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J Neurosci. 2012 Apr 11;32(15):5062-73. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0079-12.2012.

HDAC1 regulates fear extinction in mice.

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Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Göttingen, 37075 Göttingen, Germany.


Histone acetylation has been implicated with the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric disorders and targeting histone deacetylases (HDACs) using HDAC inhibitors was shown to be neuroprotective and to initiate neuroregenerative processes. However, little is known about the role of individual HDAC proteins during the pathogenesis of brain diseases. HDAC1 was found to be upregulated in patients suffering from neuropsychiatric diseases. Here, we show that virus-mediated overexpression of neuronal HDAC1 in the adult mouse hippocampus specifically affects the extinction of contextual fear memories, while other cognitive abilities were unaffected. In subsequent experiments we show that under physiological conditions, hippocampal HDAC1 is required for extinction learning via a mechanism that involves H3K9 deacetylation and subsequent trimethylation of target genes. In conclusion, our data show that hippocampal HDAC1 has a specific role in memory function.

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