The effects of the serotonergic (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) agonist 8-hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino)tetralin (8-OH-DPAT; 0.2 and 0.4 mg/kg i.p.) were examined in trace conditioning (Experiment 1) and overshadowing (Experiment 2) procedures. Both experiments used a fear conditioning procedure conducted off-the-baseline in water deprived male Wistar rats. 8-OH-DPAT was administered during conditioning and its effects were examined drug free as the suppression of an established licking response, both upon re-exposure to the cues provided by the conditioning chambers and upon presentation of experimental stimuli. There were no statistically significant effects of 8-OH-DPAT on conditioning to the discrete cue provided by a 5 s conditioned stimulus (CS), irrespective of the length of the trace interval used in Experiment 1, and irrespective of whether the CS took the form of a light alone, or a noise plus light compound in the Experiment 2 overshadowing procedure. The successful demonstration of overshadowing required the use of a second conditioning session which allowed further evaluation of the effects of 8-OH-DPAT in that neither a weak nor a strong overshadowing effect was modulated by either drug dose. Nonetheless conditioning to contextual cues was attenuated by treatment with 8-OH-DPAT at the 30 s trace interval. We therefore conclude that 8-OH-DPAT reduces competition from contextual but not discrete conditioning cues. This pattern of results lends further support to the view that contextual cue conditioning and discrete cue conditioning are modulated by different neuropharmacological mechanisms.
Cassaday, H., & Thur, K. (2019). Intraperitoneal 8-OH-DPAT reduces competition from contextual but not discrete conditioning cues. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 187, 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbb.2019.172797