We have recently shown that post-extinction retraining of rats, with a shock intensity that is too weak to induce by itself significant fear acquisition, impairs the recall of fear extinction memory. Tetanic stimulation (TS) of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), applied before or following this retraining, facilitates extinction recall. Here we investigated whether mPFC TS can also facilitate expression of fear extinction when rats are retrained with the same shock intensity as during the initial fear acquisition. Rats were implanted with stimulating electrodes in the mPFC and were trained to acquire freezing to a conditioning chamber, in which they had to enter freely. In Experiment 1, extinction of this response was followed by reconditioning and then another extinction training. Acquired freezing was extinguished successfully, while reacquired freezing, which was associated with increased chamber entry latencies, was resistant to subsequent extinction. Both reacquired freezing and increased chamber entry latencies were absent in rats that received post-reconditioning mPFC TS. In Experiment 2, post-conditioning mPFC TS had no effect on initially acquired freezing. In Experiment 3, rats were submitted to reconditioning without experiencing extinction training. In this condition, both reacquired freezing and increased chamber entry latencies were still present in rats that received post-reconditioning mPFC TS. These findings provide additional evidence for the fundamental role of the mPFC in maintaining expression of fear extinction.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Neurobiology of Learning and Memory|
|State||Published - Sep 2014|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by Hoffmann-La Roche (J.L.M). We thank Dr. R.K. Butler for his critical review of this manuscript.
- Conditioned freezing
- Fear extinction
- Fear re-acquisition
- Prefrontal electrical stimulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Behavioral Neuroscience