Augmentation of fear extinction by infusion of glycine transporter blockers into the amygdala

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


It is known that fear extinction is blocked by the N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist. In this study, we investigate whether extinction could be facilitated by the enhancement of NMDA response, achieved by the blocking of glycine transporters. In amygdala slices, NMDA at a concentration that normally does not have a long-term effect was found to reduce the cellular levels of postsynaptic density protein 95 and synapse-associated protein 97, in addition to the surface expression of GluR1/2, in the presence of a glycine transporter blocker, N[3-(4-fluorophenil)-3-(4′-phenilphenoxy)] propylsarcosine (NFPS). In in vivo experiments, extinction training applied 24 h after conditioning reduced startle potentiation without influencing the conditioning-induced increase in the surface expression of GluR1/2. However, NFPS augmented extinction and reversed the conditioning-induced increase in GluR1/2 when infused bilaterally into the amygdala before extinction training. The effects of NFPS were therefore blocked by the NMDA antagonist. In parallel, NFPS treatment in conjunction with extinction reversed the conditioning-induced 4α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA)/NMDA ratio. In behavioral tests, Tat-GluR23Y, a synthetic peptide that has been shown to block AMPA receptor endocytosis, inhibited only the additional reduction caused by NFPS treatment, rather than returning the fear potentiation levels to those of fear-conditioned animals that did not undergo extinction. These results suggest that NFPS in combination with extinction training reverses GluR1/2 surface expression and thus augments the extinction of conditioned fear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-378
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2009


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