The NMDA Agonist D-Cycloserine Facilitates Fear Memory Consolidation in Humans

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Animal research suggests that the consolidation of fear and extinction memories depends on N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA)-type glutamate receptors. Using a fear conditioning and extinction paradigm in healthy normal volunteers, we show that postlearning administration of the NMDA partial agonist D-cycloserine (DCS) facilitates fear memory consolidation, evidenced behaviorally by enhanced skin conductance responses, relative to placebo, for presentations of a conditioned stimulus (CS) at a memory test performed 72 h later. DCS also enhanced CS-evoked neural responses in a posterior hippocampus/collateral sulcus region and in the medial prefrontal cortex at test. Our data suggest a role for NMDA receptors in regulating fear memory consolidation in humans.

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