Selective enhancement of fear learning and resistance to extinction in a mouse model of acute early life trauma

Learn Mem. 2020 Dec 15;28(1):12-16. doi: 10.1101/lm.052373.120. Print 2021 Jan.


Early life stress (ELS) experiences can cause changes in cognitive and affective functioning. This study examined the persistent effects of a single traumatic event in infancy on several adult behavioral outcomes in male and female C57BL/6J mice. Mice received 15 footshocks in infancy and were tested for stress-enhanced fear learning, extinction learning, discrimination and reversal learning, and novel object recognition. Infant trauma potentiated fear learning in adulthood and produced resistance to extinction but did not influence other behaviors, suggesting restricted effects of infant trauma on behaviors reliant on cortico-amygdala circuitry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult Survivors of Child Adverse Events
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Extinction, Psychological / physiology*
  • Fear / physiology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Psychological Trauma / physiopathology*
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology
  • Reversal Learning / physiology