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Rosas-Vidal, Luis E; Do-Monte, Fabricio H; Sotres-Bayon, Francisco; Quirk, Gregory J (2014)


Neuropsychopharmacology 39(9):2161-2169
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Infusing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) into the infralimbic (IL) prefrontal cortex is capable of inducing extinction. Little is known, however, about the circuits mediating BDNF effects on extinction or the extent to which extinction requires BDNF in IL. Using local pharmacological infusion of BDNF protein, or an antibody against BDNF, we found that BDNF in the IL, but not prelimbic (PL) prefrontal cortex, is both necessary and sufficient for fear extinction. Furthermore, we report that BDNF in IL can induce extinction of older fear memories (14 days) as well as recent fear memories (1 day). Using immunocytochemistry, we show that BDNF is increased in the ventral hippocampus (vHPC), but not IL or PL, following extinction training. Finally, we observed that infusing BDNF into the vHPC increased the firing rate of IL, but not PL neurons in fear conditioned rats. These findings indicate that an extinction-induced increase in BDNF within the vHPC enhances excitability in IL targets, thereby supporting extinction memories.