The effectiveness of extinction training in male rats : Temporal considerations and brain mechanisms

Correia, Pedro and Demeter, Kornél and Varga, János and Urbán, Eszter and Török, Bibiána and Balázsfi, Diána and Bakos, Nikolett and Haller, József and Zelena, Dóra (2023) The effectiveness of extinction training in male rats : Temporal considerations and brain mechanisms. BEHAVIOURAL BRAIN RESEARCH, 441. ISSN 0166-4328

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The extinction of conditioned fear is frequently used in laboratories as a model for human exposure therapy and is crucial for studies of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, the efficacy of specific protocols can vary greatly, and the underlying brain mechanisms are not sufficiently clarified. To address this issue, variable starting time (one or twenty-eight days after fear conditioning) and extinction protocols were used, and the efficacy and durability of fear extinction were also studied. Changes in the behavior, stress hormone levels and neuronal activation patterns of stressed rats were analyzed. Conditioned fear was rapidly and efficiently extinguished by all the protocols investigated. However, when these extinction protocols were initiated one day after fear training, conditioned fear relapsed spontaneously four weeks later. In contrast, when extinction trials were started 28 days after conditioning, no relapse occurred. Hormone measurements taken by the end of extinction trials indicated that adrenocorticotropin, but not corticosterone responses reflected behavioral extinction without any sign of relapse. The last extinction training increased the activation of the medial prefrontal cortex and decreased the activation of the central and medial amygdala when extinction began one day after fear conditioning. By contrast, the activation of the basolateral amygdala and the entire hippocampus decreased by the last training session when extinction started 28 days after fear conditioning. Our findings show that extinction training can extinguish remote fear memories more effectively than recent ones, and that the brain mechanisms underlying remote and recent fear memory extinction differ. Laboratory models should also focus on a later time point to increase their translational value.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: prefrontal cortex; C-FOS; hippocampus; HORMONES; freezing; PTSD; amygdala; extinction training
Subjects: Q Science / természettudomány > QP Physiology / élettan
Depositing User: MTMT SWORD
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2023 12:21
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2023 12:21

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