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The formation of auditory fear memory requires the synthesis of protein and mRNA in the auditory thalamus.

Authors
  • Parsons, R G
  • Riedner, B A
  • Gafford, G M
  • Helmstetter, F J
Type
Published Article
Journal
Neuroscience
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2006
Volume
141
Issue
3
Pages
1163–1170
Identifiers
PMID: 16766126
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The medial geniculate nucleus of the thalamus responds to auditory information and is a critical part of the neural circuitry underlying aversive conditioning with auditory signals for shock. Prior work has shown that lesions of this brain area selectively disrupt conditioning with auditory stimuli and that neurons in the medial geniculate demonstrate plastic changes during fear conditioning. However, recent evidence is less clear as to whether or not this area plays a role in the storage of auditory fear memories. In the current set of experiments rats were given infusions of protein or messenger RNA (mRNA) synthesis inhibitors into the medial geniculate nucleus of the thalamus 30 min prior to auditory fear conditioning. The next day animals were tested to the auditory cue and conditioning context. Results showed that rats infused with either inhibitor demonstrated less freezing to the auditory cue 24 h after training, while freezing to the context was normal. Autoradiography confirmed that the doses used were effective in disrupting synthesis. Taken together with prior work, these data suggest that the formation of fear memory requires the synthesis of new protein and mRNA at multiple brain sites across the neural circuit that supports fear conditioning.

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