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Behav Neurosci. 2005 Dec;119(6):1662-71.

Reinstatement of extinguished fear by beta-adrenergic arousal elicited by a conditioned context.

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School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


Five experiments examined the reinstatement of fear (freezing) produced by recent reexposure to a dangerous context. Rats were trained to fear a conditioned stimulus (CS) and a distinctive context with shock. The CS was then extinguished. A 2-min interval between reexposure to the dangerous context and presentation of the extinguished CS in a different context reinstated freezing when the CS was tested the next day. Propranolol (a beta-adrenergic antagonist) blocked reinstatement of extinguished fear without decreasing freezing to a nonextinguished CS. Administration of epinephrine (an adrenergic agonist) reinstated extinguished fear without reexposure to the dangerous context. The results suggest a role for beta-adrenergic activity elicited by exposure to a conditioned context in the reinstatement of extinguished fear.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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