Repeated ethanol exposure and withdrawal impairs human fear conditioning and depresses long term potentiation in rat amygdala and hippocampus.

Stephens, David N, Ripley, Tamzin, Borlikova, Gilyana, Schubert, Manja, Albrecht, Doris, Hogarth, Lee and Duka, Theodora (2005) Repeated ethanol exposure and withdrawal impairs human fear conditioning and depresses long term potentiation in rat amygdala and hippocampus. Biological Psychiatry, 58 (5). pp. 392-400. ISSN 0006-3223

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: In rats, repeated episodes of alcohol consumption and withdrawal (RWD) impair fear conditioning to discrete cues. METHODS: Fear conditioning was measured in human binge drinkers as the increased startle response in the presence of a CS+ conditioned to aversive white noise. Secondly, the ability of tone CSs, paired with footshock, to induce c-fos expression, a marker of neuronal activity, in limbic structures subserving emotion was studied in rats. Additionally, consequences of RWD on subsequent induction of long term potentiation (LTP) in external capsule/lateral amygdala and Schaffer collateral/hippocampus CA1 pathways were studied in rat brain slices. RESULTS: Fear conditioning was impaired in young human binge drinkers. The ability of fear-conditioned CSs to increase c-fos expression in limbic brain areas was reduced following RWD, as was LTP induction. Rats conditioned prior to RWD, following RWD showed generalization of conditioned fear from the tone CS+ to a neutral control stimulus, and a novel tone. CONCLUSIONS: Binge-like drinking impairs fear conditioning, reduces LTP, and results in inappropriate generalization of learned fear responses. We propose a mechanism whereby RWD-induced synaptic plasticity reduces capacity for future learning, while allowing unconditioned stimuli access to neuronal pathways underlying conditioned fear

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: First and senior author
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Dai Stephens
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:49
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2017 09:56
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/14596
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