The present study examined if nicotine enhances contextual fear conditioning when the training context is either a background stimulus or a foreground stimulus. In the background conditioning experiment, mice were trained using two auditory conditioned stimulus (CS; 30 s, 85 dB white noise)-footshock unconditioned stimulus (US; 2 s, 0.57 mA) pairings and tested 24 h later. In the foreground conditioning experiment, mice were trained with two presentations of a footshock US (2 s, 0.57 mA) and tested 24 h later. Mice received 0.09 mg/kg nicotine before training and testing. For both the foreground and background conditioning experiments, nicotine enhanced contextual conditioning. No enhancement of the auditory CS-US association was seen. These results demonstrate that nicotine enhances contextual fear conditioning regardless of whether the context is a background stimulus or a foreground stimulus during conditioning.
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