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Hippocampus and Contextual Fear Conditioning: Recent Controversies and Advances

Summary: Hippocampus and Contextual Fear Conditioning:
Recent Controversies and Advances
Stephan G. Anagnostaras, Greg D. Gale, and
Michael S. Fanselow
Department of Psychology and Brain Research Institute,
University of California, Los Angeles, California
ABSTRACT: Dorsal hippocampal (DH) lesions produce a severe deficit
in recently, but not remotely, acquired contextual fear without impairing
memory of discrete training stimuli, i.e., DH lesions produce an antero-
grade and time-limited retrograde amnesia specific to contextual mem-
ory. These data are consistent with the standard model which posits
temporary involvement of the hippocampus in recent memory mainte-
nance. However, three recent controversies apparently weaken the case
for a selective mnemonic role for the hippocampus in contextual fear.
First, although retrograde amnesia (from posttraining lesions) is severe,
anterograde amnesia (from pretraining lesions) may be mild or nonexist-
ent. Second, a performance, rather than mnemonic, account of contextual
freezing deficits in hippocampal-lesioned animals has been offered. Third,
damage to the entire hippocampus, including the ventral hippocampus,
can produce a dramatic and temporally stable disruption of context and


Source: Anagnostaras, Stephan - Neurosciences Program & Department of Psychology, University of California at San Diego


Collections: Biology and Medicine