Much of the research examining the biological basis for long-term memories has focused on mechanisms that support the formation of conditioned associations. Less information is available on biological mechanisms which underlie processes that modify the strength of conditioned associations. Latent inhibition is a phenomenon by which pre-exposure to a to-be-conditioned stimulus (CS) weakens subsequent conditioning of that CS to an unconditioned stimulus (US). Here we report that latent inhibition of cued fear conditioning is dependent on NMDA receptor activation. MK-801 (1 mg/kg), an NMDA receptor antagonist, abolished latent inhibition of cued fear conditioning. This dose of MK-801 administered before training did not disrupt cued fear conditioning. Conversely, anisomycin (150 mg/kg), a protein synthesis inhibitor, had no effect on latent inhibition of cued fear conditioning when administered 20 min before, immediately after, or 2, 4, 6, or 8 h after CS pre-exposure. Furthermore, continuous anisomycin administration (50 mg/kg, administered every 2 h for 6 h starting 20 min prior to pre-exposure) did not disrupt latent inhibition of cued fear conditioning. In addition, anisomycin had no effect on a long-lasting version of latent inhibition of cued fear conditioning that was maintained over a 7-day interval. Anisomycin administered before training, however, disrupted learning of the CS-US association. These findings suggest that latent inhibition of cued fear conditioning is a long-lasting NMDA receptor-dependent process that can develop during the inhibition of protein synthesis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes