Nicotine enhances both foreground and background contextual fear conditioning

Jennifer A. Davis, Jessica Porter, Thomas J. Gould
2006 Neuroscience Letters  
The present study examined if nicotine enhances contextual fear conditioning when the training context is either a background stimulus or a foreground stimulus. In the background conditioning experiment, mice were trained using two auditory conditioned stimulus (CS; 30 s, 85 dB white noise)footshock unconditioned stimulus (US; 2 s, 0.57 mA) pairings and tested 24 h later. In the foreground conditioning experiment, mice were trained with two presentations of a footshock US (2 s, 0.57 mA) and
more » ... ed 24 h later. Mice received 0.09 mg/kg nicotine before training and testing. For both the foreground and background conditioning experiments, nicotine enhanced contextual conditioning. No enhancement of the auditory CS-US association was seen. These results demonstrate that nicotine enhances contextual fear conditioning regardless of whether the context is a background stimulus or a foreground stimulus during conditioning. Nicotine can enhance many cognitive processes including contextual fear conditioning. In previous studies that examined the effects of acute nicotine administration on fear conditioning [4, 5, 7, [9] [10] [11] 22] , mice were trained using auditory CS-footshock US pairings. Such training results in the formation of two associations: an association between the CS and the US (cued fear conditioning), and an association between the context and the US (contextual fear conditioning). These studies consistently report that nicotine enhances contextual fear conditioning, and nicotine does not enhance cued fear conditioning.
doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2005.10.026 pmid:16260086 pmcid:PMC2697563 fatcat:lnna34drlfhglaom3rqryrdqte