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Neuroscience. 2010 Nov 24;171(1):125-33. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2010.08.066. Epub 2010 Sep 6.

Differential involvement of medial prefrontal cortex and basolateral amygdala extracellular signal-regulated kinase in extinction of conditioned taste aversion is dependent on different intervals of extinction following conditioning.

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Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, No. 1 Jen-Ai Road, 1st Section, Taipei (100), Taiwan, Republic of China.


Extinction reflects a decrease in the conditioned response (CR) following non-reinforcement of a conditioned stimulus. Behavioral evidence indicates that extinction involves an inhibitory learning mechanism in which the extinguished CR reappears with presentation of an unconditioned stimulus. However, recent studies on fear conditioning suggest that extinction erases the original conditioning if the time interval between fear acquisition and extinction is short. The present study examined the effects of different intervals between acquisition and extinction of the original memory in conditioned taste aversion (CTA). Male Long-Evans rats acquired CTA by associating a 0.2% sucrose solution with malaise induced by i.p. injection of 4 ml/kg 0.15 M LiCl. Two different time intervals, 5 and 24 h, between CTA acquisition and extinction were used. Five or 24 h after CTA acquisition, extinction trials were performed, in which a bottle containing 20 ml of a 0.2% sucrose solution was provided for 10 min without subsequent LiCl injection. If sucrose consumption during the extinction trials was greater than the average water consumption, then rats were considered to have reached CTA extinction. Rats subjected to extinction trials lasting 24 h, but not 5 h, after acquisition re-exhibited the extinguished CR following injection of 0.15 M LiCl alone 7 days after acquisition. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA) was examined by Western blot after the first extinction trial. ERK activation in the mPFC was induced after the extinction trial beginning 5 h after acquisition, whereas the extinction trial performed 24 h after acquisition induced ERK activation in the BLA. These data suggest that the original conditioning can be inhibited or retained by CTA extinction depending on the time interval between acquisition and extinction and that the ERK transduction pathway in the mPFC and BLA is differentially involved in these processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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