Functional deficit in hippocampal activity during fear extinction recall in the single prolonged-stress model of PTSD in male rats

Jesse J. Winters, Larry W. Hardy, Jenna M. Sullivan, Noel A. Powell, Mohammed Qutaish, Surabhi Nair, Jack Heimann, Ali Ghayoor, Ildiko Polyak, Lauren Chaby, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Dima Chaar, Jon Oscherwitz, Israel Liberzon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


To interrogate whether altered function of the hippocampal-mPFC circuit underlies the deficit in fear extinction recall in rats subjected to single-prolonged stress (SPS), changes in brain region-specific metabolic rate were measured in male rats (control and SPS treated). Brain region metabolic rates were quantified using uptake of 14C-2-deoxyglucose (14C-2DG) during fear memory formation, fear memory extinction and extinction recall. Control and SPS rats had similar regional brain activities at baseline. During extinction recall, 14C-2DG uptake decreased in hippocampal regions in control rats, but not in SPS rats. SPS rats also exhibited a significant deficiency in fear extinction recall, replicating a previously reported finding. Reduced hippocampal activity during fear extinction recall in control animals may reflect reduction in fear overgeneralization, thereby enabling discrimination between distinct contexts. In contrast, persistent levels of hippocampal activity in SPS-exposed male animals during fear extinction recall may reflect the dysfunctional persistence of fear overgeneralization. Future studies in females can test gender-specificity of these effects, with appropriate attention to luteal dependent effects on extinction of fear learning. Detailed knowledge of regional brain activities underlying stress-induced deficits in extinction recall may help identify therapeutic targets in PTSD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112902
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Fear extinction
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • fear generalization
  • hippocampus
  • single prolonged-stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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