The recent discovery that post-trial functional blockade of the parabrachial nuclei by intracerebral injection of 10 ng tetrodotoxin (TTX) disrupts acquisition of conditioned taste aversion (CTA) (Ivanova & Bures, 1990a,b) has prompted attempts to ascertain the role of this structure in other types of inhibitory learning. In Experiment 1, rats with implanted parabrachial cannulae were trained in a step-through avoidance task and received bilateral TTX (2 × 10 ng) immediately after the acquisition trial; they displayed significantly weakened avoidance of the shock compartment 2 days later. In Experiment 2, rats were anesthetized with pentobarbital (50 mg/kg) immediately after passive avoidance acquisition and received parabrachial TTX 15 min later; whereas anesthesia alone left the passive avoidance reaction (PAR) unaffected, TTX elicited similar disruption as in unanesthetized animals. In Experiment 3, TTX was injected in anesthetized animals 0, 1, 2, or 4 days after PAR acquisition. The amnesic effect was significant when the acquisition-TTX delay had been prolonged to 24 but not to 48 or 96 h. Since CTA is disrupted by reversible blockade of parabrachial nuclei and of the adjacent reticular formation elicited up to 4 days after acquisition (Ivanova & Bures, 1990b), PAR seems to be impaired to a lesser degree and for a shorter time than CTA by similar TTX treatment. © 1992 Academic Press, Inc.
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