Graduation Year

2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

David Diamond, Ph.D.

Keywords

PTSD, Fear conditioning, Novel object recognition, Flashbulb memory, Muscimol

Abstract

The neural pathways underlying the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have not been fully elucidated. Intrusive memories, persistent anxiety and other cognitive deficits have been attributed to maladaptive or otherwise aberrant processing in specific brain regions, including the hippocampus, amygdala and prefrontal cortex. Our laboratory has developed an animal model of PTSD which results in the enhancement of memory for a place associated with exposure to a predator, anxiety-like behavior, increased startle and impaired memory in a non-aversive memory task. To better understand how the interaction of the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex contribute to the different symptoms of the disorder, we investigated the transient inactivation of each structure during an intense stressor. Our results show that long-term contextual fear associations involve activity in both the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, but only the prefrontal cortex is involved in cued fear memories as well.

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