Contextual fear conditioning and baseline startle responses in the rat fear-potentiated startle test: a comparison of benzodiazepine/γ-aminobutyric acid-A receptor agonists

  title={Contextual fear conditioning and baseline startle responses in the rat fear-potentiated startle test: a comparison of benzodiazepine/$\gamma$-aminobutyric acid-A receptor agonists},
  author={Martin R Guscott and Gina P Cook and Linda J. Bristow},
  journal={Behavioural Pharmacology},
In the rat, fear-potentiated startle (FPS) test animals are first trained to associate brief light presentations with a mild electric footshock and then tested for startle responses to acoustic stimuli, delivered either in darkness (i.e. baseline startle) or after the conditioning stimulus. Following light presentation the magnitude of the startle response is markedly increased, and the test is commonly used to distinguish anxiolytic drug effects (i.e. a reduction in FPS) from non-specific… 

Fear: Potentiation and Startle

GABA-A and 5-HT1A Receptor Agonists Block Expression of Fear-Potentiated Startle in Mice

Mice showed robust acquisition (larger acoustic startle reflex in the presence of the CS) of FPS after as few as eight CS–US pairings, and the predictive validity of the FPS model of anxiolytic drug action in mice is supported.

Benzodiazepines have no effect on fear-potentiated startle in humans

At least one type of fear-potentiated startle, i.e. potentiation by a cue-specific fear manipulation, is not susceptible to benzodiazepine treatment, in contrast, effects of manipulations more akin to anxiety (darkness, context) appear sensitive to Benzodiazepines.

The light-enhanced startle paradigm as a putative animal model for anxiety: effects of chlordiazepoxide, flesinoxan and fluvoxamine

Evidence is provided for the predictive validity of the light-enhanced startle as an animal model for anxiety due to the use of an unconditioned anxiogenic stimulus, which offers several benefits over animal models that depend on conditioning.

Anxiolytic-like effects of the neurokinin 1 receptor antagonist GR-205171 in the elevated plus maze and contextual fear-potentiated startle model of anxiety in gerbils

The findings of this study support other evidence for anxiolytic activity of NK1 receptor antagonists and provide a novel conditioned fear test that may be an appropriate procedure to test other NK1 antagonists for preclinical anxioleytic activity in gerbils.

Phasic and Sustained Fear are Pharmacologically Dissociable in Rats

The results indicate that phasic and sustained fear responses can be pharmacologically dissociated, further validating this distinction, and suggest that sustained startle increases may be especially useful as anxiety models and anxiolytic screens.

Reduction of fear-potentiated startle by benzodiazepines in C57BL/6J mice

A modified and pharmacologically-validated paradigm is used to assess Fear-potentiated startle in mice thereby providing a powerful tool to examine the neurobiology of PTSD in genetic models of anxiety generated on the C57BL/6J background.



Fear-potentiated startle: A neural and pharmacological analysis

Pharmacological and anatomical analysis of fear conditioning using the fear-potentiated startle paradigm.

  • M. Davis
  • Biology, Psychology
    Behavioral neuroscience
  • 1986
Behavioral, anatomical, physiological, and pharmacological analysis of fear conditioning using the fear-potentiated startle paradigm are reviewed, and it should soon be possible to determine each neural pathway that is required for a stimulus signaling fear to alter startle behavior.

Control conditions in the fear‐potentiated startle response paradigm

It is suggested that shock-associated contextual cues are not responsible for the drug-induced decrease in control startle amplitudes in the fear-potentiated startle response paradigm.

Evidence of Contextual Fear after Lesions of the Hippocampus: A Disruption of Freezing But Not Fear-Potentiated Startle

It is suggested that lesions of the hippocampus disrupt the freezing response but not contextual fear itself, suggesting preserved contextual fear.

Blockade of potentiated startle responding in rats by 5-hydroxytryptamine1A receptor ligands.

Modality-specific retrograde amnesia of fear.

The results indicate that fear memory is not a single process and that the hippocampus may have a time-limited role in associative fear memories evoked by polymodal (contextual) but not unimodal (tone) sensory stimuli.

Differential contribution of amygdala and hippocampus to cued and contextual fear conditioning.

An associative roles for the amygdala and a sensory relay role for the hippocampus are suggested in fear conditioning, which is involved in the conditioning of fear responses to simple, modality-specific conditioned stimuli as well as to complex, polymodal stimuli.