Relationship between memory and fear: Developmental and pharmacological studies

Mikhail V. Pletnikov, Zinaida I. Storozheva, Vladimir V. Sherstnev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Habituation of the acoustic startle response (ASR) and freezing responses were assessed simultaneously in rats of different ages. Results showed that until 30 days of age rats were not able to express long-term habituation of the ASR, whereas irrespective of age, all rats exhibited the increased freezing responses as a result of fear conditioning. In addition, the interaction between fear and memory was studied using the same behavioral model in adult rats treated intraperitoneally with diazepam at doses 1.2 and 2.5 mg/kg. Diazepam administration did not result in a significant change in initial startle responsiveness but elicited a profound suppression of startle amplitude over trials. Furthermore, animals given diazepam showed more initial freezing than the vehicle-treated controls, while fear-conditioned freezing was decreased by diazepam. The pattern of results is discussed in relation to developmental and pharmacological dissociations between the different behavioral components of responses to aversive and stressful cues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-98
Number of pages6
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Diazepam
  • Freezing
  • Habituation
  • Ontogeny
  • Rat
  • Startle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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