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Neuroscience. 2009 Dec 29;164(4):1398-406. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.09.079. Epub 2009 Oct 2.

Effect of pharmacological manipulations of neuropeptide Y and corticotropin-releasing factor neurotransmission on incubation of conditioned fear.

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Department of Health and Human Services, Behavioral Neuroscience Branch, Intramural Research Program-National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA.


We recently developed a procedure to study fear incubation in which rats given 100 tone-shock pairings over 10 days show low fear 2 days after conditioned fear training and high fear after 30 or 60 days. Here, we studied the role of the stress-related peptides, neuropeptide Y (NPY) and corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), in fear incubation. We gave rats either 10 or 100 30-s tone-0.5-s footshock pairings over 1 day (short training) or 10 days (long training) and then assessed tone-cue-induced conditioned suppression of lever responding 2 days after short training or 2 days and 1 month after long training. Prior to testing, we injected NPY (5-10 microg, i.c.v.), the NPY Y1 receptor antagonist BIBO3304 (20-40 microg, i.c.v.), the NPY Y2 receptor antagonist BIIE0246 (2.5-5 mg/kg s.c.), the non-selective CRF receptor antagonist D-Phe CRF(12-41) (10 microg, i.c.v.), or the CRF1 receptor antagonist MTIP (10-20 mg/kg s.c.). Conditioned suppression after long training was higher after 1 month than after 2 days (fear incubation); conditioned suppression was robustly expressed 2 days after short training (non-incubated fear). Both incubated and non-incubated fear responses were attenuated by NPY. In contrast, D-Phe CRF(12-41), MTIP, BIBO3304, or BIIE0246 had no effect on conditioned fear at the different time points. Results confirm previous work on the potent effect of exogenous NPY administration on conditioned fear, but the negative results with BIBO3304 and BIIE0246 question whether endogenous NPY contributes to incubated (or non-incubated) fear. Results also suggest that CRF receptors are not involved in cue-induced fear in the conditioned suppression procedure.

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