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A role for the interoceptive insular cortex in the consolidation of learned fear.

Behavioural brain research (2015-09-01)
José Patricio Casanova, Carlos Madrid, Marco Contreras, María Rodríguez, Mónica Vasquez, Fernando Torrealba
ABSTRACT

A growing body of evidence suggests that learned fear may be related to the function of the interoceptive insular cortex. Using an auditory fear conditioning paradigm in rats, we show that the inactivation of the posterior insular cortex (pIC), the target of the interoceptive thalamus, prior to training produced a marked reduction in fear expression tested 24h later. Accordingly, post-training anisomycin infused immediately, but not 6h after, also reduced fear expression tested the following day, supporting a role for the pIC in consolidation of fear memory. The long-term (ca. a week) and reversible inactivation of the pIC with the sodium channel blocker neosaxitoxin, immediately after fear memory reactivation induced a progressive decrease in the behavioral expression of conditioned fear. In turn, we observed that fear memory reactivation is accompanied by an enhanced expression of Fos and Zif268, early genes involved in neural activity and plasticity. Taken together these data indicate that the pIC is involved in the regulation of fear memories.

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