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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Optogenetic excitation of cholinergic inputs to hippocampus primes future contextual fear associations.

  • Author(s): Hersman, Sarah
  • Cushman, Jesse
  • Lemelson, Noah
  • Wassum, Kate
  • Lotfipour, Shahrdad
  • Fanselow, Michael S
  • et al.

Learning about context is essential for appropriate behavioral strategies, but important contingencies may not arise during initial learning. A variant of contextual fear conditioning, context pre-exposure facilitation, allows us to directly test the relationship between novelty-induced acetylcholine release and later contextual associability. We demonstrate that optogenetically-enhanced acetylcholine during initial contextual exploration leads to stronger fear after subsequent pairing with shock, suggesting that novelty-induced acetylcholine release primes future contextual associations.

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