High and low fear phenotypes show differences in phosphorylated (p44/42 ERK) MAPK-expressing neurons in the lateral amygdala

Coyner, Jennifer, McGuire, Jennifer, Parker, Clarissa C., Palmer, Abraham, & Johnson, Luke (2012) High and low fear phenotypes show differences in phosphorylated (p44/42 ERK) MAPK-expressing neurons in the lateral amygdala. In 2012 Neuroscience Meeting Planner, 12 - 17 October 2012, New Orleans, Louisiana.

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Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious medical condition effecting both military and civilian populations. While its etiology remains poorly understood it is characterized by high and prolonged levels of fear responding. One biological unknown is whether individuals expressing high or low conditioned fear memory encode the memory differently and if that difference underlies fear response. In this study we examined cellular mechanisms that underlie high and low conditioned fear behavior by using an advanced intercrossed mouse line (B6D2F1) selected for high and low Pavlovian fear response. A known requirement for consolidation of fear memory, phosphorylated mitogen activated protein kinase (p44/42 (ERK) MAPK (pMAPK)) in the lateral amygdala (LA) is a reliable marker of fear learning-related plasticity. In this study, we asked whether high and low conditioned fear behavior is associated with differential pMAPK expression in the LA and if so, is it due to an increase in neurons expressing pMAPK or increased pMAPK per neuron. To examine this, we quantified pMAPK-expressing neurons in the LA at baseline and following Pavlovian fear conditioning. Results indicate that high fear phenotype mice have more pMAPK-expressing neurons in the LA. This finding suggests that increased endogenous plasticity in the LA may be a component of higher conditioned fear responses and begins to explain at the cellular level how different fear responders encode fear memories. Understanding how high and low fear responders encode fear memory will help identify novel ways in which fear-related illness risk can be better predicted and treated.

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ID Code: 81779
Item Type: Conference Item (Poster)
Refereed: No
Keywords: fear conditioning, mice, amygdala
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NEUROSCIENCES (110900)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Deposited On: 20 Feb 2015 05:17
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2015 05:34

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