Strategies to enhance recognition memory and facilitate extinction of fear memory have attracted increasing attention for enhancing the effectiveness of exposure therapy for anxiety disorders. Previously, we demonstrated that systemic administration of riluzole has clear anxiolytic-like effects, without impairing memory, in rats. In the present study, we examined whether riluzole could have therapeutic potential for anxiety disorders when combined with exposure therapy. Both riluzole and d-cycloserine enhanced recognition memory in the novel object recognition test and facilitated extinction learning in the contextual fear conditioning in rats. Interestingly, the facilitatory effect of riluzole on extinction learning was clearly observed even after a short re-exposure to the context, while d-cycloserine was ineffective at facilitating extinction when a short duration exposure session was given. In contrast, diazepam impaired both recognition memory and the extinction of fear memory. Our findings strongly suggest that systemic administration of riluzole may have therapeutic efficacy when combined with exposure therapy for treating a range of anxiety disorders. Clinical trials to examine the efficacy of riluzole in combination with exposure therapy in these patients are warranted.
- Exposure therapy
- Fear conditioning
- Recognition memory
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience