Posttraining Lesions of the Amygdala Interfere With Fear-Potentiated Startle to Both Visual and Auditory Conditioned Stimuli in C57BL/6J Mice

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The fear-potentiated startle paradigm has been used with great success to examine conditioned fear in both rats and humans. The purpose of the present experiment was to extend the authors' previous findings and further validate the fear-potentiated startle paradigm in mice. In Experiments 1 and 2, C57BL/6J mice were given Pavlovian fear conditioning with either an auditory or a visual conditioned stimulus. Similar to data collected with rats, fear-potentiated startle was observed for both stimulus modalities. In Experiment 3, posttraining lesions of the amygdala disrupted fear-potentiated startle in both conditioned stimulus modalities. These data are consistent with amygdala lesion studies in rats and suggest that fear-potentiated startle in mice requires an intact amygdala. Together, these results extend the authors' previous results and provide the basis for using this well-understood behavioral paradigm for examining the molecular mechanisms of conditioned fear in transgenic and knockout mice.

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