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Behav Neurosci. 1997 Jun;111(3):503-11.

A selective role for corticosterone in contextual-fear conditioning.

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Department of Psychology, University of Colorado at Boulder 80309-0345, USA.


The contribution of corticosterone to contextual- and auditory-cue fear conditioning was examined. Adrenalectomized rats showed reduced contextual-fear conditioning when tested 24 hr after conditioning; however, neither immediate contextual- nor auditory-cue fear conditioning was impaired. Contextual-fear conditioning in adrenalectomized rats with corticosterone replacement during the 4-day interval separating surgery and conditioning matched the level of controls. Moreover, rats exposed to the context prior to adrenalectomy showed normal long-term contextual-fear conditioning. Corticosterone replacement administered after the conditioning episode also negated the effects of adrenalectomy. Thus, corticosterone's role in fear conditioning is selective: It appears to contribute to the neural processes that support the consolidation of a long-term memory representation of the context.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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