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Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2004 Jan;81(1):67-74.

Memory enhancement of classical fear conditioning by post-training injections of corticosterone in rats.

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1
Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-3800, USA.

Abstract

There is extensive evidence that post-training administration of the adrenocortical hormone corticosterone facilitates memory consolidation processes in a variety of contextual and spatial-dependent learning situations. The present experiments examine whether corticosterone can modulate memory of auditory-cue classical fear conditioning, a learning task that is not contingent on contextual or spatial representations. Male Sprague-Dawley rats received three pairings of a single-frequency auditory stimulus and footshock, followed immediately by a post-training subcutaneous injection of either corticosterone (1.0 or 3.0mg/kg) or vehicle. Retention was tested 24h later in a novel test chamber and suppression of ongoing motor behavior served as the measure of conditioned fear. Corticosterone dose-dependently facilitated suppression of motor activity during the 10-s presentation of the auditory cue. As corticosterone administration did not alter responding after unpaired presentations of tone and shock, tone alone, shock alone or absence of tone/shock, the findings indicated that corticosterone selectively facilitated memory of the tone-shock association. Furthermore, injections of corticosterone given 3h after training did not alter motor activity during retention testing, demonstrating that corticosterone enhanced time-dependent memory consolidation processes. These findings provide evidence that corticosterone modulates the consolidation of memory for auditory-cue classical fear conditioning and are consistent with a wealth of data indicating that glucocorticoids can modulate a wide variety of emotionally influenced memories.

PMID:
14670360
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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