Learning and Extinction of a Passive Avoidance Response in Mice with High Levels of Predisposition to Catalepsy

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This report presents results obtained from comparative analysis of learning and the dynamics of extinction of a conditioned passive avoidance response in ASC mice, which were bred for a high level of predisposition to catalepsy, and in CBA and AKR mice. The following findings were obtained: 1) impairments to the extinction of the memory of fear represent an important symptom of depression in ASC mice; 2) extinction is delayed in CBA mice; and 3) new inhibitory learning occurs quickly in AKR mice. Prolonged retention of the fear memory in ASC mice appears to be related to increased anxiety on prolonged testing without a punishment. The deficit of inhibition of the fear reaction in ASC mice allows this strain to be regarded as a genetic model of depression.

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