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Learn Mem. 2002 Jul-Aug;9(4):178-90.

Deficits in trace cued fear conditioning in galanin-treated rats and galanin-overexpressing transgenic mice.

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Section on Behavioral Genomics, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Galanin inhibits the release of several neurotransmitters and produces performance deficits in a variety of spatial and aversive learning and memory tasks. The experiments in this study investigated the role galanin has in emotional learning and memory using a standard delay cued and contextual fear conditioning task. Rats were administered galanin into the lateral ventricles before training, and scored for freezing behavior in the same context and in a novel context with and without an auditory cue (CS) that had been paired previously with an aversive stimulus (US). Galanin-overexpressing transgenic mice were tested in an identical behavioral protocol. The galanin-administered rats and the transgenic mice were not significantly different from their respective controls on this task. A more challenging trace cued and contextual fear conditioning procedure was administered to separate groups of galanin-treated rats and galanin-overexpressing transgenic mice. Subjects were trained with the same CS and US, however, a 2.5-sec delay was inserted between CS offset and US onset. Following the trace conditioning, rats administered galanin and mice overexpressing galanin both exhibited significantly less freezing to the CS in the novel context as compared with their control groups. These results indicate that the observed disruption of cued fear conditioning was specific to the more difficult trace conditioning task. These findings are the first demonstration that galanin impairs performance on an emotional memory task and support the hypothesis that galanin-induced deficits are specific to more difficult cognitive tasks.

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