Dissociation of the Role of Infralimbic Cortex in Learning and Consolidation of Extinction of Recent and Remote Aversion Memory

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015 Oct;40(11):2566-75. doi: 10.1038/npp.2015.103. Epub 2015 Apr 15.


Medial prefrontal circuits have been reported to undergo a major reorganization over time and gradually take a more important role for remote emotional memories such as contextual fear memory or food aversion memory. The medial prefrontal cortex, and specifically its ventral subregion, the infralimbic cortex (IL), was also reported to be critical for recent memory extinction of contextual fear conditioning and conditioned odor aversion. However, its exact role in the extinction of remotely acquired information is still not clear. Using postretrieval blockade of protein synthesis or inactivation of the IL, we showed that the IL is similarly required for extinction consolidation of recent and remote fear memory. However, in odor aversion memory, the IL was only involved in extinction consolidation of recent, but not remote, memory. In contrast, only remote retrieval of aversion memory induced c-Fos activation in the IL and preretrieval inactivation of the IL with lidocaine impaired subsequent extinction of remote but not recent memory, indicating IL is necessary for extinction learning of remote aversion memory. In contrast to the effects in odor aversion, our data show that the involvement of the IL in the consolidation of fear extinction does not depend on the memory age. More importantly, our data indicate that the IL is implicated in the extinction of fear and nonfear-based associations and suggest dissociation in the engagement of the IL in the learning and consolidation of food aversion extinction over time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anisomycin / pharmacology
  • Avoidance Learning / drug effects
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology*
  • Extinction, Psychological / drug effects
  • Extinction, Psychological / physiology*
  • Fear / drug effects
  • Fear / physiology
  • Lidocaine / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Memory Consolidation / drug effects
  • Memory Consolidation / physiology*
  • Memory, Short-Term / drug effects
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Olfactory Perception / drug effects
  • Olfactory Perception / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / drug effects
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Protein Synthesis Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / metabolism
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Time Factors
  • Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel Blockers / pharmacology


  • Protein Synthesis Inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos
  • Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel Blockers
  • Anisomycin
  • Lidocaine