Role of the amygdala GABA-A receptors in ACPA-induced deficits during conditioned fear learning.Brain Res Bull. 2017 May; 131:85-92.BR
The basolateral amygdala (BLA) is a key structure for the emotional processing and storage of memories associated with emotional events, especially fear. On the other hand, endocannabinoids and CB1 receptors play a key role in learning and memory partly through long-term synaptic depression of GABAergic synapses in the BLA. The aim of this study was to explore the effects of GABA-A receptor agonist and antagonist in the fear-related memory acquisition deficits induced by ACPA (a selective CB1 cannabinoid receptor agonist). This study used context and tone fear conditioning paradigms to assess fear-related memory in male NMRI mice. Our results showed that the pre-training intraperitoneal administration of ACPA (0.5mg/kg) or (0.1 and 0.5mg/kg) decreased the percentage of freezing time in the contextual and tone fear conditioning, respectively. This indicated an impaired context- or tone-dependent fear memory acquisition. Moreover, the pre-training intra-BLA microinjection of GABA-A receptor agonist, muscimol, at 0.05 and 0.5μg/mouse impaired context-dependent fear memory, while the same doses of GABA-A antagonist, bicuculline, impaired tone-dependent fear memory. However, a subthreshold dose of muscimol or bicuculline increased the effect of ACPA at 0.1 and 0.5 or 0.05mg/kg on context- or tone-dependent fear memory, respectively. In addition, bicuculline at the lower dose increased the ACPA response on locomotor activity compared to its respective group. Such findings highlighted an interaction between BLA GABAergic and cannabinoidergic systems during the acquisition phase of conditioned fear memories.