Overtraining Does Not Mitigate Contextual Fear Conditioning Deficits Produced by Neurotoxic Lesions of the Basolateral Amygdala
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The influence of overtraining on the magnitude of fear-conditioning deficits produced by neurotoxic lesions of the basolateral amygdala (BLA) was examined. Either 1 d before or 1 week after the administration of neurotoxic BLA lesions, rats received either 1 or 25 conditioning trials consisting of the delivery of unsignaled foot shock in a novel observation chamber; freezing served as the measure of conditional fear. In this conditioning paradigm, asymptotic performance is reached in five conditioning trials, and 25 conditioning trials constitutes an overtraining procedure. The results revealed that overtraining does not affect the magnitude of the contextual freezing deficits produced by post-training BLA lesions. Similarly, overtraining did not influence the level of reacquisition obtained by rats with post-training BLA lesions after 10 reacquisition trials. A similar pattern of results was observed in rats with pretraining BLA lesions. Neurotoxic BLA lesions did not alter either motor activity or shock reactivity. These results indicate that overtraining does not limit the important role of the BLA in the acquisition and expression of contextual fear conditioning.
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