Joels, Gil; Lamprecht, Raphael
The formation of fear memory to a specific stimulus leads to subsequent fearful response to that stimulus. However, it is not apparent whether the formation of fear memory can affect other memories. We study whether specific fearful experience leading to fear memory affects different memories formation and extinction. We revealed that cued fear conditioning, but not unpaired or naïve training, inhibited the extinction of conditioned taste aversion (CTA) memory that was formed after fear conditioning training in rats. Fear conditioning had no effect on retrieval of CTA memory but specifically impaired its extinction. Extinguished fear memory, after fear extinction training, had no effect on future CTA memory extinction. Fear conditioning had no effect on CTA memory extinction if CTA memory was formed before fear conditioning. Conditioned taste aversion had no effect on fear conditioning memory extinction. We conclude that active cued fear conditioning memory can affect specifically the extinction, but not the formation, of future different memory. PMID:25324744
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.
Izquierdo, Ivan; Furini, Cristiane R G; Myskiw, Jociane C
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.
Giachero, Marcelo; Calfa, Gaston D.; Molina, Victor A.
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…
Pace-Schott, Edward F.; Germain, Anne; Milad, Mohammed R.
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
Cornelisse, Sandra; van Ast, Vanessa A; Joëls, Marian; Kindt, Merel
Corticosteroids induce rapid non-genomic effects followed by slower genomic effects that are thought to modulate cognitive function in opposite and complementary ways. It is presently unknown how these time-dependent effects of cortisol affect fear memory of delay and trace conditioning. This distinction is of special interest because the neural substrates underlying these types of conditioning may be differently affected by time-dependent cortisol effects. Delay conditioning is predominantly amygdala-dependent, while trace conditioning additionally requires the hippocampus. Here, we manipulated the timing of cortisol action during acquisition of delay and trace fear conditioning, by randomly assigning 63 men to one of three possible groups: (1) receiving 10mg hydrocortisone 240 min (slow cort) or (2) 60 min (rapid cort) before delay and trace acquisition, or (3) placebo at both times, in a double-blind design. The next day, we tested memory for trace and delay conditioning. Fear potentiated startle responses, skin conductance responses and unconditioned stimulus expectancy scores were measured throughout the experiment. The fear potentiated startle data show that cortisol intake 240 min before actual fear acquisition (slow cort) uniquely strengthened subsequent trace conditioned memory. No effects of cortisol delivery 60 min prior to fear acquisition were found on any measure of fear memory. Our findings emphasize that slow, presumably genomic, but not more rapid effects of corticosteroids enhance hippocampal-dependent fear memories. On a broader level, our findings underline that basic experimental research and clinically relevant pharmacological treatments employing corticosteroids should acknowledge the timing of corticosteroid administration relative to the learning phase, or therapeutic intervention.
Zeitlin, Ross; Patel, Sagar; Solomon, Rosalynn; Tran, John; Weeber, Edwin J; Echeverria, Valentina
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder triggered by traumatic events. Symptoms include anxiety, depression and deficits in fear memory extinction (FE). PTSD patients show a higher prevalence of cigarette smoking than the general population. The present study investigated the effects of cotinine, a tobacco-derived compound, over anxiety and contextual fear memory after fear conditioning (FC) in mice, a model for inducing PTSD-like symptoms. Two-month-old C57BL/6J mice were separated into three experimental groups. These groups were used to investigate the effect of pretreatment with cotinine on contextual fear memory and posttreatment on extinction and stability or retrievability of the fear memory. Also, changes induced by cotinine on the expression of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 were assessed after extinction in the hippocampus. An increase in anxiety and corticosterone levels were found after fear conditioning. Cotinine did not affect corticosterone levels but enhanced the extinction of contextual fear, decreased anxiety and the stability and/or retrievability of contextual fear memory. Cotinine-treated mice showed higher levels of the active forms of ERK1/2 than vehicle-treated mice after FC. This evidence suggests that cotinine is a potential new pharmacological treatment to reduce symptoms in individuals with PTSD.
do Prado-Lima, Pedro Antônio Schmidt; Perrenoud, Myriam Fortes; Kristensen, Christian Haag; Cammarota, Martin; Izquierdo, Ivan
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
Pace-Schott, Edward F; Germain, Anne; Milad, Mohammed R
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
Leer, Arne; Engelhard, Iris M; Altink, Annemarie; van den Hout, Marcel A
Cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders typically involves exposure to the conditioned stimulus (CS). Despite its status as an effective and primary treatment, many patients do not show clinical improvement or relapse. Contemporary learning theory suggests that treatment may be optimized by adding techniques that aim at revaluating the aversive consequence (US) of the feared stimulus. This study tested whether US devaluation via a dual task--imagining the US while making eye movements--decreases conditioned fear. Following fear acquisition one group recalled the US while making eye movements (EM) and one group merely recalled the US (RO). Next, during a test phase, all participants were re-presented the CSs. Dual tasking, relative to the control condition, decreased memory vividness and emotionality. Moreover, only in the dual task condition reductions were observed in self-reported fear, US expectancy, and CS unpleasantness, but not in skin conductance responses. Findings provide the first evidence that the dual task decreases conditioned fear and suggest it may be a valuable addition to exposure therapy.
Kwon, Jeong-Tae; Jhang, Jinho; Kim, Hyung-Su; Lee, Sujin; Han, Jin-Hee
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…
Dines, Monica; Grinberg, Svetlana; Vassiliev, Maria; Ram, Alon; Tamir, Tal; Lamprecht, Raphael
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.
Bentz, Dorothée; Michael, Tanja; Wilhelm, Frank H; Hartmann, Francina R; Kunz, Sabrina; von Rohr, Isabelle R Rudolf; de Quervain, Dominique J-F
It is widely assumed that learning and memory processes play an important role in the pathogenesis, expression, maintenance and therapy of anxiety disorders, such as phobias or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Memory retrieval is involved in symptom expression and maintenance of these disorders, while memory extinction is believed to be the underlying mechanism of behavioral exposure therapy of anxiety disorders. There is abundant evidence that stress and stress hormones can reduce memory retrieval of emotional information, whereas they enhance memory consolidation of extinction training. In this study we aimed at investigating if stress affects these memory processes in a fear conditioning paradigm in healthy human subjects. On day 1, fear memory was acquired through a standard differential fear conditioning procedure. On day 2 (24h after fear acquisition), participants either underwent a stressful cold pressor test (CPT) or a control condition, 20 min before memory retrieval testing and extinction training. Possible prolonged effects of the stress manipulation were investigated on day 3 (48 h after fear acquisition), when memory retrieval and extinction were tested again. On day 2, men in the stress group showed a robust cortisol response to stress and showed lower unconditioned stimulus (US) expectancy ratings than men in the control group. This reduction in fear memory retrieval was maintained on day 3. In women, who showed a significantly smaller cortisol response to stress than men, no stress effects on fear memory retrieval were observed. No group differences were observed with respect to extinction. In conclusion, the present study provides evidence that stress can reduce memory retrieval of conditioned fear in men. Our findings may contribute to the understanding of the effects of stress and glucocorticoids on fear symptoms in anxiety disorders and suggest that such effects may be sex-specific.
Bos, Marieke Geerte Nynke; Beckers, Tom; Kindt, Merel
Upon recall, a memory can enter a labile state in which it requires new protein synthesis to restabilize. This two-phased reconsolidation process raises the prospect to directly target excessive fear memory as opposed to the formation of inhibitory memory following extinction training. In our previous studies, we convincingly demonstrated that 40 mg propranolol HCl administration before or after memory reactivation eliminated the emotional expression of fear memory indexed by the fear potentiated startle reflex. To apply this procedure in clinical practice it is important to understand the optimal and boundary conditions of this procedure. As part of a large project aimed at unraveling putative boundary conditions of disrupting reconsolidation of associative fear memory with propranolol HCl, we again tested our memory reconsolidation procedure. Participants (N = 44) underwent a three-day differential fear conditioning procedure. Twenty-four hours after fear acquisition, participants received 40 mg propranolol HCl prior to memory reactivation. The next day, participants were subjected to extinction training and reinstatement testing. In sharp contrast to our previous findings, propranolol HCl before memory reactivation did not attenuate the startle fear response. Remarkably, the startle fear response even persisted during extinction training and did not show the usually observed gradual decline in conditioned physiological responding (startle potentiation and skin conductance) upon repeated unreinforced trials. We discuss these unexpected findings and propose some potential explanations. It remains, however, unclear why we observed a resistance to reduce conditioned fear responding by either disrupting reconsolidation or extinction training. The present results underscore that the success of human fear conditioning research may depend on subtle manipulations and instructions.
Bos, Marieke Geerte Nynke; Beckers, Tom; Kindt, Merel
Upon recall, a memory can enter a labile state in which it requires new protein synthesis to restabilize. This two-phased reconsolidation process raises the prospect to directly target excessive fear memory as opposed to the formation of inhibitory memory following extinction training. In our previous studies, we convincingly demonstrated that 40 mg propranolol HCl administration before or after memory reactivation eliminated the emotional expression of fear memory indexed by the fear potentiated startle reflex. To apply this procedure in clinical practice it is important to understand the optimal and boundary conditions of this procedure. As part of a large project aimed at unraveling putative boundary conditions of disrupting reconsolidation of associative fear memory with propranolol HCl, we again tested our memory reconsolidation procedure. Participants (N = 44) underwent a three-day differential fear conditioning procedure. Twenty-four hours after fear acquisition, participants received 40 mg propranolol HCl prior to memory reactivation. The next day, participants were subjected to extinction training and reinstatement testing. In sharp contrast to our previous findings, propranolol HCl before memory reactivation did not attenuate the startle fear response. Remarkably, the startle fear response even persisted during extinction training and did not show the usually observed gradual decline in conditioned physiological responding (startle potentiation and skin conductance) upon repeated unreinforced trials. We discuss these unexpected findings and propose some potential explanations. It remains, however, unclear why we observed a resistance to reduce conditioned fear responding by either disrupting reconsolidation or extinction training. The present results underscore that the success of human fear conditioning research may depend on subtle manipulations and instructions. PMID:25506319
Kwapis, Janine L; Jarome, Timothy J; Lee, Jonathan L; Helmstetter, Fred J
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.
Wegerer, Melanie; Blechert, Jens; Kerschbaum, Hubert; Wilhelm, Frank H.
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
He, Jia; Sun, Hong-Qiang; Li, Su-Xia; Zhang, Wei-Hua; Shi, Jie; Ai, Si-Zhi; Li, Yun; Li, Xiao-Jun; Tang, Xiang-Dong; Lu, Lin
Study Objectives: Repeated exposure to a neutral conditioned stimulus (CS) in the absence of a noxious unconditioned stimulus (US) elicits fear memory extinction. The aim of the current study was to investigate the effects of mild tone exposure (CS) during slow wave sleep (SWS) on fear memory extinction in humans. Design: The healthy volunteers underwent an auditory fear conditioning paradigm on the experimental night, during which tones served as the CS, and a mild shock served as the US. They were then randomly assigned to four groups. Three groups were exposed to the CS for 3 or 10 min or an irrelevant tone (control stimulus, CtrS) for 10 min during SWS. The fourth group served as controls and was not subjected to any interventions. All of the subjects completed a memory test 4 h after SWS-rich stage to evaluate the effect on fear extinction. Moreover, we conducted similar experiments using an independent group of subjects during the daytime to test whether the memory extinction effect was specific to the sleep condition. Participants: Ninety-six healthy volunteers (44 males) aged 18–28 y. Measurements and Results: Participants exhibited undisturbed sleep during 2 consecutive nights, as assessed by sleep variables (all P > 0.05) from polysomnographic recordings and power spectral analysis. Participants who were re-exposed to the 10 min CS either during SWS and wakefulness exhibited attenuated fear responses (wake-10 min CS, P < 0.05; SWS-10 min CS, P < 0.01). Conclusions: Conditioned stimulus re-exposure during slow wave sleep promoted fear memory extinction without altering sleep profiles. Citation: He J, Sun HQ, Li SX, Zhang WH, Shi J, Ai SZ, Li Y, Li XJ, Tang XD, Lu L. Effect of conditioned stimulus exposure during slow wave sleep on fear memory extinction in humans. SLEEP 2015;38(3):423–431. PMID:25348121
Zeng, Xiang-Xing; Du, Juan; Zhuang, Chu-Qun; Zhang, Jun-Hua; Jia, Yan-Lei; Zheng, Xi-Fu
The retrieval-extinction paradigm, which disrupts the reconsolidation of fear memories in humans, is a non-invasive technique that can be used to prevent the return of fear in humans. In the present study, unconditioned stimulus revaluation was applied in the retrieval-extinction paradigm to investigate its promotion of conditioned fear extinction in the memory reconsolidation window after participants acquired conditioned fear. This experiment comprised three stages (acquisition, unconditioned stimulus revaluation, retrieval-extinction) and three methods for indexing fear (unconditioned stimulus expectancy, skin conductance response, conditioned stimulus pleasure rating). After the acquisition phase, we decreased the intensity of the unconditioned stimulus in one group (devaluation) and maintained constant for the other group (control). The results indicated that both groups exhibited similar levels of unconditioned stimulus expectancy, but the devaluation group had significantly smaller skin conductance responses and exhibited a growth in conditioned stimulus + pleasure. Thus, our findings indicate unconditioned stimulus revaluation effectively promoted the extinction of conditioned fear within the memory reconsolidation window.
Hopkins, Lauren S; Schultz, Douglas H; Hannula, Deborah E; Helmstetter, Fred J
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.
Hopkins, Lauren S.; Schultz, Douglas H.; Hannula, Deborah E.; Helmstetter, Fred J.
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
Wegerer, Melanie; Kerschbaum, Hubert; Blechert, Jens; Wilhelm, Frank H.
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
Jacobs, Nathan S; Cushman, Jesse D; Fanselow, Michael S
Fear conditioning has become an indispensable behavioral task in an increasingly vast array of research disciplines. Yet one unresolved issue is how conditional fear to an explicit cue interacts with and is potentially confounded by fear prior to tone presentation, referred to as baseline fear. After tone-shock pairings, we experimentally manipulated baseline fear by presenting unpaired shocks in the testing chamber and then analyzed the accuracy of common methods for reporting tone fear. Our findings indicate that baseline fear and tone fear tend to interact, where freezing to the tone increases as baseline fear increases. However, the form of interaction is not linear across all conditions and none of the commonly used reporting methods were consistently able to eliminate the confounding effects of baseline fear. We propose a methodological solution in which baseline fear is reduced to very low levels by first extinguishing fear to the training context and then pre-exposing to the testing context.
Baartman, Tamzyn L; Swanepoel, Tanya; Barrientos, Ruth M; Laburn, Helen P; Mitchell, Duncan; Harden, Lois M
The influence of brain interleukin-1 (IL-1ß) on memory processes includes both detrimental and beneficial effects. To further explore the dynamics of brain IL-1ß in mediating learning and memory during acute sickness, we injected species-homologous rat IL-1ß (100ng/5μl) or vehicle (0.1% bovine serum albumin, 5μl) directly into the cisterna magna (i.c.m.) of male Sprague-Dawley rats. We measured, in parallel, body temperature, food intake, body mass, cage activity, as well as learning and memory using contextual fear conditioning. To investigate the effects of IL-1ß on learning and memory processes we used: (1) a retrograde experiment that involved injecting rats i.c.m. with IL-1ß immediately after training in the novel context, and (2) an anterograde experiment that involved injecting rats i.c.m. with IL-1ß two hours before training in the novel context. In addition, hypothalamic and hippocampal concentrations of IL-1β were measured at several time points following injection. Administration of IL-1ß induced fever, lethargy and anorexia for∼two-to-three days and increased the concentration of IL-1ß in the hippocampus and hypothalamus for at least eight hours. Training in the context immediately before IL-1ß administration (retrograde experiment), did not impair contextual and auditory fear memory. However, when training in the context occurred concurrently with elevated hippocampal IL-1ß levels, two hours after IL-1ß administration (anterograde experiment), contextual, but not auditory, fear memory was impaired. Our results show that there are instances where memory consolidation can occur concurrently with elevated levels of IL-1ß in the hippocampus, fever, anorexia and lethargy during acute short-term sickness.
Colón-Cesario, Melissa; Wang, Jianpeng; Ramos, Xiomara; García, Hermes G; Dávila, Jorge J; Laguna, Jessenia; Rosado, Claribel; Peña de Ortiz, Sandra
Genomic recombination requires cutting, processing, and rejoining of DNA by endonucleases, polymerases, and ligases, among other factors. We have proposed that DNA recombination mechanisms may contribute to long-term memory (LTM) formation in the brain. Our previous studies with the nucleoside analog 1-beta-D-arabinofuranosylcytosine triphosphate (ara-CTP), a known inhibitor of DNA ligases and polymerases, showed that this agent blocked consolidation of conditioned taste aversion without interfering with short-term memory (STM). However, because polymerases and ligases are also essential for DNA replication, it remained unclear whether the effects of this drug on consolidation were attributable to interference with DNA recombination or neurogenesis. Here we show, using C57BL/6 mice, that ara-CTP specifically blocks consolidation but not STM of context fear conditioning, a task previously shown not to require neurogenesis. The effects of a single systemic dose of cytosine arabinoside (ara-C) on LTM were evident as early as 6 h after training. In addition, although ara-C impaired LTM, it did not impair general locomotor activity nor induce brain neurotoxicity. Importantly, hippocampal, but not insular cortex, infusions of ara-C also blocked consolidation of context fear conditioning. Separate studies revealed that context fear conditioning training significantly induced nonhomologous DNA end joining activity indicative of DNA ligase-dependent recombination in hippocampal, but not cortex, protein extracts. Finally, unlike inhibition of protein synthesis, systemic ara-C did not block reconsolidation of context fear conditioning. Our results support the idea that DNA recombination is a process specific to consolidation that is not involved in the postreactivation editing of memories.
Wilson, Yvette M.; Gunnersen, Jenny M.; Murphy, Mark
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 discrete populations of neurons in amygdala and hypothalamus, which were specifically activated by fear conditioning to a context. Here we have examined neuronal activation due to fear conditioning to a more specific auditory cue. Discrete populations of learning-specific neurons were identified in only a small number of locations in the brain, including those previously found to be activated in amygdala and hypothalamus by context fear conditioning. These populations, each containing only a relatively small number of neurons, may be directly involved in fear learning and memory. PMID:26179231
Butler, Christopher W; Wilson, Yvette M; Gunnersen, Jenny M; Murphy, Mark
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 discrete populations of neurons in amygdala and hypothalamus, which were specifically activated by fear conditioning to a context. Here we have examined neuronal activation due to fear conditioning to a more specific auditory cue. Discrete populations of learning-specific neurons were identified in only a small number of locations in the brain, including those previously found to be activated in amygdala and hypothalamus by context fear conditioning. These populations, each containing only a relatively small number of neurons, may be directly involved in fear learning and memory.
Goosens, K A; Holt, W; Maren, S
Although there is great interest in the cellular mechanisms underlying Pavlovian conditioning, few studies have directly examined the contribution of intracellular signaling pathways in the amygdala to the acquisition and expression of conditional fear memories. In the present study, we examined this issue by infusing 1-(5'-isoquinolinesulfonyl)-2-methylpiperazine (H7), a potent inhibitor of both protein kinase C (PKC) and cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA), directly into the amygdala prior to fear conditioning or retention testing. We found that infusion of H7 prior to training attenuated long-term conditional fear in a dose-dependent manner (Experiment 1), but short-term fear memories were spared. The contribution of protein kinases to conditional fear was region-specific within the amygdala: infusion of H7 into the basolateral amygdala (BLA) but not the central nucleus of the amygdala (CEA) resulted in attenuated freezing (Experiment 2). Moreover, the deficits in fear conditioning produced by PKA/PKC inhibition were not modality-specific, insofar as intra-BLA H7 reduced both contextual and auditory fear. The effects of H7 on conditional freezing were not attributable to either state-dependency or performance deficits (Experiment 3). Together, these experiments suggest that amygdaloid PKA and PKC play an important role in the acquisition of fear memories.
Chrosniak, L.D.; Smith, L.N.; McDonald, C.G.; Jones, B.F.; Flinn, J.M.
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.
Bauer, Elizabeth P
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.
Careaga, Mariella B. L.; Tiba, Paula A.; Ota, Simone M.; Suchecki, Deborah
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
We examined the influence of extensive overtraining (75 trials) on the impact of neurotoxic basolateral amygdala (BLA) lesions on Pavlovian fear conditioning in rats. As we have shown previously, pretraining BLA lesions yielded severe deficits in the acquisition of conditional freezing in rats trained with either 1 or 25 conditioning trials. However, extensive overtraining (50 or 75 trials) mitigated deficits in conditional freezing. Under these conditions the rats with BLA lesions expressed normal and robust freezing behavior, although they required at least 10 times as much training as control rats to reach this level of performance. The ability of rats with BLA lesions to acquire and express conditional freezing after extensive overtraining was modality-specific; conditional freezing in individual rats was acquired to contextual, but not acoustic, conditional stimuli. These results suggest that neural circuitry outside of the amygdala can mediate contextual fear conditioning under some conditions. In contrast to pretraining lesions, post-training BLA lesions eradicated the memory for Pavlovian fear in rats trained with either 1 or 75 trials; this deficit was not modality-specific. Together, these results reveal that impairments in the acquisition and expression of conditional fear in rats with BLA lesions are not attributable to deficits in the performance of the freezing response but are attributable to disruptions in the learning and memory of Pavlovian fear conditioning.
Do Monte, Fabricio H.; Quirk, Gregory J.; Li, Bo; Penzo, Mario A.
Fear conditioning researches have led to a comprehensive picture of the neuronal circuit underlying the formation of fear memories. In contrast, knowledge about 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 clarity and raise awareness on 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 after conditioning. We focus on the temporal recruitment of the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus, and its BDNFergic efferents to the central nucleus of the amygdala, for the retrieval and maintenance of fear memories. Finally, we speculate as to why retrieval circuits change across time, and the functional benefits of recruiting structures such as the paraventricular nucleus into the retrieval circuit. PMID:27217148
Jacob, Wolfgang; Marsch, Rudolph; Marsicano, Giovanni; Lutz, Beat; Wotjak, Carsten T
The cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) is abundantly expressed in the central nervous system where it negatively controls the release of several neurotransmitters. CB1 activity plays a crucial role in learning and memory and in synaptic plasticity. In the present study, the role of CB1 was investigated in three different hippocampus-dependent memory tasks and in in vivo hippocampal synaptic plasticity in knockout (CB1-ko) and wildtype mice. There was no difference in short-term and long-term social and object recognition memory between CB1-ko and wildtype mice. In contrast, in background contextual fear conditioning CB1-ko mice showed enhanced freezing levels in the conditioning context and increased generalised contextual fear after a high-intensity conditioning foot shock of 1.5 mA, but not after 0.7 mA. In in vivo field potential recordings in the dentate gyrus, CB1-ko mice displayed a decreased paired-pulse facilitation of the populations spikes, suggesting an altered inhibitory synaptic drive onto hippocampal granule cells. Furthermore, CB1-ko mice displayed significantly higher levels of in vivo long-term potentiation (LTP) in the dentate gyrus. In conclusion, CB1 deficiency leads to enhanced contextual fear memory and altered synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus, supporting the key role of endocannabinoid signalling in learning and memory, in particular following highly aversive encounters.
Jing, Xu; Sui, Wen-Hai; Wang, Shuai; Xu, Xu-Feng; Yuan, Rong-Rong; Chen, Xiao-Rong; Ma, Hui-Xian; Zhu, Ying-Xiao; Sun, Jin-Kai; Yi, Fan; Chen, Zhe-Yu; Wang, Yue
Histone acetylation, an epigenetic modification, plays an important role in long-term memory formation. Recently, histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors were demonstrated to promote memory formation, which raises the intriguing possibility that they may be used to rescue memory deficits. However, additional research is necessary to clarify the roles of individual HDACs in memory. In this study, we demonstrated that HDAC7, within the dorsal hippocampus of C57BL6J mice, had a late and persistent decrease after contextual fear conditioning (CFC) training (4-24 h), which was involved in long-term CFC memory formation. We also showed that HDAC7 decreased via ubiquitin-dependent degradation. CBX4 was one of the HDAC7 E3 ligases involved in this process. Nur77, as one of the target genes of HDAC7, increased 6-24 h after CFC training and, accordingly, modulated the formation of CFC memory. Finally, HDAC7 was involved in the formation of other hippocampal-dependent memories, including the Morris water maze and object location test. The current findings facilitate an understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of HDAC7 in the regulation of hippocampal-dependent memory.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The current findings demonstrated the effects of histone deacetylase 7 (HDAC7) on hippocampal-dependent memories. Moreover, we determined the mechanism of decreased HDAC7 in contextual fear conditioning (CFC) through ubiquitin-dependent protein degradation. We also verified that CBX4 was one of the HDAC7 E3 ligases. Finally, we demonstrated that Nur77, as one of the important targets for HDAC7, was involved in CFC memory formation. All of these proteins, including HDAC7, CBX4, and Nur77, could be potential therapeutic targets for preventing memory deficits in aging and neurological diseases.
Hellman, Kevin; Abel, Ted
To understand the role that sleep may play in memory storage, the authors investigated how fear conditioning affects sleep–wake states by performing electroencephalographic (EEG) and electromyographic recordings of C57BL/6J mice receiving fear conditioning, exposure to conditioning stimuli, or immediate shock treatment. This experimental design allowed us to examine the effects of associative learning, presentation of the conditioning stimuli, and presentation of the unconditioned stimuli on sleep–wake states. During the 24 hr after training, fear-conditioned mice had approximately 1 hr more of nonrapid-eye-movement (NREM) sleep and less wakefulness than mice receiving exposure to conditioning stimuli or immediate shock treatment. Mice receiving conditioning stimuli had more delta power during NREM sleep, whereas mice receiving fear conditioning had less theta power during rapid-eye-movement sleep. These results demonstrate that a single trial of fear conditioning alters sleep–wake states and EEG oscillations over a 24-hr period, supporting the idea that sleep is modified by experience and that such changes in sleep–wake states and EEG oscillations may play a role in memory consolidation. PMID:17469920
Takuma, K; Mizoguchi, H; Funatsu, Y; Hoshina, Y; Himeno, Y; Fukuzaki, E; Kitahara, Y; Arai, S; Ibi, D; Kamei, H; Matsuda, T; Koike, K; Inoue, M; Nagai, T; Yamada, K
We have recently found that the combination of ovariectomy (OVX) and chronic restraint stress (CS) causes hippocampal pyramidal cell loss and cognitive dysfunction in female rats and that estrogen replacement prevents the OVX/CS-induced morphological and behavioral changes. In this study, to clarify the mechanisms underlying the OVX/CS-mediated memory impairment further, we examined the roles of cholinergic systems in the OVX/CS-induced memory impairment in mice. Female Slc:ICR strain mice were randomly divided into two groups: OVX and sham-operated groups. Two weeks after the operation, the mice of each group were further assigned to CS (6 h/day) or non-stress group. Following the 3-week-stress period, all mice were subjected to contextual fear conditioning, and context- and tone-dependent memory tests were conducted 1 or 24 h after the conditioning. Overburden with 3 weeks of CS from 2 weeks after OVX impaired context- and tone-dependent freezing and the OVX/CS caused significant Nissl-stained neuron-like cell loss in the hippocampal CA3 region, although OVX and CS alone did not cause such behavioral and histological changes. Replacement of 17β-estradiol for 5 weeks after OVX suppressed OVX/CS-induced memory impairment and hippocampal Nissl-positive cell loss. Furthermore, the OVX/CS mice exhibited a significant decrease in choline acetyltransferase in the hippocampus compared with other groups. The cholinesterase inhibitors donepezil and galantamine ameliorated OVX/CS-induced memory impairment. These data suggest that cholinergic dysfunction may be involved in the OVX/CS-induced conditioned fear memory impairment. Overall, our findings suggest that the OVX/CS mouse model is useful to study the mechanisms underlying estrogen loss-induced memory deficits.
Fear Memory in High and Low Fear Mice” Period of Award 01AUG2011-31JUL2013 Applicant Organization Henry M. Jackson Foundation Address of...1. REPORT DATE 18 NOV 2013 2. REPORT TYPE Final 3. DATES COVERED 01 AUG 2011 - 31 JUL 2013 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE Encoding of Fear Memory ...neurobiological illness and improve quality of life for nurses and patients. 15. SUBJECT TERMS fear memory , PTSD, high fear, neurobiological illness, fit
Hong, Ingie; Kang, Taewook; Yun, Ki Na; Yoo, YongCheol; Park, Sungmo; Kim, Jihye; An, Bobae; Song, Sukwoon; Lee, Sukwon; Kim, Jeongyeon; Song, Beomjong; Kwon, Kyung-Hoon; Kim, Jin Young; Park, Young Mok; Choi, Sukwoo
Auditory fear conditioning is a well-characterized rodent learning model where a neutral auditory cue is paired with an aversive outcome to induce associative fear memory. The storage of long-term auditory fear memory requires long-term potentiation (LTP) in the lateral amygdala and de novo protein synthesis. Although many studies focused on individual proteins have shown their contribution to LTP and fear conditioning, non-biased genome-wide studies have only recently been possible with microarrays, which nevertheless fall short of measuring changes at the level of proteins. Here we employed quantitative proteomics to examine the expression of hundreds of proteins in the lateral amygdala in response to auditory fear conditioning. We found that various proteins previously implicated in LTP, learning and axon/dendrite growth were regulated by fear conditioning. A substantial number of proteins that were regulated by fear conditioning have not yet been studied specifically in learning or synaptic plasticity.
Beckers, Tom; Krypotos, Angelos-Miltiadis; Boddez, Yannick; Effting, Marieke; Kindt, Merel
Fear conditioning is one of the prime paradigms of behavioural neuroscience and a source of tremendous insight in the fundamentals of learning and memory and the psychology and neurobiology of emotion. It is also widely regarded as a model for the pathogenesis of anxiety disorders in a diathesis-stress model of psychopathology. Starting from the apparent paradox between the adaptive nature of fear conditioning and the dysfunctional nature of pathological anxiety, we present a critique of the human fear conditioning paradigm as an experimental model for psychopathology. We discuss the potential benefits of expanding the human fear conditioning paradigm by (1) including action tendencies as an important index of fear and (2) paying more attention to "weak" (i.e., ambiguous) rather than "strong" fear learning situations (Lissek et al., 2006), such as contained in selective learning procedures. We present preliminary data that illustrate these ideas and discuss the importance of response systems divergence in understanding individual differences in vulnerability for the development of pathological anxiety.
March, Amelia; Borchelt, David; Golde, Todd; Janus, Christopher
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.
Keller, Samantha M; Schreiber, William B; Stanfield, Briana R; Knox, Dayan
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.
Okada, R; Fujiwara, H; Mizuki, D; Araki, R; Yabe, T; Matsumoto, K
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
Kuriyama, Kenichi; Honma, Motoyasu; Yoshiike, Takuya; Kim, Yoshiharu
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.
Kuriyama, Kenichi; Honma, Motoyasu; Yoshiike, Takuya; Kim, Yoshiharu
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. PMID:23863955
Lin, Chih-Hung; Yeh, Shiu-Hwa; Lu, Hsin-Yi; Gean, Po-Wu
It is generally believed that consolidation of long-term memory requires activation of protein kinases, transcription of genes, and new protein synthesis. However, little is known about the signal cascades involved in the extinction of memory, which occurs when the conditioned stimulus is no longer followed by the unconditioned stimulus. Here, we show for the first time that an intra-amygdala injection of transcription inhibitor actinomycin D at the dose that blocked acquisition failed to affect extinction of a learned response. Conversely, protein synthesis inhibitor anisomycin blocked both acquisition and extinction. Extinction training-induced expression of calcineurin was blocked by anisomycin but not by actinomycin D. NMDA receptor antagonist, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI-3 kinase), and MAP kinase inhibitors that blocked the acquisition also blocked the extinction of conditioned fear. Likewise, PI-3 kinase inhibitor blocked fear training-induced cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) phosphorylation as well as extinction training-induced decrease in CREB phosphorylation, the latter of which was associated with calcineurin expression and could be reversed by a specific calcineurin inhibitor. Thus, molecular processes that underlie long-term behavioral changes after acquisition and extinction share some common mechanisms and also display different characteristics.
Yadav, Roopali; Hillman, Brandon G; Gupta, Subhash C; Suryavanshi, Pratyush; Bhatt, Jay M; Pavuluri, Ratnamala; Stairs, Dustin J; Dravid, Shashank M
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.
Pedraza, Lizeth K; Sierra, Rodrigo O; Crestani, Ana P; Quillfeldt, Jorge A; de Oliveira Alvares, Lucas
Systems consolidation has been described as a time-dependent reorganization process involving the neocortical and hippocampal networks underlying memory storage and retrieval. Previous studies of our lab were able to demonstrate that systems consolidation is a dynamic process, rather than a merely passive, time-dependent phenomenon. Here, we studied the influence of sequential learning in contextual fear conditioning (CFC) with different training intensities in the time-course of hippocampal dependency and contextual specificity. We found that sequential learning with high-intensity shocks during CFC induces generalization of the first learning (context A) and maintains contextual specificity of the second learning (context B) 15 days after acquisition. Moreover, subsequent experiences reorganize brain structures involved in retrieval, accelerating the involvement of cortical structures and diminishing the hippocampal participation. Exposure to original context before novelty seems to only induce context specificity in hippocampal-dependent memories. We propose that systems consolidation could be considered a potential biological mechanism for reducing possible interferences between similar memory traces. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Leong, Kah-Chung; Goodman, Jarid; Packard, Mark G
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.
Souza, Rimenez R; Dal Bó, Silvia; de Kloet, E Ronald; Oitzl, Melly S; Carobrez, Antonio P
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.
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
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
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
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.
Cai, Wen-Hui; Blundell, Jacqueline; Han, Jie; Greene, Robert W; Powell, Craig M
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.
Chang, Shih-Dar; Liang, K C
Contextual fear conditioning involves forming a context representation and associating it to a shock, both of which involved the dorsal hippocampus (DH) according to our recent findings. This study tested further whether the two processes may rely on different neurotransmitter systems in the DH. Male Wistar rats with cannula implanted into the DH were subjected to a two-phase training paradigm of contextual fear conditioning to separate context learning from context-shock association in two consecutive days. Immediately after each training phase, different groups of rats received bilateral intra-DH infusion of the GABA(A) agonist muscimol, 5HT(1A) agonist 8-OH-DPAT, NMDA antagonist APV or muscarinic antagonist scopolamine at various doses. On the third day, freezing behavior was tested in the conditioning context. Results showed that intra-DH infusion of muscimol impaired conditioned freezing only if it was given after context learning. In contrast, scopolamine impaired conditioned freezing only if it was given after context-shock training. Posttraining infusion of 8-OH-DPAT or APV had no effect on conditioned freezing when the drug was given at either phase. These results showed double dissociation for the hippocampal GABAergic and cholinergic systems in memory consolidation of contextual fear conditioning: forming context memory required deactivation of the GABA(A) receptors, while forming context-shock memory involved activation of the muscarinic receptors.
Oliver, Chicora F; Kabitzke, Patricia; Serrano, Peter; Egan, Laura J; Barr, Gordon A; Shair, Harry N; Wiedenmayer, Christoph
We examined the neural substrates of fear memory formation and maintenance when repeated recall was used to prevent forgetting in young animals. In contrast to adult rats, juveniles failed to show contextual fear responses at 4 d post-fear conditioning. Reconsolidation sessions 3 and 6 d after conditioning restored contextual fear responses in juveniles 7 d after initial training. In juveniles that received reconsolidation sessions, protein kinase M zeta (PKMζ) increased in the amygdala, but not in the hippocampus. These data suggest that repeated reminders and increased PKMζ maintain fear responses in juvenile animals that otherwise would not exhibit this behavior.
Song, Chenchen; Stevenson, Carl W.; Guimaraes, Francisco S.; Lee, Jonathan L. C.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has been established to have both acute and long-lasting effects to reduce fear memory expression. The long-lasting impact might be mediated by an enhancement of memory extinction or an impairment of memory reconsolidation. Here, we directly compared the effects of i.p. injections of cannabidiol (10 mg/kg) with those of the NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801 (0.1 mg/kg) and partial agonist D-cycloserine (DCS; 15 mg/kg) in order to determine the mnemonic basis of long-term fear reduction. We showed that under conditions of strong fear conditioning, CBD reduced contextual fear memory expression both acutely during the extinction session as well as later at a fear retention test. The latter test reduction was replicated by DCS, but MK-801 instead elevated test freezing. In contrast, when initial conditioning was weaker, CBD and MK-801 had similar effects to increase freezing at the fear retention test relative to vehicle controls, whereas DCS had no observable impact. This pattern of results is consistent with CBD enhancing contextual fear memory extinction when the initial conditioning is strong, but impairing extinction when conditioning is weak. This bidirectional effect of CBD may be related to stress levels induced by conditioning and evoked at retrieval during extinction, rather than the strength of the memory per se. PMID:28018227
Steinfurth, Elisa C.K.; Kanen, Jonathan W.; Raio, Candace M.; Clem, Roger L.; Huganir, Richard L.; Phelps, Elizabeth A.
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
Lach, Gilliard; de Lima, Thereza Christina Monteiro
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.
Amadi, Ugwechi; Lim, Seh Hong; Liu, Elizabeth; Baratta, Michael V; Goosens, Ki A
Despite the ubiquitous use of Pavlovian fear conditioning as a model for fear learning, the highly predictable conditions used in the laboratory do not resemble real-world conditions, in which dangerous situations can lead to unpleasant outcomes in unpredictable ways. In the current experiments, we varied the timing of aversive events after predictive cues in rodents and discovered that temporal ambiguity of aversive events greatly enhances fear. During fear conditioning with unpredictably timed aversive events, pharmacological inactivation of the dorsal hippocampus or optogenetic silencing of cornu ammonis 1 cells during aversive negative prediction errors prevented this enhancement of fear without affecting fear learning for predictable events. Dorsal hippocampal inactivation also prevented ambiguity-related enhancement of fear during auditory fear conditioning under a partial-reinforcement schedule. These results reveal that information about the timing and occurrence of aversive events is rapidly acquired and that unexpectedly timed or omitted aversive events generate hippocampal signals to enhance fear learning.
Clark, P J; Brzezinska, W J; Thomas, M W; Ryzhenko, N A; Toshkov, S A; Rhodes, J S
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
Steinfurth, Elisa C. K.; Kanen, Jonathan W.; Raio, Candace M.; Clem, Roger L.; Huganir, Richard L.; Phelps, Elizabeth A.
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.…
Sun, Yan-Yan; Cai, Wei; Yu, Jie; Liu, Shu-Su; Zhuo, Min; Li, Bao-Ming; Zhang, Xue-Han
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
Careaga, Mariella Bodemeier Loayza; Girardi, Carlos Eduardo Neves; Suchecki, Deborah
Careaga MBL, Girardi CEN, Suchecki D. Understanding posttraumatic stress disorder through fear conditioning, extinction and reconsolidation. NEUROSCI BIOBEHAV REV -Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychopathology characterized by exacerbation of fear response. A dysregulated fear response may be explained by dysfunctional learning and memory, a hypothesis that was proposed decades ago. A key component of PTSD is fear conditioning and the study of this phenomenon in laboratory has expanded the understanding of the underlying neurobiological changes in PTSD. Furthermore, traumatic memories are strongly present even years after the trauma and maintenance of this memory is usually related to behavioral and physiological maladaptive responses. Persistence of traumatic memory may be explained by a dysregulation of two memory processes: extinction and reconsolidation. The former may explain the over-expression of fear responses as an imbalance between traumatic and extinction memory. The latter, in turn, explains the maintenance of fear responses as a result of enhancing trauma-related memories. Thus, this review will discuss the importance of fear conditioning for the establishment of PTSD and how failure in extinction or abnormal reconsolidation may contribute to the maintenance of fear response overtime.
Lee, Jonathan L. C.; Flavell, Charlotte R.
The reactivation of a memory can result in its destabilization, necessitating a process of memory reconsolidation to maintain its persistence. Here we show that the destabilization of a contextual fear memory is potentiated by the cannabinoid CB1 receptor agonist Arachidonyl-2-chloroethylamide (ACEA). Co-infusion of ACEA and the IkappaB kinase (IKK) inhibitor sulfasalazine (Sulf) into the dorsal hippocampus impaired contextual fear memory reconsolidation. This observation was achieved under behavioral conditions that, by themselves, did not result in a reconsolidation impairment by Sulf alone. Moreover, we show that the destabilization of a contextual fear memory is dependent upon neuronal activity in the dorsal hippocampus, but not memory expression per se. The effect on contextual fear memory destabilization of intra-hippocampal ACEA was replicated by systemic injections, allowing an amnestic effect of MK-801. These results indicate that memory expression and destabilization, while being independent from one another, are both dependent upon memory reactivation. Moreover, memory destabilization can be enhanced pharmacologically, which may be of therapeutic potential. PMID:24808841
Shang, Shujiang; Wang, Cong; Guo, Chengbing; Huang, Xu; Wang, Liecheng; Zhang, Chen
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
Shang, Shujiang; Wang, Cong; Guo, Chengbing; Huang, Xu; Wang, Liecheng; Zhang, Chen
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.
Drexler, Shira Meir; Merz, Christian J; Hamacher-Dang, Tanja C; Tegenthoff, Martin; Wolf, Oliver T
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.
Tian, Shaowen; Huang, Fulian; Li, Peng; Li, Zhenbang; Zhou, Shouhong; Deng, Haifeng; Yang, Yufeng
There is increasing evidence that nicotine is involved in learning and memory. However, there remains no study that has explored the relationship between nicotine and memory reconsolidation. At present study, we tested the effects of nicotine on the reconsolidation of contextual fear memory in rats. Behavior procedure involved four training phases: habituation (Day 0), fear conditioning (Day 1), reactivation (Day 2) and test (Day 3). Rats were injected saline or nicotine (0.25, 0.5 and 1.0mg/kg) immediately after reactivation. Percent of time spent freezing was used to measure conditioned fear response. Results showed that compared with saline rats, rats with nicotine at 1.0mg/kg presented a significant increase of freezing response on Day 3. Nicotine at 1.0mg/kg was ineffective when injected 6h after reactivation. Further results showed that the enhancement of freezing response induced by nicotine at 1.0mg/kg was dependent on fear memory reconsolidation, and was not attributed to an enhancement of the nonspecific freezing response 24h after nicotine administration. The results suggest that nicotine administration immediately after reactivation enhances contextual fear memory reconsolidation. Our present finding extends previous research on the nicotinic effects on learning and memory.
Haaker, Jan; Lonsdorf, Tina B; Schümann, Dirk; Bunzeck, Nico; Peters, Jan; Sommer, Tobias; Kalisch, Raffael
The odds-ratio of smoking is elevated in populations with neuropsychiatric diseases, in particular in the highly prevalent diagnoses of post-traumatic stress and anxiety disorders. Yet, the association between smoking and a key dimensional phenotype of these disorders-maladaptive deficits in fear learning and fear inhibition-is unclear. We therefore investigated acquisition and memory of fear and fear inhibition in healthy smoking and non-smoking participants (N=349, 22% smokers). We employed a well validated paradigm of context-dependent fear and safety learning (day 1) including a memory retrieval on day 2. During fear learning, a geometrical shape was associated with an aversive electrical stimulation (classical fear conditioning, in danger context) and fear responses were extinguished within another context (extinction learning, in safe context). On day 2, the conditioned stimuli were presented again in both contexts, without any aversive stimulation. Autonomic physiological measurements of skin conductance responses as well as subjective evaluations of fear and expectancy of the aversive stimulation were acquired. We found that impairment of fear inhibition (extinction) in the safe context during learning (day 1) was associated with the amount of pack-years in smokers. During retrieval of fear memories (day 2), smokers showed an impairment of contextual (safety context-related) fear inhibition as compared with non-smokers. These effects were found in physiological as well as subjective measures of fear. We provide initial evidence that smokers as compared with non-smokers show an impairment of fear inhibition. We propose that smokers have a deficit in integrating contextual signs of safety, which is a hallmark of post-traumatic stress and anxiety disorders.Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication, 15 February 2017; doi:10.1038/npp.2017.17.
King, Elizabeth C.; Pattwell, Siobhan S.; Glatt, Charles E.; Lee, Francis S.
Adolescence represents a uniquely sensitive developmental stage in the transition from childhood to adulthood. During this transition, neuronal circuits are particularly susceptible to modification by experience. In addition, adolescence is a stage in which the incidence of anxiety disorders peaks in humans and over 75% of adults with fear-related disorders met diagnostic criteria as children and adolescents. While postnatal critical periods of plasticity for primary sensory processes, such as in the visual system are well established, less is known about potential critical or sensitive periods for fear learning and memory. Here, we review the nonlinear developmental aspects of fear learning and memory during a transition period into and out of adolescence. We also review the literature on the non-linear development of GABAergic neurotransmission, a key regulator of critical period plasticity. We provide a model that may inform improved treatment strategies for children and adolescents with fear-related disorders. PMID:23611461
Rossato, Janine I.; Bevilaqua, Lia R.; Izquierdo, Iván; Medina, Jorge H.; Cammarota, Martín
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. PMID:21118982
Rossato, Janine I; Bevilaqua, Lia R; Izquierdo, Iván; Medina, Jorge H; Cammarota, Martín
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.
Wu, Chun-Ting; Haggerty, Daniel; Kemere, Caleb; Ji, Daoyun
Hippocampal place cells are key to episodic memories. How these cells participate in memory retrieval remains unclear. After rats acquired a fear memory by receiving mild footshocks in a shock zone on a track, we analyzed place cells when the animals were placed on the track again and displayed an apparent memory retrieval behavior: avoidance of the shock zone. We found that place cells representing the shock zone were reactivated, despite the fact that the animals did not enter the shock zone. This reactivation occurred in ripple-associated awake replay of place cell sequences encoding the paths from the animal's current positions to the shock zone but not in place cell sequences within individual cycles of theta oscillation. The result reveals a specific place-cell pattern underlying inhibitory avoidance behavior and provides strong evidence for the involvement of awake replay in fear memory retrieval.
Ploski, Jonathan E; Pierre, Vicki J; Smucny, Jason; Park, Kevin; Monsey, Melissa S; Overeem, Kathie A; Schafe, Glenn E
The activity-regulated cytoskeletal-associated protein (Arc/Arg3.1) is an immediate early gene that has been widely implicated in hippocampal-dependent learning and memory and is believed to play an integral role in synapse-specific plasticity. Here, we examined the role of Arc/Arg3.1 in amygdala-dependent Pavlovian fear conditioning. We first examined the regulation of Arc/Arg3.1 mRNA and protein after fear conditioning and LTP-inducing stimulation of thalamic inputs to the lateral amygdala (LA). Quantitative real-time PCR, in situ hybridization, Western blotting and immunohistochemistry revealed a significant upregulation of Arc/Arg3.1 mRNA and protein in the LA relative to controls. In behavioral experiments, intra-LA infusion of an Arc/Arg3.1 antisense oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN) was observed to be anatomically restricted to the LA, taken up by LA cells, and to promote significant knockdown of Arc/Arg3.1 protein. Rats given intra-LA infusions of multiple doses of the Arc/Arg3.1 ODN showed an impairment of LTM (tested approximately 24 later), but no deficit in STM (tested 3 h later) relative to controls infused with scrambled ODN. Finally, to determine whether upregulation of Arc/Arg3.1 occurs downstream of ERK/MAPK activation, we examined Arc/Arg3.1 expression in rats given intra-LA infusion of the MEK inhibitor U0126. Relative to vehicle controls, infusion of U0126 impaired training-induced increases in Arc/Arg3.1 expression. These findings suggest that Arc/Arg3.1 expression in the amygdala is required for fear memory consolidation, and further suggest that Arc/Arg3.1 regulation in the LA is downstream of the ERK/MAPK signaling pathway.
Dubrovina, N I
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.
Björkstrand, Johannes; Agren, Thomas; Frick, Andreas; Engman, Jonas; Larsson, Elna-Marie; Furmark, Tomas; Fredrikson, Mats
Fear memories can be attenuated by reactivation followed by disrupted reconsolidation. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging we recently showed that reactivation and reconsolidation of a conditioned fear memory trace in the basolateral amygdala predicts subsequent fear expression over two days, while reactivation followed by disrupted reconsolidation abolishes the memory trace and suppresses fear. In this follow-up study we demonstrate that the behavioral effect persists over 18 months reflected in superior reacquisition after undisrupted, as compared to disrupted reconsolidation, and that neural activity in the basolateral amygdala representing the initial fear memory predicts return of fear. We conclude that disrupting reconsolidation have long lasting behavioral effects and may permanently erase the fear component of an amygdala-dependent memory.
Orsini, Caitlin A.; Maren, Stephen
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
Castro-Pérez, Edgardo; Soto-Soto, Emilio; Pérez-Carambot, Marizabeth; Dionisio-Santos, Dawling; Saied-Santiago, Kristian; Ortiz-Zuazaga, Humberto G; Peña de Ortiz, Sandra
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.
Butler, Christopher W.; Wilson, Yvette M.; Gunnersen, Jenny M.; Murphy, Mark
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…
Yu, Zhiqian; Fukushima, Hotaka; Ono, Chiaki; Sakai, Mai; Kasahara, Yoshiyuki; Kikuchi, Yoshie; Gunawansa, Nicole; Takahashi, Yuta; Matsuoka, Hiroo; Kida, Satoshi; Tomita, Hiroaki
The proinflammatory cytokine productions in the brain are altered in a process of fear memory formation, indicating a possibility that altered microglial function may contribute to fear memory formation. We aimed to investigate whether and how microglial function contributes to fear memory formation. Expression levels of M1- and M2-type microglial marker molecules in microglia isolated from each conditioned mice group were assessed by real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry. Levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, but not of other proinflammatory cytokines produced by M1-type microglia, increased in microglia from mice representing retention of fear memory, and returned to basal levels in microglia from mice representing extinction of fear memory. Administration of inhibitors of TNF-α production facilitated extinction of fear memory. On the other hand, expression levels of M2-type microglia-specific cell adhesion molecules, CD206 and CD209, were decreased in microglia from mice representing retention of fear memory, and returned to basal levels in microglia from mice representing extinction of fear memory. Our findings indicate that microglial TNF-α is a key element of sustained fear memory and suggest that TNF-α inhibitors can be candidate molecules for mitigating posttraumatic reactions caused by persistent fear memory.
Santos, Julia M; Martinez, Raquel C R; Brandão, Marcus L
Selective serotonin and noradrenalin reuptake inhibitors such as fluoxetine and desipramine, respectively, are efficacious in the treatment of depression and chronic stress. Although they inhibit the reuptake of the biogenic monoamines soon after administration, therapeutic improvements occur only after 2 or 3 weeks. Freezing response and potentiated startle are common responses to moderate fear contextual conditioning. However, freezing but not startle is increased in rats that undergo intense fear conditioning. In this study, we evaluated the effects of acute and subchronic administration of fluoxetine and desipramine on these responses in testing sessions, as indices of fear in moderate and high fear conditioning. Fluoxetine did not show any significant effect on the moderate fear conditioning but reduced freezing and restored the startle response in rats under intense fear conditioning. In comparison, desipramine had no effect on the startle response when administered acutely or subchronically while freezing of the intense fear conditioning was reduced. Our findings indicate that intense contextual fear conditioning is sensitive to subchronic treatment with fluoxetine and resistant to desipramine. Fluoxetine appears to restore the serotoninergic function in brain areas recruited by intense contextual fear conditioning. These effects of fluoxetine may underlie its reported efficacy in the pharmacotherapy of panic disorders.
Do Monte, Fabricio H; Souza, Rimenez R; Wong, Ting T; Carobrez, Antonio de Padua
The alpha-1 adrenergic antagonist prazosin has been used to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD, but the mechanism remains unclear. One possibility is that prazosin may disrupt fear memory reconsolidation, leading to attenuation of fear responses. To test this hypothesis, we administered a single systemic injection of prazosin during the reconsolidation of olfactory fear conditioning in rats. We found that a post-retrieval injection of prazosin disrupted subsequent retrieval of fear. Similarly, intra-prelimbic cortex infusion of prazosin during the reconsolidation period also disrupted subsequent retrieval of fear. These findings suggest that fear memory undergoes reconsolidation through activation of alpha-1 adrenergic receptors in the prelimbic cortex.
Kochli, Daniel E; Thompson, Elaine C; Fricke, Elizabeth A; Postle, Abagail F; Quinn, Jennifer J
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.
Garcia, Rene; Chang, Chun-hui; Maren, Stephen
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…
Leake, Jessica; Zinn, Raphael; Corbit, Laura; Vissel, Bryce
Rodents require a minimal time period to explore a context prior to footshock to display plateau-level context fear at test. To investigate whether this rapid fear plateau reflects complete memory formation within that short time-frame, we used the immediate-early gene product Arc as an indicator of hippocampal context memory formation-related activity. We found that hippocampal Arc expression continued to increase well past the minimal time required for plateau-level fear. This raises the possibility that context fear conditioning occurs more rapidly than complete memory formation. Thus, animals may be able to condition robustly to both complete and incomplete contextual representations. PMID:28298553
King, Stanley O., II; Williams, Cedric L.
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…
Bae, Sarah; Holmes, Nathan M.; Westbrook, R. Frederick
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…
Kopp, Bruno; Schlimm, Mike; Hermann, Christiane
Discriminative fear learning and fear generalization were examined in animal-fearful individuals and in control participants. Electrical shocks were administered contingent upon discriminative pictures of spiders or snakes, respectively, in a generalization-after-discrimination paradigm. Neither discriminative fear learning nor extinction was affected by the individual fear status of the animal categories. Novel feared stimuli, which resembled discriminative stimuli, were treated as more shock predictive than novel non-feared stimuli during generalization testing. Neither preparedness theory nor selective sensitization theory was capable to account for these observations. The findings are commensurable with the hypothesis that phobic fear interferes with the retrieval of memory traces.
Sevenster, Dieuwke; Beckers, Tom; Kindt, Merel
Ample evidence suggests that consolidated memories, upon their retrieval, enter a labile state, in which they might be susceptible to change. It has been proposed that memory labilization allows for the integration of relevant information in the established memory trace (memory updating). Memory labilization and reconsolidation do not necessarily occur when a memory is being reactivated, but only when there is something to be learned during memory retrieval (prediction error). Thus, updating of a fear memory trace should not occur under retrieval conditions in which the outcome is fully predictable (no prediction error). Here, we addressed this issue, using a human differential fear conditioning procedure, by eliminating the very possibility of reinforcement of the reminder cue. A previously established fear memory (picture-shock pairings) was reactivated with shock-electrodes attached (Propranolol group, n=18) or unattached (Propranolol No-Shock Expectation group, n=19). We additionally tested a placebo-control group with the shock-electrodes attached (Placebo group, n=18). Reconsolidation was not triggered when nothing could be learned during the reminder trial, as noradrenergic blockade did not affect expression of the fear memory 24h later in the Propranolol No-Shock Expectation group. Only when the outcome of the retrieval cue was not fully predictable, propranolol, contrary to placebo, reduced the startle fear response and prevented the return of fear (reinstatement) the following day. In line with previous studies, skin conductance response and shock expectancies were not affected by propranolol. Remarkably, a double dissociation emerged between the emotional (startle response) and more cognitive expression (expectancies, SCR) of the fear memory. Our findings have important implications for reconsolidation blockade as treatment strategy for emotional disorders. First, fear reducing procedures that target the emotional component of fear memory do not
Golkar, Armita; Lindström, Kara M.; Haaker, Jan; Öhman, Arne; Schalling, Martin; Ingvar, Martin
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), the most abundant neutrophin in the mammalian central nervous system, is critically involved in synaptic plasticity. In both rodents and humans, BDNF has been implicated in hippocampus- and amygdala-dependent learning and memory and has more recently been linked to fear extinction processes. Fifty-nine healthy participants, genotyped for the functional BDNFval66met polymorphism, underwent a fear conditioning and 24h-delayed extinction protocol while skin conductance and blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) responses (functional magnetic resonance imaging) were acquired. We present the first report of neural activation pattern during fear acquisition ‘and’ extinction for the BDNFval66met polymorphism using a differential conditioned stimulus (CS)+ > CS− comparison. During conditioning, we observed heightened allele dose-dependent responses in the amygdala and reduced responses in the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex in BDNFval66met met-carriers. During early extinction, 24h later, we again observed heightened responses in several regions ascribed to the fear network in met-carriers as opposed to val-carriers (insula, amygdala, hippocampus), which likely reflects fear memory recall. No differences were observed during late extinction, which likely reflects learned extinction. Our data thus support previous associations of the BDNFval66met polymorphism with neural activation in the fear and extinction network, but speak against a specific association with fear extinction processes. PMID:25103087
Goosens, Ki A; Hobin, Jennifer A; Maren, Stephen
Amygdala neuroplasticity has emerged as a candidate substrate for Pavlovian fear memory. By this view, conditional stimulus (CS)-evoked activity represents a mnemonic code that initiates the expression of fear behaviors. However, a fear state may nonassociatively enhance sensory processing, biasing CS-evoked activity in amygdala neurons. Here we describe experiments that dissociate auditory CS-evoked spike firing in the lateral amygdala (LA) and both conditional fear behavior and LA excitability in rats. We found that the expression of conditional freezing and increased LA excitability was neither necessary nor sufficient for the expression of conditional increases in CS-evoked spike firing. Rather, conditioning-related changes in CS-evoked spike firing were solely determined by the associative history of the CS. Thus, our data support a model in which associative activity in the LA encodes fear memory and contributes to the expression of learned fear behaviors.
Park, Sungmo; Lee, Junuk; Park, Kyungjoon; Kim, Jeongyeon; Song, Beomjong; Hong, Ingie; Kim, Jieun; Lee, Sukwon; Choi, Sukwoo
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
Frankland, Paul W.; Ding, Hoi-Ki; Takahashi, Eiki; Suzuki, Akinobu; Kida, Satoshi; Silva, Alcino J.
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…
Datta, Subimal; O'Malley, Matthew W
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.
Datta, Subimal; O'Malley, Matthew W .
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
Jiang, Lizhu; Mao, Rongrong; Zhou, Qixin; Yang, Yuexiong; Cao, Jun; Ding, Yuqiang; Yang, Yuan; Zhang, Xia; Li, Lingjiang; Xu, Lin
Fear is crucial for survival, whereas hypermnesia of fear can be detrimental. Inhibition of the Rac GTPase is recently reported to impair the forgetting of initially acquired memory in Drosophila. Here, we investigated whether inhibition of Rac1 activity in rat hippocampus could contribute to the hypermnesia of contextual fear. We found that spaced but not massed training of contextual fear conditioning caused inhibition of Rac1 activity in the hippocampus and heightened contextual fear. Furthermore, intrahippocampal injection of the Rac1 inhibitor NSC23766 heightened contextual fear in massed training, while Rac1 activator CN04-A weakened contextual fear in spaced training rats. Our study firstly demonstrates that contextual fear memory in rats is actively regulated by Rac1 activity in the hippocampus, which suggests that the forgetting impairment of traumatic events in posttraumatic stress disorder may be contributed to the pathological inhibition of Rac1 activity in the hippocampus.
Pile, Victoria; Barnhofer, Thorsten; Wild, Jennifer
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
Ishikawa, Rie; Fukushima, Hotaka; Frankland, Paul W; Kida, Satoshi
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.
Barad, Mark; Cain, Christopher K.; Blouin, Ashley M.
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…
Golkar, Armita; Bellander, Martin; Olsson, Andreas; Öhman, Arne
Recent advances in the field of fear learning have demonstrated that a single reminder exposure prior to extinction training can prevent the return of extinguished fear by disrupting the process of reconsolidation. These findings have however proven hard to replicate in humans. Given the significant implications of preventing the return of fear, the purpose of the present study was to further study the putative effects of disrupting reconsolidation. In two experiments, we assessed whether extinction training initiated within the reconsolidation time window could abolish the return of fear using fear-relevant (Experiment 1) or fear-irrelevant (Experiment 2) conditioned stimuli (CS). In both experiments, participants went through conditioning, extinction, and reinstatement testing on three consecutive days, with one of two reinforced CS being reactivated 10 min prior to extinction. We found that a single reminder exposure prior to extinction training did not prevent the return of extinguished fear responding using either fear-relevant or fear-irrelevant CSs. Our findings point to the need to further study the specific parameters that enable disruption of reconsolidation. PMID:23181015
Sierra-Mercado, Demetrio; McAllister, Lauren M; Lee, Christopher C H; Milad, Mohammed R; Eskandar, Emad N; Whalen, Michael J
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.
Rabinak, Christine A; Angstadt, Mike; Sripada, Chandra S; Abelson, James L; Liberzon, Israel; Milad, Mohammed R; Phan, K Luan
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'.
Remmes, Jasmin; Bodden, Carina; Richter, S. Helene; Lesting, Jörg; Sachser, Norbert; Pape, Hans-Christian; Seidenbecher, Thomas
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
Kindt, Merel; Soeter, Marieke
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.
Laxmi, T Rao; Stork, Oliver; Pape, Hans-Christian
Mice are favourite subjects in molecular and genetic memory research and frequently studied with classical fear conditioning paradigms that use an auditory cue (conditioned stimulus, CS(+)) to predict an aversive, unconditioned stimulus (US). Yet the conditions that control fear memory specificity and generalisation and their behavioural expression in such conditioned mice have not been analysed systematically. In the current study we addressed these issues in the most widely used mouse strain of behavioural genetics, C57Bl/6. In keeping with findings in other species we demonstrate the dependence of fear memory generalisation on training intensity (i.e. both US intensity and the number of CS(+) and US applied) after both excitatory (explicitly paired presentation of CS(+) and US) and inhibitory training (explicitly unpaired presentation of CS(+) and US). Furthermore, inhibitory overtraining was associated with changes of uncued anxiety-like behaviour in a light/dark exploration test, indicative of an emotional sensitisation reaction as consequence of a lack of US predictability. Together our results describe the qualitatively and quantitatively different increases of defensive behaviour in response to conditioned stimuli of different salience and identify training conditions that lead to fear memory generalisation and emotional sensitisation in C57Bl/6 inbred mice.
Woodruff, Elizabeth R.; Greenwood, Benjamin N.; Chun, Lauren E.; Fardi, Sara; Hinds, Laura R.; Spencer, Robert L.
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 12 hr 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. PMID:25746455
Woodruff, Elizabeth R; Greenwood, Benjamin N; Chun, Lauren E; Fardi, Sara; Hinds, Laura R; Spencer, Robert L
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.
Stevenson, Carl W
The basolateral amygdala (BLA) and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) are inter-connected regions involved in fear memory expression. The reciprocal nature of projections between these areas differs along the rostrocaudal extent of BLA. This study investigated the role of functional interactions between BLA and the prelimbic (PL) subregion of mPFC in mediating contextual fear memory. Freezing served as the measure of conditioned fear. Experiments 1-3 examined the effects of left, right or bilateral infusion of bupivacaine into anterior BLA (aBLA), posterior BLA (pBLA) or PL on fear memory expression. Reversible inactivation of left, right or bilateral aBLA impaired fear memory expression. Bilateral inactivation of pBLA or PL also disrupted the expression of fear memory, although left or right inactivation alone had no significant effects in either region. Experiment 4 examined the effects of functionally disconnecting pBLA and PL on contextual fear memory by infusing bupivacaine unilaterally into pBLA and PL in the ipsilateral or contralateral hemisphere. Fear memory expression was impaired by asymmetric inactivation of pBLA and PL; however, a similar effect was also observed with symmetric inactivation of these regions. Bupivacaine infusion did not affect behavior in the open field, likely ruling out non-specific effects of inactivation on innate fear and locomotor activity. These results demonstrate different roles for rostral and caudal BLA in mediating the expression of contextual fear memory. They also raise the possibility that pBLA-PL circuitry is involved in subserving fear memory expression via complex processing mechanisms, although further research is needed to confirm this preliminary finding.
McDannald, Michael A; Galarce, Ezequiel M
In Pavlovian fear conditioning, pairing a neutral cue with aversive foot shock endows a cue with fear-eliciting properties. Studies of Pavlovian fear conditioning measuring freezing have demonstrated the basolateral amygdala (BLA) to be critical to both fear learning and memory. The nucleus accumbens core (NAc), while not important to freezing, is important to the enhancement of instrumental responding by cues paired with food reward. In the present study we investigated the role of the BLA and the NAc in another property of fear cues, the ability to suppress instrumental responding for food rewards (conditioned suppression). Sham, BLA and NAc-lesioned rats received a fear discrimination procedure in which one visual cue (CS+) predicted foot shock while a second cue (CS-) did not. Conditioning took place over a baseline of instrumental responding, allowing for concurrent measure of freezing and instrumental suppression. NAc lesions left fear conditioning fully intact. BLA lesions impaired acquisition and discrimination of fear when assessed with conditioned freezing. However, BLA lesions only altered fear acquisition and left discrimination completely intact when assessed with conditioned suppression. These findings suggest a critical role for the BLA in fear when assessed with conditioned freezing but a diminished role when assessed with conditioned suppression.
Kindt, Merel; Soeter, Marieke; Sevenster, Dieuwke
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
Neuwirth, Lorenz S; Volpe, Nicholas P; El Idrissi, Abdeslem
Previously we have shown FVB/NJ mice given taurine acutely (i.e. 43 mg/kg/s.c. [aTau]) is anxiolytic, whereas chronically (0.05% w/v for >4 weeks [cTau]) produces anxiogenic phenotypes under select aversive behavioral experiments, but negated emotional contributions to acquisition learning and retention. Hyperexcitability induced in c-Tau mice is further exacerbated under stressful conditions compromising discrimination between cognitive vs. emotional learning. In the present study, we investigated differences between a-Tau and c-Tau mice using the auditory cued tone (ACTC) and context conditioning (CC) tests. Consistent with previous results, a-Tau mice exhibit less fear and increased inhibition, whereas c-Tau mice exhibit increased fear and decreased inhibition to ACTC and CC. Once fear conditioned, taurine mice become hypersensitive to novel environments and ACTC. Taurine brain levels are noted to increase in response to stressors as a neuroprotective mechanism against hyperexcitability. We suggest that c-Tau mice have increased accumulation of cysteamine (Cyst) and depleted somatostatin (SS) expression resulting in fear disregulation through GABAergic projection neurons in the limbic system, which are not seen in a-Tau mice. Our findings suggest that taurine causes not only varied phenotypic profiles of emotional fear learning, but are further complicated by the inability to associate cues with aversive stimuli due to potential auditory sensory overloading.
Lin, Hui-Ching; Mao, Sheng-Chun; Chen, Po-See; Gean, Po-Wu
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.)…
Yoshii, Takahiro; Hosokawa, Hiroshi; Matsuo, Naoki
Fear memory extinction has several characteristic behavioral features, such as spontaneous recovery, renewal, and reinstatement, suggesting that extinction training does not erase the original association between the conditioned stimulus (CS) and the unconditioned stimulus (US). However, it is unclear whether reactivation of the original physical record of memory (i.e., memory trace) is sufficient to produce conditioned fear response after extinction. Here, we performed pharmacogenetic neuronal activation using transgenic mice expressing hM3Dq DREADD (designer receptor exclusively activated by designer drug) under the control of the activity-dependent c-fos gene promoter. Neuronal ensembles activated during fear-conditioned learning were tagged with hM3Dq and subsequently reactivated after extinction training. The mice exhibited significant freezing, even when the fear memory was no longer triggered by external CS, indicating that the artificial reactivation of a specific neuronal ensemble was sufficient to evoke the extinguished fear response. This freezing was not observed in non-fear-conditioned mice expressing hM3dq in the same brain areas. These results directly demonstrated that at least part of the original fear memory trace remains after extinction, and such residual plasticity might reflect the persistent memory.
Bach, D R; Tzovara, A; Vunder, J
Learning to predict threat is a fundamental ability of many biological organisms, and a laboratory model for anxiety disorders. Interfering with such memories in humans would be of high clinical relevance. On the basis of studies in cell cultures and slice preparations, it is hypothesised that synaptic remodelling required for threat learning involves the extracellular enzyme matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 9. However, in vivo evidence for this proposal is lacking. Here we investigate human Pavlovian fear conditioning under the blood-brain barrier crossing MMP inhibitor doxycyline in a pre-registered, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. We find that recall of threat memory, measured with fear-potentiated startle 7 days after acquisition, is attenuated by ~60% in individuals who were under doxycycline during acquisition. This threat memory impairment is also reflected in increased behavioural surprise signals to the conditioned stimulus during subsequent re-learning, and already late during initial acquisition. Our findings support an emerging view that extracellular signalling pathways are crucially required for threat memory formation. Furthermore, they suggest novel pharmacological methods for primary prevention and treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 4 April 2017; doi:10.1038/mp.2017.65.
Xue, Yan-Xue; Zhu, Zhen-Zhen; Han, Hai-Bin; Liu, Jian-Feng; Meng, Shi-Qiu; Chen, Chen; Yang, Jian-Li; Wu, Ping; Lu, Lin
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. PMID:25722116
Ji, Jinzhao; Maren, Stephen
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…
Corcoran, Kevin A.; Maren, Stephen
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…
Kwon, Jeong-Tae; Nakajima, Ryuichi; Hyung-Su, Kim; Jeong, Yire; Augustine, George J.; Han, Jin-Hee
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…
Lazaroni, Thiago Luiz do Nascimento; Bastos, Cristiane Perácio; Moraes, Márcio Flávio Dutra; Santos, Robson Souza; Pereira, Grace Schenatto
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).
Goode, Travis D; Holloway-Erickson, Crystal M; Maren, Stephen
Retrieving fear memories just prior to extinction has been reported to effectively erase fear memories and prevent fear relapse. The current study examined whether the type of retrieval procedure influences the ability of extinction to impair fear renewal, a form of relapse in which responding to a conditional stimulus (CS) returns outside of the extinction context. Rats first underwent Pavlovian fear conditioning with an auditory CS and footshock unconditional stimulus (US); freezing behavior served as the index of conditioned fear. Twenty-four hours later, the rats underwent a retrieval-extinction procedure. Specifically, 1 h prior to extinction (45 CS-alone trials; 44 for rats receiving a CS reminder), fear memory was retrieved by either a single exposure to the CS alone, the US alone, a CS paired with the US, or exposure to the conditioning context itself. Over the next few days, conditional freezing to the extinguished CS was tested in the extinction and conditioning context in that order (i.e., an ABBA design). In the extinction context, rats that received a CS+US trial before extinction exhibited higher levels of conditional freezing than animals in all other groups, which did not differ from one another. In the renewal context, all groups showed renewal, and none of the reactivation procedures reduced renewal relative to a control group that did not receive a reactivation procedure prior to extinction. These data suggest retrieval-extinction procedures may have limited efficacy in preventing fear renewal.
Holt, Beatrice; Petrovic, Predrag; De Martino, Benedetto; Klöppel, Stefan; Büchel, Christian; Dolan, Raymond J.
Animal research suggests that the consolidation of fear and extinction memories depends on N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA)-type glutamate receptors. Using a fear conditioning and extinction paradigm in healthy normal volunteers, we show that postlearning administration of the NMDA partial agonist D-cycloserine (DCS) facilitates fear memory consolidation, evidenced behaviorally by enhanced skin conductance responses, relative to placebo, for presentations of a conditioned stimulus (CS) at a memory test performed 72 h later. DCS also enhanced CS-evoked neural responses in a posterior hippocampus/collateral sulcus region and in the medial prefrontal cortex at test. Our data suggest a role for NMDA receptors in regulating fear memory consolidation in humans. PMID:18477687
Castegnetti, Giuseppe; Tzovara, Athina; Staib, Matthias; Gerster, Samuel; Bach, Dominik R
Respiratory physiology is influenced by cognitive processes. It has been suggested that some cognitive states may be inferred from respiration amplitude responses (RAR) after external events. Here, we investigate whether RAR allow assessment of fear memory in cued fear conditioning, an experimental model of aversive learning. To this end, we built on a previously developed psychophysiological model (PsPM) of RAR, which regards interpolated RAR time series as the output of a linear time invariant system. We first establish that average RAR after CS+ and CS- are different. We then develop the response function of fear-conditioned RAR, to be used in our PsPM. This PsPM is inverted to yield estimates of cognitive input into the respiratory system. We analyze five validation experiments involving fear acquisition and retention, delay and trace conditioning, short and medium CS-US intervals, and data acquired with bellows and MRI-compatible pressure chest belts. In all experiments, CS+ and CS- are distinguished by their estimated cognitive inputs, and the sensitivity of this distinction is higher for model-based estimates than for peak scoring of RAR. Comparing these data with skin conductance responses (SCR) and heart period responses (HPR), we find that, on average, RAR performs similar to SCR in distinguishing CS+ and CS-, but is less sensitive than HPR. Overall, our work provides a novel and robust tool to investigate fear memory in humans that may allow wide and straightforward application to diverse experimental contexts.
Schulz-Klaus, Brigitte; Lessmann, Volkmar; Endres, Thomas
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
Chen, Li-Shen; Tzeng, Wen-Yu; Chuang, Jia-Ying; Cherng, Chianfang G; Gean, Po-Wu; Yu, Lung
Women are thought to form fear memory more robust than men do and testosterone is suspected to play a role in determining such a sex difference. Mouse cued fear freezing was used to study the sex-related susceptibility and the role of testosterone in fear memory in humans. A 75-dB tone was found to provoke weak freezing, while 0.15-mA and 0.20-mA footshock caused strong freezing responses. No sex differences were noticed in the tone- or footshock-induced (naïve fear) freezing. Following the conditionings, female mice exhibited greater tone (cued fear)-induced freezing than did male mice. Nonetheless, female mice demonstrated indistinctive cued fear freezing across the estrous phases and ovariectomy did not affect such freezing in female mice. Orchidectomy enhanced the cued fear freezing in male mice. Systemic testosterone administrations and an intra-lateral nucleus of amygdala (LA) testosterone infusion diminished the cued fear freezing in orchidectomized male mice, while pretreatment with flutamide (Flu) eradicated these effects. Long-term potentiation (LTP) magnitude in LA has been known to correlate with the strength of the cued fear conditioning. We found that LA LTP magnitude was indeed greater in female than male mice. Orchidectomy enhanced LTP magnitude in males' LA, while ovariectomy decreased LTP magnitude in females' LA. Testosterone decreased LTP magnitude in orchidectomized males' LA and estradiol enhanced LTP magnitude in ovariectomized females' LA. Finally, male mice had lower LA GluR1 expression than female mice and orchidectomy enhanced the GluR1 expression in male mice. These findings, taken together, suggest that testosterone plays a critical role in rendering the sex differences in the cued fear freezing and LA LTP. Testosterone is negatively associated with LA LTP and the cued fear memory in male mice. However, ovarian hormones and LA LTP are loosely associated with the cued fear memory in female mice.
Thome, Janine; Koppe, Georgia; Hauschild, Sophie; Liebke, Lisa; Schmahl, Christian; Lis, Stefanie; Bohus, Martin
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
Duvarci, Sevil; Popa, Daniela; Paré, Denis
The central amygdala (Ce), particularly its medial sector (CeM), is the main output station of the amygdala for conditioned fear responses. However, there is uncertainty regarding the nature of CeM control over conditioned fear. The present study aimed to clarify this question using unit recordings in rats. Fear conditioning caused most CeM neurons to increase their conditioned stimulus (CS) responsiveness. The next day, CeM cells responded similarly during the recall test, but these responses disappeared as extinction of conditioned fear progressed. In contrast, the CS elicited no significant average change in central lateral (CeL) firing rates during fear conditioning and a small but significant reduction during the recall test. Yet, cell-by-cell analyses disclosed large but heterogeneous CS-evoked responses in CeL. By the end of fear conditioning, roughly equal proportions of CeL cells exhibited excitatory (CeL(+)) or inhibitory (CeL(-)) CS-evoked responses (∼10%). The next day, the proportion of CeL(-) cells tripled with no change in the incidence of CeL(+) cells, suggesting that conditioning leads to overnight synaptic plasticity in an inhibitory input to CeL(-) cells. As in CeM, extinction training caused the disappearance of CS-evoked activity in CeL. Overall, these findings suggest that conditioned freezing depends on increased CeM responses to the CS. The large increase in the incidence of CeL(-) but not CeL(+) cells from conditioning to recall leads us to propose a model of fear conditioning involving the potentiation of an extrinsic inhibitory input (from the amygdala or elsewhere) to CeL, ultimately leading to disinhibition of CeM neurons.
Messaoudi, Belkacem; Granjon, Lionel; Mouly, Anne-Marie; Sevelinges, Yannick; Gervais, Remi
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…
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
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.
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
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
Knight, David C; Nguyen, Hanh T; Bandettini, Peter A
Conditional responding during simple Pavlovian conditioning is often characterized as a form of implicit memory. The extent to which this type of associative learning is independent of awareness is an issue of continuing debate. Previous studies have demonstrated conditioning in the absence of awareness. However, their results have been questioned based on methodological concerns with postexperimental questionnaires. In the present study, skin conductance response (SCR) and unconditioned stimulus (UCS) expectancy were measured concurrently as participants were exposed to a differential delay fear conditioning procedure in which one tone (CS+) predicted a loud white noise, whereas a second tone (CS-) was presented alone. UCS predictability was varied on a trial-by-trial basis by presenting conditioned stimuli (CSs) at volumes just above or below the perceptual threshold. Differential UCS expectancy (awareness) was observed only on perceived trials, whereas differential SCR developed on both perceived and unperceived trials. Although perceived stimuli elicited larger SCRs, the magnitude of conditioning, indexed by differential conditioned response expression (conditioned SCR to CS+ minus the SCR to CS-), was not influenced by stimulus perception. These data indicate that conditional fear can be expressed when individuals are unaware of fear-eliciting stimuli and suggest that the degree of conditioning is independent of awareness during differential Pavlovian fear conditioning.
Soler-Cedeño, Omar; Cruz, Emmanuel; Criado-Marrero, Marangelie; Porter, James T
Patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) show hypo-active ventromedial prefrontal cortices (vmPFC) that correlate with their impaired ability to discriminate between safe and dangerous contexts and cues. Previously, we found that auditory fear conditioning depresses the excitability of neurons populating the homologous structure in rodents, the infralimbic cortex (IL). However, it is undetermined if IL depression was mediated by the cued or contextual information. The objective of this study was to examine whether contextual information was sufficient to depress IL neuronal excitability. After exposing rats to context-alone, pseudoconditioning, or contextual fear conditioning, we used whole-cell current-clamp recordings to examine the excitability of IL neurons in prefrontal brain slices. We found that contextual fear conditioning reduced IL neuronal firing in response to depolarizing current steps. In addition, neurons from contextual fear conditioned animals showed increased slow afterhyperpolarization potentials (sAHPs). Moreover, the observed changes in IL excitability correlated with contextual fear expression, suggesting that IL depression may contribute to the encoding of contextual fear.
Zhang, Gongliang; Ásgeirsdóttir, Herborg N; Cohen, Sarah J; Munchow, Alcira H; Barrera, Mercy P; Stackman, Robert W
Excessive fear is a hallmark of several emotional and mental disorders such as phobias and panic disorders. Considerable attention is focused on defining the neurobiological mechanisms of the extinction of conditioned fear memory in an effort to identify mechanisms that may hold clinical significance for remediating aberrant fear memory. Serotonin modulates the acquisition and retention of conditioned emotional memory, and the serotonin 2A receptor (5HT2AR) may be one of the postsynaptic targets mediating such effects. Here we tested the hypothesis that the 5HT2AR regulates the consolidation and extinction of fear memory in male C57BL/6J mice. The influence of 5HT2ARs on memory consolidation was further confirmed with a novel object recognition task. With a trace fear conditioning paradigm, administration of the 5HT2AR agonist TCB-2 (1.0 mg/kg, i.p.) before the extinction test facilitated the acquisition of extinction of fear memory as compared to vehicle treatment. In contrast, administration of the 5HT2AR antagonist MDL 11,939 (0.5 mg/kg, i.p.) delayed the acquisition of extinction of fear memory. Further, the post-conditioning administration of TCB-2 enhanced contextual and cued fear memory, possibly by facilitating the consolidation of fear memory. Administration of TCB-2 also facilitated the acquisition of extinction of fear memory in delay fear conditioned mice. Stimulation or blockade of 5HT2ARs did not affect the encoding or retrieval of conditioned fear memory. Finally, administration of TCB-2 right after training in an object recognition task enhanced the consolidation of object memory. These results suggest that stimulation of 5HT2ARs facilitates the consolidation and extinction of trace and delay cued fear memory and the consolidation of object memory. Blocking the 5HT2AR impairs the acquisition of fear memory extinction. The results support the view that serotonergic activation of the 5HT2AR provides an important modulatory influence on circuits
Abstract The actin cytoskeleton is involved in key neuronal functions such as synaptic transmission and morphogenesis. However, the roles and regulation of actin cytoskeleton in memory formation remain to be clarified. In this study, we unveil the mechanism whereby actin cytoskeleton is regulated to form memory by exploring the roles of the major actin-regulatory proteins Arp2/3, VASP, and formins in long-term memory formation. Inhibition of Arp2/3, involved in actin filament branching and neuronal morphogenesis, in lateral amygdala (LA) with the specific inhibitor CK-666 during fear conditioning impaired long-term, but not short-term, fear memory. The inactive isomer CK-689 had no effect on memory formation. We observed that Arp2/3 is colocalized with the actin-regulatory protein profilin in LA neurons of fear-conditioned rats. VASP binding to profilin is needed for profilin-mediated stabilization of actin cytoskeleton and dendritic spine morphology. Microinjection of poly-proline peptide [G(GP5)3] into LA, to interfere with VASP binding to profilin, impaired long-term but not short-term fear memory formation. Control peptide [G(GA5)3] had no effect. Inhibiting formins, which regulate linear actin elongation, in LA during fear conditioning by microinjecting the formin-specific inhibitor SMIFH2 into LA had no effect on long-term fear memory formation. We conclude that Arp2/3 and VASP, through the profilin binding site, are essential for the formation of long-term fear memory in LA and propose a model whereby these proteins subserve cellular events, leading to memory consolidation. PMID:27957528
Stern, Cristina A. J.; Gazarini, Lucas; Vanvossen, Ana C.; Hames, Mayara S.; Bertoglio, Leandro J.
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…
Dunsmoor, Joseph E; Mitroff, Stephen R; LaBar, Kevin S
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 experimental groups underwent discriminative fear conditioning between a face stimulus of 55% fear intensity (conditioned stimulus, CS+), reinforced with an electric shock, and a second stimulus that was unreinforced (CS-). In Experiment 1 the CS- was a relatively neutral face stimulus, while in Experiment 2 the CS- was the most fear-intense stimulus. Before and following fear conditioning, skin conductance responses (SCR) were recorded to different morph values along the neutral-to-fear dimension. Both experimental groups showed gradients of generalization following fear conditioning that increased with the fear intensity of the stimulus. In Experiment 1 a peak shift in SCRs extended to the most fear-intense stimulus. In contrast, generalization to the most fear-intense stimulus was reduced in Experiment 2, suggesting that discriminative fear learning procedures can attenuate fear generalization. Together, the findings indicate that fear generalization is broadly tuned and sensitive to the amount of fear intensity in nonconditioned stimuli, but that fear generalization can come under stimulus control. These results reveal a novel form of fear generalization in humans that is not merely based on physical similarity to a conditioned exemplar, and may have implications for understanding generalization processes in anxiety disorders characterized by heightened sensitivity to nonthreatening stimuli.
Itzhak, Yossef; Anderson, Karen L; Kelley, Jonathan B; Petkov, Martin
Epigenetic regulation of chromatin structure is an essential molecular mechanism that contributes to the formation of synaptic plasticity and long-term memory (LTM). An important regulatory process of chromatin structure is acetylation and deacetylation of histone proteins. Inhibition of histone deacetylase (HDAC) increases acetylation of histone proteins and facilitate learning and memory. Nitric oxide (NO) signaling pathway has a role in synaptic plasticity, LTM and regulation of histone acetylation. We have previously shown that NO signaling pathway is required for contextual fear conditioning. The present study investigated the effects of systemic administration of the HDAC inhibitor sodium butyrate (NaB) on fear conditioning in neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) knockout (KO) and wild type (WT) mice. The effect of single administration of NaB on total H3 and H4 histone acetylation in hippocampus and amygdala was also investigated. A single administration of NaB prior to fear conditioning (a) rescued contextual fear conditioning of nNOS KO mice and (b) had long-term (weeks) facilitatory effect on the extinction of cued fear memory of WT mice. The facilitatory effect of NaB on extinction of cued fear memory of WT mice was confirmed in a study whereupon NaB was administered during extinction. Results suggest that (a) the rescue of contextual fear conditioning in nNOS KO mice is associated with NaB-induced increase in H3 histone acetylation and (b) the accelerated extinction of cued fear memory in WT mice is associated with NaB-induced increase in H4 histone acetylation. Hence, a single administration of HDAC inhibitor may rescue NO-dependent cognitive deficits and afford a long-term accelerating effect on extinction of fear memory of WT mice.
Nakayama, Daisuke; Yamasaki, Yoshiko; Matsuki, Norio; Nomura, Hiroshi
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…
Rabinak, Christine A; Maren, Stephen
The authors have recently demonstrated that rats with basolateral amygdala (BLA) lesions acquire Pavlovian fear conditioning after overtraining. However, it is not known whether the associative basis of Pavlovian fear memory acquired by rats with BLA lesions is similar to that of intact rats. Associations are typically formed between the conditional (CS) and unconditional (US) stimuli (stimulus-stimulus; S-S), although it is possible for stimuli to enter into association with the responses they produce (stimulus-response; S-R). Indeed, the central nucleus of the amygdala, which is essential for fear conditioning in rats with BLA lesions, may mediate S-R associations in some Pavlovian tasks. The authors therefore used a postconditioning US inflation procedure (i.e., exposure to intense footshock USs) to assess the contribution of S-S associations to fear conditioning after overtraining in rats with BLA lesions. In Experiment 1, intact rats that were overtrained and later inflated displayed elevated freezing levels when tested, indicating that S-S associations contribute to overtrained fear memories. Interestingly, neither neurotoxic BLA lesions nor temporary inactivation of the BLA during overtraining prevented the inflation effect (Experiment 2 and 3, respectively). These results reveal that S-S associations support Pavlovian fear memories after overtraining in both intact rats and rats with BLA lesions, and imply that the central nucleus of the amygdala encodes CS-US associations during fear conditioning.
Marks, Elizabeth H; Zoellner, Lori A
Exposure-based therapies for posttraumatic stress disorder are thought to reduce intrusive memories through extinction processes. Methods that enhance extinction may translate to improved treatment. Rat research suggests retrieving a memory via a conditioned stimulus (CS) cue, and then modifying the retrieved memory within a specific reconsolidation window may enhance extinction. In humans, studies (e.g., Kindt & Soeter, 2013; Schiller et al., 2010) using basic learning paradigms show discrepant findings. Using a distressing film paradigm, participants (N = 148) completed fear acquisition and extinction. At extinction, they were randomized to 1 of 3 groups: CS cue within reconsolidation window, CS cue outside window, or non-CS cue within window. Intrusions were assessed 24 hr after extinction. Participants receiving the CS cue and completing extinction within the reconsolidation window had more intrusions (M = 2.40, SD = 2.54) than those cued outside (M = 1.65, SD = 1.70) or those receiving a non-CS cue (M = 1.24, SD = 1.26), F(2, 145) = 4.52, p = .01, d = 0.55. Consistent with the reconsolidation hypothesis, presenting a CS cue does appear to activate a specific period of time during which a memory can be updated. However, the CS cue caused increased, rather than decreased, frequency of intrusions. Understanding parameters of preextinction cueing may help us better understand reconsolidation as a potential memory updating mechanism.
Mungee, Aditya; Burger, Max; Bajbouj, Malek
Background: Studies have demonstrated that fear memories can be modified using non-invasive methods. Recently, we demonstrated that anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is capable of enhancing fear memories. Here, we examined the effects of cathodal tDCS of the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex during fear reconsolidation in humans. Methods: Seventeen young, healthy subjects were randomly assigned 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—cathodal, left supraorbital—anodal) for 20 min at 1 mA, or sham stimulation. A day later, fear responses of both groups were compared. Results: On Day 3, during fear response assessment, there were no significant differences between the tDCS and sham group (p > 0.05). Conclusion: We conclude that cathodal tDCS of the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (right prefrontal—cathodal, left supraorbital—anodal) did not influence fear memories. PMID:27827903
Pan, Yung-Wei; Chan, Guy C.K.; Kuo, Chay T.; Storm, Daniel R.; Xia, Zhengui
Although there is evidence suggesting that adult neurogenesis may contribute to hippocampus-dependent memory, signaling mechanisms responsible for adult hippocampal neurogenesis are not well characterized. Here we report that ERK5 MAP kinase is specifically expressed in the neurogenic regions of the adult mouse brain. The inducible and conditional knockout (icKO) of erk5 specifically in neural progenitors of the adult mouse brain attenuated adult hippocampal neurogenesis. It also caused deficits in several forms of hippocampus-dependent memory including contextual fear conditioning generated by a weak foot shock. The ERK5 icKO mice were also deficient in extinction of contextual fear memory and reversal of Morris water maze spatial learning and memory, suggesting that adult neurogenesis is important for learning that requires active forgetting of a prior memory. Furthermore, our data suggest a critical role for ERK5-mediated adult neurogenesis in pattern separation, a form of dentate gyrus-dependent spatial learning and memory. Moreover, ERK5 icKO mice have no memory 21 days post-training in the passive avoidance test, suggesting a pivotal role for adult hippocampal neurogenesis in the expression of remote memory. Together, our results implicate ERK5 as a novel signaling molecule regulating adult neurogenesis and provide strong evidence that adult neurogenesis is critical for several forms of hippocampus-dependent memory formation including memory extinction, and for the expression of remote memory. PMID:22573667
Baker, Kathryn D.; Richardson, Rick
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.…
Asthana, Manish; Nueckel, Katharina; Mühlberger, Andreas; Neueder, Dorothea; Polak, Thomas; Domschke, Katharina; Deckert, Jürgen; Herrmann, Martin J.
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. PMID:24069003
Flores, África; Valls-Comamala, Victòria; Costa, Giulia; Saravia, Rocío; Maldonado, Rafael; Berrendero, Fernando
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.
Baruch, David E; Swain, Rodney A; Helmstetter, Fred J
Exercise promotes multiple changes in hippocampal morphology and should, as a result, alter behavioral function. The present experiment investigated the effect of exercise on learning using contextual and auditory Pavlovian fear conditioning. Rats remained inactive or voluntarily exercised (VX) for 30 days, after which they received auditory-cued fear conditioning. Twenty-four hours later, rats were tested for learning of the contextual and auditory conditional responses. No differences in freezing behavior to the discrete auditory cue were observed during the training or testing sessions. However, VX rats did freeze significantly more compared to controls when tested in the training context 24 hr after exposure to shock. The enhancement of contextual fear conditioning provides further evidence that exercise alters hippocampal function and learning.
Lazzaro, Stephanie C.; Hou, Mian; Cunha, Catarina; LeDoux, Joseph E.; Cain, Christopher K.
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…
Wei, Wei; Coelho, Carlos M.; Li, Xiang; Marek, Roger; Yan, Shanzhi; Anderson, Shawn; Meyers, David; Mukherjee, Chandrani; Sbardella, Gianluca; Castellano, Sabrina; Milite, Ciro; Rotili, Dante; Mai, Antonello; Cole, Philip A.; Sah, Pankaj; Kobor, Michael S.; Bredy, Timothy W.
It is well established that the activity of chromatin-modifying enzymes is crucial for regulating gene expression associated with hippocampal-dependent memories. However, very little is known about how these epigenetic mechanisms influence the formation of cortically-dependent memory, particularly when there is competition between opposing memory traces such as that which occurs during the acquisition and extinction of conditioned fear. Here we demonstrate, in C57/Bl6 mice, that the activity of p300/CBP-associated factor (PCAF) within the infralimbic prefrontal cortex is required for long-term potentiation and is necessary for the formation of memory associated with fear extinction, but not for fear acquisition. Further, systemic administration of the PCAF activator SPV106 enhances memory for fear extinction and prevents fear renewal. The selective influence of PCAF on fear extinction is mediated, in part, by a transient recruitment of the repressive transcription factor ATF4 to the promoter of the immediate early gene zif268, which competitively inhibits its expression. Thus, within the context of fear extinction, PCAF functions as a transcriptional co-activator, which may facilitate the formation of memory for fear extinction by interfering with reconsolidation of the original memory trace. PMID:22933779
Costanzi, Marco; Saraulli, Daniele; Cannas, Sara; D'Alessandro, Francesca; Florenzano, Fulvio; Rossi-Arnaud, Clelia; Cestari, Vincenzo
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
Jarome, Timothy J; Ferrara, Nicole C; Kwapis, Janine L; Helmstetter, Fred J
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. PMID:26062788
Kholodar-Smith, D.B.; Boguszewski, P.; Brown, T.H.
The hippocampus is well-known to be critical for trace fear conditioning, but nothing is known about the importance of perirhinal cortex (PR), which has reciprocal connections with hippocampus. PR damage severely impairs delay fear conditioning to ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) and discontinuous tones (pips), but has no effect on delay conditioning to continuous tones (Kholodar-Smith, Allen, and Brown, in press). Here we demonstrate that trace auditory fear conditioning also critically depends on PR function. The trace interval between the CS offset and the US onset was 16 s. Pre-training neurotoxic lesions were produced through multiple injections of N-methyl-D-aspartate along the full length of PR, which was directly visualized during the injections. Control animals received injections with phosphate-buffered saline. Three-dimensional reconstructions of the lesion volumes demonstrated that the neurotoxic damage was well-localized to PR and included most of its anterior-posterior extent. Automated video analysis quantified freezing behavior, which served as the conditional response. PR-damaged rats were profoundly impaired in trace conditioning to either of three different CSs (a USV, tone pips, and a continuous tone) as well as conditioning to the training context. Within both the lesion and control groups, the type of cue had no effect on the mean CR. The overall PR lesion effect size was 2.7 for cue conditioning and 3.9 for context conditioning. We suggest that the role of PR in trace fear conditioning may be distinct from some of its more perceptual functions. The results further define the essential circuitry underlying trace fear conditioning to auditory cues. PMID:18678265
Li, Yuzhe; Nakae, Ken; Ishii, Shin; Naoki, Honda
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
Wang, Melissa E; Fraize, Nicolas P; Yin, Linda; Yuan, Robin K; Petsagourakis, Despina; Wann, Ellen G; Muzzio, Isabel A
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.
Yoo, S-W; Bae, M; Tovar-Y-Romo, L B; Haughey, N J
Rodent models of auditory fear conditioning are often used to understand the molecular mechanisms regulating fear- and anxiety-related behaviors. Conditioning and extinction memories are influenced by contextual cues, and the reinstatement of conditioned fear occurs when the conditioning stimulus is presented in a context different from the extinction context. Although it has been proposed that internal state is a feature of context that could influence extinction, contributions of interoception to conditioning have not been experimentally addressed. Here we use ethanol (EtOH) to show that interoceptive cues are encoded through the hippocampus by mechanisms that involve increased phosphorylation of GluR1 on serine 845, and biophysical alterations in neuronal membranes that facilitate stabilization of surface-located calcium-permeable n-2-amino-3-(5-methyl-3-oxo-1,2-oxazol-4-yl) propanoic acid (AMPA) receptor (AMPAR) into membrane microdomains. Conflicting interoceptive cues during extinction and fear relapse testing resulted in a failure to consolidate extinction that was reversed by the administration of AMPAR antagonists immediately following the retrieval cue.
Trifilieff, Pierre; Vanhoutte, Peter; Caboche, Jocelyne; Desmedt, Aline; Riedel, Gernot; Mons, Nicole; Micheau, Jacques; Herry, Cyril
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…
Do-Monte, Fabricio H.; Quinones-Laracuente, Kelvin; Quirk, Gregory J.
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
Pape, Hans-Christian; Pare, Denis
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
Yokoyama, Marie; Matsuo, Naoki
The details of contextual or episodic memories are lost and generalized with the passage of time. Proper generalization may underlie the formation and assimilation of semantic memories and enable animals to adapt to ever-changing environments, whereas overgeneralization of fear memory evokes maladaptive fear responses to harmless stimuli, which is a symptom of anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To understand the neural basis of fear memory generalization, we investigated the patterns of neuronal ensemble reactivation during memory retrieval when contextual fear memory expression is generalized using transgenic mice that allowed us to visualize specific neuronal ensembles activated during memory encoding and retrieval. We found preferential reactivations of neuronal ensembles in the primary somatosensory cortex (SS), when mice were returned to the conditioned context to retrieve their memory 1 day after conditioning. In the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG), exclusively separated ensemble reactivation was observed when mice were exposed to a novel context. These results suggest that the DG as well as the SS were likely to distinguish the two different contexts at the ensemble activity level when memory is not generalized at the behavioral level. However, 9 days after conditioning when animals exhibited generalized fear, the unique reactivation pattern in the DG, but not in the SS, was lost. Our results suggest that the alternations in the ensemble representation within the DG, or in upstream structures that link the sensory cortex to the hippocampus, may underlie generalized contextual fear memory expression. PMID:27872586
Soeter, Marieke; Kindt, Merel
Disrupting the process of memory reconsolidation may point to a novel therapeutic strategy for the permanent reduction of fear in patients suffering from anxiety disorders. However both in animal and human studies the retrieval cue typically involves a re-exposure to the original fear-conditioned stimulus (CS). A relevant question is whether abstract cues not directly associated with the threat event also trigger reconsolidation, given that anxiety disorders often result from vicarious or unobtrusive learning for which no explicit memory exists. Insofar as the fear memory involves a flexible representation of the original learning experience, we hypothesized that the process of memory reconsolidation may also be triggered by abstract cues. We addressed this hypothesis by using a differential human fear-conditioning procedure in two distinct fear-learning groups. We predicted that if fear learning involves discrimination on basis of perceptual cues within one semantic category (i.e., the perceptual-learning group, n = 15), the subsequent ambiguity of the abstract retrieval cue would not trigger memory reconsolidation. In contrast, if fear learning involves discriminating between two semantic categories (i.e., categorical-learning group, n = 15), an abstract retrieval cue would unequivocally reactivate the fear memory and might subsequently trigger memory reconsolidation. Here we show that memory reconsolidation may indeed be triggered by another cue than the one that was present during the original learning occasion, but this effect depends on the learning history. Evidence for fear memory reconsolidation was inferred from the fear-erasing effect of one pill of propranolol (40 mg) systemically administered upon exposure to the abstract retrieval cue. Our finding that reconsolidation of a specific fear association does not require exposure to the original retrieval cue supports the feasibility of reconsolidation-based interventions for emotional disorders.
Soeter, Marieke; Kindt, Merel
Disrupting the process of memory reconsolidation may point to a novel therapeutic strategy for the permanent reduction of fear in patients suffering from anxiety disorders. However both in animal and human studies the retrieval cue typically involves a re-exposure to the original fear-conditioned stimulus (CS). A relevant question is whether abstract cues not directly associated with the threat event also trigger reconsolidation, given that anxiety disorders often result from vicarious or unobtrusive learning for which no explicit memory exists. Insofar as the fear memory involves a flexible representation of the original learning experience, we hypothesized that the process of memory reconsolidation may also be triggered by abstract cues. We addressed this hypothesis by using a differential human fear-conditioning procedure in two distinct fear-learning groups. We predicted that if fear learning involves discrimination on basis of perceptual cues within one semantic category (i.e., the perceptual-learning group, n = 15), the subsequent ambiguity of the abstract retrieval cue would not trigger memory reconsolidation. In contrast, if fear learning involves discriminating between two semantic categories (i.e., categorical-learning group, n = 15), an abstract retrieval cue would unequivocally reactivate the fear memory and might subsequently trigger memory reconsolidation. Here we show that memory reconsolidation may indeed be triggered by another cue than the one that was present during the original learning occasion, but this effect depends on the learning history. Evidence for fear memory reconsolidation was inferred from the fear-erasing effect of one pill of propranolol (40 mg) systemically administered upon exposure to the abstract retrieval cue. Our finding that reconsolidation of a specific fear association does not require exposure to the original retrieval cue supports the feasibility of reconsolidation-based interventions for emotional disorders. PMID
Desmedt, Aline; Marighetto, Aline; Piazza, Pier-Vincenzo
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.
Harrison, E M; Carmack, S A; Block, C L; Sun, J; Anagnostaras, S G; Gorman, M R
In mammals, memory acquisition and retrieval can be affected by time of day, as well as by manipulations of the light/dark cycle. Under bifurcation, a manipulation of circadian waveform, two subjective days and nights are experimentally induced in rodents. We examined the effect of bifurcation on Pavlovian fear conditioning, a prominent model of learning and memory. Here we demonstrate that bifurcation of the circadian waveform produces a small deficit in acquisition, but not on retrieval of fear memory. In contrast, repeated phase-shifting in a simulated jet-lag protocol impairs retrieval of memory for cued fear. The results have implications for those attempting to adjust to shift-work or other challenging schedules.
Giustino, Thomas F.; Maren, Stephen
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
Auchter, Allison; Cormack, Lawrence K.; Niv, Yael; Gonzalez-Lima, Francisco; Monfils, Marie H.
Fear extinction typically results in the formation of a new inhibitory memory that suppresses the original conditioned response. Evidence also suggests that extinction training during a retrieval-induced labile period results in integration of the extinction memory into the original fear memory, rendering the fear memory less susceptible to reinstatement. Here we investigated the parameters by which the retrieval-extinction paradigm was most effective in memory updating. Specifically, we manipulated the inter-trial intervals (ITIs) between conditional stimulus (CS) presentations during extinction, examining how having interval lengths with different degrees of variability affected the strength of memory updating. We showed that randomizing the ITI of CS presentations during extinction led to less return of fear via reinstatement than extinction with a fixed ITI. Subjects who received variable ITIs during extinction also showed higher freezing during the ITI, indicating that the randomization of CS presentations led to a higher general reactivity during extinction, which may be one potential mechanism for memory updating. PMID:28174526
Jiang, Lizhu; Liu, Chen; Tong, Jianbin; Mao, Rongrong; Chen, Dan; Wang, Hui; Huang, Jufang; Li, Lingjiang
The amygdala is a critical brain region for auditory fear conditioning, which is a stressful condition for experimental rats. Adult neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus, known to be sensitive to behavioral stress and treatment of the antidepressant fluoxetine (FLX), is involved in the formation of hippocampus-dependent memories. Here, we investigated whether neurogenesis also occurs in the amygdala and contributes to auditory fear memory. In rats showing persistent auditory fear memory following fear conditioning, we found that the survival of new-born cells and the number of new-born cells that differentiated into mature neurons labeled by BrdU and NeuN decreased in the amygdala, but the number of cells that developed into astrocytes labeled by BrdU and GFAP increased. Chronic pretreatment with FLX partially rescued the reduction in neurogenesis in the amygdala and slightly suppressed the maintenance of the long-lasting auditory fear memory 30 days after the fear conditioning. The present results suggest that adult neurogenesis in the amygdala is sensitive to antidepressant treatment and may weaken long-lasting auditory fear memory.
King, Elizabeth C.; Pattwell, Siobhan S.; Sun, Alice; Glatt, Charles E.; Lee, Francis S.
The transition into and out of adolescence represents a unique developmental period during which neuronal circuits are particularly susceptible to modification by experience. Adolescence is associated with an increased incidence of anxiety disorders in humans,1–3 and an estimated 75% of adults with fear-related disorders met diagnostic criteria as children and adolescents.4,5 Conserved neural circuitry between rodents and humans has facilitated neurodevelopmental studies of behavioral and molecular processes associated with fear learning and memory, which lie at the heart of many anxiety disorders. Here, we review the non-linear developmental aspects of fear learning and memory during a transition period into and out of adolescence and provide a discussion of the molecular mechanisms that may underlie these alterations in behavior. We provide a model that may help to inform novel treatment strategies for children and adolescents with fear-related disorders. PMID:24176014
Baldi, Elisabetta; Bucherelli, Corrado
During contextual fear conditioning a rat learns a temporal contiguity association between the exposition to a previously neutral context (CS) and an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US) as a footshock. This condition determines in the rat the freezing reaction during the subsequent re-exposition to the context. Potentially the re-exposition without US presentation initiates two opposing and competing processes: reconsolidation and extinction. Reconsolidation process re-stabilizes and strengthens the original memory and it is initiated by a brief re-exposure to context. Instead the extinction process leads to the decrease of the expression of the original memory and it is triggered by prolonged re-exposure to the context. Here we analyzed the entorhinal cortex (ENT) participation in contextual fear conditioning reconsolidation and extinction. The rats were trained in contextual fear conditioning and 24h later they were subjected either to a brief (2 min) reactivation session or to a prolonged (120 min) re-exposition to context to induce extinction of the contextual fear memory. Immediately after the reactivation or the extinction session, the animals were submitted to bilateral ENT TTX inactivation. Memory retention was assessed as conditioned freezing duration measured 72 h after TTX administration. The results showed that ENT inactivation both after reactivation and extinction session was followed by contextual freezing retention impairment. Thus, the present findings point out that ENT is involved in contextual fear memory reconsolidation and extinction. This neural structure might be part of parallel circuits underlying two phases of contextual fear memory processing.
Chapman, Hanah A; Johannes, Kristen; Poppenk, Jordan L; Moscovitch, Morris; Anderson, Adam K
Studies of emotional memory typically focus on the memory-enhancing effects of emotional dimensions such as arousal and valence. However, it is unclear to what extent different emotional categories could have distinct effects on memory over and above these dimensional influences. We tested this possibility by investigating the impact of two negative, highly arousing, and withdrawal-related emotions-disgust and fear--on attention and subsequent memory. To index differential attention during encoding, participants performed a speeded line discrimination task (LDT) while viewing disgusting and fearful photographs of similar valence and arousal, which were assessed for later memory. LDT performance was slower, and subsequent recall and recognition were greater, for disgusting compared to both fearful and neutral images. Disgust enhancement of memory remained significant even when controlling for attention at encoding and for arousal, visual salience, and conceptual distinctiveness. Receiver-operating curve analyses indicated that disgust enhancement of memory was due to increased sensitivity, rather than response bias. Thus, disgust appears to have a special salience in memory relative to certain other emotions, suggesting that a purely dimensional model of emotional influences on cognition is inadequate to account for their effects. We speculate that disgust enhancement of memory could arise from an origin in conditioned taste aversion, a highly enduring form of implicit memory.
Nasehi, Mohammad; Davoudi, Kamelia; Ebrahimi-Ghiri, Mohaddeseh; Zarrindast, Mohammad-Reza
The possible interactions between the cannabinoid and serotonin systems in the regions of the brain involved in emotional learning and memory formation have been studied by some researchers. In view of the key role of the amygdala in the acquisition and expression of fear memory, we investigated the involvement of basolateral amygdala (BLA) serotonin 5-HT4 receptors in arachidonylcyclopropylamide (ACPA; selective CB1 cannabinoid receptor agonist)-induced fear memory consolidation impairment. In our study, a context and tone fear conditioning apparatus was used for testing fear conditioning in adult male NMRI mice. The results showed that intraperitoneal administration of ACPA 0.5 or 0.05, 0.1 and 0.5mg/kg immediately after training decreased the percentage of freezing time in context or tone fear conditioning respectively, suggesting a context- or tone-dependent fear memory consolidation impairment. Post-training intra-BLA microinjections of RS67333, as 5-HT4 serotonin receptor agonist, at doses of 0.025 and 0.05 µg/mouse also impaired context or tone memory consolidation, while RS23597, as 5-HT4 serotonin receptor antagonist, did not produce a marked difference in both fear memories as compared with the control group. Moreover, a subthreshold dose of RS67333 did not alter ACPA response in both fear conditionings. Interestingly, a subthreshold dose of RS23597 potentiated or reversed ACPA response at the dose of 0.01 or 0.05 respectively. It is concluded that BLA serotonin 5-HT4 receptors are involved in tone-dependent fear memory consolidation impairment induced by CB1 activation using ACPA, suggesting a modulatory role for serotonin 5-HT4 receptor.
Kent, Brianne A; Brown, Thomas H
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.
Kent, Brianne A.; Brown, Thomas H.
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. PMID:22903623
Knapska, Ewelina; Maren, Stephen
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.…
Bergstrom, Hadley C; Johnson, Luke R
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.
Dunsmoor, Joseph E.; Mitroff, Stephen R.; LaBar, Kevin S.
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 experimental groups underwent discriminative fear conditioning between a face stimulus of 55% fear intensity (conditioned stimulus, CS+), reinforced with an electric shock, and a second stimulus that was unreinforced (CS−). In Experiment 1 the CS− was a relatively neutral face stimulus, while in Experiment 2 the CS− was the most fear-intense stimulus. Before and following fear conditioning, skin conductance responses (SCR) were recorded to different morph values along the neutral-to-fear dimension. Both experimental groups showed gradients of generalization following fear conditioning that increased with the fear intensity of the stimulus. In Experiment 1 a peak shift in SCRs extended to the most fear-intense stimulus. In contrast, generalization to the most fear-intense stimulus was reduced in Experiment 2, suggesting that discriminative fear learning procedures can attenuate fear generalization. Together, the findings indicate that fear generalization is broadly tuned and sensitive to the amount of fear intensity in nonconditioned stimuli, but that fear generalization can come under stimulus control. These results reveal a novel form of fear generalization in humans that is not merely based on physical similarity to a conditioned exemplar, and may have implications for understanding generalization processes in anxiety disorders characterized by heightened sensitivity to nonthreatening stimuli. PMID:19553384
Wood, Suzanne C.; Fay, Jonathon; Sage, Jennifer R.; Anagnostaras, Stephan G.
Emerging evidence suggests that cocaine and other drugs of abuse can interfere with many aspects of cognitive functioning. The authors examined the effects of 0.1 – 15 mg/kg of cocaine on Pavlovian contextual and cued fear conditioning in mice. As expected, pre-training cocaine dose-dependently produced hyperactivity and disrupted freezing. Surprisingly, when the mice were tested off-drug later, the group pre-treated with a moderate dose of cocaine (15 mg/kg) displayed significantly less contextual and cued memory, compared to saline control animals. Conversely, mice pre-treated with a very low dose of cocaine (0.1 mg/kg) showed significantly enhanced fear memory for both context and tone, compared to controls. These results were not due to cocaine’s anesthetic effects, as shock reactivity was unaffected by cocaine. The data suggest that despite cocaine’s reputation as a performance-enhancing and anxiogenic drug, this effect is seen only at very low doses, whereas a moderate dose disrupts hippocampus and amygdala-dependent fear conditioning. PMID:17098299
Ji, Jinzhao; Maren, Stephen
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 the DH blunted the expression of conditional freezing to an auditory conditional stimulus (CS), but did not affect the acquisition of extinction to that CS. In contrast, DH lesions impaired the context-specific expression of extinction, eliminating the renewal of fear normally observed to a CS presented outside of the extinction context. Post-extinction DH lesions also eliminated the context dependence of fear extinction. These results are consistent with those using pharmacological inactivation of the DH and suggest that the DH is required for using contextual stimuli to regulate the expression of fear to a Pavlovian CS after extinction.
Bredy, Timothy W; Barad, Mark
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 function as a histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDAC). Here we report that VPA enhances long-term memory for both acquisition and extinction of cued-fear. Interestingly, VPA enhances extinction, but also enhances renewal of the original conditioned fear when tested in a within-subjects design. This effect appears to be related to a reconsolidation-like process since a single CS reminder in the presence of VPA can enhance long-term memory for the original fear in the context in which fear conditioning takes place. We also show that by modifying the intertrial interval during extinction training, VPA can strengthen reconsolidation of the original fear memory or enhance long-term memory for extinction such that it becomes independent of context. These findings have important implications for the use of HDAC inhibitors as adjuncts to behavior therapy in the treatment of phobia and related anxiety disorders.
Tinoco-González, Daniella; Fullana, Miquel Angel; Torrents-Rodas, David; Bonillo, Albert; Vervliet, Bram; Blasco, María Jesús; Farré, Magí; Torrubia, Rafael
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.
Ferrer Monti, Roque I; Giachero, Marcelo; Alfei, Joaquín M; Bueno, Adrián M; Cuadra, Gabriel; Molina, Victor A
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.
Norrholm, Seth D.; Jovanovic, Tanja; Vervliet, Bram; Myers, Karyn M.; Davis, Michael; Rothbaum, Barbara O.; Duncan, Erica J.
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…
Wheelan, Nicola; Webster, Scott P.; Kenyon, Christopher J.; Caughey, Sarah; Walker, Brian R.; Holmes, Megan C.; Seckl, Jonathan R.; Yau, Joyce L.W.
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. PMID:25497454
Wheelan, Nicola; Webster, Scott P; Kenyon, Christopher J; Caughey, Sarah; Walker, Brian R; Holmes, Megan C; Seckl, Jonathan R; Yau, Joyce L W
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.
Meloni, Edward G; Gillis, Timothy E; Manoukian, Jasmine; Kaufman, Marc J
Xenon (Xe) is a noble gas that has been developed for use in people as an inhalational anesthestic and a diagnostic imaging agent. Xe inhibits glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors involved in learning and memory and can affect synaptic plasticity in the amygdala and hippocampus, two brain areas known to play a role in fear conditioning models of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Because glutamate receptors also have been shown to play a role in fear memory reconsolidation--a state in which recalled memories become susceptible to modification--we examined whether Xe administered after fear memory reactivation could affect subsequent expression of fear-like behavior (freezing) in rats. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were trained for contextual and cued fear conditioning and the effects of inhaled Xe (25%, 1 hr) on fear memory reconsolidation were tested using conditioned freezing measured days or weeks after reactivation/Xe administration. Xe administration immediately after fear memory reactivation significantly reduced conditioned freezing when tested 48 h, 96 h or 18 d after reactivation/Xe administration. Xe did not affect freezing when treatment was delayed until 2 h after reactivation or when administered in the absence of fear memory reactivation. These data suggest that Xe substantially and persistently inhibits memory reconsolidation in a reactivation and time-dependent manner, that it could be used as a new research tool to characterize reconsolidation and other memory processes, and that it could be developed to treat people with PTSD and other disorders related to emotional memory.
Nasehi, Mohammad; Zamanparvar, Majid; Ebrahimi-Ghiri, Mohaddeseh; Zarrindast, Mohammad-Reza
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.
Waltereit, Robert; Mannhardt, Sönke; Nescholta, Sabine; Maser-Gluth, Christiane; Bartsch, Dusan
Memory extinction, defined as a decrease of a conditioned response as a function of a non-reinforced conditioned stimulus presentation, has high biological and clinical relevance. Extinction is not a passive reversing or erasing of the plasticity associated with acquisition, but a novel, active learning process. Nifedipine blocks L-type voltage gated calcium channels (LVGCC) and has been shown previously to selectively interfere with the extinction, but not the acquisition, of fear memory. We studied here the effect of retrograde and anterograde shifts of nifedipine application, with respect to an extinction training, on the extinction of fear conditioning. Subcutaneous injection of 30 mg/kg nifedipine, at least up to 4 h before the extinction session, significantly impaired extinction, as did intraperitoneal injection of 15 mg/kg nifedipine, at least up to 2 h before extinction training. However, the injection of nifedipine also induced a strong and protracted stress response. The pharmacokinetics of nifedipine suggest that it was mainly this stress response that triggered the specific inhibition of extinction, not the blockade of LVGCC in the brain. Our results support recent findings that stress selectively interferes with the extinction, but not the acquisition, of fear memory. They also indicate that a pharmacological approach is not sufficient to study the role of brain LVGCC in learning and memory. Further research using specific genetically modified animals is necessary to delineate the role of LVGCC in fear memory extinction.
McNally, Gavan P; Westbrook, R Frederick
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.
Tian, Shaowen; Huang, Fulian; Li, Peng; Ouyang, Xinping; Li, Zengbang; Deng, Haifeng; Yang, Yufeng
There is increasing evidence that sleep may be involved in memory consolidation. However, there remain comparatively few studies that have explored the relationship between sleep and memory reconsolidation. At present study, we tested the effects of rapid eye movement sleep deprivation (RSD) on the reconsolidation of cued (experiment 1) and contextual (experiment 2) fear memory in rats. Behaviour procedure involved four training phases: habituation, fear conditioning, reactivation and test. Rats were subjected to 6h RSD starting either immediately after reactivation or 6h later. The control rats were returned to their home cages immediately after reactivation and left undisturbed. Contrary to those hypotheses speculating a potential role of sleep in reconsolidation, we found that post-reactivation RSD whether from 0 to 6h or 6 to 12h had no effect on the reconsolidation of both cued and contextual fear memory. However, our present results did not exclude the potential roles of non-rapid eye movement sleep in the reconsolidation of fear memory or sleep in the reconsolidation of other memory paradigms.
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...
Vieira, Philip A.; Lovelace, Jonathan W.; Corches, Alex; Rashid, Asim J.; Josselyn, Sheena A.; Korzus, Edward
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…
Signor, Cristiane; Girardi, Bruna Amanda; Lorena Wendel, Arithane; Frühauf, Pâmella Karina Santana; Pillat, Micheli M; Ulrich, Henning; Mello, Carlos F; Rubin, Maribel A
Putrescine, spermidine and spermine are organic cations implicated in learning, memory consolidation, reconsolidation and neurogenesis. These physiological processes are closely related, and convincing evidence indicates that neurogenesis is implicated both, in the establishment and maintenance of remote contextual fear memory. Although brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a key mediator involved in both neurogenesis and memory consolidation, effects of spermidine on persistence of memory after reactivation (reconsolidation) and possible involvement of BDNF have not been investigated. Here, we investigated whether the intrahippocampal infusion of spermidine improves the persistence of reconsolidated contextual fear conditioning memory in rats and whether these possible changes depend on BDNF/TrkB signaling in the hippocampus. The infusion of spermidine immediately and 12h post-reactivation improved fear memory of the animals tested seven but not two days after reactivation. The facilitatory effect of spermidine on the persistence of reconsolidated memory was blocked by the TrkB inhibitor ANA-12 (73.6pmol/site) and accompanied by mature BDNF level increase in the hippocampus, indicating that it depends on the BDNF/TrkB pathway. We also investigated whether spermidine alters BDNF levels and neural progenitor cell differentiation in vitro. Spermidine increased BDNF levels in vitro, facilitating neuritogenesis and neural migration. Spermidine-induced neuritogenesis in vitro was also blocked by ANA-12 (10µM). Since spermidine increases BDNF levels and facilitates neural differentiation in vitro, similar mechanisms may be involved in spermidine-induced facilitation of the persistence of reconsolidated memory.
Bredy, Timothy W.; Barad, Mark
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…
Huff, Nicole C.; Wright-Hardesty, Karli J.; Higgins, Emily A.; Matus-Amat, Patricia; Rudy, Jerry W.
We report that post-training inactivation of basolateral amygdala region (BLA) with muscimol impaired memory for contextual-fear conditioning (as measured by freezing) and intra-BLA norepinephrine enhanced this memory. However, pre-exposure to the context eliminated both of these effects. These findings provide a likely explanation of why an…
Gafford, Georgette M.; Parsons, Ryan G.; Helmstetter, Fred J.
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…
Misane, Ilga; Tovote, Philip; Meyer, Michael; Spiess, Joachim; Ogren, Sven Ove; Stiedl, Oliver
Hippocampal and amygdaloid neuroplasticity are important substrates for Pavlovian fear conditioning. The hippocampus has been implicated in trace fear conditioning. However, a systematic investigation of the significance of the trace interval has not yet been performed. Therefore, this study analyzed the time-dependent involvement of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the dorsal hippocampus in one-trial auditory trace fear conditioning in C57BL/6J mice. The NMDA receptor antagonist APV was injected bilaterally into the dorsal hippocampus 15 min before training. Mice were exposed to tone (conditioned stimulus [CS]) and footshock (unconditioned stimulus [US]) in the conditioning context without delay (0 s) or with CS-US (trace) intervals of 1-45 s. Conditioned auditory fear was determined 24 h after training by the assessment of freezing and computerized evaluation of inactivity in a new context; 2 h later, context-dependent memory was tested in the conditioning context. NMDA receptor blockade by APV markedly impaired conditioned auditory fear at trace intervals of 15 s and 30 s, but not at shorter trace intervals. A 45-s trace interval prevented the formation of conditioned tone-dependent fear. Context-dependent memory was always impaired by APV treatment independent of the trace interval. The results indicate that the dorsal hippocampus and its NMDA receptors play an important role in auditory trace fear conditioning at trace intervals of 15-30-s length. In contrast, NMDA receptors in the dorsal hippocampus are unequivocally involved in contextual fear conditioning independent of the trace interval. The results point at a time-dependent role of the dorsal hippocampus in encoding of noncontingent explicit stimuli. Preprocessing of long CS-US contingencies in the hippocampus appears to be important for the final information processing and execution of fear memories through amygdala circuits.
Sachser, Ricardo Marcelo; Crestani, Ana Paula; Quillfeldt, Jorge Alberto; e Souza, Tadeu Mello; de Oliveira Alvares, Lucas
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…
Beeman, Christopher L.; Bauer, Philip S.; Pierson, Jamie L.; Quinn, Jennifer J.
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…
Bergado-Acosta, Jorge R; Müller, Iris; Richter-Levin, Gal; Stork, Oliver
Circadian fluctuations of fear and anxiety symptoms are observable in persons with post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety, and panic disorder; however, the underlying neurobiological mechanisms are not sufficiently understood. In the present study, we investigated the putative role of inhibitory neurotransmission in the circadian fluctuation of fear symptoms, using mice with genetic ablation of the γ-amino butyric acid (GABA) synthesizing isoenzyme, glutamic acid decarboxylase GAD65. We observed in these mutant mice an altered expression of conditioned fear with a profound reduction of freezing, and an increase of hyperactivity bouts occurring only when both fear conditioning training and retrieval testing were done at the beginning of their active phase. Mutants further showed an increased arousal response at this time of the day, although, circadian rhythm of home cage activity was unaltered. Hyperactivity and reduced freezing during fear memory retrieval were accompanied by an increased induction of the immediate early gene cFos suggesting hyperactivation of the hippocampus, amygdala, and medial hypothalamus. Our data suggest a role of GAD65-mediated GABA synthesis in the encoding of circadian information to fear memory. GAD65 deficits in a state-dependent manner result in increased neural activation in fear circuits and elicit panic-like flight responses during fear memory retrieval.
Dunsmoor, Joseph E.; Mitroff, Stephen R.; LaBar, Kevin S.
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…
Burgos-Robles, Anthony; Vidal-Gonzalez, Ivan; Quirk, Gregory J
During auditory fear conditioning, it is well established that lateral amygdala (LA) neurons potentiate their response to the tone conditioned stimulus, and that this potentiation is required for conditioned fear behavior. Conditioned tone responses in LA, however, last only a few hundred milliseconds and cannot be responsible for sustained fear responses to a tone lasting tens of seconds. Recent evidence from inactivation and stimulation studies suggests that the prelimbic (PL) prefrontal cortex is necessary for expression of learned fears, but the timing of PL tone responses and correlations with fear behavior have not been studied. Using multichannel unit recording techniques in behaving rats, we observed sustained conditioned tone responses in PL that were correlated with freezing behavior on a second-to-second basis during the presentation of a 30 s tone. PL tone responses were also correlated with conditioned freezing across different experimental phases (habituation, conditioning, extinction). Moreover, the persistence of PL responses after extinction training was associated with failure to express extinction memory. Together with previous inactivation findings, the present results suggest that PL transforms transient amygdala inputs to a sustained output that drives conditioned fear responses and gates the expression of extinction. Given the relatively long latency of conditioned responses we observed in PL (approximately 100 ms after tone onset), we propose that PL integrates inputs from the amygdala, hippocampus, and other cortical sources to regulate the expression of fear memories.
Patricio, Rafael Rodisanski; Soares, Juliana Carlota Kramer; Oliveira, Maria Gabriela Menezes
Several studies have investigated the transition of consolidation of recent memory to remote memory in aversively motivated tasks, such as contextual fear conditioning (CFC) and inhibitory avoidance (IA). However, the mechanisms that serve the retrieval of remote memories, has not yet been fully understood. Some evidences suggest that the central cholinergic system appears be involved in the modulation of these processes. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the effects of a pre-test administration of dicyclomine, a high-affinity M1 muscarinic receptor antagonist, on the retrieval of remote memories in fear conditioning and IA tasks. Male Wistar rats were trained, and after 1 or 28days, the rats received dicyclomine (16 or 32mg/kg, intraperitoneally, i.p.) and were tested in CFC, tone fear conditioning (TFC) and IA tasks. At both time intervals, 32mg/kg dicyclomine induced impairment of CFC. In TFC task only the performance of the rats 28days after training was impaired. The IA task was not affected in any of the studied intervals. These findings suggest a differential contribution of muscarinic receptors on recent and remote memories retrieval revealing a more generalized role in remote memory.
Schiele, Miriam A; Reinhard, Julia; Reif, Andreas; Domschke, Katharina; Romanos, Marcel; Deckert, Jürgen; Pauli, Paul
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.
Bukalo, Olena; Pinard, Courtney R.; Silverstein, Shana; Brehm, Christina; Hartley, Nolan D.; Whittle, Nigel; Colacicco, Giovanni; Busch, Erica; Patel, Sachin; Singewald, Nicolas; Holmes, Andrew
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
Schenberg, Eduardo Ekman; Soares, Juliana Carlota Kramer; Oliveira, Maria Gabriela Menezes
Fear conditioning is one of the most studied paradigms to assess the neural basis of emotional memory. The circuitry involves NMDA receptor activation in the amygdala and, in the case of contextual conditioning, in the hippocampus. Entorhinal cortex is one of the major input/output structures to the hippocampus and also projects to the amygdala, both through glutamatergic transmission. Other learning tasks involving hippocampus and amygdala, such as inhibitory avoidance, require entorhinal cortex during acquisition and consolidation. However, the involvement of NMDA receptors mediated transmission in entorhinal cortex in fear conditioning acquisition and consolidation is not clear. To investigate that issue, rats were trained in fear conditioning to both contextual and tone conditioned stimulus. Immediately before, immediately, 30 or 90 min after training they received NMDA antagonist AP5 or saline injections bilaterally in the entorhinal cortex (AP-6.8 mm, L +/-5.0 mm DV-6.8 mm). Contextual fear conditioning was measured 24 h after training, and tone fear conditioning 48 h after training. AP5 injections selectively impaired contextual fear conditioning only when injected pre-training. Post-training injections had no effect. These findings suggest that entorhinal cortex NMDA receptors are necessary for acquisition, but not for consolidation, of contextual fear conditioning. On the other hand, both acquisition and consolidation of tone fear conditioning seem to be independent of NMDA receptors in the entorhinal cortex.
Garcia, René; Spennato, Guillaume; Nilsson-Todd, Linda; Moreau, Jean-Luc; Deschaux, Olivier
Disruptions of fear extinction-related potentiation of synaptic efficacy in the connection between the hippocampus (HPC) and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) have been shown to impair the recall of extinction memory. This study was undertaken to examine if chronic mild stress (CMS), which is known to alter induction of HPC-mPFC long-term potentiation, would also interfere with both extinction-related HPC-mPFC potentiation and extinction memory. Following fear conditioning (5 tone-shock pairings), rats were submitted to fear extinction (20 tone-alone presentations), which produced an increase in the amplitude of HPC-mPFC field potentials. HPC low-frequency stimulation (LFS), applied immediately after training, suppressed these changes and induced fear return during the retention test (5 tone-alone presentations). CMS, delivered before fear conditioning, did not interfere with fear extinction but blocked the development of extinction-related potentiation in the HPC-mPFC pathway and impaired the recall of extinction. These findings suggest that HPC LFS may provoke metaplastic changes in HPC outputs that may mimic alterations associated with a history of chronic stress.
Burghardt, N S; Bauer, E P
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.
Lee, Hyunchan; Noh, Jihyun
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.
Garfinkel, Sarah N; Abelson, James L; King, Anthony P; Sripada, Rebecca K; Wang, Xin; Gaines, Laura M; Liberzon, Israel
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.
Baldi, Elisabetta; Mariottini, Chiara; Bucherelli, Corrado
The nucleus basalis magnocellularis (NBM) is known to be involved in the memorization of several conditioned responses. To investigate the role of the NBM in fear conditioning memorization, this neural site was subjected to fully reversible tetrodotoxin (TTX) inactivation during consolidation in adult male Wistar rats that had undergone fear training to acoustic conditioned stimulus (CS) and context. TTX was stereotaxically administered to different groups of rats at increasing intervals after the acquisition session. Memory was assessed as the conditioned freezing duration measured during retention testing, always performed 72 and 96 h after TTX administration. In this way, there was no interference with normal NBM function during either acquisition or retrieval phases, allowing any amnesic effect to be due only to consolidation disruption. The results show that for contextual fear response memory consolidation, NBM functional integrity is necessary up to 24 h post-acquisition. On the other hand, NBM functional integrity was shown to be necessary for memory consolidation of the acoustic CS fear response only immediately after acquisition and not 24-h post-acquisition. The present findings help to elucidate the role of the NBM in memory consolidation and better define the neural circuits involved in fear memories.
Maren, S; Aharonov, G; Fanselow, M S
Electrolytic lesions of the dorsal hippocampus (DH) produce deficits in both the acquisition and expression of conditional fear to contextual stimuli in rats. To assess whether damage to DH neurons is responsible for these deficits, we performed three experiments to examine the effects of neurotoxic N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) lesions of the DH on the acquisition and expression of fear conditioning. Fear conditioning consisted of the delivery of signaled or unsignaled footshocks in a novel conditioning chamber and freezing served as the measure of conditional fear. In Experiment 1, posttraining DH lesions produced severe retrograde deficits in context fear when made either 1 or 28, but not 100, days following training. Pretraining DH lesions made 1 week before training did not affect contextual fear conditioning. Tone fear was impaired by DH lesions at all training-to-lesion intervals. In Experiment 2, posttraining (1 day), but not pretraining (1 week), DH lesions produced substantial deficits in context fear using an unsignaled shock procedure. In Experiment 3, pretraining electrolytic DH lesions produced modest deficits in context fear using the same signaled and unsignaled shock procedures used in Experiments 1 and 2, respectively. Electrolytic, but not neurotoxic, lesions also increased pre-shock locomotor activity. Collectively, this pattern of results reveals that neurons in the DH are not required for the acquisition of context fear, but have a critical and time-limited role in the expression of context fear. The normal acquisition and expression of context fear in rats with neurotoxic DH lesions made before training may be mediated by conditioning to unimodal cues in the context, a process that may rely less on the hippocampal memory system.
Pace-Schott, Edward F.; Milad, Mohammed R.; Orr, Scott P.; Rauch, Scott L.; Stickgold, Robert; Pitman, Roger K.
Study Objective: To examine the effects of sleep on fear conditioning, extinction, extinction recall, and generalization of extinction recall in healthy humans. Design: During the Conditioning phase, a mild, 0.5-sec shock followed conditioned stimuli (CS+s), which consisted of 2 differently colored lamps. A third lamp color was interspersed but never reinforced (CS-). Immediately after Conditioning, one CS+ was extinguished (CS+E) by presentation without shocks (Extinction phase). The other CS+ went unextinguished (CS+U). Twelve hours later, following continuous normal daytime waking (Wake group, N = 27) or an equal interval containing a normal night's sleep (Sleep group, N = 26), conditioned responses (CRs) to all CSs were measured (Extinction Recall phase). It was hypothesized that the Sleep versus Wake group would show greater extinction recall and/or generalization of extinction recall from the CS+E to the CS+U. Setting: Academic medical center. Subjects: Paid normal volunteers. Measurements and Results: Square-root transformed skin conductance response (SCR) measured conditioned responding. During Extinction Recall, the Group (Wake or Sleep) × CS+ Type (CS+E or CS+U) interaction was significant (P = 0.04). SCRs to the CS+E did not differ between groups, whereas SCRs to the CS+U were significantly smaller in the Sleep group. Additionally, SCRs were significantly larger to the CS+U than CS+E in the Wake but not the Sleep group. Conclusions: After sleep, extinction memory generalized from an extinguished conditioned stimulus to a similarly conditioned but unextinguished stimulus. Clinically, adequate sleep may promote generalization of extinction memory from specific stimuli treated during exposure therapy to similar stimuli later encountered in vivo. Citation: Pace-Schott EF; Milad MR; Orr SP; Rauch SL; Stickgold R; Pitman RK. Sleep promotes generalization of extinction of conditioned fear. SLEEP 2009;32(1):19-26. PMID:19189775
Tian, S; Gao, J; Han, L; Fu, J; Li, C; Li, Z
Clinical observations have shown a link for the high comorbid rate between smoking and psychiatric disorders, including anxiety disorders. However, little is known about the neural mechanism underlying the progression from nicotine dependence to an anxiety disorder. A deficit in fear extinction in general is considered to contribute to anxiety disorders. The aim of the present study is to investigate the effects of chronic nicotine on fear extinction in rats. Rats were administrated s.c. nicotine twice per day for 14 days. Two weeks after the last injection rats received a cued or contextual fear conditioning session. Twenty-four hours and 48 h after conditioning, rats received an extinction training session and an extinction test session, respectively. Percent freezing was assessed during all phases of training. In the cued task, prior chronic nicotine did not affect the acquisition of fear response or the within-session fear extinction, but impaired the between-session fear extinction. In the contextual task, the same nicotine treatment schedule did not affect the acquisition of fear response or the within- and between-session fear extinction, but enhanced the retention of fear conditioning. This prior chronic nicotine-induced deficit in cued fear extinction and/or enhanced fear to context may be one of the critical components that contribute to the progression from nicotine dependence to an anxiety disorder.
Aubry, Antonio V.; Serrano, Peter A.; Burghardt, Nesha S.
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. PMID:27818625
Aubry, Antonio V; Serrano, Peter A; Burghardt, Nesha S
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.
Chowdhury, Najwa; Quinn, Jennifer J; Fanselow, Michael S
Placing a "trace" interval between a warning signal and an aversive shock makes consolidation of the memory for trace conditioning hippocampus dependent. To determine the trace at which memory consolidation requires the hippocampus, mice were trained with 0-s, 1-s, 3-s, or 20-s trace intervals and tested for freezing to context and tone. Posttraining dorsal hippocampus (DH) lesions decreased context conditioning regardless of trace interval. However, DH lesions attenuated only the 20-s trace tone freezing. Like eyeblink conditioning, the DH is necessary for trace fear conditioning only at long trace intervals, but the time scale for the effective interval in fear conditioning is about 40 times longer. Manipulations that alter trace fear conditioning with short trace intervals probably do not reflect altered DH function. Given this difference in time scale along with the use of posttraining DH lesions, hippocampus dependency of trace conditioning is not related to a bridging function or response timing.
Bang, Sun Jung; Allen, Timothy A; Jones, Lauren K; Boguszewski, Pawel; Brown, Thomas H
Rodent ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) are ethologically critical social signals. Rats emit 22kHz USVs and 50kHz 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 22kHz 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 4kHz discontinuous tone with an on-off pattern matched to one of the USVs, and a 50kHz 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 22kHz 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.
Lu, Yisheng; Sun, Xiang-Dong; Hou, Feng-Qing; Bi, Lin-Lin; Yin, Dong-Min; Liu, Fang; Chen, Yong-Jun; Bean, Jonathan C; Jiao, Hui-Feng; Liu, Xihui; Li, Bao-Ming; Xiong, Wen-Cheng; Gao, Tian-Ming; Mei, Lin
Inhibitory neurotransmission in amygdala is important for fear learning and memory. However, mechanisms that control the inhibitory activity in amygdala are not well understood. We provide evidence that neuregulin 1 (NRG1) and its receptor ErbB4 tyrosine kinase are critical for maintaining GABAergic activity in amygdala. Neutralizing endogenous NRG1, inhibition, or genetic ablation of ErbB4, which was expressed in a majority of palvalbumin (PV)+ neurons in amygdala, reduced GABAergic transmission and inhibited tone-cued fear conditioning. Specific ablation of ErbB4 in PV+ neurons reduced eIPSC/eEPSC ratios and impaired fear conditioning. Notably, expression of ErbB4 in amygdala was sufficient to diminish synaptic dysfunction and fear conditioning deficits in PV-ErbB4-/- mice. These observations indicated that NRG1 signaling maintains high GABAergic activity in amygdala and, thus, regulates fear memory. Considering that both NRG1 and ErbB4 are susceptibility genes of schizophrenia, our study sheds light on potential pathophysiological mechanisms of this disorder.
Nasehi, Mohammad; Roghani, Farnaz; Ebrahimi-Ghiri, Mohaddeseh; Zarrindast, Mohammad-Reza
The basolateral amygdala (BLA) is a key structure for the emotional processing and storage of memories associated with emotional events, especially fear. On the other hand, endocannabinoids and CB1 receptors play a key role in learning and memory partly through long-term synaptic depression of GABAergic synapses in the BLA. The aim of this study was to explore the effects of GABA-A receptor agonist and antagonist in the fear-related memory acquisition deficits induced by ACPA (a selective CB1 cannabinoid receptor agonist). This study used context and tone fear conditioning paradigms to assess fear-related memory in male NMRI mice. Our results showed that the pre-training intraperitoneal administration of ACPA (0.5mg/kg) or (0.1 and 0.5mg/kg) decreased the percentage of freezing time in the contextual and tone fear conditioning, respectively. This indicated an impaired context- or tone-dependent fear memory acquisition. Moreover, the pre-training intra-BLA microinjection of GABA-A receptor agonist, muscimol, at 0.05 and 0.5μg/mouse impaired context-dependent fear memory, while the same doses of GABA-A antagonist, bicuculline, impaired tone-dependent fear memory. However, a subthreshold dose of muscimol or bicuculline increased the effect of ACPA at 0.1 and 0.5 or 0.05mg/kg on context- or tone-dependent fear memory, respectively. In addition, bicuculline at the lower dose increased the ACPA response on locomotor activity compared to its respective group. Such findings highlighted an interaction between BLA GABAergic and cannabinoidergic systems during the acquisition phase of conditioned fear memories.
Borelli, Karina G; Albrechet-Souza, Lucas; Fedoce, Alessandra G; Fabri, Denise S; Resstel, Leonardo B; Brandão, Marcus L
The periaqueductal gray (PAG) columns have been implicated in controlling stress responses through corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), which is a neuropeptide with a prominent role in the etiology of fear- and anxiety-related psychopathologies. Several studies have investigated the involvement of dorsal PAG (dPAG) CRF mechanisms in models of unconditioned fear. However, less is known about the role of this neurotransmission in the expression of conditioned fear memories in the dPAG and ventrolateral PAG (vlPAG) columns. We assessed the effects of ovine CRF (oCRF 0.25 and 1.0 μg/0.2 μL) locally administered into the dPAG and vlPAG on behavioral (fear-potentiated startle and freezing) and autonomic (arterial pressure and heart rate) responses in rats subjected to contextual fear conditioning. The lower dose injected into the columns promoted proaversive effects, enhanced contextual freezing, increased the blood pressure and heart rate and decreased tail temperature. The lower dose of oCRF into the vlPAG, but not into the dPAG, produced a pronounced enhancement of the fear-potentiated startle response. The results imply that the PAG is a heterogeneous structure that is involved in the coordination of distinct behaviors and autonomic control, suggest PAG involvement in the expression of contextual fear memory as well as implicate the CRF as an important modulator of the neural substrates of fear in the PAG.
Ota, Kristie T.; Pierre, Vicki J.; Ploski, Jonathan E.; Queen, Kaila; Schafe, Glenn E.
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…
Kamprath, Kornelia; Wotjak, Carsten T
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.
Çalışkan, Gürsel; Albrecht, Anne; Hollnagel, Jan O; Rösler, Anton; Richter-Levin, Gal; Heinemann, Uwe; Stork, Oliver
The CA3 associative network plays a critical role in the generation of network activity patterns related to emotional state and fear memory. We investigated long-term changes in the corticosterone (CORT)-sensitive function of this network following fear conditioning and fear memory reactivation. In acute slice preparations from mice trained in either condition, the ratio of orthodromic population spike (PS) to antidromic PS was reduced compared to unconditioned animals, indicating a decrease in efficacy of neuronal coupling within the associative CA3 network. However, spontaneous sharp wave-ripples (SW-R), which are thought to arise from this network, remained unaltered. Following CORT application, we observed an increase in orthodromic PS and a normalization to control levels of their ratio to antidromic PS, while SW-R increased in slices of fear conditioned and fear reactivated mice, but not in slices of unconditioned controls. Together with our previous observations of altered hippocampal gamma activity under these learning paradigms, these data suggest that fear conditioning and fear reactivation lastingly alters the CORT-sensitive configuration of different network activity patterns generated by the CA3 associational network. Observed changes in the mRNA expression of receptors for glutamate, GABA and cannabinoids in the stratum pyramidale of area CA3 may provide a molecular mechanism for these adaptive changes.
Pereira, C W; Santos, F N; Sánchez-Pérez, A M; Otero-García, M; Marchioro, M; Ma, S; Gundlach, A L; Olucha-Bordonau, F E
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.
Zimmerman, Joshua M; Rabinak, Christine A; McLachlan, Ian G; Maren, Stephen
The basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA) is critical for the acquisition and expression of Pavlovian fear conditioning in rats. Nonetheless, rats with neurotoxic BLA lesions can acquire conditional fear after overtraining (75 trials). The capacity of rats with BLA lesions to acquire fear memory may be mediated by the central nucleus of the amygdala (CEA). To examine this issue, we examined the influence of neurotoxic CEA lesions or reversible inactivation of the CEA on the acquisition and expression of conditional freezing after overtraining in rats. Rats with pretraining CEA lesions (whether alone or in combination with BLA lesions) did not acquire conditional freezing to either the conditioning context or an auditory conditional stimulus after extensive overtraining. Similarly, post-training lesions of the CEA or BLA prevented the expression of overtrained fear. Lastly, muscimol infusions into the CEA prevented both the acquisition and the expression of overtrained fear, demonstrating that the effects of CEA lesions are not likely due to the destruction of en passant axons. These results suggest that the CEA is essential for conditional freezing after Pavlovian fear conditioning. Moreover, overtraining may engage a compensatory fear conditioning circuit involving the CEA in animals with damage to the BLA.
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
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.
Lithari, Chrysa; Moratti, Stephan; Weisz, Nathan
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.
Tinsley, Matthew R.; Quinn, Jennifer J.; Fanselow, Michael S.
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…
Kredlow, M Alexandra; Unger, Leslie D; Otto, Michael W
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. Postretrieval 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 postretrieval extinction effects and potential moderators of these effects. A PubMed and PsycINFO search was conducted through June 2014. Sixty-three comparisons examining postretrieval extinction for preventing the return of fear or appetitive responses in animals or humans met inclusion criteria. Postretrieval 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 nonsignificant, but moderated by the number of animals housed together and the duration of time between postretrieval extinction/extinction and test. Across paradigms, these findings support the efficacy of this preclinical strategy for preventing the return of conditioned fear and appetitive responses. Overall, findings to date support the continued translation of postretrieval extinction research to human and clinical applications, with particular application to the treatment of anxiety, traumatic stress, and substance use disorders.
Anastasio, Thomas J.
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
Mathew, Rebecca S; Tatarakis, Antonis; Rudenko, Andrii; Johnson-Venkatesh, Erin M; Yang, Yawei J; Murphy, Elisabeth A; Todd, Travis P; Schepers, Scott T; Siuti, Nertila; Martorell, Anthony J; Falls, William A; Hammack, Sayamwong E; Walsh, Christopher A; Tsai, Li-Huei; Umemori, Hisashi; Bouton, Mark E; Moazed, Danesh
The SNARE-mediated vesicular transport pathway plays major roles in synaptic remodeling associated with formation of long-term memories, but the mechanisms that regulate this pathway during memory acquisition are not fully understood. Here we identify miRNAs that are up-regulated in the rodent hippocampus upon contextual fear-conditioning and identify the vesicular transport and synaptogenesis pathways as the major targets of the fear-induced miRNAs. We demonstrate that miR-153, a member of this group, inhibits the expression of key components of the vesicular transport machinery, and down-regulates Glutamate receptor A1 trafficking and neurotransmitter release. MiR-153 expression is specifically induced during LTP induction in hippocampal slices and its knockdown in the hippocampus of adult mice results in enhanced fear memory. Our results suggest that miR-153, and possibly other fear-induced miRNAs, act as components of a negative feedback loop that blocks neuronal hyperactivity at least partly through the inhibition of the vesicular transport pathway. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.22467.001 PMID:28001126
Huerta, Patricio T; Robbiati, Sergio; Huerta, Tomás Salvador; Sabharwal, Anchal; Berlin, Rose A; Frankfurt, Maya; Volpe, Bruce T
Long-term sepsis survivors sustain cryptic brain injury that leads to cognitive impairment, emotional imbalance, and increased disability burden. Suitable animal models of sepsis, such as cecal ligation and puncture (CLP), have permitted the analysis of abnormal brain circuits that underlie post-septic behavioral phenotypes. For instance, we have previously shown that CLP-exposed mice exhibit impaired spatial memory together with depleted dendritic arbors and decreased spines in the apical dendrites of pyramidal neurons in the CA1 region of the hippocampus. Here we show that contextual fear conditioning, a form of associative memory for fear, is chronically disrupted in CLP mice when compared to SHAM-operated animals. We also find that the excitatory neurons in the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA) and the granule cells in the dentate gyrus (DG) display significantly fewer dendritic spines in the CLP group relative to the SHAM mice, although the dendritic arbors and gross morphology of the BLA and DG are comparable between the two groups. Moreover, the basal dendrites of CA1 pyramidal neurons are unaffected in the CLP mice. Taken together, our data indicate that the structural damage in the amygdalar-hippocampal network represents the neural substrate for impaired contextual fear memory in long-term sepsis survivors. Further, our data suggest that the brain injury caused by overwhelming sepsis alters the stability of the synaptic connections involved in associative fear. These results likely have implications for the emotional imbalance observed in human sepsis survivors.
Huerta, Patricio T; Robbiati, Sergio; Huerta, Tomás S; Sabharwal, Anchal; Berlin, Roseann; Frankfurt, Maya; Volpe, Bruce T
Long-term sepsis survivors sustain cryptic brain injury that leads to cognitive impairment, emotional imbalance and increased disability burden. Suitable animal models of sepsis, such as cecal ligation and puncture (CLP), have permitted the analysis of abnormal brain circuits that underlie post-septic behavioral phenotypes. For instance, we have previously shown that CLP-exposed mice exhibit impaired spatial memory together with depleted dendritic arbors and decreased spines in the apical dendrites of pyramidal neurons in the CA1 region of the hippocampus. Here we show that contextual fear conditioning, a form of associative memory for fear, is chronically disrupted in CLP mice when compared with sham-operated animals. We also find that excitatory neurons in the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA) and granule cells in the dentate gyrus (DG) display significantly fewer dendritic spines in the CLP group relative to the sham mice, although the dendritic arbors and gross morphology of the BLA and DG are comparable between the two groups. Moreover, the basal dendrites of CA1 pyramidal neurons are unaffected in CLP mice. Taken together, our data indicate that structural damage in the amygdalar-hippocampal network represents the neural substrate for impaired contextual fear memory in long-term sepsis survivors. Further, our data suggest that brain injury caused by overwhelming sepsis alters the stability of the synaptic connections involved in associative fear. These results likely have implications for the emotional imbalance observed in human sepsis survivors. PMID:27878209
Sachser, Ricardo Marcelo; Crestani, Ana Paula; Quillfeldt, Jorge Alberto; Mello E Souza, Tadeu; de Oliveira Alvares, Lucas
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.
Sachser, Ricardo Marcelo; Crestani, Ana Paula; Quillfeldt, Jorge Alberto; Mello e Souza, Tadeu
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
Silva, R. C. B.; Cruz, A. P. M.; Avanzi, V.; Landeira-Fernandez, J.; Brandão, M. L.
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
Fukushima, Hotaka; Zhang, Yue; Archbold, Georgia; Ishikawa, Rie; Nader, Karim; Kida, Satoshi
Memory retrieval is considered to have roles in memory enhancement. Recently, memory reconsolidation was suggested to reinforce or integrate new information into reactivated memory. Here, we show that reactivated inhibitory avoidance (IA) memory is enhanced through reconsolidation under conditions in which memory extinction is not induced. This memory enhancement is mediated by neurons in the amygdala, hippocampus, and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) through the simultaneous activation of calcineurin-induced proteasome-dependent protein degradation and cAMP responsive element binding protein-mediated gene expression. Interestingly, the amygdala is required for memory reconsolidation and enhancement, whereas the hippocampus and mPFC are required for only memory enhancement. Furthermore, memory enhancement triggered by retrieval utilizes distinct mechanisms to strengthen IA memory by additional learning that depends only on the amygdala. Our findings indicate that reconsolidation functions to strengthen the original memory and show the dynamic nature of reactivated memory through protein degradation and gene expression in multiple brain regions. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.02736.001 PMID:24963141
Dines, M; Lamprecht, R
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. PMID:25268254
Yang, Yi-Ling; Su, Ya-Wen; Ng, Ming-Chong; Chao, Po-Kuan; Tung, Li-Chu; Lu, Kwok-Tung
A standard extract of Ginkgo biloba (EGb761) has been used in the treatment of various common geriatric complaints including vertigo, short-term memory loss, hearing loss, lack of attention, or vigilance. We demonstrated that acute systemic administration of EGb761 facilitated the acquisition of conditioned fear. Many studies suggest the neural mechanism underlies extinction is similar to the acquisition. This raises a possibility that EGb761 may modulate and accelerate the fear extinction process. We tested this possibility by using fear-potentiated startle (FPS) on laboratory rats. Acute systemic injection of EGb761 (10, 20, or 50 mg/kg) 30 min before extinction training facilitated extinction in a dose-dependent manner. Intra-amygdaloid infusion of EGb761 (28 ng/side, bilaterally) 10 min before extinction training also facilitated extinction. Control experiments showed that facilitation effect of EGb761 was not the result of impaired expression of conditioned fear or accelerated forgetting. Rats previously injected with EGb761 showed significant FPS after retraining. Extinction of conditioned fear appeared to result from acute drug effects rather than from toxic action. Systemic administration of EGb761 immediately after extinction training did not facilitate extinction, suggested the EGb761 facilitation effect is contributed to the acquisition phase of extinction learning. Western blot results showed that extinction induced amygdaloid extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) phosphorylation was significantly elevated by EGb761 treatment. Intra-amygdala injection of ERK1/2 inhibitor PD98059 completely blocked the EGb761 effect. Therefore, acute EGb761 administration modulated extinction of conditioned fear by activating ERK1/2.
basolateral amygdala The second step is to demonstrate efficacy of the GABAB receptor agonist baclofen in blocking the development of fear conditioning...controls. The fourth step assesses the impact of baclofen given during the development of fear conditioning and measures its impact on subsequent
Manteghi, Fariborz; Nasehi, Mohammad; Zarrindast, Mohammad-Reza
Fear memory and learning cause behavioural patterns such as fight or flight responses, which increase survival probability, but unfit processing of fear memory and learning can lead to maladaptive behaviours and maladies such as phobias, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and anxiety disorders. The growing prevalence of these maladies shows the need to quest novel methods for their treatment. We used anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on the right frontal region as a precondition neuromodulator and arachidonylcyclopropylamide (ACPA), a selective CB1 cannabinoid receptor agonist, as a fear memory impairing agent to assess their effects on contextual and auditory fear conditioning (reliable model for fear studies). Right frontal anodal tDCS (0.2 mA for. 20 minutes) 24 hours before the train did not alter contextual and auditory learning and memory in short-term (24 hrs after the training phase). Moreover, intraperitoneal pre-train injection of ACPA (0.1 mg/kg) alone, decreased both contextual and auditory learning and memory in short- but not long-term. Right frontal anodal tDCS improved short-term contextual fear memory in subthreshold doses of ACPA. On the other hand, right frontal anodal tDCS in long-term improved (lower doses of ACPA) and restored (higher doses of ACPA) both fear memories. These findings showed that, aforementioned approach could cause durable learning and memory improvements. Also this combined modality could be useful for fear extinction training and maladies which inflict amnesia. PMID:28337114
Pizzagalli, Diego A.
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
startle amplitude. They then received Pavlovian fear conditioning of five pairings of a 3 s light co-terminating with a 500 ms, 0.6mA footshock. Four...Synergistic Inhibitors of Aversive Fear Conditioning and Fear-Potentiated Startle in Male Rats PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Jeffrey B. Rosen, Ph.D...NUMBER Oxytocin and Social Support as Synergistic Inhibitors of Aversive Fear Conditioning and Fear-Potentiated Startle in Male Rats 5b. GRANT
Muravieva, Elizaveta V.; Alberini, Cristina M.
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…
Parsons, Ryan G; Ressler, Kerry J
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.
Rudy, Jerry W.; Matus-Amat, Patricia
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…
Sevelinges, Yannick; Sullivan, Regina M.; Messaoudi, Belkacem; Mouly, Anne-Marie
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…
Toth, Mate; Ziegler, Michael; Sun, Ping; Gresack, Jodi; Risbrough, Victoria
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 for contextual 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 with wild-type mice, PNMT-KO mice showed reduced contextual fear but normal cued fear. Mice exhibited normal memory performance in the short-term version of the novel object recognition task, suggesting that 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 that 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, whereas 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.
Yeh, Shiu-Hwa; Mao, Sheng-Chun; Lin, Hui-Ching; Gean, Po-Wu
Fear conditioning has been ascribed to presynaptic mechanisms, particularly presynaptic facilitation of transmission at thalamo- and cortico-amygdala synapses. Here, by labeling surface receptors with biotin or using membrane fractionation approaches, we report that fear conditioning resulted in an increase in surface expression of GluR1 subunit of alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptors in the amygdala, whereas total GluR1 mRNA and protein levels were unchanged. The control group that received conditioned stimulus (CS) and unconditioned stimulus in an unpaired fashion did not present any increase, indicating that GluR1 increase was specific to the learning component of the task. Conditioning-induced increase in surface expression of GluR1 depended on the activation of N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors and protein kinases and required the synthesis of new proteins. CS-alone trials applied 24 h before training attenuated fear-potentiated startle and prevented conditioning-induced increase in surface expression of GluR1. Increase in GluR1 was also observed in the amygdala slices after delivery of tetanic stimulation that elicited long-term potentiation of synaptic transmission. Proteasome inhibitor increased surface expression of GluR1 in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, pretraining administration of proteasome inhibitor into the amygdala facilitated the fear-potentiated startle. These results suggest that long-term memory formation is correlated with the change in synaptic expression of GluR1, and trafficking of GluR1 to the synaptic sites contributes at least in part to the expression of fear memory.
Anagnostaras, S G; Josselyn, S A; Frankland, P W; Silva, A J
In Pavlovian fear conditioning, a conditional stimulus (CS, usually a tone) is paired with an aversive unconditional stimulus (US, usually a foot shock) in a novel context. After even a single pairing, the animal comes to exhibit a long-lasting fear to the CS and the conditioning context, which can be measured as freezing, an adaptive defense reaction in mice. Both context and tone conditioning depend on the integrity of the amygdala, and context conditioning further depends on the hippocampus. The reliability and efficiency of the fear conditioning assay makes it an excellent candidate for the screening of learning and memory deficits in mutant mice. One obstacle is that freezing in mice has been accurately quantified only by human observers, using a tedious method that can be subject to bias. In the present study we generated a simple, high-speed, and highly accurate algorithm that scores freezing of four mice simultaneously using NIH Image on an ordinary Macintosh computer. The algorithm yielded a high correlation and excellent linear fit between computer and human scores across a broad range of conditions. This included the ability to score low pretraining baseline scores and accurately mimic the effects of two independent variables (shock intensity and test modality) on fear. Because we used a computer and digital video, we were able to acquire a secondary index of fear, activity suppression, as well as baseline activity scores. Moreover, we measured the unconditional response to shock. These additional measures can enhance the sensitivity of the assay to detect interesting memory phenotypes and control for possible confounds. Thus, this computer-assisted system for measuring behavior during fear conditioning allows for the standardized and carefully controlled assessment of multiple aspects of the fear conditioning experience.
Visser, Renée M; Kunze, Anna E; Westhoff, Bianca; Scholte, H Steven; Kindt, Merel
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
Chau, Lily S; Prakapenka, Alesia; Fleming, Stephen A; Davis, Ashley S; Galvez, Roberto
The underlying neuronal mechanisms of learning and memory have been heavily explored using associative learning paradigms. Two of the more commonly employed learning paradigms have been contextual and delay fear conditioning. In fear conditioning, a subject learns to associate a neutral stimulus (conditioned stimulus; CS), such as a tone or the context of the room, with a fear provoking stimulus (unconditioned stimulus; US), such as a mild footshock. Utilizing these two paradigms, various analyses have elegantly demonstrated that the amygdala plays a role in both fear-related associative learning paradigms. However, the amygdala's involvement in trace fear conditioning, a forebrain-dependent fear associative learning paradigm that has been suggested to tap into higher cognitive processes, has not been closely investigated. Furthermore, to our knowledge, the specific amygdala nuclei involved with trace fear conditioning has not been examined. The present study used Arc expression as an activity marker to determine the amygdala's involvement in trace fear associative learning and to further explore involvement of specific amygdalar nuclei. Arc is an immediate early gene that has been shown to be associated with neuronal activation and is believed to be necessary for neuronal plasticity. Findings from the present study demonstrated that trace-conditioned mice, compared to backward-conditioned (stimulation-control), delay-conditioned and naïve mice, exhibited elevated amygdalar Arc expression in the basolateral (BLA) but not the central (CeA) or the lateral amygdala (LA). These findings are consistent with previous reports demonstrating that the amygdala plays a critical role in trace conditioning. Furthermore, these findings parallel studies demonstrating hippocampal-BLA activation following contextual fear conditioning, suggesting that trace fear conditioning and contextual fear conditioning may involve similar amygdala nuclei. Together, findings from this study
Schiele, Miriam A.; Reinhard, Julia; Reif, Andreas; Domschke, Katharina; Romanos, Marcel; Deckert, Jürgen
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
Inslicht, Sabra S.; Metzler, Thomas J.; Garcia, Natalia M.; Pineles, Suzanne L.; Milad, Mohammed R.; Orr, Scott P.; Marmar, Charles R.; Neylan, Thomas C.
Background Women are twice as likely as men to develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Abnormal acquisition of conditioned fear has been suggested as a mechanism for the development of PTSD. While some studies of healthy humans suggest that women are either no different or express less conditioned fear responses during conditioning relative to men, differences in the acquisition of conditioned fear between men and women diagnosed with PTSD has not been examined. Methods Thirty-one participants (18 men; 13 women) with full or subsyndromal PTSD completed a fear conditioning task. Participants were shown computer-generated colored circles that were paired (CS+) or unpaired (CS−) with an aversive electrical stimulus and skin conductance levels were assessed throughout the task. Results Repeated measures ANOVA indicated a significant sex by stimulus interaction during acquisition. Women had greater differential conditioned skin conductance responses (CS + trials compared to CS− trials) than did men, suggesting greater acquisition of conditioned fear in women with PTSD. Conclusions In contrast to studies of healthy individuals, we found enhanced acquisition of conditioned fear in women with PTSD. Greater fear conditioning in women may either be a pre-existing vulnerability trait or an acquired phenomenon that emerges in a sex-dependent manner after the development of PTSD. Characterizing the underlying mechanisms of these differences is needed to clarify sex-related differences in the pathophysiology of PTSD. PMID:23107307
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.
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
Considerable evidence indicates an important role for amygdaloid nuclei in both the acquisition and expression of Pavlovian fear conditioning. Recent reports from my laboratory have focused on the impact of neurotoxic lesions of the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA) on conditional freezing behavior in rats. In these studies, I have observed severe effects of posttraining BLA lesions on the expression of conditional freezing even after extensive presurgical overtraining (25-75 trials). Moreover, I have found no evidence for sparing of fear memory (i.e., savings) in these rats when I assess their rate of reacquisition relative to BLA rats receiving minimal training (1 trial). In these experiments, freezing behavior was assessed using a conventional time-sampling procedure and expressed as a response probability. Although this measure is well established in the literature, it is conceivable that it is not sensitive to spared memory in rats with BLA lesions. To address this issue, I present a more detailed analysis of freezing behavior that quantifies latency to freeze, the number of freezing bouts, the duration of freezing bouts, and the probability distribution of bout lengths. I also include control data from untrained (no-shock) rats. Consistent with my earlier reports, I find no evidence of savings of fear memory in rats with neurotoxic BLA lesions using several measures of freezing behavior. These results reiterate the conclusion that fear memory, as it is expressed in freezing behavior, requires neurons in the BLA.
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…
Stein, Dan J; Matsunaga, Hisato
Specific phobia is the most prevalent of the anxiety disorders. Although there have been relatively few studies of its psychobiology and pharmacotherapy, there is a rich laboratory of literature on fear conditioning and extinction and a clear evolutionary perspective. Advances in the cognitive-affective neuroscience of fear processing may ultimately lead to new approaches to the clinical management of phobias.
Lamprecht, R; Dracheva, S; Assoun, S; LeDoux, J E
The lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA) has been implicated in the formation of long-term associative memory (LTM) of stimuli associated with danger through fear conditioning. The current study aims to detect genes that are expressed in LA following associative fear conditioning. Using oligonucleotide microarrays, we monitored gene expression in rats subjected to paired training where a tone co-terminates with a footshock, or unpaired training where the tone and footshock are presented in a non-overlapping manner. The paired protocol consistently leads to auditory fear conditioning memory formation, whereas the unpaired protocol does not. When the paired group was compared with the unpaired group 5 h after training, the expression of genes coding for the limbic system-associated membrane protein (Lsamp), kinesin heavy chain member 2 (Kif2), N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion protein (NSF) and Hippocalcin-like 4 protein (Hpcal4) was higher in the paired group. These genes encode proteins that regulate neuronal axonal morphology (Lsamp, Kif2), presynaptic vesicle cycling and release (Hpcal4 and NSF), and AMPA receptor maintenance in synapses (NSF). Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) showed that Kif2 and Lsamp are expressed hours following fear conditioning but minutes after unpaired training. Hpcal4 is induced by paired stimulation only 5 h after the training. These results show that fear conditioning induces a unique temporal activation of molecular pathways involved in regulating synaptic transmission and axonal morphology in LA, which is different from non-associative stimulation.
Meloni, Edward G.; Venkataraman, Archana; Donahue, Rachel J.; Carlezon, William A.
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 ug) or vehicle followed 30 min later by fear conditioning. Freezing was measured early (1, 4, and 7days) 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
Rabinowitz, Akiva; Cohen, Sarah J; Finn, Deborah A; Stackman, Robert W
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.
Leer, Arne; Smeets, Monique A M; Bulsing, Patricia J; van den Hout, Marcel A
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.
Halladay, Lindsay R; Zelikowsky, Moriel; Blair, Hugh T; Fanselow, Michael S
Anxiety disorders are often treated using extinction-based exposure therapy, but relapse is common and can occur as a result of reinstatement, whereby an aversive "trigger" can reinstate extinguished fear. Animal models of reinstatement commonly utilize a Pavlovian fear conditioning procedure, in which subjects are first trained to fear a conditional stimulus (CS) by pairing it with an aversive unconditional stimulus (US), and then extinguished by repeated presentations of the CS alone. Reinstatement is typically induced by exposing subjects to an aversive US after extinction, but here we show that exposure to a non-extinguished CS can reinstate conditional fear responding to an extinguished CS, a phenomenon we refer to as "conditional reinstatement" (CRI). Rats were trained to fear two CSs (light and tone) and subsequently underwent extinction training to only one CS (counterbalanced). Presenting the unextinguished CS (but not a novel cue) immediately after extinction reinstated conditional fear responding to the extinguished CS in a test session given 24 h later. These findings indicate that reinstatement of extinguished fear can be triggered by exposure to conditional as well as unconditional aversive stimuli, and this may help to explain why relapse is common following clinical extinction therapy in humans. Further study of CRI using animal models may prove useful for developing refined extinction therapies that are more resistant to reinstatement.
Sun, P; Zhang, Q; Zhang, Y; Wang, F; Wang, L; Yamamoto, R; Sugai, T; Kato, N
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.
Sjouwerman, Rachel; Niehaus, Johanna; Lonsdorf, Tina B.
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
Maeng, Lisa Y.; Cover, Kara K.; Landau, Aaron J.; Milad, Mohammed R.; Lebron-Milad, Kelimer
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
Chang, Chun-hui; Maren, Stephen
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 this deficit by assessing the suppression of fear to a CS immediately after extinction training (Experiment 1) and the context specificity of fear after both immediate and delayed extinction training (Experiment 2). We also examined the time course of the immediate extinction deficit (Experiment 3). Our results indicate that immediate extinction produces a short-lived and context-independent suppression of conditional freezing. Deficits in long-term extinction were apparent even when the extinction trials were given up to 6 h after conditioning. Moreover, this deficit was not due to different retention intervals that might have influenced the degree of spontaneous recovery after immediate and delayed extinction (Experiment 4). These results suggest that fear suppression under immediate extinction may be due to a short-term, context-independent habituation process, rather than extinction per se. Long-term extinction memory only develops when extinction training occurs at least six hours after conditioning.
Gao, Yu; Tuvblad, Catherine; Schell, Anne; Baker, Laura; Raine, Adrian
Autonomic fear conditioning deficits have been linked to child aggression and adult criminal behavior. However, it is unknown if fear conditioning deficits are specific to certain subtypes of aggression, and longitudinal research is rare. In the current study, reactive and proactive aggression were assessed in a sample of males and females when aged 10, 12, 15, and 18 years old. Skin conductance fear conditioning data were collected when they were 18 years old. Individuals who were persistently high on proactive aggression measures had significantly poorer conditioned responses at 18 years old when compared to others. This association was not found for reactive aggression. Consistent with prior literature, findings suggest that persistent antisocial individuals have unique neurobiological characteristics and that poor autonomic fear conditioning is associated with the presence of increased instrumental aggressive behavior.
Gao, Yu; Tuvblad, Catherine; Schell, Anne; Baker, Laura; Raine, Adrian
Autonomic fear conditioning deficits have been linked to child aggression and adult criminal behavior. However, it is unknown if fear conditioning deficits are specific to certain subtypes of aggression, and longitudinal research is rare. In the current study, reactive and proactive aggression were assessed in a sample of males and females when aged 10, 12, 15, and 18 years old. Skin conductance fear conditioning data were collected when they were 18 years old. Individuals who were persistently high on proactive aggression measures had significantly poorer conditioned responses at 18 years old when compared to others. This association was not found for reactive aggression. Consistent with prior literature, findings suggest that persistent antisocial individuals have unique neurobiological characteristics and that poor autonomic fear conditioning is associated with the presence of increased instrumental aggressive behavior. PMID:25174802
Maddox, Stephanie A.; Watts, Casey S.; Doyère, Valérie; Schafe, Glenn E.
The study of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the consolidation and reconsolidation of traumatic fear memories has progressed rapidly in recent years, yet few compounds have emerged that are readily useful in a clinical setting for the treatment of anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Here, we use a combination of biochemical, behavioral, and neurophysiological methods to systematically investigate the ability of garcinol, a naturally-occurring histone acetyltransferase (HAT) inhibitor derived from the rind of the fruit of the Kokum tree (Garcina indica), to disrupt the consolidation and reconsolidation of Pavlovian fear conditioning, a widely studied rodent model of PTSD. We show that local infusion of garcinol into the rat lateral amygdala (LA) impairs the training and retrieval-related acetylation of histone H3 in the LA. Further, we show that either intra-LA or systemic administration of garcinol within a narrow window after either fear conditioning or fear memory retrieval significantly impairs the consolidation and reconsolidation of a Pavlovian fear memory and associated neural plasticity in the LA. Our findings suggest that a naturally-occurring compound derived from the diet that regulates chromatin function may be useful in the treatment of newly acquired or recently reactivated traumatic memories. PMID:23349897
Monsey, Melissa S; Gerhard, Danielle M; Boyle, Lara M; Briones, Miguel A; Seligsohn, Ma'ayan; Schafe, Glenn E
Curcumin, a yellow-pigment compound found in the popular Indian spice turmeric (Curcuma longa), has been extensively investigated for its anti-inflammatory, chemopreventative, and antidepressant properties. Here, we examined the efficacy of dietary curcumin at impairing the consolidation and reconsolidation of a Pavlovian fear memory, a widely studied animal model of traumatic memory formation in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We show that a diet enriched with 1.5% curcumin prevents the training-related elevation in the expression of the immediate early genes (IEGs) Arc/Arg3.1 and Egr-1 in the lateral amygdala (LA) and impairs the ‘consolidation' of an auditory Pavlovian fear memory; short-term memory (STM) is intact, whereas long-term memory (LTM) is significantly impaired. Next, we show that dietary curcumin impairs the ‘reconsolidation' of a recently formed auditory Pavlovian fear memory; fear memory retrieval (reactivation) and postreactivation (PR)-STM are intact, whereas PR-LTM is significantly impaired. Additional experiments revealed that dietary curcumin is also effective at impairing the reconsolidation of an older, well-consolidated fear memory. Furthermore, we observed that fear memories that fail to reconsolidate under the influence of dietary curcumin are impaired in an enduring manner; unlike extinguished fear memories, they are not subject to reinstatement or renewal. Collectively, our findings indicate that a diet enriched with curcumin is capable of impairing fear memory consolidation and reconsolidation processes, findings that may have important clinical implications for the treatment of disorders such as PTSD that are characterized by unusually strong and persistently reactivated fear memories. PMID:25430781
Katche, Cynthia; Dorman, Guido; Slipczuk, Leandro; Cammarota, Martin; Medina, Jorge H.
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…
Lugo, Joaquin N; Smith, Gregory D; Morrison, Jessica B; White, Jessika
The phosphatase and tensin homolog detected on chromosome 10 (PTEN) gene product modulates activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT pathway. The PI3K pathway has been found to be involved in the regulation of the fragile X mental retardation protein, which is important for long-term depression and in the formation of new memories. We used delayed fear conditioning and trace fear conditioning to determine learning and memory deficits in neuron subset-specific Pten (NS-Pten) conditional knockout (KO) mice. We found that NS-Pten KO mice had deficits in contextual learning and trace conditioning, but did not have deficits in the ability to learn a conditioned stimulus. Furthermore, we found increased levels in the total and phosphorylated forms of the fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) in the hippocampus of NS-Pten KO mice.
Johnston, Ian N; Maier, Steven F; Rudy, Jerry W; Watkins, Linda R
There is evidence that pain can impact cognitive function in people. The present study evaluated whether Pavlovian fear conditioning in rats would be reduced if conditioning were followed by persistent inflammatory pain induced by a subcutaneous injection of dilute formalin or complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) on the dorsal lumbar surface of the back. Formalin-induced pain specifically impaired contextual fear conditioning but not auditory cue conditioning (Experiment 1A). Moreover, formalin pain only impaired contextual fear conditioning if it was initiated within 1h of conditioning and did not have a significant effect if initiated 2, 8 or 32 h after (Experiments 1A and 1B). Experiment 2 showed that formalin pain initiated after a session of context pre-exposure reduced the ability of that pre-exposure to facilitate contextual fear when the rat was limited to a brief exposure to the context during conditioning. Similar impairments in context- but not CS-fear conditioning were also observed if the rats received an immediate post-conditioning injection with CFA (Experiment 3). Finally, we confirmed that formalin and CFA injected s.c. on the back induced pain-indicative behaviours, hyperalgesia and allodynia with a similar timecourse to intraplantar injections (Experiment 4). These results suggest that persistent pain impairs learning in a hippocampus-dependent task, and may disrupt processes that encode experiences into long-term memory.
Gilmartin, Marieke R.; Helmstetter, Fred J.
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…
Maren, Stephen; Ferrario, Carrie R; Corcoran, Kevin A; Desmond, Timothy J; Frey, Kirk A
The amygdala is an essential neural substrate for Pavlovian fear conditioning. Nevertheless, long-term synaptic plasticity in amygdaloid afferents, such as the auditory thalamus, may contribute to the formation of fear memories. We therefore compared the influence of protein synthesis inhibition in the amygdala and the auditory thalamus on the consolidation of Pavlovian fear conditioning in Long-Evans rats. Rats received three tone-footshock trials in a novel conditioning chamber. Immediately after fear conditioning, rats were infused intra-cranially with the protein synthesis inhibitor, anisomycin. Conditional fear to the tone and conditioning context was assessed by measuring freezing behaviour in separate retention tests conducted at least 24 h following conditioning. Post-training infusion of anisomycin into the amygdala impaired conditional freezing to both the auditory and contextual stimuli associated with footshock. In contrast, intra-thalamic infusions of anisomycin or a broad-spectrum protein kinase inhibitor [1-(5'-isoquinolinesulphonyl)-2-methylpiperazine, H7] did not affect conditional freezing during the retention tests. Pre-training intra-thalamic infusion of the NMDA receptor antagonist 2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid (APV), which blocks synaptic transmission in the auditory thalamus, produced a selective deficit in the acquisition of auditory fear conditioning. Autoradiographic assays of cerebral [14C]-leucine incorporation revealed similar levels of protein synthesis inhibition in the amygdala and thalamus following intra-cranial anisomycin infusions. These results reveal that the establishment of long-term fear memories requires protein synthesis in the amygdala, but not the thalamus, after auditory fear conditioning. Forms of synaptic plasticity that depend on protein synthesis, such as long-term potentiation, are likely candidates for the encoding and long-term storage of fear memories in the amygdala.
Lonsdorf, Tina B; Haaker, Jan; Kalisch, Raffael
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.
Radwanska, Kasia; Schenatto-Pereira, Grace; Ziółkowska, Magdalena; Łukasiewicz, Kacper; Giese, K Peter
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.
PISTELL, P. J.; FALLS, W. A.
Pavlovian conditioning is a useful tool for elucidating the neural mechanisms involved with learning and memory, especially in regard to the stimuli associated with aversive events. The amygdala has been repeatedly implicated as playing a significant role in the acquisition and expression of fear. If the amygdala is critical for the acquisition of fear, then it should contribute to this processes regardless of the parameters used to induce or evaluate conditioned fear. A series of experiments using reversible inactivation techniques evaluated the role of the amygdala in the acquisition of conditioned fear when training was conducted over several days in rats. Fear-potentiated startle was used to evaluate the acquisition of conditioned fear. Pretraining infusions of N-methyl-d-aspartic acid (NMDA) or non-NMDA receptor antagonists alone into the amygdala interfered with the acquisition of fear early in training, but not later. Pretraining infusions of a cocktail consisting of both an NMDA and non-NMDA antagonist interfered with the acquisition of conditioned fear across all days of training. Taken together these results suggest the amygdala may potentially be critical for the acquisition of conditioned fear regardless of the parameters utilized. PMID:18675886
Merz, Christian Josef; Wolf, Oliver Tobias; Schweckendiek, Jan; Klucken, Tim; Vaitl, Dieter; Stark, Rudolf
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.
Mika, Agnieszka; Bouchet, Courtney A; Bunker, Preston; Hellwinkel, Justin E; Spence, Katie G; Day, Heidi E W; Campeau, Serge; Fleshner, Monika; Greenwood, Benjamin N
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.
Mika, Agnieszka; Bouchet, Courtney A.; Bunker, Preston; Hellwinkel, Justin E.; Spence, Katie G.; Day, Heidi E.W.; Campeau, Serge; Fleshner, Monika
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 1 week 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
Schultz, Douglas H; Balderston, Nicholas L; Baskin-Sommers, Arielle R; Larson, Christine L; Helmstetter, Fred J
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.
Schultz, Douglas H.; Balderston, Nicholas L.; Baskin-Sommers, Arielle R.; Larson, Christine L.; Helmstetter, Fred J.
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
Poulos, Andrew M.; Mehta, Nehali; Lu, Bryan; Amir, Dorsa; Livingston, Briana; Santarelli, Anthony; Zhuravka, Irina; Fanselow, Michael S.
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…
Bertotto, María Eugenia; Maldonado, Noelia Martina; Bignante, Elena Anahi; Gorosito, Silvana Vanesa; Cambiasso, María Julia; Molina, Víctor Alejandro; Martijena, Irene Delia
The extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway, which can be activated by NMDA receptor stimulation, is involved in fear conditioning and drug addiction. We have previously shown that withdrawal from chronic ethanol administration facilitated the formation of contextual fear memory. In order to explore the neural substrates and the potential mechanism involved in this effect, we examined: 1) the ERK1/2 activation in the central (CeA) and basolateral (BLA) nuclei of the amygdala and in the dorsal hippocampus (dHip), 2) the effect of the NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801 on fear conditioning and ERK activation and 3) the effect of the infusion of U0126, a MEK inhibitor, into the BLA on fear memory formation in ethanol withdrawn rats. Rats made dependent via an ethanol-containing liquid diet were subjected to contextual fear conditioning on day 3 of ethanol withdrawal. High basal levels of p-ERK were found in CeA and dHip from ethanol withdrawn rats. ERK activation was significantly increased both in control (60min) and ethanol withdrawn rats (30 and 60min) in BLA after fear conditioning. Pre-training administration of MK-801, at a dose that had no effect on control rats, prevented the increase in ERK phosphorylation in BLA and attenuated the freezing response 24h later in ethanol withdrawn rats. Furthermore, the infusion of U0126 into the BLA, but not the CeA, before fear conditioning disrupted fear memory formation. These results suggest that the increased fear memory can be linked to changes in ERK phosphorylation, probably due to NMDA receptor activation in BLA in ethanol withdrawn rats.
Corley, Michael J; Caruso, Michael J; Takahashi, Lorey K
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by stress-induced symptoms including exaggerated fear memories, hypervigilance and hyperarousal. However, we are unaware of an animal model that investigates these hallmarks of PTSD especially in relation to fear extinction and habituation. Therefore, to develop a valid animal model of PTSD, we exposed rats to different intensities of footshock stress to determine their effects on either auditory predator odor fear extinction or habituation of fear sensitization. In Experiment 1, rats were exposed to acute footshock stress (no shock control, 0.4 mA, or 0.8 mA) immediately prior to auditory fear conditioning training involving the pairing of auditory clicks with a cloth containing cat odor. When presented to the conditioned auditory clicks in the next 5 days of extinction testing conducted in a runway apparatus with a hide box, rats in the two shock groups engaged in higher levels of freezing and head out vigilance-like behavior from the hide box than the no shock control group. This increase in fear behavior during extinction testing was likely due to auditory activation of the conditioned fear state because Experiment 2 demonstrated that conditioned fear behavior was not broadly increased in the absence of the conditioned auditory stimulus. Experiment 3 was then conducted to determine whether acute exposure to stress induces a habituation resistant sensitized fear state. We found that rats exposed to 0.8 mA footshock stress and subsequently tested for 5 days in the runway hide box apparatus with presentations of nonassociative auditory clicks exhibited high initial levels of freezing, followed by head out behavior and culminating in the occurrence of locomotor hyperactivity. In addition, Experiment 4 indicated that without delivery of nonassociative auditory clicks, 0.8 mA footshock stressed rats did not exhibit robust increases in sensitized freezing and locomotor hyperactivity, albeit head out vigilance
Kim, Namsoo; Kong, Mi-Seon; Jo, Kyeong Im; Kim, Eun Joo; Choi, June-Seek
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.
Corcoran, Kevin A; Maren, Stephen
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 after extinction is related to the history of CS presentations in the context used for retrieval testing. We used infusions of muscimol to inactivate the dorsal hippocampus (DH) during postextinction retrieval tests that were conducted in contexts that differed in their history of CS presentations in that context. We found that DH inactivation affected the context-dependent retrieval of extinction (i.e., renewal) when testing occurred in a context that had no history of CS exposure, but not in a context that reliably predicted the CS. These results are discussed in terms of theories regarding the role of the hippocampus in contextual memory retrieval.
Mac Callum, Phillip E; Hebert, Mark; Adamec, Robert E; Blundell, Jacqueline
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase is a critical regulator of mRNA translation and is known to be involved in various long lasting forms of synaptic and behavioural plasticity. However, information concerning the temporal pattern of mTOR activation and susceptibility to pharmacological intervention during both consolidation and reconsolidation of long-term memory (LTM) remains scant. Male C57BL/6 mice were injected systemically with rapamycin at various time points following conditioning or retrieval in an auditory fear conditioning paradigm, and compared to vehicle (and/or anisomycin) controls for subsequent memory recall. Systemic blockade of mTOR with rapamycin immediately or 12h after training or reactivation impairs both consolidation and reconsolidation of an auditory fear memory. Further behavioural analysis revealed that the enduring effects of rapamycin on reconsolidation are dependent upon reactivation of the memory trace. Rapamycin, however, has no effect on short-term memory or the ability to retrieve an established fear memory. Collectively, our data suggest that biphasic mTOR signalling is essential for both consolidation and reconsolidation-like activities that contribute to the formation, re-stabilization, and persistence of long term auditory-fear memories, while not influencing other aspects of the memory trace. These findings also provide evidence for a cogent treatment model for reducing the emotional strength of established, traumatic memories analogous to those observed in acquired anxiety disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and specific phobias, through pharmacologic blockade of mTOR using systemic rapamycin following reactivation.
Kholodar-Smith, D B; Allen, T A; Brown, T H
Pretraining lesions of rat perirhinal (PR) cortex impair fear conditioning to ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) but have no effect on conditioning to continuous tones. This study attempted to deconstruct USVs into simpler stimulus features that cause fear conditioning to be PR-dependent. Rats were conditioned to one of three cues: a multicall 19-kHz USV, a 19-kHz discontinuous tone, and a 19-kHz continuous tone. The discontinuous tone duplicated the on/off pattern of the individual calls in the USV, but it lacked the characteristic frequency modulations. Well-localized neurotoxic PR lesions impaired conditioning to the USV, the discontinuous tone, and the training context. However, PR lesions had no effect on conditioning to the continuous tone. The authors suggest that the lesion effects on fear conditioning to both cues and contexts reflect the essential role of PR in binding stimulus elements together into unitary representations.
Leung, Hiu T.; Holmes, Nathan M.; Westbrook, R. Frederick
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…
Utz, A; Thürling, M; Ernst, T M; Hermann, A; Stark, R; Wolf, O T; Timmann, D; Merz, C J
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.
Baldi, Elisabetta; Mariottini, Chiara; Bucherelli, Corrado
The roles of the basolateral amygdala and nucleus basalis magnocellularis in fear conditioning reconsolidation were investigated by means of tetrodotoxin bilateral inactivation performed 96 h after conditioning, immediately after reactivation training. Footshocks of 1.2 mA intensity were employed to induce the generalization phenomenon. Basolateral amygdala inactivation disrupts the contextual fear response and its generalization but not acoustic CS trace retention, when measured 72 and 96 h after tetrodotoxin administration. Nucleus basalis magnocellularis functional inactivation does not affect memory post-reactivation phase of any of the three conditioned fear responses. The present findings show a differential role of the two structures in fear memory reconsolidation and can be a starting point for future investigation of the neural circuits subserving generalization.
Ewald, Heike; Glotzbach-Schoon, Evelyn; Gerdes, Antje B. M.; Andreatta, Marta; Müller, Mathias; Mühlberger, Andreas; Pauli, Paul
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
Matsumoto, Machiko; Togashi, Hiroko; Konno, Kohtaro; Koseki, Hiroyo; Hirata, Riki; Izumi, Takeshi; Yamaguchi, Taku; Yoshioka, Mitsuhiro
Fear extinction is hypothesized to be a learning process based on a new inhibitory memory. The present study was conducted to elucidate the effect of early postnatal stress on the extinction of context-dependent fear memory in adult rats, with a focus on the serotonergic system. Extinction was estimated by the expression of freezing behavior during repeated extinction trials (i.e., repeated exposure to contextual fear conditioning) on consecutive days. The decrease in fear expression was attenuated in adult rats that had been subjected to footshock (FS) at the third postnatal week (3wFS), but not in those exposed to footshock at the second postnatal week (2wFS). The decreased attenuation of freezing behavior observed in 3wFS was abolished by repeated treatment with the partial N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor agonist D-cycloserine (15 mg/kg, i.p., for 4 days), which has been shown to facilitate cue-dependent extinction. Repeated treatment with the serotonin 5-hydroxytryptamine-1A (5-HT(1A)) receptor agonist tandospirone (1 mg/kg, i.p., for 4 days) prevented the expression of freezing behavior in 3wFS, whereas diazepam treatment (1 mg/kg, i.p., for 4 days) in 3wFS did not. These results suggest that exposure to early postnatal stress at the third week is responsible for attenuating extinction of contextual fear conditioning and is mediated by a serotonergic 5-HT(1A) receptor mechanism. In other words, exposure to traumatic events during the early postnatal period might precipitate long-lasting alterations in synaptic function that underlie extinction processes of context-dependent fear memory.
Jarome, Timothy J.; Helmstetter, Fred J.
Protein degradation through the ubiquitin-proteasome system [UPS] plays a critical role in some forms of synaptic plasticity. However, its role in memory formation in the amygdala, a site critical for the formation of fear memories, currently remains unknown. Here we provide the first evidence that protein degradation through the UPS is critically engaged at amygdala synapses during memory formation and retrieval. Fear conditioning results in NMDA-dependent increases in degradation-specific polyubiquitination in the amygdala, targeting proteins involved in translational control and synaptic structure and blocking the degradation of these proteins significantly impairs long-term memory. Furthermore, retrieval of fear memory results in a second wave of NMDA-dependent polyubiquitination that targets proteins involved in translational silencing and synaptic structure and is critical for memory updating following recall. These results indicate that UPS-mediated protein degradation is a major regulator of synaptic plasticity necessary for the formation and stability of long-term memories at amygdala synapses. PMID:21961035
Melo, Irene; Ehrlich, Ingrid
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.
Knight, David C; Wood, Kimberly H
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
Daviu, Núria; Andero, Raül; Armario, Antonio; Nadal, Roser
In recent years, special attention is being paid to sex differences in susceptibility to disease. In this regard, there is evidence that male rats present higher levels of both cued and contextual fear conditioning than females. However, little is known about the concomitant hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis response to those situations which are critical in emotional memories. Here, we studied the behavioural and HPA responses of male and female Wistar rats to context fear conditioning using electric footshock as the aversive stimulus. Fear-conditioned rats showed a much greater ACTH and corticosterone response than those merely exposed to the fear conditioning chamber without receiving shocks. Moreover, males presented higher levels of freezing whereas HPA axis response was greater in females. Accordingly, during the fear extinction tests, female rats consistently showed less freezing and higher extinction rate, but greater HPA activation than males. Exposure to an open-field resulted in lower activity/exploration in fear-conditioned males, but not in females, suggesting greater conditioned cognitive generalization in males than females. It can be concluded that important sex differences in fear conditioning are observed in both freezing and HPA activation, but the two sets of variables are affected in the opposite direction: enhanced behavioural impact in males, but enhanced HPA responsiveness in females. Thus, the role of sex differences on fear-related stimuli may depend on the variables chosen to evaluate it, the greater responsiveness of the HPA axis in females perhaps being an important factor to be further explored.
Knox, Dayan; Keller, Samantha M
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.
Stern, Cristina A J; Gazarini, Lucas; Vanvossen, Ana C; Zuardi, Antonio W; Galve-Roperh, Ismael; Guimaraes, Francisco S; Takahashi, Reinaldo N; Bertoglio, Leandro J
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.
Cho, Jin-Hyung; Huang, Ben S.; Gray, Jesse M.
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
Suzuki, Akinobu; Mukawa, Takuya; Tsukagoshi, Akinori; Frankland, Paul W.; Kida, Satoshi
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…
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
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.
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
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
Dunsmoor, Joseph E.; Murphy, Gregory L.
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
Sigwald, Eric L; Genoud, Manuel E; Giachero, Marcelo; de Olmos, Soledad; Molina, Víctor A; Lorenzo, Alfredo
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.
Yoshida, Takayuki; Konno, Kohtarou; Minami, Masabumi; Watanabe, Masahiko; Yoshioka, Mitsuhiro
Background: Patients with posttraumatic stress disorder or panic disorder are often troubled by inappropriate retrieval of fear memory. Moreover, these disorders are often comorbid with irritable bowel syndrome. The main aim of the present study is to elucidate the involvement of hippocampal serotonergic systems in fear memory retrieval and stress-induced defecation. Methods and Results: Microinjection of serotonin7 receptor antagonist, but not other serotonin receptor antagonists (serotonin 1A, 2A, 2C, 3, 4, and 6), into the rat ventral hippocampus significantly suppressed the expression of freezing behavior, an index of fear memory retrieval, and decreased the amount of feces, an index of stress-induced defecation, in the contextual fear conditioning test. Electrophysiological data indicated that the serotonin7 receptor agonist increased the frequency of action potentials in the ventral hippocampal CA3 pyramidal neuron via the activation of the hyperpolarization-activated nonselective cation current Ih. Moreover, in situ hybridization demonstrated that Htr7 mRNA was abundantly expressed in the CA3 compared with other subregions of the hippocampus and that these Htr7 mRNA-positive cells coexpressed hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channel 2 and 4 mRNAs, which are components of the Ih channel. Conclusions: These results indicated that the released serotonin activates the serotonin7 receptor in the CA3 ventral hippocampus subregion, enhances the sensitivity to inputs via hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide 2 and 4 channels, and thereby facilitates fear memory retrieval. The serotonin7 receptor might be a target of drug development for the treatment of mental disorders involving fear memory and gastrointestinal problems. PMID:26647382
Nasser, Helen M; McNally, Gavan P
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.
Jarome, Timothy J.; Butler, Anderson A.; Nichols, Jessica N.; Pacheco, Natasha L.; Lubin, Farah D.
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
Gresack, J E; Schafe, G E; Orr, P T; Frick, K M
Although sex differences have been reported in hippocampal-dependent learning and memory, including contextual fear memories, the underlying molecular mechanisms contributing to such differences are not well understood. The present study examined the extent to which sex differences in contextual fear conditioning are related to differential activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinase (ERK/MAPK), a protein kinase critically involved in memory formation. We first show that male rats exhibit more long-term retention of contextual fear conditioning than female rats. During a tone test, females spent more time freezing than males, although both sexes exhibited robust retention of auditory fear learning. Using Western blot analysis, we then show that phosphorylated ERK levels in ventral, but not dorsal, hippocampus are higher in males than females, relative to same-sex controls, 60 minutes after fear conditioning. Post-conditioning increases in ERK activation were observed in the amygdala in both males and females, suggesting a selective effect of sex on hippocampal ERK activation. Together, these findings suggest that differential activation of the ERK signal transduction pathway in male and female rats, particularly in the ventral hippocampus, is associated with sex differences in contextual fear.
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
Morgan, Barak; Terburg, David; Stein, Dan J.; van Honk, Jack
Based on studies in rodents, the basolateral amygdala (BLA) is considered a key site for experience-dependent neural plasticity underlying the acquisition of conditioned fear responses. In humans, very few studies exist of subjects with selective amygdala lesions and those studies have only implicated the amygdala more broadly leaving the role of amygdala sub-regions underexplored. We tested a rare sample of subjects (N = 4) with unprecedented focal bilateral BLA lesions due to a genetic condition called Urbach–Wiethe disease. In a classical delay fear conditioning experiment, these subjects showed impaired acquisition of conditioned fear relative to a group of matched control subjects (N = 10) as measured by fear-potentiation of the defensive eye-blink startle reflex. After the experiment, the BLA-damaged cases showed normal declarative memory of the conditioned association. Our findings provide new evidence that the human BLA is essential to drive fast classically conditioned defensive reflexes. PMID:25552573
of the model is the impact on sleep . In animals, fear conditioning disrupts sleep , especially REM sleep . Sleep deprivation, in whole or just of REM ...was tested. We examined the effects of initial learning on REM sleep and whether REM sleep subsequent to learning facilitated memory consolidation of...threat and safety. Results showed increased safety learning was associated with increased consolidation of REM sleep the subsequent night. Increased
Pollard, Marie; Varin, Christophe; Hrupka, Brian; Pemberton, Darrel J; Steckler, Thomas; Shaban, Hamdy
Non-competitive antagonists of the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDA) such as phencyclidine (PCP) elicit schizophrenia-like symptoms in healthy individuals. Similarly, PCP dosing in rats produces typical behavioral phenotypes that mimic human schizophrenia symptoms. Although schizophrenic behavioral phenotypes of the PCP model have been extensively studied, the underlying alterations of intrinsic neuronal properties and synaptic transmission in relevant limbic brain microcircuits remain elusive. Acute brain slice electrophysiology and immunostaining of inhibitory neurons were used to identify neuronal circuit alterations of the amygdala and hippocampus associated with changes in extinction of fear learning in rats following PCP treatment. Subchronic PCP application led to impaired long-term potentiation (LTP) and marked increases in the ratio of NMDA to 2-amino-3(5-methyl-3-oxo-1,2-oxazol-4-yl)propionic acid (AMPA) receptor-mediated currents at lateral amygdala (LA) principal neurons without alterations in parvalbumin (PV) as well as non-PV, glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 (GAD 67) immunopositive neurons. In addition, LTP was impaired at the Schaffer collateral to CA1 hippocampal pathway coincident with a reduction in colocalized PV and GAD67 immunopositive neurons in the CA3 hippocampal area. These effects occurred without changes in spontaneous events or intrinsic membrane properties of principal cells in the LA. The impairment of LTP at both amygdalar and hippocampal microcircuits, which play a key role in processing relevant survival information such as fear and extinction memory concurred with a disruption of extinction learning of fear conditioned responses. Our results show that subchronic PCP administration in rats impairs synaptic functioning in the amygdala and hippocampus as well as processing of fear-related memories.
Groeber Travis, Caitlin M; Altman, Daniel E; Genovese, Raymond F
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
Tronson, Natalie C.; Wiseman, Shari L.; Neve, Rachael L.; Nestler, Eric J.; Olausson, Peter; Taylor, Jane R.
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…
Glover, Ebony M.; Ressler, Kerry J.; Davis, Michael
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…
Hölzel, Britta K; Brunsch, Vincent; Gard, Tim; Greve, Douglas N; Koch, Kathrin; Sorg, Christian; Lazar, Sara W; Milad, Mohammed R
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).
Hölzel, Britta K.; Brunsch, Vincent; Gard, Tim; Greve, Douglas N.; Koch, Kathrin; Sorg, Christian; Lazar, Sara W.; Milad, Mohammed R.
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
Hurt, Robert C.; Garrett, Jacob C.; Keifer, Orion P.; Linares, Andrea; Couling, Leena; Speth, Robert C.; Ressler, Kerry J.; Marvar, Paul J.
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
Hurt, R C; Garrett, J C; Keifer, O P; Linares, A; Couling, L; Speth, R C; Ressler, K J; Marvar, P J
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.
Marshall, Anisa J; Acheson, Dean T; Risbrough, Victoria B; Straus, Laura D; Drummond, Sean P A
Fear conditioning is considered an animal model of post-traumatic stress disorder. Such models have shown fear conditioning disrupts subsequent rapid eye movement sleep (REM). Here, we provide a translation of these models into humans. Using the fear potentiated startle (FPS) procedure, we examined the effects of fear conditioning and safety signal learning on subsequent REM sleep in healthy adults. We also examined the effects of changes in REM sleep on retention of fear and safety learning. Participants (n = 42 normal controls) spent 3 consecutive nights in the laboratory. The first was an adaptation night. Following the second night, we administered a FPS procedure that included pairing a wrist shock with a threat signal and a safety signal never paired with a shock. The next day, we administered the FPS procedure again, with no wrist shocks to any stimulus, to measure retention of fear and safety. Canonical correlations assessed the relationship between FPS response and REM sleep. Results demonstrated that increased safety signal learning during the initial acquisition phase was associated with increased REM sleep consolidation that night, with 28.4% of the variance in increased REM sleep consolidation from baseline accounted for by safety signal learning. Overnight REM sleep was, in turn, related to overnight retention of fear and safety learning, with 22.5% of the variance in startle retention accounted for by REM sleep. These data suggest that sleep difficulties, specifically REM sleep fragmentation, may play a mechanistic role in post-traumatic stress disorder via an influence on safety signal learning and/or threat-safety discrimination.
Ito, Wataru; Pan, Bing-Xing; Yang, Chao; Thakur, Siddarth; Morozov, Alexei
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…
morphine . Conditioned drug reward is a relevant model in addiction because environmental cues (e.g. a barroom) induce craving and persistent... morphine . Synaptic plasticity is found in these neural fear and reward circuits and thus drugs which enhance plasticity like histone deacetylase...commercially available drug (sodium butyrate) with high translational utility for human studies. Morphine place conditioning: To measure effects of opiate
Kelly, Megan M.; Forsyth, John P.
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…
Vervliet, Bram; Vansteenwegen, Debora; Eelen, Paul
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…
Yusufishaq, Shabana; Rosenkranz, J. Amiel
Many mammals can utilize social information to learn by observation of conspecifics (social learning). Social learning of fear is expected to be especially advantageous for survival. However, disruption of social development in early life can impair social cognition and might also be expected to disrupt social learning. Social isolation during a critical period of adolescence disrupts social development. The purpose of this study was to determine whether disruption of social development through post-weaning social isolation leads to impairments of social fear learning. Rats were reared in isolation or pair-housed from immediately post-weaning, for 3 weeks. Social fear learning in rats was acquired by observation of tone-footshock pairings administered to a conspecific. Isolation-reared rats displayed less conditioned freezing than pair-housed rats when tested the next day. This reduction of conditioned freezing was correlated with conspecific-oriented behaviors during conditioning, was measured despite similarities in demonstrator behaviors, and occurred despite a manipulation that equalized freezing during conditioning between the pair-housed and isolation-reared rats. The results could not be explained by abnormal sensitization to a repeated tone or deficits in freezing or direct fear conditioning. These results demonstrate that observational fear conditioning is impaired by social isolation, and provide a model to study impaired social affective learning. Impaired social cognition, manifested as inability to recognize or appropriately interpret social cues, is a symptom of several psychiatric disorders. Better understanding of the mechanisms of impaired social fear learning can lead to novel treatments for social cognition symptoms of psychiatric disorders. PMID:23295398
Yusufishaq, Shabana; Rosenkranz, J Amiel
Many mammals can utilize social information to learn by observation of conspecifics (social learning). Social learning of fear is expected to be especially advantageous for survival. However, disruption of social development in early life can impair social cognition and might also be expected to disrupt social learning. Social isolation during a critical period of adolescence disrupts social development. The purpose of this study was to determine whether disruption of social development through post-weaning social isolation leads to impairments of social fear learning. Rats were reared in isolation or pair-housed from immediately post-weaning, for 3 weeks. Social fear learning in rats was acquired by observation of tone-footshock pairings administered to a conspecific. Isolation-reared rats displayed less conditioned freezing than pair-housed rats when tested the next day. This reduction of conditioned freezing was correlated with conspecific-oriented behaviors during conditioning, was measured despite similarities in demonstrator behaviors, and occurred despite a manipulation that equalized freezing during conditioning between the pair-housed and isolation-reared rats. The results could not be explained by abnormal sensitization to a repeated tone or deficits in freezing or direct fear conditioning. These results demonstrate that observational fear conditioning is impaired by social isolation, and provide a model to study impaired social affective learning. Impaired social cognition, manifested as inability to recognize or appropriately interpret social cues, is a symptom of several psychiatric disorders. Better understanding of the mechanisms of impaired social fear learning can lead to novel treatments for social cognition symptoms of psychiatric disorders.
Leach, Prescott T; Kenney, Justin W; Gould, Thomas J
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.
Yang, Cheng-Hao; Shi, Hai-Shui; Zhu, Wei-Li; Wu, Ping; Sun, Li-Li; Si, Ji-Jian; Liu, Meng-Meng; Zhang, Yan; Suo, Lin; Yang, Jian-Li
Anxiety disorders, characterized by anxiety and fearfulness, are found to be able to cause abnormal emotional responses' associated with memories of negative events, which implicate pressure on society with an increasingly large burden. Better treatment has been of concern to the community. Venlafaxine (VEN), a nonclassical antidepressant agent, is applied in the treatment of social phobia, major depression (MD) and general anxiety disorder (GAD) and, to a certain extent, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which improves working memory and spatial memory as well as ameliorates emotion by affecting specified brain regions. In this study, we committed to seek a new way for using VEN on treatment of anxiety disorders. To investigate the effect of VEN on extinction of auditory-cue conditioned fear, conditioned rats received a treatment with VEN before extinction training and tests for freezing level of within-session and between-session extinction. To investigate the effect of VEN on reinstatement, all conditioned rats received a treatment with VEN over a period for 21 days. After a rest for 7 days, two tests for freezing level were conducted. We found that: (1) VEN (40mg/kg) treatment at 30min prior to extinction training significantly facilitated the between-session extinction, but not the within-session extinction; (2) chronic administration with VEN (40mg/kg) prevented the return of extinguished auditory-cue fear. These data elucidate the critical role of VEN in auditory-cue fear memory, suggesting that VEN may be an ideal choice for the exposure-based drug treatment and maintenance treatment in patients with GAD, SAD and PTSD.
Neumann, David L; Longbottom, Paula L
The acquisition, extinction, and subsequent recovery of conditioned fear can be influenced by the nature of the conditional stimulus (CS) and the context in which the CS is presented. The combined effects of these factors were examined in a differential fear-conditioning procedure with humans. Fear-relevant or fear-irrelevant CSs were followed by a shock unconditional stimulus (US) during acquisition and presented alone during extinction. The CSs were images presented upon different background contexts. Half the participants received the same context during acquisition and extinction and the remaining received different contexts. All participants received test trials in the same context as acquisition. In Experiment 1 (N=64), a renewal of shock expectancy and skin conductance responses was found during test for fear-relevant and fear-irrelevant CSs when extinction was given in a different context. In Experiment 2 (N=72), renewal for fear-relevant stimuli was enhanced when acquisition and test was given in an indoor office context and extinction in an outdoor bush context. The opposite context configuration produced the strongest renewal for fear-irrelevant stimuli. The return of extinguished conditioned fear can occur to fear-relevant stimuli that are commonly associated with clinical fears and its strength may be enhanced when the stimuli are encountered in certain contexts after extinction.
Esmorís-Arranz, Francisco J.; Méndez, Cástor; Spear, Norman E.
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. PMID:18343048
Katche, Cynthia; Tomaiuolo, Micol; Dorman, Guido; Medina, Jorge H.; Viola, Haydee
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
Den, Miriam Liora; Graham, Bronwyn M; Newall, Carol; Richardson, Rick
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.
Raber, Jacob; Marzulla, Tessa; Kronenberg, Amy; Turker, Mitchell S.
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.
Takeda, Kotaro; Tsuji, Minoru; Miyagawa, Kazuya; Takeda, Hiroshi
Fear conditioning is a valuable behavioral paradigm for studying the neural basis of emotional learning and memory. The present study examined the involvement of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK) signaling on the serotonin (5-HT)7 receptor-mediated fear conditioning. Conditioning was performed in a trial in which a tone was followed by an electrical foot-shock. Context- and tone-dependent fear were examined in tests conducted 24 and 48h after conditioning, respectively. The selective 5-HT7 receptor antagonist 2a-[4-(4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridyl)butyl]-2a,3,4,-tetrahydrobenzo(c,d)indol-2-(1H)-one (DR4004) (5mg/kg), when administered intraperitoneally (i.p.) immediately after conditioning, caused a significant decrease in both context- and tone-dependent fear responses (freezing behavior). A significant increase in ERK activity was observed in the amygdala of mice that displayed context- or tone-dependent fear responses, and these changes were also inhibited by the administration of DR4004 (5mg/kg, i.p.) immediately after conditioning. In contrast, the increase in hippocampal ERK activity in mice that displayed context-dependent fear responses was further enhanced by the administration of DR4004 (5mg/kg, i.p.). These results suggest that 5-HT7 receptor-mediated ERK signaling may play a significant role in the processes of emotional learning and memory.
Baeuchl, Christian; Meyer, Patric; Hoppstädter, Michael; Diener, Carsten; Flor, Herta
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.
Cacciaglia, Raffaele; Pohlack, Sebastian T; Flor, Herta; Nees, Frauke
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.
Zimmerman, Joshua M; Maren, Stephen
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.
Bowers, Mallory E.; Ressler, Kerry J.
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
Baldi, Elisabetta; Liuzzo, Antonino; Bucherelli, Corrado
The Fimbria-Fornix (FF) and Entorhinal Cortex (EC) are the primary interfaces between the hippocampus and, respectively, subcortical structures and cortical areas. Their mnemonic role has been repeatedly proposed. In order to investigate their role in fear conditioning, FF and EC were subjected to bilateral fully reversible tetrodotoxin (TTX) inactivation during consolidation in adult male Wistar rats that had undergone training for fear conditioning to an acoustic stimulus (CS) and context. TTX was stereotaxically injected into animals of different groups at increasing post-acquisition delays. Memory was assessed as conditioned freezing duration measured during retention testing, performed 72 and 96 h after TTX administration in a counterbalanced manner. The results showed that FF inactivation, performed immediately after conditioning, did not disrupt consolidation of either contextual or auditory fear memory. On the contrary, EC inactivation performed at the same time was followed by both contextual and CS fear response retention impairment. EC inactivation performed 1.5h post-acquisition impaired only contextual fear response retention. EC inactivation performed 24h after acquisition training had no effect on the consolidation process. The present findings show a clearly different role of FF and EC in fear conditioning consolidation in the rat. The results are discussed in relation to their known connections with the hippocampus.
Lonsdorf, Tina B; Menz, Mareike M; Andreatta, Marta; Fullana, Miguel A; Golkar, Armita; Haaker, Jan; Heitland, Ivo; Hermann, Andrea; Kuhn, Manuel; Kruse, Onno; Drexler, Shira Meir; Meulders, Ann; Nees, Frauke; Pittig, Andre; Richter, Jan; Römer, Sonja; Shiban, Youssef; Schmitz, Anja; Straube, Benjamin; Vervliet, Bram; Wendt, Julia; Baas, Johanna M P; Merz, Christian J
The so-called 'replicability crisis' has sparked methodological discussions in many areas of science in general, and in psychology in particular. This has led to recent endeavours to promote the transparency, rigour, and ultimately, replicability of research. Originating from this zeitgeist, the challenge to discuss critical issues on terminology, design, methods, and analysis considerations in fear conditioning research is taken up by this work, which involved representatives from fourteen of the major human fear conditioning laboratories in Europe. This compendium is intended to provide a basis for the development of a common procedural and terminology framework for the field of human fear conditioning. Whenever possible, we give general recommendations. When this is not feasible, we provide evidence-based guidance for methodological decisions on study design, outcome measures, and analyses. Importantly, this work is also intended to raise awareness and initiate discussions on crucial questions with respect to data collection, processing, statistical analyses, the impact of subtle procedural changes, and data reporting specifically tailored to the research on fear conditioning.
Vurbic, Drina; Bouton, Mark E
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.
de Quervain, Dominique; Schwabe, Lars; Roozendaal, Benno
Glucocorticoid stress hormones are crucially involved in modulating mnemonic processing of emotionally arousing experiences. They enhance the consolidation of new memories, including those that extinguish older memories, but impair the retrieval of information stored in long-term memory. As strong aversive memories lie at the core of several fear-related disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder and phobias, the memory-modulating properties of glucocorticoids have recently become of considerable translational interest. Clinical trials have provided the first evidence that glucocorticoid-based pharmacotherapies aimed at attenuating aversive memories might be helpful in the treatment of fear-related disorders. Here, we review important advances in the understanding of how glucocorticoids mediate stress effects on memory processes, and discuss the translational potential of these new conceptual insights.
Benson, Sven; Kattoor, Joswin; Kullmann, Jennifer S; Hofmann, Sarah; Engler, Harald; Forsting, Michael; Gizewski, Elke R; Elsenbruch, Sigrid
Sex differences in learned fear regarding aversive gastrointestinal stimuli could play a role in the female preponderance of chronic abdominal pain. In a fear conditioning model with rectal pain as unconditioned stimulus (US), we compared healthy males and females with respect to neural responses during aversive visceral learning, extinction and re-activation of fear memory (i.e., reinstatement). To do so, conditioned visual stimuli (CS(+)) were consistently paired with painful rectal distensions as US, while different visual stimuli (CS(-)) were presented without US. During extinction, both CSs were presented without US, whereas during reinstatement, a single, unpaired US was presented. In region-of-interest analyses, sexes were compared with respect to conditioned anticipatory neural activation (CS(+)>CS(-)). The results revealed that in late acquisition, CS+ presentation induced significantly greater anticipatory activation of the insula in women. During extinction, women demonstrated reduced activation of the posterior cingulate cortex. During reinstatement, the CS(+) led to greater activation of the hippocampus, thalamus and cerebellum in women. These group effects in neural activation during learning and memory processes were not accounted for by sex differences in pain thresholds, pain ratings, or stress parameters. In conclusion, this is the first study to support sex differences in neural processes mediating aversive visceral learning. Our finding of enhanced neural responses during reinstatement in key brain areas relevant for memory suggests enhanced reactivation of old fear memory trace in women. Sex differences in "gut memories" could play a role in the female preponderance of chronic abdominal pain.
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.
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
Bhattacharya, Subhrajit; Kimble, Whitney; Buabeid, Manal; Bhattacharya, Dwipayan; Bloemer, Jenna; Alhowail, Ahmad; Reed, Miranda; Dhanasekaran, Muralikrishnan; Escobar, Martha; Suppiramaniam, Vishnu
Retrieval of a memory appears to render it unstable until the memory is once again re-stabilized or reconsolidated. Although the occurrence and consequences of reconsolidation have received much attention in recent years, the specific mechanisms that underlie the process of reconsolidation have not been fully described. Here, we present the first electrophysiological model of the synaptic plasticity changes underlying the different stages of reconsolidation of a conditioned fear memory. In this model, retrieval of a fear memory results in immediate but transient alterations in synaptic plasticity, mediated by modified expression of the glutamate receptor subunits GluA1 and GluA2 in the hippocampus of rodents. Retrieval of a memory results in an immediate impairment in LTP, which is enhanced 6h following memory retrieval. Conversely, memory retrieval results in an immediate enhancement of LTD, which decreases with time. These changes in plasticity are accompanied by decreased expression of GluA2 receptor subunits. Recovery of LTP and LTD correlates with progressive overexpression of GluA2 receptor subunits. The contribution of the GluA2 receptor was confirmed by interfering with receptor expression at the postsynaptic sites. Blocking GluA2 endocytosis restored LTP and attenuated LTD during the initial portion of the reconsolidation period. These findings suggest that altered GluA2 receptor expression is one of the mechanisms that controls different forms of synaptic plasticity during reconsolidation.
Costanzi, Marco; Cannas, Sara; Saraulli, Daniele; Rossi-Arnaud, Clelia; Cestari, Vincenzo
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…
Tipps, Megan E; Raybuck, Jonathan D; Buck, Kari J; Lattal, K Matthew
Strain comparison studies have been critical to the identification of novel genetic and molecular mechanisms in learning and memory. However, even within a single learning paradigm, the behavioral data for the same strain can vary greatly, making it difficult to form meaningful conclusions at both the behavioral and cellular level. In fear conditioning, there is a high level of variability across reports, especially regarding responses to the conditioned stimulus (CS). Here, we compare C57BL/6 and DBA/2 mice using delay fear conditioning, trace fear conditioning, and a nonassociative condition. Our data highlight both the significant strain differences apparent in these fear conditioning paradigms and the significant differences in conditioning type within each strain. We then compare our data to an extensive literature review of delay and trace fear conditioning in these two strains. Finally, we apply a number of commonly used baseline normalization approaches to compare how they alter the reported differences. Our findings highlight three major sources of variability in the fear conditioning literature: CS duration, number of CS presentations, and data normalization to baseline measures.
Penzo, Mario A.; Robert, Vincent
Recent studies indicate that the lateral subdivision of the central amygdala (CeL) is essential for fear learning. Specifically, fear conditioning induces cell-type-specific synaptic plasticity in CeL neurons that is required for the storage of fear memories. The CeL also controls fear expression by gating the activity of the medial subdivision of the central amygdala (CeM), the canonical amygdala output to areas that mediate defensive responses. In addition to the connection with CeM, the CeL sends long-range projections to innervate extra-amygdala areas. However, the long-range projection CeL neurons have not been well characterized, and their role in fear regulation is unknown. Here we show in mice that a subset of CeL neurons directly project to the midbrain periaqueductal gray (PAG) and the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus, two brain areas implicated in defensive behavior. These long-range projection CeL neurons are predominantly somatostatin-positive (SOM+) neurons, which can directly inhibit PAG neurons, and some of which innervate both the PAG and paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus. Notably, fear conditioning potentiates excitatory synaptic transmission onto these long-range projection CeL neurons. Thus, our study identifies a subpopulation of SOM+ CeL neurons that may contribute to fear learning and regulate fear expression independent of CeM. PMID:24523533
Penzo, Mario A; Robert, Vincent; Li, Bo
Recent studies indicate that the lateral subdivision of the central amygdala (CeL) is essential for fear learning. Specifically, fear conditioning induces cell-type-specific synaptic plasticity in CeL neurons that is required for the storage of fear memories. The CeL also controls fear expression by gating the activity of the medial subdivision of the central amygdala (CeM), the canonical amygdala output to areas that mediate defensive responses. In addition to the connection with CeM, the CeL sends long-range projections to innervate extra-amygdala areas. However, the long-range projection CeL neurons have not been well characterized, and their role in fear regulation is unknown. Here we show in mice that a subset of CeL neurons directly project to the midbrain periaqueductal gray (PAG) and the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus, two brain areas implicated in defensive behavior. These long-range projection CeL neurons are predominantly somatostatin-positive (SOM(+)) neurons, which can directly inhibit PAG neurons, and some of which innervate both the PAG and paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus. Notably, fear conditioning potentiates excitatory synaptic transmission onto these long-range projection CeL neurons. Thus, our study identifies a subpopulation of SOM(+) CeL neurons that may contribute to fear learning and regulate fear expression independent of CeM.
Moore, Nicole L T; Gauchan, Sangeeta; Genovese, Raymond F
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.
Alfei, Joaquín M.; Ferrer Monti, Roque I.; Molina, Victor A.; Bueno, Adrián M.
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
Gould, Thomas J.; Lewis, Michael C.
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…
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
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.
Sethna, Ferzin; Wang, Hongbing
Behavioral exposure therapy, which involves extinction of the previously acquired fear, has been used to treat anxiety-related symptoms such as post-traumatic stress disorder. It has been hypothesized that proextinction pharmacotherapeutics may enhance the efficacy of exposure therapy. Systemic administration of the metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5)-positive allosteric modulator 3-cyano-N-(1,3-diphenyl-1H-pyrazol-5-yl)benzamide (CDPPB) facilitated the extinction of contextual fear memory. Notably, CDPPB also enhanced the initial fear memory formation, and had no effect on memory retrieval. Our data suggest that positive regulation of mGluR5 may offer a new method to enhance exposure therapy through facilitating extinction without adversely affecting other aspects of memory process.
Oxytocin and Social Support as Synergistic Inhibitors of Aversive Fear Conditioning and Fear-Potentiated Startle in Male Rats Dr. Jeff Rosen University of...potentiated startle after 3 weeks of social isolation have been difficult to replicate. We suggest oxytocin is promising as a drug with novel...benefits for patients with PTSD. fear; anxiety; PTSD; startle; social isolation 60 email@example.com Table of Contents
Katz, Ira K; Lamprecht, Raphael
RNA transcription is needed for memory formation. However, the ability to identify genes whose expression is altered by learning is greatly impaired because of methodological difficulties in profiling gene expression in specific neurons involved in memory formation. Here, we report a novel approach to monitor the expression of genes after learning in neurons in specific brain pathways needed for memory formation. In this study, we aimed to monitor gene expression after fear learning. We retrogradely labeled discrete thalamic neurons that project to the lateral amygdala (LA) of rats. The labeled neurons were dissected, using laser microdissection microscopy, after fear conditioning learning or unpaired training. The RNAs from the dissected neurons were subjected to microarray analysis. The levels of selected RNAs detected by the microarray analysis to be altered by fear conditioning were also assessed by nanostring analysis. We observed that the expression of genes involved in the regulation of translation, maturation and degradation of proteins was increased 6 h after fear conditioning compared to unpaired or naïve trained rats. These genes were not expressed 24 h after training or in cortical neurons that project to the LA. The expression of genes involved in transcription regulation and neuronal development was altered after fear conditioning learning in the cortical-LA pathway. The present study provides key information on the identity of genes expressed in discrete thalamic and cortical neurons that project to the LA after fear conditioning. Such an approach could also serve to identify gene products as targets for the development of a new generation of therapeutic agents that could be aimed to functionally identified brain circuits to treat memory-related disorders.
Kohman, Rachel A.; Clark, Peter J.; DeYoung, Erin K.; Bhattacharya, Tushar K.; Venghaus, Christine E.; Rhodes, Justin S.
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
Costanzi, Marco; Cannas, Sara; Saraulli, Daniele; Rossi-Arnaud, Clelia; Cestari, Vincenzo
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 treat anxiety disorders; yet, such a procedure turns out to be transient, context-dependent, and ineffective unless it is applied immediately after trauma. Recent evidence indicates that, in both rats and humans, extinction training can prevent the return of fear if administered within the reconsolidation window, when memories become temporarily labile and susceptible of being updated. Here, we show that the reconsolidation-extinction procedure fails to prevent the spontaneous recovery of a remote contextual fear memory in a mouse model of PTSD, as well as the long-lasting behavioral abnormalities induced by traumatic experience on anxiety and in both social and cognitive domains (i.e., social withdrawal and spatial learning deficits). Such a failure appears to be related to the ineffectiveness of the reconsolidation-extinction procedure in targeting the pathogenic process of fear sensitization, a nonassociative component of traumatic memory that causes animals to react aberrantly to harmless stimuli. This indicates fear sensitization as a major target for treatments aimed at mitigating anxiety and the behavioral outcomes of traumatic experiences.
Maddox, Stephanie A.; Watts, Casey S.; Schafe, Glenn E.
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.…
Baratta, M. V.; Christianson, J. P.; Gomez, D. M.; Zarza, C. M.; Amat, J.; Masini, C.V.; Watkins, L. R.; Maier, S. F.
Fear conditioning and fear extinction play key roles in the development and treatment of anxiety-related disorders, yet there is little information concerning experiential variables that modulate these processes. Here we examined the impact of exposure to a stressor in a different environment on subsequent fear conditioning and extinction, and whether the degree of behavioral control that the subject has over the stressor is of importance. Rats received a session of either escapable (controllable) tailshock (ES), yoked inescapable (uncontrollable) tailshock (IS), or control treatment (HC) 7 days before fear conditioning in which a tone and footshock were paired. Conditioning was measured 24 h later. In a second experiment rats received ES, IS or HC 24 h after contextual fear conditioning. Extinction then occurred every day beginning 7 days later until a criterion was reached. Spontaneous recovery of fear was assessed 14 days after extinction. IS potentiated fear conditioning when given before fear conditioning, and potentiated fear responding during extinction when given after conditioning. Importantly, ES potently interfered with later fear conditioning, decreased fear responding during fear extinction, and prevented spontaneous recovery of fear. Additionally, we examined if the activation of the ventral medial prefrontal cortex (mPFCv) by ES is critical for the protective effects of ES on later fear conditioning. Inactivation of the mPFCv with muscimol at the time of the initial experience with control prevented ES-induced reductions in later contextual and auditory fear conditioning. Finally, we explored if the protective effects of ES extended to an unconditioned fear stimulus, ferret odor. Unlike conditioned fear, prior ES increased the fear response to ferret odor to the same degree as did IS. PMID:17478046
Asli, Ole; Kulvedrøsten, Silje; Solbakken, Line E; Flaten, Magne Arve
The latency of conditioned fear after delay and trace conditioning was investigated. Some argue that delay conditioning is not dependent on awareness. In contrast, trace conditioning, where there is a gap between the conditioned stimulus (CS) and the unconditioned stimulus (US), is assumed to be dependent on awareness. In the present study, a tone CS signaled a noise US presented 1000 ms after CS onset in the delay conditioning group. In the trace conditioning group, a 200-ms tone CS was followed by an 800-ms gap prior to US presentation. Fear-potentiated startle should be seen at shorter intervals after delay conditioning compared to trace conditioning. Analyses showed increased startle at 30, 50, 100, and 150 ms after CS onset following delay conditioning compared to trace conditioning. This implies that fear-relevant stimuli elicit physiological reactions before extended processing of the stimuli occur, following delay, but not trace conditioning.
Schaap, Manon W. H.; van Oostrom, Hugo; Doornenbal, Arie; van 't Klooster, José; Baars, Annemarie M.; Arndt, Saskia S.; Hellebrekers, Ludo J.
When using rats in pain research, strain-related differences in outcomes of tests for pain and nociception are acknowledged. However, very little is known about the specific characteristics of these strain differences. In this study four phylogenetically distant inbred rat strains, i.e. Wistar Kyoto (WKY), Fawn Hooded (FH), Brown Norway (BN) and Lewis (LE), were investigated in different tests related to pain and nociception. During Pavlovian fear conditioning, the LE and WKY showed a significantly longer duration of freezing behaviour than the FH and BN. Additionally, differences in c-Fos expression in subregions of the prefrontal cortex and amygdala between rat strains during retrieval and expression of conditioned fear were found. For example, the BN did not show recruitment of the basolateral amygdala, whereas the WKY, FH and LE did. During the hot plate test, the WKY and LE showed a lower thermal threshold compared to the BN and FH. In a follow-up experiment, the two most contrasting strains regarding behaviour during the hot plate test and Pavlovian fear conditioning (i.e. FH and WKY) were selected and the hot plate test, Von Frey test and somatosensory-evoked potential (SEP) were investigated. During the Von Frey test, the WKY showed a lower mechanical threshold compared to the FH. When measuring the SEP, the FH appeared to be less reactive to increasing stimulus intensities when considering both peak amplitudes and latencies. Altogether, the combined results indicate various differences between rat strains in Pavlovian fear conditioning, nociception related behaviours and nociceptive processing. These findings demonstrate the necessity of using multiple rat strains when using tests including noxious stimuli and suggest that the choice of rat strains should be considered. When selecting a strain for a particular study it should be considered how this strain behaves during the tests used in that study. PMID:24376690
Chocyk, Agnieszka; Przyborowska, Aleksandra; Makuch, Wioletta; Majcher-Maślanka, Iwona; Dudys, Dorota; Wędzony, Krzysztof
Adolescence is a developmental period characterized by extensive morphological and functional remodeling of the brain. The processes of brain maturation during this period may unmask malfunctions that originate earlier in life as a consequence of early-life stress (ELS). This is associated with the emergence of many psychopathologies during adolescence, particularly affective spectrum disorders. In the present study, we applied a maternal separation (MS) procedure (3h/day, on postnatal days 1-14) as a model of ELS to examine its effects on the acquisition, expression and extinction of fear memories in adolescent rats. Additionally, we studied the persistence of these memories into adulthood. We found that MS decreased the expression of both contextual (CFC) and auditory (AFC) fear conditioning in adolescent rats. Besides, MS had no impact on the acquisition of extinction learning. During the recall of extinction MS animals both, those previously subjected and not subjected to the extinction session, exhibited equally low levels of freezing. In adulthood, the MS animals (conditioned during adolescence) still displayed impairments in the expression of AFC (only in males) and CFC. Furthermore, the MS procedure had also an impact on the expression of CFC (but not AFC) after retraining in adulthood. Our findings imply that ELS may permanently affect fear learning and memory. The results also support the hypothesis that, depending on individual predispositions and further experiences, ELS may either lead to a resilience or a vulnerability to early- and late-onsets psychopathologies.
Hunter, Amy Silvestri
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.
Poulos, Andrew M; Ponnusamy, Ravikumar; Dong, Hong-Wei; Fanselow, Michael S
The basolateral amygdala (BLA) is thought to be essential for fear learning. However, extensive training can overcome the loss of conditional fear evident following lesions and inactivation of the BLA. Such results suggest the existence of a primary BLA-dependent and a compensatory BLA-independent neural circuit. We tested the hypothesis that the bed nuclei of the stria terminalis (BST) provides this compensatory plasticity. Using extensive context-fear conditioning, we demonstrate that combined BLA and BST lesions prevented fear acquisition and expression. Additionally, protein synthesis in the BST was critical only for consolidation of BLA-independent but not BLA-dependent fear. Moreover, fear acquired after BLA lesions resulted in greater activation of BST regions that receive hippocampal efferents. These results suggest that the BST is capable of functioning as a compensatory site in the acquisition and consolidation of context-fear memories. Unlocking such neural compensation holds promise for understanding situations when brain damage impairs normal function or failure to regulate compensatory sites leads to anxiety disorders.
Kenney, Justin W; Raybuck, Jonathan D; Gould, Thomas J
Nicotine administration alters various forms of hippocampus-dependent learning and memory. Increasing work has found that the dorsal and ventral hippocampus differentially contribute to multiple behaviors. Thus, the present study examined whether the effects of nicotine in the dorsal and ventral hippocampus have distinct influences on contextual fear learning in male C57BL/6J mice. Direct infusion of nicotine into the dorsal hippocampus resulted in an enhancement of contextual fear learning, whereas nicotine infused into the ventral hippocampus resulted in deficits. Nicotine infusions into the ventral hippocampus did not alter hippocampus-independent cued fear conditioning or time spent in the open arm of the elevated plus maze, a measure of anxiety, suggesting that the effects are due to alterations in contextual learning and not other general processes. Finally, results from using direct infusions of MLA, a low-affinity α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) antagonist, in conjunction with systemic nicotine, provide evidence that α7-nAChRs in the ventral hippocampus mediate the detrimental effect of ventral hippocampal nicotine on contextual fear learning. These results suggest that with systemic nicotine administration, competition exists between the dorsal and ventral hippocampus for behavioral control over contextual learning.
Grady, Ashley K; Bowen, Kenton H; Hyde, Andrew T; Totsch, Stacie K; Knight, David C
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.
Flavell, Charlotte R.; Lee, Jonathan L. C.
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…
Summary The mechanisms underlying the etiology and pathophysiology of anxiety disorders — the most prevalent class of mental disorders — remain unclear. Over the last 30 years investigators have used the animal model of conditioned fear stress (CFS) to investigate the brain structures and neurotransmitter systems involved in aversive emotional learning and memory. Recent studies have focused on the neuronal circuitry and cellular mechanisms of fearful emotional experiences. This review describes the CFS paradigm, discusses the neural circuit and neurotransmission underlying CFS, and explains the mechanism of action of pharmacological treatments of CFS. The focus of the review is on the molecular mechanisms of fear extinction, a phenomenon directly implicated in the clinical treatment of anxiety. Based on our assessment of previous work we will conclude by considering potential molecular targets for treating symptoms of anxiety and fear. PMID:25328347
Corcoran, Kevin A; Frick, Brendan J; Radulovic, Jelena; Kay, Leslie M
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.
Çalışkan, Gürsel; Müller, Iris; Semtner, Marcus; Winkelmann, Aline; Raza, Ahsan S; Hollnagel, Jan O; Rösler, Anton; Heinemann, Uwe; Stork, Oliver; Meier, Jochen C
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 α3L(185L)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.
Çalışkan, Gürsel; Müller, Iris; Semtner, Marcus; Winkelmann, Aline; Raza, Ahsan S.; Hollnagel, Jan O.; Rösler, Anton; Heinemann, Uwe; Stork, Oliver; Meier, Jochen C.
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
Pezze, M A; Marshall, H J; Domonkos, A; Cassaday, H J
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 10s 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 (0.05μg/side) or D1 antagonist SCH23390 (0.5μg/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.
Pezze, M.A.; Marshall, H.J.; Domonkos, A.; Cassaday, H.J.
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
Gruene, Tina M; Flick, Katelyn; Stefano, Alexis; Shea, Stephen D; Shansky, Rebecca M
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.
Do-Monte, Fabrício H M; Allensworth, Melody; Carobrez, Antônio P
Long-lasting memories of aversive or stressful events have been associated with the noradrenergic system activation. Alpha-1-adrenergic antagonist prazosin has successfully been used in the last years to treat anxiety disorders related to aversive memories recurrence in humans. Contextual conditioned fear extinction paradigm in rats has been used to better understand the mechanisms involved in the attenuation of defensive behaviour after a traumatic situation. Here we investigated the effects of systemic administration of prazosin in the fear extinction processes. Rats were previously paired in a contextual fear conditioning box (1 footshock, 1 mA, 2s duration), further returning to the same box during three consecutive days receiving an intraperitoneal injection of vehicle or prazosin 30 min before (acquisition of extinction; 0.1 or 0.5mg/kg) or immediately after (consolidation of extinction, 0.5 or 1.5mg/kg) each extinction session (10 min). On the last day, all animals were re-exposed undrugged to the apparatus. Since the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) has been described as a key structure in the modulation of conditioned fear extinction, the effects of intra-mPFC microinjection (0.2 microl per side) of vehicle (PBS) or prazosin (0.75 or 2.5 nmol) in the acquisition of fear extinction (10 min before extinction session 1) were further evaluated. Subjects were drug-free re-exposed to the same box in the next day (extinction session 2). The percentage of freezing time was used as the memory retention parameter. The results showed that either systemic or intra-mPFC-alpha-1-adrenergic blockade increased the freezing time in the last extinction sessions, suggesting impairment of the extinction of contextual conditioned fear in rats.
Giachero, Marcelo; Bustos, Silvia G.; Calfa, Gaston; Molina, Victor A.
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…
Otis, James M; Werner, Craig T; Mueller, Devin
Emotional and traumatic experiences lead to the development of particularly strong memories that can drive neuropsychiatric disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and drug addiction. Disruption of these memories would therefore serve as a powerful treatment option, and targeting the pathologic emotional, but not declarative, component of a memory would be ideal for clinical intervention. Research reveals that after retrieval of a consolidated memory, the memory can be destabilized, and must then be reconsolidated through synaptic plasticity to allow subsequent retrieval. Disruption of reconsolidation-related plasticity would therefore impair specific, reactivated memories. Noradrenergic signaling strengthens synaptic plasticity and is essential for encoding the emotional components of memory. Consistent with this, investigations have now revealed that noradrenergic signaling is a critical mechanism for reconsolidation of emotional memories in rodent and human models. Here, we discuss these investigations and promising clinical trials indicating that disruption of noradrenergic signaling during reconsolidation may abolish the pathologic emotional, but not declarative, component of memories allowing alleviation of neuropsychiatric disorders including PTSD and drug addiction.
Haubrich, Josue; Crestani, Ana P; Cassini, Lindsey F; Santana, Fabiana; Sierra, Rodrigo O; Alvares, Lucas de O; Quillfeldt, Jorge A
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.
Haubrich, Josue; Crestani, Ana P; Cassini, Lindsey F; Santana, Fabiana; Sierra, Rodrigo O; Alvares, Lucas de O; Quillfeldt, Jorge A
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
Duvarci, Sevil; Nader, Karim; LeDoux, Joseph E.
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…
pharmacologic intervention to promote the memory forgetting process requires that it be introduced in an appropriate time window and in an optimized...TITLE: Corticosterone Administration to Promote Fear Memory Forgetting Process in an Animal Model of PTSD PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR:He Li, M.D...NUMBER W81XWH-08-2-0064 Forgetting Process in an Animal Model of PTSD 5b. GRANT NUMBER 5c. PROGRAM ELEMENT NUMBER 6. AUTHOR(S) He Li, M.D
Akers, Katherine G; Arruda-Carvalho, Maithe; Josselyn, Sheena A; Frankland, Paul W
Pinpointing the precise age when young animals begin to form memories of aversive events is valuable for understanding the onset of anxiety and mood disorders and for detecting early cognitive impairment in models of childhood-onset disorders. Although these disorders are most commonly modeled in mice, we know little regarding the development of learning and memory in this species because most previous studies have been restricted to rats. Therefore, in the present study, we constructed an ontogenetic timeline of contextual fear memory ranging from infancy to adulthood in mice. We found that the ability of mice to form long-term context-shock associations emerged ∼13-14 d of age, which is several days earlier than previously reported for rats. Although the ability to form contextual fear memories remained stable from infancy into adulthood, infant mice had shorter-lasting memories than adolescent and adult mice. Furthermore, we found that mice subjected to fetal alcohol exposure showed a delay in the developmental emergence of contextual fear memory, illustrating the utility of this ontogenetic approach in detecting developmental delays in cognitive function stemming from maladaptive early life experience.
Chang, Chun-hui; Maren, Stephen
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…
Hegoburu, Chloé; Parrot, Sandrine; Ferreira, Guilaume; Mouly, Anne-Marie
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…
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...
de Oliveira, Daniela R; Zamberlam, Claudia R; Rêgo, Gizelda M; Cavalheiro, Alberto; Cerutti, Janete M; Cerutti, Suzete M
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
de Oliveira, Daniela R.; Zamberlam, Claudia R.; Rêgo, Gizelda M.; Cavalheiro, Alberto; Cerutti, Janete M.; Cerutti, Suzete M.
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
Wheeler, Anne L; Teixeira, Cátia M; Wang, Afra H; Xiong, Xuejian; Kovacevic, Natasa; Lerch, Jason P; McIntosh, Anthony R; Parkinson, John; Frankland, Paul W
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.
Peña, David Frausto; Childs, Jessica E.; Willett, Shawn; Vital, Analicia; McIntyre, Christa K.; Kroener, Sven
Fearful experiences can produce long-lasting and debilitating memories. Extinction of the fear response requires consolidation of new memories that compete with fearful associations. Subjects with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) show impaired extinction of conditioned fear, which is associated with decreased ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) control over amygdala activity. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) enhances memory consolidation in both rats and humans, and pairing VNS with exposure to conditioned cues enhances the consolidation of extinction learning in rats. Here we investigated whether pairing VNS with extinction learning facilitates plasticity between the infralimbic (IL) medial prefrontal cortex and the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA). Rats were trained on an auditory fear conditioning task, which was followed by a retention test and 1 day of extinction training. Vagus nerve stimulation or sham-stimulation was administered concurrently with exposure to the fear-conditioned stimulus and retention of fear conditioning was tested again 24 h later. Vagus nerve stimulation-treated rats demonstrated a significant reduction in freezing after a single extinction training session similar to animals that received 5× the number of extinction pairings. To study plasticity in the IL-BLA pathway, we recorded evoked field potentials (EFPs) in the BLA in anesthetized animals 24 h after retention testing. Brief burst stimulation in the IL produced LTD in the BLA field response in fear-conditioned and sham-treated animals. In contrast, the same stimulation resulted in potentiation of the IL-BLA pathway in the VNS-treated group. The present findings suggest that VNS promotes plasticity in the IL-BLA pathway to facilitate extinction of conditioned fear responses (CFRs). PMID:25278857
Guijarro, Jussara Z; Tiba, Paula A; Ferreira, Tatiana L; Kawakami, Suzi E; Oliveira, Maria Gabriela M; Suchecki, Deborah
Previous studies show that early life events result in neurobehavioural alterations that may be either beneficial or detrimental to the stress response. Given the close relationship between corticosterone secretion and mnemonic processes, the purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of brief (BMS, 15 min) and long maternal separations (LMS, 180 min) on memory tasks in adult rats, assessed by context and tone fear conditioning. At adulthood, males were evaluated for behavioural and hormonal reaction to the training environment, being tested for context fear conditioning; tone fear conditioning; and learning curve in the context fear conditioning, in which rats were daily re-exposed to the context, followed by a brief footshock and in the last day of the experiment (day 5) animals were exposed to the context. Corticosterone and ACTH plasma levels were determined in naïve rats (basal) or 5, 25 or 45 min after each test. Peak ACTH and corticosterone levels were similar among the groups after context fear conditioning; however, levels of CTL rats remained elevated for a longer time. In the learning curve of context fear conditioning, both BMS and LMS rats exhibited less freezing behaviour than CTL rats, without differences in hormone secretion. There was neither an association between activity of the HPA axis and performance on memory tasks nor different activational properties of the tasks on the HPA axis between BMS and LMS rats, i.e., both manipulations lead to similar performance in hippocampus-dependent and independent memory tasks.
disorder. Psychoneuroendocrinology 34: 917-923. Heinrichs M, Baumgartner T, Kirschbaum C, Ehlert U (2003). Social support and oxytocin interact to...TITLE: Oxytocin and Social Support as Synergistic Inhibitors of Aversive Fear Conditioning and Fear-Potentiated Startle in Male Rats PRINCIPAL...Annual 3. DATES COVERED (From - To) 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE Oxytocin and Social Support as Synergistic Inhibitors of 5a. CONTRACT NUMBER
Thomas, Brian L.; Longo, Craig L.; Ayres, John J. B.
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…
Sivamaruthi, Bhagavathi S.; Madhumita, Rajkumar; Balamurugan, Krishnaswamy; Rajan, Koilmani E.
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; 107 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
Dal Bosco, Lidiane; Weber, Gisele E. B.; Parfitt, Gustavo M.; Paese, Karina; Gonçalves, Carla O. F.; Serodre, Tiago M.; Furtado, Clascídia A.; Santos, Adelina P.; Monserrat, José M.; Barros, Daniela M.
Carbon nanotubes (CNT) are promising materials for biomedical applications, especially in the field of neuroscience; therefore, it is essential to evaluate the neurotoxicity of these nanomaterials. The present work assessed the effects of single-walled CNT functionalized with polyethylene glycol (SWCNT-PEG) on the consolidation and retrieval of contextual fear memory in rats and on oxidative stress parameters in the hippocampus. SWCNT-PEG were dispersed in water at concentrations of 0.5, 1.0, and 2.1 mg/mL and infused into the rat hippocampus. The infusion was completed immediately after training and 30 min before testing of a contextual fear conditioning task, resulting in exposure times of 24 h and 30 min, respectively. The results showed that a short exposure to SWCNT-PEG impaired fear memory retrieval and caused lipid peroxidation in the hippocampus. This response was transient and overcome by the mobilization of antioxidant defenses at 24 h. These effects occurred at low and intermediate but not high concentration of SWCNT-PEG, suggesting that the observed biological response may be related to the concentration-dependent increase in particle size in SWCNT-PEG dispersions. PMID:25738149
Cox, David; Czerniawski, Jennifer; Ree, Fredrick; Otto, Tim
While a number of early studies demonstrated that hippocampal damage attenuates the expression of recent, but not remotely trained tasks, an emerging body of evidence has shown that damage to, or inactivation of, the hippocampus often impairs recall across a wide range of training-testing intervals. Collectively, these data suggest that the time course of hippocampal involvement in the storage or recall of previously-acquired memories may differ according to hippocampal subregion and the particular learning task under consideration. The present study examined the contributions of dorsal (DH) and ventral (VH) hippocampus to the expression of previously-acquired trace fear conditioning, a form of Pavlovian conditioning in which the offset of an initially neutral cue or cues and the onset of an aversive stimulus is separated by a temporal (trace) interval. Specifically, either saline or the GABA-A agonist muscimol was infused into DH or VH prior to testing either 1, 7, 28, or 42 days after trace fear conditioning. The results revealed a marked dissociation: pre-testing inactivation of DH failed to impair performance at any time-point, while pre-testing inactivation of VH impaired performance at all time-points. Importantly, pre-testing inactivation of VH had no effect on the performance of previously-acquired delay conditioning, suggesting that the deficits observed in trace conditioning cannot be attributed to a deficit in performance of the freezing response. Collectively, these data suggest that VH, but not DH, remains a neuroanatomical locus critical to the recall or expression of trace fear conditioning over an extended period of time.
Ji, Weiqing; Suga, Nobuo
In the awake big brown bat, 30 min auditory fear conditioning elicits conditioned heart rate decrease and long-term best frequency (BF) shifts of cortical auditory neurons toward the frequency of the conditioned tone; 15 min conditioning elicits subthreshold cortical BF shifts that can be augmented by acetylcholine. The fear conditioning causes stress and an increase in the cortical serotonin (5-HT) level. Serotonergic neurons in the raphe nuclei associated with stress and fear project to the cerebral cortex and cholinergic basal forebrain. Recently, it has been shown that 5-HT(2A) receptors are mostly expressed on pyramidal neurons and their activation improves learning and memory. We applied 5-HT, an agonist (alpha-methyl-5-HT), or an antagonist (ritanserin) of 5-HT(2A) receptors to the primary auditory cortex and discovered the following drug effects: (1) 5-HT had no effect on the conditioned heart rate change, although it reduced the auditory responses; (2) 4 mm 5-HT augmented the subthreshold BF shifts, whereas 20 mm 5-HT did not; (3) 20 mm 5-HT reduced the long-term BF shifts and changed them into short-term; (4) alpha-methyl-5-HT increased the auditory responses and augmented the subthreshold BF shifts as well as the long-term BF shifts; (5) in contrast, ritanserin reduced the auditory responses and reversed the direction of the BF shifts. Our data indicate that the BF shift can be modulated by serotonergic neurons that augment or reduce the BF shift or even reverse the direction of the BF shift. Therefore, not only the cholinergic system, but also the serotonergic system, plays an important role in cortical plasticity according to behavioral demands.
Klein, Anke M; Titulaer, Geraldine; Simons, Carlijn; Allart, Esther; de Gier, Erwin; Bögels, Susan M; Becker, Eni S; Rinck, Mike
This study investigated multiple cognitive biases in children simultaneously, to investigate whether spider-fearful children display an interpretation bias, a recall bias, and source monitoring errors, and whether these biases are specific for spider-related materials. Furthermore, the independent ability of these biases to predict spider fear was investigated. A total of 121 children filled out the Spider Anxiety and Disgust Screening for Children (SADS-C), and they performed an interpretation task, a memory task, and a Behavioural Assessment Test (BAT). As expected, a specific interpretation bias was found: Spider-fearful children showed more negative interpretations of ambiguous spider-related scenarios, but not of other scenarios. We also found specific source monitoring errors: Spider-fearful children made more fear-related source monitoring errors for the spider-related scenarios, but not for the other scenarios. Only limited support was found for a recall bias. Finally, interpretation bias, recall bias, and source monitoring errors predicted unique variance components of spider fear.
Quinn, Jennifer J; Wied, Heather M; Ma, Quang D; Tinsley, Matthew R; Fanselow, Michael S
The hippocampus is important for the formation of spatial, contextual, and episodic memories. For instance, lesions of the dorsal hippocampus (DH) produce demonstrable deficits in contextual fear conditioning. By contrast, it is generally agreed that the DH is not important for conditioning to a discrete cue (such as a tone or light) that is paired with footshock in a temporally contiguous fashion (delay conditioning). There are, however, some reports of hippocampus involvement in delay conditioning. The present series of experiments was designed to assess the conditions under which the hippocampus-dependent component of delay fear conditioning performance may be revealed. Here, we manipulated the number of conditioning trials and the intensity of the footshock in order to vary the strength of conditioning. The results indicate that the DH contributes to freezing performance to a delay conditioned tone when the conditioning parameters are relatively weak (few trials or low footshock intensity), but not when strong parameters are used. The results are discussed in terms of two parallel memory systems: a direct tone-footshock association that is independent of the hippocampus and a hippocampus-dependent memory for the conditioning session.
Lima, Ramon H.; Radiske, Andressa; Kohler, Cristiano A.; Gonzalez, Maria Carolina; Bevilaqua, Lia R.; Rossato, Janine I.; Medina, Jorge H.; Cammarota, Martin
Late post-training activation of the ventral tegmental area (VTA)-hippocampus dopaminergic loop controls the entry of information into long-term memory (LTM). Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) modulate VTA function, but their involvement in LTM storage is unknown. Using pharmacological and behavioral tools, we found that…
Vetere, Gisella; Restivo, Leonardo; Novembre, Giovanni; Aceti, Massimiliano; Lumaca, Massimo; Ammassari-Teule, Martine
Structural synaptic changes occur in medial prefrontal cortex circuits during remote memory formation. Whether extinction reverts or further reshapes these circuits is, however, unknown. Here we show that the number and the size of spines were enhanced in anterior cingulate (aCC) and infralimbic (ILC) cortices 36 d following contextual fear…
Barnes, Dylan C.; Chapuis, Julie; Chaudhury, Dipesh; Wilson, Donald A.
Background Sleep plays an active role in memory consolidation. Sleep structure (REM/Slow wave activity [SWS]) can be modified after learning, and in some cortical circuits, sleep is associated with replay of the learned experience. While the majority of this work has focused on neocortical and hippocampal circuits, the olfactory system may offer unique advantages as a model system for exploring sleep and memory, given the short, non-thalamic pathway from nose to primary olfactory (piriform cortex), and rapid cortex-dependent odor learning. Methodology/Principal Findings We examined piriform cortical odor responses using local field potentials (LFPs) from freely behaving Long-Evans hooded rats over the sleep-wake cycle, and the neuronal modifications that occurred within the piriform cortex both during and after odor-fear conditioning. We also recorded LFPs from naïve animals to characterize sleep activity in the piriform cortex and to analyze transient odor-evoked cortical responses during different sleep stages. Naïve rats in their home cages spent 40% of their time in SWS, during which the piriform cortex was significantly hypo-responsive to odor stimulation compared to awake and REM sleep states. Rats trained in the paired odor-shock conditioning paradigm developed enhanced conditioned odor evoked gamma frequency activity in the piriform cortex over the course of training compared to pseudo-conditioned rats. Furthermore, conditioned rats spent significantly more time in SWS immediately post-training both compared to pre-training days and compared to pseudo-conditioned rats. The increase in SWS immediately after training significantly correlated with the duration of odor-evoked freezing the following day. Conclusions/Significance The rat piriform cortex is hypo-responsive to odors during SWS which accounts for nearly 40% of each 24 hour period. The duration of slow-wave activity in the piriform cortex is enhanced immediately post-conditioning, and this increase
Bisaz, R; Sandi, C
Chronic stress in rodents was shown to induce structural shrinkage and functional alterations in the hippocampus that were linked to spatial memory impairments. Effects of chronic stress on the amygdala have been linked to a facilitation of fear conditioning. Although the underlying molecular mechanisms are still poorly understood, increasing evidence highlights the neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) as an important molecular mediator of stress-induced structural and functional alterations. In this study, we investigated whether altered NCAM expression levels in the amygdala might be related to stress-induced enhancement of auditory fear conditioning and anxiety-like behavior. In adult C57BL/6J wild-type mice, chronic unpredictable stress resulted in an isoform-specific increase of NCAM expression (NCAM-140 and NCAM-180) in the amygdala, as well as enhanced auditory fear conditioning and anxiety-like behavior. Strikingly, forebrain-specific conditional NCAM-deficient mice (NCAM-floxed mice that express the cre-recombinase under the control of the promoter of the alpha-subunit of the calcium-calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II), whose amygdala NCAM expression levels are reduced, displayed impaired auditory fear conditioning which was not altered following chronic stress exposure. Likewise, chronic stress in these conditional NCAM-deficient mice did not modify NCAM expression levels in the amygdala or hippocampus, while they showed enhanced anxiety-like behavior, questioning the involvement of NCAM in this type of behavior. Together, our results strongly support the involvement of NCAM in the amygdala in the consolidation of auditory fear conditioning and highlight increased NCAM expression in the amygdala among the mechanisms whereby stress facilitates fear conditioning processes.
Burman, Michael A; Erickson, Kristen J; Deal, Alex L; Jacobson, Rose E
Anxiety disorders often emerge during childhood. Rodent models using classical fear conditioning have shown that different types of fear depend upon different neural structures and may emerge at different stages of development. For example, some work has suggested that contextual fear conditioning generally emerges later in development (postnatal day 23-24) than explicitly cued fear conditioning (postnatal day 15-17) in rats. This has been attributed to an inability of younger subjects to form a representation of the context due to an immature hippocampus. However, evidence that contextual fear can be observed in postnatal day 17 subjects and that cued fear conditioning continues to emerge past this age raises questions about the nature of this deficit. The current studies examine this question using both the context pre-exposure facilitation effect for immediate single-shock contextual fear conditioning and traditional cued fear conditioning using Sprague-Dawley rats. The data suggest that both cued and contextual fear conditioning are continuing to develop between PD 17 and 24, consistent with development occurring the in essential fear conditioning circuit.
Debeer, Elise; Raes, Filip; Williams, J Mark G; Craeynest, Miet; Hermans, Dirk
Functional avoidance is considered as one of the key mechanisms underlying overgeneral autobiographical memory (OGM). According to this view OGM is regarded as a learned cognitive avoidance strategy, based on principles of operant conditioning; i.e., individuals learn to avoid the emotionally painful consequences associated with the retrieval of specific negative memories. The aim of the present study was to test one of the basic assumptions of the functional avoidance account, namely that autobiographical memory retrieval can be brought under operant control. Here 41 students were instructed to retrieve personal memories in response to 60 emotional cue words. Depending on the condition, they were punished with an aversive sound for the retrieval of specific or nonspecific memories in an operant conditioning procedure. Analyzes showed that the course of memory specificity significantly differed between conditions. After the procedure participants punished for nonspecific memories retrieved significantly more specific memories compared to participants punished for specific memories. However, whereas memory specificity significantly increased in participants punished for specific memories, it did not significantly decrease in participants punished for nonspecific memories. Thus, while our findings indicate that autobiographical memory retrieval can be brought under operant control, they do not support a functional avoidance view on OGM.
Yamada, Daisuke; Wada, Keiji; Sekiguchi, Masayuki
Extinction of conditioned fear response is thought to be a biological process underlying exposure therapy for anxiety disorders. We have previously reported that an AMPA receptor potentiator, 4-[2-(phenylsulfonylamino)ethylthio]-2,6-difluorophenoxyacetamide (PEPA), facilitates extinction of fear memory formed through contextual fear conditioning in mice that had never been exposed to experimental stress. On the other hand, recent findings suggest that the fear extinction is impaired in stressed rats or mice. The purpose of the present study was to examine whether PEPA facilitates impaired extinction of fear in stressed mice. For this purpose, mice were applied stress (a 2h restraint, a 20min forced swim, and ether inhalation), and contextual fear conditioning was carried out 7 days later. After 1-3 days of conditioning, mice were re-exposed to the context for 6min, and behavioral freezing response was measured. The time mice spent frozen decreased following every extinction session, and the decrease was remarkably slower in the stressed mice than in control non-stressed mice. PEPA (3, 10, 30mg/kg body weight) or vehicle was intraperitoneally administered into stressed mice once before the first extinction session. The significant decrease of the freezing response in the extinction sessions was only seen in the 30mg/kg PEPA-administered stressed mice, compared with vehicle-administered stressed mice. A similar extent of decrease in the freezing response in the extinction sessions was observed in the PEPA-administered (30mg/kg) and d-cycloserine-administered (30mg/kg) mice. These results suggest that PEPA facilitates extinction of contextual fear in stressed mice.
Bustos, Silvia Gabriela; Giachero, Marcelo; Maldonado, Héctor; Molina, Víctor Alejandro
It is well known that, under certain boundary conditions, the retrieval of a stable consolidated memory results into a labile one. During this unstable phase, memory can be vulnerable to interference by a number of pharmacological agents, including benzodiazepines. One of the goals of this study was to evaluate the vulnerability to midazolam (MDZ) after reactivation of recent and remote contextual fear memories in animals that experienced a stressful situation before learning. Animals were subjected to a restraint session and trained in a contextual fear paradigm the following day; consolidated memories were reactivated at different times after learning and different MDZ doses (1.5, 3.0 mg/kg) were administered to rats after reactivation. Our results show that MDZ did not affect memory reconsolidation in older-than-one-day memories of stressed animals, even after the administration of a higher MDZ dose and a longer reactivation session (5 min). In contrast, MDZ was effective in blocking reconsolidation at all memory ages in unstressed animals. In addition, the current research investigated whether activating NMDA sites before reactivation promotes the destabilization of resistant memories such as those of stressed animals. We tested the influence of pre-reactivation D-cycloserine (DCS), a partial NMDA agonist, on MDZ's effect on fear memory reconsolidation in stressed animals. Our findings indicate that DCS before reactivation promotes retrieval-induced lability in resistant memory traces, as MDZ-induced memory impairment in stressed rats became evident with pre-reactivation DCS but not after pre-reactivation sterile isotonic saline.
Reichelt, Amy C; Maniam, Jayanthi; Westbrook, R Frederick; Morris, Margaret J
Both obesity and over-consumption of palatable high fat/high sugar "cafeteria" diets in rats has been shown to induce cognitive deficits in executive function, attention and spatial memory. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a diet that supplemented standard lab chow with a range of palatable foods eaten by people for 8 weeks, or regular lab chow. Memory was assessed using a trace fear conditioning procedure, whereby a conditioned stimulus (CS) is presented for 10s and then 30s after its termination a foot shock (US) is delivered. We assessed freezing to the CS (flashing light) in a neutral context, and freezing in the context associated with footshock. A dissociation was observed between levels of freezing in the context and to the CS associated with footshock. Cafeteria diet fed rats froze less than control chow fed rats in the context associated with footshock (P<0.01), indicating that encoding of a hippocampus-dependent context representation was impaired in these rats. Conversely, cafeteria diet fed rats froze more (P<0.05) to the CS than chow fed rats, suggesting that when hippocampal function was compromised the cue was the best predictor of footshock, as contextual information was not encoded. Dorsal hippocampal mRNA expression of inflammatory and neuroplasticity markers was analysed at the end of the experiment, 10 weeks of diet. Of these, mRNA expression of reelin, which is known to be important in long term potentiation and neuronal plasticity, was significantly reduced in cafeteria diet fed rats (P=0.003). This implicates reductions in hippocampal plasticity in the contextual fear memory deficits seen in the cafeteria diet fed rats.
Heinrichs, Stephen C; Leite-Morris, Kimberly A; Guy, Marsha D; Goldberg, Lisa R; Young, Angela J; Kaplan, Gary B
Previous research suggests that morphology and arborization of dendritic spines change as a result of fear conditioning in cortical and subcortical brain regions. This study uniquely aims to delineate these structural changes in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) after both fear conditioning and fear extinction. C57BL/6 mice acquired robust conditioned fear responses (70-80% cued freezing behavior) after six pairings with a tone cue associated with footshock in comparison to unshocked controls. During fear acquisition, freezing behavior was significantly affected by both shock exposure and trial number. For fear extinction, mice were exposed to the conditioned stimulus tone in the absence of shock administration and behavioral responses significantly varied by shock treatment. In the retention tests over 3 weeks, the percentage time spent freezing varied with the factor of extinction training. In all treatment groups, alterations in dendritic plasticity were analyzed using Golgi-Cox staining of dendrites in the BLA. Spine density differed between the fear conditioned group and both the fear extinction and control groups on third order dendrites. Spine density was significantly increased in the fear conditioned group compared to the fear extinction group and controls. Similarly in Sholl analyses, fear conditioning significantly increased BLA spine numbers and dendritic intersections while subsequent extinction training reversed these effects. In summary, fear extinction produced enduring behavioral plasticity that is associated with a reversal of alterations in BLA dendritic plasticity produced by fear conditioning. These neuroplasticity findings can inform our understanding of structural mechanisms underlying stress-related pathology can inform treatment research into these disorders.
Ishii, Daisuke; Matsuzawa, Daisuke; Fujita, Yuko; Sutoh, Chihiro; Ohtsuka, Hiroyuki; Matsuda, Shingo; Kanahara, Nobuhisa; Hashimoto, Kenji; Iyo, Masaomi; Shimizu, Eiji
Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the acoustic startle response is one of the few and major paradigms for investigating sensorimotor gating systems in humans and rodents in a similar fashion. PPI deficits are observed not only in patients with schizophrenia, but also in patients with anxiety disorders. Previous studies have shown that PPI in rats can be enhanced by auditory fear conditioning. In this study, we evaluated the effects of contextual fear conditioning (FC) for six times a day and fear extinction (FE) for seven days on PPI in mice. C57BL/6J mice (male, 8-12 weeks) were divided into three groups; no-FC (control), FC and FC + FE. We measured PPI at the following three time points, (1) baseline before FC, (2) after FC, and (3) after FE. The results showed that PPI was increased after FC. Moreover, the enhanced PPI following FC was observed even after FE with decreased freezing behaviors. These results suggested contextual fear conditioning could enhance acoustic PPI, and that contextual fear extinction could decrease freezing behaviors, but not acoustic PPI.
Gupta-Agarwal, Swati; Jarome, Timothy J.; Fernandez, Jordan; Lubin, Farah D.
It is well established that fear memory formation requires de novo gene transcription in the amygdala. We provide evidence that epigenetic mechanisms in the form of histone lysine methylation in the lateral amygdala (LA) are regulated by NMDA receptor (NMDAR) signaling and involved in gene transcription changes necessary for fear memory…
Chan, Wan Yee Macy; Leung, Hiu T.; Westbrook, R. Frederick; McNally, Gavan P.
In six experiments we studied the effects of a single re-exposure to a conditioned stimulus (CS; "retrieval trial") prior to extinction training (extinction-reconsolidation boundary) on the development of and recovery from fear extinction. A single retrieval trial prior to extinction training significantly augmented the renewal and reinstatement…
Ortiz, Vanesa; Giachero, Marcelo; Espejo, Pablo Javier; Molina, Víctor Alejandro
Background: Withdrawal from chronic ethanol facilitates the formation of contextual fear memory and delays the onset to extinction, with its retrieval promoting an increase in ethanol consumption. Consequently, manipulations aimed to reduce these aversive memories, may be beneficial in the treatment of alcohol discontinuation symptoms. Related to this, pharmacological memory reconsolidation blockade has received greater attention due to its therapeutic potential. Methods: Here, we examined the effect of post-reactivation amnestic treatments such as Midazolam (MDZ, 3 mg/kg i.p) and Propranolol (PROP, 5 mg/kg i.p) on contextual fear memory reconsolidation in ethanol- withdrawn (ETOH) rats. Next, we examined whether the activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors induced by d-cycloserine (DCS, 5 mg/kg i.p., a NMDA partial agonist) before memory reactivation can facilitate the disruptive effect of PROP and MDZ on fear memory in ETOH rats. Results: We observed a resistance to the disruptive effect of both MDZ and PROP following memory reactivation. Although intra-basolateral amygdala (BLA; 1.25 ug/side) and systemic PROP administration attenuated fear memory in DCS pre-treated ETOH rats, DCS/MDZ treatment did not affect memory in these animals. Finally, a decrease of both total and surface protein expression of the α1 GABAA receptor (GABAA-R) subunit in BLA was found in the ETOH rats. Conclusions: Ethanol withdrawal facilitated the formation of fear memory resistant to labilization post-reactivation. DCS administration promoted the disruptive effect of PROP on memory reconsolidation in ETOH rats. The resistance to MDZ’s disruptive effect on fear memory reconsolidation may be, at least in part, associated with changes in the GABAA-R composition induced by chronic ethanol administration/withdrawal. PMID:25617327
Chauret, Mélissa; La Buissonnière-Ariza, Valérie; Lamoureux Tremblay, Vickie; Suffren, Sabrina; Servonnet, Alice; Pine, Daniel S; Maheu, Françoise S
Adult work shows differences in emotional processing influenced by sexes of both the viewer and expresser of facial expressions. We investigated this in 120 healthy youths (57 boys; 10-17 years old) randomly assigned to fear conditioning and extinction tasks using either neutral male or female faces as the conditioned threat and safety cues, and a fearful face paired with a shrieking scream as the unconditioned stimulus. Fear ratings and skin conductance responses (SCRs) were assessed. Male faces triggered increased fear ratings in all participants during conditioning and extinction. Greater differential SCRs were observed in boys viewing male faces and in girls viewing female faces during conditioning. During extinction, differential SCR findings remained significant in boys viewing male faces. Our findings demonstrate how sex of participant and sex of target interact to shape fear responses in youths, and how the type of measure may lead to distinct profiles of fear responses.
Kim, Dongbeom; Paré, Denis
We used biophysical modeling to examine a fundamental, yet unresolved, question regarding how particular lateral amygdala (LA) neurons are assigned to fear memory traces. This revealed that neurons with high intrinsic excitability are more likely to be integrated into the memory trace, but that competitive synaptic interactions also play a critical role. Indeed, when the ratio of intrinsically excitable cells was increased or decreased, the number of plastic cells remained relatively constant. Analysis of the connectivity of plastic and nonplastic cells revealed that subsets of principal LA neurons effectively band together by virtue of their excitatory interconnections to suppress plasticity in other principal cells via the recruitment of inhibitory interneurons. PMID:24005288
McDermott, Carmel M; Liu, Dan; Ade, Catherine; Schrader, Laura A
Females experience depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety disorders at approximately twice the rate of males, but the mechanisms underlying this difference remain undefined. The effect of sex hormones on neural substrates presents a possible mechanism. We investigated the effect of ovariectomy at two ages, before puberty and in adulthood, and 17β-estradiol (E2) replacement administered chronically in drinking water on anxiety level, fear memory formation, and extinction. Based on previous studies, we hypothesized that estradiol replacement would impair fear memory formation and enhance extinction rate. Females, age 4 weeks and 10 weeks, were divided randomly into 4 groups; sham surgery, OVX, OVX+low E2 (200nM), and OVX+high E2 (1000nM). Chronic treatment with high levels of E2 significantly increased anxiety levels measured in the elevated plus maze. In both age groups, high levels of E2 significantly increased contextual fear memory but had no effect on cued fear memory. In addition, high E2 decreased the rate of extinction in both ages. Finally, catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is important for regulation of catecholamine levels, which play a role in fear memory formation and extinction. COMT expression in the hippocampus was significantly reduced by high E2 replacement, implying increased catecholamine levels in the hippocampus of high E2 mice. These results suggest that estradiol enhanced fear memory formation, and inhibited fear memory extinction, possibly stabilizing the fear memory in female mice. This study has implications for a neurobiological mechanism for PTSD and anxiety disorders.
Broadwater, Margaret A.
Some evidence suggests that adolescents are more vulnerable than adults to alcohol-induced cognitive deficits and that these deficits may persist into adulthood. Five experiments were conducted to assess long-term consequences of ethanol exposure on tone and context Pavlovian fear conditioning in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Experiment 1 examined age-related differences in sensitivity to ethanol-induced disruptions of fear conditioning to a pre-conditioning ethanol challenge. Experiments 2 examined fear conditioning 22 days after early-mid adolescent (P28-48) or adult (P70-90) exposure to 4 g/kg i.g. ethanol or water given every other day (total of 11 exposures). In Experiment 3, mid-late adolescents (P35-55) were exposed in the same manner to assess whether timing of ethanol exposure within the adolescent period would differentially affect later fear conditioning. Experiment 4 assessed the influence of prior adolescent or adult ethanol exposure on the disrupting effects of a pre-conditioning ethanol challenge. In Experiment 5, neurogenesis (doublecortin---DCX) and cholinergic (choline acetyltransferase---ChAT) markers were measured to assess potential long-term ethanol-induced changes in neural mechanisms important for learning and memory. Results indicated that the long-lasting behavioral effects of ethanol exposure varied depending on exposure age, with early-mid adolescent exposed animals showing attenuated context fear retention (a relatively hippocampal-dependent task), whereas mid-late adolescent and adult exposed animals showed slower context extinction (thought to be reliant on the mPFC). Early-mid adolescent ethanol-exposed animals also had significantly less DCX and ChAT expression than their water-exposed counterparts, possibly contributing to deficits in context fear. Tone fear was not influenced by prior ethanol exposure at any age. In terms of age differences in ethanol sensitivity, adolescents were less sensitive than adults to ethanol
Kitamura, Takashi; Sun, Chen; Martin, Jared; Kitch, Lacey J; Schnitzer, Mark J; Tonegawa, Susumu
Forming distinct representations and memories of multiple contexts and episodes is thought to be a crucial function of the hippocampal-entorhinal cortical network. The hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) and CA3 are known to contribute to these functions, but the role of the entorhinal cortex (EC) is poorly understood. Here, we show that Ocean cells, excitatory stellate neurons in the medial EC layer II projecting into DG and CA3, rapidly form a distinct representation of a novel context and drive context-specific activation of downstream CA3 cells as well as context-specific fear memory. In contrast, Island cells, excitatory pyramidal neurons in the medial EC layer II projecting into CA1, are indifferent to context-specific encoding or memory. On the other hand, Ocean cells are dispensable for temporal association learning, for which Island cells are crucial. Together, the two excitatory medial EC layer II inputs to the hippocampus have complementary roles in episodic memory.
Shechner, Tomer; Hong, Melanie; Britton, Jennifer C; Pine, Daniel S; Fox, Nathan A
The ability to differentiate danger and safety through associative processes emerges early in life. Understanding the mechanisms underlying associative learning of threat and safety can clarify the processes that shape development of normative fears and pathological anxiety. Considerable research has used fear conditioning and extinction paradigms to delineate underlying mechanisms in animals and human adults; however, little is known about these mechanisms in children and adolescents. The current paper summarizes the empirical data on the development of fear conditioning and extinction. It reviews methodological considerations and future directions for research on fear conditioning and extinction in pediatric populations.
Laricchiuta, Daniela; Saba, Luana; De Bartolo, Paola; Caioli, Silvia; Zona, Cristina; Petrosini, Laura
Although aversive memory has been mainly addressed by analysing the changes occurring in average populations, the study of neuronal mechanisms of outliers allows understanding the involvement of individual differences in fear conditioning and extinction. We recently developed an innovative experimental model of individual differences in approach and avoidance behaviors, classifying the mice as Approaching, Balancing or Avoiding animals according to their responses to conflicting stimuli. The approach and avoidance behaviors appear to be the primary reactions to rewarding and threatening stimuli and may represent predictors of vulnerability (or resilience) to fear. We submitted the three mice phenotypes to Contextual Fear Conditioning. In comparison to Balancing animals, Approaching and Avoiding mice exhibited no middle- or long-term fear extinction. The two non-extinguishing phenotypes exhibited potentiated glutamatergic neurotransmission (spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents/spinogenesis) of pyramidal neurons of medial prefrontal cortex and basolateral amygdala. Basing on the a priori individuation of outliers, we demonstrated that the maintenance of aversive memories is linked to increased spinogenesis and excitatory signaling in the amygdala-prefrontal cortex fear matrix.
Laricchiuta, Daniela; Saba, Luana; De Bartolo, Paola; Caioli, Silvia; Zona, Cristina; Petrosini, Laura
Although aversive memory has been mainly addressed by analysing the changes occurring in average populations, the study of neuronal mechanisms of outliers allows understanding the involvement of individual differences in fear conditioning and extinction. We recently developed an innovative experimental model of individual differences in approach and avoidance behaviors, classifying the mice as Approaching, Balancing or Avoiding animals according to their responses to conflicting stimuli. The approach and avoidance behaviors appear to be the primary reactions to rewarding and threatening stimuli and may represent predictors of vulnerability (or resilience) to fear. We submitted the three mice phenotypes to Contextual Fear Conditioning. In comparison to Balancing animals, Approaching and Avoiding mice exhibited no middle- or long-term fear extinction. The two non-extinguishing phenotypes exhibited potentiated glutamatergic neurotransmission (spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents/spinogenesis) of pyramidal neurons of medial prefrontal cortex and basolateral amygdala. Basing on the a priori individuation of outliers, we demonstrated that the maintenance of aversive memories is linked to increased spinogenesis and excitatory signaling in the amygdala-prefrontal cortex fear matrix. PMID:26875790
Wu, Xin; Zhang, Jie-Ting; Liu, Jue; Yang, Si; Chen, Tao; Chen, Jian-Guo; Wang, Fang
Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a 37 amino acid neuropeptide, which plays a critical role in the central nervous system. CGRP binds to G protein-coupled receptors, including CGRP1, which couples positively to adenylyl cyclase (AC) and protein kinase A (PKA) activation. CGRP and CGRP1 receptors are enriched in central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA), the main part of the amygdala, which regulates conditioned fear memories. Here, we reported the importance of CGRP and CGRP1 receptor for synaptic plasticity in the CeA and the extinction of fear memory in rats. Our electrophysiological and behavioral in vitro and in vivo results showed exogenous application of CGRP induced an immediate and lasting long-term potentiation in the basolateral nucleus of amygdala-CeA pathway, but not in the lateral nucleus of amygdala-CeA pathway, while bilateral intra-CeA infusion CGRP (0, 5, 13 and 21 μM/side) dose dependently enhanced fear memory extinction. The effects were blocked by CGRP1 receptor antagonist (CGRP8-37 ), N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors antagonist MK801 and PKA inhibitor H89. These results demonstrate that CGRP can lead to long-term potentiation of basolateral nucleus of amygdala-CeA pathway through a PKA-dependent postsynaptic mechanism that involved N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors and enhance the extinction of fear memory in rats. Together, the results strongly support a pivotal role of CGRP in the synaptic plasticity of CeA and extinction of fear memory. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) plays an essential role in synaptic plasticity in the amygdala and fear memory. We found that CGRP-induced chemical long-term potentiation (LTP) in a dose-dependent way in the BLA-CeA (basolateral and central nucleus of amygdala, respectively) pathway and enhanced fear memory extinction in rats through a protein kinase A (PKA)-dependent postsynaptic mechanism that involved NMDA receptors. These results support a pivotal role of CGRP in amygdala.
Wilson, Yvette M.; Murphy, Mark
There is no clear identification of the neurons involved in fear conditioning in the amygdala. To search for these neurons, we have used a genetic approach, the "fos-tau-lacZ" (FTL) mouse, to map functionally activated expression in neurons following contextual fear conditioning. We have identified a discrete population of neurons in the lateral…
Kochli, Daniel E.; Thompson, Elaine C.; Fricke, Elizabeth A.; Postle, Abagail F.; Quinn, Jennifer J.
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…
Calandreau, Ludovic; Jaffard, Robert; Desmedt, Aline
Extensive evidence indicates that the septum plays a predominant role in fear learning, yet the direction of this control is still a matter of debate. Increasing data suggest that the medial (MS) and lateral septum (LS) would be differentially required in fear conditioning depending on whether a discrete conditional stimulus (CS) predicts, or not,…
Baran, Sarah E; Armstrong, Charles E; Niren, Danielle C; Hanna, Jeffery J; Conrad, Cheryl D
Chronic stress effects and sex differences were examined on conditioned fear extinction. Male and female Sprague-Dawley rats were chronically stressed by restraint (6 h/d/21 d), conditioned to tone and footshock, followed by extinction after 1 h and 24 h delays. Chronic stress impaired the recall of fear extinction in males, as evidenced by high freezing to tone after the 24 h delay despite exposure to the previous 1 h delay extinction trials, and this effect was not due to ceiling effects from overtraining during conditioning. In contrast, chronic stress attenuated the recall of fear conditioning acquisition in females, regardless of exposure to the 1 h extinction exposure. Since freezing to tone was reinstated following unsignalled footshocks, the deficit in the stressed rats reflected impaired recall rather than impaired consolidation. Sex differences in fear conditioning and extinction were observed in nonstressed controls as well, with control females resisting extinction to tone. Analysis of contextual freezing showed that all groups (control, stress, male, female) increased freezing immediately after the first tone extinction trial, demonstrating contextual discrimination. These findings show that chronic stress and sex interact to influence fear conditioning, with chronic stress impairing the recall of delayed fear extinction in males to implicate the medial prefrontal cortex, disrupting the recall of the fear conditioning acquisition in females to implicate the amygdala, and nonstressed controls exhibiting sex differences in fear conditioning and extinction, which may involve the amygdala and/or corticosterone levels.
Kuhn, Cynthia M.; LaBar, Kevin S.; Zorawski, Michael; Blanding, Nineequa Q.
We examined the relationship between stress hormone (cortisol) release and acquisition and consolidation of conditioned fear learning in healthy adults. Participants underwent acquisition of differential fear conditioning, and consolidation was assessed in a 24-h delayed extinction test. The acquisition phase was immediately followed by an 11-min…
Winkelmann, Tobias; Grimm, Oliver; Pohlack, Sebastian T; Nees, Frauke; Cacciaglia, Raffaele; Dinu-Biringer, Ramona; Steiger, Frauke; Wicking, Manon; Ruttorf, Michaela; Schad, Lothar R; Flor, Herta
The neural circuits underlying fear learning have been intensively investigated in pavlovian fear conditioning paradigms across species. These studies established a predominant role for the amygdala in fear acquisition, while the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) has been shown to be important in the extinction of conditioned fear. However, studies on morphological correlates of fear learning could not consistently confirm an association with these structures. The objective of the present study was to investigate if interindividual differences in morphology of the amygdala and the vmPFC are related to differences in fear acquisition and extinction learning in humans. We performed structural magnetic resonance imaging in 68 healthy participants who underwent a differential cued fear conditioning paradigm. Volumes of subcortical structures as well as cortical thickness were computed by the semi-automated segmentation software Freesurfer. Stronger acquisition of fear as indexed by skin conductance responses was associated with larger right amygdala volume, while the degree of extinction learning was positively correlated with cortical thickness of the right vmPFC. Both findings could be conceptually replicated in an independent sample of 53 subjects. The data complement our understanding of the role of human brain morphology in the mechanisms of the acquisition and extinction of conditioned fear.
Sui, Li; Wang, Jing; Li, Bao-Ming
Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and its downstream targets, including Akt (also known as protein kinase B, PKB), mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), the 70-kDa ribosomal S6 kinase (p70S6k), and the eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E)-binding protein 1 (4E-BP1), may play important roles in long-term synaptic plasticity and memory in many…
Kim, Dongbeom; Pare, Denis; Nair, Satish S.
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…
Hoefer, M.; Allison, S. C.; Schauer, G. F.; Neuhaus, J. M.; Hall, J.; Dang, J. N.; Weiner, M. W.; Miller, B. L.; Rosen, H. J.
Emotional blunting and abnormal processing of rewards and punishments represent early features of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Better understanding of the physiological