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Inoue, R., K. Abdou, A. Hayashi-Tanaka, S. - I. Muramatsu, K. Mino, K. Inokuchi, and H. Mori, "Glucocorticoid receptor-mediated amygdalar metaplasticity underlies adaptive modulation of fear memory by stress.", eLife, vol. 7, 2018 06 26. Abstract

Glucocorticoid receptor (GR) is crucial for signaling mediated by stress-induced high levels of glucocorticoids. The lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA) is a key structure underlying auditory-cued fear conditioning. Here, we demonstrate that genetic disruption of GR in the LA (LAGRKO) resulted in an auditory-cued fear memory deficit for strengthened conditioning. Furthermore, the suppressive effect of a single restraint stress (RS) prior to conditioning on auditory-cued fear memory in floxed GR (control) mice was abolished in LAGRKO mice. Optogenetic induction of long-term depression (LTD) at auditory inputs to the LA reduced auditory-cued fear memory in RS-exposed LAGRKO mice, and in contrast, optogenetic induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) increased auditory-cued fear memory in RS-exposed floxed GR mice. These findings suggest that prior stress suppresses fear conditioning-induced LTP at auditory inputs to the LA in a GR-dependent manner, thereby protecting animals from encoding excessive cued fear memory under stress conditions.