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 language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Behavioural Brain Research|
|State||Published - Oct 1 1998|
- Contextual fear conditioning
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience