A role for α1-adrenergic receptors in extinction of conditioned fear and Zocaine conditioned place preference

Rick E. Bernardi, K. Matthew Lattal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Previous work has demonstrated an important role for adrenergic receptors in memory processes in fear and drug conditioning paradigms. Recent studies have also demonstrated alterations in extinction in these paradigms using drug treatments targeting β- and α2-adrenergic receptors, but little is known about the role of α1-adrenergic receptors in extinction. The current study examined whether antagonism of α1-adrenergic receptors would impair the consolidation of extinction in fear and cocaine conditioned place preference paradigms. After contextual fear conditioning, injections of the α1-adrenergic receptor antagonist prazosin (1.0 or 3.0 mg/kg) following nonreinforced context exposures slowed the loss of conditioned freezing over the course of 5 extinction sessions (Experiment 1). After cocaine place conditioning, prazosin had no effect on the rate of extinction over 8 nonreinforced test sessions. Following postextinction reconditioning, however, prazosin-treated mice showed a robust place preference, but vehicle-treated mice did not, suggesting that prazosin reduced the persistent effects of extinction (Experiment 2). These results confirm the involvement of the α1-adrenergic receptor in extinction processes in both appetitive and aversive preparations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-210
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Fear conditioning
  • Memory
  • Noradrenergic receptors
  • Norepinephrine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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