The cannabinoid CB1 receptor has been shown to be critically involved in the extinction of fear memory. Systemic injection of a CB1 receptor antagonist prior to extinction training blocked extinction. Conversely, administration of the cannabinoid uptake inhibitor AM404 facilitated extinction in a dose-dependent manner. Here we show that bilateral infusion of CB1 receptor agonists into the amygdala after memory reactivation blocked reconsolidation of fear memory measured with fear-potentiated startle. The effect was dose-dependent and could be blocked by AM251, a specific CB1 receptor antagonist. In contrast, the effect of CB1 agonists on reconsolidation was no longer seen if memory reactivation was omitted. Concomitant with block of reconsolidation, CB1 agonist-treated animals did not exhibit shock-induced reinstatement or spontaneous recovery of fear. The absence of recovery was not attributable to permanent damage to the amygdala in WIN-treated rats, nor did the effect result from alteration of baseline startle or shock reactivity. These results suggest that CB1 agonists could impair fear memory via blocking reconsolidation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience