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Behav Brain Funct. 2010 Mar 23;6:20. doi: 10.1186/1744-9081-6-20.

Effects of local anesthesia of the cerebellum on classical fear conditioning in goldfish.

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Graduate School of Biosphere Science, Hiroshima University, Higashihiroshima 739-8528, Japan.



Besides the amygdala, of which emotion roles have been intensively studied, the cerebellum has also been demonstrated to play a critical role in simple classical fear conditioning in both mammals and fishes. In the present study, we examined the effect of local administration of the anesthetic agent lidocaine into the cerebellum on fear-related, classical heart-rate conditioning in goldfish.


The effects of microinjection of the anesthetic agent lidocaine into the cerebellum on fear conditioning were investigated in goldfish. The fear conditioning paradigm was delayed classical conditioning with light as a conditioned stimulus and electric shock as an unconditioned stimulus; cardiac deceleration (bradycardia) was the conditioned response.


Injecting lidocaine into the cerebellum had no effect on the base heart rate, an arousal/orienting response to the novel stimulus (i.e., the first presentation of light), or an unconditioned response to electric shock. However, lidocaine injection greatly impaired acquisition of conditioned bradycardia. Lidocaine injection 60 min before the start of the conditioning procedure showed no effect on acquisition of conditioned bradycardia, indicating that the effect of lidocaine was reversible.


The present results further confirm the idea that the cerebellum in teleost fish, as in mammals, is critically involved in classical fear conditioning.

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