, Volume 236, Issue 1, pp 99–110 | Cite as

Predicting extinction phenotype to optimize fear reduction

  • M. H. MonfilsEmail author
  • H. J. Lee
  • N. E. Keller
  • R. F. Roquet
  • S. Quevedo
  • L. Agee
  • R. Cofresi
  • J. Shumake
Original Investigation


Fear conditioning is widely employed to study dysregulations of the fear system. The repeated presentation of a conditioned stimulus in the absence of a reinforcer leads to a decrease in fear responding—a phenomenon known as extinction. From a translational perspective, identifying whether an individual might respond well to extinction prior to intervention could prove important to treatment outcomes. Here, we test the hypothesis that CO2 reactivity predicts extinction phenotype in rats, and that variability in CO2 reactivity as well as extinction long-term memory (LTM) significantly predicts orexin activity in the lateral hypothalamus (LH). Our results validate a rat model of CO2 reactivity and show that subcomponents of behavioral reactivity following acute CO2 exposure explain a significant portion of the variance in extinction LTM. Furthermore, we show evidence that variability in CO2 reactivity is also significantly predictive of orexin activity in the LH, and that orexin activity, in turn, significantly accounts for LTM variance. Our findings open the possibility that we may be able to use CO2 reactivity as a screening tool to determine if individuals are good candidates for an extinction/exposure-based approach.


Extinction phenotype Fear conditioning Fear extinction CO2 Individual differences 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

213_2018_5005_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2.8 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 2872 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.Institute for NeuroscienceAustinUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Mental Health ResearchAustinUSA

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