Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UCLA Previously Published Works bannerUCLA

Induction and Expression of Fear Sensitization Caused by Acute Traumatic Stress

Published Web Location
No data is associated with this publication.

Fear promotes adaptive responses to threats. However, when the level of fear is not proportional to the level of threat, maladaptive fear-related behaviors characteristic of anxiety disorders result. Post-traumatic stress disorder develops in response to a traumatic event, and patients often show sensitized reactions to mild stressors associated with the trauma. Stress-enhanced fear learning (SEFL) is a rodent model of this sensitized responding, in which exposure to a 15-shock stressor nonassociatively enhances subsequent fear conditioning training with only a single trial. We examined the role of corticosterone (CORT) in SEFL. Administration of the CORT synthesis blocker metyrapone prior to the stressor, but not at time points after, attenuated SEFL. Moreover, CORT co-administered with metyrapone rescued SEFL. However, CORT alone without the stressor was not sufficient to produce SEFL. In these same animals, we then looked for correlates of SEFL in terms of changes in excitatory receptor expression. Western blot analysis of the basolateral amygdala (BLA) revealed an increase in the GluA1 AMPA receptor subunit that correlated with SEFL. Thus, CORT is permissive to trauma-induced changes in BLA function.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Item not freely available? Link broken?
Report a problem accessing this item