Cholinergic transmission in the dorsal hippocampus modulates trace but not delay fear conditioning

Min Hee Pang, Nam Soo Kim, Il Hwan Kim, Hyun Kim, Hyun Taek Kim, June Seek Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Although cholinergic mechanisms have been widely implicated in learning and memory processes, few studies have investigated the specific contribution of hippocampal cholinergic transmission during trace fear conditioning, a form of associative learning involving a temporal gap between two stimuli. Microinfusions of scopolamine, a muscarinic receptor antagonist, into the dorsal hippocampus (DH) produced dose-dependent impairment in the acquisition and expression of a conditioned response (CR) following trace fear conditioning with a tone conditioned stimulus (CS) and a footshock unconditioned stimulus (US) in rats. The same infusions, however, had no effect on delay conditioning, general activity, pain sensitivity or attentional modulation. Moreover, scopolamine infusions attenuated phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in the amygdala, indicating that cholinergic signals in the DH are important for trace fear conditioning. Taken together, the current study provides evidence that cholinergic neurotransmission in the DH is essential for the cellular processing of CS-US association in the amygdala when the two stimuli are temporally disconnected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-213
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Sept

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Glenn E. Schafe for providing expert advice on immunohistochemical ERK staining in the amygdala. A portion of these results has been presented in a preliminary form (SFN 2008). This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) Grant funded by the Korea government (MEST) (No. 2009-008145) and by the Korea Research Foundation Grant funded by the Korean Government (KRF-2008-321-H00008).


  • Cholinergic system
  • ERK
  • Hippocampus
  • Scopolamine
  • Trace fear conditioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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