The effect of the mu-opioid receptor antagonist naloxone on extinction of conditioned fear in the developing rat.Learn Mem. 2009 Mar; 16(3):161-6.LM
Several recent studies report that neurotransmitters that are critically involved in extinction in adult rats are not important for extinction in young rats. Specifically, pretest injection of the gamma-aminobutryic acid (GABA) receptor inverse agonist FG7142 has no effect on extinction in postnatal day (P)17 rats, although it reverses extinction in P24 rats as reported by Kim and Richardson in an earlier paper. Further, pre-extinction injection of the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist MK-801 has no effect on extinction in P17 rats, whereas it impairs long-term extinction in P24 rats as per Langton and colleagues in an earlier work. These findings indicate that extinction in P17 rats is qualitatively different from extinction in older rats. The present study examines the involvement of the endogenous opioid system in extinction in the developing rat using systemic injections of the mu-opioid receptor antagonist naloxone. Experiment 1 showed that injection of naloxone before extinction training disrupted the acquisition of extinction in both P17 and P24 rats. This effect was dependent on central rather than peripheral mu-opioid receptors (Experiment 2), and neither pre-test nor post-extinction injection of naloxone had effects on extinction (Experiments 3 and 4). Taken together, these findings indicate that opioid neurotransmission, in contrast to GABA and NMDA activity, is critical for extinction acquisition across development.