Hippocampus and Pavlovian Fear Conditioning in Rats: Muscimol Infusions Into the Ventral, but Not Dorsal, Hippocampus Impair the Acquisition of Conditional Freezing to an Auditory Conditional Stimulus
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The authors compared the effects of pharmacological inactivation of the dorsal hippocampus (DH) or ventral hippocampus (VH) on Pavlovian fear conditioning in rats. Freezing behavior served as the measure of fear. Pretraining infusions of muscimol, a GABAA receptor agonist, into the VH disrupted auditory, but not contextual, fear conditioning; DH infusions did not affect fear conditioning. Pretesting inactivation of the VH or DH did not affect the expression of conditional freezing. Pretraining electrolytic lesions of the VH reproduced the effects of muscimol infusions, whereas posttraining VH lesions disrupted both auditory and contextual freezing. Hence, neurons in the VH are importantly involved in the acquisition of auditory fear conditioning and the expression of auditory and contextual fear under some conditions.
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