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ROLE OF AMYGDALA ASTROCYTES IN DIFFERENT PHASES OF CONTEXTUAL FEAR MEMORY.

Growing evidence indicates a critical role of astrocytes in learning and memory. However, little is known about the role of basolateral amygdala complex (BLA-C) astrocytes in contextual fear conditioning (CFC), a paradigm relevant to understand and generate treatments for fear- and anxiety-related disorders. To get insights on the involvement of BLA-C astrocytes in fear memory, fluorocitrate (FLC), a reversible astroglial metabolic inhibitor, was applied at critical moments of the memory processing in order to target the acquisition, consolidation, retrieval and reconsolidation process of the fear memory. Adult Wistar male rats were bilaterally cannulated in BLA-C. Ten days later they were infused with different doses of FLC (0.5 or 1 nmol/0.5 µl) or saline before or after CFC and before or after retrieval. FLC impaired fear memory expression when administered before and shortly after CFC, but not one hour later. Infusion of FLC prior and after retrieval did not affect the memory. Our findings suggest that BLA-C astrocytes are critically involved in the acquisition/early consolidation of fear memory but not in the retrieval and reconsolidation. Furthermore, the extinction process was presumably not affected (considering that peri-retrieval administration could also affect this process).

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