The acquisition and extinction of Pavlovian conditioned fear have been shown to be mediated by the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor. This study found that the NMDA antagonist (+)-5-methyl-10,11-dihydro-5H-dibenzo[a,d]cyclo-hepten-5,10-imine maleate (MK-801) blocked the reinstatement of Pavlovian conditioned fear in rats. The role of nitric oxide (NO) in the acquisition and extinction of Pavlovian fear conditioning was also examined. L-NAME, an NO synthase inhibitor, failed to block the acquisition or extinction of Pavlovian fear conditioning. The results are discussed in the context of hierarchical associations and the array of NMDA and calcium mediated mechanisms of synaptic strengthening. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.
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