Generalization of fear responses in C57BL/6N mice subjected to one- trial foreground contextual fear conditioning

Jelena Radulovic, Jens Kammermeier, Joachim Spiess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations

Abstract

C57BL/6N mice were trained in a foreground contextual fear conditioning paradigm by a single exposure to a context (context 1) paired with an electric shock. Conditioned mice exhibited a strong fear response, indicated by increased freezing and low locomotor activity after subsequent re- exposure to context 1, which had been used for conditioning as well as in a novel context (context 2). The fear responses to contexts 1 or 2 required the temporal sequence of the conditioned (CS) and unconditioned (US) stimuli and did not differ significantly. The intensity of the fear response was maximal 24 h after conditioning, when long-term memory was fully established. The response to context 2 was interpreted as conditioned generalization, which was also observed in the elevated plus-maze representing an environment which differed in its spatial design significantly from contexts 1 and 2. Contextual discrimination of C57BL/6N mice was enhanced after extinction of the generalized fear. Strain studies employing C57BL/6J and Balb/c mice in addition to the C57BL/6N strain revealed that Balb/c and C57BL/6J mice acquired significantly weaker conditioned fear and generalized significantly less than C57BL/6N mice. It was concluded that the intensities of the context-specific and generalized fear responses were interlinked in a strain- specific manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-189
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Volume95
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1998
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Balb/c
  • C57BL/6J
  • C57BL/6N
  • Contextual fear conditioning
  • Generalization
  • Strains

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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