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Physiol Behav. 2008 Jan 28;93(1-2):274-81. Epub 2007 Sep 5.

Effects of REM deprivation and an NMDA agonist on the extinction of conditioned fear.

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Department of Psychology, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ 07079, USA.


Rapid eye movement sleep (REM) has been implicated in a number of learning and memory tasks. Previous research has demonstrated that REM deprivation impairs the development of extinction of conditioned fear responses. However, the neurobiological mechanisms of this effect remain unclear. The present study investigated the effects of systemic administration of d-cycloserine (DCS), an NMDA agonist, on the extinction of a conditioned fear response following 6 h of REM deprivation. In experiment 1, rats were administered DCS between fear training and REM deprivation. In experiment 2, rats were administered DCS prior to extinction training. The results of experiment 1 indicated that both DCS alone and REM deprivation alone impaired extinction learning. Administration of DCS to REM deprived animals partially, but not completely, reversed the deficit in extinction. The results of experiment 2 indicated that regardless of prior REM deprivation history, DCS facilitated extinction learning. The results provide further evidence for a role of REM in the extinction of cued fear learning and indicate that this effect appears to be partially mediated by NMDA-dependent mechanisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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