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Neuropharmacology. 2001 Jul;41(1):1-7.

The metabotropic glutamate receptor antagonist 2-methyl-6-(phenylethynyl)-pyridine (MPEP) blocks fear conditioning in rats.

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Animal Physiology, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.


Glutamate receptors play an essential role in fear-related learning and memory. The present study was designed to assess the role of the group I metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) subtype 5 in the acquisition and retrieval of conditioned fear in rats. The selective mGluR5 antagonist 2-methyl-6-(phenylethynyl)-pyridine (MPEP) was applied systemically (0.0, 0.3, 3.0, 30.0 mg/kg per os) 60 min before the acquisition training and before the expression of conditioned fear, respectively, in the fear-potentiated startle paradigm. MPEP dose-dependently blocked the acquisition of fear. This effect was not due to state-dependent learning. MPEP also prevented the expression of fear at a dose of 30.0 mg/kg. As a positive control for these effects, we showed that the benzodiazepine anxiolytic compound diazepam (1.25 mg/kg intraperitoneally) also blocked acquisition and expression of fear potentiated startle. MPEP did not affect the baseline startle magnitude, short-term habituation of startle, sensitisation of startle by footshocks or prepulse inhibition of startle. These data indicate a crucial role for mGluR5 in the regulation of fear conditioning. In the highest dose MPEP might exert anxiolytic properties.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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