Enhancement of auditory fear conditioning after housing in a complex environment is attenuated by prior treatment with amphetamine.
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Prior exposure to drugs of abuse has been shown to occlude the structural plasticity associated with living in a complex environment. Amphetamine treatment may also occlude some cognitive advantages normally associated with living in a complex environment. To test this hypothesis we examined the influence of prior exposure to amphetamine on fear conditioning in rats housed in either a standard or complex environment. Housing in a complex environment facilitated fear learning to an auditory conditioned stimulus (CS), but not to the training context, relative to animals housed singly or in a social group. Prior treatment with amphetamine eliminated this effect. These results indicate that living in a complex environment facilitates conditional freezing to an auditory CS, and that this effect is abolished by pretreatment with amphetamine.