For latent inhibition, preexposure to a conditioned stimulus (CS) prior to training with an unconditioned stimulus (US) results in decreased conditioned responses (CRs) to the CS at the time of testing. The mechanism by which decreased CRs occurs, however, is unknown; CS preexposure may interfere with subsequent conditioning, or modulate the expression of CRs. Previous research has suggested that the entorhinal cortex (EC) is necessary for latent inhibition of a variety of tasks. However, no studies have specifically compared the role of the EC in acquisition vs. expression of latent inhibition. The present study used reversible inactivation of the EC to address this issue. The GABA agonist muscimol (0.5 μg/side) was directly infused into the EC of mice prior to CS preexposure, training, or testing. Our results indicate that muscimol inactivation of the EC before CS preexposure disrupts latent inhibition of cued fear conditioning. Importantly, this same dose of muscimol did not disrupt cued fear conditioning, nor did it affect latent inhibition when infused into the subiculum. Furthermore, inactivation of the EC at testing disrupted the expression of latent inhibition of cued fear conditioning; that is, CS preexposed mice that received entorhinal cortical muscimol infusion at testing showed CRs compared to saline-infused CS preexposed mice. These findings suggest that repeated preexposure to the CS during latent inhibition may alter entorhinal cortical activity thereby allowing the EC to exert inhibitory control over the expression of CRs during testing of CS preexposed mice.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cognitive Neuroscience