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Learn Mem. 2004 Sep-Oct;11(5):611-6.

Lesions of rat infralimbic cortex enhance recovery and reinstatement of an appetitive Pavlovian response.

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  • 1School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, CF10 3YG, UK.


The prefrontal cortex (PFC) has a well-established role in the inhibition of inappropriate responding, and evidence suggests that the infralimbic (IL) region of the rat medial PFC (MPFC) may be involved in some aspects of extinction of conditioned fear. MPFC lesions including, but not those sparing the IL cortex increase spontaneous recovery of extinguished conditioned fear when tested 24 h after an initial extinction session. The current experiment extended these findings by use of appetitive rather than aversive conditioning. Ten IL-lesioned and 11 sham-operated rats were trained on a Pavlovian task in which a conditioned stimulus (CS) was followed by food pellets (the unconditioned stimulus or US). IL lesions had no effect on extinction of the conditioned response (CR, magazine entries) during the first extinction session. However, the level of spontaneous recovery between the first extinction session and a second, 24 h later, was increased in IL-lesioned rats relative to sham animals. In contrast, evidence of savings measured between the extinction sessions did not differ between groups. Furthermore, reinstatement of the CR following unsignaled delivery of the US was also increased in IL-lesioned rats.

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