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Mild Transient Hypercapnia as a Novel Fear Conditioning Stimulus Allowing Re-Exposure during Sleep

McDowell, AL and Filippone, AB and Balbir, A and Germain, A and O'Donnell, CP (2013) Mild Transient Hypercapnia as a Novel Fear Conditioning Stimulus Allowing Re-Exposure during Sleep. PLoS ONE, 8 (6).

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Introduction:Studies suggest that sleep plays a role in traumatic memories and that treatment of sleep disorders may help alleviate symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. Fear-conditioning paradigms in rodents are used to investigate causal mechanisms of fear acquisition and the relationship between sleep and posttraumatic behaviors. We developed a novel conditioning stimulus (CS) that evoked fear and was subsequently used to study re-exposure to the CS during sleep.Methods:Experiment 1 assessed physiological responses to a conditioned stimulus (mild transient hypercapnia, mtHC; 3.0% CO2; n = 17)+footshock for the purpose of establishing a novel CS in male FVB/J mice. Responses to the novel CS were compared to tone+footshock (n = 18) and control groups of tone alone (n = 17) and mild transient hypercapnia alone (n = 10). A second proof of principle experiment re-exposed animals during sleep to mild transient hypercapnia or air (control) to study sleep processes related to the CS.Results:Footshock elicited a response of acute tachycardia (30-40 bpm) and increased plasma epinephrine. When tone predicted footshock it elicited mild hypertension (1-2 mmHg) and a three-fold increase in plasma epinephrine. When mtHC predicted footshock it also induced mild hypertension, but additionally elicited a conditioned bradycardia and a smaller increase in plasma epinephrine. The overall mean 24 hour sleep-wake profile was unaffected immediately after fear conditioning.Discussion:Our study demonstrates the efficacy of mtHC as a conditioning stimulus that is perceptible but innocuous (relative to tone) and applicable during sleep. This novel model will allow future studies to explore sleep-dependent mechanisms underlying maladaptive fear responses, as well as elucidate the moderators of the relationship between fear responses and sleep. © 2013 McDowell et al.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
McDowell, AL
Filippone, AB
Balbir, A
Germain, Aang2@pitt.eduANG2
O'Donnell, CP
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Date: 26 June 2013
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: PLoS ONE
Volume: 8
Number: 6
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067435
Schools and Programs: School of Medicine > Medicine
School of Medicine > Psychiatry
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2013 20:16
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2021 13:56


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