Post-extinction Delay Necessary to Induce Retrograde Amnesia for a Moderate Extinction Training Memory

Ashlyn J. Zikmund, James F. Briggs*
Susquehanna University Selinsgrove, PA 17870, United States

© Zikmund and Briggs ; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Psychology, Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA 17870, United States; Email:


Two experiments using rats were conducted to evaluate the post-extinction delay necessary to obtain retrograde amnesia for a moderate extinction training memory. In Experiment 1, six minutes of extinction (i.e., cue-exposure) was sufficient to reduce fear of the black compartment of a white-black shuttle box, however the amnestic treatment cycloheximide (CHX) failed to produce retrograde amnesia for extinction (i.e., show fear). In Experiment 2, CHX was administered at various post-extinction delays (0-min, 60-min, 75-min, 120-min) to assess whether the active extinction memory could be susceptible to amnesia if the original fear memory had time to reconsolidate. The results indicated that administrating CHX 75 minutes after extinction produced retrograde amnesia for extinction, but not for shorter post-extinction delays, thus demonstrating a temporal gradient. These findings suggest that the extinction memory was active and susceptible to disruption 75 minutes after the extinction session, but the original fear memory may have been protected from the amnestic effects with sufficient time to reconsolidate.

Keywords: Consolidation, Cycloheximide, Extinction, Rat, Reconsolidation, Retrograde amnesia.