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Infralimbic cortex controls fear memory generalization and susceptibility to extinction during consolidation

Authors
  • Bayer, Hugo1
  • Bertoglio, Leandro Jose1
  • 1 Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC), Campus Universitário s/n, Florianópolis, SC, 88049-900, Brazil , Florianópolis (Brazil)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Scientific Reports
Publisher
Springer Nature
Publication Date
Sep 28, 2020
Volume
10
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-72856-0
Source
Springer Nature
License
Green

Abstract

Lesioning or inactivating the infralimbic (IL) subregion of the medial prefrontal cortex before acquisition produces more generalized and extinction-resistant fear memories. However, whether and how it modulates memory specificity and extinction susceptibility while consolidation takes place is still unknown. The present study aims to investigate these questions using muscimol-induced temporary inactivation and anisomycin-induced protein synthesis inhibition in the rat IL following contextual fear conditioning. Results indicate that the IL activity immediately after acquisition, but not six hours later, controls memory generalization over a week, regardless of its strength. Such IL function depends on the context-shock pairing since muscimol induced no changes in animals exposed to immediate shocks or the conditioning context only. Animals in which the IL was inactivated during consolidation extinguished similarly to controls within the session but were unable to recall the extinction memory the following day. Noteworthy, these post-acquisition IL inactivation-induced effects were not associated with changes in anxiety, as assessed in the elevated plus-maze test. Anisomycin results indicate that the IL protein synthesis during consolidation contributes more to producing extinction-sensitive fear memories than memory specificity. Collectively, present results provide evidence for the IL's role in controlling generalization and susceptibility to extinction during fear memory consolidation.

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