced the expression of SIRT6 and impaired the formation of long-term contextual fear memory without affecting short-term fear memory. The overexpression of SIRT6 in the CA1 had no effect on anxiety-like behaviors or locomotor activity. Also, we also found that SIRT6 overexpression significantly inhibited the expression of insulin-like factor 2 (IGF2) and amounts of proteins and/or phosphoproteins (e.g. Akt, pAkt, mTOR and p-mTOR) related to the IGF2 signal pathway in the CA1. These results demonstrate that the overexpression of SIRT6 in the CA1 impaired the formation of long-term fear memory, and SIRT6 in the CA1 may negatively modulate the formation of contextual fear memory via inhibiting the IGF signaling pathway. PMID:26732053

  7. Delayed Extinction Attenuates Conditioned Fear Renewal and Spontaneous Recovery in Humans

    PubMed Central

    Huff, Nicole C.; Hernandez, Jose Alba; Blanding, Nineequa Q.; LaBar, Kevin S.

    2009-01-01

    This study investigated whether the retention interval after an aversive learning experience influences the return of fear after extinction training. After fear conditioning, participants underwent extinction training either 5 min or 1 day later and in either the same room (same context) or a different room (context shift). The next day, conditioned fear was tested in the original room. When extinction took place immediately, fear renewal was robust and prolonged for context-shift participants, and spontaneous recovery was observed in the same-context participants. Delayed extinction, by contrast, yielded a brief form of fear renewal that reextinguished within the testing session for context-shift participants, and there was no spontaneous recovery in the same-context participants. The authors conclude that the passage of time allows for memory consolidation processes to promote the formation of distinct yet flexible emotional memory traces that confer an ability to recall extinction, even in an alternate context, and minimize the return of fear. Furthermore, immediate extinction can yield spontaneous recovery and prolong fear renewal. These findings have potential implications for ameliorating fear relapse in anxiety disorders. PMID:19634943

  8. On Disruption of Fear Memory by Reconsolidation Blockade: Evidence from Cannabidiol Treatment

    PubMed Central

    Stern, Cristina A J; Gazarini, Lucas; Takahashi, Reinaldo N; Guimarães, Francisco S; Bertoglio, Leandro J

    2012-01-01

    The search for reconsolidation blockers may uncover clinically relevant drugs for disrupting memories of significant stressful life experiences, such as those underlying the posttraumatic stress disorder. Considering the safety of systemically administered cannabidiol (CBD), the major non-psychotomimetic component of Cannabis sativa, to animals and humans, the present study sought to investigate whether and how this phytocannabinoid (3–30 mg/kg intraperitoneally; i.p.) could mitigate an established memory, by blockade of its reconsolidation, evaluated in a contextual fear-conditioning paradigm in rats. We report that CBD is able to disrupt 1- and 7-days-old memories when administered immediately, but not 6 h, after their retrieval for 3 min, with the dose of 10 mg/kg being the most effective. This effect persists in either case for at least 1 week, but is prevented when memory reactivation was omitted, or when the cannabinoid type-1 receptors were antagonized selectively with AM251 (1.0 mg/kg). Pretreatment with the serotonin type-1A receptor antagonist WAY100635, however, failed to block CBD effects. These results highlight that recent and older fear memories are equally vulnerable to disruption induced by CBD through reconsolidation blockade, with a consequent long-lasting relief in contextual fear-induced freezing. Importantly, this CBD effect is dependent on memory reactivation, restricted to time window of <6 h, and is possibly dependent on cannabinoid type-1 receptor-mediated signaling mechanisms. We also observed that the fear memories disrupted by CBD treatment do not show reinstatement or spontaneous recovery over 22 days. These findings support the view that reconsolidation blockade, rather than facilitated extinction, accounts for the aforementioned CBD results in our experimental conditions. PMID:22549120

  9. Histaminergic ligands injected into the nucleus basalis magnocellularis differentially affect fear conditioning consolidation.

    PubMed

    Benetti, Fernando; Baldi, Elisabetta; Bucherelli, Corrado; Blandina, Patrizio; Passani, Maria Beatrice

    2013-04-01

    The role of the nucleus basalis magnocellularis (NBM) in fear conditioning encoding is well established. In the present report, we investigate the involvement of the NBM histaminergic system in consolidating fear memories. The NBM was injected bilaterally with ligands of histaminergic receptors immediately after contextual fear conditioning. Histaminergic compounds, either alone or in combination, were stereotaxically administered to different groups of adult male Wistar rats and memory was assessed as conditioned freezing duration 72 h after administration. This protocol prevents interference with NBM function during either acquisition or retrieval phases, hence restricting the effect of pharmacological manipulations to fear memory consolidation. The results presented here demonstrate that post-training H3 receptors (H3R) blockade with the antagonist/inverse agonist thioperamide or activation with immepip in the NBM potentiates or decreases, respectively, freezing response at retrieval. Thioperamide induced memory enhancement seems to depend on H2R, but not H1R activation, as the H2R antagonist zolantidine blocked the effect of thioperamide, whereas the H1R antagonist pyrilamine was ineffective. Furthermore, the H2R agonist ampthamine improved fear memory expression independently of the H3R agonist effect. Our results indicate that activation of post-synaptic H2R within the NBM by endogenous histamine is responsible for the potentiated expression of fear responses. The results are discussed in terms of activation of H3 auto- and heteroreceptors within the NBM and the differential effect of H3R ligands on fear memory consolidation in distinct brain regions.

  10. Nonassociative learning processes determine expression and extinction of conditioned fear in mice.

    PubMed

    Kamprath, Kornelia; Wotjak, Carsten T

    2004-01-01

    Freezing to a tone following auditory fear conditioning is commonly considered as a measure of the strength of the tone-shock association. The decrease in freezing on repeated nonreinforced tone presentation following conditioning, in turn, is attributed to the formation of an inhibitory association between tone and shock that leads to a suppression of the expression of fear. This study challenges these concepts for auditory fear conditioning in mice. We show that acquisition of conditioned fear by a few tone-shock pairings is accompanied by a nonassociative sensitization process. As a consequence, the freezing response of conditioned mice seems to be determined by both associative and nonassociative memory components. Our data suggest that the intensity of freezing as a function of footshock intensity is primarily determined by the nonassociative component, whereas the associative component is more or less categorical. We next demonstrate that the decrease in freezing on repeated nonreinforced tone presentation following conditioning shows fundamental properties of habituation. Thus, it might be regarded as a habituation-like process, which abolishes the influence of sensitization on the freezing response to the tone without affecting the expression of the associative memory component. Taken together, this study merges the dual-process theory of habituation with the concept of classical fear conditioning and demonstrates that sensitization and habituation as two nonassociative learning processes may critically determine the expression of conditioned fear in mice.

  11. The NO-cGMP-PKG Signaling Pathway Regulates Synaptic Plasticity and Fear Memory Consolidation in the Lateral Amygdala via Activation of ERK/MAP Kinase

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ota, Kristie T.; Pierre, Vicki J.; Ploski, Jonathan E.; Queen, Kaila; Schafe, Glenn E.

    2008-01-01

    Recent studies have shown that nitric oxide (NO) signaling plays a crucial role in memory consolidation of Pavlovian fear conditioning and in synaptic plasticity in the lateral amygdala (LA). In the present experiments, we examined the role of the cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG), a downstream effector of NO, in fear memory consolidation and…

  12. Electrolytic lesion of the nucleus incertus retards extinction of auditory conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Pereira, C W; Santos, F N; Sánchez-Pérez, A M; Otero-García, M; Marchioro, M; Ma, S; Gundlach, A L; Olucha-Bordonau, F E

    2013-06-15

    Fear memory circuits in the brain function to allow animals and humans to recognize putative sources of danger and adopt an appropriate behavioral response; and research on animal models of fear have helped reveal the anatomical and neurochemical nature of these circuits. The nucleus (n.) incertus in the dorsal pontine tegmentum provides a strong GABAergic projection to forebrain 'fear centers' and is strongly activated by neurogenic stressors. In this study in adult male rats, we examined the effect of electrolytic lesions of n. incertus on different stages of the fear conditioning-extinction process and correlated the outcomes with anatomical data on the distribution of n. incertus-derived nerve fibers in areas implicated in fear circuits. In a contextual auditory fear conditioning paradigm, we compared freezing behavior in control (naïve) rats (n=23) and rats with sham- or electrolytic lesions of n. incertus (n=13/group). The effectiveness and extent of the lesions was assessed post-mortem using immunohistochemical markers for n. incertus neurons-calretinin and relaxin-3. There were no differences between the three experimental groups in the habituation, acquisition, or context conditioning phases; but n. incertus lesioned rats displayed a markedly slower, 'delayed' extinction of conditioned freezing responses compared to sham-lesion and control rats, but no differences in retrieval of extinguished fear. These and earlier findings suggest that n. incertus-related circuits normally promote extinction through inhibitory projections to the amygdala, which is involved in acquisition of extinction memories.

  13. No effect of trait anxiety on differential fear conditioning or fear generalization.

    PubMed

    Torrents-Rodas, David; Fullana, Miquel A; Bonillo, Albert; Caseras, Xavier; Andión, Oscar; Torrubia, Rafael

    2013-02-01

    Previous studies have shown that individuals with anxiety disorders exhibit deficits in fear inhibition and excessive generalization of fear, but little data exist on individuals at risk from these disorders. The present study examined the role of trait anxiety in the acquisition and generalization of fear in 126 healthy participants selected on the basis of their trait-anxiety scores. Measures of conditioning included fear-potentiated startle, skin conductance response and online risk ratings for the unconditioned stimulus. Contrary to our hypotheses, trait anxiety did not have any effect either on the acquisition or the generalization of fear. Our results suggest that these fear conditioning processes are not impaired in individuals at risk from anxiety. PMID:23131617

  14. Post-training activation of Rac1 in the basolateral amygdala is required for the formation of both short-term and long-term auditory fear memory

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Qinqin; Yao, Wenqing; Wang, Junjun; Yang, Tong; Liu, Cao; Tao, Yezheng; Chen, Yuejun; Liu, Xing; Ma, Lan

    2015-01-01

    Rac1, a member of the Rho family of small GTPases, is crucial for morphological changes of the mature neuronal synapse including spine formation and activity-dependent spine enlargement, while its role in the formation of associated memories, such as conditioned fear memory, is not clear. Here, we report that selective deletion of Rac1 in excitatory neurons, but not in parvalbumin inhibitory neurons, impaired short- and long-term memories (STM and LTM) of fear conditioning. Conditional knockout of Rac1 before associative fear training in the basolateral amygdala (BLA), a key area for fear memory acquisition and storage, impaired fear memory. The expression of dominant-negative mutant of Rac1, or infusion of Rac1 inhibitor NSC23766 into BLA blocked both STM and LTM of fear conditioning. Furthermore, selective inhibition of Rac1 activation in BLA immediately following fear conditioning impaired STM and LTM, demonstrating that fear conditioning-induced Rac1 activation in BLA plays a critical role in the formation of both STM and LTM of conditioned fear. PMID:26582975

  15. Versatility of fear-potentiated startle paradigms for assessing human conditioned fear extinction and return of fear.

    PubMed

    Norrholm, Seth D; Anderson, Kemp M; Olin, Ilana W; Jovanovic, Tanja; Kwon, Cliffe; Warren, Victor T; McCarthy, Alexander; Bosshardt, Lauren; Sabree, Justin; Duncan, Erica J; Rothbaum, Barbara O; Bradley, Bekh

    2011-01-01

    Fear conditioning methodologies have often been employed as testable models for assessing learned fear responses in individuals with anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and specific phobia. One frequently used paradigm is measurement of the acoustic startle reflex under conditions that mimic anxiogenic and fear-related conditions. For example, fear-potentiated startle is the relative increase in the frequency or magnitude of the acoustic startle reflex in the presence of a previously neutral cue (e.g., colored shape; termed the conditioned stimulus or CS+) that has been repeatedly paired with an aversive unconditioned stimulus (e.g., airblast to the larynx). Our group has recently used fear-potentiated startle paradigms to demonstrate impaired fear extinction in civilian and combat populations with PTSD. In the current study, we examined the use of either auditory or visual CSs in a fear extinction protocol that we have validated and applied to human clinical conditions. This represents an important translational bridge in that numerous animal studies of fear extinction, upon which much of the human work is based, have employed the use of auditory CSs as opposed to visual CSs. Participants in both the auditory and visual groups displayed robust fear-potentiated startle to the CS+, clear discrimination between the reinforced CS+ and non-reinforced CS-, significant extinction to the previously reinforced CS+, and marked spontaneous recovery. We discuss the current results as they relate to future investigations of PTSD-related impairments in fear processing in populations with diverse medical and psychiatric histories.

  16. Thalamocortical interactions underlying visual fear conditioning in humans.

    PubMed

    Lithari, Chrysa; Moratti, Stephan; Weisz, Nathan

    2015-11-01

    Despite a strong focus on the role of the amygdala in fear conditioning, recent works point to a more distributed network supporting fear conditioning. We aimed to elucidate interactions between subcortical and cortical regions in fear conditioning in humans. To do this, we used two fearful faces as conditioned stimuli (CS) and an electrical stimulation at the left hand, paired with one of the CS, as unconditioned stimulus (US). The luminance of the CS was rhythmically modulated leading to "entrainment" of brain oscillations at a predefined modulation frequency. Steady-state responses (SSR) were recorded by MEG. In addition to occipital regions, spectral analysis of SSR revealed increased power during fear conditioning particularly for thalamus and cerebellum contralateral to the upcoming US. Using thalamus and amygdala as seed-regions, directed functional connectivity was calculated to capture the modulation of interactions that underlie fear conditioning. Importantly, this analysis showed that the thalamus drives the fusiform area during fear conditioning, while amygdala captures the more general effect of fearful faces perception. This study confirms ideas from the animal literature, and demonstrates for the first time the central role of the thalamus in fear conditioning in humans.

  17. Identification of plasticity-associated genes regulated by Pavlovian fear conditioning in the lateral amygdala.

    PubMed

    Ploski, Jonathan E; Park, Kevin W; Ping, Junli; Monsey, Melissa S; Schafe, Glenn E

    2010-02-01

    Most recent studies aimed at defining the cellular and molecular mechanisms of Pavlovian fear conditioning have focused on protein kinase signaling pathways and the transcription factor cAMP-response element binding protein (CREB) that promote fear memory consolidation in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA). Despite this progress, there still remains a paucity of information regarding the genes downstream of CREB that are required for long-term fear memory formation in the LA. We have adopted a strategy of using microarray technology to initially identify genes induced within the dentate gyrus following in vivo long-term potentiation (LTP) followed by analysis of whether these same genes are also regulated by fear conditioning within the LA. In the present study, we first identified 34 plasticity-associated genes that are induced within 30 min following LTP induction utilizing a combination of DNA microarray, qRT-PCR, and in situ hybridization. To determine whether these genes are also induced in the LA following Pavlovian fear conditioning, we next exposed rats to an auditory fear conditioning protocol or to control conditions that do not support fear learning followed by qRT-PCR on mRNA from microdissected LA samples. Finally, we asked whether identified genes induced by fear learning in the LA are downstream of the extracellular-regulated kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling cascade. Collectively, our findings reveal a comprehensive list of genes that represent the first wave of transcription following both LTP induction and fear conditioning that largely belong to a class of genes referred to as 'neuronal activity dependent genes' that are likely calcium, extracellular-regulated kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinase, and CREB-dependent.

  18. The Role of Muscarinic and Nicotinic Cholinergic Neurotransmission in Aversive Conditioning: Comparing Pavlovian Fear Conditioning and Inhibitory Avoidance

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tinsley, Matthew R.; Quinn, Jennifer J.; Fanselow, Michael S.

    2004-01-01

    Aversive conditioning is an ideal model for studying cholinergic effects on the processes of learning and memory for several reasons. First, deficits produced by selective lesions of the anatomical structures shown to be critical for Pavlovian fear conditioning and inhibitory avoidance (such as the amygdala and hippocampus) resemble those deficits…

  19. Faster acquisition of conditioned fear to fear-relevant than to nonfear-relevant conditional stimuli.

    PubMed

    Ho, Yiling; Lipp, Ottmar V

    2014-08-01

    Prepared learning theory posits that prepared associations are acquired rapidly and resist extinction. Although it has been shown repeatedly that prepared associations resist extinction, there is currently little evidence to support the proposal of faster acquisition. The current study provides such evidence using a within-subjects conditioning procedure with a 50% reinforcement schedule. Participants were presented with pictures of four animals, two fear-relevant (snake, spider) and two nonfear-relevant (fish, bird), one of each paired with an unpleasant electrotactile stimulus on 50% of the trials during acquisition. Differential electrodermal responding was observed within the first two blocks of acquisition for fear-relevant but not for nonfear-relevant conditional stimuli, confirming the prediction that prepared associations are acquired faster than nonprepared associations.

  20. Faster acquisition of conditioned fear to fear-relevant than to nonfear-relevant conditional stimuli.

    PubMed

    Ho, Yiling; Lipp, Ottmar V

    2014-08-01

    Prepared learning theory posits that prepared associations are acquired rapidly and resist extinction. Although it has been shown repeatedly that prepared associations resist extinction, there is currently little evidence to support the proposal of faster acquisition. The current study provides such evidence using a within-subjects conditioning procedure with a 50% reinforcement schedule. Participants were presented with pictures of four animals, two fear-relevant (snake, spider) and two nonfear-relevant (fish, bird), one of each paired with an unpleasant electrotactile stimulus on 50% of the trials during acquisition. Differential electrodermal responding was observed within the first two blocks of acquisition for fear-relevant but not for nonfear-relevant conditional stimuli, confirming the prediction that prepared associations are acquired faster than nonprepared associations. PMID:24725116

  1. Harnessing Reconsolidation to Weaken Fear and Appetitive Memories: A Meta-Analysis of Post-Retrieval Extinction Effects

    PubMed Central

    Kredlow, M. Alexandra; Unger, Leslie D.; Otto, Michael W.

    2015-01-01

    A new understanding of the mechanisms of memory retrieval and reconsolidation holds the potential for improving exposure-based treatments. Basic research indicates that following fear extinction, safety and fear memories may compete, raising the possibility of return of fear. One possible solution is to modify original fear memories through reconsolidation interference, reducing the likelihood of return of fear. Post-retrieval extinction is a behavioral method of reconsolidation interference that has been explored in the context of conditioned fear and appetitive memory paradigms. This meta-analysis examines the magnitude of post-retrieval extinction effects and potential moderators of these effects. A PubMed and PsycINFO search was conducted through June 2014. Sixty-three comparisons examining post-retrieval extinction for preventing the return of fear or appetitive responses in animals or humans met inclusion criteria. Post-retrieval extinction demonstrated a significant, small-to-moderate effect (g = .40) for further reducing the return of fear in humans and a significant, large effect (g = 0.89) for preventing the return of appetitive responses in animals relative to standard extinction. For fear outcomes in animals, effects were small (g = 0.21) and non-significant, but moderated by the number of animals housed together and the duration of time between post-retrieval extinction/extinction and test. Across paradigms, these findings support the efficacy of this pre-clinical strategy for preventing the return of conditioned fear and appetitive responses. Overall, findings to date support the continued translation of post-retrieval extinction research to human and clinical applications, with particular application to the treatment of anxiety, traumatic stress, and substance use disorders. PMID:26689086

  2. Plasticity of inhibitory synaptic network interactions in the lateral amygdala upon fear conditioning in mice.

    PubMed

    Szinyei, Csaba; Narayanan, Rajeevan T; Pape, Hans-Christian

    2007-02-01

    After fear conditioning, plastic changes of excitatory synaptic transmission occur in the amygdala. Fear-related memory also involves the GABAergic system, although no influence on inhibitory synaptic transmission is known. In the present study we assessed the influence of Pavlovian fear conditioning on the plasticity of GABAergic synaptic interactions in the lateral amygdala (LA) in brain slices prepared from fear-conditioned, pseudo-trained and naïve adult mice. Theta-burst tetanization of thalamic afferent inputs to the LA evoked an input-specific potentiation of inhibitory postsynaptic responses in projection neurons; the cortical input was unaffected. Philanthotoxin (10 microM), an antagonist of Ca2+-permeable AMPA receptors, disabled this plastic phenomenon. Surgical isolation of the LA, extracellular application of a GABA(B) receptor antagonist (CGP 55845A, 10 microM) or an NMDA receptor antagonist (APV, 50 microM), or intracellular application of BAPTA (10 mM), did not influence the plasticity. The plasticity also showed as a potentiation of monosynaptic excitatory responses in putative GABAergic interneurons. Pavlovian fear conditioning, but not pseudo-conditioning, resulted in a significant reduction in this potentiation that was evident 24 h after training. Two weeks after training, the potentiation returned to control levels. In conclusion, a reduction in potentiation of inhibitory synaptic interactions occurs in the LA and may contribute to a shift in synaptic balance towards excitatory signal flow during the processes of fear-memory acquisition or consolidation.

  3. Computational search for hypotheses concerning the endocannabinoid contribution to the extinction of fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Anastasio, Thomas J

    2013-01-01

    Fear conditioning, in which a cue is conditioned to elicit a fear response, and extinction, in which a previously conditioned cue no longer elicits a fear response, depend on neural plasticity occurring within the amygdala. Projection neurons in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) learn to respond to the cue during fear conditioning, and they mediate fear responding by transferring cue signals to the output stage of the amygdala. Some BLA projection neurons retain their cue responses after extinction. Recent work shows that activation of the endocannabinoid system is necessary for extinction, and it leads to long-term depression (LTD) of the GABAergic synapses that inhibitory interneurons make onto BLA projection neurons. Such GABAergic LTD would enhance the responses of the BLA projection neurons that mediate fear responding, so it would seem to oppose, rather than promote, extinction. To address this paradox, a computational analysis of two well-known conceptual models of amygdaloid plasticity was undertaken. The analysis employed exhaustive state-space search conducted within a declarative programming environment. The analysis reveals that GABAergic LTD actually increases the number of synaptic strength configurations that achieve extinction while preserving the cue responses of some BLA projection neurons in both models. The results suggest that GABAergic LTD helps the amygdala retain cue memory during extinction even as the amygdala learns to suppress the previously conditioned response. The analysis also reveals which features of both models are essential for their ability to achieve extinction with some cue memory preservation, and suggests experimental tests of those features.

  4. Computational search for hypotheses concerning the endocannabinoid contribution to the extinction of fear conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Anastasio, Thomas J.

    2013-01-01

    Fear conditioning, in which a cue is conditioned to elicit a fear response, and extinction, in which a previously conditioned cue no longer elicits a fear response, depend on neural plasticity occurring within the amygdala. Projection neurons in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) learn to respond to the cue during fear conditioning, and they mediate fear responding by transferring cue signals to the output stage of the amygdala. Some BLA projection neurons retain their cue responses after extinction. Recent work shows that activation of the endocannabinoid system is necessary for extinction, and it leads to long-term depression (LTD) of the GABAergic synapses that inhibitory interneurons make onto BLA projection neurons. Such GABAergic LTD would enhance the responses of the BLA projection neurons that mediate fear responding, so it would seem to oppose, rather than promote, extinction. To address this paradox, a computational analysis of two well-known conceptual models of amygdaloid plasticity was undertaken. The analysis employed exhaustive state-space search conducted within a declarative programming environment. The analysis reveals that GABAergic LTD actually increases the number of synaptic strength configurations that achieve extinction while preserving the cue responses of some BLA projection neurons in both models. The results suggest that GABAergic LTD helps the amygdala retain cue memory during extinction even as the amygdala learns to suppress the previously conditioned response. The analysis also reveals which features of both models are essential for their ability to achieve extinction with some cue memory preservation, and suggests experimental tests of those features. PMID:23761759

  5. The cannabinoid system in the retrosplenial cortex modulates fear memory consolidation, reconsolidation, and extinction.

    PubMed

    Sachser, Ricardo Marcelo; Crestani, Ana Paula; Quillfeldt, Jorge Alberto; Mello E Souza, Tadeu; de Oliveira Alvares, Lucas

    2015-12-01

    Despite the fact that the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1R) plays a pivotal role in emotional memory processing in different regions of the brain, its function in the retrosplenial cortex (RSC) remains unknown. Here, using contextual fear conditioning in rats, we showed that a post-training intra-RSC infusion of the CB1R antagonist AM251 impaired, and the agonist CP55940 improved, long-term memory consolidation. Additionally, a post-reactivation infusion of AM251 enhanced memory reconsolidation, while CP55940 had the opposite effect. Finally, AM251 blocked extinction, whereas CP55940 facilitated it and maintained memory extinguished over time. Altogether, our data strongly suggest that the cannabinoid system of the RSC modulates emotional memory. PMID:26572648

  6. The cannabinoid system in the retrosplenial cortex modulates fear memory consolidation, reconsolidation, and extinction.

    PubMed

    Sachser, Ricardo Marcelo; Crestani, Ana Paula; Quillfeldt, Jorge Alberto; Mello E Souza, Tadeu; de Oliveira Alvares, Lucas

    2015-12-01

    Despite the fact that the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1R) plays a pivotal role in emotional memory processing in different regions of the brain, its function in the retrosplenial cortex (RSC) remains unknown. Here, using contextual fear conditioning in rats, we showed that a post-training intra-RSC infusion of the CB1R antagonist AM251 impaired, and the agonist CP55940 improved, long-term memory consolidation. Additionally, a post-reactivation infusion of AM251 enhanced memory reconsolidation, while CP55940 had the opposite effect. Finally, AM251 blocked extinction, whereas CP55940 facilitated it and maintained memory extinguished over time. Altogether, our data strongly suggest that the cannabinoid system of the RSC modulates emotional memory.

  7. Distinct Contributions of Median Raphe Nucleus to Contextual Fear Conditioning and Fear-Potentiated Startle

    PubMed Central

    Silva, R. C. B.; Cruz, A. P. M.; Avanzi, V.; Landeira-Fernandez, J.; Brandão, M. L.

    2002-01-01

    Ascending 5-HT projections from the median raphe nucleus (MRN), probably to the hippocampus, are implicated in the acquisition of contextual fear (background stimuli), as assessed by freezing behavior. Foreground cues like light, used as a conditioned stimulus (CS) in classical fear conditioning, also cause freezing through thalamic transmission to the amygdala. As the MRN projects to the hippocampus and amygdala, the role of this raphe nucleus in fear conditioning to explicit cues remains to be explained. Here we analyzed the behavior of rats with MRN electrolytic lesions in a contextual conditioning situation and in a fear-potentiated startle procedure. The animals received MRN electrolytic lesions either before or on the day after two consecutive training sessions in which they were submitted to 10 conditioning trials, each in an experimental chamber (same context) where they. received foot-shocks (0.6 mA, 1 sec) paired to a 4-sec light CS. Seven to ten days later, the animals were submitted to testing sessions for assessing conditioned fear when they were placed for five shocks, and the duration of contextual freezing was recorded. The animals were then submitted to a fear-potentiated startle in response to a 4-sec light-CS, followed by white noise (100 dB, 50 ms). Control rats (sham) tested in the same context showed more freezing than did rats with pre- or post-training MRN lesions. Startle was clearly potentiated in the presence of light CS in the sham-lesioned animals. Whereas pretraining lesions reduced both freezing and fear-potentiated startle, the post-training lesions reduced only freezing to context, without changing the fear-potentiated startle. In a second experiment, neurotoxic lesions of the MRN with local injections of N-methyl-D-aspartate or the activation of 5-HT1A somatodendritic auto-receptors of the MRN by microinjections of the 5-HT1A receptor agonist 8-hydroxy- 2-(di-n-propylamino)tetralin (8-OH-DPAT) before the training sessions also

  8. Dissociable Roles of Prelimbic and Infralimbic Cortices, Ventral Hippocampus, and Basolateral Amygdala in the Expression and Extinction of Conditioned Fear

    PubMed Central

    Sierra-Mercado, Demetrio; Padilla-Coreano, Nancy; Quirk, Gregory J

    2011-01-01

    Current models of conditioned fear expression and extinction involve the basolateral amygdala (BLA), ventral medial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), and the hippocampus (HPC). There is some disagreement with respect to the specific roles of these structures, perhaps due to subregional differences within each area. For example, growing evidence suggests that infralimbic (IL) and prelimbic (PL) subregions of vmPFC have opposite influences on fear expression. Moreover, it is the ventral HPC (vHPC), rather than the dorsal HPC, that projects to vmPFC and BLA. To help determine regional specificity, we used small doses of the GABAA agonist muscimol to selectively inactivate IL, PL, BLA, or vHPC in an auditory fear conditioning and extinction paradigm. Infusions were performed prior to extinction training, allowing us to assess the effects on both fear expression and subsequent extinction memory. Inactivation of IL had no effect on fear expression, but impaired the within-session acquisition of extinction as well as extinction memory. In contrast, inactivation of PL impaired fear expression, but had no effect on extinction memory. Inactivation of the BLA or vHPC impaired both fear expression and extinction memory. Post-extinction inactivations had no effect in any structure. We suggest a model in which amygdala-dependent fear expression is modulated by inputs from PL and vHPC, whereas extinction memory requires extinction-induced plasticity in IL, BLA, and/or vHPC. PMID:20962768

  9. EphrinA4 mimetic peptide targeted to EphA binding site impairs the formation of long-term fear memory in lateral amygdala.

    PubMed

    Dines, M; Lamprecht, R

    2014-09-30

    Fear conditioning leads to long-term fear memory formation and is a model for studying fear-related psychopathologies conditions such as phobias and posttraumatic stress disorder. Long-term fear memory formation is believed to involve alterations of synaptic efficacy mediated by changes in synaptic transmission and morphology in lateral amygdala (LA). EphrinA4 and its cognate Eph receptors are intimately involved in regulating neuronal morphogenesis, synaptic transmission and plasticity. To assess possible roles of ephrinA4 in fear memory formation we designed and used a specific inhibitory ephrinA4 mimetic peptide (pep-ephrinA4) targeted to EphA binding site. We show that this peptide, composed of the ephrinA4 binding domain, interacts with EphA4 and inhibits ephrinA4-induced phosphorylation of EphA4. Microinjection of the pep-ephrinA4 into rat LA 30 min before training impaired long- but not short-term fear conditioning memory. Microinjection of a control peptide derived from a nonbinding E helix site of ephrinA4, that does not interact with EphA, had no effect on fear memory formation. Microinjection of pep-ephrinA4 into areas adjacent to the amygdala had no effect on fear memory. Acute systemic administration of pep-ephrinA4 1 h after training also impaired long-term fear conditioning memory formation. These results demonstrate that ephrinA4 binding sites in LA are essential for long-term fear memory formation. Moreover, our research shows that ephrinA4 binding sites may serve as a target for pharmacological treatment of fear and anxiety disorders.

  10. One-year-old fear memories rapidly activate human fusiform gyrus.

    PubMed

    Mueller, Erik M; Pizzagalli, Diego A

    2016-02-01

    Fast threat detection is crucial for survival. In line with such evolutionary pressure, threat-signaling fear-conditioned faces have been found to rapidly (<80 ms) activate visual brain regions including the fusiform gyrus on the conditioning day. Whether remotely fear conditioned stimuli (CS) evoke similar early processing enhancements is unknown. Here, 16 participants who underwent a differential face fear-conditioning and extinction procedure on day 1 were presented the initial CS 24 h after conditioning (Recent Recall Test) as well as 9-17 months later (Remote Recall Test) while EEG was recorded. Using a data-driven segmentation procedure of CS evoked event-related potentials, five distinct microstates were identified for both the recent and the remote memory test. To probe intracranial activity, EEG activity within each microstate was localized using low resolution electromagnetic tomography analysis (LORETA). In both the recent (41-55 and 150-191 ms) and remote (45-90 ms) recall tests, fear conditioned faces potentiated rapid activation in proximity of fusiform gyrus, even in participants unaware of the contingencies. These findings suggest that rapid processing enhancements of conditioned faces persist over time. PMID:26416784

  11. Limited Efficacy of Propranolol on the Reconsolidation of Fear Memories

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Muravieva, Elizaveta V.; Alberini, Cristina M.

    2010-01-01

    Previous studies suggested that the beta-adrenergic receptor antagonist propranolol might be a novel, potential treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This hypothesis stemmed mainly from rodent studies showing that propranolol interferes with the reconsolidation of Pavlovian fear conditioning (FC). However, subsequent investigations…

  12. Implications of memory modulation for post-traumatic stress and fear disorders

    PubMed Central

    Parsons, Ryan G; Ressler, Kerry J

    2013-01-01

    Post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder and phobia manifest in ways that are consistent with an uncontrollable state of fear. Their development involves heredity, previous sensitizing experiences, association of aversive events with previous neutral stimuli, and inability to inhibit or extinguish fear after it is chronic and disabling. We highlight recent progress in fear learning and memory, differential susceptibility to disorders of fear, and how these findings are being applied to the understanding, treatment and possible prevention of fear disorders. Promising advances are being translated from basic science to the clinic, including approaches to distinguish risk versus resilience before trauma exposure, methods to interfere with fear development during memory consolidation after a trauma, and techniques to inhibit fear reconsolidation and to enhance extinction of chronic fear. It is hoped that this new knowledge will translate to more successful, neuroscientifically informed and rationally designed approaches to disorders of fear regulation. PMID:23354388

  13. Role of mGluR4 in acquisition of fear learning and memory

    PubMed Central

    Davis, Matthew J.; Iancu, Ovidiu D.; Acher, Francine; Stewart, Blair M.; Eiwaz, Massarra A.; Duvoisin, Robert M.; Raber, Jacob

    2012-01-01

    Group III metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs), which are generally located presynaptically, modulate synaptic transmission by regulating neurotransmitter release. Previously we showed enhanced amygdala-dependent cued fear conditioning in mGluR4−/− mice 24 hr following training involving two tone-shock pairings. In this study, we assessed the effects of modulating mGluR4 signaling on acquisition and extinction of conditioned fear. mGluR4−/− and wild-type female and male mice received 10 tone-shock pairings during training. Compared to wild-type mice, mGluR4−/− mice showed enhanced acquisition and extinction of cued fear. Next, we assessed whether acute pharmacological stimulation of mGluR4 with the specific orthosteric mGluR4 agonist LSP1-2111 also affects acquisition and extinction of cued fear. Consistent with the enhanced acquisition of cued fear in mGluR4−/−, LSP1-2111, at 2.5 and 5mg/kg, inhibited acquisition of cued fear conditioning in wild-type male mice. The drug’s effect on extinction was less clear and only a subtle effect was seen at 5 mg/kg. Finally, analysis of microarray data of amygdala tissues from mGluR4−/− versus wild-type and from wild-type mice treated with a mGluR4 agonist versus saline revealed a significant overlap in pattern of gene expression. Together, these data support a role for mGluR4 signaling in acquisition of fear learning and memory. PMID:22884897

  14. Neonatal Odor-Shock Conditioning Alters the Neural Network Involved in Odor Fear Learning at Adulthood

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sevelinges, Yannick; Sullivan, Regina M.; Messaoudi, Belkacem; Mouly, Anne-Marie

    2008-01-01

    Adult learning and memory functions are strongly dependent on neonatal experiences. We recently showed that neonatal odor-shock learning attenuates later life odor fear conditioning and amygdala activity. In the present work we investigated whether changes observed in adults can also be observed in other structures normally involved, namely…

  15. DHPG Activation of Group 1 mGluRs in BLA Enhances Fear Conditioning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rudy, Jerry W.; Matus-Amat, Patricia

    2009-01-01

    Group 1 metabotropic glutamate receptors are known to play an important role in both synaptic plasticity and memory. We show that activating these receptors prior to fear conditioning by infusing the group 1 mGluR agonist, (R.S.)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine (DHPG), into the basolateral region of the amygdala (BLA) of adult Sprague-Dawley rats…

  16. Impaired conditioned fear response and startle reactivity in epinephrine deficient mice

    PubMed Central

    Toth, Mate; Ziegler, Michael; Sun, Ping; Gresack, Jodi; Risbrough, Victoria

    2013-01-01

    Norepinephrine and epinephrine signaling is thought to facilitate cognitive processes related to emotional events and heightened arousal, however, the specific role of epinephrine in these processes is less known. To investigate the selective impact of epinephrine on arousal and fear-related memory retrieval, mice unable to synthesize epinephrine (phenylethanolamine N-methyltransferase knockout, PNMT-KO) were tested in context and cued fear conditioning. To assess the role of epinephrine in other cognitive and arousal-based behaviors these mice were also tested for acoustic startle, prepulse inhibition, novel object recognition and open field activity. Our results show that compared to wild-type (WT) mice, PNMT-KO mice displayed reduced context fear but normal cued fear. Mice exhibited normal memory performance in the short-term version of the novel object recognition task suggesting PNMT mice exhibit more selective memory effects on highly emotional and/or long term memories. Similarly, open field activity was unaffected by epinephrine deficiency, suggesting differences in freezing are not related to changes in overall anxiety or exploratory drive. Startle reactivity to acoustic pulses was reduced in PNMT-KO mice while prepulse inhibition was increased. These findings provide further evidence for a selective role of epinephrine in contextual fear learning, and support its potential role in acoustic startle. PMID:23268986

  17. Human fear conditioning conducted in full immersion 3-dimensional virtual reality.

    PubMed

    Huff, Nicole C; Zeilinski, David J; Fecteau, Matthew E; Brady, Rachael; LaBar, Kevin S

    2010-01-01

    conditioning and extinction parameters to yield empirical data that can suggest better treatment options and/or analyze mechanistic hypotheses. In order to test the hypothesis that fear conditioning may be richly encoded and context specific when conducted in a fully immersive environment, we developed distinct virtual reality 3-D contexts in which participants experienced fear conditioning to virtual snakes or spiders. Auditory cues co-occurred with the CS in order to further evoke orienting responses and a feeling of "presence" in subjects. Skin conductance response served as the dependent measure of fear acquisition, memory retention and extinction. PMID:20736913

  18. Developmental aspects of fear: Comparing the acquisition and generalization of conditioned fear in children and adults

    PubMed Central

    Schiele, Miriam A.; Reinhard, Julia; Reif, Andreas; Domschke, Katharina; Romanos, Marcel; Deckert, Jürgen

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Most research on human fear conditioning and its generalization has focused on adults whereas only little is known about these processes in children. Direct comparisons between child and adult populations are needed to determine developmental risk markers of fear and anxiety. We compared 267 children and 285 adults in a differential fear conditioning paradigm and generalization test. Skin conductance responses (SCR) and ratings of valence and arousal were obtained to indicate fear learning. Both groups displayed robust and similar differential conditioning on subjective and physiological levels. However, children showed heightened fear generalization compared to adults as indexed by higher arousal ratings and SCR to the generalization stimuli. Results indicate overgeneralization of conditioned fear as a developmental correlate of fear learning. The developmental change from a shallow to a steeper generalization gradient is likely related to the maturation of brain structures that modulate efficient discrimination between danger and (ambiguous) safety cues. © 2016 The Authors. Developmental Psychobiology Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Dev Psychobiol 58: 471–481, 2016. PMID:26798984

  19. Representational similarity analysis offers a preview of the noradrenergic modulation of long-term fear memory at the time of encoding.

    PubMed

    Visser, Renée M; Kunze, Anna E; Westhoff, Bianca; Scholte, H Steven; Kindt, Merel

    2015-05-01

    Neuroimaging research on emotional memory has greatly advanced our understanding of the pathogenesis of anxiety disorders. While the behavioral expression of fear at the time of encoding does not predict whether an aversive experience will evolve into long-term fear memory, the application of multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA) for the analysis of BOLD-MRI data has recently provided a unique marker for memory formation. Here, we aimed to further investigate the utility of this marker by modulating the strength of fear memory with an α2-adrenoceptor antagonist (yohimbine HCl). Fifty-two healthy participants were randomly assigned to two conditions - either receiving 20mg yohimbine or a placebo pill (double-blind) - prior to differential fear conditioning and MRI-scanning. We examined the strength of fear associations during acquisition and retention of fear (48 h later) by assessing the similarity of BOLD-MRI patterns and pupil dilation responses. Additionally, participants returned for a follow-up test outside the scanner (2-4 weeks), during which we assessed fear-potentiated startle responses. Replicating our previous findings, neural pattern similarity reflected the development of fear associations over time, and unlike average activation or pupil dilation, predicted the later expression of fear memory (pupil dilation 48 h later). While no effect of yohimbine was observed on markers of autonomic arousal, including salivary α-amylase (sAA), we obtained indirect evidence for the noradrenergic enhancement of fear memory consolidation: sAA levels showed a strong increase prior to fMRI scanning, irrespective of whether participants had received yohimbine, and this increase correlated with the subsequent expression of fear (48 h later). Remarkably, this noradrenergic enhancement of fear was associated with changes in neural response patterns at the time of learning. These findings provide further evidence that representational similarity analysis is a sensitive tool

  20. Representational similarity analysis offers a preview of the noradrenergic modulation of long-term fear memory at the time of encoding.

    PubMed

    Visser, Renée M; Kunze, Anna E; Westhoff, Bianca; Scholte, H Steven; Kindt, Merel

    2015-05-01

    Neuroimaging research on emotional memory has greatly advanced our understanding of the pathogenesis of anxiety disorders. While the behavioral expression of fear at the time of encoding does not predict whether an aversive experience will evolve into long-term fear memory, the application of multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA) for the analysis of BOLD-MRI data has recently provided a unique marker for memory formation. Here, we aimed to further investigate the utility of this marker by modulating the strength of fear memory with an α2-adrenoceptor antagonist (yohimbine HCl). Fifty-two healthy participants were randomly assigned to two conditions - either receiving 20mg yohimbine or a placebo pill (double-blind) - prior to differential fear conditioning and MRI-scanning. We examined the strength of fear associations during acquisition and retention of fear (48 h later) by assessing the similarity of BOLD-MRI patterns and pupil dilation responses. Additionally, participants returned for a follow-up test outside the scanner (2-4 weeks), during which we assessed fear-potentiated startle responses. Replicating our previous findings, neural pattern similarity reflected the development of fear associations over time, and unlike average activation or pupil dilation, predicted the later expression of fear memory (pupil dilation 48 h later). While no effect of yohimbine was observed on markers of autonomic arousal, including salivary α-amylase (sAA), we obtained indirect evidence for the noradrenergic enhancement of fear memory consolidation: sAA levels showed a strong increase prior to fMRI scanning, irrespective of whether participants had received yohimbine, and this increase correlated with the subsequent expression of fear (48 h later). Remarkably, this noradrenergic enhancement of fear was associated with changes in neural response patterns at the time of learning. These findings provide further evidence that representational similarity analysis is a sensitive tool

  1. Differential effects of dorsal hippocampal inactivation on expression of recent and remote drug and fear memory.

    PubMed

    Raybuck, J D; Lattal, K M

    2014-05-21

    Drugs of abuse generate strong drug-context associations, which can evoke powerful drug cravings that are linked to reinstatement in animal models and to relapse in humans. Work in learning and memory has demonstrated that contextual memories become more distributed over time, shifting from dependence on the hippocampus for retrieval to dependence on cortical structures. Implications for such changes in the structure of memory retrieval to addiction are unknown. Thus, to determine if the passage of time alters the substrates of conditioned place preference (CPP) memory retrieval, we investigated the effects of inactivation of the dorsal hippocampus (DH) with the GABA-A receptor agonist muscimol on expression of recent or remote CPP. We compared these effects with the same manipulation on expression of contextual fear conditioning. DH inactivation produced similar deficits in expression of both recent and remote CPP, but blocked expression of recent but not remote contextual fear memory. We describe the implications of these findings for mechanisms underlying long-term storage of contextual information. PMID:24686177

  2. Chronic corticosterone exposure persistently elevates the expression of memory-related genes in the lateral amygdala and enhances the consolidation of a Pavlovian fear memory.

    PubMed

    Monsey, Melissa S; Boyle, Lara M; Zhang, Melinda L; Nguyen, Caroline P; Kronman, Hope G; Ota, Kristie T; Duman, Ronald S; Taylor, Jane R; Schafe, Glenn E

    2014-01-01

    Chronic exposure to stress has been widely implicated in the development of anxiety disorders, yet relatively little is known about the long-term effects of chronic stress on amygdala-dependent memory formation. Here, we examined the effects of a history of chronic exposure to the stress-associated adrenal steroid corticosterone (CORT) on the consolidation of a fear memory and the expression of memory-related immediate early genes (IEGs) in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA). Rats received chronic exposure to CORT (50 μg/ml) in their drinking water for 2 weeks and were then titrated off the CORT for an additional 6 days followed by a 2 week 'wash-out' period consisting of access to plain water. Rats were then either sacrificed to examine the expression of memory-related IEG expression in the LA or given auditory Pavlovian fear conditioning. We show that chronic exposure to CORT leads to a persistent elevation in the expression of the IEGs Arc/Arg3.1 and Egr-1 in the LA. Further, we show that rats with a history of chronic CORT exposure exhibit enhanced consolidation of a fear memory; short-term memory (STM) is not affected, while long-term memory (LTM) is significantly enhanced. Treatment with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) fluoxetine following the chronic CORT exposure period was observed to effectively reverse both the persistent CORT-related increases in memory-related IEG expression in the LA and the CORT-related enhancement in fear memory consolidation. Our findings suggest that chronic exposure to CORT can regulate memory-related IEG expression and fear memory consolidation processes in the LA in a long-lasting manner and that treatment with fluoxetine can reverse these effects.

  3. Chronic Corticosterone Exposure Persistently Elevates the Expression of Memory-Related Genes in the Lateral Amygdala and Enhances the Consolidation of a Pavlovian Fear Memory

    PubMed Central

    Monsey, Melissa S.; Boyle, Lara M.; Zhang, Melinda L.; Nguyen, Caroline P.; Kronman, Hope G.; Ota, Kristie T.; Duman, Ronald S.; Taylor, Jane R.; Schafe, Glenn E.

    2014-01-01

    Chronic exposure to stress has been widely implicated in the development of anxiety disorders, yet relatively little is known about the long-term effects of chronic stress on amygdala-dependent memory formation. Here, we examined the effects of a history of chronic exposure to the stress-associated adrenal steroid corticosterone (CORT) on the consolidation of a fear memory and the expression of memory-related immediate early genes (IEGs) in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA). Rats received chronic exposure to CORT (50 μg/ml) in their drinking water for 2 weeks and were then titrated off the CORT for an additional 6 days followed by a 2 week ‘wash-out’ period consisting of access to plain water. Rats were then either sacrificed to examine the expression of memory-related IEG expression in the LA or given auditory Pavlovian fear conditioning. We show that chronic exposure to CORT leads to a persistent elevation in the expression of the IEGs Arc/Arg3.1 and Egr-1 in the LA. Further, we show that rats with a history of chronic CORT exposure exhibit enhanced consolidation of a fear memory; short-term memory (STM) is not affected, while long-term memory (LTM) is significantly enhanced. Treatment with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) fluoxetine following the chronic CORT exposure period was observed to effectively reverse both the persistent CORT-related increases in memory-related IEG expression in the LA and the CORT-related enhancement in fear memory consolidation. Our findings suggest that chronic exposure to CORT can regulate memory-related IEG expression and fear memory consolidation processes in the LA in a long-lasting manner and that treatment with fluoxetine can reverse these effects. PMID:24618807

  4. Attraction under Aversive Conditions: Misattributions or Fear-Reduction?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Miller, Rowland S.

    Interpersonal attraction appears to increase under aversive conditions. Two distinct theories suggest that attraction results from either misattribution or fear reduction. To investigate the effects of misattribution and fear reduction on attraction, 36 male college students were ostensibly exposed to an electromagnetic field while an attractive…

  5. Bi-directional effects of pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) on fear-related behavior and c-Fos expression after fear conditioning in rats.

    PubMed

    Meloni, Edward G; Venkataraman, Archana; Donahue, Rachel J; Carlezon, William A

    2016-02-01

    Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) is implicated in stress regulation and learning and memory. PACAP has neuromodulatory actions on brain structures within the limbic system that could contribute to its acute and persistent effects in animal models of stress and anxiety-like behavior. Here, male Sprague-Dawley rats were implanted with intracerebroventricular (ICV) cannula for infusion of PACAP-38 (0.5, 1, or 1.5 μg) or vehicle followed 30 min later by fear conditioning. Freezing was measured early (1, 4, and 7 days) or following a delay (7, 10, and 13 days) after conditioning. PACAP (1.5 μg) produced a bi-phasic response in freezing behavior across test days: relative to controls, PACAP-treated rats showed a reduction in freezing when tested 1 or 7 days after fear conditioning that evolved into a significant elevation in freezing by the third test session in the early, but not delayed, group. Corticosterone (CORT) levels were significantly elevated in PACAP-treated rats following fear conditioning, but not at the time of testing (Day 1). Brain c-Fos expression revealed PACAP-dependent alterations within, as well as outside of, areas typically implicated in fear conditioning. Our findings raise the possibility that PACAP disrupts fear memory consolidation by altering synaptic plasticity within neurocircuits normally responsible for encoding fear-related cues, producing a type of dissociation or peritraumatic amnesia often seen in people early after exposure to a traumatic event. However, fear memories are retained such that repeated testing and memory reactivation (e.g., re-experiencing) causes the freezing response to emerge and persist at elevated levels. PACAP systems may represent an axis on which stress and exposure to trauma converge to promote maladaptive behavioral responses characteristic of psychiatric illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PMID:26590791

  6. Cerebellar vermis H₂ receptors mediate fear memory consolidation in mice.

    PubMed

    Gianlorenço, A C L; Riboldi, A M; Silva-Marques, B; Mattioli, R

    2015-02-01

    Histaminergic fibers are present in the molecular and granular layers of the cerebellum and have a high density in the vermis and flocullus. Evidence supports that the cerebellar histaminergic system is involved in memory consolidation. Our recent study showed that histamine injections facilitate the retention of an inhibitory avoidance task, which was abolished by pretreatment with an H2 receptor antagonist. In the present study, we investigated the effects of intracerebellar post training injections of H1 and H2 receptor antagonists as well as the selective H2 receptor agonist on fear memory consolidation. The cerebellar vermi of male mice were implanted with guide cannulae, and after three days of recovery, the inhibitory avoidance test was performed. Immediately after a training session, animals received a microinjection of the following histaminergic drugs: experiment 1, saline or chlorpheniramine (0.016, 0.052 or 0.16 nmol); experiment 2, saline or ranitidine (0.57, 2.85 or 5.07 nmol); and experiment 3, saline or dimaprit (1, 2 or 4 nmol). Twenty-four hours later, a retention test was performed. The data were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Duncan's tests. Animals microinjected with chlorpheniramine did not show any behavioral effects at the doses that we used. Intra-cerebellar injection of the H2 receptor antagonist ranitidine inhibited, while the selective H2 receptor agonist dimaprit facilitated, memory consolidation, suggesting that H2 receptors mediate memory consolidation in the inhibitory avoidance task in mice. PMID:25524412

  7. Cerebellar vermis H₂ receptors mediate fear memory consolidation in mice.

    PubMed

    Gianlorenço, A C L; Riboldi, A M; Silva-Marques, B; Mattioli, R

    2015-02-01

    Histaminergic fibers are present in the molecular and granular layers of the cerebellum and have a high density in the vermis and flocullus. Evidence supports that the cerebellar histaminergic system is involved in memory consolidation. Our recent study showed that histamine injections facilitate the retention of an inhibitory avoidance task, which was abolished by pretreatment with an H2 receptor antagonist. In the present study, we investigated the effects of intracerebellar post training injections of H1 and H2 receptor antagonists as well as the selective H2 receptor agonist on fear memory consolidation. The cerebellar vermi of male mice were implanted with guide cannulae, and after three days of recovery, the inhibitory avoidance test was performed. Immediately after a training session, animals received a microinjection of the following histaminergic drugs: experiment 1, saline or chlorpheniramine (0.016, 0.052 or 0.16 nmol); experiment 2, saline or ranitidine (0.57, 2.85 or 5.07 nmol); and experiment 3, saline or dimaprit (1, 2 or 4 nmol). Twenty-four hours later, a retention test was performed. The data were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Duncan's tests. Animals microinjected with chlorpheniramine did not show any behavioral effects at the doses that we used. Intra-cerebellar injection of the H2 receptor antagonist ranitidine inhibited, while the selective H2 receptor agonist dimaprit facilitated, memory consolidation, suggesting that H2 receptors mediate memory consolidation in the inhibitory avoidance task in mice.

  8. TRPC3 channels critically regulate hippocampal excitability and contextual fear memory.

    PubMed

    Neuner, Sarah M; Wilmott, Lynda A; Hope, Kevin A; Hoffmann, Brian; Chong, Jayhong A; Abramowitz, Joel; Birnbaumer, Lutz; O'Connell, Kristen M; Tryba, Andrew K; Greene, Andrew S; Savio Chan, C; Kaczorowski, Catherine C

    2015-03-15

    Memory formation requires de novo protein synthesis, and memory disorders may result from misregulated synthesis of critical proteins that remain largely unidentified. Plasma membrane ion channels and receptors are likely candidates given their role in regulating neuron excitability, a candidate memory mechanism. Here we conduct targeted molecular monitoring and quantitation of hippocampal plasma membrane proteins from mice with intact or impaired contextual fear memory to identify putative candidates. Here we report contextual fear memory deficits correspond to increased Trpc3 gene and protein expression, and demonstrate TRPC3 regulates hippocampal neuron excitability associated with memory function. These data provide a mechanistic explanation for enhanced contextual fear memory reported herein following knockdown of TRPC3 in hippocampus. Collectively, TRPC3 modulates memory and may be a feasible target to enhance memory and treat memory disorders.

  9. Toxoplasma gondii Infection in Mice Impairs Long-Term Fear Memory Consolidation through Dysfunction of the Cortex and Amygdala.

    PubMed

    Ihara, Fumiaki; Nishimura, Maki; Muroi, Yoshikage; Mahmoud, Motamed Elsayed; Yokoyama, Naoaki; Nagamune, Kisaburo; Nishikawa, Yoshifumi

    2016-10-01

    Chronic infection with Toxoplasma gondii becomes established in tissues of the central nervous system, where parasites may directly or indirectly modulate neuronal function. Epidemiological studies have revealed that chronic infection in humans is a risk factor for developing mental diseases. However, the mechanisms underlying parasite-induced neuronal dysfunction in the brain remain unclear. Here, we examined memory associated with conditioned fear in mice and found that T. gondii infection impairs consolidation of conditioned fear memory. To examine the brain pathology induced by T. gondii infection, we analyzed the parasite load and histopathological changes. T. gondii infects all brain areas, yet the cortex exhibits more severe tissue damage than other regions. We measured neurotransmitter levels in the cortex and amygdala because these regions are involved in fear memory expression. The levels of dopamine metabolites but not those of dopamine were increased in the cortex of infected mice compared with those in the cortex of uninfected mice. In contrast, serotonin levels were decreased in the amygdala and norepinephrine levels were decreased in the cortex and amygdala of infected mice. The levels of cortical dopamine metabolites were associated with the time spent freezing in the fear-conditioning test. These results suggest that T. gondii infection affects fear memory through dysfunction of the cortex and amygdala. Our findings provide insight into the mechanisms underlying the neurological changes seen during T. gondii infection. PMID:27456832

  10. Toxoplasma gondii Infection in Mice Impairs Long-Term Fear Memory Consolidation through Dysfunction of the Cortex and Amygdala.

    PubMed

    Ihara, Fumiaki; Nishimura, Maki; Muroi, Yoshikage; Mahmoud, Motamed Elsayed; Yokoyama, Naoaki; Nagamune, Kisaburo; Nishikawa, Yoshifumi

    2016-10-01

    Chronic infection with Toxoplasma gondii becomes established in tissues of the central nervous system, where parasites may directly or indirectly modulate neuronal function. Epidemiological studies have revealed that chronic infection in humans is a risk factor for developing mental diseases. However, the mechanisms underlying parasite-induced neuronal dysfunction in the brain remain unclear. Here, we examined memory associated with conditioned fear in mice and found that T. gondii infection impairs consolidation of conditioned fear memory. To examine the brain pathology induced by T. gondii infection, we analyzed the parasite load and histopathological changes. T. gondii infects all brain areas, yet the cortex exhibits more severe tissue damage than other regions. We measured neurotransmitter levels in the cortex and amygdala because these regions are involved in fear memory expression. The levels of dopamine metabolites but not those of dopamine were increased in the cortex of infected mice compared with those in the cortex of uninfected mice. In contrast, serotonin levels were decreased in the amygdala and norepinephrine levels were decreased in the cortex and amygdala of infected mice. The levels of cortical dopamine metabolites were associated with the time spent freezing in the fear-conditioning test. These results suggest that T. gondii infection affects fear memory through dysfunction of the cortex and amygdala. Our findings provide insight into the mechanisms underlying the neurological changes seen during T. gondii infection.

  11. The neurosteroid allopregnanolone impairs object memory and contextual fear memory in male C57BL/6J mice.

    PubMed

    Rabinowitz, Akiva; Cohen, Sarah J; Finn, Deborah A; Stackman, Robert W

    2014-07-01

    Allopregnanolone (ALLO, or 3α-hydroxy-5α-pregnan-20-one) is a steroid metabolite of progesterone and a potent endogenous positive allosteric modulator of GABA-A receptors. Systemic ALLO has been reported to impair spatial, but not nonspatial learning in the Morris water maze (MWM) and contextual memory in rodents. These cognitive effects suggest an influence of ALLO on hippocampal-dependent memory, although the specific nature of the neurosteroid's effects on learning, memory or performance is unclear. The present studies aimed to determine: (i) the memory process(es) affected by systemic ALLO using a nonspatial object memory task; and (ii) whether ALLO affects object memory via an influence within the dorsal hippocampus. Male C57BL/6J mice received systemic ALLO either before or immediately after the sample session of a novel object recognition (NOR) task. Results demonstrated that systemic ALLO impaired the encoding and consolidation of object memory. A subsequent study revealed that bilateral microinfusion of ALLO into the CA1 region of dorsal hippocampus immediately following the NOR sample session also impaired object memory consolidation. In light of debate over the hippocampal-dependence of object recognition memory, we also tested systemic ALLO-treated mice on a contextual and cued fear-conditioning task. Systemic ALLO impaired the encoding of contextual memory when administered prior to the context pre-exposure session. Together, these results indicate that ALLO exhibits primary effects on memory encoding and consolidation, and extend previous findings by demonstrating a sensitivity of nonspatial memory to ALLO, likely by disrupting dorsal hippocampal function.

  12. Odors eliciting fear: a conditioning approach to Idiopathic Environmental Intolerances.

    PubMed

    Leer, Arne; Smeets, Monique A M; Bulsing, Patricia J; van den Hout, Marcel A

    2011-06-01

    Patients suffering from Idiopathic Environmental Intolerances (IEI) report health symptoms, referable to multiple organ systems, which are triggered by harmless odors and therefore medically unexplainable. In line with previous research that predominantly points towards psychological explanations, the present study tests the hypothesis that IEI symptoms result from learning via classical conditioning of odors to fear. A differential conditioning paradigm was employed. Hedonically different odors were compared on ease of fear acquisition. Conditioned stimuli (CSs) were Dimethyl Sulfide (unpleasant) and peach (pleasant). The unconditioned stimulus (US) was an electrical shock. During acquisition one odor (CS+) was followed by shock, while the other odor (CS-) was not. Next, fear extinction was tested by presenting both CS+ and CS- without US. Electrodermal response, odor evaluation, and sniffing behavior were monitored. Results showed successful fear conditioning irrespective of hedonic character as evidenced by electrodermal response. Acquired fear did not extinguish. There was no evidence of evaluative conditioning taking place, as CS evaluation did not change during fear acquisition. Early avoidance of the CS+, as deduced from odor inhalation measures, was demonstrated, but did not sustain during the entire acquisition phase. This study suggests that a fear conditioning account of IEI is only partially satisfactory.

  13. Fear conditioning suppresses large-conductance calcium-activated potassium channels in lateral amygdala neurons.

    PubMed

    Sun, P; Zhang, Q; Zhang, Y; Wang, F; Wang, L; Yamamoto, R; Sugai, T; Kato, N

    2015-01-01

    It was previously shown that depression-like behavior is accompanied with suppression of the large-conductance calcium activated potassium (BK) channel in cingulate cortex pyramidal cells. To test whether BK channels are also involved in fear conditioning, we studied neuronal properties of amygdala principal cells in fear conditioned mice. After behavior, we made brain slices containing the amygdala, the structure critically relevant to fear memory. The resting membrane potential in lateral amygdala (LA) neurons obtained from fear conditioned mice (FC group) was more depolarized than in neurons from naïve controls. The frequencies of spikes evoked by current injections were higher in neurons from FC mice, demonstrating that excitability of LA neurons was elevated by fear conditioning. The depolarization in neurons from FC mice was shown to depend on BK channels by using the BK channel blocker charybdotoxin. Suppression of BK channels in LA neurons from the FC group was further confirmed on the basis of the spike width, since BK channels affect the descending phase of spikes. Spikes were broader in the FC group than those in the naïve control in a manner dependent on BK channels. Consistently, quantitative real-time PCR revealed a decreased expression of BK channel mRNA. The present findings suggest that emotional disorder manifested in the forms of fear conditioning is accompanied with BK channel suppression in the amygdala, the brain structure critical to this emotional disorder.

  14. Bilateral phosphorylation of ERK in the lateral and centrolateral amygdala during unilateral storage of fear memories

    PubMed Central

    Tarpley, Jason W.; Shlifer, I. Gary; Birnbaum, Monica S.; Halladay, Lindsay R.; Blair, Hugh T.

    2009-01-01

    We previously showed that when rats were trained to fear an auditory conditioned stimulus (CS) by pairing it with a mild unilateral shock to the eyelid (the unconditioned stimulus, or US), conditioned freezing depended upon the amygdala contralateral but not ipsilateral from the US. It was proposed that convergent activation of amygdala neurons by the CS and US occurred mainly in the amygdala contralateral from US delivery, causing memories of the CS-US association to be stored primarily by that hemisphere. In the present study, we further tested this interpretation by administering unilateral infusions of U0126 (in 50% DMSO vehicle) to block phosphorylation of extracellullar signal-responsive kinase (ERK) in the amygdala prior to CS-US pairings. Conditioned freezing was impaired 24 h after training when U0126 was infused contralaterally—but not ipsilaterally—from the US, suggesting that fear memories were consolidated mainly by the contralateral amygdala. However, immunostaining experiments revealed that ERK phosphorylation was elevated in both hemispheres of the amygdala's lateral (LA) and centrolateral (CeL) nuclei after paired (but not unpaired) presentations of the CS and US. Thus, fear acquisition induced ERK phosphorylation bilaterally in the amygdala, even though the ipsilateral hemisphere did not appear to participate in conditioned freezing. These findings suggest that associative plasticity may occur in both amygdala hemispheres even when only one hemisphere is involved in freezing behavior. Conditioning-induced ERK phosphorylation was identical in both hemispheres of LA, but was slightly greater in the contralateral than ipsilateral hemisphere of CeL. Hence, asymmetric induction of plasticity in CeL might help to explain why conditioned freezing depends preferentially upon the amygdala contralateral from the US in our fear conditioning paradigm. PMID:19735699

  15. Long-lasting increase of corticosterone after fear memory reactivation: anxiolytic effects and network activity modulation in the ventral hippocampus.

    PubMed

    Albrecht, Anne; Çalışkan, Gürsel; Oitzl, Melly S; Heinemann, Uwe; Stork, Oliver

    2013-02-01

    Pathological fear and anxiety can be studied, in rodents, with fear conditioning and exposure to reminder cues. These paradigms are thought to critically involve the ventral hippocampus, which also serves as key site of glucocorticoid action in the brain. Here, we demonstrate a long-lasting reduction of kainate-induced gamma oscillations in slice preparations of the ventral hippocampal area CA3, 30 days after a single fear conditioning training. Reduction of gamma power was sensitive to corticosterone application and associated with a decrease in glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptor mRNA expression across strata of the ventral hippocampal CA3. A fear reactivation session 24 h after the initial conditioning normalized receptor expression levels and attenuated the corticosterone-mediated recovery of gamma oscillations. It moreover increased both baseline and stimulus-induced corticosterone plasma levels and evoked a generalization of fear memory to the background context. Reduced ventral hippocampal gamma oscillation in both fear reactivated and non-reactivated mice were associated with a decrease of anxiety-like behavior in an elevated plus maze. Taking advantage of the circadian fluctuation in corticosterone, we demonstrated the association of high endogenous basal corticosterone plasma concentrations during morning hours with reduced anxiety-like behavior in fear reactivated mice. The anxiolytic effect of the hormone was verified with local applications to the ventral hippocampus. Our data suggest that corticosterone acting on ventral hippocampal network activity has anxiolytic-like effects following fear exposure, highlighting its potential therapeutic value for anxiety disorders.

  16. Protocol for Studying Extinction of Conditioned Fear in Naturally Cycling Female Rats

    PubMed Central

    Maeng, Lisa Y.; Cover, Kara K.; Landau, Aaron J.; Milad, Mohammed R.; Lebron-Milad, Kelimer

    2015-01-01

    Extinction of conditioned fear has been extensively studied in male rodents. Recently, there have been an increasing number of studies indicating that neural mechanisms for certain behavioral tasks and response behaviors are different in females and males. Using females in research studies can represent a challenge because of the variation of gonadal hormones during their estrous cycle. This protocol describes well-established procedures that are useful in investigating the role of estrogen in fear extinction memory consolidation in female rats. Phase of the estrous cycle and exogenous estrogen administration prior to extinction training can influence extinction recall 24 hr later. The vaginal swabbing technique for estrous phase identification described here aids the examination and manipulation of naturally cycling gonadal hormones. The use of this basic rodent model may further delineate the mechanisms by which estrogen can modulate fear extinction memory in females. PMID:25741747

  17. Sex, stress, and fear: individual differences in conditioned learning.

    PubMed

    Zorawski, Michael; Cook, Craig A; Kuhn, Cynthia M; LaBar, Kevin S

    2005-06-01

    It has long been recognized that humans vary in their conditionability, yet the factors that contribute to individual variation in emotional learning remain to be delineated. The goal of the present study was to investigate the relationship among sex, stress hormones, and fear conditioning in humans. Forty-five healthy adults (22 females) underwent differential delay conditioning, using fear-relevant conditioned stimuli and a shock unconditioned stimulus. Salivary cortisol samples were taken at baseline and after acquisition training and a 24-h-delayed retention test. The results showed that acquisition of conditioning significantly correlated with postacquisition cortisol levels in males, but not in females. This sex-specific relationship was found despite similar overall levels of conditioning, unconditioned responding, and cortisol. There was no effect of postacquisition cortisol on consolidation of fear learning in either sex. These findings have implications for the understanding of individual differences in fear acquisition and risk factors for the development of affective disorders.

  18. Contextual Change After Fear Acquisition Affects Conditioned Responding and the Time Course of Extinction Learning—Implications for Renewal Research

    PubMed Central

    Sjouwerman, Rachel; Niehaus, Johanna; Lonsdorf, Tina B.

    2015-01-01

    Context plays a central role in retrieving (fear) memories. Accordingly, context manipulations are inherent to most return of fear (ROF) paradigms (in particular renewal), involving contextual changes after fear extinction. Context changes are, however, also often embedded during earlier stages of ROF experiments such as context changes between fear acquisition and extinction (e.g., in ABC and ABA renewal). Previous studies using these paradigms have however focused exclusively on the context switch after extinction (i.e., renewal). Thus, the possibility of a general effect of context switch on conditioned responding that may not be conditional to preceding extinction learning remains unstudied. Hence, the current study investigated the impact of a context switch between fear acquisition and extinction on immediate conditioned responding and on the time-course of extinction learning by using a multimodal approach. A group that underwent contextual change after fear conditioning (AB; n = 36) was compared with a group without a contextual change from acquisition to extinction (AA; n = 149), while measuring physiological (skin conductance and fear potentiated startle) measures and subjective fear ratings. Contextual change between fear acquisition and extinction had a pronounced effect on both immediate conditioned responding and on the time course of extinction learning in skin conductance responses and subjective fear ratings. This may have important implications for the mechanisms underlying and the interpretation of the renewal effect (i.e., contextual switch after extinction). Consequently, future studies should incorporate designs and statistical tests that disentangle general effects of contextual change from genuine ROF effects. PMID:26696855

  19. Functional Integrity of the Retrosplenial Cortex Is Essential for Rapid Consolidation and Recall of Fear Memory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Katche, Cynthia; Dorman, Guido; Slipczuk, Leandro; Cammarota, Martin; Medina, Jorge H.

    2013-01-01

    Memory storage is a temporally graded process involving different phases and different structures in the mammalian brain. Cortical plasticity is essential to store stable memories, but little is known regarding its involvement in memory processing. Here we show that fear memory consolidation requires early post-training macromolecular synthesis in…

  20. Knockdown of corticotropin-releasing factor 1 receptors in the ventral tegmental area enhances conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Chen, Nicola A; Ganella, Despina E; Bathgate, Ross A D; Chen, Alon; Lawrence, Andrew J; Kim, Jee Hyun

    2016-09-01

    The neuropeptide corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) coordinates the physiological and behavioural responses to stress. CRF receptors are highly expressed in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), an important region for motivated behaviour. Therefore, we examined the role of CRF receptor type 1 (CRFR1) in the VTA in conditioned fear, using a viral-mediated RNA interference approach. Following stereotaxic injection of a lentivirus that contained either shCRF-R1 or a control sequence, mice received tone-footshock pairings. Intra-VTA shCRF-R1 did not affect tone-elicited freezing during conditioning. Once conditioned fear was acquired, however, shCRF-R1 mice consistently showed stronger freezing to the tone even after extinction and reinstatement. These results implicate a novel role of VTA CRF-R1 in conditioned fear, and suggest how stress may modulate aversive learning and memory. PMID:27397862

  1. Strain and substrain differences in context- and tone-dependent fear conditioning of inbred mice.

    PubMed

    Stiedl, O; Radulovic, J; Lohmann, R; Birkenfeld, K; Palve, M; Kammermeier, J; Sananbenesi, F; Spiess, J

    1999-10-01

    The performance of C57BL/6J (6J), C57BL/6N (6N), DBA/2J (2J) and DBA/2N (2N) mice in context- and tone-dependent fear conditioning was determined 24 h after fear conditioning to evaluate and compare different behavioral measures as indices of emotional learning. Freezing, the change in activity and the size of the explored area were evaluated as behavioral parameters indicating fear. Additionally, the heart rate (HR) increase elicited by tone presentation was evaluated as an autonomic indicator of fear. During the context-dependent memory test, freezing was high only in 6J and 6N mice, whereas a drop of activity and a reduced exploratory area was measured in all strains. During the tone-dependent memory test, high freezing, low activity, reduced exploratory area and a strong HR increase were demonstrated only in 6N and 6J mice, whereas behavioral and HR changes of 2J and 2N mice were always low. In extinction tests, context- and tone-dependent freezing of 6J mice decayed significantly faster than the freezing of 6N mice, whereas in both substrains the conditioned tachycardia to tone extinguished similarly in the home cage. The data demonstrate that monitoring of additional behavioral measures besides freezing and autonomic measures is necessary to interpret differences in associative learning performance of mouse strains that could be related to a differential expression of fear.

  2. Trace and Contextual Fear Conditioning Require Neural Activity and NMDA Receptor-Dependent Transmission in the Medial Prefrontal Cortex

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gilmartin, Marieke R.; Helmstetter, Fred J.

    2010-01-01

    The contribution of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) to the formation of memory is a subject of considerable recent interest. Notably, the mechanisms supporting memory acquisition in this structure are poorly understood. The mPFC has been implicated in the acquisition of trace fear conditioning, a task that requires the association of a…

  3. Mapping fear memory consolidation and extinction-specific expression of JunB.

    PubMed

    Radwanska, Kasia; Schenatto-Pereira, Grace; Ziółkowska, Magdalena; Łukasiewicz, Kacper; Giese, K Peter

    2015-11-01

    Understanding the molecular and cellular process specifically regulated during fear memory consolidation and extinction is a critical step toward development of new strategies in the treatment of human fear disorders. Here we used inhibitory component of AP-1 transcription factor, JunB, in order to map brain regions where JunB-dependent transcription is regulated during consolidation and extinction of contextual fear memory. We found that contextual fear memory consolidation induced JunB expression in the medial nucleus and intercalated cells of the amygdala while extinction training induced JunB in the CA1 and CA3 areas of the dorsal hippocampus. JunB upregulation induced by contextual fear memory extinction was absent in alphaCaMKII autophosphorylation-deficient mice which have impaired contextual fear memory extinction. Thus, our data suggest that JunB expression in the medial nucleus and intercalated cells of the amygdala is involved in fear memory consolidation while alphaCaMKII-autophosphorylation-dependent JunB expression in the areas CA1 and CA3 of the dorsal hippocampus regulates fear memory extinction.

  4. Stress differentially affects fear conditioning in men and women.

    PubMed

    Merz, Christian Josef; Wolf, Oliver Tobias; Schweckendiek, Jan; Klucken, Tim; Vaitl, Dieter; Stark, Rudolf

    2013-11-01

    Stress and fear conditioning processes are both important vulnerability factors in the development of psychiatric disorders. In behavioral studies considerable sex differences in fear learning have been observed after increases of the stress hormone cortisol. But neuroimaging experiments, which give insights into the neurobiological correlates of stress × sex interactions in fear conditioning, are lacking so far. In the current functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we tested whether a psychosocial stressor (Trier Social Stress Test) compared to a control condition influenced subsequent fear conditioning in 48 men and 48 women taking oral contraceptives (OCs). One of two pictures of a geometrical figure was always paired (conditioned stimulus, CS+) or never paired (CS-) with an electrical stimulation (unconditioned stimulus). BOLD responses as well as skin conductance responses were assessed. Sex-independently, stress enhanced the CS+/CS- differentiation in the hippocampus in early acquisition but attenuated conditioned responses in the medial frontal cortex in late acquisition. In early acquisition, stress reduced the CS+/CS- differentiation in the nucleus accumbens in men, but enhanced it in OC women. In late acquisition, the same pattern (reduction in men, enhancement in OC women) was found in the amygdala as well as in the anterior cingulate. Thus, psychosocial stress impaired the neuronal correlates of fear learning and expression in men, but facilitated them in OC women. A sex-specific modulation of fear conditioning after stress might contribute to the divergent prevalence of men and women in developing psychiatric disorders.

  5. Long-term expression of human contextual fear and extinction memories involves amygdala, hippocampus and ventromedial prefrontal cortex: a reinstatement study in two independent samples.

    PubMed

    Lonsdorf, Tina B; Haaker, Jan; Kalisch, Raffael

    2014-12-01

    Human context conditioning studies have focused on acquisition and extinction. Subsequent long-term changes in fear behaviors not only depend on associative learning processes during those phases but also on memory consolidation processes and the later ability to retrieve and express fear and extinction memories. Clinical theories explain relapse after successful exposure-based treatment with return of fear memories and remission with stable extinction memory expression. We probed contextual fear and extinction memories 1 week (Day8) after conditioning (Day1) and subsequent extinction (Day2) by presenting conditioned contexts before (Test1) and after (Test2) a reinstatement manipulation. We find consistent activation patterns in two independent samples: activation of a subgenual part of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex before reinstatement (Test1) and (albeit with different temporal profiles between samples) of the amygdala after reinstatement (Test2) as well as up-regulation of anterior hippocampus activity after reinstatement (Test2 > Test1). These areas have earlier been implicated in the expression of cued extinction and fear memories. The present results suggest a general role for these structures in defining the balance between fear and extinction memories, independent of the conditioning mode. The results are discussed in the light of hypotheses implicating the anterior hippocampus in the processing of situational ambiguity.

  6. Voluntary exercise during extinction of auditory fear conditioning reduces the relapse of fear associated with potentiated activity of striatal direct pathway neurons.

    PubMed

    Mika, Agnieszka; Bouchet, Courtney A; Bunker, Preston; Hellwinkel, Justin E; Spence, Katie G; Day, Heidi E W; Campeau, Serge; Fleshner, Monika; Greenwood, Benjamin N

    2015-11-01

    Relapse of previously extinguished fear presents a significant, pervasive obstacle to the successful long-term treatment of anxiety and trauma-related disorders. Thus, identification of a novel means to enhance fear extinction to stand the passage of time and generalize across contexts is of the utmost importance. Acute bouts of exercise can be used as inexpensive, noninvasive treatment strategies to reduce anxiety, and have been shown to enhance memory for extinction when performed in close temporal proximity to the extinction session. However, it is unclear whether acute exercise can be used to prevent relapse of fear, and the neural mechanisms underlying this potential effect are unknown. The current study therefore examined whether acute exercise during extinction of auditory fear can protect against the later relapse of fear. Male F344 rats lacking an extended history of wheel running were conditioned to fear a tone CS and subsequently extinguished within either a freely mobile running wheel, a locked wheel, or a control context lacking a wheel. Rats exposed to fear extinction within a freely mobile wheel ran during fear extinction, and demonstrated reduced fear as well as attenuated corticosterone levels during re-exposure to the extinguished CS during the relapse test in a novel context 1week later. Examination of cfos mRNA patterns elicited by re-exposure to the extinguished CS during the relapse test revealed that acute exercise during extinction decreased activation of brain circuits classically involved in driving fear expression and interestingly, increased activity within neurons of the direct striatal pathway involved in reward signaling. These data suggest that exercise during extinction reduces relapse through a mechanism involving the direct pathway of the striatum. It is suggested that a positive affective state could become associated with the CS during exercise during extinction, thus resulting in a relapse-resistant extinction memory. PMID

  7. Voluntary exercise during extinction of auditory fear conditioning reduces the relapse of fear associated with potentiated activity of striatal direct pathway neurons.

    PubMed

    Mika, Agnieszka; Bouchet, Courtney A; Bunker, Preston; Hellwinkel, Justin E; Spence, Katie G; Day, Heidi E W; Campeau, Serge; Fleshner, Monika; Greenwood, Benjamin N

    2015-11-01

    Relapse of previously extinguished fear presents a significant, pervasive obstacle to the successful long-term treatment of anxiety and trauma-related disorders. Thus, identification of a novel means to enhance fear extinction to stand the passage of time and generalize across contexts is of the utmost importance. Acute bouts of exercise can be used as inexpensive, noninvasive treatment strategies to reduce anxiety, and have been shown to enhance memory for extinction when performed in close temporal proximity to the extinction session. However, it is unclear whether acute exercise can be used to prevent relapse of fear, and the neural mechanisms underlying this potential effect are unknown. The current study therefore examined whether acute exercise during extinction of auditory fear can protect against the later relapse of fear. Male F344 rats lacking an extended history of wheel running were conditioned to fear a tone CS and subsequently extinguished within either a freely mobile running wheel, a locked wheel, or a control context lacking a wheel. Rats exposed to fear extinction within a freely mobile wheel ran during fear extinction, and demonstrated reduced fear as well as attenuated corticosterone levels during re-exposure to the extinguished CS during the relapse test in a novel context 1week later. Examination of cfos mRNA patterns elicited by re-exposure to the extinguished CS during the relapse test revealed that acute exercise during extinction decreased activation of brain circuits classically involved in driving fear expression and interestingly, increased activity within neurons of the direct striatal pathway involved in reward signaling. These data suggest that exercise during extinction reduces relapse through a mechanism involving the direct pathway of the striatum. It is suggested that a positive affective state could become associated with the CS during exercise during extinction, thus resulting in a relapse-resistant extinction memory.

  8. Psychopaths Show Enhanced Amygdala Activation during Fear Conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Schultz, Douglas H.; Balderston, Nicholas L.; Baskin-Sommers, Arielle R.; Larson, Christine L.; Helmstetter, Fred J.

    2016-01-01

    Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by emotional deficits and a failure to inhibit impulsive behavior and is often subdivided into “primary” and “secondary” psychopathic subtypes. The maladaptive behavior related to primary psychopathy is thought to reflect constitutional “fearlessness,” while the problematic behavior related to secondary psychopathy is motivated by other factors. The fearlessness observed in psychopathy has often been interpreted as reflecting a fundamental deficit in amygdala function, and previous studies have provided support for a low-fear model of psychopathy. However, many of these studies fail to use appropriate screening procedures, use liberal inclusion criteria, or have used unconventional approaches to assay amygdala function. We measured brain activity with BOLD imaging in primary and secondary psychopaths and non-psychopathic control subjects during Pavlovian fear conditioning. In contrast to the low-fear model, we observed normal fear expression in primary psychopaths. Psychopaths also displayed greater differential BOLD activity in the amygdala relative to matched controls. Inverse patterns of activity were observed in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) for primary versus secondary psychopaths. Primary psychopaths exhibited a pattern of activity in the dorsal and ventral ACC consistent with enhanced fear expression, while secondary psychopaths exhibited a pattern of activity in these regions consistent with fear inhibition. These results contradict the low-fear model of psychopathy and suggest that the low fear observed for psychopaths in previous studies may be specific to secondary psychopaths. PMID:27014154

  9. Psychopaths Show Enhanced Amygdala Activation during Fear Conditioning.

    PubMed

    Schultz, Douglas H; Balderston, Nicholas L; Baskin-Sommers, Arielle R; Larson, Christine L; Helmstetter, Fred J

    2016-01-01

    Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by emotional deficits and a failure to inhibit impulsive behavior and is often subdivided into "primary" and "secondary" psychopathic subtypes. The maladaptive behavior related to primary psychopathy is thought to reflect constitutional "fearlessness," while the problematic behavior related to secondary psychopathy is motivated by other factors. The fearlessness observed in psychopathy has often been interpreted as reflecting a fundamental deficit in amygdala function, and previous studies have provided support for a low-fear model of psychopathy. However, many of these studies fail to use appropriate screening procedures, use liberal inclusion criteria, or have used unconventional approaches to assay amygdala function. We measured brain activity with BOLD imaging in primary and secondary psychopaths and non-psychopathic control subjects during Pavlovian fear conditioning. In contrast to the low-fear model, we observed normal fear expression in primary psychopaths. Psychopaths also displayed greater differential BOLD activity in the amygdala relative to matched controls. Inverse patterns of activity were observed in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) for primary versus secondary psychopaths. Primary psychopaths exhibited a pattern of activity in the dorsal and ventral ACC consistent with enhanced fear expression, while secondary psychopaths exhibited a pattern of activity in these regions consistent with fear inhibition. These results contradict the low-fear model of psychopathy and suggest that the low fear observed for psychopaths in previous studies may be specific to secondary psychopaths.

  10. Psychopaths Show Enhanced Amygdala Activation during Fear Conditioning.

    PubMed

    Schultz, Douglas H; Balderston, Nicholas L; Baskin-Sommers, Arielle R; Larson, Christine L; Helmstetter, Fred J

    2016-01-01

    Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by emotional deficits and a failure to inhibit impulsive behavior and is often subdivided into "primary" and "secondary" psychopathic subtypes. The maladaptive behavior related to primary psychopathy is thought to reflect constitutional "fearlessness," while the problematic behavior related to secondary psychopathy is motivated by other factors. The fearlessness observed in psychopathy has often been interpreted as reflecting a fundamental deficit in amygdala function, and previous studies have provided support for a low-fear model of psychopathy. However, many of these studies fail to use appropriate screening procedures, use liberal inclusion criteria, or have used unconventional approaches to assay amygdala function. We measured brain activity with BOLD imaging in primary and secondary psychopaths and non-psychopathic control subjects during Pavlovian fear conditioning. In contrast to the low-fear model, we observed normal fear expression in primary psychopaths. Psychopaths also displayed greater differential BOLD activity in the amygdala relative to matched controls. Inverse patterns of activity were observed in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) for primary versus secondary psychopaths. Primary psychopaths exhibited a pattern of activity in the dorsal and ventral ACC consistent with enhanced fear expression, while secondary psychopaths exhibited a pattern of activity in these regions consistent with fear inhibition. These results contradict the low-fear model of psychopathy and suggest that the low fear observed for psychopaths in previous studies may be specific to secondary psychopaths. PMID:27014154

  11. Resting-state connectivity of the amygdala is altered following Pavlovian fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Schultz, Douglas H; Balderston, Nicholas L; Helmstetter, Fred J

    2012-01-01

    Neural plasticity in the amygdala is necessary for the acquisition and storage of memory in Pavlovian fear conditioning, but most neuroimaging studies have focused only on stimulus-evoked responses during the conditioning session. This study examined changes in the resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) of the amygdala before and after Pavlovian fear conditioning, an emotional learning task. Behavioral results from the conditioning session revealed that participants learned normally and fMRI data recorded during learning identified a number of stimulus-evoked changes that were consistent with previous work. A direct comparison between the pre- and post-conditioning amygdala connectivity revealed a region of dorsal prefrontal cortex (PFC) in the superior frontal gyrus that showed a significant increase in connectivity following the conditioning session. A behavioral measure of explicit memory performance was positively correlated with the change in amygdala connectivity within a neighboring region in the superior frontal gyrus. Additionally, an implicit autonomic measure of conditioning was positively correlated with the change in connectivity between the amygdala and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). The resting-state data show that amygdala connectivity is altered following Pavlovian fear conditioning and that these changes are also related to behavioral outcomes. These alterations may reflect the operation of a consolidation process that strengthens neural connections to support memory after the learning event.

  12. Conditioning- and Time-Dependent Increases in Context Fear and Generalization

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Poulos, Andrew M.; Mehta, Nehali; Lu, Bryan; Amir, Dorsa; Livingston, Briana; Santarelli, Anthony; Zhuravka, Irina; Fanselow, Michael S.

    2016-01-01

    A prominent feature of fear memories and anxiety disorders is that they endure across extended periods of time. Here, we examine how the severity of the initial fear experience influences incubation, generalization, and sensitization of contextual fear memories across time. Adult rats were presented with either five, two, one, or zero shocks (1.2…

  13. Discriminative fear conditioning to context expressed by multiple measures of fear in the rat.

    PubMed

    Antoniadis, E A; McDonald, R J

    1999-05-01

    There has been a renewed interest in the neural basis of fear conditioning to context. These current approaches are accompanied by some limitations including the use of short testing windows, non-discriminative paradigms, and unitary fear response assessment. In an attempt to circumvent these limitations, a discriminative context procedure assessing multiple response measures of fear was used in the present study. Conditioning consisted of three training sessions and each session consisted of 2 days. On day one, the animals were placed in the paired context and received three foot shocks. On the other day, they were placed in the unpaired chamber in the absence of any aversive event. Animals were tested after each training session and the response measures of fear recorded included: preference, freezing, heart rate, ultrasonic vocalizations, defecation, body temperature, urination and locomotion. The results suggest that behavioral, as well as physiological changes evoked by fearful stimuli become associated with the context in which the aversive event occurred. In general these findings also suggest that there are different learning parameters for the measures of fear examined in this paradigm.

  14. Repeated valproate treatment facilitates fear extinction under specific stimulus conditions.

    PubMed

    Heinrichs, Stephen C; Leite-Morris, Kimberly A; Rasmusson, Ann M; Kaplan, Gary B

    2013-09-27

    Single dose treatment with histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) agents has been shown to enhance extinction learning in rodent models under certain conditions. The present novel studies were designed to examine the effects of repeated HDACi treatment, with valproate or sodium butyrate, on the extinction of conditioned fear. In Experiments 1 and 2, short duration CS exposure (30s) in combination with vehicle administration progressively attenuated conditioned fear responses over 40 or more sessions. This effective extinction training was not augmented by HDACi treatments. In Experiment 3, we used a long duration CS exposure (120 s) to weaken extinction training. With these extinction parameters, repeated valproate treatment substantially facilitated the acquisition and retention of fear extinction. Results of this study extend previous work suggesting that HDACi's have utility in augmenting the efficiency of fear extinction, although their apparent benefits are critically dependent upon specific parameters of extinction training.

  15. The effect of chronic corticosterone on fear learning and memory depends on dose and the testing protocol.

    PubMed

    Marks, W N; Fenton, E Y; Guskjolen, A J; Kalynchuk, L E

    2015-03-19

    Chronic exposure to the stress hormone corticosterone (CORT) is known to alter plasticity within hippocampal and amygdalar circuits that mediate fear learning and memory. The purpose of this experiment was to clarify the effects of chronic CORT on Pavlovian fear conditioning, which is dependent on intact hippocampal and amygdalar activity. In particular, we assessed whether the effect of chronic CORT on fear learning and memory is influenced by two factors-the dose of CORT and the order in which rats are tested for freezing to context versus tone cues. Male Long-Evans rats received low-dose CORT (5mg/kg), high-dose CORT (40mg/kg), or vehicle injections once daily for 21days. On day 22, the rats were trained in a fear-conditioning paradigm. On days 23 and 24, the rats were tested for the retrieval of fear memories to context and tone cues in a counterbalanced way-half the rats received context testing on day 23 and then tone testing on day 24 and half the rats received tone testing on day 23 followed by context testing on day 24. Our results revealed dose-dependent effects of CORT on memory retrieval: Rats injected with high-dose CORT froze significantly more than control rats to both context and tone cues regardless of what testing day these cues were presented. However, rats injected with low-dose CORT froze significantly more than control rats to tone cues only. We also found an order effect in that the effects of CORT on freezing were greater on the second day of testing, regardless of whether that testing was to context or tones cues. This order effect may be due to a lack of extinction in the CORT rats. Overall, these results suggest a relationship between stress intensity and testing conditions that should be taken into account when assessing the effect of stress on fear memories.

  16. Cannabinoid modulation of chronic mild stress-induced selective enhancement of trace fear conditioning in adolescent rats.

    PubMed

    Reich, Christian G; Iskander, Anthony N; Weiss, Michael S

    2013-10-01

    History of stress is considered a major risk factor for the development of major depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Elucidating the neurobiological mechanisms of Pavlovian fear conditioning may provide insight into the etiology of PTSD. In the current study, adolescent male Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to 3 weeks of a chronic-mild-unpredictable stress (CMS) protocol. Immediately following the CMS, the animals were subjected to hippocampal-dependent (trace and contextual) and hippocampal-independent (delay) fear conditioning. CMS exposure enhanced trace freezing behavior compared to non-stress controls. This effect was not observed in contextual or delay conditioned animals. Given that the endocannabinoid system is negatively affected by CMS procedures, separate groups of stressed rats were administered the CB1 receptor agonist, ACEA (0.1 mg/kg), prior to trace fear conditioning or a memory-recall test. Regardless of administration time, ACEA significantly reduced freezing behavior in stressed animals. Furthermore, when administered during the first memory recall test, ACEA enhanced long-term extinction in both stress and non-stress groups. The results demonstrate that chronic unpredictable stress selectively enhances hippocampal-dependent episodic fear memories. Pathologies of the episodic memory and fear response may increase the susceptibility of developing PTSD. Reduction in fear responses via exogenous activation of the CB1 receptor suggests that a deficiency in the endocannabinoid system contributes to this pathology.

  17. Increased tone-offset response in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala underlies trace fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Kim, Namsoo; Kong, Mi-Seon; Jo, Kyeong Im; Kim, Eun Joo; Choi, June-Seek

    2015-12-01

    Accumulating evidence suggests that the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA) stores associative memory in the form of enhanced neural response to the sensory input following classical fear conditioning in which the conditioned stimulus (CS) and the unconditioned stimulus (US) are presented in a temporally continuous manner. However, little is known about the role of the LA in trace fear conditioning where the CS and the US are separated by a temporal gap. Single-unit recordings of LA neurons before and after trace fear conditioning revealed that the short-latency activity to the CS offset, but not that to the onset, increased significantly and accompanied the conditioned fear response. The increased short-latency activity was evident in two aspects: the number of offset-responsive neurons was increased and the latency of the neuronal response to the CS offset was shortened. On the contrary, changes in the firing rate to either the onset or the offset were negligible following unpaired presentations of the CS and US. In sum, our results suggest that increased synaptic efficacy in the CS offset pathway in the LA might underlie the association between temporally distant stimuli in trace fear conditioning.

  18. mTOR is essential for corticosteroid effects on hippocampal AMPA receptor function and fear memory.

    PubMed

    Xiong, Hui; Cassé, Frédéric; Zhou, Yang; Zhou, Ming; Xiong, Zhi-Qi; Joëls, Marian; Martin, Stéphane; Krugers, Harm J

    2015-12-01

    Glucocorticoid hormones, via activation of their receptors, promote memory consolidation, but the exact underlying mechanisms remain elusive. We examined how corticosterone regulates AMPA receptors (AMPARs), which are crucial for synaptic plasticity and memory formation. Combining a live imaging fluorescent recovery after photobleaching approach with the use of the pH-sensitive GFP-AMPAR tagging revealed that corticosterone enhances the AMPAR mobile fraction and increases synaptic trapping of AMPARs in hippocampal cells. In parallel, corticosterone-enhanced AMPAR-mediated synaptic transmission. Blocking the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway prevented the effects of corticosterone on both AMPAR trapping-but not on the mobile fraction-and synaptic transmission. Blocking the mTOR pathway also prevented the memory enhancing effects of corticosterone in a contextual fear-conditioning paradigm. We conclude that activation of the mTOR pathway is essential for the effects of corticosterone on synaptic trapping of AMPARs and, possibly as a consequence, fearful memory formation.

  19. An Appetitive Conditioned Stimulus Enhances Fear Acquisition and Impairs Fear Extinction

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Leung, Hiu T.; Holmes, Nathan M.; Westbrook, R. Frederick

    2016-01-01

    Four experiments used between- and within-subject designs to examine appetitive-aversive interactions in rats. Experiments 1 and 2 examined the effect of an excitatory appetitive conditioned stimulus (CS) on acquisition and extinction of conditioned fear. In Experiment 1, a CS shocked in a compound with an appetitive excitor (i.e., a stimulus…

  20. Ensemble coding of context-dependent fear memory in the amygdala.

    PubMed

    Orsini, Caitlin A; Yan, Chen; Maren, Stephen

    2013-01-01

    After fear conditioning, presenting the conditioned stimulus (CS) alone yields a context-specific extinction memory; fear is suppressed in the extinction context, but renews in any other context. The context-dependence of extinction is mediated by a brain circuit consisting of the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex (PFC) and amygdala. In the present work, we sought to determine at what level of this circuit context-dependent representations of the CS emerge. To explore this question, we used cellular compartment analysis of temporal activity by fluorescent in situ hybridization (catFISH). This method exploits the intracellular expression profile of the immediate early gene (IEG), Arc, to visualize neuronal activation patterns to two different behavioral experiences. Rats were fear conditioned in one context and extinguished in another; 24 h later, they were sequentially exposed to the CS in the extinction context and another context. Control rats were also tested in each context, but were never extinguished. We assessed Arc mRNA expression within the basal amygdala (BA), lateral amygdala (LA), ventral hippocampus (VH), prelimbic cortex (PL) and infralimbic cortex (IL). We observed that the sequential retention tests induced context-dependent patterns of Arc expression in the BA, LA, and IL of extinguished rats; this was not observed in non-extinguished controls. In general, non-extinguished animals had proportionately greater numbers of non-selective (double-labeled) neurons than extinguished animals. Collectively, these findings suggest that extinction learning results in pattern separation, particularly within the BA, in which unique neuronal ensembles represent fear memories after extinction.

  1. Cerebellar vermis contributes to the extinction of conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Utz, A; Thürling, M; Ernst, T M; Hermann, A; Stark, R; Wolf, O T; Timmann, D; Merz, C J

    2015-09-14

    The cerebellum is known to contribute to the acquisition and retention of conditioned motor and emotional responses. Eyeblink conditioning and fear conditioning have been studied in greatest detail. Whereas a considerable number of studies have shown that the cerebellum is also involved in extinction of conditioned eyeblink responses, the likely contribution of the cerebellum to extinction of conditioned fear responses has largely been ignored. In the present study, we analyzed functional brain imaging data (fMRI) of previous work investigating extinction of conditioned fear in 32 young and healthy men, in which event-related fMRI analysis did not include the cerebellum. This dataset was analyzed using a spatial normalization method optimized for the cerebellum. During fear acquisition, an unpleasant electric shock (unconditioned stimulus; US) was paired with one of two pictures of geometrical figures (conditioned stimulus; CS+), while the other picture (CS-) was never paired with the US. During extinction, CS+ and CS- were presented without the US. During the acquisition phase, the fMRI signal related to the CS+ was significantly higher in hemispheric lobule VI in early compared to late acquisition (p<.05, permutation corrected). During the extinction phase, the fMRI signal related to the contrast CS+>CS- was significantly higher within the anterior vermis in early compared to late extinction (p<.05, permutation corrected). The present data show that the cerebellum is not only associated with the acquisition but also with the extinction of conditioned fear.

  2. Cerebellar vermis contributes to the extinction of conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Utz, A; Thürling, M; Ernst, T M; Hermann, A; Stark, R; Wolf, O T; Timmann, D; Merz, C J

    2015-09-14

    The cerebellum is known to contribute to the acquisition and retention of conditioned motor and emotional responses. Eyeblink conditioning and fear conditioning have been studied in greatest detail. Whereas a considerable number of studies have shown that the cerebellum is also involved in extinction of conditioned eyeblink responses, the likely contribution of the cerebellum to extinction of conditioned fear responses has largely been ignored. In the present study, we analyzed functional brain imaging data (fMRI) of previous work investigating extinction of conditioned fear in 32 young and healthy men, in which event-related fMRI analysis did not include the cerebellum. This dataset was analyzed using a spatial normalization method optimized for the cerebellum. During fear acquisition, an unpleasant electric shock (unconditioned stimulus; US) was paired with one of two pictures of geometrical figures (conditioned stimulus; CS+), while the other picture (CS-) was never paired with the US. During extinction, CS+ and CS- were presented without the US. During the acquisition phase, the fMRI signal related to the CS+ was significantly higher in hemispheric lobule VI in early compared to late acquisition (p<.05, permutation corrected). During the extinction phase, the fMRI signal related to the contrast CS+>CS- was significantly higher within the anterior vermis in early compared to late extinction (p<.05, permutation corrected). The present data show that the cerebellum is not only associated with the acquisition but also with the extinction of conditioned fear. PMID:26219987

  3. Delay and trace fear conditioning in a complex virtual learning environment—neural substrates of extinction

    PubMed Central

    Ewald, Heike; Glotzbach-Schoon, Evelyn; Gerdes, Antje B. M.; Andreatta, Marta; Müller, Mathias; Mühlberger, Andreas; Pauli, Paul

    2014-01-01

    Extinction is an important mechanism to inhibit initially acquired fear responses. There is growing evidence that the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) inhibits the amygdala and therefore plays an important role in the extinction of delay fear conditioning. To our knowledge, there is no evidence on the role of the prefrontal cortex in the extinction of trace conditioning up to now. Thus, we compared brain structures involved in the extinction of human delay and trace fear conditioning in a between-subjects-design in an fMRI study. Participants were passively guided through a virtual environment during learning and extinction of conditioned fear. Two different lights served as conditioned stimuli (CS); as unconditioned stimulus (US) a mildly painful electric stimulus was delivered. In the delay conditioning group (DCG) the US was administered with offset of one light (CS+), whereas in the trace conditioning group (TCG) the US was presented 4 s after CS+ offset. Both groups showed insular and striatal activation during early extinction, but differed in their prefrontal activation. The vmPFC was mainly activated in the DCG, whereas the TCG showed activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) during extinction. These results point to different extinction processes in delay and trace conditioning. VmPFC activation during extinction of delay conditioning might reflect the inhibition of the fear response. In contrast, dlPFC activation during extinction of trace conditioning may reflect modulation of working memory processes which are involved in bridging the trace interval and hold information in short term memory. PMID:24904363

  4. NR2A- and NR2B-containing NMDA receptors in the prelimbic medial prefrontal cortex differentially mediate trace, delay, and contextual fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Gilmartin, Marieke R; Kwapis, Janine L; Helmstetter, Fred J

    2013-05-15

    Activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDAR) in the prelimbic medial prefrontal cortex (PL mPFC) is necessary for the acquisition of both trace and contextual fear memories, but it is not known how specific NR2 subunits support each association. The NR2B subunit confers unique properties to the NMDAR and may differentially regulate these two fear memories. Here we show that NR2A-containing NMDARs mediate trace, delay, and contextual fear memories, but NR2B-containing NMDARs are required only for trace conditioning, consistent with a role for PL mPFC in working memory.

  5. Dorsal hippocampus infusions of CNQX into the dentate gyrus disrupt expression of trace fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Pierson, Jamie L; Pullins, Shane E; Quinn, Jennifer J

    2015-07-01

    The hippocampus is essential for the consolidation of some explicit long-term memories, including trace conditioning. Lesions and pharmacological manipulations of the dorsal hippocampus (DH) have provided strong evidence for its involvement in the acquisition and expression of trace fear memories. However, no studies have specifically targeted DH subregions [CA1 and dentate gyrus (DG)] to determine their involvement in trace fear conditioning. In the present study, rats received bilateral cannulation targeting either the DG or CA1 of the DH. Following surgery, animals were trace fear conditioned. Forty-eight hours following training, rats received bilateral infusions of the AMPA/kainate glutamate receptor antagonist, CNQX, or vehicle. Following the infusion, rats were placed in a novel context for the tone test. Rats that received CNQX into the DG froze significantly less during the tone and trace interval as compared to controls. Rats that received CNQX into the DH CA1 showed no difference in freezing during the tone or trace interval as compared to controls. These data support a role for the DG in the expression of trace tone fear conditioning.

  6. Seeking a spotless mind: extinction, deconsolidation, and erasure of fear memory.

    PubMed

    Maren, Stephen

    2011-06-01

    Learning to contend with threats in the environment is essential to survival, but dysregulation of memories for traumatic events can lead to disabling psychopathology. Recent years have witnessed an impressive growth in our understanding of the neural systems and synaptic mechanisms underlying emotional memory formation. As a consequence, interest has emerged in developing strategies for suppressing, if not eliminating, fear memories. Here, I review recent work employing sophisticated behavioral, pharmacological, and molecular tools to target fear memories, placing these memories firmly behind the crosshairs of neurobiologically informed interventions.

  7. Seeking a Spotless Mind: Extinction, Deconsolidation, and Erasure of Fear Memory

    PubMed Central

    Maren, Stephen

    2011-01-01

    Learning to contend with threats in the environment is essential to survival, but dysregulation of memories for traumatic events can lead to disabling psychopathology. Recent years have witnessed an impressive growth in our understanding of the neural systems and synaptic mechanisms underlying emotional memory formation. As a consequence, interest has emerged in developing strategies for suppressing, if not eliminating, fear memories. Here I review recent work employing sophisticated behavioral, pharmacological, and molecular tools to target fear memories, placing these memories firmly behind the crosshairs of neurobiologically informed interventions. PMID:21658578

  8. Characterization of fear conditioning and fear extinction by analysis of electrodermal activity.

    PubMed

    Faghih, Rose T; Stokes, Patrick A; Marin, Marie-France; Zsido, Rachel G; Zorowitz, Sam; Rosenbaum, Blake L; Huijin Song; Milad, Mohammed R; Dougherty, Darin D; Eskandar, Emad N; Widge, Alik S; Brown, Emery N; Barbieri, Riccardo

    2015-08-01

    Electrodermal activity (EDA) is a measure of physical arousal, which is frequently measured during psychophysical tasks relevant for anxiety disorders. Recently, specific protocols and procedures have been devised in order to examine the neural mechanisms of fear conditioning and extinction. EDA reflects important responses associated with stimuli specifically administrated during these procedures. Although several previous studies have demonstrated the reproducibility of measures estimated from EDA, a mathematical framework associated with the stimulus-response experiments in question and, at the same time, including the underlying emotional state of the subject during fear conditioning and/or extinction experiments is not well studied. We here propose an ordinary differential equation model based on sudomotor nerve activity, and estimate the fear eliciting stimulus using a compressed sensing algorithm. Our results show that we are able to recover the underlying stimulus (visual cue or mild electrical shock). Moreover, relating the time-delay in the estimated stimulation to the visual cue during extinction period shows that fear level decreases as visual cues are presented without shock, suggesting that this feature might be used to estimate the fear state. These findings indicate that a mathematical model based on electrodermal responses might be critical in defining a low-dimensional representation of essential cognitive features in order to describe dynamic behavioral states.

  9. Sleep supports cued fear extinction memory consolidation independent of circadian phase.

    PubMed

    Melo, Irene; Ehrlich, Ingrid

    2016-07-01

    Sleep promotes memory, particularly for declarative learning. However, its role in non-declarative, emotional memories is less well understood. Some studies suggest that sleep may influence fear-related memories, and thus may be an important factor determining the outcome of treatments for emotional disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Here, we investigated the effect of sleep deprivation and time of day on fear extinction memory consolidation. Mice were subjected to a cued Pavlovian fear and extinction paradigm at the beginning of their resting or active phase. Immediate post-extinction learning sleep deprivation for 5h compromised extinction memory when tested 24h after learning. Context-dependent extinction memory recall was completely prevented by sleep-manipulation during the resting phase, while impairment was milder during the active phase and extinction memory retained its context-specificity. Importantly, control experiments excluded confounding factors such as differences in baseline locomotion, fear generalization and stress hormone levels. Together, our findings indicate that post-learning sleep supports cued fear extinction memory consolidation in both circadian phases. The lack of correlation between memory efficacy and sleep time suggests that extinction memory may be influenced by specific sleep events in the early consolidation period. PMID:27109918

  10. Investigating the neural mechanisms of aware and unaware fear memory with FMRI.

    PubMed

    Knight, David C; Wood, Kimberly H

    2011-10-06

    Pavlovian fear conditioning is often used in combination with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in humans to investigate the neural substrates of associative learning. In these studies, it is important to provide behavioral evidence of conditioning to verify that differences in brain activity are learning-related and correlated with human behavior. Fear conditioning studies often monitor autonomic responses (e.g. skin conductance response; SCR) as an index of learning and memory. In addition, other behavioral measures can provide valuable information about the learning process and/or other cognitive functions that influence conditioning. For example, the impact unconditioned stimulus (UCS) expectancies have on the expression of the conditioned response (CR) and unconditioned response (UCR) has been a topic of interest in several recent studies. SCR and UCS expectancy measures have recently been used in conjunction with fMRI to investigate the neural substrates of aware and unaware fear learning and memory processes. Although these cognitive processes can be evaluated to some degree following the conditioning session, post-conditioning assessments cannot measure expectations on a trial-to-trial basis and are susceptible to interference and forgetting, as well as other factors that may distort results. Monitoring autonomic and behavioral responses simultaneously with fMRI provides a mechanism by which the neural substrates that mediate complex relationships between cognitive processes and behavioral/autonomic responses can be assessed. However, monitoring autonomic and behavioral responses in the MRI environment poses a number of practical problems. Specifically, 1) standard behavioral and physiological monitoring equipment is constructed of ferrous material that cannot be safely used near the MRI scanner, 2) when this equipment is placed outside of the MRI scanning chamber, the cables projecting to the subject can carry RF noise that produces artifacts in

  11. Cholinergic neuronal lesions in the medial septum and vertical limb of the diagonal bands of Broca induce contextual fear memory generalization and impair acquisition of fear extinction.

    PubMed

    Knox, Dayan; Keller, Samantha M

    2016-06-01

    Previous research has shown that the ventral medial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and hippocampus (Hipp) are critical for extinction memory. Basal forebrain (BF) cholinergic input to the vmPFC and Hipp is critical for neural function in these substrates, which suggests BF cholinergic neurons may be critical for extinction memory. In order to test this hypothesis, we applied cholinergic lesions to different regions of the BF and observed the effects these lesions had on extinction memory. Complete BF cholinergic lesions induced contextual fear memory generalization, and this generalized fear was resistant to extinction. Animals with complete BF cholinergic lesions could not acquire cued fear extinction. Restricted cholinergic lesions in the medial septum and vertical diagonal bands of Broca (MS/vDBB) mimicked the effects that BF cholinergic lesions had on contextual fear memory generalization and acquisition of fear extinction. Cholinergic lesions in the horizontal diagonal band of Broca and nucleus basalis (hDBB/NBM) induced a small deficit in extinction of generalized contextual fear memory with no accompanying deficits in cued fear extinction. The results of this study reveal that MS/vDBB cholinergic neurons are critical for inhibition and extinction of generalized contextual fear memory, and via this process, may be critical for acquisition of cued fear extinction. Further studies delineating neural circuits and mechanisms through which MS/vDBB cholinergic neurons facilitate these emotional memory processes are needed. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:26606423

  12. Cholinergic neuronal lesions in the medial septum and vertical limb of the diagonal bands of Broca induce contextual fear memory generalization and impair acquisition of fear extinction.

    PubMed

    Knox, Dayan; Keller, Samantha M

    2016-06-01

    Previous research has shown that the ventral medial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and hippocampus (Hipp) are critical for extinction memory. Basal forebrain (BF) cholinergic input to the vmPFC and Hipp is critical for neural function in these substrates, which suggests BF cholinergic neurons may be critical for extinction memory. In order to test this hypothesis, we applied cholinergic lesions to different regions of the BF and observed the effects these lesions had on extinction memory. Complete BF cholinergic lesions induced contextual fear memory generalization, and this generalized fear was resistant to extinction. Animals with complete BF cholinergic lesions could not acquire cued fear extinction. Restricted cholinergic lesions in the medial septum and vertical diagonal bands of Broca (MS/vDBB) mimicked the effects that BF cholinergic lesions had on contextual fear memory generalization and acquisition of fear extinction. Cholinergic lesions in the horizontal diagonal band of Broca and nucleus basalis (hDBB/NBM) induced a small deficit in extinction of generalized contextual fear memory with no accompanying deficits in cued fear extinction. The results of this study reveal that MS/vDBB cholinergic neurons are critical for inhibition and extinction of generalized contextual fear memory, and via this process, may be critical for acquisition of cued fear extinction. Further studies delineating neural circuits and mechanisms through which MS/vDBB cholinergic neurons facilitate these emotional memory processes are needed. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  13. Glutamate receptors in the medial geniculate nucleus are necessary for expression and extinction of conditioned fear in rats.

    PubMed

    Orsini, Caitlin A; Maren, Stephen

    2009-11-01

    Auditory fear conditioning requires anatomical projections from the medial geniculate nucleus (MGN) of the thalamus to the amygdala. Several lines of work indicate that the MGN is a critical sensory relay for auditory information during conditioning, but is not itself involved in the encoding of long-term fear memories. In the present experiments, we examined whether the MGN plays a similar role in the extinction of conditioned fear. Twenty-four hours after Pavlovian fear conditioning, rats received bilateral intra-thalamic infusions of either with NBQX (an AMPA receptor antagonist; Experiment 1) or MK-801 (an NMDA receptor antagonist; Experiment 1), anisomycin (a protein synthesis inhibitor; Experiment 2) or U0126 (a MEK inhibitor; Experiment 3) immediately prior to an extinction session in a novel context. The next day rats received a tone test in a drug-free state to assess their extinction memory; freezing served as an index of fear. Glutamate receptor antagonism prevented both the expression and extinction of conditioned fear. In contrast, neither anisomycin nor U0126 affected extinction. These results suggest that the MGN is a critical sensory relay for auditory information during extinction training, but is not itself a site of plasticity underlying the formation of the extinction memory.

  14. Neurons activated during fear memory consolidation and reconsolidation are mapped to a common and new topography in the lateral amygdala.

    PubMed

    Bergstrom, Hadley C; McDonald, Craig G; Dey, Smita; Fernandez, Gina M; Johnson, Luke R

    2013-07-01

    A key question in neuroscience is how memory is selectively allocated to neural networks in the brain. This question remains a significant research challenge, in both rodent models and humans alike, because of the inherent difficulty in tracking and deciphering large, highly dimensional neuronal ensembles that support memory (i.e., the engram). In a previous study we showed that consolidation of a new fear memory is allocated to a common topography of amygdala neurons. When a consolidated memory is retrieved, it may enter a labile state, requiring reconsolidation for it to persist. What is not known is whether the original spatial allocation of a consolidated memory changes during reconsolidation. Knowledge about the spatial allocation of a memory, during consolidation and reconsolidation, provides fundamental insight into its core physical structure (i.e., the engram). Using design-based stereology, we operationally define reconsolidation by showing a nearly identical quantity of neurons in the dorsolateral amygdala (LAd) that expressed a plasticity-related protein, phosphorylated mitogen-activated protein kinase, following both memory acquisition and retrieval. Next, we confirm that Pavlovian fear conditioning recruits a stable, topographically organized population of activated neurons in the LAd. When the stored fear memory was briefly reactivated in the presence of the relevant conditioned stimulus, a similar topography of activated neurons was uncovered. In addition, we found evidence for activated neurons allocated to new regions of the LAd. These findings provide the first insight into the spatial allocation of a fear engram in the LAd, during its consolidation and reconsolidation phase. PMID:23322210

  15. RNA sequencing from neural ensembles activated during fear conditioning in the mouse temporal association cortex.

    PubMed

    Cho, Jin-Hyung; Huang, Ben S; Gray, Jesse M

    2016-01-01

    The stable formation of remote fear memories is thought to require neuronal gene induction in cortical ensembles that are activated during learning. However, the set of genes expressed specifically in these activated ensembles is not known; knowledge of such transcriptional profiles may offer insights into the molecular program underlying stable memory formation. Here we use RNA-Seq to identify genes whose expression is enriched in activated cortical ensembles labeled during associative fear learning. We first establish that mouse temporal association cortex (TeA) is required for remote recall of auditory fear memories. We then perform RNA-Seq in TeA neurons that are labeled by the activity reporter Arc-dVenus during learning. We identify 944 genes with enriched expression in Arc-dVenus+ neurons. These genes include markers of L2/3, L5b, and L6 excitatory neurons but not glial or inhibitory markers, confirming Arc-dVenus to be an excitatory neuron-specific but non-layer-specific activity reporter. Cross comparisons to other transcriptional profiles show that 125 of the enriched genes are also activity-regulated in vitro or induced by visual stimulus in the visual cortex, suggesting that they may be induced generally in the cortex in an experience-dependent fashion. Prominent among the enriched genes are those encoding potassium channels that down-regulate neuronal activity, suggesting the possibility that part of the molecular program induced by fear conditioning may initiate homeostatic plasticity. PMID:27557751

  16. RNA sequencing from neural ensembles activated during fear conditioning in the mouse temporal association cortex

    PubMed Central

    Cho, Jin-Hyung; Huang, Ben S.; Gray, Jesse M.

    2016-01-01

    The stable formation of remote fear memories is thought to require neuronal gene induction in cortical ensembles that are activated during learning. However, the set of genes expressed specifically in these activated ensembles is not known; knowledge of such transcriptional profiles may offer insights into the molecular program underlying stable memory formation. Here we use RNA-Seq to identify genes whose expression is enriched in activated cortical ensembles labeled during associative fear learning. We first establish that mouse temporal association cortex (TeA) is required for remote recall of auditory fear memories. We then perform RNA-Seq in TeA neurons that are labeled by the activity reporter Arc-dVenus during learning. We identify 944 genes with enriched expression in Arc-dVenus+ neurons. These genes include markers of L2/3, L5b, and L6 excitatory neurons but not glial or inhibitory markers, confirming Arc-dVenus to be an excitatory neuron-specific but non-layer-specific activity reporter. Cross comparisons to other transcriptional profiles show that 125 of the enriched genes are also activity-regulated in vitro or induced by visual stimulus in the visual cortex, suggesting that they may be induced generally in the cortex in an experience-dependent fashion. Prominent among the enriched genes are those encoding potassium channels that down-regulate neuronal activity, suggesting the possibility that part of the molecular program induced by fear conditioning may initiate homeostatic plasticity. PMID:27557751

  17. Categories, Concepts, and Conditioning: How Humans Generalize Fear

    PubMed Central

    Dunsmoor, Joseph E.; Murphy, Gregory L.

    2015-01-01

    During the past century, Pavlovian conditioning has served as the predominant experimental paradigm and theoretical framework to understand how humans learn to fear and avoid real or perceived dangers. Animal models for translational research offer insight into basic behavioral and neurophysiological factors mediating the acquisition, expression, inhibition, and generalization of fear. However, it is important to consider the limits of traditional animal models when applied to humans. Here, we focus on the question of how humans generalize fear. We propose that to understand fear generalization in humans requires taking into account research on higher-level cognition such as category-based induction, inferential reasoning, and representation of conceptual knowledge. Doing so will open the door for productive avenues of new research. PMID:25577706

  18. Categories, concepts, and conditioning: how humans generalize fear.

    PubMed

    Dunsmoor, Joseph E; Murphy, Gregory L

    2015-02-01

    During the past century, Pavlovian conditioning has served as the predominant experimental paradigm and theoretical framework to understand how humans learn to fear and avoid real or perceived dangers. Animal models for translational research offer insight into basic behavioral and neurophysiological factors mediating the acquisition, expression, inhibition, and generalization of fear. However, it is important to consider the limits of traditional animal models when applied to humans. Here, we focus on the question of how humans generalize fear. We propose that to understand fear generalization in humans requires taking into account research on higher-level cognition such as category-based induction, inferential reasoning, and representation of conceptual knowledge. Doing so will open the door for productive avenues of new research.

  19. Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol alone and combined with cannabidiol mitigate fear memory through reconsolidation disruption.

    PubMed

    Stern, Cristina A J; Gazarini, Lucas; Vanvossen, Ana C; Zuardi, Antonio W; Galve-Roperh, Ismael; Guimaraes, Francisco S; Takahashi, Reinaldo N; Bertoglio, Leandro J

    2015-06-01

    Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the major constituents of the Cannabis sativa plant, which is frequently consumed by subjects exposed to life-threatening situations to relief their symptomatology. It is still unknown, however, whether THC could also affect the maintenance of an aversive memory formed at that time when taken separately and/or in conjunction with CBD. The present study sought to investigate this matter at a preclinical level. We report that THC (0.3-10mg/kg, i.p.) was able to disrupt the reconsolidation of a contextual fear memory, resulting in reduced conditioned freezing expression for over 22 days. This effect was dependent on activation of cannabinoid type-1 receptors located in prelimbic subregion of the medial prefrontal cortex and on memory retrieval/reactivation. Since CBD may counteract the negative psychotropic effects induced by THC and has been shown to be a reconsolidation blocker, we then investigated and demonstrated that associating sub-effective doses of these two compounds was equally effective in attenuating fear memory maintenance in an additive fashion and in a dose ratio of 10 to 1, which contrasts with that commonly found in C. sativa recreational samples. Of note, neither THC alone nor CBD plus THC interfered with anxiety-related behaviors and locomotor activity, as assessed in the elevated plus-maze test, at a time point coinciding with that used to evaluate their effects on memory reconsolidation. Altogether, present findings suggest a potential therapeutic value of using THC and/or CBD to mitigate a dysfunctional aversive memory through reconsolidation disruption in post-traumatic stress disorder patients.

  20. Pharmacological depletion of serotonin in the basolateral amygdala complex reduces anxiety and disrupts fear conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Johnson, Philip L.; Molosh, Andrei; Fitz, Stephanie D.; Arendt, Dave; Deehan, Gerald A.; Federici, Lauren M.; Bernabe, Cristian; Engleman, Eric A.; Rodd, Zachary A.; Lowry, Christopher A.; Shekhar, Anantha

    2015-01-01

    The basolateral and lateral amygdala nuclei complex (BLC) is implicated in a number of emotional responses including conditioned fear and social anxiety. Based on previous studies demonstrating that enhanced serotonin release in the BLC leads to increased anxiety and fear responses, we hypothesized that pharmacologically depleting serotonin in the BLC using 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine (5,7-DHT) injections would lead to diminished anxiety and disrupted fear conditioning. To test this hypothesis, 5,7-DHT (a serotonin-depleting agent) was bilaterally injected into the BLC. Desipramine (a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) was systemically administered to prevent non-selective effects on norepinephrine. After 5 days, 5-7-DHT-treated rats showed increases in the duration of social interaction (SI) time, suggestive of reduced anxiety-like behavior. We then used a cue-induced fear conditioning protocol with shock as the unconditioned stimulus and tone as the conditioned stimulus for rats pretreated with bilateral 5,7-DHT, or vehicle, injections into the BLC. Compared to vehicle-treated rats, 5,7-DHT rats had reduced acquisition of fear during conditioning (measured by freezing time during tone), also had reduced fear retrieval/recall on subsequent testing days. Ex vivo analyses revealed that 5,7-DHT reduced local 5-HT concentrations in the BLC by ∼40% without altering local norepinephrine or dopamine concentrations. These data provide additional support for 5-HT playing a critical role in modulating anxiety-like behavior and fear-associated memories through its actions within the BLC. PMID:26476009

  1. Pharmacological depletion of serotonin in the basolateral amygdala complex reduces anxiety and disrupts fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Philip L; Molosh, Andrei; Fitz, Stephanie D; Arendt, Dave; Deehan, Gerald A; Federici, Lauren M; Bernabe, Cristian; Engleman, Eric A; Rodd, Zachary A; Lowry, Christopher A; Shekhar, Anantha

    2015-11-01

    The basolateral and lateral amygdala nuclei complex (BLC) is implicated in a number of emotional responses including conditioned fear and social anxiety. Based on previous studies demonstrating that enhanced serotonin release in the BLC leads to increased anxiety and fear responses, we hypothesized that pharmacologically depleting serotonin in the BLC using 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine (5,7-DHT) injections would lead to diminished anxiety and disrupted fear conditioning. To test this hypothesis, 5,7-DHT(a serotonin-depleting agent) was bilaterally injected into the BLC. Desipramine (a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) was systemically administered to prevent non-selective effects on norepinephrine. After 5days, 5-7-DHT-treated rats showed increases in the duration of social interaction (SI) time, suggestive of reduced anxiety-like behavior. We then used a cue-induced fear conditioning protocol with shock as the unconditioned stimulus and tone as the conditioned stimulus for rats pretreated with bilateral 5,7-DHT, or vehicle, injections into the BLC. Compared to vehicle-treated rats, 5,7-DHT rats had reduced acquisition of fear during conditioning (measured by freezing time during tone), also had reduced fear retrieval/recall on subsequent testing days. Ex vivo analyses revealed that 5,7-DHT reduced local 5-HT concentrations in the BLC by ~40% without altering local norepinephrine or dopamine concentrations. These data provide additional support for 5-HT playing a critical role in modulating anxiety-like behavior and fear-associated memories through its actions within the BLC. PMID:26476009

  2. Pharmacological depletion of serotonin in the basolateral amygdala complex reduces anxiety and disrupts fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Philip L; Molosh, Andrei; Fitz, Stephanie D; Arendt, Dave; Deehan, Gerald A; Federici, Lauren M; Bernabe, Cristian; Engleman, Eric A; Rodd, Zachary A; Lowry, Christopher A; Shekhar, Anantha

    2015-11-01

    The basolateral and lateral amygdala nuclei complex (BLC) is implicated in a number of emotional responses including conditioned fear and social anxiety. Based on previous studies demonstrating that enhanced serotonin release in the BLC leads to increased anxiety and fear responses, we hypothesized that pharmacologically depleting serotonin in the BLC using 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine (5,7-DHT) injections would lead to diminished anxiety and disrupted fear conditioning. To test this hypothesis, 5,7-DHT(a serotonin-depleting agent) was bilaterally injected into the BLC. Desipramine (a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) was systemically administered to prevent non-selective effects on norepinephrine. After 5days, 5-7-DHT-treated rats showed increases in the duration of social interaction (SI) time, suggestive of reduced anxiety-like behavior. We then used a cue-induced fear conditioning protocol with shock as the unconditioned stimulus and tone as the conditioned stimulus for rats pretreated with bilateral 5,7-DHT, or vehicle, injections into the BLC. Compared to vehicle-treated rats, 5,7-DHT rats had reduced acquisition of fear during conditioning (measured by freezing time during tone), also had reduced fear retrieval/recall on subsequent testing days. Ex vivo analyses revealed that 5,7-DHT reduced local 5-HT concentrations in the BLC by ~40% without altering local norepinephrine or dopamine concentrations. These data provide additional support for 5-HT playing a critical role in modulating anxiety-like behavior and fear-associated memories through its actions within the BLC.

  3. Activation of LVGCCs and CB1 Receptors Required for Destabilization of Reactivated Contextual Fear Memories

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Suzuki, Akinobu; Mukawa, Takuya; Tsukagoshi, Akinori; Frankland, Paul W.; Kida, Satoshi

    2008-01-01

    Previous studies have shown that inhibiting protein synthesis shortly after reactivation impairs the subsequent expression of a previously consolidated fear memory. This has suggested that reactivation returns a memory to a labile state and that protein synthesis is required for the subsequent restabilization of memory. While the molecular…

  4. Hippocampal Wnt3a is Necessary and Sufficient for Contextual Fear Memory Acquisition and Consolidation.

    PubMed

    Xu, Ning; Zhou, Wen-Juan; Wang, Yue; Huang, Shu-Hong; Li, Xian; Chen, Zhe-Yu

    2015-11-01

    The Wnt signaling pathway plays critical roles in development. However, to date, the role of Wnts in learning and memory in adults is still not well understood. Here, we aimed to investigate the roles and mechanisms of Wnts in hippocampal-dependent contextual fear conditioning (CFC) memory formation in adult mice. CFC training induced the secretion and expression of Wnt3a and the activation of its downstream Wnt/Ca(2+) and Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathways in the dorsal hippocampus (DH). Intrahippocampal infusion of Wnt3a antibody impaired CFC acquisition and consolidation, but not expression. Using the Wnt antagonist sFRP1 or the canonical Wnt inhibitor Dkk1, we found that Wnt/Ca(2+) and Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathways were involved in acquisition and consolidation, respectively. Moreover, we found Wnt3a signaling is not only necessary but also sufficient for CFC memory. Intrahippocampal infusion of exogenous Wnt3a could enhance acquisition and consolidation of CFC. Overexpression of constitutively active β-catenin in the DH could rescue the deficit in CFC memory consolidation, but not acquisition induced by Wnt3a antibody injection, which suggests β-catenin signaling pathway acts downstream of Wnt3a to mediate CFC memory consolidation. Our study may help further the understanding of the precise regulation of Wnt3a in differential memory phases depending on divergent signaling pathways.

  5. Selective neuronal degeneration in the retrosplenial cortex impairs the recall of contextual fear memory.

    PubMed

    Sigwald, Eric L; Genoud, Manuel E; Giachero, Marcelo; de Olmos, Soledad; Molina, Víctor A; Lorenzo, Alfredo

    2016-05-01

    The retrosplenial cortex (RSC) is one of the largest cortical areas in rodents, and is subdivided in two main regions, A29 and A30, according to their cytoarchitectural organization and connectivities. However, very little is known about the functional activity of each RSC subdivision during the execution of complex cognitive tasks. Here, we used a well-established fear learning protocol that induced long-lasting contextual fear memory and showed that during evocation of the fear memory, the expression of early growth response gene 1 was up-regulated in A30, and in other brain areas implicated in fear and spatial memory, however, was down-regulated in A29, including layers IV and V. To search for the participation of A29 on fear memory, we triggered selective degeneration of neurons within cortical layers IV and V of A29 by using a non-invasive protocol that takes advantage of the vulnerability that these neurons have MK801-toxicity and the modulation of this neurodegeneration by testosterone. Application of 5 mg/kg MK801 in intact males induced negligible neuronal degeneration of A29 neurons and had no impact on fear memory retrieval. However, in orchiectomized rats, 5 mg/kg MK801 induced overt degeneration of layers IV-V neurons of A29, significantly impairing fear memory recall. Degeneration of A29 neurons did not affect exploratory or anxiety-related behavior nor altered unconditioned freezing. Importantly, protecting A29 neurons from MK801-toxicity by testosterone preserved fear memory recall in orchiectomized rats. Thus, neurons within cortical layers IV-V of A29 are critically required for efficient retrieval of contextual fear memory.

  6. Appetitive-aversive interactions in Pavlovian fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Nasser, Helen M; McNally, Gavan P

    2012-06-01

    The existence of value coding and salience coding neurons in the mammalian brain, including in habenula and ventral tegmental area, has sparked considerable interest in the interactions that occur between Pavlovian appetitive and aversive conditioning. Here we studied these appetitive-aversive interactions at the behavioral level by assessing the learning that occurs when a Pavlovian appetitive conditioned stimulus (conditional stimulus, CS) serves as a CS for shock in Pavlovian fear conditioning. A Pavlovian appetitive CS was retarded in the rate at which it could be transformed into a fear CS (counterconditioning), but the presence of the appetitive CS augmented fear learning to a concurrently presented neutral CS (superconditioning). Retardation of fear learning was not alleviated by manipulations designed to restore the associability of the appetitive CS before fear conditioning but was alleviated by manipulations designed to increase the aversive quality of the shock unconditioned stimulus (US). These findings are consistent with opponent interactions between the appetitive and aversive motivational systems and provide a behavioral approach for assessing the neural correlates of these appetitive-aversive interactions.

  7. NF-κB mediates Gadd45β expression and DNA demethylation in the hippocampus during fear memory formation

    PubMed Central

    Jarome, Timothy J.; Butler, Anderson A.; Nichols, Jessica N.; Pacheco, Natasha L.; Lubin, Farah D.

    2015-01-01

    Gadd45-mediated DNA demethylation mechanisms have been implicated in the process of memory formation. However, the transcriptional mechanisms involved in the regulation of Gadd45 gene expression during memory formation remain unexplored. NF-κB (nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells) controls transcription of genes in neurons and is a critical regulator of synaptic plasticity and memory formation. In silico analysis revealed several NF-κB (p65/RelA and cRel) consensus sequences within the Gadd45β gene promoter. Whether NF-κB activity regulates Gadd45 expression and associated DNA demethylation in neurons during memory formation is unknown. Here, we found that learning in a fear conditioning paradigm increased Gadd45β gene expression and brain-derivedneurotrophic factor (BDNF) DNA demethylation in area CA1 of the hippocampus, both of which were prevented with pharmacological inhibition of NF-κB activity. Further experiments found that conditional mutations in p65/RelA impaired fear memory formation but did not alter changes in Gadd45β expression. The learning-induced increases in Gadd45β mRNA levels, Gadd45β binding at the BDNF gene and BDNF DNA demethylation were blocked in area CA1 of the c-rel knockout mice. Additionally, local siRNA-mediated knockdown of c-rel in area CA1 prevented fear conditioning-induced increases in Gadd45β expression and BDNF DNA demethylation, suggesting that c-Rel containing NF-κB transcription factor complex is responsible for Gadd45β regulation during memory formation. Together, these results support a novel transcriptional role for NF-κB in regulation of Gadd45β expression and DNA demethylation in hippocampal neurons during fear memory. PMID:26441517

  8. Tracking explicit and implicit long-lasting traces of fearful memories in humans.

    PubMed

    Packard, Pau Alexander; Rodríguez-Fornells, Antoni; Stein, Lilian Milnitsky; Nicolás, Berta; Fuentemilla, Lluís

    2014-12-01

    Recent accounts of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) suggest that the encoding of an episode within a fearful context generates different implicit and explicit memory representations. Whilst implicit memory traces include the associated emotional states, explicit traces include a recoding into an abstract or gist-based structural context of the episode. Theoretically, the long-term preservation of implicit memory traces may facilitate the often untreatable memory intrusions in PTSD. Here, we tracked in two experiments how implicit and explicit memory traces for fearful episodes dissociate and evolve over time. Subjects (N=86) were presented with semantically-related word-lists in a contextual fear paradigm and tested for explicit memories either immediately (i.e., 30 min) or after a delay (i.e., 1 or 2 weeks) with a verbal recognition task. Skin Conductance Response (SCR) was used to assess implicit memory responses. Subjects showed high memory accuracy for words when tested immediately after encoding. At test, SCR was higher during the presentation of verbatim but not gist-based words encoded in a fearful context, and remained unchanged after 2 weeks, despite subjects being unaware of words' encoding context. We found no clear evidence of accurate explicit memory traces for the fearful or neutral contexts of words presented during encoding, either 30 min or 2 weeks afterwards. These findings indicate that the implicit, but not the explicit, memory trace of a fearful context of an episode can be detected at long-term through SCR and is dissociated from the gist-based memory. They may have implicationstowards the understanding of how the processing of fearful memoriescould lead to PTSD. PMID:25256154

  9. Improvement in γ-hydroxybutyrate-induced contextual fear memory deficit by systemic administration of NCS-382

    PubMed Central

    Ishiwari, Keita

    2016-01-01

    Low, nonsedative doses of γ-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) produce short-term anterograde amnesia in humans and memory impairments in experimental animals. We have previously shown that acute systemic treatment of GHB in adolescent female rats impairs the acquisition, but not the expression, of contextual fear memory while sparing both the acquisition and the expression of auditory cued fear memory. In the brain, GHB binds to specific GHB-binding sites as well as to γ-aminobutyric acid type B (GABAB) receptors. Although many of the behavioral effects of GHB at high doses have been attributed to its effects on the GABAB receptor, it is unclear which receptor mediates its relatively low-dose memory-impairing effects. The present study examined the ability of the putative GHB receptor antagonist NCS-382 to block the disrupting effects of GHB on fear memory in adolescent rat. Groups of rats received either a single dose of NCS-382 (3–10 mg/kg, intraperitoneally) or vehicle, followed by an injection of either GHB (100 mg/kg, intraperitoneally) or saline. All rats were trained in the fear paradigm, and tested for contextual fear memory and auditory cued fear memory. NCS-382 dose-dependently reversed deficits in the acquisition of contextual fear memory induced by GHB in adolescent rats, with 5 mg/kg of NCS-382 maximally increasing freezing to the context compared with the group administered GHB alone. When animals were tested for cued fear memory, treatment groups did not differ in freezing responses to the tone. These results suggest that low-dose amnesic effects of GHB are mediated by GHB receptors. PMID:27105320

  10. Improvement in γ-hydroxybutyrate-induced contextual fear memory deficit by systemic administration of NCS-382.

    PubMed

    Ishiwari, Keita; Sircar, Ratna

    2016-06-15

    Low, nonsedative doses of γ-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) produce short-term anterograde amnesia in humans and memory impairments in experimental animals. We have previously shown that acute systemic treatment of GHB in adolescent female rats impairs the acquisition, but not the expression, of contextual fear memory while sparing both the acquisition and the expression of auditory cued fear memory. In the brain, GHB binds to specific GHB-binding sites as well as to γ-aminobutyric acid type B (GABAB) receptors. Although many of the behavioral effects of GHB at high doses have been attributed to its effects on the GABAB receptor, it is unclear which receptor mediates its relatively low-dose memory-impairing effects. The present study examined the ability of the putative GHB receptor antagonist NCS-382 to block the disrupting effects of GHB on fear memory in adolescent rat. Groups of rats received either a single dose of NCS-382 (3-10 mg/kg, intraperitoneally) or vehicle, followed by an injection of either GHB (100 mg/kg, intraperitoneally) or saline. All rats were trained in the fear paradigm, and tested for contextual fear memory and auditory cued fear memory. NCS-382 dose-dependently reversed deficits in the acquisition of contextual fear memory induced by GHB in adolescent rats, with 5 mg/kg of NCS-382 maximally increasing freezing to the context compared with the group administered GHB alone. When animals were tested for cued fear memory, treatment groups did not differ in freezing responses to the tone. These results suggest that low-dose amnesic effects of GHB are mediated by GHB receptors. PMID:27105320

  11. Ketamine administration diminishes operant responding but does not impair conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Groeber Travis, Caitlin M; Altman, Daniel E; Genovese, Raymond F

    2015-12-01

    While not well understood, the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) antagonist ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic, has been reported to be efficacious in depression and related psychological disorders. Conditioned fear is a normal emotional conditioning process that is known to become dysfunctional in individuals suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and related stress disorders. We examined the effects of ketamine to determine the potential modulation of the acquisition and extinction of a conditioned fear using a conditioned suppression procedure. Rats were trained on a variable interval (VI), food maintained, operant conditioning task to establish a general measure of performance. Rats were exposed to inescapable shock (IES, unconditioned stimulus) paired (×20) with an audio/visual conditioned stimulus (CS) to establish conditioning. Conditioning was quantified by measuring response suppression following CS presentation during subsequent extinction trials where the CS alone was presented. Ketamine or vehicle was administered either after initial conditioning or after each of the subsequent extinction trials. For each regimen, a series of four injections were administered 60 min apart (100, 50, 50, 50 mg/kg, respectively) in order to sustain a ketamine effect for a minimum of 4 h. Ketamine produced a general decrease in responding on the VI, relative to baseline, as response rates were slower on the operant task when tested 24 h later and longer. Ketamine did not affect the acquisition of the conditioned fear when the regimen was administered shortly after the initial pairings of IES and CS. Ketamine did not alter extinction to the conditioned fear when the regimen was administered following each CS only presentation following initial conditioning. Our conclusion from these findings is that while ketamine alters behavior on an appetitively motivated operant task it does not, however, appear to directly modulate learning and memory processes associated

  12. Ketamine administration diminishes operant responding but does not impair conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Groeber Travis, Caitlin M; Altman, Daniel E; Genovese, Raymond F

    2015-12-01

    While not well understood, the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) antagonist ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic, has been reported to be efficacious in depression and related psychological disorders. Conditioned fear is a normal emotional conditioning process that is known to become dysfunctional in individuals suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and related stress disorders. We examined the effects of ketamine to determine the potential modulation of the acquisition and extinction of a conditioned fear using a conditioned suppression procedure. Rats were trained on a variable interval (VI), food maintained, operant conditioning task to establish a general measure of performance. Rats were exposed to inescapable shock (IES, unconditioned stimulus) paired (×20) with an audio/visual conditioned stimulus (CS) to establish conditioning. Conditioning was quantified by measuring response suppression following CS presentation during subsequent extinction trials where the CS alone was presented. Ketamine or vehicle was administered either after initial conditioning or after each of the subsequent extinction trials. For each regimen, a series of four injections were administered 60 min apart (100, 50, 50, 50 mg/kg, respectively) in order to sustain a ketamine effect for a minimum of 4 h. Ketamine produced a general decrease in responding on the VI, relative to baseline, as response rates were slower on the operant task when tested 24 h later and longer. Ketamine did not affect the acquisition of the conditioned fear when the regimen was administered shortly after the initial pairings of IES and CS. Ketamine did not alter extinction to the conditioned fear when the regimen was administered following each CS only presentation following initial conditioning. Our conclusion from these findings is that while ketamine alters behavior on an appetitively motivated operant task it does not, however, appear to directly modulate learning and memory processes associated

  13. Enhanced Generalization of Auditory Conditioned Fear in Juvenile Mice

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ito, Wataru; Pan, Bing-Xing; Yang, Chao; Thakur, Siddarth; Morozov, Alexei

    2009-01-01

    Increased emotionality is a characteristic of human adolescence, but its animal models are limited. Here we report that generalization of auditory conditioned fear between a conditional stimulus (CS+) and a novel auditory stimulus is stronger in 4-5-wk-old mice (juveniles) than in their 9-10-wk-old counterparts (adults), whereas nonassociative…

  14. Sex Differences in Response to an Observational Fear Conditioning Procedure

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kelly, Megan M.; Forsyth, John P.

    2007-01-01

    The present study evaluated sex differences in observational fear conditioning using modeled ''mock'' panic attacks as an unconditioned stimulus (UCS). Fifty-nine carefully prescreened healthy undergraduate participants (30 women) underwent 3 consecutive differential conditioning phases: habituation, acquisition, and extinction. It was expected…

  15. Generalization of Extinguished Skin Conductance Responding in Human Fear Conditioning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Vervliet, Bram; Vansteenwegen, Debora; Eelen, Paul

    2004-01-01

    In a human fear conditioning paradigm using the skin conductance response (SCR), participants were assigned to two groups. Following identical acquisition, group ABA (n = 16) was extinguished to a generalization stimulus (GS), whereas group AAB (n = 20) was extinguished to the conditioned stimulus (CS). At test, presenting the CS in group ABA…

  16. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Fear Conditioning, and The Uncinate Fasciculus: A Pilot Study.

    PubMed

    Hölzel, Britta K; Brunsch, Vincent; Gard, Tim; Greve, Douglas N; Koch, Kathrin; Sorg, Christian; Lazar, Sara W; Milad, Mohammed R

    2016-01-01

    Mindfulness has been suggested to impact emotional learning, but research on these processes is scarce. The classical fear conditioning/extinction/extinction retention paradigm is a well-known method for assessing emotional learning. The present study tested the impact of mindfulness training on fear conditioning and extinction memory and further investigated whether changes in white matter fiber tracts might support such changes. The uncinate fasciculus (UNC) was of particular interest in the context of emotional learning. In this pilot study, 46 healthy participants were quasi-randomized to a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR, N = 23) or waitlist control (N = 23) group and underwent a two-day fear conditioning, extinction learning, and extinction memory protocol before and after the course or control period. Skin conductance response (SCR) data served to measure the physiological response during conditioning and extinction memory phases. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data were analyzed with probabilistic tractography and analyzed for changes of fractional anisotropy in the UNC. During conditioning, participants were able to maintain a differential response to conditioned vs. not conditioned stimuli following the MBSR course (i.e., higher sensitivity to the conditioned stimuli), while controls dropped the response. Extinction memory results were not interpretable due to baseline differences. MBSR participants showed a significant increase in fractional anisotropy in the UNC, while controls did not (group by time interaction missed significance). Pre-post changes in UNC were correlated with changes in the response to the conditioned stimuli. The findings suggest effects of mindfulness practice on the maintenance of sensitivity of emotional responses and suggest underlying neural plasticity. (ClinicalTrials.gov, Identifier NCT01320969, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01320969). PMID:27378875

  17. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Fear Conditioning, and The Uncinate Fasciculus: A Pilot Study.

    PubMed

    Hölzel, Britta K; Brunsch, Vincent; Gard, Tim; Greve, Douglas N; Koch, Kathrin; Sorg, Christian; Lazar, Sara W; Milad, Mohammed R

    2016-01-01

    Mindfulness has been suggested to impact emotional learning, but research on these processes is scarce. The classical fear conditioning/extinction/extinction retention paradigm is a well-known method for assessing emotional learning. The present study tested the impact of mindfulness training on fear conditioning and extinction memory and further investigated whether changes in white matter fiber tracts might support such changes. The uncinate fasciculus (UNC) was of particular interest in the context of emotional learning. In this pilot study, 46 healthy participants were quasi-randomized to a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR, N = 23) or waitlist control (N = 23) group and underwent a two-day fear conditioning, extinction learning, and extinction memory protocol before and after the course or control period. Skin conductance response (SCR) data served to measure the physiological response during conditioning and extinction memory phases. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data were analyzed with probabilistic tractography and analyzed for changes of fractional anisotropy in the UNC. During conditioning, participants were able to maintain a differential response to conditioned vs. not conditioned stimuli following the MBSR course (i.e., higher sensitivity to the conditioned stimuli), while controls dropped the response. Extinction memory results were not interpretable due to baseline differences. MBSR participants showed a significant increase in fractional anisotropy in the UNC, while controls did not (group by time interaction missed significance). Pre-post changes in UNC were correlated with changes in the response to the conditioned stimuli. The findings suggest effects of mindfulness practice on the maintenance of sensitivity of emotional responses and suggest underlying neural plasticity. (ClinicalTrials.gov, Identifier NCT01320969, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01320969).

  18. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Fear Conditioning, and The Uncinate Fasciculus: A Pilot Study

    PubMed Central

    Hölzel, Britta K.; Brunsch, Vincent; Gard, Tim; Greve, Douglas N.; Koch, Kathrin; Sorg, Christian; Lazar, Sara W.; Milad, Mohammed R.

    2016-01-01

    Mindfulness has been suggested to impact emotional learning, but research on these processes is scarce. The classical fear conditioning/extinction/extinction retention paradigm is a well-known method for assessing emotional learning. The present study tested the impact of mindfulness training on fear conditioning and extinction memory and further investigated whether changes in white matter fiber tracts might support such changes. The uncinate fasciculus (UNC) was of particular interest in the context of emotional learning. In this pilot study, 46 healthy participants were quasi-randomized to a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR, N = 23) or waitlist control (N = 23) group and underwent a two-day fear conditioning, extinction learning, and extinction memory protocol before and after the course or control period. Skin conductance response (SCR) data served to measure the physiological response during conditioning and extinction memory phases. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data were analyzed with probabilistic tractography and analyzed for changes of fractional anisotropy in the UNC. During conditioning, participants were able to maintain a differential response to conditioned vs. not conditioned stimuli following the MBSR course (i.e., higher sensitivity to the conditioned stimuli), while controls dropped the response. Extinction memory results were not interpretable due to baseline differences. MBSR participants showed a significant increase in fractional anisotropy in the UNC, while controls did not (group by time interaction missed significance). Pre-post changes in UNC were correlated with changes in the response to the conditioned stimuli. The findings suggest effects of mindfulness practice on the maintenance of sensitivity of emotional responses and suggest underlying neural plasticity. (ClinicalTrials.gov, Identifier NCT01320969, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01320969). PMID:27378875

  19. Differing Effects of Systemically Administered Rapamycin on Consolidation and Reconsolidation of Context vs. Cued Fear Memories

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Glover, Ebony M.; Ressler, Kerry J.; Davis, Michael

    2010-01-01

    Rapamycin, an inhibitor of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase, has attracted interest as a possible prophylactic for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-associated fear memories. We report here that although rapamycin (40 mg/kg, i.p.) disrupted the consolidation and reconsolidation of fear-potentiated startle paradigm to a…

  20. Distinctive Roles for Amygdalar CREB in Reconsolidation and Extinction of Fear Memory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tronson, Natalie C.; Wiseman, Shari L.; Neve, Rachael L.; Nestler, Eric J.; Olausson, Peter; Taylor, Jane R.

    2012-01-01

    Cyclic AMP response element binding protein (CREB) plays a critical role in fear memory formation. Here we determined the role of CREB selectively within the amygdala in reconsolidation and extinction of auditory fear. Viral overexpression of the inducible cAMP early repressor (ICER) or the dominant-negative mCREB, specifically within the lateral…

  1. Erasure of Fear Memories is Prevented by Nogo Receptor 1 in Adulthood

    PubMed Central

    Bhagat, Sarah M.; Butler, Santino S.; Taylor, Jane R.; McEwen, Bruce S.; Strittmatter, Stephen M.

    2015-01-01

    Critical periods are temporary windows of heightened neural plasticity early in development. For example, fear memories in juvenile rodents are subject to erasure following extinction training, while after closure of this critical period, extinction training only temporarily and weakly suppresses fear memories. Persistence of fear memories is important for survival, but the inability to effectively adapt to the trauma is a characteristic of post-traumatic stress disorder. We examined whether Nogo Receptor 1 (NgR1) regulates the plasticity associated with fear extinction. Loss of NgR1 function in adulthood eliminates spontaneous fear recovery and fear renewal, with a restoration of fear reacquisition rate to equal that of naïve mice; thus mimicking the phenotype observed in juvenile rodents. Regional gene disruption demonstrates that NgR1 expression is required in both the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and infralimbic (IL) cortex to prevent fear erasure. NgR1 expression by parvalbumin expressing interneurons is essential for limiting extinction-dependent plasticity. NgR1 gene deletion enhances anatomical changes of inhibitory synapse markers after extinction training. Thus, NgR1 robustly inhibits elimination of fear expression in the adult brain and could serve as a therapeutic target for anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PMID:26619810

  2. Dynamic changes in neural circuitry during adolescence are associated with persistent attenuation of fear memories.

    PubMed

    Pattwell, Siobhan S; Liston, Conor; Jing, Deqiang; Ninan, Ipe; Yang, Rui R; Witztum, Jonathan; Murdock, Mitchell H; Dincheva, Iva; Bath, Kevin G; Casey, B J; Deisseroth, Karl; Lee, Francis S

    2016-01-01

    Fear can be highly adaptive in promoting survival, yet it can also be detrimental when it persists long after a threat has passed. Flexibility of the fear response may be most advantageous during adolescence when animals are prone to explore novel, potentially threatening environments. Two opposing adolescent fear-related behaviours-diminished extinction of cued fear and suppressed expression of contextual fear-may serve this purpose, but the neural basis underlying these changes is unknown. Using microprisms to image prefrontal cortical spine maturation across development, we identify dynamic BLA-hippocampal-mPFC circuit reorganization associated with these behavioural shifts. Exploiting this sensitive period of neural development, we modified existing behavioural interventions in an age-specific manner to attenuate adolescent fear memories persistently into adulthood. These findings identify novel strategies that leverage dynamic neurodevelopmental changes during adolescence with the potential to extinguish pathological fears implicated in anxiety and stress-related disorders. PMID:27215672

  3. Angiotensin type 1a receptors on corticotropin-releasing factor neurons contribute to the expression of conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Hurt, R C; Garrett, J C; Keifer, O P; Linares, A; Couling, L; Speth, R C; Ressler, K J; Marvar, P J

    2015-09-01

    Although generally associated with cardiovascular regulation, angiotensin II receptor type 1a (AT1a R) blockade in mouse models and humans has also been associated with enhanced fear extinction and decreased post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity, respectively. The mechanisms mediating these effects remain unknown, but may involve alterations in the activities of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF)-expressing cells, which are known to be involved in fear regulation. To test the hypothesis that AT1a R signaling in CRFergic neurons is involved in conditioned fear expression, we generated and characterized a conditional knockout mouse strain with a deletion of the AT1a R gene from its CRF-releasing cells (CRF-AT1a R((-/-)) ). These mice exhibit normal baseline heart rate, blood pressure, anxiety and locomotion, and freeze at normal levels during acquisition of auditory fear conditioning. However, CRF-AT1a R((-/-)) mice exhibit less freezing than wild-type mice during tests of conditioned fear expression-an effect that may be caused by a decrease in the consolidation of fear memory. These results suggest that central AT1a R activity in CRF-expressing cells plays a role in the expression of conditioned fear, and identify CRFergic cells as a population on which AT1 R antagonists may act to modulate fear extinction.

  4. Angiotensin Type 1a Receptors on Corticotropin-Releasing Factor Neurons Contribute to the Expression of Conditioned Fear

    PubMed Central

    Hurt, Robert C.; Garrett, Jacob C.; Keifer, Orion P.; Linares, Andrea; Couling, Leena; Speth, Robert C.; Ressler, Kerry J.; Marvar, Paul J.

    2015-01-01

    Although generally associated with cardiovascular regulation, angiotensin II receptor type 1 (AT1aR) blockade in mouse models and humans has also been associated with enhanced fear extinction and decreased post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity, respectively. The mechanisms mediating these effects remain unknown, but may involve alterations in the activities of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF)-expressing cells, which are known to be involved in fear regulation. To test the hypothesis that AT1aR signaling in CRFergic neurons is involved in conditioned fear expression, we generated and characterized a conditional knockout mouse strain with a deletion of the AT1aR gene from its CRF-releasing cells (CRF-AT1aR(−/−)). These mice exhibit normal baseline heart rate, blood pressure, anxiety, and locomotion, and freeze at normal levels during acquisition of auditory fear conditioning. However, CRF-AT1aR(−/−) mice exhibit less freezing than wild type mice during tests of conditioned fear expression—an effect that may be caused by a decrease in the consolidation of fear memory. These results suggest that central AT1R activity in CRF-expressing cells plays a role in the expression of conditioned fear, and identify CRFergic cells as a population on which AT1R antagonists may act to modulate fear extinction. PMID:26257395

  5. Object-location training elicits an overlapping but temporally distinct transcriptional profile from contextual fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Poplawski, Shane G; Schoch, Hannah; Wimmer, Mathieu E; Hawk, Joshua D; Walsh, Jennifer L; Giese, Karl P; Abel, Ted

    2014-12-01

    Hippocampus-dependent learning is known to induce changes in gene expression, but information on gene expression differences between different learning paradigms that require the hippocampus is limited. The bulk of studies investigating RNA expression after learning use the contextual fear conditioning task, which couples a novel environment with a footshock. Although contextual fear conditioning has been useful in discovering gene targets, gene expression after spatial memory tasks has received less attention. In this study, we used the object-location memory task and studied gene expression at two time points after learning in a high-throughput manner using a microfluidic qPCR approach. We found that expression of the classic immediate-early genes changes after object-location training in a fashion similar to that observed after contextual fear conditioning. However, the temporal dynamics of gene expression are different between the two tasks, with object-location memory producing gene expression changes that last at least 2 hours. Our findings indicate that different training paradigms may give rise to distinct temporal dynamics of gene expression after learning. PMID:25242102

  6. Object-location training elicits an overlapping but temporally distinct transcriptional profile from contextual fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Poplawski, Shane G; Schoch, Hannah; Wimmer, Mathieu E; Hawk, Joshua D; Walsh, Jennifer L; Giese, Karl P; Abel, Ted

    2014-12-01

    Hippocampus-dependent learning is known to induce changes in gene expression, but information on gene expression differences between different learning paradigms that require the hippocampus is limited. The bulk of studies investigating RNA expression after learning use the contextual fear conditioning task, which couples a novel environment with a footshock. Although contextual fear conditioning has been useful in discovering gene targets, gene expression after spatial memory tasks has received less attention. In this study, we used the object-location memory task and studied gene expression at two time points after learning in a high-throughput manner using a microfluidic qPCR approach. We found that expression of the classic immediate-early genes changes after object-location training in a fashion similar to that observed after contextual fear conditioning. However, the temporal dynamics of gene expression are different between the two tasks, with object-location memory producing gene expression changes that last at least 2 hours. Our findings indicate that different training paradigms may give rise to distinct temporal dynamics of gene expression after learning.

  7. Context-Dependent Encoding of Fear and Extinction Memories in a Large-Scale Network Model of the Basal Amygdala

    PubMed Central

    Vlachos, Ioannis; Herry, Cyril; Lüthi, Andreas; Aertsen, Ad; Kumar, Arvind

    2011-01-01

    The basal nucleus of the amygdala (BA) is involved in the formation of context-dependent conditioned fear and extinction memories. To understand the underlying neural mechanisms we developed a large-scale neuron network model of the BA, composed of excitatory and inhibitory leaky-integrate-and-fire neurons. Excitatory BA neurons received conditioned stimulus (CS)-related input from the adjacent lateral nucleus (LA) and contextual input from the hippocampus or medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). We implemented a plasticity mechanism according to which CS and contextual synapses were potentiated if CS and contextual inputs temporally coincided on the afferents of the excitatory neurons. Our simulations revealed a differential recruitment of two distinct subpopulations of BA neurons during conditioning and extinction, mimicking the activation of experimentally observed cell populations. We propose that these two subgroups encode contextual specificity of fear and extinction memories, respectively. Mutual competition between them, mediated by feedback inhibition and driven by contextual inputs, regulates the activity in the central amygdala (CEA) thereby controlling amygdala output and fear behavior. The model makes multiple testable predictions that may advance our understanding of fear and extinction memories. PMID:21437238

  8. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the anterior cingulate cortex is involved in the formation of fear memory.

    PubMed

    Li, Qing-Qing; Li, Bao-Ming

    2015-10-25

    Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a small dimeric secretory protein, plays a vital role in activity-dependent synaptic plasticity, learning and memory. It has been shown that BDNF in the hippocampus and amygdala participates in the formation of fear memory. However, little is known about the functional role of BDNF in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). To address this question, we examined the mRNA and protein levels of BDNF in the ACC of rats at various time points after fear conditioning, using quantitative real-time PCR and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The results showed that BDNF exhibited a temporally specific increase in both mRNA and protein levels after CS (tone) and US (foot shock) was paired. Such increase did not occur after the animals were exposed to CS or US alone. When BDNF antibody was locally infused into the ACC prior to CS-US pairing, both contextual and auditory fear memories were severely impaired. Taken together, these results suggest that BDNF in the ACC is required for the formation of fear memory.

  9. Contextual fear conditioning differs for infant, adolescent, and adult rats.

    PubMed

    Esmorís-Arranz, Francisco J; Méndez, Cástor; Spear, Norman E

    2008-07-01

    Contextual fear conditioning was tested in infant, adolescent, and adult rats in terms of Pavlovian-conditioned suppression. When a discrete auditory-conditioned stimulus (CS) was paired with footshock (unconditioned stimulus, US) within the largely olfactory context, infants and adolescents conditioned to the context with substantial effectiveness, but adult rats did not. When unpaired presentations of the CS and US occurred within the context, contextual fear conditioning was strong for adults, weak for infants, but about as strong for adolescents as when pairings of CS and US occurred in the context. Nonreinforced presentations of either the CS or context markedly reduced contextual fear conditioning in infants, but, in adolescents, CS extinction had no effect on contextual fear conditioning, although context extinction significantly reduced it. Neither CS extinction nor context extinction affected responding to the CS-context compound in infants, suggesting striking discrimination between the compound and its components. Female adolescents showed the same lack of effect of component extinction on response to the compound as infants, but CS extinction reduced responding to the compound in adolescent males, a sex difference seen also in adults. Theoretical implications are discussed for the development of perceptual-cognitive processing and hippocampus role.

  10. Generalization of contextual fear depends on associative rather than non-associative memory components.

    PubMed

    Sauerhöfer, Elisabeth; Pamplona, Fabricio A; Bedenk, Benedikt; Moll, Gunther H; Dawirs, Ralph R; von Hörsten, Stephan; Wotjak, Carsten T; Golub, Yulia

    2012-08-01

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by the presence of three major symptom clusters: persistent fear memories, hyperarousal, and avoidance. With a passage of time after the trauma, PTSD patients show an increase in unspecific fear and avoidance, a phenomenon termed "fear generalization". It is not clear whether fear generalization arises from the time-dependent growth of hyperarousal or changes in associative fear. The present study investigated behavioral and neuroanatomical correlates of non-associative and associative fear memory one week vs. one month after a trauma in a mouse model of PTSD with immediate vs. delayed foot shock application. The immediate shock procedure led to a lower contextual fear, but did not influence the hyperarousal (i.e. increased acoustic startle responses) assessed within the first week after the trauma. Only delayed shocked mice demonstrated generalization of contextual fear and an increase in generalized avoidance behavior, with no changes in hyperarousal one month after trauma. We observed the same increase in c-Fos expression following delayed and immediate shock presentation within the lateral, basolateral, central amygdala and CA1, CA3 and dentate gyrus of hippocampus, suggesting that all of these structures contribute to the development of hyperarousal. Only basolateral amygdala and dentate gyrus appeared to be additionally involved in encoding of contextual information. In summary, our results demonstrate the independence of associative and non-associative trauma-related fear. They support the hypothesis that generalized fear emerges in consequence of forgetting specific stimulus attributes associated with the shock context.

  11. Teens that fear screams: A comparison of fear conditioning, extinction, and reinstatement in adolescents and adults.

    PubMed

    Den, Miriam Liora; Graham, Bronwyn M; Newall, Carol; Richardson, Rick

    2015-11-01

    This study investigated differences between adolescents and adults on fear conditioning, extinction, and reinstatement (i.e., the recovery of conditioned fear following re-exposure to the unconditioned stimulus [US] post-extinction). Participants underwent differential conditioning (i.e., the Screaming Lady) where one neutral face (CS+) was followed by the same face expressing fear and a loud scream (US) while another neutral face (CS-) remained neutral. Extinction involved non-reinforced presentations of both CSs, after which participants were reinstated (2xUSs) or not. On two self-report measures, both ages showed conditioning, good extinction learning and retention, and reinstatement-induced relapse. However, only adolescents showed conditioning, extinction, and reinstatement on the eye tracking measure; relapse on this measure could not be assessed in adults given they did not show initial conditioning. Lastly, higher levels of depression predicted stronger conditioning and weaker extinction in adolescents only. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for adolescent anxiety disorders.

  12. Role of L-type Ca2+ channel isoforms in the extinction of conditioned fear

    PubMed Central

    Busquet, Perrine; Hetzenauer, Alfred; Sinnegger-Brauns, Martina J.; Striessnig, Jörg; Singewald, Nicolas

    2008-01-01

    Dihydropyridine (DHP) L-type Ca2+ channel (LTCC) antagonists, such as nifedipine, have been reported to impair the extinction of conditioned fear without interfering with its acquisition. Identification of the LTCC isoforms mediating this DHP effect is an essential basis to reveal their role as potential drug targets for the treatment of specific anxiety disorders. CaV1.2 and CaV1.3 are the predominant LTCCs in the mammalian brain. However, since no isoform-selective DHP blockers are available, their individual contribution to fear memory extinction is unknown. We used a novel mouse model expressing DHP-insensitive CaV1.2 LTCCs (CaV1.2DHP−/− mice) to address this question. In line with previous studies, wild-type (WT) mice treated with systemic nifedipine displayed markedly impaired fear extinction. This DHP effect was completely abolished in CaV1.2DHP−/− mice, indicating that it is mediated by CaV1.2, but not by CaV1.3 LTCCs. Supporting this conclusion, CaV1.3-deficient mice (CaV1.3−/−) showed extinction identical to the respective WT mice. The inhibition of fear extinction was not observed after intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) application of different doses of nifedipine, suggesting that this effect is secondary to inhibition of peripheral CaV1.2 channels. The LTCC activator BayK, which lacks neurotoxic effects in CaV1.2DHP−/− mice, did not influence the extinction time course. In summary, we demonstrate that LTCC signaling through the CaV1.2 isoform of LTCCs interferes with fear memory extinction, presumably via a peripherally mediated mechanism. Activation of other LTCC isoforms (predominantly CaV1.3) is not sufficient to accelerate extinction of conditioned fear in mice. PMID:18441296

  13. Stronger learning recruits additional cell-signaling cascades: c-Jun-N-terminal kinase 1 (JNK1) is necessary for expression of stronger contextual fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Leach, Prescott T; Kenney, Justin W; Gould, Thomas J

    2015-02-01

    Increased training often results in stronger memories but the neural changes responsible for these stronger memories are poorly understood. It is proposed here that higher levels of training that result in stronger memories recruit additional cell signaling cascades. This study specifically examined if c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1 (JNK1) is involved in the formation of stronger fear conditioning memories. Wildtype (WT), JNK1 heterozygous (Het), and JNK1 knockout (KO) mice were fear conditioned with 1 trial, 2 trials, or 4 trials. All mice learned both contextual (hippocampus-dependent) and cued (hippocampus-independent) fear conditioning but for contextual fear conditioning only, the JNK1 KO mice did not show higher levels of learning with increased trials. That is, WT mice showed a significant linear increase in contextual fear conditioning as training trials increased from 1 to 2 to 4 trials whereas KO mice showed the same level of contextual fear conditioning as WT mice for 1 trial training but did not have increased levels of contextual fear conditioning with additional trials. These data suggest that JNK1 may not be critical for learning but when higher levels of hippocampus-dependent learning occur, JNK1 signaling is recruited and is necessary for stronger hippocampus-dependent memory formation.

  14. Genome-wide analysis of H4K5 acetylation associated with fear memory in mice

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Histone acetylation has been implicated in learning and memory in the brain, however, its function at the level of the genome and at individual genetic loci remains poorly investigated. This study examines a key acetylation mark, histone H4 lysine 5 acetylation (H4K5ac), genome-wide and its role in activity-dependent gene transcription in the adult mouse hippocampus following contextual fear conditioning. Results Using ChIP-Seq, we identified 23,235 genes in which H4K5ac correlates with absolute gene expression in the hippocampus. However, in the absence of transcription factor binding sites 150 bp upstream of the transcription start site, genes were associated with higher H4K5ac and expression levels. We further establish H4K5ac as a ubiquitous modification across the genome. Approximately one-third of all genes have above average H4K5ac, of which ~15% are specific to memory formation and ~65% are co-acetylated for H4K12. Although H4K5ac is prevalent across the genome, enrichment of H4K5ac at specific regions in the promoter and coding region are associated with different levels of gene expression. Additionally, unbiased peak calling for genes differentially acetylated for H4K5ac identified 114 unique genes specific to fear memory, over half of which have not previously been associated with memory processes. Conclusions Our data provide novel insights into potential mechanisms of gene priming and bookmarking by histone acetylation following hippocampal memory activation. Specifically, we propose that hyperacetylation of H4K5 may prime genes for rapid expression following activity. More broadly, this study strengthens the importance of histone posttranslational modifications for the differential regulation of transcriptional programs in cognitive processes. PMID:23927422

  15. Novelty during a late postacquisition time window attenuates the persistence of fear memory

    PubMed Central

    Katche, Cynthia; Tomaiuolo, Micol; Dorman, Guido; Medina, Jorge H.; Viola, Haydee

    2016-01-01

    Learning to avoid threats in the environment is highly adaptive. However, sometimes a dysregulation of fear memories processing may underlie fear-related disorders. Despite recent advances, a major question of how to effectively attenuate persistent fear memories in a safe manner remains unresolved. Here we show experiments employing a behavioural tool to target a specific time window after training to limit the persistence of a fear memory in rats. We observed that exposure to a novel environment 11 h after an inhibitory avoidance (IA) training that induces a long-lasting memory, attenuates the durability of IA memory but not its formation. This effect is time-restricted and not seen when the environment is familiar. In addition, novelty-induced attenuation of IA memory durability is prevented by the intrahippocampal infusion of the CaMKs inhibitor KN-93. This new behavioural approach which targets a specific time window during late memory consolidation, might represent a new tool for reducing the durability of persistent fear memories. PMID:27734911

  16. Post-training corticosterone inhibits the return of fear evoked by platform stress and a subthreshold conditioning procedure in Sprague-Dawley rats.

    PubMed

    Xing, Xiaoli; Wang, Hongbo; Zhang, Lili; Bai, Yunjing; Liang, Jing; Liu, Zhengkui; Zheng, Xigeng

    2015-06-01

    The return of fear is an important issue in anxiety disorder research. Each time a fear memory is reactivated, it may further strengthen overactivation of the fear circuit, which may contribute to long-term maintenance of the fear memory. Recent evidence indicates that glucocorticoids may help attenuate pathological fear, but its role in the return of fear is unclear. In the present study, systemic corticosterone (CORT; 25mg/kg) administration 1h after fear conditioning did not impair the consolidation process but significantly suppressed the return of fear evoked by a subthreshold conditioning (SC) procedure and elevated platform (EP) stress. Compared with the SC-induced return of fear, acute stress-induced return was state-dependent. In addition, post-training CORT treatment increased the adrenocorticotropic response after EP stress, which indicates that the drug-induced suppression of the return of fear may possibly derive from its regulation effect of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis reactivity to stress. These results suggest that post-training CORT administration may help inhibit the return of fear evoked by EP or SC stress. The possible mechanisms involved in the high-dose CORT-induced suppression of the SC- and EP-induced return of fear are discussed. PMID:25818040

  17. Post-training corticosterone inhibits the return of fear evoked by platform stress and a subthreshold conditioning procedure in Sprague-Dawley rats.

    PubMed

    Xing, Xiaoli; Wang, Hongbo; Zhang, Lili; Bai, Yunjing; Liang, Jing; Liu, Zhengkui; Zheng, Xigeng

    2015-06-01

    The return of fear is an important issue in anxiety disorder research. Each time a fear memory is reactivated, it may further strengthen overactivation of the fear circuit, which may contribute to long-term maintenance of the fear memory. Recent evidence indicates that glucocorticoids may help attenuate pathological fear, but its role in the return of fear is unclear. In the present study, systemic corticosterone (CORT; 25mg/kg) administration 1h after fear conditioning did not impair the consolidation process but significantly suppressed the return of fear evoked by a subthreshold conditioning (SC) procedure and elevated platform (EP) stress. Compared with the SC-induced return of fear, acute stress-induced return was state-dependent. In addition, post-training CORT treatment increased the adrenocorticotropic response after EP stress, which indicates that the drug-induced suppression of the return of fear may possibly derive from its regulation effect of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis reactivity to stress. These results suggest that post-training CORT administration may help inhibit the return of fear evoked by EP or SC stress. The possible mechanisms involved in the high-dose CORT-induced suppression of the SC- and EP-induced return of fear are discussed.

  18. Epigenetic modulation of Homer1a transcription regulation in amygdala and hippocampus with pavlovian fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Mahan, Amy L; Mou, Liping; Shah, Nirali; Hu, Jia-Hua; Worley, Paul F; Ressler, Kerry J

    2012-03-28

    The consolidation of conditioned fear involves upregulation of genes necessary for long-term memory formation. An important question remains as to whether this results in part from epigenetic regulation and chromatin modulation. We examined whether Homer1a, which is required for memory formation, is necessary for Pavlovian cued fear conditioning, whether it is downstream of BDNF-TrkB activation, and whether this pathway utilizes histone modifications for activity-dependent transcriptional regulation. We initially found that Homer1a knock-out mice exhibited deficits in cued fear conditioning (5 tone-shock presentations with 70 dB, 6 kHz tones and 0.5 s, 0.6 mA footshocks). We then demonstrated that: (1) Homer1a mRNA increases after fear conditioning in vivo within both amygdala and hippocampus of wild-type mice; (2) it increases after BDNF application to primary hippocampal and amygdala cultures in vitro; and (3) these increases are dependent on transcription and MAPK signaling. Furthermore, using chromatin immunoprecipitation we found that both in vitro and in vivo manipulations result in decreases in Homer1 promoter H3K9 methylation in amygdala cells but increases in Homer1 promoter H3 acetylation in hippocampal cells. However, no changes were observed in H4 acetylation or H3K27 dimethylation. Inhibition of histone deacetylation by sodium butyrate enhanced contextual but not cued fear conditioning and enhanced Homer1 H3 acetylation in the hippocampus. These data provide evidence for dynamic epigenetic regulation of Homer1a following BDNF-induced plasticity and during a BDNF-dependent learning process. Furthermore, upregulation of this gene may be regulated through distinct epigenetic modifications in the hippocampus and amygdala.

  19. Fear conditioning induced by interpersonal conflicts in healthy individuals.

    PubMed

    Tada, Mitsuhiro; Uchida, Hiroyuki; Maeda, Takaki; Konishi, Mika; Umeda, Satoshi; Terasawa, Yuri; Nakajima, Shinichiro; Mimura, Masaru; Miyazaki, Tomoyuki; Takahashi, Takuya

    2015-01-01

    Psychophysiological markers have been focused to investigate the psychopathology of psychiatric disorders and personality subtypes. In order to understand neurobiological mechanisms underlying these conditions, fear-conditioning model has been widely used. However, simple aversive stimuli are too simplistic to understand mechanisms because most patients with psychiatric disorders are affected by social stressors. The objective of this study was to test the feasibility of a newly-designed conditioning experiment using a stimulus to cause interpersonal conflicts and examine associations between personality traits and response to that stimulus. Twenty-nine healthy individuals underwent the fear conditioning and extinction experiments in response to three types of stimuli: a simple aversive sound, disgusting pictures, and pictures of an actors' face with unpleasant verbal messages that were designed to cause interpersonal conflicts. Conditioned response was quantified by the skin conductance response (SCR). Correlations between the SCR changes, and personality traits measured by the Zanarini Rating Scale for Borderline Personality Disorder (ZAN-BPD) and Revised NEO Personality Inventory were explored. The interpersonal conflict stimulus resulted in successful conditioning, which was subsequently extinguished, in a similar manner as the other two stimuli. Moreover, a greater degree of conditioned response to the interpersonal conflict stimulus correlated with a higher ZAN-BPD total score. Fear conditioning and extinction can be successfully achieved, using interpersonal conflicts as a stimulus. Given that conditioned fear caused by the interpersonal conflicts is likely associated with borderline personality traits, this paradigm could contribute to further understanding of underlying mechanisms of interpersonal fear implicated in borderline personality disorder.

  20. 16Oxygen irradiation enhances cued fear memory in B6D2F1 mice

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raber, Jacob; Marzulla, Tessa; Kronenberg, Amy; Turker, Mitchell S.

    2015-11-01

    The space radiation environment includes energetic charged particles that may impact cognitive performance. We assessed the effects of 16O ion irradiation on cognitive performance of C57BL/6J × DBA/2J F1 (B6D2F1) mice at OHSU (Portland, OR) one month following irradiation at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL, Upton, NY). Hippocampus-dependent contextual fear memory and hippocampus-independent cued fear memory of B6D2F1 mice were tested. 16O ion exposure enhanced cued fear memory. This effect showed a bell-shaped dose response curve. Cued fear memory was significantly stronger in mice irradiated with 16O ions at a dose of 0.4 or 0.8 Gy than in sham-irradiated mice or following irradiation at 1.6 Gy. In contrast to cued fear memory, contextual fear memory was not affected following 16O ion irradiation at the doses used in this study. These data indicate that the amygdala might be particularly susceptible to effects of 16O ion exposure.

  1. Contextual fear conditioning in humans using feature-identical contexts.

    PubMed

    Baeuchl, Christian; Meyer, Patric; Hoppstädter, Michael; Diener, Carsten; Flor, Herta

    2015-05-01

    Contextual fear conditioning studies in animals and humans found an involvement of the hippocampus and amygdala during fear learning. To exclude a focus on elements of the context we employed a paradigm, which uses two feature-identical contexts that only differ in the arrangement of the features and requires configural processing. We employed functional magnetic resonance imaging to determine the role of the hippocampus and neocortical areas during the acquisition of contextual fear in humans. For contextual fear acquisition, we paired one context (CS+) with an aversive electrical stimulus, whereas the other (CS-) was never followed by aversive stimulation. Blood oxygen level dependent activation to the CS+ was present in the insula, inferior frontal gyrus, inferior parietal lobule, superior medial gyrus and caudate nucleus. Furthermore, the amygdala and hippocampus were involved in a time-dependent manner. Psychophysiological interaction analyses revealed functional connectivity of a more posterior hippocampal seed region with the anterior hippocampus, posterior cingulate cortex and superior parietal lobule. The anterior hippocampus was functionally coupled with the amygdala and postcentral gyrus. This study complements previous findings in contextual fear conditioning in humans and provides a paradigm which might be useful for studying patients with hippocampal impairment. PMID:25792231

  2. Learning to fear suffocation: a new paradigm for interoceptive fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Pappens, Meike; Smets, Elyn; Vansteenwegen, Debora; Van Den Bergh, Omer; Van Diest, Ilse

    2012-06-01

    The present study aimed to establish a new interoceptive fear conditioning paradigm. The conditioned stimulus (CS) was a flow resistor that slightly obstructs breathing; the unconditional stimulus (US) was a breathing occlusion. The paired group (N = 21) received 6 acquisition trials with paired CS-US presentations. The unpaired group (N = 19) received 6 trials of unpaired CS-US presentations. In the extinction phase, both groups were administered 6 CS-only trials. Measurements included startle eyeblink response, electrodermal responses, and self-reported US expectancy. In the paired group, startle blink responses were larger during CS compared to intertrial interval during acquisition and extinction. Electrodermal and US expectancies were larger for the paired than for the unpaired group during acquisition, but not during extinction. The present paradigm successfully established interoceptive fear conditioning with panic-relevant stimuli.

  3. Language conditioning, emotional instructions, and cognitions in conditioned responses to fear-relevant and fear-irrelevant stimuli.

    PubMed

    Eifert, G H; Schermelleh, K

    1985-06-01

    This study compared the effects of experimentally induced self-verbalizations (SV) on conditioned responses to fear-relevant (snakes) and fear-irrelevant (rabbits) stimuli. To extend the analysis of "preparedness theory" beyond its former reliance on physiological measures of fear, subjective and behavioral measures were also included. Using aversive tones (UCS) and slides of snakes or rabbits (CS), fear was classically conditioned in 44 volunteers. In 20 subsequent language conditioning trials without aversive tones, the same slides were paired with verbalizations referring either to positive features of the animals (stimulus-referent SV) or to approach behavior (response-referent SV). Skin conductance responses to fear-relevant stimuli were more readily acquired, of higher magnitude, and more resistant to extinction. Extinction was differentially affected by the two types of SV. Snakes were consistently evaluated more negatively than rabbits and approached less in a behavior test. Results are discussed in relation to preparedness theory and interpreted within Staats' social-behavioral learning paradigm.

  4. Ethnic Differences in Physiological Responses to Fear Conditioned Stimuli

    PubMed Central

    Martínez, Karen G.; Franco-Chaves, José A.; Milad, Mohammed R.; Quirk, Gregory J.

    2014-01-01

    The idea that emotional expression varies with ethnicity is based largely on questionnaires and behavioral observations rather than physiological measures. We therefore compared the skin conductance responses (SCR) of Hispanic (Puerto Rican) and White non-Hispanic subjects in a fear conditioning and fear extinction task. Subjects were recruited from two sites: San Juan, Puerto Rico (PR), and Boston, Massachusetts (MA), using identical methods. A total of 78 healthy subjects (39 from PR, 39 from MA) were divided by sex and matched for age and educational level. Females from the two sites did not differ in their SCRs during any experimental phase of fear conditioning (habituation, conditioning, or extinction). In contrast, PR males responded significantly to the conditioned stimulus than MA males or PR females. Subtracting ethnic differences observed during the habituation phase (prior to conditioning) eliminated differences from subsequent phases, suggesting that PR males are elevated in their response to novelty rather than fear learning. Our findings suggest that, in addition to sex differences, there are ethnic differences in physiological responses to novel stimuli at least in males, which could be relevant for the assessment and treatment of anxiety disorders. PMID:25501365

  5. Dissociable roles for hippocampal and amygdalar volume in human fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Cacciaglia, Raffaele; Pohlack, Sebastian T; Flor, Herta; Nees, Frauke

    2015-09-01

    Fear conditioning is a basic learning process which involves the association of a formerly neutral conditioned stimulus (CS) with a biologically relevant aversive unconditioned stimulus (US). Previous studies conducted in brain-lesioned patients have shown that while the acquisition of autonomic fear responses requires an intact amygdala, a spared hippocampus is necessary for the development of the CS-US contingency awareness. Although these data have been supported by studies using functional neuroimaging techniques in healthy people, attempts to extend these findings to the morphological aspects of amygdala and hippocampus are missing. Here we tested the hypothesis that amygdalar and hippocampal volumes play dissociable roles in determining autonomic responses and contingency awareness during fear conditioning. Fifty-two healthy individuals (mean age 21.83) underwent high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging. We used a differential delay fear conditioning paradigm while assessing skin conductance responses (SCRs), subjective ratings of CS-US contingency, as well as emotional valence and perceived arousal. Left amygdalar volume significantly predicted the magnitude of differential SCRs during fear acquisition, but had no impact on contingency learning. Conversely, bilateral hippocampal volumes were significantly related to contingency ratings, but not to SCRs. Moreover, left amygdalar volume predicted SCRs to the reinforced CS alone, but not those elicited by the US. Our findings bridge the gap between previous lesion and functional imaging studies, by showing that amygdalar and hippocampal volumes differentially modulate the acquisition of conditioned fear. Further, our results reveal that the morphology of these limbic structures moderate learning and memory already in healthy persons.

  6. Secondary extinction in Pavlovian fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Vurbic, Drina; Bouton, Mark E

    2011-09-01

    Pavlov (1927/1960) reported that following the conditioning of several stimuli, extinction of one conditioned stimulus (CS) attenuated responding to others that had not undergone direct extinction. However, this secondary extinction effect has not been widely replicated in the contemporary literature. In three conditioned suppression experiments with rats, we further explored the phenomenon. In Experiment 1, we asked whether secondary extinction is more likely to occur with target CSs that have themselves undergone some prior extinction. A robust secondary extinction effect was obtained with a nonextinguished target CS. Experiment 2 showed that extinction of one CS was sufficient to reduce renewal of a second CS when it was tested in a neutral (nonextinction) context. In Experiment 3, secondary extinction was observed in groups that initially received intermixed conditioning trials with the target and nontarget CSs, but not in groups that received conditioning of the two CSs in separate sessions. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that CSs must be associated with a common temporal context during conditioning for secondary extinction to occur.

  7. NMDA receptor antagonism in the basolateral but not central amygdala blocks the extinction of Pavlovian fear conditioning in rats.

    PubMed

    Zimmerman, Joshua M; Maren, Stephen

    2010-05-01

    Glutamate receptors in the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA) are essential for the acquisition, expression and extinction of Pavlovian fear conditioning in rats. Recent work has revealed that glutamate receptors in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CEA) are also involved in the acquisition of conditional fear, but it is not known whether they play a role in fear extinction. Here we examine this issue by infusing glutamate receptor antagonists into the BLA or CEA prior to the extinction of fear to an auditory conditioned stimulus (CS) in rats. Infusion of the alpha-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionate (AMPA) receptor antagonist, 2,3-dihydroxy-6-nitro-7-sulfamoyl-benzo[f]quinoxaline-2,3-dione (NBQX), into either the CEA or BLA impaired the expression of conditioned freezing to the auditory CS, but did not impair the formation of a long-term extinction memory to that CS. In contrast, infusion of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, D,L-2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid (APV), into the amygdala, spared the expression of fear to the CS during extinction training, but impaired the acquisition of a long-term extinction memory. Importantly, only APV infusions into the BLA impaired extinction memory. These results reveal that AMPA and NMDA receptors within the amygdala make dissociable contributions to the expression and extinction of conditioned fear, respectively. Moreover, they indicate that NMDA receptor-dependent processes involved in extinction learning are localized to the BLA. Together with previous work, these results reveal that NMDA receptors in the CEA have a selective role acquisition of fear memory.

  8. An Overview of Translationally Informed Treatments for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Animal Models of Pavlovian Fear Conditioning to Human Clinical Trials.

    PubMed

    Bowers, Mallory E; Ressler, Kerry J

    2015-09-01

    Posttraumatic stress disorder manifests after exposure to a traumatic event and is characterized by avoidance/numbing, intrusive symptoms and flashbacks, mood and cognitive disruptions, and hyperarousal/reactivity symptoms. These symptoms reflect dysregulation of the fear system likely caused by poor fear inhibition/extinction, increased generalization, and/or enhanced consolidation or acquisition of fear. These phenotypes can be modeled in animal subjects using Pavlovian fear conditioning, allowing investigation of the underlying neurobiology of normative and pathological fear. Preclinical studies reveal a number of neurotransmitter systems and circuits critical for aversive learning and memory that have informed the development of therapies used in human clinical trials. In this review, we discuss the evidence for a number of established and emerging pharmacotherapies and device-based treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder that have been developed via a bench to bedside translational model.

  9. An overview of translationally informed treatments for PTSD: animal models of Pavlovian fear conditioning to human clinical trials

    PubMed Central

    Bowers, Mallory E.; Ressler, Kerry J.

    2015-01-01

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) manifests after exposure to a traumatic event and is characterized by avoidance/numbing, intrusive symptoms and flashbacks, mood and cognitive disruptions, and hyperarousal/reactivity symptoms. These symptoms reflect dysregulation of the fear system likely caused by poor fear inhibition/extinction, increased generalization, and/or enhanced consolidation or acquisition of fear. These phenotypes can be modeled in animal subjects using Pavlovian fear conditioning, allowing investigation of the underlying neurobiology of normative and pathological fear. Pre-clinical studies reveal a number of neurotransmitter systems and circuits critical for aversive learning and memory, which have informed the development of therapies used in human clinical trials. In this review, we discuss the evidence for a number of established and emerging pharmacotherapies and device-based treatments for PTSD that have been developed via a bench to bedside translational model. PMID:26238379

  10. An Overview of Translationally Informed Treatments for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Animal Models of Pavlovian Fear Conditioning to Human Clinical Trials.

    PubMed

    Bowers, Mallory E; Ressler, Kerry J

    2015-09-01

    Posttraumatic stress disorder manifests after exposure to a traumatic event and is characterized by avoidance/numbing, intrusive symptoms and flashbacks, mood and cognitive disruptions, and hyperarousal/reactivity symptoms. These symptoms reflect dysregulation of the fear system likely caused by poor fear inhibition/extinction, increased generalization, and/or enhanced consolidation or acquisition of fear. These phenotypes can be modeled in animal subjects using Pavlovian fear conditioning, allowing investigation of the underlying neurobiology of normative and pathological fear. Preclinical studies reveal a number of neurotransmitter systems and circuits critical for aversive learning and memory that have informed the development of therapies used in human clinical trials. In this review, we discuss the evidence for a number of established and emerging pharmacotherapies and device-based treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder that have been developed via a bench to bedside translational model. PMID:26238379

  11. Hippocampal hyperexcitability underlies enhanced fear memories in TgNTRK3, a panic disorder mouse model.

    PubMed

    Santos, Mónica; D'Amico, Davide; Spadoni, Ornella; Amador-Arjona, Alejandro; Stork, Oliver; Dierssen, Mara

    2013-09-18

    Panic attacks are a hallmark in panic disorder (PAND). During the panic attack, a strong association with the surrounding context is established suggesting that the hippocampus may be critically involved in the pathophysiology of PAND, given its role in contextual processing. We previously showed that variation in the expression of the neurotrophin tyrosine kinase receptor type 3 (NTRK3) in both PAND patients and a transgenic mouse model (TgNTRK3) may have a role in PAND pathophysiology. Our study examines hippocampal function and activation of the brain fear network in TgNTRK3 mice. TgNTRK3 mice showed increased fear memories accompanied by impaired extinction, congruent with an altered activation pattern of the amygdala-hippocampus-medial prefrontal cortex fear circuit. Moreover, TgNTRK3 mice also showed an unbalanced excitation-to-inhibition ratio in the hippocampal cornu ammonis 3 (CA3)-CA1 subcircuit toward hyperexcitability. The resulting hippocampal hyperexcitability underlies the enhanced fear memories, as supported by the efficacy of tiagabine, a GABA reuptake inhibitor, to rescue fear response. The fearful phenotype appears to be the result of hippocampal hyperexcitability and aberrant fear circuit activation. We conclude that NTRK3 plays a role in PAND by regulating hippocampus-dependent fear memories. PMID:24048855

  12. Prediction of "fear" acquisition in healthy control participants in a de novo fear-conditioning paradigm.

    PubMed

    Otto, Michael W; Leyro, Teresa M; Christian, Kelly; Deveney, Christen M; Reese, Hannah; Pollack, Mark H; Orr, Scott P

    2007-01-01

    Studies using fear-conditioning paradigms have found that anxiety patients are more conditionable than individuals without these disorders, but these effects have been demonstrated inconsistently. It is unclear whether these findings have etiological significance or whether enhanced conditionability is linked only to certain anxiety characteristics. To further examine these issues, the authors assessed the predictive significance of relevant subsyndromal characteristics in 72 healthy adults, including measures of worry, avoidance, anxious mood, depressed mood, and fears of anxiety symptoms (anxiety sensitivity), as well as the dimensions of Neuroticism and Extraversion. Of these variables, the authors found that the combination of higher levels of subsyndromal worry and lower levels of behavioral avoidance predicted heightened conditionability, raising questions about the etiological significance of these variables in the acquisition or maintenance of anxiety disorders. In contrast, the authors found that anxiety sensitivity was more linked to individual differences in orienting response than differences in conditioning per se. PMID:17179530

  13. Deep brain stimulation of the ventral striatum enhances extinction of conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Rodriguez-Romaguera, Jose; Do Monte, Fabricio H M; Quirk, Gregory J

    2012-05-29

    Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the ventral capsule/ventral striatum (VC/VS) reduces symptoms of intractable obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but the mechanism of action is unknown. OCD is characterized by avoidance behaviors that fail to extinguish, and DBS could act, in part, by facilitating extinction of fear. We investigated this possibility by using auditory fear conditioning in rats, for which the circuits of fear extinction are well characterized. We found that DBS of the VS (the VC/VS homolog in rats) during extinction training reduced fear expression and strengthened extinction memory. Facilitation of extinction was observed for a specific zone of dorsomedial VS, just above the anterior commissure; stimulation of more ventrolateral sites in VS impaired extinction. DBS effects could not be obtained with pharmacological inactivation of either dorsomedial VS or ventrolateral VS, suggesting an extrastriatal mechanism. Accordingly, DBS of dorsomedial VS (but not ventrolateral VS) increased expression of a plasticity marker in the prelimbic and infralimbic prefrontal cortices, the orbitofrontal cortex, the amygdala central nucleus (lateral division), and intercalated cells, areas known to learn and express extinction. Facilitation of fear extinction suggests that, in accord with clinical observations, DBS could augment the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapies for OCD. PMID:22586125

  14. Involvement of the cerebellum in classical fear conditioning in goldfish.

    PubMed

    Yoshida, Masayuki; Okamura, Izumi; Uematsu, Kazumasa

    2004-08-12

    To investigate the emotional role of the cerebellum of fish, we conducted experiments examining effects of cerebellar manipulations on fear-related classical heart rate conditioning in goldfish. We performed total ablation of the corpus cerebelli to examine the effect of irreversible effects. We also performed localized cooling of the corpus cerebelli, in place of the ablation, for reversible inactivation of the cerebellar function. Both the cardiac arousal response to the first presentation of the conditioned stimulus and the cardiac reflex to the aversive unconditioned stimulus were not impaired by the ablation or cooling of the corpus cerebelli. On the other hand, inactivation of cerebellar function severely impaired the acquisition of a conditioned cardiac response in the fear-related conditioning. In addition, localized cooling of the corpus cerebelli reversibly suppressed the expression of established conditioned response. We suggest that the cerebellum of fish is not only being a motor coordination center but also is involved in emotional learning.

  15. Dynamic changes in neural circuitry during adolescence are associated with persistent attenuation of fear memories

    PubMed Central

    Pattwell, Siobhan S.; Liston, Conor; Jing, Deqiang; Ninan, Ipe; Yang, Rui R.; Witztum, Jonathan; Murdock, Mitchell H.; Dincheva, Iva; Bath, Kevin G.; Casey, B. J.; Deisseroth, Karl; Lee, Francis S.

    2016-01-01

    Fear can be highly adaptive in promoting survival, yet it can also be detrimental when it persists long after a threat has passed. Flexibility of the fear response may be most advantageous during adolescence when animals are prone to explore novel, potentially threatening environments. Two opposing adolescent fear-related behaviours—diminished extinction of cued fear and suppressed expression of contextual fear—may serve this purpose, but the neural basis underlying these changes is unknown. Using microprisms to image prefrontal cortical spine maturation across development, we identify dynamic BLA-hippocampal-mPFC circuit reorganization associated with these behavioural shifts. Exploiting this sensitive period of neural development, we modified existing behavioural interventions in an age-specific manner to attenuate adolescent fear memories persistently into adulthood. These findings identify novel strategies that leverage dynamic neurodevelopmental changes during adolescence with the potential to extinguish pathological fears implicated in anxiety and stress-related disorders. PMID:27215672

  16. Interfering with post-learning hippocampal activity does not affect long-term consolidation of a context fear memory outside the hippocampus.

    PubMed

    Gulbrandsen, Tine L; Sparks, Fraser T; Sutherland, Robert J

    2013-03-01

    There are still uncertainties about the role of the hippocampus (HPC) in memory consolidation. One theory, systems consolidation, states that the HPC is required for the initial storage of certain memories that subsequently become established in non-HPC networks through a lengthy process, involving an interaction with the HPC. A similar process may underlie the ability of multiple, distributed learning episodes of contextual fear conditioning to create a HPC-independent context fear memory, in a memory task that does not undergo systems consolidation with the mere passage of time [5]. The current study examined whether post-learning HPC activity is necessary to establish these HPC-independent context memories through distributed learning episodes. Rats received either three or six context conditioning sessions over the course of three days. The HPC-dependence of context memories was assessed using multisite, temporary inactivation of the HPC using ropivacaine during retention testing. We established that six conditioning sessions, but not three, created a memory that could be retrieved while the HPC was inactive. To directly test our hypothesis, HPC was inactivated after half of the six context-shock pairings in an independent group of rats. The rats were then tested for retention of context fear in the absence of HPC activity. Post-learning inactivation of the HPC did not affect the establishment of a HPC-independent context memory. These results favor the idea that at least one memory system outside the HPC can acquire context memories independently. PMID:23201356

  17. c-Jun-N-terminal kinase 1 is necessary for nicotine-induced enhancement of contextual fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Leach, Prescott T; Kenney, Justin W; Gould, Thomas J

    2016-08-01

    Acute nicotine enhances hippocampus-dependent learning. Identifying how acute nicotine improves learning will aid in understanding how nicotine facilitates the development of maladaptive memories that contribute to drug-seeking behaviors, help development of medications to treat disorders associated with cognitive decline, and advance understanding of the neurobiology of learning and memory. The effects of nicotine on learning may involve recruitment of signaling through the c-Jun N-terminal kinase family (JNK 1-3). Learning in the presence of acute nicotine increases the transcription of mitogen-activated protein kinase 8 (MAPK8, also known as JNK1), likely through a CREB-dependent mechanism. The functional significance of JNK1 in the effects of acute nicotine on learning, however, is unknown. The current studies undertook a backward genetic approach to determine the functional contribution JNK1 protein makes to nicotine-enhanced contextual fear conditioning. JNK1 wildtype (WT) and knockout (KO) mice were administered acute nicotine prior to contextual and cued fear conditioning. 24h later, mice were evaluated for hippocampus-dependent (contextual fear conditioning) and hippocampus-independent (cued fear conditioning) memory. Nicotine selectively enhanced contextual conditioning in WT mice, but not in KO mice. Nicotine had no effect on hippocampus-independent learning in either genotype. JNK1 KO and WT mice given saline showed similar levels of learning. These data suggest that JNK1 may be recruited by nicotine and is functionally necessary for the acute effects of nicotine on learning and memory. PMID:27235579

  18. Extinction after Retrieval: Effects on the Associative and Nonassociative Components of Remote Contextual Fear Memory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Costanzi, Marco; Cannas, Sara; Saraulli, Daniele; Rossi-Arnaud, Clelia; Cestari, Vincenzo

    2011-01-01

    Long-lasting memories of adverse experiences are essential for individuals' survival but are also involved, in the form of recurrent recollections of the traumatic experience, in the aetiology of anxiety diseases (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]). Extinction-based erasure of fear memories has long been pursued as a behavioral way to…

  19. Glucocorticoids interact with the hippocampal endocannabinoid system in impairing retrieval of contextual fear memory.

    PubMed

    Atsak, Piray; Hauer, Daniela; Campolongo, Patrizia; Schelling, Gustav; McGaugh, James L; Roozendaal, Benno

    2012-02-28

    There is extensive evidence that glucocorticoid hormones impair the retrieval of memory of emotionally arousing experiences. Although it is known that glucocorticoid effects on memory retrieval impairment depend on rapid interactions with arousal-induced noradrenergic activity, the exact mechanism underlying this presumably nongenomically mediated glucocorticoid action remains to be elucidated. Here, we show that the hippocampal endocannabinoid system, a rapidly activated retrograde messenger system, is involved in mediating glucocorticoid effects on retrieval of contextual fear memory. Systemic administration of corticosterone (0.3-3 mg/kg) to male Sprague-Dawley rats 1 h before retention testing impaired the retrieval of contextual fear memory without impairing the retrieval of auditory fear memory or directly affecting the expression of freezing behavior. Importantly, a blockade of hippocampal CB1 receptors with AM251 prevented the impairing effect of corticosterone on retrieval of contextual fear memory, whereas the same impairing dose of corticosterone increased hippocampal levels of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol. We also found that antagonism of hippocampal β-adrenoceptor activity with local infusions of propranolol blocked the memory retrieval impairment induced by the CB receptor agonist WIN55,212-2. Thus, these findings strongly suggest that the endocannabinoid system plays an intermediary role in regulating rapid glucocorticoid effects on noradrenergic activity in impairing memory retrieval of emotionally arousing experiences.

  20. Potentiation and Overshadowing in Pavlovian Fear Conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Urcelay, Gonzalo P.; Miller, Ralph R.

    2009-01-01

    The present experiments addressed a fundamental discrepancy in the Pavlovian conditioning literature concerning responding to a target cue following compound reinforced training with another cue of higher salience. Experiment 1 identified one determinant of whether the target cue will be overshadowed or potentiated by the more salient cue, namely contiguity between compound CS termination and US presentation. Overshadowing and potentiation were observed with delay and trace procedures, respectively. Experiments 2-3 contrasted elemental and configural explanations of potentiation. Both experiments supported a configural account. Experiments 3 and 4, by manipulating prior learning experiences to bias subjects to encode the same compound elementally or configurally, demonstrated decreased potentiation and overshadowing, respectively. Overall, these experiments demonstrate potentiation with non-taste stimuli and identify one variable that determines whether overshadowing or potentiation will occur. Moreover, they show that prior experiences can determine how a compound is encoded and are compatible with the idea of flexible encoding as a principle of information processing. PMID:19594280

  1. Adolescent traumatic stress experience results in less robust conditioned fear and post-extinction fear cue responses in adult rats.

    PubMed

    Moore, Nicole L T; Gauchan, Sangeeta; Genovese, Raymond F

    2014-05-01

    Early exposure to a traumatic event may produce lasting effects throughout the lifespan. Traumatic stress during adolescence may deliver a distinct developmental insult compared with more-often studied neonatal or juvenile traumatic stress paradigms. The present study describes the lasting effects of adolescent traumatic stress upon adulthood fear conditioning. Adolescent rats were exposed to a traumatic stressor (underwater trauma, UWT), then underwent fear conditioning during adulthood. Fear extinction was tested over five conditioned suppression extinction sessions three weeks later. The efficacies of two potential extinction-enhancing compounds, endocannabinoid reuptake inhibitor AM404 (10mg/kg) and M1 muscarinic positive allosteric modulator BQCA (10mg/kg), were also assessed. Finally, post-extinction fear responses were examined using a fear cue (light) as a prepulse stimulus. Rats traumatically stressed during adolescence showed blunted conditioned suppression on day 1 of extinction training, and AM404 reversed this effect. Post-extinction startle testing showed that fear conditioning eliminates prepulse inhibition to the light cue. Startle potentiation was observed only in rats without adolescent UWT exposure. AM404 and BQCA both ameliorated this startle potentiation, while BQCA increased startle in the UWT group. These results suggest that exposure to a traumatic stressor during adolescence alters developmental outcomes related to stress response and fear extinction compared to rats without adolescent traumatic stress exposure, blunting the adulthood fear response and reducing residual post-extinction fear expression. Efficacy of pharmacological interventions may also vary as a factor of developmental traumatic stress exposure.

  2. Coantagonism of Glutamate Receptors and Nicotinic Acetylcholinergic Receptors Disrupts Fear Conditioning and Latent Inhibition of Fear Conditioning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gould, Thomas J.; Lewis, Michael C.

    2005-01-01

    The present study investigated the hypothesis that both nicotinic acetylcholinergic receptors (nAChRs) and glutamate receptors ([alpha]-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate receptors (AMPARs) and N-methyl-D-aspartate glutamate receptors (NMDARs)) are involved in fear conditioning, and may modulate similar processes. The effects of the…

  3. FAAH inhibitor OL-135 disrupts contextual, but not auditory, fear conditioning in rats.

    PubMed

    Burman, Michael A; Szolusha, Kerribeth; Bind, Rebecca; Kerney, Kristen; Boger, Dale L; Bilsky, Edward J

    2016-07-15

    Anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent psychological disorders, have significant negative impacts on quality of life and the healthcare system, and yet effective treatments remain elusive. Manipulating the endocannabinoid system has demonstrated potential for treating anxiety, although the side effects of direct manipulations of cannabinoid receptors keeps them from widespread clinical use. Disrupting the degradation enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) enhances endogenous signaling and may produce similar efficacy without the side effects. The current experiments examine the effects of low (5.6mg/kg) or moderate (10.0mg/kg) doses of OL-135, a FAAH inhibitor, on the acquisition and consolidation of classical fear conditioning, a common model of trauma-induced anxiety. The acquisition of contextual, but not auditory, fear conditioning was disrupted by both doses of OL-135. Shock reactivity was not affected. Due to the additional neural circuitry required for contextual, but not auditory, fear conditioning, these data suggest that endocannabinoid signaling outside the amygdala may be critical for a subset of fearful memories. PMID:27083303

  4. FAAH inhibitor OL-135 disrupts contextual, but not auditory, fear conditioning in rats.

    PubMed

    Burman, Michael A; Szolusha, Kerribeth; Bind, Rebecca; Kerney, Kristen; Boger, Dale L; Bilsky, Edward J

    2016-07-15

    Anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent psychological disorders, have significant negative impacts on quality of life and the healthcare system, and yet effective treatments remain elusive. Manipulating the endocannabinoid system has demonstrated potential for treating anxiety, although the side effects of direct manipulations of cannabinoid receptors keeps them from widespread clinical use. Disrupting the degradation enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) enhances endogenous signaling and may produce similar efficacy without the side effects. The current experiments examine the effects of low (5.6mg/kg) or moderate (10.0mg/kg) doses of OL-135, a FAAH inhibitor, on the acquisition and consolidation of classical fear conditioning, a common model of trauma-induced anxiety. The acquisition of contextual, but not auditory, fear conditioning was disrupted by both doses of OL-135. Shock reactivity was not affected. Due to the additional neural circuitry required for contextual, but not auditory, fear conditioning, these data suggest that endocannabinoid signaling outside the amygdala may be critical for a subset of fearful memories.

  5. Prediction error and trace dominance determine the fate of fear memories after post-training manipulations.

    PubMed

    Alfei, Joaquín M; Ferrer Monti, Roque I; Molina, Victor A; Bueno, Adrián M; Urcelay, Gonzalo P

    2015-08-01

    Different mnemonic outcomes have been observed when associative memories are reactivated by CS exposure and followed by amnestics. These outcomes include mere retrieval, destabilization-reconsolidation, a transitional period (which is insensitive to amnestics), and extinction learning. However, little is known about the interaction between initial learning conditions and these outcomes during a reinforced or nonreinforced reactivation. Here we systematically combined temporally specific memories with different reactivation parameters to observe whether these four outcomes are determined by the conditions established during training. First, we validated two training regimens with different temporal expectations about US arrival. Then, using Midazolam (MDZ) as an amnestic agent, fear memories in both learning conditions were submitted to retraining either under identical or different parameters to the original training. Destabilization (i.e., susceptibly to MDZ) occurred when reactivation was reinforced, provided the occurrence of a temporal prediction error about US arrival. In subsequent experiments, both treatments were systematically reactivated by nonreinforced context exposure of different lengths, which allowed to explore the interaction between training and reactivation lengths. These results suggest that temporal prediction error and trace dominance determine the extent to which reactivation produces the different outcomes.

  6. Prediction error and trace dominance determine the fate of fear memories after post-training manipulations

    PubMed Central

    Alfei, Joaquín M.; Ferrer Monti, Roque I.; Molina, Victor A.; Bueno, Adrián M.

    2015-01-01

    Different mnemonic outcomes have been observed when associative memories are reactivated by CS exposure and followed by amnestics. These outcomes include mere retrieval, destabilization–reconsolidation, a transitional period (which is insensitive to amnestics), and extinction learning. However, little is known about the interaction between initial learning conditions and these outcomes during a reinforced or nonreinforced reactivation. Here we systematically combined temporally specific memories with different reactivation parameters to observe whether these four outcomes are determined by the conditions established during training. First, we validated two training regimens with different temporal expectations about US arrival. Then, using Midazolam (MDZ) as an amnestic agent, fear memories in both learning conditions were submitted to retraining either under identical or different parameters to the original training. Destabilization (i.e., susceptibly to MDZ) occurred when reactivation was reinforced, provided the occurrence of a temporal prediction error about US arrival. In subsequent experiments, both treatments were systematically reactivated by nonreinforced context exposure of different lengths, which allowed to explore the interaction between training and reactivation lengths. These results suggest that temporal prediction error and trace dominance determine the extent to which reactivation produces the different outcomes. PMID:26179232

  7. Application of Pavlovian higher-order conditioning to the analysis of the neural substrates of fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Gewirtz, J C; Davis, M

    1998-01-01

    In Pavlovian first-order conditioning, a conditioned response is acquired by pairing a neutral stimulus (S1) with a stimulus that has innate motivational value. In higher-order conditioning, a neutral stimulus (S2) is paired with S1 either after (second-order conditioning) or before (sensory preconditioning) first-order conditioning has been acquired. Thus, in higher-order conditioning the motivational value of the reinforcer is acquired rather than innate. This review describes some of the potential uses of higher-order conditioning in investigating the neural substrates of fearful memories. First, because in second-order fear conditioning S2 is not paired directly with a painful stimulus, any effect of a treatment on the acquisition of fear cannot be attributed to the treatment's possible effects on transmission of nociceptive information. Second, higher-order conditioning provides opportunities for analyzing where and how different types of events, or different aspects of the same events, are represented in the brain.

  8. Conditioned stimulus determinants of conditioned response form in Pavlovian fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Kim, S D; Rivers, S; Bevins, R A; Ayres, J J

    1996-01-01

    Four experiments using barpress conditioned suppression in rats found that tone evoked more freezing (immobility) than did light. Still, tone and light appeared to have similar conditioned value as assessed by suppression in Experiments 1, 2, and 3, and by blocking, second-order conditioning, and overconditioning assays in Experiments 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Experiment 4 arranged for tone to evoke less suppression than light but more freezing. Results suggest that in fear conditioning, the nature of the conditioned stimulus affects the form of conditioned responding (strong vs. weak freezing). This conclusion extends one drawn by P. C. Holland (1977) on the basis of his work in appetitive conditioning.

  9. Hippocampal biomarkers of fear memory in an animal model of generalized anxiety disorder.

    PubMed

    Dias, Gisele Pereira; Bevilaqua, Mário Cesar do Nascimento; da Luz, Anna Claudia Domingos Silveira; Fleming, Renata Lopes; de Carvalho, Lítia Alves; Cocks, Graham; Beckman, Danielle; Hosken, Lucas Costa; de Sant'Anna Machado, William; Corrêa-e-Castro, Ana Carolina; Mousovich-Neto, Felippe; de Castro Gomes, Vítor; Bastos, Gilmara de Nazareth Tavares; Kubrusly, Regina Célia Cussa; da Costa, Vânia Maria Corrêa; Srivastava, Deepak; Landeira-Fernandez, Jesus; Nardi, Antonio Egidio; Thuret, Sandrine; Gardino, Patricia Franca

    2014-04-15

    Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is highly prevalent and incapacitating. Here we used the Carioca High-Conditioned Freezing (CHF) rats, a previously validated animal model for GAD, to identify biomarkers and structural changes in the hippocampus that could be part of the underlying mechanisms of their high-anxiety profile. Spatial and fear memory was assessed in the Morris water maze and passive avoidance test. Serum corticosterone levels, immunofluorescence for glucocorticoid receptors (GR) in the dentate gyrus (DG), and western blotting for hippocampal brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) were performed. Immunohistochemistry for markers of cell proliferation (bromodeoxiuridine/Ki-67), neuroblasts (doublecortin), and cell survival were undertaken in the DG, along with spine staining (Golgi) and dendritic arborization tracing. Hippocampal GABA release was assessed by neurochemical assay. Fear memory was higher among CHF rats whilst spatial learning was preserved. Serum corticosterone levels were increased, with decreased GR expression. No differences were observed in hippocampal cell proliferation/survival, but the number of newborn neurons was decreased, along with their number and length of tertiary dendrites. Increased expression of proBDNF and dendritic spines was observed; lower ratio of GABA release in the hippocampus was also verified. These findings suggest that generalized anxiety/fear could be associated with different hippocampal biomarkers, such as increased spine density, possibly as a compensatory mechanism for the decreased hippocampal number of neuroblasts and dendritic arborization triggered by high corticosterone. Disruption of GABAergic signaling and BDNF impairment are also proposed as part of the hippocampal mechanisms possibly underlying the anxious phenotype of this model. PMID:24462725

  10. Mice lacking the PSD-95-interacting E3 ligase, Dorfin/Rnf19a, display reduced adult neurogenesis, enhanced long-term potentiation, and impaired contextual fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Park, Hanwool; Yang, Jinhee; Kim, Ryunhee; Li, Yan; Lee, Yeunkum; Lee, Chungwoo; Park, Jongil; Lee, Dongmin; Kim, Hyun; Kim, Eunjoon

    2015-11-10

    Protein ubiquitination has a significant influence on diverse aspects of neuronal development and function. Dorfin, also known as Rnf19a, is a RING finger E3 ubiquitin ligase implicated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, but its in vivo functions have not been explored. We report here that Dorfin is a novel binding partner of the excitatory postsynaptic scaffolding protein PSD-95. Dorfin-mutant (Dorfin(-/-)) mice show reduced adult neurogenesis and enhanced long-term potentiation in the hippocampal dentate gyrus, but normal long-term potentiation in the CA1 region. Behaviorally, Dorfin(-/-) mice show impaired contextual fear conditioning, but normal levels of cued fear conditioning, fear extinction, spatial learning and memory, object recognition memory, spatial working memory, and pattern separation. Using a proteomic approach, we also identify a number of proteins whose ubiquitination levels are decreased in the Dorfin(-/-) brain. These results suggest that Dorfin may regulate adult neurogenesis, synaptic plasticity, and contextual fear memory.

  11. Exploring Epigenetic Regulation of Fear Memory and Biomarkers Associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

    PubMed Central

    Maddox, Stephanie A.; Schafe, Glenn E.; Ressler, Kerry J.

    2013-01-01

    This review examines recent work on epigenetic mechanisms underlying animal models of fear learning as well as its translational implications in disorders of fear regulation, such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Specifically, we will examine work outlining roles of differential histone acetylation and DNA-methylation associated with consolidation, reconsolidation, and extinction in Pavlovian fear paradigms. We then focus on the numerous studies examining the epigenetic modifications of the Brain-derived neurotrophin factor (BDNF) pathway and the extension of these findings from animal models to recent work in human clinical populations. We will also review recently published data on FKBP5 regulation of glucocorticoid receptor function, and how this is modulated in animal models of PTSD and in human clinical populations via epigenetic mechanisms. As glucocorticoid regulation of memory consolidation is well established in fear models, we examine how these recent data contribute to our broader understanding of fear memory formation. The combined recent progress in epigenetic modulation of memory with the advances in fear neurobiology suggest that this area may be critical to progress in our understanding of fear-related disorders with implications for new approaches to treatment and prevention. PMID:23847551

  12. Exploring epigenetic regulation of fear memory and biomarkers associated with post-traumatic stress disorder.

    PubMed

    Maddox, Stephanie A; Schafe, Glenn E; Ressler, Kerry J

    2013-01-01

    This review examines recent work on epigenetic mechanisms underlying animal models of fear learning as well as its translational implications in disorders of fear regulation, such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Specifically, we will examine work outlining roles of differential histone acetylation and DNA-methylation associated with consolidation, reconsolidation, and extinction in Pavlovian fear paradigms. We then focus on the numerous studies examining the epigenetic modifications of the Brain-derived neurotrophin factor (BDNF) pathway and the extension of these findings from animal models to recent work in human clinical populations. We will also review recently published data on FKBP5 regulation of glucocorticoid receptor function, and how this is modulated in animal models of PTSD and in human clinical populations via epigenetic mechanisms. As glucocorticoid regulation of memory consolidation is well established in fear models, we examine how these recent data contribute to our broader understanding of fear memory formation. The combined recent progress in epigenetic modulation of memory with the advances in fear neurobiology suggest that this area may be critical to progress in our understanding of fear-related disorders with implications for new approaches to treatment and prevention.

  13. VOLUNTARY WHEEL RUNNING ENHANCES CONTEXTUAL BUT NOT TRACE FEAR CONDITIONING

    PubMed Central

    Kohman, Rachel A.; Clark, Peter J.; DeYoung, Erin K.; Bhattacharya, Tushar K.; Venghaus, Christine E.; Rhodes, Justin S.

    2011-01-01

    Exercise improves performance on a number of hippocampus involved cognitive tasks including contextual fear conditioning, but whether exercise enhances contextual fear when the retention interval is longer than 1 day is not known. Also unknown is whether exercise improves trace conditioning, a task that requires the hippocampus to bridge the time interval between stimuli. Hence, 4-month-old male C57BL/6J mice were housed with or without running wheels. To assess whether hippocampal neurogenesis was associated with behavioral outcomes, during the initial ten days, mice received Bromodeoxyuridine to label dividing cells. After 30 days, one group of mice was trained in a contextual fear conditioning task. Freezing to context was assessed 1, 7, or 21 days post-training. A separate group was trained on a trace procedure, in which a tone and footshock were separated by a 15, 30, or 45 sec interval. Freezing to the tone was measured 24 hrs later in a novel environment, and freezing to training context was measured 48 hrs later. Running enhanced freezing to context when the retention interval was 1, but not 7 or 21 days. Running had no effect on trace conditioning even though runners displayed enhanced freezing to the training context 48 hrs later. Wheel running increased survival of new neurons in the hippocampus. Collectively, findings indicate that wheel running enhances cognitive performance on some tasks but not others and that enhanced neurogenesis is not always associated with improved performance on hippocampus tasks, one example of which is trace conditioning. PMID:21896289

  14. Antenatal Maternal Stress Alters Functional Brain Responses In Adult Offspring During Conditioned Fear

    PubMed Central

    Sadler, Theodore R.; Nguyen, Peter T.; Yang, Jun; Givrad, Tina K.; Mayer, Emeran A.; Maarek, Jean-Michel I.; Hinton, David R.; Holschneider, Daniel P.

    2011-01-01

    Antenatal maternal stress has been shown in rodent models and in humans to result in altered behavioral and neuroendocrine responses, yet little is known about its effects on functional brain activation. Pregnant female rats received a daily foot-shock stress or sham-stress two days after testing plug-positive and continuing for the duration of their pregnancy. Adult male offspring (age 14 weeks) with and without prior maternal stress (MS) were exposed to an auditory fear conditioning (CF) paradigm. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) was assessed during recall of the tone cue in the nonsedated, nontethered animal using the 14C-iodoantipyrine method, in which the tracer was administered intravenously by remote activation of an implantable minipump. Regional CBF distribution was examined by autoradiography and analyzed by statistical parametric mapping in the three-dimensionally reconstructed brains. Presence of fear memory was confirmed by behavioral immobility (‘freezing’). Corticosterone plasma levels during the CF paradigm were measured by ELISA in a separate group of rats. Antenatal MS exposure altered functional brain responses to the fear conditioned cue in adult offspring. Rats with prior MS exposure compared to those without demonstrated heightened fear responsivity, exaggerated and prolonged corticosterone release, increased functional cerebral activation of limbic/paralimbic regions (amygdala, ventral hippocampus, insula, ventral striatum, nucleus acumbens), the locus coeruleus, and white matter, and deactivation of medial prefrontal cortical regions. Dysregulation of corticolimbic circuits may represent risk factors in the future development of anxiety disorders and associated alterations in emotional regulation. PMID:21300034

  15. Post-training gamma irradiation-enhanced contextual fear memory associated with reduced neuronal activation of the infralimbic cortex.

    PubMed

    Kugelman, Tara; Zuloaga, Damian G; Weber, Sydney; Raber, Jacob

    2016-02-01

    The brain might be exposed to irradiation under a variety of situations, including clinical treatments, nuclear accidents, dirty bomb scenarios, and military and space missions. Correctly recalling tasks learned prior to irradiation is important but little is known about post-learning effects of irradiation. It is not clear whether exposure to X-ray irradiation during memory consolidation, a few hours following training, is associated with altered contextual fear conditioning 24h after irradiation and which brain region(s) might be involved in these effects. Brain immunoreactivity patterns of the immediately early gene c-Fos, a marker of cellular activity was used to determine which brain areas might be altered in post-training irradiation memory retention tasks. In this study, we show that post-training gamma irradiation exposure (1 Gy) enhanced contextual fear memory 24h later and is associated with reduced cellular activation in the infralimbic cortex. Reduced GABA-ergic neurotransmission in parvalbumin-positive cells in the infralimbic cortex might play a role in this post-training radiation-enhanced contextual fear memory.

  16. p300/CBP Histone Acetyltransferase Activity Is Required for Newly Acquired and Reactivated Fear Memories in the Lateral Amygdala

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Maddox, Stephanie A.; Watts, Casey S.; Schafe, Glenn E.

    2013-01-01

    Modifications in chromatin structure have been widely implicated in memory and cognition, most notably using hippocampal-dependent memory paradigms including object recognition, spatial memory, and contextual fear memory. Relatively little is known, however, about the role of chromatin-modifying enzymes in amygdala-dependent memory formation.…

  17. Evidence for an expanded time-window to mitigate a reactivated fear memory by tamoxifen.

    PubMed

    da Silva, Thiago R; Takahashi, Reinaldo N; Bertoglio, Leandro J; Andreatini, Roberto; Stern, Cristina A J

    2016-10-01

    The mechanisms underpinning the persistence of emotional memories are inaccurately understood. Advancing the current level of understanding with regards to this aspect is of potential translational value for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which stems from an abnormal aversive memory formation. Tamoxifen (TMX) is a drug used in chemotherapy for breast cancer and associated with poor cognitive performances. The present study investigated whether the systemic administration of TMX (1.0-50mg/kg) during and/or beyond the reconsolidation time-window could attenuate a reactivated contextual fear memory in laboratory animals. When administered 0, 6 or 9h (but not 12h) post-memory retrieval and reactivation, TMX (50mg/kg) reduced the freezing behavior in male rats re-exposed to the paired context on day 7, but not on day 1, suggesting a specific impairing effect on memory persistence. Importantly, this effect lasts up to 21 days, but it is prevented by omitting the memory retrieval or memory reactivation. When female rats in the diestrous or proestrous phase were used, the administration of TMX 6h after retrieving and reactivating the fear memory also impaired its persistence. Altogether, regardless of the gender, the present results indicate that the TMX is able to disrupt the persistence of reactivated fear memories in an expanded time-window, which could shed light on a new promising therapeutic strategy for PTSD. PMID:27554635

  18. Voluntary exercise improves both learning and consolidation of cued conditioned fear in C57 mice.

    PubMed

    Falls, William A; Fox, James H; MacAulay, Christina M

    2010-03-01

    Exercise is associated with improved cognitive function in humans as well as improved learning across a range of tasks in rodents. Although these studies provide a strong link between exercise and learning, to date studies have largely focused on tasks that principally involve the hippocampus. However, exercise has been shown to produce alterations in other brain areas suggesting that the cognitive enhancing effects of exercise may be more general. Therefore we set out to examine the effects of voluntary exercise on cued Pavlovian fear conditioning, a form of learning that is critically dependent on the amygdala. In Experiment 1 we showed that mice given 2 weeks of access to a running wheel prior to tone and foot shock fear conditioning showed enhanced conditioned fear as measured by fear-potentiated startle. This effect was not the result of altered shock reactivity nor was it to due to reduced baseline startle amplitude in exercising mice. In subsequent experiments we sought to examine whether the enhanced cued conditioned fear was the result of an improvement in learning, consolidation or retrieval of conditioned fear. In separate groups of mice, two weeks of access to a running wheel was begun either prior to fear conditioning, immediately after fear conditioning (consolidation period) or 2 weeks after fear conditioning. Compared to sedentary mice, mice that exercised either prior to fear conditioning, or immediately after fear conditioning, showed enhanced cued conditioned fear. Fear conditioning was not enhanced in mice that began exercising 2 weeks after fear conditioning. Taken together these results suggest that voluntary exercise improves the learning and consolidation of cued conditioned fear but does not improve the retrieval or performance of conditioned fear. Because a great deal is known about the neural circuit for cued conditioned fear, it is now possible to examine the cellular, molecular and pharmacological changes associated with exercise in

  19. Acceleration of visually cued conditioned fear through the auditory pathway.

    PubMed

    Newton, Jessica R; Ellsworth, Charlene; Miyakawa, Tsuyoshi; Tonegawa, Susumu; Sur, Mriganka

    2004-09-01

    Defensive responses elicited by sensory experiences are critical for survival. Mice acquire a conditioned fear response rapidly to an auditory cue but slowly to a visual cue, a difference in learned behavior that is likely to be mediated by direct projections to the lateral amygdala from the auditory thalamus but mainly indirect ones from the visual thalamus. Here, we show that acquisition of visually cued conditioned fear is accelerated in 'rewired' mice that have retinal projections routed to the auditory thalamus. Visual stimuli induce expression of the immediate early gene Fos (also known as c-fos) in the auditory thalamus and the lateral amygdala in rewired mice, similar to the way auditory stimuli do in control mice. Thus, the rewired auditory pathway conveys visual information and mediates rapid activity-dependent plasticity in central structures that influence learned behavior.

  20. Lentiviral silencing of GSK-3β in adult dentate gyrus impairs contextual fear memory and synaptic plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Chew, Benjamin; Ryu, Jae Ryun; Ng, Teclise; Ma, Dongliang; Dasgupta, Ananya; Neo, Sin Hui; Zhao, Jing; Zhong, Zhong; Bichler, Zoë; Sajikumar, Sreedharan; Goh, Eyleen L. K.

    2015-01-01

    Attempts have been made to use glycogen synthase kinase-3 beta (GSK3β) inhibitors for prophylactic treatment of neurocognitive conditions. However the use of lithium, a non-specific inhibitor of GSK3β results in mild cognitive impairment in humans. The effects of global GSK3β inhibition or knockout on learning and memory in healthy adult mice are also inconclusive. Our study aims to better understand the role of GSK3β in learning and memory through a more regionally, targeted approach, specifically performing lentiviral-mediated knockdown of GSK3β within the dentate gyrus (DG). DG-GSK3β-silenced mice showed impaired contextual fear memory retrieval. However, cue fear memory, spatial memory, locomotor activity and anxiety levels were similar to control. These GSK3β-silenced mice also showed increased induction and maintenance of DG long-term potentiation (DG-LTP) compared to control animals. Thus, this region-specific, targeted knockdown of GSK3β in the DG provides better understanding on the role of GSK3β in learning and memory. PMID:26157370

  1. Impaired extinction of fear conditioning after REM deprivation is magnified by rearing in an enriched environment.

    PubMed

    Hunter, Amy Silvestri

    2015-07-01

    Evidence from both human and animal studies indicates that rapid eye movement sleep (REM) is essential for the acquisition and retention of information, particularly of an emotional nature. Learning and memory can also be impacted by manipulation of housing condition such as exposure to an enriched environment (EE). This study investigated the effects of REM deprivation and EE, both separately and combined, on the extinction of conditioned fear in rats. Consistent with prior studies, conditioning was enhanced in EE-reared rats and extinction was impaired in REM deprived rats. In addition, rats exposed to both REM deprivation and EE showed the greatest impairment in extinction, with effects persisting through the first two days of extinction training. This study is the first to explore the combination of REM deprivation and EE and suggests that manipulations that alter sleep, particularly REM, can have persisting deleterious effects on emotional memory processing.

  2. Interoceptive fear conditioning and panic disorder: the role of conditioned stimulus-unconditioned stimulus predictability.

    PubMed

    Acheson, Dean T; Forsyth, John P; Moses, Erica

    2012-03-01

    Interoceptive fear conditioning is at the core of contemporary behavioral accounts of panic disorder. Yet, to date only one study has attempted to evaluate interoceptive fear conditioning in humans (see Acheson, Forsyth, Prenoveau, & Bouton, 2007). That study used brief (physiologically inert) and longer-duration (panicogenic) inhalations of 20% CO(2)-enriched air as an interoceptive conditioned (CS) and unconditioned (US) stimulus and evaluated fear learning in three conditions: CS only, CS-US paired, and CS-US unpaired. Results showed fear conditioning in the paired condition, and fearful responding and resistance to extinction in an unpaired condition. The authors speculated that such effects may be due to difficulty discriminating between the CS and the US. The aims of the present study are to (a) replicate and expand this line of work using an improved methodology, and (b) clarify the role of CS-US discrimination difficulties in either potentiating or depotentiating fear learning. Healthy participants (N=104) were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: (a) CS only, (b) contingent CS-US pairings, (c) unpaired CS and US presentations, or (d) an unpaired "discrimination" contingency, which included an exteroceptive discrimination cue concurrently with CS onset. Electrodermal and self-report ratings served as indices of conditioned responding. Consistent with expectation, the paired contingency and unpaired contingencies yielded elevated fearful responding to the CS alone. Moreover, adding a discrimination cue to the unpaired contingency effectively attenuated fearful responding. Overall, findings are consistent with modern learning theory accounts of panic and highlight the role of interoceptive conditioning and unpredictability in the etiology of panic disorder.

  3. Interoceptive fear conditioning and panic disorder: the role of conditioned stimulus-unconditioned stimulus predictability.

    PubMed

    Acheson, Dean T; Forsyth, John P; Moses, Erica

    2012-03-01

    Interoceptive fear conditioning is at the core of contemporary behavioral accounts of panic disorder. Yet, to date only one study has attempted to evaluate interoceptive fear conditioning in humans (see Acheson, Forsyth, Prenoveau, & Bouton, 2007). That study used brief (physiologically inert) and longer-duration (panicogenic) inhalations of 20% CO(2)-enriched air as an interoceptive conditioned (CS) and unconditioned (US) stimulus and evaluated fear learning in three conditions: CS only, CS-US paired, and CS-US unpaired. Results showed fear conditioning in the paired condition, and fearful responding and resistance to extinction in an unpaired condition. The authors speculated that such effects may be due to difficulty discriminating between the CS and the US. The aims of the present study are to (a) replicate and expand this line of work using an improved methodology, and (b) clarify the role of CS-US discrimination difficulties in either potentiating or depotentiating fear learning. Healthy participants (N=104) were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: (a) CS only, (b) contingent CS-US pairings, (c) unpaired CS and US presentations, or (d) an unpaired "discrimination" contingency, which included an exteroceptive discrimination cue concurrently with CS onset. Electrodermal and self-report ratings served as indices of conditioned responding. Consistent with expectation, the paired contingency and unpaired contingencies yielded elevated fearful responding to the CS alone. Moreover, adding a discrimination cue to the unpaired contingency effectively attenuated fearful responding. Overall, findings are consistent with modern learning theory accounts of panic and highlight the role of interoceptive conditioning and unpredictability in the etiology of panic disorder. PMID:22304889

  4. A role for midline and intralaminar thalamus in the associative blocking of Pavlovian fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Sengupta, Auntora; McNally, Gavan P

    2014-01-01

    Fear learning occurs in response to positive prediction error, when the expected outcome of a conditioning trial exceeds that predicted by the conditioned stimuli present. This role for error in Pavlovian association formation is best exemplified by the phenomenon of associative blocking, whereby prior fear conditioning of conditioned stimulus (CS) A is able to prevent learning to CSB when they are conditioned in compound. The midline and intralaminar thalamic nuclei (MIT) are well-placed to contribute to fear prediction error because they receive extensive projections from the midbrain periaqueductal gray-which has a key role in fear prediction error-and project extensively to prefrontal cortex and amygdala. Here we used an associative blocking design to study the role of MIT in fear learning. In Stage I rats were trained to fear CSA via pairings with shock. In Stage II rats received compound fear conditioning of CSAB paired with shock. On test, rats that received Stage I training expressed less fear to CSB relative to control rats that did not receive this training. Microinjection of bupivacaine into MIT prior to Stage II training had no effect on the expression of fear during Stage II and had no effect on fear learning in controls, but prevented associative blocking and so enabled fear learning to CSB. These results show an important role for MIT in predictive fear learning and are discussed with reference to previous findings implicating the midline and posterior intralaminar thalamus in fear learning and fear responding.

  5. A role for alpha-adrenergic receptors in extinction of conditioned fear and cocaine conditioned place preference.

    PubMed

    Bernardi, Rick E; Lattal, K Matthew

    2010-04-01

    Previous work has demonstrated an important role for adrenergic receptors in memory processes in fear and drug conditioning paradigms. Recent studies have also demonstrated alterations in extinction in these paradigms using drug treatments targeting beta- and alpha2-adrenergic receptors, but little is known about the role of alpha-adrenergic receptors in extinction. The current study examined whether antagonism of alpha-adrenergic receptors would impair the consolidation of extinction in fear and cocaine conditioned place preference paradigms. After contextual fear conditioning, injections of the alpha-adrenergic receptor antagonist prazosin (1.0 or 3.0 mg/kg) following nonreinforced context exposures slowed the loss of conditioned freezing over the course of 5 extinction sessions (Experiment 1). After cocaine place conditioning, prazosin had no effect on the rate of extinction over 8 nonreinforced test sessions. Following postextinction reconditioning, however, prazosin-treated mice showed a robust place preference, but vehicle-treated mice did not, suggesting that prazosin reduced the persistent effects of extinction (Experiment 2). These results confirm the involvement of the alpha-adrenergic receptor in extinction processes in both appetitive and aversive preparations.

  6. Effect of continuous and partial reinforcement on the acquisition and extinction of human conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Grady, Ashley K; Bowen, Kenton H; Hyde, Andrew T; Totsch, Stacie K; Knight, David C

    2016-02-01

    Extinction of Pavlovian conditioned fear in humans is a popular paradigm often used to study learning and memory processes that mediate anxiety-related disorders. Fear extinction studies often only pair the conditioned stimulus (CS) and unconditioned stimulus (UCS) on a subset of acquisition trials (i.e., partial reinforcement/pairing) to prolong extinction (i.e., partial reinforcement extinction effect; PREE) and provide more time to study the process. However, there is limited evidence that the partial pairing procedures typically used during fear conditioning actually extend the extinction process, while there is strong evidence these procedures weaken conditioned response (CR) acquisition. Therefore, determining conditioning procedures that support strong CR acquisition and that also prolong the extinction process would benefit the field. The present study investigated 4 separate CS-UCS pairing procedures to determine methods that support strong conditioning and that also exhibit a PREE. One group (C-C) of participants received continuous CS-UCS pairings; a second group (C-P) received continuous followed by partial CS-UCS pairings; a third group (P-C) received partial followed by continuous CS-UCS pairings; and a fourth group (P-P) received partial CS-UCS pairings during acquisition. A strong skin conductance CR was expressed by C-C and P-C groups but not by C-P and P-P groups at the end of the acquisition phase. The P-C group maintained the CR during extinction. In contrast, the CR extinguished quickly within the C-C group. These findings suggest that partial followed by continuous CS-UCS pairings elicit strong CRs and prolong the extinction process following human fear conditioning. PMID:26692449

  7. Effect of continuous and partial reinforcement on the acquisition and extinction of human conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Grady, Ashley K; Bowen, Kenton H; Hyde, Andrew T; Totsch, Stacie K; Knight, David C

    2016-02-01

    Extinction of Pavlovian conditioned fear in humans is a popular paradigm often used to study learning and memory processes that mediate anxiety-related disorders. Fear extinction studies often only pair the conditioned stimulus (CS) and unconditioned stimulus (UCS) on a subset of acquisition trials (i.e., partial reinforcement/pairing) to prolong extinction (i.e., partial reinforcement extinction effect; PREE) and provide more time to study the process. However, there is limited evidence that the partial pairing procedures typically used during fear conditioning actually extend the extinction process, while there is strong evidence these procedures weaken conditioned response (CR) acquisition. Therefore, determining conditioning procedures that support strong CR acquisition and that also prolong the extinction process would benefit the field. The present study investigated 4 separate CS-UCS pairing procedures to determine methods that support strong conditioning and that also exhibit a PREE. One group (C-C) of participants received continuous CS-UCS pairings; a second group (C-P) received continuous followed by partial CS-UCS pairings; a third group (P-C) received partial followed by continuous CS-UCS pairings; and a fourth group (P-P) received partial CS-UCS pairings during acquisition. A strong skin conductance CR was expressed by C-C and P-C groups but not by C-P and P-P groups at the end of the acquisition phase. The P-C group maintained the CR during extinction. In contrast, the CR extinguished quickly within the C-C group. These findings suggest that partial followed by continuous CS-UCS pairings elicit strong CRs and prolong the extinction process following human fear conditioning.

  8. CD4(+) T cells confer anxiolytic and antidepressant-like effects, but enhance fear memory processes in Rag2(-/-) mice.

    PubMed

    Clark, Sarah M; Soroka, Jennifer A; Song, Chang; Li, Xin; Tonelli, Leonardo H

    2016-05-01

    Accumulating evidence supports a role of T cells in behavioral stress responsiveness. Our laboratory previously reported that lymphocyte deficient Rag2(-/-) mice on a BALB/c background display resilience to maladaptive stress responses when compared with immune competent mice in the predator odor exposure (POE) paradigm, while exhibiting similar behavior in a cued fear-conditioning (FC) paradigm. In the present study, Rag2(-/-) mice on a C57BL/6 background were assessed in the same behavioral paradigms, as well as additional tests of anxiety and depressive-like behavior. Furthermore, the effects of naïve CD4(+ ) T cells were evaluated by adoptive transfer of functional cells from nonstressed, wild-type donors to Rag2(-/-) mice. Consistent with our prior results, Rag2(-/-) mice displayed an attenuated startle response after POE. Nevertheless, reconstitution of Rag2(-/-) mice with CD4(+ ) T cells did not modify startle reactivity. Additionally, in contrast with our previous findings, Rag2(-/-) mice showed attenuated fear responses in the FC paradigm compared to wild-type mice and reconstitution with CD4(+ ) T cells promoted fear learning and memory. Notably, reconstitution with CD4(+ ) T cells had anxiolytic and antidepressant-like effects in Rag2(-/-) mice that had not been previously stressed, but had no effect after POE. Taken together, our results support a role of CD4(+ ) T cells in emotionality, but also indicate that they may promote fear responses by enhancing learning and memory processes.

  9. Post-Training Unilateral Amygdala Lesions Selectively Impair Contextual Fear Memories

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Flavell, Charlotte R.; Lee, Jonathan L. C.

    2012-01-01

    The basolateral amygdala (BLA) and the dorsal hippocampus (dHPC) are both structures with key roles in contextual fear conditioning. During fear conditioning, it is postulated that contextual representations of the environment are formed in the hippocampus, which are then associated with foot shock in the amygdala. However, it is not known to what…

  10. Chronic stress, cyclic 17β-estradiol, and daily handling influences on fear conditioning in the female rat.

    PubMed

    Hoffman, Ann N; Armstrong, Charles E; Hanna, Jeffery J; Conrad, Cheryl D

    2010-10-01

    Chronic stress and estrogens alter many forebrain regions in female rats that affect cognition. In order to investigate how chronic stress and estrogens influence fear learning and memory, we ovariectomized (OVX) female Sprague-Dawley rats and repeatedly injected them (s.c.) with 17β-estradiol (E, 10 μg/250 g or sesame oil vehicle, VEH). Concurrently, rats were restrained for 6 h/d/21 d (STR) or left undisturbed (CON). Rats were then fear conditioned with 4 tone-footshock pairings and then after 1 h and 24 h delays, given 15 tone extinction trials. Regardless of E treatment, chronic stress (VEH, E) facilitated freezing to tone during acquisition and extinction following a 1h delay, but not during extinction after a 24 h delay. E did not influence freezing to tone during any phase of fear conditioning for either the control or chronically stressed rats, but did influence contextual conditioning that may have been carried predominately by the STR group. In the second experiment, we investigated "handling" influences on fear conditioning acquisition, given the disparate findings from the current study and previous work (Baran, Armstrong, Niren, & Conrad, 2010; Baran, Armstrong, Niren, Hanna, & Conrad, 2009). Female rats remained gonadally-intact since E did not influence tone fear conditioning. Indeed, brief daily handling (1-3 m/d/21 d) facilitated acquisition of fear conditioning in chronically stressed female rats, and either had no effect or slightly attenuated fear conditioning in controls. Thus, chronic stress impacts amygdala-mediated fear learning in both OVX- and gonadally-intact females as found previously in males, with handling significantly influencing these outcomes.

  11. Dopamine-dependent synaptic plasticity in an amygdala inhibitory circuit controls fear memory expression.

    PubMed

    Lee, Joo Han; Kim, Joung-Hun

    2016-01-01

    Of the numerous events that occur in daily life, we readily remember salient information, but do not retain most less-salient events for a prolonged period. Although some of the episodes contain putatively emotional aspects, the information with lower saliency is rarely stored in neural circuits via an unknown mechanism. We provided substantial evidence indicating that synaptic plasticity in the dorsal ITC of amygdala allows for selective storage of salient emotional experiences, while it deters less-salient experience from entering long-term memory. After activation of D4R or weak fear conditioning, STDP stimulation induces LTD in the LA-ITC synapses. This form of LTD is dependent upon presynaptic D4R, and is likely to result from enhancement of GABA release. Both optogenetic abrogation of LTD and ablation of D4R at the dorsal ITC in vivo lead to heightened and over-generalized fear responses. Finally, we demonstrated that LTD was impaired at the dorsal ITC of PTSD model mice, which suggests that maladaptation of GABAergic signaling and the resultant LTD impairment contribute to the endophenotypes of PTSD. PMID:26674344

  12. Analysis of coherent activity between retrosplenial cortex, hippocampus, thalamus, and anterior cingulate cortex during retrieval of recent and remote context fear memory.

    PubMed

    Corcoran, Kevin A; Frick, Brendan J; Radulovic, Jelena; Kay, Leslie M

    2016-01-01

    Memory for contextual fear conditioning relies upon the retrosplenial cortex (RSC) regardless of how long ago conditioning occurred, whereas areas connected to the RSC, such as the dorsal hippocampus (DH) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) appear to play time-limited roles. To better understand whether these brain regions functionally interact during memory processing and how the passage of time affects these interactions, we simultaneously recorded local field potentials (LFPs) from these three regions as well as anterior dorsal thalamus (ADT), which provides one of the strongest inputs to RSC, and measured coherence of oscillatory activity within the theta (4-12Hz) and gamma (30-80Hz) frequency bands. We identified changes of theta coherence related to encoding, retrieval, and extinction of context fear, whereas changes in gamma coherence were restricted to fear extinction. Specifically, exposure to a novel context and retrieval of recently acquired fear conditioning memory were associated with increased theta coherence between RSC and all three other structures. In contrast, RSC-DH and RSC-ADT theta coherence were decreased in mice that successfully retrieved, relative to mice that failed to retrieve, remote memory. Greater RSC-ADT theta and gamma coherence were observed during recent, compared to remote, extinction of freezing responses. Thus, the degree of coherence between RSC and connected brain areas may predict and contribute to context memory retrieval and retrieval-related phenomena such as fear extinction. Importantly, although theta coherence in this circuit increases during memory encoding and retrieval of recent memory, failure to decrease RSC-DH theta coherence might be linked to retrieval deficit in the long term, and possibly contribute to aberrant memory processing characteristic of neuropsychiatric disorders.

  13. Analysis of coherent activity between retrosplenial cortex, hippocampus, thalamus, and anterior cingulate cortex during retrieval of recent and remote context fear memory.

    PubMed

    Corcoran, Kevin A; Frick, Brendan J; Radulovic, Jelena; Kay, Leslie M

    2016-01-01

    Memory for contextual fear conditioning relies upon the retrosplenial cortex (RSC) regardless of how long ago conditioning occurred, whereas areas connected to the RSC, such as the dorsal hippocampus (DH) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) appear to play time-limited roles. To better understand whether these brain regions functionally interact during memory processing and how the passage of time affects these interactions, we simultaneously recorded local field potentials (LFPs) from these three regions as well as anterior dorsal thalamus (ADT), which provides one of the strongest inputs to RSC, and measured coherence of oscillatory activity within the theta (4-12Hz) and gamma (30-80Hz) frequency bands. We identified changes of theta coherence related to encoding, retrieval, and extinction of context fear, whereas changes in gamma coherence were restricted to fear extinction. Specifically, exposure to a novel context and retrieval of recently acquired fear conditioning memory were associated with increased theta coherence between RSC and all three other structures. In contrast, RSC-DH and RSC-ADT theta coherence were decreased in mice that successfully retrieved, relative to mice that failed to retrieve, remote memory. Greater RSC-ADT theta and gamma coherence were observed during recent, compared to remote, extinction of freezing responses. Thus, the degree of coherence between RSC and connected brain areas may predict and contribute to context memory retrieval and retrieval-related phenomena such as fear extinction. Importantly, although theta coherence in this circuit increases during memory encoding and retrieval of recent memory, failure to decrease RSC-DH theta coherence might be linked to retrieval deficit in the long term, and possibly contribute to aberrant memory processing characteristic of neuropsychiatric disorders. PMID:26691782

  14. 28Silicon Irradiation Impairs Contextual Fear Memory in B6D2F1 Mice.

    PubMed

    Raber, Jacob; Marzulla, Tessa; Stewart, Blair; Kronenberg, Amy; Turker, Mitchell S

    2015-06-01

    The space radiation environment consists of multiple species of charged particles, including (28)Si, (48)Ti and protons that may impact cognition, but their damaging effects have been poorly defined. In mouse studies, C57Bl6/J homozygous wild-type mice and genetic mutant mice on a C57Bl6/J background have typically been used for assessing effects of space radiation on cognition. In contrast, little is known about the radiation response of mice on a heterozygous background. Therefore, in the current study we tested the effects of (28)Si, (48)Ti and proton radiation on hippocampus-dependent contextual fear memory and hippocampus-independent cued fear memory in C57Bl6/J × DBA2/J F1 (B6D2F1) mice three months after irradiation. Contextual fear memory was impaired at a 1.6 Gy dose of (28)Si radiation, but not cued fear memory. (48)Ti or proton irradiation did not affect either type of memory. Based on earlier space radiation cognitive data in C57Bl6/J mice, these data highlight the importance of including different genetic backgrounds in studies aimed at assessing cognitive changes after exposure to space radiation.

  15. Identification of Parvalbumin Interneurons as Cellular Substrate of Fear Memory Persistence

    PubMed Central

    Çalışkan, Gürsel; Müller, Iris; Semtner, Marcus; Winkelmann, Aline; Raza, Ahsan S.; Hollnagel, Jan O.; Rösler, Anton; Heinemann, Uwe; Stork, Oliver; Meier, Jochen C.

    2016-01-01

    Parvalbumin-positive (PV) basket cells provide perisomatic inhibition in the cortex and hippocampus and control generation of memory-related network activity patterns, such as sharp wave ripples (SPW-R). Deterioration of this class of fast-spiking interneurons has been observed in neuropsychiatric disorders and evidence from animal models suggests their involvement in the acquisition and extinction of fear memories. Here, we used mice with neuron type-targeted expression of the presynaptic gain-of-function glycine receptor RNA variant GlyR α3L185L to genetically enhance the network activity of PV interneurons. These mice showed reduced extinction of contextual fear memory but normal auditory cued fear memory. They furthermore displayed increase of SPW-R activity in area CA3 and CA1 and facilitated propagation of this particular network activity pattern, as determined in ventral hippocampal slice preparations. Individual freezing levels during extinction and SPW-R propagation were correlated across genotypes. The same was true for parvalbumin immunoreactivity in the ventral hippocampus, which was generally augmented in the GlyR mutant mice and correlated with individual freezing levels. Together, these results identify PV interneurons as critical cellular substrate of fear memory persistence and associated SPW-R activity in the hippocampus. Our findings may be relevant for the identification and characterization of physiological correlates for posttraumatic stress and anxiety disorders. PMID:26908632

  16. Effects of dopamine D1 modulation of the anterior cingulate cortex in a fear conditioning procedure

    PubMed Central

    Pezze, M.A.; Marshall, H.J.; Domonkos, A.; Cassaday, H.J.

    2016-01-01

    The anterior cingulate cortex (AC) component of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) has been implicated in attention and working memory as measured by trace conditioning. Since dopamine (DA) is a key modulator of mPFC function, the present study evaluated the role of DA receptor agents in rat AC, using trace fear conditioning. A conditioned stimulus (CS, noise) was followed by an unconditioned stimulus (US, shock) with or without a 10 s trace interval interposed between these events in a between-subjects design. Conditioned suppression of drinking was assessed in response to presentation of the CS or an experimental background stimulus (flashing lights, previously presented for the duration of the conditioning session). The selective D1 agonist SKF81297 (0.05 μg/side) or D1 antagonist SCH23390 (0.5 μg/side) was administered by intra-cerebral microinfusion directly into AC. It was predicted that either of these manipulations should be sufficient to impair trace (but not delay) conditioning. Counter to expectation, there was no effect of DA D1 modulation on trace conditioning as measured by suppression to the noise CS. However, rats infused with SKF81297 acquired stronger conditioned suppression to the experimental background stimulus than those infused with SCH23390 or saline. Thus, the DA D1 agonist SKF81297 increased conditioned suppression to the contextual background light stimulus but was otherwise without effect on fear conditioning. PMID:26343307

  17. Sexually divergent expression of active and passive conditioned fear responses in rats.

    PubMed

    Gruene, Tina M; Flick, Katelyn; Stefano, Alexis; Shea, Stephen D; Shansky, Rebecca M

    2015-01-01

    Traditional rodent models of Pavlovian fear conditioning assess the strength of learning by quantifying freezing responses. However, sole reliance on this measure includes the de facto assumption that any locomotor activity reflects an absence of fear. Consequently, alternative expressions of associative learning are rarely considered. Here we identify a novel, active fear response ('darting') that occurs primarily in female rats. In females, darting exhibits the characteristics of a learned fear behavior, appearing during the CS period as conditioning proceeds and disappearing from the CS period during extinction. This finding motivates a reinterpretation of rodent fear conditioning studies, particularly in females, and it suggests that conditioned fear behavior is more diverse than previously appreciated. Moreover, rats that darted during initial fear conditioning exhibited lower freezing during the second day of extinction testing, suggesting that females employ distinct and adaptive fear response strategies that improve long-term outcomes. PMID:26568307

  18. Sexually divergent expression of active and passive conditioned fear responses in rats.

    PubMed

    Gruene, Tina M; Flick, Katelyn; Stefano, Alexis; Shea, Stephen D; Shansky, Rebecca M

    2015-11-14

    Traditional rodent models of Pavlovian fear conditioning assess the strength of learning by quantifying freezing responses. However, sole reliance on this measure includes the de facto assumption that any locomotor activity reflects an absence of fear. Consequently, alternative expressions of associative learning are rarely considered. Here we identify a novel, active fear response ('darting') that occurs primarily in female rats. In females, darting exhibits the characteristics of a learned fear behavior, appearing during the CS period as conditioning proceeds and disappearing from the CS period during extinction. This finding motivates a reinterpretation of rodent fear conditioning studies, particularly in females, and it suggests that conditioned fear behavior is more diverse than previously appreciated. Moreover, rats that darted during initial fear conditioning exhibited lower freezing during the second day of extinction testing, suggesting that females employ distinct and adaptive fear response strategies that improve long-term outcomes.

  19. A BDNF Sensitive Mechanism Is Involved in the Fear Memory Resulting from the Interaction between Stress and the Retrieval of an Established Trace

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Giachero, Marcelo; Bustos, Silvia G.; Calfa, Gaston; Molina, Victor A.

    2013-01-01

    The present study investigates the fear memory resulting from the interaction of a stressful experience and the retrieval of an established fear memory trace. Such a combination enhanced both fear expression and fear retention in adult Wistar rats. Likewise, midazolam intra-basolateral amygdala (BLA) infusion prior to stress attenuated the…

  20. Short- and long-term effects of cannabinoids on the extinction of contextual fear memory in rats.

    PubMed

    Pamplona, Fabrício A; Bitencourt, Rafael M; Takahashi, Reinaldo N

    2008-07-01

    Facilitation of memory extinction by manipulation of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system has been recently studied in several paradigms. Our previous results pointed to facilitation of contextual fear memory extinction by a low dose of a cannabinoid agonist, with a suggestion of short-term effects. The aim of the present study was to further investigate the effects of cannabinoid drugs in the short- and long-term extinction of conditioned fear using an extended extinction protocol. Male Wistar rats were placed in a conditioning chamber and after 3min received a footshock (1.5mA, 1s). On the next day, they received i.p. drug treatment (WIN55212-2 0.25mg/kg, AM404 10mg/kg, SR141716A 1mg/kg) and were re-exposed to the conditioning chamber for 30min (extinction training). No-Extinction groups received the same drug treatment, but were exposed for 3min to the conditioning chamber. A drug-free test of contextual memory (3min) was performed 7 days later. The cannabinoid agonist WI55212-2 and the inhibitor of eCB metabolism/uptake AM404 facilitated short-term extinction. In addition, long-term effects induced by treatments with WIN55212 and AM404 were completely divergent to those of SR141716A treatment. The present results confirm and extend previous findings showing that the eCB system modulates short-term fear memory extinction with long-lasting consequences.

  1. Morphine administration during low ovarian hormone stage results in transient over expression of fear memories in females.

    PubMed

    Perez-Torres, Emily M; Ramos-Ortolaza, Dinah L; Morales, Roberto; Santini, Edwin; Rios-Ruiz, Efrain J; Torres-Reveron, Annelyn

    2015-01-01

    Acute exposure to morphine after a traumatic event reduces trauma related symptoms in humans and conditioned fear expression in male rats. We aimed to determine whether acute administration of morphine alters consolidation of fear learning and extinction. Male and female rats in proestrus and metaestrus (high and low ovarian hormones respectively) underwent fear conditioning and received saline or morphine (2.5 mg/kg s.c.). The next day they underwent extinction. Results showed increased freezing during extinction only in the morphine metaestrus group while morphine did not affect males or proestrus females. Recall of extinction was similar on all groups. On a second experiment, a subset of rats conditioned during metaestrus was administered morphine prior to extinction producing no effects. We then measured mu opioid receptor (MOR) expression in the amygdala and periaqueductal gray (PAG) at the end of extinction (day 2). In males and proestrus females, morphine caused an increase in MOR in the amygdala but no in the PAG. In metaestrus females, morphine did not change MOR expression in either structure. These data suggests that ovarian hormones may interact with MORs in the amygdala to transiently alter memory consolidation. Morphine given after trauma to females with low ovarian hormones might increase the recall of fear responses, making recovery harder. PMID:26052274

  2. Fingolimod induces neurogenesis in adult mouse hippocampus and improves contextual fear memory.

    PubMed

    Efstathopoulos, P; Kourgiantaki, A; Karali, K; Sidiropoulou, K; Margioris, A N; Gravanis, A; Charalampopoulos, I

    2015-11-24

    Fingolimod (FTY720) was the first per os administered disease-modifying agent approved for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. It is thought that fingolimod modulates the immune response by activating sphingosine-1 phosphate receptor type 1 (S1P1) on lymphocytes following its in vivo phosphorylation. In addition to its immune-related effects, there is evidence that fingolimod exerts several other effects in the central nervous system, including regulation of the proliferation, survival and differentiation of various cell types and their precursors. In the present study, we have investigated the effect of fingolimod on the production of new neurons in the adult mouse hippocampus and the association of this effect with the ability for pattern separation, an established adult neurogenesis-dependent memory function. Immunofluorescence analysis after chronic administration of a physiologic dose of fingolimod (0.3 mg kg(-1)) revealed a significant increase in both the proliferation and the survival of neural progenitors in the area of dentate gyrus of hippocampus, compared with control animals. These effects were replicated in vitro, in cultures of murine hippocampal neural stem/precursor cells that express S1P1 receptor, suggesting cell-autonomous actions. The effects of fingolimod on neurogenesis were correlated to enhanced ability for context discrimination after fear conditioning. Since impairment of adult hippocampal neurogenesis and memory is a common feature of many neuropsychiatric conditions, fingolimod treatment may be beneficial in therapeutic armamentarium of these disorders.

  3. Transient disturbances in contextual fear memory induced by Aβ(25-35) in rats are accompanied by cholinergic dysfunction.

    PubMed

    Stepanichev, Mikhail; Lazareva, Natalia; Tukhbatova, Gulnur; Salozhin, Sergey; Gulyaeva, Natalia

    2014-02-01

    Damage to the medial septum (MS) or disruption of the septo-hippocampal pathway is often considered as a basis for memory impairments, manifesting in the hippocampus-dependent behavioral paradigms. In the present study, we have examined the effects of intracerebroventricular administration of aggregated amyloid-β (25-35) (Aβ(25-35)) on contextual fear conditioning and the condition of cholinergic neurons in the MS using immunohistochemical detection of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) and expression of the "cholinergic locus genes" (ChAT and vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VaChT) mRNA). A single injection of Aβ(25-35) induced transient moderate impairments in contextual fear conditioning accompaniedby a decrease in ChAT expression. However, the long-term decline in ChAT and VaChT expression was not associated with stable impairments in contextual fear memory. An Aβ(25-35)-induced progressive decrease in the number of ChAT expressing neurons in the MS was revealed, but no gross neuronal cell loss in the MS could be detected (as judged by the density of NeuN-immunoreactive cells). Thus, Aβ(25-35) induced a loss of the cholinergic phenotype of septal neurons without neuronal cell death in MS. The data give an additional support to the concept of early impairments in the synthesis of proteins related to the cholinergic system as an important mechanism in amyloid-induced neuronal damage.

  4. On the resistance to extinction of fear conditioned to angry faces.

    PubMed

    Rowles, Monique E; Lipp, Ottmar V; Mallan, Kimberley M

    2012-03-01

    The present study investigated whether, like fear conditioned to pictures of snakes and spiders, fear conditioned to angry faces resists extinction even after verbal instruction and removal of the shock electrode. Participants were trained in a differential Pavlovian fear conditioning procedure with angry face or happy face conditional stimuli (CSs). Prior to extinction, half the participants in each group were informed that no more unconditional stimuli would be presented and the shock electrode was removed. In the absence of this manipulation, participants showed resistance to extinction after training with angry face CSs, but not after training with happy face CSs. Instructed extinction and electrode removal abolished fear conditioning regardless of the emotion expressed by the CS faces. This finding suggests that fear conditioned to angry faces, like fear conditioned to racial out-group faces, is more malleable than fear conditioned to snakes and spiders. PMID:22091639

  5. Reconsolidation Allows Fear Memory to Be Updated to a Less Aversive Level through the Incorporation of Appetitive Information

    PubMed Central

    Haubrich, Josue; Crestani, Ana P; Cassini, Lindsey F; Santana, Fabiana; Sierra, Rodrigo O; Alvares, Lucas de O; Quillfeldt, Jorge A

    2015-01-01

    The capacity to adapt to new situations is one of the most important features of memory. When retrieved, memories may undergo a labile state that is sensitive to modification. This process, called reconsolidation, can lead to memory updating through the integration of new information into a previously consolidated memory background. Thus reconsolidation provides the opportunity to modify an undesired fear memory by updating its emotional valence to a less aversive level. Here we evaluated whether a fear memory can be reinterpreted by the concomitant presentation of an appetitive stimulus during its reactivation, hindering fear expression. We found that memory reactivation in the presence of appetitive stimuli resulted in the suppression of a fear response. In addition, fear expression was not amenable to reinstatement, spontaneous recovery, or rapid reacquisition. Such effect was prevented by either systemic injection of nimodipine or intra-hippocampal infusion of ifenprodil, indicating that memory updating was mediated by a reconsolidation mechanism relying on hippocampal neuronal plasticity. Taken together, this study shows that reconsolidation allows for a ‘re-signification' of unwanted fear memories through the incorporation of appetitive information. It brings a new promising cognitive approach to treat fear-related disorders. PMID:25027331

  6. BDNF-TrkB signaling through Erk1/2MAPK phosphorylation mediates the enhancement of fear memory induced by glucocorticoids

    PubMed Central

    Revest, J-M; Le Roux, A; Roullot-Lacarrière, V; Kaouane, N; Vallée, M; Kasanetz, F; Rougé-Pont, F; Tronche, F; Desmedt, A; Piazza, P V

    2014-01-01

    Activation of glucocorticoid receptors (GR) by glucocorticoid hormones (GC) enhances contextual fear memories through the activation of the Erk1/2MAPK signaling pathway. However, the molecular mechanism mediating this effect of GC remains unknown. Here we used complementary molecular and behavioral approaches in mice and rats and in genetically modified mice in which the GR was conditionally deleted (GRNesCre). We identified the tPA-BDNF-TrkB signaling pathway as the upstream molecular effectors of GR-mediated phosphorylation of Erk1/2MAPK responsible for the enhancement of contextual fear memory. These findings complete our knowledge of the molecular cascade through which GC enhance contextual fear memory and highlight the role of tPA-BDNF-TrkB-Erk1/2MAPK signaling pathways as one of the core effectors of stress-related effects of GC. PMID:24126929

  7. De Novo mRNA Synthesis Is Required for Both Consolidation and Reconsolidation of Fear Memories in the Amygdala

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Duvarci, Sevil; Nader, Karim; LeDoux, Joseph E.

    2008-01-01

    Memory consolidation is the process by which newly learned information is stabilized into long-term memory (LTM). Considerable evidence indicates that retrieval of a consolidated memory returns it to a labile state that requires it to be restabilized. Consolidation of new fear memories has been shown to require de novo RNA and protein synthesis in…

  8. Extinction reverses olfactory fear-conditioned increases in neuron number and glomerular size.

    PubMed

    Morrison, Filomene G; Dias, Brian G; Ressler, Kerry J

    2015-10-13

    Although much work has investigated the contribution of brain regions such as the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex to the processing of fear learning and memory, fewer studies have examined the role of sensory systems, in particular the olfactory system, in the detection and perception of cues involved in learning and memory. The primary sensory receptive field maps of the olfactory system are exquisitely organized and respond dynamically to cues in the environment, remaining plastic from development through adulthood. We have previously demonstrated that olfactory fear conditioning leads to increased odorant-specific receptor representation in the main olfactory epithelium and in glomeruli within the olfactory bulb. We now demonstrate that olfactory extinction training specific to the conditioned odor stimulus reverses the conditioning-associated freezing behavior and odor learning-induced structural changes in the olfactory epithelium and olfactory bulb in an odorant ligand-specific manner. These data suggest that learning-induced freezing behavior, structural alterations, and enhanced neural sensory representation can be reversed in adult mice following extinction training.

  9. Early Extinction after Fear Conditioning Yields a Context-Independent and Short-Term Suppression of Conditional Freezing in Rats

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Chang, Chun-hui; Maren, Stephen

    2009-01-01

    Extinction of Pavlovian fear conditioning in rats is a useful model for therapeutic interventions in humans with anxiety disorders. Recently, we found that delivering extinction trials soon (15 min) after fear conditioning yields a short-term suppression of fear, but little long-term extinction. Here, we explored the possible mechanisms underlying…

  10. Neurophysiological theory of kamin blocking in fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Padlubnaya, Diana B; Parekh, Nirav H; Brown, Thomas H

    2006-04-01

    Kamin blocking in fear conditioning is thought to reflect diminished processing of the unconditional stimulus (US) in the presence of a conditional stimulus (CS-super(+)) that was previously paired with this US. According to Fanselow's (1998) hypothesis, the CS-super(+) drives output from the amygdala that ultimately produces analgesia by causing opiate release onto afferent pain circuits. This hypothesis was explored quantitatively through neurophysiological simulations. The results suggest that opiate-mediated, negative-feedback control of US processing is too slow for efficient blocking of cue conditioning. The reason is that conditioning-produced synaptic modifications can be induced before the opiate-mediated inhibition has any substantial effect on US processing. The results suggest the existence of an additional, faster-acting, inhibitory neurotransmitter in the blocking circuit.

  11. Retrospective reversal of extinction of conditioned fear by instruction.

    PubMed

    Zeng, Qing; Jia, Yanlei; Wang, Yuanjun; Zhang, Junhua; Liu, Chuyi; Zheng, Xifu

    2015-09-01

    In the present study, we examined the impact of verbal instruction during extinction of human fear-conditioning. We extended the study of Raes, De Houwer, Verschuere, and De Raedt (2011) by controlling for context conditioning and recording unconditioned stimulus expectancy online in a within-subject design. We informed participants of an alternative reason for the absence of the aversive unconditioned stimulus after extinction had been carried out, to see if such instruction could induce retrospective protection from extinction. The results demonstrated that both the expectancy of an aversive outcome and conditioned skin conductance were significantly increased for the conditioned stimulus targeted by the instruction. Thus extinction was reversed by the concurrent presence of an alternative cause for the absence of the unconditioned stimulus.

  12. Effects of Early Serotonin Programming on Fear Response, Memory and Aggression

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT) also acts as a neurogenic compound in the developing brain. Early administration of a 5-HT agonist could alter development of serotonergic circuitry, altering behaviors mediated by 5-HT signaling, including memory, fear and aggression. The present study was desi...

  13. Differential Involvement of Amygdala and Cortical NMDA Receptors Activation upon Encoding in Odor Fear Memory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hegoburu, Chloé; Parrot, Sandrine; Ferreira, Guilaume; Mouly, Anne-Marie

    2014-01-01

    Although the basolateral amygdala (BLA) plays a crucial role for the acquisition of fear memories, sensory cortices are involved in their long-term storage in rats. However, the time course of their respective involvement has received little investigation. Here we assessed the role of the glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the…

  14. Effects of a Flavonoid-Rich Fraction on the Acquisition and Extinction of Fear Memory: Pharmacological and Molecular Approaches

    PubMed Central

    de Oliveira, Daniela R.; Zamberlam, Claudia R.; Rêgo, Gizelda M.; Cavalheiro, Alberto; Cerutti, Janete M.; Cerutti, Suzete M.

    2016-01-01

    The effects of flavonoids have been correlated with their ability to modulate the glutamatergic, serotoninergic, and GABAergic neurotransmission; the major targets of these substances are N-methyl-D-aspartic acid receptor (NMDARs), serotonin type1A receptor (5-HT1ARs), and the gamma-aminobutyric acid type A receptors (GABAARs). Several studies showed that these receptors are involved in the acquisition and extinction of fear memory. This study assessed the effects of treatment prior to conditioning with a flavonoid-rich fraction from the stem bark of Erythrina falcata (FfB) on the acquisition and extinction of the conditioned suppression following pharmacological manipulations and on gene expression in the dorsal hippocampus (DH). Adult male Wistar rats were treated before conditioned fear with FfB, vehicle, an agonist or antagonist of the 5-HT1AR, GABAARs or the GluN2B-NMDAR or one of these antagonists before FfB treatment. The effects of these treatments on fear memory retrieval, extinction training and extinction retrieval were evaluated at 48, 72, and 98 h after conditioning, respectively. We found that activation of GABAARs and inactivation of GluN2B-NMDARs play important roles in the acquisition of lick response suppression. FfB reversed the effect of blocking GluN2B-NMDARs on the conditioned fear and induced the spontaneous recovery. Blocking the 5-HT1AR and the GluN2B-NMDAR before FfB treatment seemed to be associated with weakening of the spontaneous recovery. Expression of analysis of DH samples via qPCR showed that FfB treatment resulted in the overexpression of Htr1a, Grin2a, Gabra5, and Erk2 after the retention test and of Htr1a and Erk2 after the extinction retention test. Moreover, blocking the 5-HT1ARs and the GluN2B-NMDARs before FfB treatment resulted in reduced Htr1a and Grin2b expression after the retention test, but played a distinct role in Grin2a and Erk2 expression, according session evaluated. We show for the first time that the

  15. Changes in Heart Rate Variability Are Associated with Expression of Short-Term and Long-Term Contextual and Cued Fear Memories

    PubMed Central

    Kuang, Hui; Zhao, Fang; Tsien, Joe Z.

    2013-01-01

    Heart physiology is a highly useful indicator for measuring not only physical states, but also emotional changes in animals. Yet changes of heart rate variability during fear conditioning have not been systematically studied in mice. Here, we investigated changes in heart rate and heart rate variability in both short-term and long-term contextual and cued fear conditioning. We found that while fear conditioning could increase heart rate, the most significant change was the reduction in heart rate variability which could be further divided into two distinct stages: a highly rhythmic phase (stage-I) and a more variable phase (stage-II). We showed that the time duration of the stage-I rhythmic phase were sensitive enough to reflect the transition from short-term to long-term fear memories. Moreover, it could also detect fear extinction effect during the repeated tone recall. These results suggest that heart rate variability is a valuable physiological indicator for sensitively measuring the consolidation and expression of fear memories in mice. PMID:23667644

  16. Identification of a Functional Connectome for Long-Term Fear Memory in Mice

    PubMed Central

    Wheeler, Anne L.; Teixeira, Cátia M.; Wang, Afra H.; Xiong, Xuejian; Kovacevic, Natasa; Lerch, Jason P.; McIntosh, Anthony R.; Parkinson, John; Frankland, Paul W.

    2013-01-01

    Long-term memories are thought to depend upon the coordinated activation of a broad network of cortical and subcortical brain regions. However, the distributed nature of this representation has made it challenging to define the neural elements of the memory trace, and lesion and electrophysiological approaches provide only a narrow window into what is appreciated a much more global network. Here we used a global mapping approach to identify networks of brain regions activated following recall of long-term fear memories in mice. Analysis of Fos expression across 84 brain regions allowed us to identify regions that were co-active following memory recall. These analyses revealed that the functional organization of long-term fear memories depends on memory age and is altered in mutant mice that exhibit premature forgetting. Most importantly, these analyses indicate that long-term memory recall engages a network that has a distinct thalamic-hippocampal-cortical signature. This network is concurrently integrated and segregated and therefore has small-world properties, and contains hub-like regions in the prefrontal cortex and thalamus that may play privileged roles in memory expression. PMID:23300432

  17. The NO-cGMP-PKG signaling pathway regulates synaptic plasticity and fear memory consolidation in the lateral amygdala via activation of ERK/MAP kinase.

    PubMed

    Ota, Kristie T; Pierre, Vicki J; Ploski, Jonathan E; Queen, Kaila; Schafe, Glenn E

    2008-10-01

    Recent studies have shown that nitric oxide (NO) signaling plays a crucial role in memory consolidation of Pavlovian fear conditioning and in synaptic plasticity in the lateral amygdala (LA). In the present experiments, we examined the role of the cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG), a downstream effector of NO, in fear memory consolidation and long-term potentiation (LTP) at thalamic and cortical input pathways to the LA. In behavioral experiments, rats given intra-LA infusions of either the PKG inhibitor Rp-8-Br-PET-cGMPS or the PKG activator 8-Br-cGMP exhibited dose-dependent impairments or enhancements of fear memory consolidation, respectively. In slice electrophysiology experiments, bath application of Rp-8-Br-PET-cGMPS or the guanylyl cyclase inhibitor LY83583 impaired LTP at thalamic, but not cortical inputs to the LA, while bath application of 8-Br-cGMP or the guanylyl cyclase activator YC-1 resulted in enhanced LTP at thalamic inputs to the LA. Interestingly, YC-1-induced enhancement of LTP in the LA was reversed by concurrent application of the MEK inhibitor U0126, suggesting that the NO-cGMP-PKG signaling pathway may promote synaptic plasticity and fear memory formation in the LA, in part by activating the ERK/MAPK signaling cascade. As a test of this hypothesis, we next showed that rats given intra-LA infusion of the PKG inhibitor Rp-8-Br-PET-cGMPS or the PKG activator 8-Br-cGMP exhibit impaired or enhanced activation, respectively, of ERK/MAPK in the LA after fear conditioning. Collectively, our findings suggest that an NO-cGMP-PKG-dependent form of synaptic plasticity at thalamic input synapses to the LA may underlie memory consolidation of Pavlovian fear conditioning, in part, via activation of the ERK/MAPK signaling cascade.

  18. Rapid amygdala responses during trace fear conditioning without awareness.

    PubMed

    Balderston, Nicholas L; Schultz, Douglas H; Baillet, Sylvain; Helmstetter, Fred J

    2014-01-01

    The role of consciousness in learning has been debated for nearly 50 years. Recent studies suggest that conscious awareness is needed to bridge the gap when learning about two events that are separated in time, as is true for trace fear conditioning. This has been repeatedly shown and seems to apply to other forms of classical conditioning as well. In contrast to these findings, we show that individuals can learn to associate a face with the later occurrence of a shock, even if they are unable to perceive the face. We used a novel application of magnetoencephalography (MEG) to non-invasively record neural activity from the amygdala, which is known to be important for fear learning. We demonstrate rapid (∼ 170-200 ms) amygdala responses during the stimulus free period between the face and the shock. These results suggest that unperceived faces can serve as signals for impending threat, and that rapid, automatic activation of the amygdala contributes to this process. In addition, we describe a methodology that can be applied in the future to study neural activity with MEG in other subcortical structures.

  19. Effect of a positive reinforcing stimulus on fear memory reconsolidation in ethanol withdrawn rats: Influence of d-cycloserine.

    PubMed

    Ortiz, Vanesa; Molina, Víctor Alejandro; Martijena, Irene Delia

    2016-12-15

    The pharmacological blockade of memory reconsolidation has been suggested as a potential treatment to the attenuation of maladaptive memories associated to psychiatric disorders and drug addiction. To interfere with the process of fear memory reconsolidation using a manipulation safer than pharmacological interventions, here we examined whether a positive reinforcing stimulus (non-alcoholic beer, NB) post-memory retrieval can decrease the fear response in ethanol withdrawn (ETOH) animals. We first evaluated the potential interfering effect of NB on memory reconsolidation in non-ethanol dependent (control, CON) rats. Non-alcoholic beer intake shortly after memory retrieval attenuated the fear response in CON rats. A resistance to destabilization/reconsolidation process was previously observed in ETOH rats, which was reversed by the activation of NMDA receptor induced by pre-retrieval d-cycloserine (DCS) administration. Therefore, the influence of DCS (5mg/kg; i.p.) to facilitate the disruptive effect of NB on fear memory was examined in ETOH animals. As expected, NB was ineffective to attenuate the fear response in ETOH rats, with DCS being necessary to promote the disruptive effect of NB on the reconsolidation in these animals. Hence, DCS/reinforcing stimulus in combination with memory reactivation can be considered as an alternative approach for disrupting resistant fear memories.

  20. Effect of a positive reinforcing stimulus on fear memory reconsolidation in ethanol withdrawn rats: Influence of d-cycloserine.

    PubMed

    Ortiz, Vanesa; Molina, Víctor Alejandro; Martijena, Irene Delia

    2016-12-15

    The pharmacological blockade of memory reconsolidation has been suggested as a potential treatment to the attenuation of maladaptive memories associated to psychiatric disorders and drug addiction. To interfere with the process of fear memory reconsolidation using a manipulation safer than pharmacological interventions, here we examined whether a positive reinforcing stimulus (non-alcoholic beer, NB) post-memory retrieval can decrease the fear response in ethanol withdrawn (ETOH) animals. We first evaluated the potential interfering effect of NB on memory reconsolidation in non-ethanol dependent (control, CON) rats. Non-alcoholic beer intake shortly after memory retrieval attenuated the fear response in CON rats. A resistance to destabilization/reconsolidation process was previously observed in ETOH rats, which was reversed by the activation of NMDA receptor induced by pre-retrieval d-cycloserine (DCS) administration. Therefore, the influence of DCS (5mg/kg; i.p.) to facilitate the disruptive effect of NB on fear memory was examined in ETOH animals. As expected, NB was ineffective to attenuate the fear response in ETOH rats, with DCS being necessary to promote the disruptive effect of NB on the reconsolidation in these animals. Hence, DCS/reinforcing stimulus in combination with memory reactivation can be considered as an alternative approach for disrupting resistant fear memories. PMID:27522017

  1. Learning-induced changes in mPFC-BLA connections after fear conditioning, extinction, and reinstatement of fear.

    PubMed

    Vouimba, Rose-Marie; Maroun, Mouna

    2011-10-01

    The neural circuit linking the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and the basolateral amygdala (BLA) has crucial roles in both the acquisition and the extinction of fear. However, the mechanism by which this circuit encodes fear and extinction remains unknown. In this study, we monitored changes in the magnitude of evoked field potentials (EFPs) in the mPFC-BLA and BLA-mPFC pathways following auditory fear conditioning and extinction, in freely moving rats. We report that extinction of fear is mediated by depression of the EFPs in the mPFC-BLA and by potentiation in the reciprocal pathway of BLA-mPFC. Interestingly, reinstatement of fear was associated with recovery of freezing and with reversal of the changes in EFPs that were observed following extinction in both pathways. The findings indicate that the mPFC-BLA circuit expresses differential changes following fear and extinction and point to dynamic and plastic changes underlying fear, extinction, and reinstatement. Manipulations targeting these different types of plasticity could constitute a therapeutic tool for the treatment of anxiety disorders. PMID:21750582

  2. Dysbindin-1 loss compromises NMDAR-dependent synaptic plasticity and contextual fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Glen, W Bailey; Horowitz, Bryant; Carlson, Gregory C; Cannon, Tyrone D; Talbot, Konrad; Jentsch, J David; Lavin, Antonieta

    2014-02-01

    Genetic variants in DTNBP1 encoding the protein dysbindin-1 have often been associated with schizophrenia and with the cognitive deficits prominent in that disorder. Because impaired function of the hippocampus is thought to play a role in these memory deficits and because NMDAR-dependent synaptic plasticity in this region is a proposed biological substrate for some hippocampal-dependent memory functions in schizophrenia, we hypothesized that reduced dysbindin-1 expression would lead to impairments in NMDAR-dependent synaptic plasticity and in contextual fear conditioning. Acute slices from male mice carrying 0, 1, or 2 null mutant alleles of the Dtnbp1 gene were prepared, and field recordings from the CA1 striatum radiatum were obtained before and after tetanization of Schaffer collaterals of CA3 pyramidal cells. Mice homozygous for the null mutation in Dtnbp1 exhibited significantly reduced NMDAR-dependent synaptic potentiation compared to wild type mice, an effect that could be rescued by bath application of the NMDA receptor coagonist glycine (10 μM). Behavioral testing in adult mice revealed deficits in hippocampal memory processes. Homozygous null mice exhibited lower conditional freezing, without a change in the response to shock itself, indicative of a learning and memory deficit. Taken together, these results indicate that a loss of dysbindin-1 impairs hippocampal plasticity which may, in part, explain the role dysbindin-1 plays in the cognitive impairments of schizophrenia. PMID:24446171

  3. Thwarting the Renewal (Relapse) of Conditioned Fear with the Explicitly Unpaired Procedure: Possible Interpretations and Implications for Treating Human Fears and Phobias

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Thomas, Brian L.; Longo, Craig L.; Ayres, John J. B.

    2005-01-01

    In three experiments using the barpress conditioned suppression task with albino rats, we studied the renewal (relapse) of conditioned fear in an ABA fear-renewal paradigm. We found that explicitly unpaired (EU) deliveries of conditioned stimuli (CSs) and unconditioned stimuli (USs) in Context B thwarted fear renewal in Context A. Evidence…

  4. Cronobacter sakazakii infection alters serotonin transporter and improved fear memory retention in the rat.

    PubMed

    Sivamaruthi, Bhagavathi S; Madhumita, Rajkumar; Balamurugan, Krishnaswamy; Rajan, Koilmani E

    2015-01-01

    It is well established that Cronobacter sakazakii infection cause septicemia, necrotizing enterocolitis and meningitis. In the present study, we tested whether the C. sakazakii infection alter the learning and memory through serotonin transporter (SERT). To investigate the possible effect on SERT, on postnatal day-15 (PND-15), wistar rat pups were administered with single dose of C. sakazakii culture (infected group; 10(7) CFU) or 100 μL of Luria-Bertani broth (medium control) or without any treatment (naïve control). All the individuals were subjected to passive avoidance test on PND-30 to test their fear memory. We show that single dose of C. sakazakii infection improved fear memory retention. Subsequently, we show that C. sakazakii infection induced the activation of toll-like receptor-3 and heat-shock proteins-90 (Hsp-90). On the other hand, level of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) and SERT protein was down-regulated. Furthermore, we show that C. sakazakii infection up-regulate microRNA-16 (miR-16) expression. The observed results highlight that C. sakazakii infections was responsible for improved fear memory retention and may have reduced the level of SERT protein, which is possibly associated with the interaction of up-regulated Hsp-90 with SERT protein or miR-16 with SERT mRNA. Taken together, observed results suggest that C. sakazakii infection alter the fear memory possibly through SERT. Hence, this model may be effective to test the C. sakazakii infection induced changes in synaptic plasticity through SERT and effect of other pharmacological agents against pathogen induced memory disorder. PMID:26388777

  5. Consolidation of Remote Fear Memories Involves Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone (CRH) Receptor Type 1-Mediated Enhancement of AMPA Receptor GluR1 Signaling in the Dentate Gyrus

    PubMed Central

    Thoeringer, Christoph K; Henes, Kathrin; Eder, Matthias; Dahlhoff, Maik; Wurst, Wolfgang; Holsboer, Florian; Deussing, Jan M; Moosmang, Sven; Wotjak, Carsten T

    2012-01-01

    Persistent dreadful memories and hyperarousal constitute prominent psychopathological features of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Here, we used a contextual fear conditioning paradigm to demonstrate that conditional genetic deletion of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) receptor 1 within the limbic forebrain in mice significantly reduced remote, but not recent, associative and non-associative fear memories. Per os treatment with the selective CRHR1 antagonist DMP696 (3 mg/kg) attenuated consolidation of remote fear memories, without affecting their expression and retention. This could be achieved, if DMP696 was administered for 1 week starting as late as 24 h after foot shock. Furthermore, by combining electrophysiological recordings and western blot analyses, we demonstrate a delayed-onset and long-lasting increase in AMPA receptor (AMPAR) GluR1-mediated signaling in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the dorsal hippocampus 1 month after foot shock. These changes were absent from CRHR1-deficient mice and after DMP696 treatment. Inactivation of hippocampal GluR1-containing AMPARs by antisense oligonucleotides or philantotoxin 433 confirmed the behavioral relevance of AMPA-type glutamatergic neurotransmission in maintaining the high levels of remote fear in shocked mice with intact CRHR1 signaling. We conclude that limbic CRHR1 receptors enhance the consolidation of remote fear memories in the first week after foot shock by increasing the expression of Ca2+-permeable GluR1-containing AMPARs in the DG. These findings suggest both receptors as rational targets for the prevention and therapy, respectively, of psychopathology associated with exaggerated fear memories, such as PTSD. PMID:22030710