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Glucocorticoids Can Induce PTSD-Like Memory Impairments in Mice

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Science  23 Mar 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6075, pp. 1510-1513
DOI: 10.1126/science.1207615

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Abstract

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by a hypermnesia of the trauma and by a memory impairment that decreases the ability to restrict fear to the appropriate context. Infusion of glucocorticoids in the hippocampus after fear conditioning induces PTSD-like memory impairments and an altered pattern of neural activation in the hippocampal-amygdalar circuit. Mice become unable to identify the context as the correct predictor of the threat and show fear responses to a discrete cue not predicting the threat in normal conditions. These data demonstrate PTSD-like memory impairments in rodents and identify a potential pathophysiological mechanism of this condition.

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