Augmentation of fear extinction by D-cycloserine is blocked by proteasome inhibitors

Sheng Chun Mao, Hui Ching Lin, Po Wu Gean*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


D-Cycloserine (DCS) has been shown to facilitate extinction of conditioned fear in rats and to improve fear reduction of social phobia and fear of heights in human studies. Here, we investigate the mechanism of DCS effect by measuring internalized GluR1 and GluR2 using cell-surface biotinylation techniques. DCS selectively increased NMDA receptor-mediated synaptic response without affecting AMPA receptor-mediated synaptic response. Low-frequency stimulation (LFS) when applied in the presence of DCS induced GluR1 and GluR2 internalization in the amygdala slices. Proteasome inhibitors block DCS facilitation of LFS-induced depotentiation and a reduction in surface levels of GluR1 and GluR2. Furthermore, DCS in combination with LFS reduced cellular levels of PSD-95 and synapse-associated protein 97 (SAP97), which were also blocked by proteasome inhibitors. In the in vivo experiments, DCS-induced reduction of fear-potentiated startle and reversal of conditioning-induced increase in surface expression of GluR1 were blocked by proteasome inhibitors. DCS-treated rats fail to exhibit reinstatement after US-alone presentations. These results suggest that DCS facilitates receptor internalization in the presence of extinction training, resulting in augmented reduction of startle potentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3085-3095
Number of pages11
Issue number13
StatePublished - Dec 2008


  • Amygdala
  • D-cycloserine
  • Fear conditioning
  • Glutamate receptors
  • Learning and memory
  • Long-term potentiation


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