Neurotoxic lesions of retrosplenial cortex disrupt signaled and unsignaled contextual fear conditioning

Behav Neurosci. 2008 Oct;122(5):1070-7. doi: 10.1037/a0012895.


The majority of research regarding contextual learning and memory has focused on the contributions of the hippocampus and related medial temporal lobe structures. However, little is known about other possible cortical contributions to these processes. Our laboratory recently demonstrated that electrolytic lesions of the retrosplenial cortex (RSP), a posterior region of cingulate cortex, impaired contextual but not cue-specific fear conditioning. The present experiments further examined the role of RSP in contextual fear memory using fiber-sparing neurotoxic lesions and both signaled and unsignaled fear conditioning paradigms. Despite comparable acquisition of the conditioned fear response, rats with neurotoxic lesions of RSP exhibited impaired contextual memory relative to control animals in both the signaled and unsignaled paradigms. These results further suggest an important role for RSP in contextual learning and memory.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Conditioning, Classical / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology*
  • Entorhinal Cortex / injuries*
  • Entorhinal Cortex / physiology*
  • Fear*
  • Freezing Reaction, Cataleptic / drug effects
  • Freezing Reaction, Cataleptic / physiology
  • N-Methylaspartate / toxicity*
  • Neurotoxins / toxicity*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans


  • Neurotoxins
  • N-Methylaspartate