Medial prefrontal lesions attenuate conditioned reflex facilitation but do not affect prepulse modification of the eyeblink reflex in rabbits

Exp Brain Res. 2001 Oct;140(3):318-25. doi: 10.1007/s002210100833.


Conditioned reflex facilitation occurs when the amplitude of the eyeblink (EB) unconditioned reflex (UR) is increased as a result of prior pavlovian conditioning. Prepulse modification of the EB reflex is produced by preceding the unconditioned stimulus (US) by a brief low-level neutral stimulus. This study examined both conditioned EB facilitation and prepulse modification in rabbits with either medial prefrontal (mPFC) lesions or sham lesions. Conditioned reflex facilitation was assessed by comparing EB UR amplitude prior to and after pavlovian EB conditioning. Animals that received CS/US paired presentations showed evidence of conditioned reflex facilitation, but animals with unpaired training did not. However, this increase in EB UR magnitude in the paired groups was smaller in animals with mPFC lesions, compared to those with sham lesions. In two subsequent experiments different groups of sham and lesion animals received an intense burst of white noise preceded by tones with different interstimulus interval durations to assess prepulse modification. Unlike conditioned facilitation, prepulse modification was unaffected by mPFC lesions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Auditory Pathways / physiology
  • Conditioning, Eyelid / physiology*
  • Denervation
  • Fear / physiology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Rabbits