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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2012 Sep;223(2):223-35. doi: 10.1007/s00213-012-2710-4. Epub 2012 Apr 18.

Facilitation of extinction of operant behaviour in C57Bl/6 mice by chlordiazepoxide and D-cycloserine.

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  • 1School of Psychology, University of Ulster, Coleraine, BT52 1SA, Northern Ireland, UK. jc.leslie@ulster.ac.uk



Effects on the extinction of GABAergic drug, chlordiazepoxide (CDP), and glutamatergic drug, D: -cycloserine (DCS), in C57BL/6 mice were compared.


Following a palatability test (Experiment 1), Experiments 2-6 involved food-reinforced lever press training followed by extinction sessions at 1- or 4-day intervals. The effects of drugs were examined. Experiment 7 involved a two-lever task.


CDP did not affect food palatability (Experiment 1), but facilitated extinction when administered prior to extinction sessions via intracerebral (Experiment 2) or peripheral administration at 1-day (Experiments 3-7) or 4-day intervals (Experiment 6). Reducing the amount of training prior to extinction reduced the delay in the effect of CDP typically seen, and CDP had a larger effect in early sessions on mice that had received less training (Experiment 3). There was some evidence that CDP could be blocked by flumazenil (Experiment 4), and CDP withdrawal reversed extinction facilitation (Experiments 5 and 7). With 4-day intervals, DCS administered immediately following extinction sessions, or pre-session CDP, facilitated extinction with 48-trial sessions (experiment 6B). With six-trial sessions, the co-administration of post-session DCS enhanced facilitation produced by pre-session CDP (experiment 6A). Finally, CDP facilitated extinction in a dose-related fashion following training on a two-lever food-reinforced task (Experiment 7).


The findings are consistent with the hypotheses that two neurotransmitter systems have different roles in operant extinction and that glutamatergic systems are involved in extinction learning and GABAergic systems involved in the expression of that learning. This parallels findings with extinction following Pavlovian conditioning, which has been more extensively investigated.

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