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Neurobiol Learn Mem. 1996 Nov;66(3):324-40.

The effects of intra-amygdala infusion of the AMPA receptor antagonist CNQX on retention performance following aversive training.

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Department of Psychobiology, University of California, Irvine 92697-3800, USA.


The aim of these experiments was to determine whether impaired retention performance in aversively motivated tasks, induced by blockade of amygdala AMPA receptors, is due to influences on mechanisms underlying memory retrieval or to other influences on performance. Rats received either footshock escape training (1 or 10 trials), or no foot shock, in a two-compartment straight alley and bilateral intra-amygdala infusions of the AMPA receptor antagonist CNQX (0.5 microgram) were subsequently administered prior to inhibitory avoidance retention testing 8 days later. The CNQX impaired, but did not block, inhibitory avoidance retention performance as indicated by the initial latencies to enter the shock compartment. The animals were then retained in the alley until they remained in the starting compartment for 100 consecutive s and entries into the shock compartment were recorded as errors. In both the controls and CNQX-treated groups, increases in amount of original training resulted in fewer errors, indicating memory for the escape training. Furthermore, regardless of the amount of original training (i.e., 0, 1, or 10 trials), CNQX-treated groups made more errors. Other experiments examined intra-amygdala CNQX effects on reactivity to footshock, locomotor activity, and anxiety. CNQX decreased reactivity to footshock, blocked shock-induced decreases in locomotor activity, and had an anxiolytic effect in an elevated plus maze comparable to that induced by midazolam (0.5 microgram). These findings suggest that intra-amygdala infusions of CNQX prior to retention testing affect inhibitory avoidance retention performance following aversive training by altering locomotor activity, reducing sensitivity to footshock, and reducing anxiety. The implications of these findings for hypotheses concerning amygdala function in aversively motivated learning and memory is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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