Neural regulation of the time course for cocaine-cue extinction consolidation in rats


Correspondence: Dr K. M. Kantak, as above.



Sites within the hippocampus, amygdala and prefrontal cortex may regulate how responses maintained by cues associated with cocaine are extinguished. To test the role of various brain sites in the consolidation of cocaine-cue extinction learning, the dorsal subiculum (dSUB), rostral basolateral amygdala (rBLA) and infralimbic prefrontal cortex (IL) were manipulated in rats. Following cocaine self-administration training (cues present, cocaine available), responding was assessed during 1-h extinction tests (cues present, no cocaine available). To study extinction consolidation specifically, the protein synthesis inhibitor anisomycin or vehicle was infused bilaterally into the dSUB, rBLA or IL either immediately following or 6 h after the first two of three extinction training sessions. With manipulations made immediately after extinction sessions, infusions of anisomycin into the dSUB or the rBLA deterred extinction. Rats maintained elevated levels of cocaine seeking relative to vehicle despite the absence of cocaine delivery. Manipulations of IL had no effect. Control studies showed that bilateral protein synthesis inhibition in dSUB and rBLA 6 h after the extinction sessions ended was unable to deter extinction. Rats reduced cocaine seeking in the usual manner in the absence of cocaine delivery. Collectively, these findings suggest that the dSUB and rBLA are neural substrates important for consolidation of cocaine-cue extinction learning and have time-dependent roles. Understanding the contribution of individual neural substrates for cocaine-cue extinction consolidation may help guide treatment strategies aimed at enhancing cue exposure therapy in cocaine-dependent people.