Erasure of fear memories is prevented by Nogo Receptor 1 in adulthood

Mol Psychiatry. 2016 Sep;21(9):1281-9. doi: 10.1038/mp.2015.179. Epub 2015 Dec 1.


Critical periods are temporary windows of heightened neural plasticity early in development. For example, fear memories in juvenile rodents are subject to erasure following extinction training, while after closure of this critical period, extinction training only temporarily and weakly suppresses fear memories. Persistence of fear memories is important for survival, but the inability to effectively adapt to the trauma is a characteristic of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We examined whether Nogo Receptor 1 (NgR1) regulates the plasticity associated with fear extinction. The loss of NgR1 function in adulthood eliminates spontaneous fear recovery and fear renewal, with a restoration of fear reacquisition rate equal to that of naive mice; thus, mimicking the phenotype observed in juvenile rodents. Regional gene disruption demonstrates that NgR1 expression is required in both the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and infralimbic (IL) cortex to prevent fear erasure. NgR1 expression by parvalbumin expressing interneurons is essential for limiting extinction-dependent plasticity. NgR1 gene deletion enhances anatomical changes of inhibitory synapse markers after extinction training. Thus, NgR1 robustly inhibits elimination of fear expression in the adult brain and could serve as a therapeutic target for anxiety disorders, such as PTSD.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiology
  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cerebral Cortex / drug effects
  • Extinction, Psychological / drug effects
  • Extinction, Psychological / physiology
  • Fear / physiology*
  • Fear / psychology
  • Gene Expression
  • Interneurons
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neuronal Plasticity / genetics
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Nogo Receptor 1 / genetics*
  • Nogo Receptor 1 / metabolism*
  • Parvalbumins
  • Prefrontal Cortex / drug effects


  • Nogo Receptor 1
  • Parvalbumins