Potentiation of Conditioned Freezing Following Dorsomedial Prefrontal Cortex Lesions Does Not Interfere With Fear Reduction in Mice


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Abstract

In Experiment 1, an auditory conditioned stimulus (CS) was paired with footshock, except when it was preceded by another stimulus (a visual conditioned inhibitor [CI]). After conditioning, all mice displayed less CS-evoked freezing when the CI–CS compound was presented than when the CS was presented alone. However, lesions of the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) potentiated CS-evoked freezing on each of the 2 sessions (i.e., CI–CS and CS alone). In Experiment 2, mice were submitted to fear extinction (CS-alone presentation for 3 days). Lesioned mice exhibited a higher level of freezing behavior than controls on each of the 3 sessions. However, lesioned mice and controls displayed the same rate of reduction of freezing over the 3 days of extinction. These data in mice support previous studies in rats, which suggests that the dmPFC is not critical for either conditioned inhibition or extinction of acquired freezing behavior.

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