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Behavioral and neural analysis of GABA in the acquisition, consolidation, reconsolidation, and extinction of fear memory.

ABSTRACT: The current review systematically documents the role of gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA) in different aspects of fear memory-acquisition and consolidation, reconsolidation, and extinction, and attempts to resolve apparent contradictions in the data in order to identify the function of GABA(A) receptors in fear memory. First, numerous studies have shown that pre- and post-training administration of drugs that facilitate GABAergic transmission disrupt the initial formation of fear memories, indicating a role for GABA(A) receptors, possibly within the amygdala and hippocampus, in the acquisition and consolidation of fear memories. Similarly, recent evidence indicates that these drugs are also detrimental to the restorage of fear memories after their reactivation. This suggests a role for GABA(A) receptors in the reconsolidation of fear memories, although the precise neural circuits are yet to be identified. Finally, research regarding the role of GABA in extinction has shown that GABAergic transmission is also disruptive to the formation of newly acquired extinction memories. We argue that contradictions to these patterns are the result of variations in (a) the location of drug infusion, (b) the dosage of the drug and/or (c) the time point of drug administration. The question of whether these GABA-induced memory deficits reflect deficits in retrieval is discussed. Overall, the evidence implies that the processes mediating memory stability consequent to initial fear learning, memory reactivation, and extinction training are dependent on a common mechanism of reduced GABAergic neurotransmission.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3055480 | BioStudies | 2010-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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