Inhibition of the PI3 kinase cascade in corticolimbic circuit: Temporal and differential effects on contextual fear and extinction

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We studied the role of PI3K cascade in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and the infralimbic region of the medial prefrontal cortex (IL-mPFC), in contextual fear learning and extinction in the rat. To that end, we micro-infused the phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PIK3) inhibitor LY294002 into either the mPFC or the BLA. Infusion of LY294002 into the BLA following fear conditioning was associated with enhanced freezing levels and impaired extinction in the subsequent sessions. Similarly, inhibition of PI3K in the BLA before the retrieval of fear memory was associated with impaired retrieval of the fear memory, which was expressed as reduced freezing levels that persisted over 2 d. In the IL-mPFC, only consolidation of fear extinction was impaired: micro-infusion of PI3K inhibitor following the retrieval of fear was associated with impaired extinction on the following days. These results indicate differences in the temporal parameters of the effects of PI3K inhibition in the IL-mPFC and in the BLA, which suggest differential involvement of these structures in long-term fear and in extinction of fear memory. Our findings provide additional evidence for the critical roles played by PI3K in intact formation of fear memory and in its extinction and add new evidence for a role of PI3K in consolidation of memory of extinction. Better understanding of the differential involvement of the PI3K cascade during acquisition and extinction of fear conditioning in the mPFC-amygdala circuit could potentially contribute to the understanding and treatment of anxiety disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-833
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2013


  • BLA
  • PI3K
  • extinction
  • fear
  • mPFC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology


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