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The role of prediction error and memory destabilization in extinction of cued-fear within the reconsolidation window.

  • Cahill, EN
  • Wood, Melissa A
  • Everitt, Barry J
  • Milton, Amy L
Publication Date
Jan 29, 2019
Apollo - University of Cambridge Repository
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Extinction of a cued-fear memory within the reconsolidation window has been proposed to prevent fear reacquisition by reconsolidation interference. This ‘retrieval-extinction’ procedure has received interest for its therapeutic potential to reduce the impact of fear memories on behavior. To fully exploit its therapeutic potential, it is critical to understand the mechanisms that underlie the ‘retrieval-extinction’ effect. If the effect depends upon reconsolidation of the original memory, then it would be predicted that destabilization, induced by prediction error, would be critical for observing the effect. Here, the dependency of the retrieval-extinction effect on memory destabilization or prediction error was investigated in pavlovian cued-fear conditioned adult male rats. The requirement for memory destabilization, and thus reconsolidation, for the retrieval-extinction effect was subsequently investigated using region-specific pharmacological blockade of dopamine D1-receptors. Intra-basolateral amygdala antagonism of dopamine D1-receptors did not prevent the reacquisition of fear associated with the retrieval-extinction procedure. The requirement for prediction error was assessed by using a reinforced or non-reinforced memory retrieval trial before extinction, compared to a no-retrieval, extinction-only control. Both the reinforced (no prediction error) and non-reinforced retrieval sessions led to a decrease in fear reacquisition, suggesting that engagement of prediction error does not influence the occurrence of retrieval-extinction. Together, these data suggest that retrieval-extinction does not require memory destabilization, since behavioral or pharmacological interventions that prevent destabilization did not disrupt any capacity to attenuate fear.

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