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Sample records for amygdala enhances fear

  1. Noradrenergic enhancement of amygdala responses to fear

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    Onur, Oezguer A; Walter, Henrik; Schlaepfer, Thomas E; Rehme, Anne K; Schmidt, Christoph; Keysers, Christian; Maier, Wolfgang; Hurlemann, René

    Multiple lines of evidence implicate the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and the noradrenergic (norepinephrine, NE) system in responding to stressful stimuli such as fear signals, suggesting hyperfunction of both in the development of stress-related pathologies including anxiety disorders. However, no

  2. Psychopaths show enhanced amygdala activation during fear conditioning

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    Douglas eSchultz

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by emotional deficits and a failure to inhibit impulsive behavior and is often subdivided into primary and secondary psychopathic subtypes. The maladaptive behavior related to primary psychopathy is thought to reflect constitutional fearlessness, while the problematic behavior related to secondary psychopathy is motivated by other factors. The fearlessness observed in psychopathy has often been interpreted as reflecting a fundamental deficit in amygdala function, and previous studies have provided support for a low-fear model of psychopathy. However, many of these studies fail to use appropriate screening procedures, use liberal inclusion criteria, or have used unconventional approaches to assay amygdala function. We measured brain activity with BOLD imaging in primary and secondary psychopaths and non-psychopathic control subjects during Pavlovian fear conditioning. In contrast to the low-fear model, we observed normal fear expression in primary psychopaths. Psychopaths also displayed greater differential BOLD activity in the amygdala relative to matched controls. Inverse patterns of activity were observed in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC for primary versus secondary psychopaths. Primary psychopaths exhibited a pattern of activity in the dorsal and ventral ACC consistent with enhanced fear expression, while secondary psychopaths exhibited a pattern of activity in these regions consistent with fear inhibition. These results contradict the low-fear model of psychopathy and suggest that the low fear observed for psychopaths in previous studies may be specific to secondary psychopaths.

  3. Adult-onset hypothyroidism enhances fear memory and upregulates mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid receptors in the amygdala.

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    Montero-Pedrazuela, Ana; Fernández-Lamo, Iván; Alieva, María; Pereda-Pérez, Inmaculada; Venero, César; Guadaño-Ferraz, Ana

    2011-01-01

    Hypothyroidism is the most common hormonal disease in adults, which is frequently accompanied by learning and memory impairments and emotional disorders. However, the deleterious effects of thyroid hormones deficiency on emotional memory are poorly understood and often underestimated. To evaluate the consequences of hypothyroidism on emotional learning and memory, we have performed a classical Pavlovian fear conditioning paradigm in euthyroid and adult-thyroidectomized Wistar rats. In this experimental model, learning acquisition was not impaired, fear memory was enhanced, memory extinction was delayed and spontaneous recovery of fear memory was exacerbated in hypothyroid rats. The potentiation of emotional memory under hypothyroidism was associated with an increase of corticosterone release after fear conditioning and with higher expression of glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptors in the lateral and basolateral nuclei of the amygdala, nuclei that are critically involved in the circuitry of fear memory. Our results demonstrate for the first time that adult-onset hypothyroidism potentiates fear memory and also increases vulnerability to develop emotional memories. Furthermore, our findings suggest that enhanced corticosterone signaling in the amygdala is involved in the pathophysiological mechanisms of fear memory potentiation. Therefore, we recommend evaluating whether inappropriate regulation of fear in patients with post-traumatic stress and other mental disorders is associated with abnormal levels of thyroid hormones, especially those patients refractory to treatment.

  4. Adult-onset hypothyroidism enhances fear memory and upregulates mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid receptors in the amygdala.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ana Montero-Pedrazuela

    Full Text Available Hypothyroidism is the most common hormonal disease in adults, which is frequently accompanied by learning and memory impairments and emotional disorders. However, the deleterious effects of thyroid hormones deficiency on emotional memory are poorly understood and often underestimated. To evaluate the consequences of hypothyroidism on emotional learning and memory, we have performed a classical Pavlovian fear conditioning paradigm in euthyroid and adult-thyroidectomized Wistar rats. In this experimental model, learning acquisition was not impaired, fear memory was enhanced, memory extinction was delayed and spontaneous recovery of fear memory was exacerbated in hypothyroid rats. The potentiation of emotional memory under hypothyroidism was associated with an increase of corticosterone release after fear conditioning and with higher expression of glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptors in the lateral and basolateral nuclei of the amygdala, nuclei that are critically involved in the circuitry of fear memory. Our results demonstrate for the first time that adult-onset hypothyroidism potentiates fear memory and also increases vulnerability to develop emotional memories. Furthermore, our findings suggest that enhanced corticosterone signaling in the amygdala is involved in the pathophysiological mechanisms of fear memory potentiation. Therefore, we recommend evaluating whether inappropriate regulation of fear in patients with post-traumatic stress and other mental disorders is associated with abnormal levels of thyroid hormones, especially those patients refractory to treatment.

  5. Adult-Onset Hypothyroidism Enhances Fear Memory and Upregulates Mineralocorticoid and Glucocorticoid Receptors in the Amygdala

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    Montero-Pedrazuela, Ana; Fernández-Lamo, Iván; Alieva, María; Pereda-Pérez, Inmaculada; Venero, César; Guadaño-Ferraz, Ana

    2011-01-01

    Hypothyroidism is the most common hormonal disease in adults, which is frequently accompanied by learning and memory impairments and emotional disorders. However, the deleterious effects of thyroid hormones deficiency on emotional memory are poorly understood and often underestimated. To evaluate the consequences of hypothyroidism on emotional learning and memory, we have performed a classical Pavlovian fear conditioning paradigm in euthyroid and adult-thyroidectomized Wistar rats. In this experimental model, learning acquisition was not impaired, fear memory was enhanced, memory extinction was delayed and spontaneous recovery of fear memory was exacerbated in hypothyroid rats. The potentiation of emotional memory under hypothyroidism was associated with an increase of corticosterone release after fear conditioning and with higher expression of glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptors in the lateral and basolateral nuclei of the amygdala, nuclei that are critically involved in the circuitry of fear memory. Our results demonstrate for the first time that adult-onset hypothyroidism potentiates fear memory and also increases vulnerability to develop emotional memories. Furthermore, our findings suggest that enhanced corticosterone signaling in the amygdala is involved in the pathophysiological mechanisms of fear memory potentiation. Therefore, we recommend evaluating whether inappropriate regulation of fear in patients with post-traumatic stress and other mental disorders is associated with abnormal levels of thyroid hormones, especially those patients refractory to treatment. PMID:22039511

  6. Dexamethasone Treatment Leads to Enhanced Fear Extinction and Dynamic Fkbp5 Regulation in Amygdala.

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    Sawamura, Takehito; Klengel, Torsten; Armario, Antonio; Jovanovic, Tanja; Norrholm, Seth D; Ressler, Kerry J; Andero, Raül

    2016-02-01

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is both a prevalent and debilitating trauma-related disorder associated with dysregulated fear learning at the core of many of its signs and symptoms. Improvements in the currently available psychological and pharmacological treatments are needed in order to improve PTSD treatment outcomes and to prevent symptom relapse. In the present study, we used a putative animal model of PTSD that included presentation of immobilization stress (IMO) followed by fear conditioning (FC) a week later. We then investigated the acute effects of GR receptor activation on the extinction (EXT) of conditioned freezing, using dexamethasone administered systemically which is known to result in suppression of the HPA axis. In our previous work, IMO followed by tone-shock-mediated FC was associated with impaired fear EXT. In this study, we administered dexamethasone 4 h before EXT training and then examined EXT retention (RET) 24 h later to determine whether dexamethasone suppression rescued EXT deficits. Dexamethasone treatment produced dose-dependent enhancement of both EXT and RET. Dexamethasone was also associated with reduced amygdala Fkbp5 mRNA expression following EXT and after RET. Moreover, DNA methylation of the Fkbp5 gene occurred in a dose-dependent and time course-dependent manner within the amygdala. Additionally, we found dynamic changes in epigenetic regulation, including Dnmt and Tet gene pathways, as a function of both fear EXT and dexamethasone suppression of the HPA axis. Together, these data suggest that dexamethasone may serve to enhance EXT by altering Fkbp5-mediated glucocorticoid sensitivity via epigenetic regulation of Fkbp5 expression.

  7. Oxytocin in the amygdala and not the prefrontal cortex enhances fear and impairs extinction in the juvenile rat.

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    Kritman, Milly; Lahoud, Nisrine; Maroun, Mouna

    2017-05-01

    A growing body of evidence suggests that the hypothalamic neuropeptide oxytocin (OT), aside from its central role in the regulation of social behavior, reduces fear and anxiety. The functional and opposing interactions of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and the amygdala in regulation of fear provide a unique experimental setting to examine the effects of OT on fear and extinction. Recent evidence suggests that in the adult animal OT can play a dual role in the regulation of fear leading to contrasting effects on fear depending on the manipulated brain region and the time of manipulations. The OT system is one of the systems that undergoes major changes throughout development, however, its role in regulating fear in young animals has not been widely explored. We recently showed that the mechanisms of extinction, and specifically engagement of the mPFC in extinction, are not identical in adult and juvenile animals. Thus, the purpose of this study was to elucidate the effects of OT on fear and extinction in juvenile animals. To that end, we determine extinction, by measuring freezing at different time points, following microinjection of the OT agonist, TGOT, into the mPFC, the basolateral and the central nuclei of the amygdala (BLA and CeA, respectively). The results show that whereas TGOT microinjections into the IL-mPFC did not affect extinction, microinjections into the amygdala were mainly associated with enhanced fear and impaired extinction. These results further emphasize the differences between adult and juvenile brains. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  8. Stress enhances fear by forming new synapses with greater capacity for long-term potentiation in the amygdala.

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    Suvrathan, Aparna; Bennur, Sharath; Ghosh, Supriya; Tomar, Anupratap; Anilkumar, Shobha; Chattarji, Sumantra

    2014-01-05

    Prolonged and severe stress leads to cognitive deficits, but facilitates emotional behaviour. Little is known about the synaptic basis for this contrast. Here, we report that in rats subjected to chronic immobilization stress, long-term potentiation (LTP) and NMDA receptor (NMDAR)-mediated synaptic responses are enhanced in principal neurons of the lateral amygdala, a brain area involved in fear memory formation. This is accompanied by electrophysiological and morphological changes consistent with the formation of 'silent synapses', containing only NMDARs. In parallel, chronic stress also reduces synaptic inhibition. Together, these synaptic changes would enable amygdalar neurons to undergo further experience-dependent modifications, leading to stronger fear memories. Consistent with this prediction, stressed animals exhibit enhanced conditioned fear. Hence, stress may leave its mark in the amygdala by generating new synapses with greater capacity for plasticity, thereby creating an ideal neuronal substrate for affective disorders. These findings also highlight the unique features of stress-induced plasticity in the amygdala that are strikingly different from the stress-induced impairment of structure and function in the hippocampus.

  9. AMYGDALA MICROCIRCUITS CONTROLLING LEARNED FEAR

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    Duvarci, Sevil; Pare, Denis

    2014-01-01

    We review recent work on the role of intrinsic amygdala networks in the regulation of classically conditioned defensive behaviors, commonly known as conditioned fear. These new developments highlight how conditioned fear depends on far more complex networks than initially envisioned. Indeed, multiple parallel inhibitory and excitatory circuits are differentially recruited during the expression versus extinction of conditioned fear. Moreover, shifts between expression and extinction circuits involve coordinated interactions with different regions of the medial prefrontal cortex. However, key areas of uncertainty remain, particularly with respect to the connectivity of the different cell types. Filling these gaps in our knowledge is important because much evidence indicates that human anxiety disorders results from an abnormal regulation of the networks supporting fear learning. PMID:24908482

  10. Acute food deprivation enhances fear extinction but inhibits long-term depression in the lateral amygdala via ghrelin signaling.

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    Huang, Chiung-Chun; Chou, Dylan; Yeh, Che-Ming; Hsu, Kuei-Sen

    2016-02-01

    Fear memory-encoding thalamic input synapses to the lateral amygdala (T-LA) exhibit dynamic efficacy changes that are tightly correlated with fear memory strength. Previous studies have shown that auditory fear conditioning involves strengthening of synaptic strength, and conversely, fear extinction training leads to T-LA synaptic weakening and occlusion of long-term depression (LTD) induction. These findings suggest that the mechanisms governing LTD at T-LA synapses may determine the behavioral outcomes of extinction training. Here, we explored this hypothesis by implementing food deprivation (FD) stress in mice to determine its effects on fear extinction and LTD induction at T-LA synapses. We found that FD increased plasma acylated ghrelin levels and enhanced fear extinction and its retention. Augmentation of fear extinction by FD was blocked by pretreatment with growth hormone secretagogue receptor type-1a antagonist D-Lys(3)-GHRP-6, suggesting an involvement of ghrelin signaling. Confirming previous findings, two distinct forms of LTD coexist at thalamic inputs to LA pyramidal neurons that can be induced by low-frequency stimulation (LFS) or paired-pulse LFS (PP-LFS) paired with postsynaptic depolarization, respectively. Unexpectedly, we found that FD impaired the induction of PP-LFS- and group I metabotropic glutamate receptor agonist (S)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine (DHPG)-induced LTD, but not LFS-induced LTD. Ghrelin mimicked the effects of FD to impair the induction of PP-LFS- and DHPG-induced LTD at T-LA synapses, which were blocked by co-application of D-Lys(3)-GHRP-6. The sensitivity of synaptic transmission to 1-naphthyl acetyl spermine was not altered by either FD or ghrelin treatment. These results highlight distinct features of fear extinction and LTD at T-LA synapses. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. Deep brain stimulation of the amygdala alleviates fear conditioning-induced alterations in synaptic plasticity in the cortical-amygdala pathway and fear memory.

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    Sui, Li; Huang, SiJia; Peng, BinBin; Ren, Jie; Tian, FuYing; Wang, Yan

    2014-07-01

    Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the amygdala has been demonstrated to modulate hyperactivity of the amygdala, which is responsible for the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and thus might be used for the treatment of PTSD. However, the underlying mechanism of DBS of the amygdala in the modulation of the amygdala is unclear. The present study investigated the effects of DBS of the amygdala on synaptic transmission and synaptic plasticity at cortical inputs to the amygdala, which is critical for the formation and storage of auditory fear memories, and fear memories. The results demonstrated that auditory fear conditioning increased single-pulse-evoked field excitatory postsynaptic potentials in the cortical-amygdala pathway. Furthermore, auditory fear conditioning decreased the induction of paired-pulse facilitation and long-term potentiation, two neurophysiological models for studying short-term and long-term synaptic plasticity, respectively, in the cortical-amygdala pathway. In addition, all these auditory fear conditioning-induced changes could be reversed by DBS of the amygdala. DBS of the amygdala also rescued auditory fear conditioning-induced enhancement of long-term retention of fear memory. These findings suggested that DBS of the amygdala alleviating fear conditioning-induced alterations in synaptic plasticity in the cortical-amygdala pathway and fear memory may underlie the neuromodulatory role of DBS of the amygdala in activities of the amygdala.

  12. The central amygdala circuits in fear regulation

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    Li, Bo

    The amygdala is essential for fear learning and expression. The central amygdala (CeA), once viewed as a passive relay between the amygdala complex and downstream fear effectors, has emerged as an active participant in fear conditioning. However, how the CeA contributes to the learning and expression of fear remains unclear. Our recent studies in mice indicate that fear conditioning induces robust plasticity of excitatory synapses onto inhibitory neurons in the lateral subdivision of CeA (CeL). In particular, this plasticity is cell-type specific and is required for the formation of fear memory. In addition, sensory cues that predict threat can cause activation of the somatostatin-positive CeL neurons, which is sufficient to drive freezing behavior. Here I will report our recent findings regarding the circuit and cellular mechanisms underlying CeL function in fear processing.

  13. Chronic stress enhanced fear memories are associated with increased amygdala zif268 mRNA expression and are resistant to reconsolidation.

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    Hoffman, Ann N; Parga, Alejandro; Paode, Pooja R; Watterson, Lucas R; Nikulina, Ella M; Hammer, Ronald P; Conrad, Cheryl D

    2015-04-01

    The chronically stressed brain may present a vulnerability to develop maladaptive fear-related behaviors in response to a traumatic event. In rodents, chronic stress leads to amygdala hyperresponsivity and dendritic hypertrophy and produces a post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-like phenotype that includes exaggerated fear learning following Pavlovian fear conditioning and resistance to extinction. It is unknown whether chronic stress-induced enhanced fear memories are vulnerable to disruption via reconsolidation blockade, as a novel therapeutic approach for attenuating exaggerated fear memories. We used a chronic stress procedure in a rat model (wire mesh restraint for 6h/d/21d) to create a vulnerable brain that leads to a PTSD-like phenotype. We then examined freezing behavior during acquisition, reactivation and after post-reactivation rapamycin administration (i.p., 40mg/kg) in a Pavlovian fear conditioning paradigm to determine its effects on reconsolidation as well as the subsequent functional activation of limbic structures using zif268 mRNA. Chronic stress increased amygdala zif268 mRNA during fear memory retrieval at reactivation. Moreover, these enhanced fear memories were unaffected by post reactivation rapamycin to disrupt long-term fear memory. Also, post-reactivation long term memory processing was also associated with increased amygdala (LA and BA), and decreased hippocampal CA1 zif268 mRNA expression. These results suggest potential challenges for reconsolidation blockade as an effective approach in treating exaggerated fear memories, as in PTSD. Our findings also support chronic stress manipulations combined with fear conditioning as a useful preclinical approach to study a PTSD-like phenotype. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  14. Enhancement of striatum-dependent memory by conditioned fear is mediated by beta-adrenergic receptors in the basolateral amygdala

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    Travis D. Goode

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Emotional arousal can have a profound impact on various learning and memory processes. For example, unconditioned emotional stimuli (e.g., predator odor or anxiogenic drugs enhance dorsolateral striatum (DLS-dependent habit memory. These effects critically depend on a modulatory role of the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA. Recent work indicates that, like unconditioned emotional stimuli, exposure to an aversive conditioned stimulus (CS (i.e., a tone previously paired with shock can also enhance consolidation of DLS-dependent habit memory. The present experiments examined whether noradrenergic activity, particularly within the BLA, is required for a fear CS to enhance habit memory consolidation. First, rats underwent a fear conditioning procedure in which a tone CS was paired with an aversive unconditioned stimulus. Over the course of the next five days, rats received training in a DLS-dependent water plus-maze task, in which rats were reinforced to make a consistent body-turn response to reach a hidden escape platform. Immediately after training on days 1–3, rats received post-training systemic (Experiment 1 or intra-BLA (Experiment 2 administration of the β-adrenoreceptor antagonist, propranolol. Immediately after drug administration, half of the rats were re-exposed to the tone CS in the conditioning context (without shock. Post-training CS exposure enhanced consolidation of habit memory in vehicle-treated rats, and this effect was blocked by peripheral (Experiment 1 or intra-BLA (Experiment 2 propranolol administration. The present findings reveal that noradrenergic activity within the BLA is critical for the enhancement of DLS-dependent habit memory as a result of exposure to conditioned emotional stimuli.

  15. Growth hormone biases amygdala network activation after fear learning.

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    Gisabella, B; Farah, S; Peng, X; Burgos-Robles, A; Lim, S H; Goosens, K A

    2016-11-29

    Prolonged stress exposure is a risk factor for developing posttraumatic stress disorder, a disorder characterized by the 'over-encoding' of a traumatic experience. A potential mechanism by which this occurs is through upregulation of growth hormone (GH) in the amygdala. Here we test the hypotheses that GH promotes the over-encoding of fearful memories by increasing the number of neurons activated during memory encoding and biasing the allocation of neuronal activation, one aspect of the process by which neurons compete to encode memories, to favor neurons that have stronger inputs. Viral overexpression of GH in the amygdala increased the number of amygdala cells activated by fear memory formation. GH-overexpressing cells were especially biased to express the immediate early gene c-Fos after fear conditioning, revealing strong autocrine actions of GH in the amygdala. In addition, we observed dramatically enhanced dendritic spine density in GH-overexpressing neurons. These data elucidate a previously unrecognized autocrine role for GH in the regulation of amygdala neuron function and identify specific mechanisms by which chronic stress, by enhancing GH in the amygdala, may predispose an individual to excessive fear memory formation.

  16. Understanding amygdala responsiveness to fearful expressions through the lens of psychopathy and altruism.

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    Marsh, Abigail A

    2016-06-01

    Because the face is the central focus of human social interactions, emotional facial expressions provide a unique window into the emotional lives of others. They play a particularly important role in fostering empathy, which entails understanding and responding to others' emotions, especially distress-related emotions such as fear. This Review considers how fearful facial as well as vocal and postural expressions are interpreted, with an emphasis on the role of the amygdala. The amygdala may be best known for its role in the acquisition and expression of conditioned fear, but it also supports the perception and recognition of others' fear. Various explanations have been supplied for the amygdala's role in interpreting and responding to fearful expressions. They include theories that amygdala responses to fearful expressions 1) reflect heightened vigilance in response to uncertain danger, 2) promote heightened attention to the eye region of faces, 3) represent a response to an unconditioned aversive stimulus, or 4) reflect the generation of an empathic fear response. Among these, only empathic fear explains why amygdala lesions would impair fear recognition across modalities. Supporting the possibility of a link between fundamental empathic processes and amygdala responses to fear is evidence that impaired fear recognition in psychopathic individuals results from amygdala dysfunction, whereas enhanced fear recognition in altruistic individuals results from enhanced amygdala function. Empathic concern and caring behaviors may be fostered by sensitivity to signs of acute distress in others, which relies on intact functioning of the amygdala. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  17. Vagus nerve stimulation enhances extinction of conditioned fear and modulates plasticity in the pathway from the infralimbic prefrontal cortex to the amygdala.

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    David Frausto Peña

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Fearful experiences can produce long-lasting and debilitating memories. Extinction of the fear response requires consolidation of new memories that compete with fearful associations. Subjects with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD show impaired extinction of conditioned fear, which is associated with decreased ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC control over amygdala activity. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS enhances memory consolidation in both rats and humans, and pairing VNS with exposure to conditioned cues enhances the consolidation of extinction learning in rats. Here we investigated whether pairing VNS with extinction learning facilitates plasticity between the infralimbic (IL medial prefrontal cortex and the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA. Rats were trained on an auditory fear conditioning task, which was followed by a retention test and one day of extinction training. Vagus nerve stimulation or sham-stimulation was administered concurrently with exposure to the fear-conditioned stimulus and retention of fear conditioning was tested again 24 hours later. VNS-treated rats demonstrated a significant reduction in freezing after a single extinction training session similar to animals that received 5x the number of extinction pairings. To study plasticity in the IL-BLA pathway, we recorded evoked field potentials in the BLA in anesthetized animals 24 h after retention testing. Brief burst stimulation in the IL produced LTD in the BLA field response in fear-conditioned and sham-treated animals. In contrast, the same stimulation resulted in potentiation of the IL-BLA pathway in the VNS-treated group. The present findings suggest that VNS promotes plasticity in the IL-BLA pathway to facilitate extinction of conditioned fear responses.

  18. Chronic stress disrupts fear extinction and enhances amygdala and hippocampal Fos expression in an animal model of post-traumatic stress disorder.

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    Hoffman, Ann N; Lorson, Nickolaus G; Sanabria, Federico; Foster Olive, M; Conrad, Cheryl D

    2014-07-01

    Chronic stress may impose a vulnerability to develop maladaptive fear-related behaviors after a traumatic event. Whereas previous work found that chronic stress impairs the acquisition and recall of extinguished fear, it is unknown how chronic stress impacts nonassociative fear, such as in the absence of the conditioned stimulus (CS) or in a novel context. Male rats were subjected to chronic stress (STR; wire mesh restraint 6 h/d/21d) or undisturbed (CON), then tested on fear acquisition (3 tone-footshock pairings), and two extinction sessions (15 tones/session) within the same context. Then each group was tested (6 tones) in the same context (SAME) or a novel context (NOVEL), and brains were processed for functional activation using Fos immunohistochemistry. Compared to CON, STR showed facilitated fear acquisition, resistance to CS extinction on the first extinction day, and robust recovery of fear responses on the second extinction day. STR also showed robust freezing to the context alone during the first extinction day compared to CON. When tested in the same or a novel context, STR exhibited higher freezing to context than did CON, suggesting that STR-induced fear was independent of context. In support of this, STR showed increased Fos-like expression in the basolateral amygdala and CA1 region of the hippocampus in both the SAME and NOVEL contexts. Increased Fos-like expression was also observed in the central amygdala in STR-NOVEL vs. CON-NOVEL. These data demonstrate that chronic stress enhances fear learning and impairs extinction, and affects nonassociative processes as demonstrated by enhanced fear in a novel context. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  19. Adult-Onset Hypothyroidism Enhances Fear Memory and Upregulates Mineralocorticoid and Glucocorticoid Receptors in the Amygdala

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    Montero-Pedrazuela, Ana; Fern?ndez-Lamo, Iv?n; Alieva, Mar?a; Pereda-P?rez, Inmaculada; Venero, C?sar; Guada?o-Ferraz, Ana

    2011-01-01

    Hypothyroidism is the most common hormonal disease in adults, which is frequently accompanied by learning and memory impairments and emotional disorders. However, the deleterious effects of thyroid hormones deficiency on emotional memory are poorly understood and often underestimated. To evaluate the consequences of hypothyroidism on emotional learning and memory, we have performed a classical Pavlovian fear conditioning paradigm in euthyroid and adult-thyroidectomized Wistar rats. In this ex...

  20. Fear extinction learning can be impaired or enhanced by modulation of the CRF system in the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala

    OpenAIRE

    Abiri, Dina; Douglas, Christina E.; Calakos, Katina C.; Barbayannis, Georgia; Roberts, Andrea; Bauer, Elizabeth P.

    2014-01-01

    The neuropeptide corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) is released during periods of anxiety and modulates learning and memory formation. One region with particularly dense concentrations of CRF receptors is the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA), a critical structure for both Pavlovian fear conditioning and fear extinction. While CRF has the potential to modify amygdala-dependent learning, its effect on fear extinction has not yet been assessed. In the present study, we examined the mo...

  1. Chronic corticosterone exposure persistently elevates the expression of memory-related genes in the lateral amygdala and enhances the consolidation of a Pavlovian fear memory.

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    Melissa S Monsey

    Full Text Available Chronic exposure to stress has been widely implicated in the development of anxiety disorders, yet relatively little is known about the long-term effects of chronic stress on amygdala-dependent memory formation. Here, we examined the effects of a history of chronic exposure to the stress-associated adrenal steroid corticosterone (CORT on the consolidation of a fear memory and the expression of memory-related immediate early genes (IEGs in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA. Rats received chronic exposure to CORT (50 μg/ml in their drinking water for 2 weeks and were then titrated off the CORT for an additional 6 days followed by a 2 week 'wash-out' period consisting of access to plain water. Rats were then either sacrificed to examine the expression of memory-related IEG expression in the LA or given auditory Pavlovian fear conditioning. We show that chronic exposure to CORT leads to a persistent elevation in the expression of the IEGs Arc/Arg3.1 and Egr-1 in the LA. Further, we show that rats with a history of chronic CORT exposure exhibit enhanced consolidation of a fear memory; short-term memory (STM is not affected, while long-term memory (LTM is significantly enhanced. Treatment with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI fluoxetine following the chronic CORT exposure period was observed to effectively reverse both the persistent CORT-related increases in memory-related IEG expression in the LA and the CORT-related enhancement in fear memory consolidation. Our findings suggest that chronic exposure to CORT can regulate memory-related IEG expression and fear memory consolidation processes in the LA in a long-lasting manner and that treatment with fluoxetine can reverse these effects.

  2. Chronic corticosterone exposure persistently elevates the expression of memory-related genes in the lateral amygdala and enhances the consolidation of a Pavlovian fear memory.

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    Monsey, Melissa S; Boyle, Lara M; Zhang, Melinda L; Nguyen, Caroline P; Kronman, Hope G; Ota, Kristie T; Duman, Ronald S; Taylor, Jane R; Schafe, Glenn E

    2014-01-01

    Chronic exposure to stress has been widely implicated in the development of anxiety disorders, yet relatively little is known about the long-term effects of chronic stress on amygdala-dependent memory formation. Here, we examined the effects of a history of chronic exposure to the stress-associated adrenal steroid corticosterone (CORT) on the consolidation of a fear memory and the expression of memory-related immediate early genes (IEGs) in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA). Rats received chronic exposure to CORT (50 μg/ml) in their drinking water for 2 weeks and were then titrated off the CORT for an additional 6 days followed by a 2 week 'wash-out' period consisting of access to plain water. Rats were then either sacrificed to examine the expression of memory-related IEG expression in the LA or given auditory Pavlovian fear conditioning. We show that chronic exposure to CORT leads to a persistent elevation in the expression of the IEGs Arc/Arg3.1 and Egr-1 in the LA. Further, we show that rats with a history of chronic CORT exposure exhibit enhanced consolidation of a fear memory; short-term memory (STM) is not affected, while long-term memory (LTM) is significantly enhanced. Treatment with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) fluoxetine following the chronic CORT exposure period was observed to effectively reverse both the persistent CORT-related increases in memory-related IEG expression in the LA and the CORT-related enhancement in fear memory consolidation. Our findings suggest that chronic exposure to CORT can regulate memory-related IEG expression and fear memory consolidation processes in the LA in a long-lasting manner and that treatment with fluoxetine can reverse these effects.

  3. Infusion of methylphenidate into the basolateral nucleus of amygdala or anterior cingulate cortex enhances fear memory consolidation in rats

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2008-01-01

    The psychostimulant methylphenidate (MPD; also called Ritalin) is a blocker of dopamine and norepi-nephrine transporter. It has been clinically used for treatment of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). There have been inconsistent reports regarding the effects of systemically adminis-tered MPD on learning and memory, either in animals or humans. In the present study, we investigated the effect of direct infusion of MPD into the basolateral nucleus of amygdala (BLA) or the anterior cin-gulate cortex (ACC) on conditioned fear memory. Rats were trained on a one-trial step-through inhibi-tory avoidance task. MPD was infused bilaterally into the BLA or the ACC, either at ‘0’ or 6 h post-training. Saline was administered as control. Memory retention was tested 48 h post-training. In-tra-BLA or intra-ACC infusion of MPD ‘0’ h but not 6 h post-training significantly improved 48-h memory retention: the MPD-treated rats had significant longer step-through latency than controls. The present results indicate that action of MPD in the BLA or the ACC produces a beneficial effect on the consoli-dation of inhibitory avoidance memory.

  4. Fluoxetine Facilitates Fear Extinction Through Amygdala Endocannabinoids

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    Gunduz-Cinar, Ozge; Flynn, Shaun; Brockway, Emma; Kaugars, Katherine; Baldi, Rita; Ramikie, Teniel S; Cinar, Resat; Kunos, George; Patel, Sachin; Holmes, Andrew

    2016-01-01

    Pharmacologically elevating brain endocannabinoids (eCBs) share anxiolytic and fear extinction-facilitating properties with classical therapeutics, including the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, fluoxetine. There are also known functional interactions between the eCB and serotonin systems and preliminary evidence that antidepressants cause alterations in brain eCBs. However, the potential role of eCBs in mediating the facilitatory effects of fluoxetine on fear extinction has not been established. Here, to test for a possible mechanistic contribution of eCBs to fluoxetine's proextinction effects, we integrated biochemical, electrophysiological, pharmacological, and behavioral techniques, using the extinction-impaired 129S1/Sv1mJ mouse strain. Chronic fluoxetine treatment produced a significant and selective increase in levels of anandamide in the BLA, and an associated decrease in activity of the anandamide-catabolizing enzyme, fatty acid amide hydrolase. Slice electrophysiological recordings showed that fluoxetine-induced increases in anandamide were associated with the amplification of eCB-mediated tonic constraint of inhibitory, but not excitatory, transmission in the BLA. Behaviorally, chronic fluoxetine facilitated extinction retrieval in a manner that was prevented by systemic or BLA-specific blockade of CB1 receptors. In contrast to fluoxetine, citalopram treatment did not increase BLA eCBs or facilitate extinction. Taken together, these findings reveal a novel, obligatory role for amygdala eCBs in the proextinction effects of a major pharmacotherapy for trauma- and stressor-related disorders and anxiety disorders. PMID:26514583

  5. Myosin light chain kinase regulates synaptic plasticity and fear learning in the lateral amygdala.

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    Lamprecht, R; Margulies, D S; Farb, C R; Hou, M; Johnson, L R; LeDoux, J E

    2006-01-01

    Learning and memory depend on signaling molecules that affect synaptic efficacy. The cytoskeleton has been implicated in regulating synaptic transmission but its role in learning and memory is poorly understood. Fear learning depends on plasticity in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala. We therefore examined whether the cytoskeletal-regulatory protein, myosin light chain kinase, might contribute to fear learning in the rat lateral amygdala. Microinjection of ML-7, a specific inhibitor of myosin light chain kinase, into the lateral nucleus of the amygdala before fear conditioning, but not immediately afterward, enhanced both short-term memory and long-term memory, suggesting that myosin light chain kinase is involved specifically in memory acquisition rather than in posttraining consolidation of memory. Myosin light chain kinase inhibitor had no effect on memory retrieval. Furthermore, ML-7 had no effect on behavior when the training stimuli were presented in a non-associative manner. Anatomical studies showed that myosin light chain kinase is present in cells throughout lateral nucleus of the amygdala and is localized to dendritic shafts and spines that are postsynaptic to the projections from the auditory thalamus to lateral nucleus of the amygdala, a pathway specifically implicated in fear learning. Inhibition of myosin light chain kinase enhanced long-term potentiation, a physiological model of learning, in the auditory thalamic pathway to the lateral nucleus of the amygdala. When ML-7 was applied without associative tetanic stimulation it had no effect on synaptic responses in lateral nucleus of the amygdala. Thus, myosin light chain kinase activity in lateral nucleus of the amygdala appears to normally suppress synaptic plasticity in the circuits underlying fear learning, suggesting that myosin light chain kinase may help prevent the acquisition of irrelevant fears. Impairment of this mechanism could contribute to pathological fear learning.

  6. Molecular Mechanisms of Stress-Induced Increases in Fear Memory Consolidation within the Amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aubry, Antonio V; Serrano, Peter A; Burghardt, Nesha S

    2016-01-01

    Stress can significantly impact brain function and increase the risk for developing various psychiatric disorders. Many of the brain regions that are implicated in psychiatric disorders and are vulnerable to the effects of stress are also involved in mediating emotional learning. Emotional learning has been a subject of intense investigation for the past 30 years, with the vast majority of studies focusing on the amygdala and its role in associative fear learning. However, the mechanisms by which stress affects the amygdala and amygdala-dependent fear memories remain unclear. Here we review the literature on the enhancing effects of acute and chronic stress on the acquisition and/or consolidation of a fear memory, as measured by auditory Pavlovian fear conditioning, and discuss potential mechanisms by which these changes occur in the amygdala. We hypothesize that stress-mediated activation of glucocorticoid receptors (GR) and norepinephrine release within the amygdala leads to the mobilization of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptors to the synapse, which underlies stress-induced increases in fear memory. We discuss the implications of this hypothesis for evaluating the effects of stress on extinction and for developing treatments for anxiety disorders. Understanding how stress-induced changes in glucocorticoid and norepinephrine signaling might converge to affect emotional learning by increasing the trafficking of AMPA receptors and enhancing amygdala excitability is a promising area for future research.

  7. Molecular Mechanisms of Stress-Induced Increases in Fear Memory Consolidation Within the Amygdala

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Antonio Aubry

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available Stress can significantly impact brain function and increase the risk for developing various psychiatric disorders. Many of the brain regions that are implicated in psychiatric disorders and are vulnerable to the effects of stress are also involved in mediating emotional learning. Emotional learning has been a subject of intense investigation for the past 30 years, with the vast majority of studies focusing on the amygdala and its role in associative fear learning. However, the mechanisms by which stress affects the amygdala and amygdala-dependent fear memories remain unclear. Here we review the literature on the enhancing effects of acute and chronic stress on the acquisition and/or consolidation of a fear memory, as measured by auditory Pavlovian fear conditioning, and discuss potential mechanisms by which these changes occur in the amygdala. We hypothesize that stress-mediated activation of glucocorticoid receptors (GR and norepinephrine release within the amygdala leads to the mobilization of AMPA receptors to the synapse, which underlies stress-induced increases in fear memory. We discuss the implications of this hypothesis for evaluating the effects of stress on extinction and for developing treatments for anxiety disorders. Understanding how stress-induced changes in glucocorticoid and norepinephrine signaling might converge to affect emotional learning by increasing the trafficking of AMPA receptors and enhancing amygdala excitability is a promising area for future research.

  8. Prevention of stress-impaired fear extinction through neuropeptide s action in the lateral amygdala.

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    Chauveau, Frédéric; Lange, Maren Denise; Jüngling, Kay; Lesting, Jörg; Seidenbecher, Thomas; Pape, Hans-Christian

    2012-06-01

    Stressful and traumatic events can create aversive memories, which are a predisposing factor for anxiety disorders. The amygdala is critical for transforming such stressful events into anxiety, and the recently discovered neuropeptide S transmitter system represents a promising candidate apt to control these interactions. Here we test the hypothesis that neuropeptide S can regulate stress-induced hyperexcitability in the amygdala, and thereby can interact with stress-induced alterations of fear memory. Mice underwent acute immobilization stress (IS), and neuropeptide S and a receptor antagonist were locally injected into the lateral amygdala (LA) during stress exposure. Ten days later, anxiety-like behavior, fear acquisition, fear memory retrieval, and extinction were tested. Furthermore, patch-clamp recordings were performed in amygdala slices prepared ex vivo to identify synaptic substrates of stress-induced alterations in fear responsiveness. (1) IS increased anxiety-like behavior, and enhanced conditioned fear responses during extinction 10 days after stress, (2) neuropeptide S in the amygdala prevented, while an antagonist aggravated, these stress-induced changes of aversive behaviors, (3) excitatory synaptic activity in LA projection neurons was increased on fear conditioning and returned to pre-conditioning values on fear extinction, and (4) stress resulted in sustained high levels of excitatory synaptic activity during fear extinction, whereas neuropeptide S supported the return of synaptic activity during fear extinction to levels typical of non-stressed animals. Together these results suggest that the neuropeptide S system is capable of interfering with mechanisms in the amygdala that transform stressful events into anxiety and impaired fear extinction.

  9. Altered Amygdala Development and Fear Processing in Prematurely Born Infants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cismaru, Anca Liliana; Gui, Laura; Vasung, Lana; Lejeune, Fleur; Barisnikov, Koviljka; Truttmann, Anita; Borradori Tolsa, Cristina; Hüppi, Petra S.

    2016-01-01

    Context: Prematurely born children have a high risk of developmental and behavioral disabilities. Cerebral abnormalities at term age have been clearly linked with later behavior alterations, but existing studies did not focus on the amygdala. Moreover, studies of early amygdala development after premature birth in humans are scarce. Objective: To compare amygdala volumes in very preterm infants at term equivalent age (TEA) and term born infants, and to relate premature infants’ amygdala volumes with their performance on the Laboratory Temperament Assessment Battery (Lab-TAB) fear episode at 12 months. Participants: Eighty one infants born between 2008 and 2014 at the University Hospitals of Geneva and Lausanne, taking part in longitudinal and functional imaging studies, who had undergone a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan at TEA enabling manual amygdala delineation. Outcomes: Amygdala volumes assessed by manual segmentation of MRI scans; volumes of cortical and subcortical gray matter, white matter and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) automatically segmented in 66 infants; scores for the Lab-TAB fear episode for 42 premature infants at 12 months. Results: Amygdala volumes were smaller in preterm infants at TEA than term infants (mean difference 138.03 mm3, p amygdala volumes were larger than left amygdala volumes (mean difference 36.88 mm3, p Amygdala volumes showed significant correlation with the intensity of the escape response to a fearsome toy (rs = 0.38, p = 0.013), and were larger in infants showing an escape response compared to the infants showing no escape response (mean difference 120.97 mm3, p = 0.005). Amygdala volumes were not significantly correlated with the intensity of facial fear, distress vocalizations, bodily fear and positive motor activity in the fear episode. Conclusion: Our results indicate that premature birth is associated with a reduction in amygdala volumes and white matter volumes at TEA, suggesting that altered amygdala development

  10. Prefrontal-amygdala fear networks come into focus

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    Maithe eArruda-Carvalho

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available The ability to form associations between aversive threats and their predictors is fundamental to survival. However, fear and anxiety in excess are detrimental and are a hallmark of psychiatric diseases such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD. PTSD symptomatology includes persistent and intrusive thoughts of an experienced trauma, suggesting an inability to downregulate fear when a corresponding threat has subsided. Convergent evidence from human and rodent studies supports a role for the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC-amygdala network in both PTSD and the regulation of fear memory expression. In particular, current models stipulate that the prelimbic and infralimbic subdivisions of the rodent mPFC bidirectionally regulate fear expression via differential recruitment of amygdala neuronal subpopulations. However, an array of recent studies that employ new technical approaches has fundamentally challenged this interpretation. Here we explore how a new emphasis on the contribution of inhibitory neuronal populations, subcortical structures and the passage of time is reshaping our understanding of mPFC-amygdala circuits and their control over fear.

  11. Growth hormone biases amygdala network activation after fear learning

    OpenAIRE

    Gisabella, Barbara; Farah, Shadia; Peng, Xiaoyu; Burgos-Robles, Anthony Noel; Lim, Seh Hong; Goosens, Ki Ann

    2016-01-01

    Prolonged stress exposure is a risk factor for developing posttraumatic stress disorder, a disorder characterized by the ?over-encoding' of a traumatic experience. A potential mechanism by which this occurs is through upregulation of growth hormone (GH) in the amygdala. Here we test the hypotheses that GH promotes the over-encoding of fearful memories by increasing the number of neurons activated during memory encoding and biasing the allocation of neuronal activation, one aspect of the proce...

  12. Extinction of relapsed fear does not require the basolateral amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lingawi, Nura W; Westbrook, R Frederick; Laurent, Vincent

    2017-03-01

    It is well established that extinguished fears are restored with the passage of time or a change in physical context. These fear restoration phenomena are believed to mimic the conditions under which relapse occurs in patients that have been treated for anxiety disorders by means of cue-exposure therapy. Here, we used a rodent model to extinguish relapsed fear and assess whether this new extinction prevents further relapse. We found that activity in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) is required to initially extinguish conditioned fear, but this activity was not necessary to subsequently extinguish relapsed fear. That is, extinction of spontaneously recovered or renewed fear was spared by BLA inactivation. Yet, this BLA-independent learning of extinction did not protect against further relapse: extinction of relapsed fear conducted without BLA activity was still likely to return after the passage of time or a shift in physical context. These findings have important clinical implications. They indicate that pharmacological agents with anxiolytic properties may disrupt initial cue-exposure therapy but may be useful when therapy is again needed due to relapse. However, they also suggest that these agents will not protect against further relapse, implying the need for developing drugs that target other brain regions involved in fear inhibition. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  13. Uncertainty-Dependent Extinction of Fear Memory in an Amygdala-mPFC Neural Circuit Model

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    Li, Yuzhe; Nakae, Ken; Ishii, Shin; Naoki, Honda

    2016-01-01

    Uncertainty of fear conditioning is crucial for the acquisition and extinction of fear memory. Fear memory acquired through partial pairings of a conditioned stimulus (CS) and an unconditioned stimulus (US) is more resistant to extinction than that acquired through full pairings; this effect is known as the partial reinforcement extinction effect (PREE). Although the PREE has been explained by psychological theories, the neural mechanisms underlying the PREE remain largely unclear. Here, we developed a neural circuit model based on three distinct types of neurons (fear, persistent and extinction neurons) in the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). In the model, the fear, persistent and extinction neurons encode predictions of net severity, of unconditioned stimulus (US) intensity, and of net safety, respectively. Our simulation successfully reproduces the PREE. We revealed that unpredictability of the US during extinction was represented by the combined responses of the three types of neurons, which are critical for the PREE. In addition, we extended the model to include amygdala subregions and the mPFC to address a recent finding that the ventral mPFC (vmPFC) is required for consolidating extinction memory but not for memory retrieval. Furthermore, model simulations led us to propose a novel procedure to enhance extinction learning through re-conditioning with a stronger US; strengthened fear memory up-regulates the extinction neuron, which, in turn, further inhibits the fear neuron during re-extinction. Thus, our models increased the understanding of the functional roles of the amygdala and vmPFC in the processing of uncertainty in fear conditioning and extinction. PMID:27617747

  14. Uncertainty-Dependent Extinction of Fear Memory in an Amygdala-mPFC Neural Circuit Model.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Yuzhe; Nakae, Ken; Ishii, Shin; Naoki, Honda

    2016-09-01

    Uncertainty of fear conditioning is crucial for the acquisition and extinction of fear memory. Fear memory acquired through partial pairings of a conditioned stimulus (CS) and an unconditioned stimulus (US) is more resistant to extinction than that acquired through full pairings; this effect is known as the partial reinforcement extinction effect (PREE). Although the PREE has been explained by psychological theories, the neural mechanisms underlying the PREE remain largely unclear. Here, we developed a neural circuit model based on three distinct types of neurons (fear, persistent and extinction neurons) in the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). In the model, the fear, persistent and extinction neurons encode predictions of net severity, of unconditioned stimulus (US) intensity, and of net safety, respectively. Our simulation successfully reproduces the PREE. We revealed that unpredictability of the US during extinction was represented by the combined responses of the three types of neurons, which are critical for the PREE. In addition, we extended the model to include amygdala subregions and the mPFC to address a recent finding that the ventral mPFC (vmPFC) is required for consolidating extinction memory but not for memory retrieval. Furthermore, model simulations led us to propose a novel procedure to enhance extinction learning through re-conditioning with a stronger US; strengthened fear memory up-regulates the extinction neuron, which, in turn, further inhibits the fear neuron during re-extinction. Thus, our models increased the understanding of the functional roles of the amygdala and vmPFC in the processing of uncertainty in fear conditioning and extinction.

  15. Fear extinction requires infralimbic cortex projections to the basolateral amygdala.

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    Bloodgood, Daniel W; Sugam, Jonathan A; Holmes, Andrew; Kash, Thomas L

    2018-03-06

    Fear extinction involves the formation of a new memory trace that attenuates fear responses to a conditioned aversive memory, and extinction impairments are implicated in trauma- and stress-related disorders. Previous studies in rodents have found that the infralimbic prefrontal cortex (IL) and its glutamatergic projections to the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and basomedial amygdala (BMA) instruct the formation of fear extinction memories. However, it is unclear whether these pathways are exclusively involved in extinction, or whether other major targets of the IL, such as the nucleus accumbens (NAc) also play a role. To address this outstanding issue, the current study employed a combination of electrophysiological and chemogenetic approaches in mice to interrogate the role of IL-BLA and IL-NAc pathways in extinction. Specifically, we used patch-clamp electrophysiology coupled with retrograde tracing to examine changes in neuronal activity of the IL and prelimbic cortex (PL) projections to both the BLA and NAc following fear extinction. We found that extinction produced a significant increase in the intrinsic excitability of IL-BLA projection neurons, while extinction appeared to reverse fear-induced changes in IL-NAc projection neurons. To establish a causal counterpart to these observations, we then used a pathway-specific Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADD) strategy to selectively inhibit PFC-BLA projection neurons during extinction acquisition. Using this approach, we found that DREADD-mediated inhibition of PFC-BLA neurons during extinction acquisition impaired subsequent extinction retrieval. Taken together, our findings provide further evidence for a critical contribution of the IL-BLA neural circuit to fear extinction.

  16. The Physiology of Fear: Reconceptualizing the Role of the Central Amygdala in Fear Learning

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    Keifer, Orion P.; Hurt, Robert C.; Ressler, Kerry J.

    2015-01-01

    The historically understood role of the central amygdala (CeA) in fear learning is to serve as a passive output station for processing and plasticity that occurs elsewhere in the brain. However, recent research has suggested that the CeA may play a more dynamic role in fear learning. In particular, there is growing evidence that the CeA is a site of plasticity and memory formation, and that its activity is subject to tight regulation. The following review examines the evidence for these three main roles of the CeA as they relate to fear learning. The classical role of the CeA as a routing station to fear effector brain structures like the periaqueductal gray, the lateral hypothalamus, and paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus will be briefly reviewed, but specific emphasis is placed on recent literature suggesting that the CeA 1) has an important role in the plasticity underlying fear learning, 2) is involved in regulation of other amygdala subnuclei, and 3) is itself regulated by intra- and extra-amygdalar input. Finally, we discuss the parallels of human and mouse CeA involvement in fear disorders and fear conditioning, respectively. PMID:26328883

  17. Epigenetic alterations are critical for fear memory consolidation and synaptic plasticity in the lateral amygdala.

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    Melissa S Monsey

    Full Text Available Epigenetic mechanisms, including histone acetylation and DNA methylation, have been widely implicated in hippocampal-dependent learning paradigms. Here, we have examined the role of epigenetic alterations in amygdala-dependent auditory Pavlovian fear conditioning and associated synaptic plasticity in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA in the rat. Using Western blotting, we first show that auditory fear conditioning is associated with an increase in histone H3 acetylation and DNMT3A expression in the LA, and that training-related alterations in histone acetylation and DNMT3A expression in the LA are downstream of ERK/MAPK signaling. Next, we show that intra-LA infusion of the histone deacetylase (HDAC inhibitor TSA increases H3 acetylation and enhances fear memory consolidation; that is, long-term memory (LTM is enhanced, while short-term memory (STM is unaffected. Conversely, intra-LA infusion of the DNA methyltransferase (DNMT inhibitor 5-AZA impairs fear memory consolidation. Further, intra-LA infusion of 5-AZA was observed to impair training-related increases in H3 acetylation, and pre-treatment with TSA was observed to rescue the memory consolidation deficit induced by 5-AZA. In our final series of experiments, we show that bath application of either 5-AZA or TSA to amygdala slices results in significant impairment or enhancement, respectively, of long-term potentiation (LTP at both thalamic and cortical inputs to the LA. Further, the deficit in LTP following treatment with 5-AZA was observed to be rescued at both inputs by co-application of TSA. Collectively, these findings provide strong support that histone acetylation and DNA methylation work in concert to regulate memory consolidation of auditory fear conditioning and associated synaptic plasticity in the LA.

  18. Post-Training Unilateral Amygdala Lesions Selectively Impair Contextual Fear Memories

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flavell, Charlotte R.; Lee, Jonathan L. C.

    2012-01-01

    The basolateral amygdala (BLA) and the dorsal hippocampus (dHPC) are both structures with key roles in contextual fear conditioning. During fear conditioning, it is postulated that contextual representations of the environment are formed in the hippocampus, which are then associated with foot shock in the amygdala. However, it is not known to what…

  19. Differential Effects of Cannabinoid Receptor Agonist on Social Discrimination and Contextual Fear in Amygdala and Hippocampus

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    Segev, Amir; Akirav, Irit

    2011-01-01

    We examined whether the cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN55,212-2 (WIN; 5 [mu]g/side) microinjected into the hippocampus or the amygdala would differentially affect memory processes in a neutral vs. an aversive task. In the aversive contextual fear task, WIN into the basolateral amygdala impaired fear acquisition/consolidation, but not retrieval.…

  20. Implications of newborn amygdala connectivity for fear and cognitive development at 6-months-of-age

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Alice M.; Buss, Claudia; Rasmussen, Jerod M.; Rudolph, Marc D.; Demeter, Damion V.; Gilmore, John H.; Styner, Martin; Entringer, Sonja; Wadhwa, Pathik D.; Fair, Damien A.

    2015-01-01

    The first year of life is an important period for emergence of fear in humans. While animal models have revealed developmental changes in amygdala circuitry accompanying emerging fear, human neural systems involved in early fear development remain poorly understood. To increase understanding of the neural foundations of human fear, it is important to consider parallel cognitive development, which may modulate associations between typical development of early fear and subsequent risk for fear-related psychopathology. We, therefore, examined amygdala functional connectivity with rs-fcMRI in 48 neonates (M=3.65 weeks, SD=1.72), and measured fear and cognitive development at 6-months-of-age. Stronger, positive neonatal amygdala connectivity to several regions, including bilateral anterior insula and ventral striatum, was prospectively associated with higher fear at 6-months. Stronger amygdala connectivity to ventral anterior cingulate/anterior medial prefrontal cortex predicted a specific phenotype of higher fear combined with more advanced cognitive development. Overall, findings demonstrate unique profiles of neonatal amygdala functional connectivity related to emerging fear and cognitive development, which may have implications for normative and pathological fear in later years. Consideration of infant fear in the context of cognitive development will likely contribute to a more nuanced understanding of fear, its neural bases, and its implications for future mental health. PMID:26499255

  1. Tracking the fear memory engram: discrete populations of neurons within amygdala, hypothalamus, and lateral septum are specifically activated by auditory fear conditioning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Yvette M.; Gunnersen, Jenny M.; Murphy, Mark

    2015-01-01

    Memory formation is thought to occur via enhanced synaptic connectivity between populations of neurons in the brain. However, it has been difficult to localize and identify the neurons that are directly involved in the formation of any specific memory. We have previously used fos-tau-lacZ (FTL) transgenic mice to identify discrete populations of neurons in amygdala and hypothalamus, which were specifically activated by fear conditioning to a context. Here we have examined neuronal activation due to fear conditioning to a more specific auditory cue. Discrete populations of learning-specific neurons were identified in only a small number of locations in the brain, including those previously found to be activated in amygdala and hypothalamus by context fear conditioning. These populations, each containing only a relatively small number of neurons, may be directly involved in fear learning and memory. PMID:26179231

  2. Nuclear protein phosphatase-1: an epigenetic regulator of fear memory and amygdala long-term potentiation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koshibu, K; Gräff, J; Mansuy, I M

    2011-01-26

    Complex brain diseases and neurological disorders in human generally result from the disturbance of multiple genes and signaling pathways. These disturbances may derive from mutations, deletions, translocations or rearrangements of specific gene(s). However, over the past years, it has become clear that such disturbances may also derive from alterations in the epigenome affecting several genes simultaneously. Our work recently demonstrated that epigenetic mechanisms in the adult brain are in part regulated by protein phosphatase 1 (PP1), a protein Ser/Thr phosphatase that negatively regulates hippocampus-dependent long-term memory (LTM) and synaptic plasticity. PP1 is abundant in brain structures involved in emotional processing like the amygdala, it may therefore be involved in the regulation of fear memory, a form of memory related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in human. Here, we demonstrate that PP1 is a molecular suppressor of fear memory and synaptic plasticity in the amygdala that can control chromatin remodeling in neurons. We show that the selective inhibition of the nuclear pool of PP1 in amygdala neurons significantly alters posttranslational modifications (PTMs) of histones and the expression of several memory-associated genes. These alterations correlate with enhanced fear memory, and with an increase in long-term potentiation (LTP) that is transcription-dependent. Our results underscore the importance of nuclear PP1 in the amygdala as an epigenetic regulator of emotional memory, and the relevance of protein phosphatases as potential targets for therapeutic treatment of brain disorders like PTSD. © 2011 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Acute Nicotine Enhances Spontaneous Recovery of Contextual Fear and Changes "c-fos" Early Gene Expression in Infralimbic Cortex, Hippocampus, and Amygdala

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kutlu, Munir G.; Tumolo, Jessica M.; Holliday, Erica; Garrett, Brendan; Gould, Thomas J.

    2016-01-01

    Exposure therapy, which focuses on extinguishing fear-triggering cues and contexts, is widely used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Yet, PTSD patients who received successful exposure therapy are vulnerable to relapse of fear response after a period of time, a phenomenon known as spontaneous recovery (SR). Increasing evidence…

  4. Resting-state functional connectivity between amygdala and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex following fear reminder predicts fear extinction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feng, Pan; Zheng, Yong

    2016-01-01

    Investigations of fear conditioning have elucidated the neural mechanisms of fear acquisition, consolidation and extinction, but it is not clear how the neural activation following fear reminder influence the following extinction. To address this question, we measured human brain activity following fear reminder using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging, and investigated whether the extinction effect can be predicted by resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC). Behaviorally, we found no significant differences of fear ratings between the reminder group and the no reminder group at the fear acquisition and extinction stages, but spontaneous recovery during re-extinction stage appeared only in the no reminder group. Imaging data showed that functional connectivity between ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and amygdala in the reminder group was greater than that in the no reminder group after fear memory reactivation. More importantly, the functional connectivity between amygdala and vmPFC of the reminder group after fear memory reactivation was positively correlated with extinction effect. These results suggest RSFC between amygdala and the vmPFC following fear reminder can predict fear extinction, which provide important insight into the neural mechanisms of fear memory after fear memory reactivation. PMID:27013104

  5. Amygdala-Dependent Molecular Mechanisms of the Tac2 Pathway in Fear Learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andero, Raül; Daniel, Sarah; Guo, Ji-Dong; Bruner, Robert C; Seth, Shivani; Marvar, Paul J; Rainnie, Donald; Ressler, Kerry J

    2016-10-01

    Recently we determined that activation of the tachykinin 2 (Tac2) pathway in the central amygdala (CeA) is necessary and sufficient for the modulation of fear memories. The Tac2 pathway includes the Tac2 gene, which encodes the neuropeptide neurokinin B and its corresponding receptor neurokinin 3 receptor (NK3R). In this study, using Tac2-cre and Tac2-GFP mice, we applied a combination of in vivo (optogenetics) and multiple in vitro techniques to further explore the mechanisms of action within the Tac2 pathway. In transgenic mice that express ChR2 solely in Tac2 neurons, in vivo optogenetic stimulation of CeA Tac2-expressing neurons during fear acquisition enhanced fear memory consolidation and drove action potential firing in vitro. In addition, Tac2-CeA neurons were shown to co-express striatal-enriched protein tyrosine phosphatase, which may have an important role in regulating Nk3R signaling during fear conditioning. These data extend our current understanding for the underlying mechanism(s) for the role of the Tac2 pathway in the regulation of fear memory, which may serve as a new therapeutic target in the treatment of fear-related disorders.

  6. Amygdala-Dependent Molecular Mechanisms of the Tac2 Pathway in Fear Learning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andero, Raül; Daniel, Sarah; Guo, Ji-Dong; Bruner, Robert C; Seth, Shivani; Marvar, Paul J; Rainnie, Donald; Ressler, Kerry J

    2016-01-01

    Recently we determined that activation of the tachykinin 2 (Tac2) pathway in the central amygdala (CeA) is necessary and sufficient for the modulation of fear memories. The Tac2 pathway includes the Tac2 gene, which encodes the neuropeptide neurokinin B and its corresponding receptor neurokinin 3 receptor (NK3R). In this study, using Tac2–cre and Tac2–GFP mice, we applied a combination of in vivo (optogenetics) and multiple in vitro techniques to further explore the mechanisms of action within the Tac2 pathway. In transgenic mice that express ChR2 solely in Tac2 neurons, in vivo optogenetic stimulation of CeA Tac2-expressing neurons during fear acquisition enhanced fear memory consolidation and drove action potential firing in vitro. In addition, Tac2–CeA neurons were shown to co-express striatal-enriched protein tyrosine phosphatase, which may have an important role in regulating Nk3R signaling during fear conditioning. These data extend our current understanding for the underlying mechanism(s) for the role of the Tac2 pathway in the regulation of fear memory, which may serve as a new therapeutic target in the treatment of fear-related disorders. PMID:27238620

  7. Muscarinic receptors in amygdala control trace fear conditioning.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Amber N Baysinger

    Full Text Available Intelligent behavior requires transient memory, which entails the ability to retain information over short time periods. A newly-emerging hypothesis posits that endogenous persistent firing (EPF is the neurophysiological foundation for aspects or types of transient memory. EPF is enabled by the activation of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs and is triggered by suprathreshold stimulation. EPF occurs in several brain regions, including the lateral amygdala (LA. The present study examined the role of amygdalar mAChRs in trace fear conditioning, a paradigm that requires transient memory. If mAChR-dependent EPF selectively supports transient memory, then blocking amygdalar mAChRs should impair trace conditioning, while sparing delay and context conditioning, which presumably do not rely upon transient memory. To test the EPF hypothesis, LA was bilaterally infused, prior to trace or delay conditioning, with either a mAChR antagonist (scopolamine or saline. Computerized video analysis quantified the amount of freezing elicited by the cue and by the training context. Scopolamine infusion profoundly reduced freezing in the trace conditioning group but had no significant effect on delay or context conditioning. This pattern of results was uniquely anticipated by the EPF hypothesis. The present findings are discussed in terms of a systems-level theory of how EPF in LA and several other brain regions might help support trace fear conditioning.

  8. Muscarinic receptors in amygdala control trace fear conditioning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baysinger, Amber N; Kent, Brianne A; Brown, Thomas H

    2012-01-01

    Intelligent behavior requires transient memory, which entails the ability to retain information over short time periods. A newly-emerging hypothesis posits that endogenous persistent firing (EPF) is the neurophysiological foundation for aspects or types of transient memory. EPF is enabled by the activation of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs) and is triggered by suprathreshold stimulation. EPF occurs in several brain regions, including the lateral amygdala (LA). The present study examined the role of amygdalar mAChRs in trace fear conditioning, a paradigm that requires transient memory. If mAChR-dependent EPF selectively supports transient memory, then blocking amygdalar mAChRs should impair trace conditioning, while sparing delay and context conditioning, which presumably do not rely upon transient memory. To test the EPF hypothesis, LA was bilaterally infused, prior to trace or delay conditioning, with either a mAChR antagonist (scopolamine) or saline. Computerized video analysis quantified the amount of freezing elicited by the cue and by the training context. Scopolamine infusion profoundly reduced freezing in the trace conditioning group but had no significant effect on delay or context conditioning. This pattern of results was uniquely anticipated by the EPF hypothesis. The present findings are discussed in terms of a systems-level theory of how EPF in LA and several other brain regions might help support trace fear conditioning.

  9. Input from the Medial Geniculate Nucleus Modulates Amygdala Encoding of Fear Memory Discrimination

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferrara, Nicole C.; Cullen, Patrick K.; Pullins, Shane P.; Rotondo, Elena K.; Helmstetter, Fred J.

    2017-01-01

    Generalization of fear can involve abnormal responding to cues that signal safety and is common in people diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Differential auditory fear conditioning can be used as a tool to measure changes in fear discrimination and generalization. Most prior work in this area has focused on elevated amygdala activity…

  10. Involvement of CRFR1 in the Basolateral Amygdala in the Immediate Fear Extinction Deficit.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hollis, Fiona; Sevelinges, Yannick; Grosse, Jocelyn; Zanoletti, Olivia; Sandi, Carmen

    2016-01-01

    Several animal and clinical studies have highlighted the ineffectiveness of fear extinction sessions delivered shortly after trauma exposure. This phenomenon, termed the immediate extinction deficit, refers to situations in which extinction programs applied shortly after fear conditioning may result in the reduction of fear behaviors (in rodents, frequently measured as freezing responses to the conditioned cue) during extinction training, but failure to consolidate this reduction in the long term. The molecular mechanisms driving this immediate extinction resistance remain unclear. Here we present evidence for the involvement of the corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) system in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) in male Wistar rats. Intra-BLA microinfusion of the CRFR 1 antagonist NBI30775 enhances extinction recall, whereas administration of the CRF agonist CRF 6-33 before delayed extinction disrupts recall of extinction. We link the immediate fear extinction deficit with dephosphorylation of GluA1 glutamate receptors at Ser 845 and enhanced activity of the protein phosphatase calcineurin in the BLA. Their reversal after treatment with the CRFR 1 antagonist indicates their dependence on CRFR 1 actions. These findings can have important implications for the improvement of therapeutic approaches to trauma, as well as furthering our understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying fear-related disorders.

  11. Attentional bias towards and away from fearful faces is modulated by developmental amygdala damage.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pishnamazi, Morteza; Tafakhori, Abbas; Loloee, Sogol; Modabbernia, Amirhossein; Aghamollaii, Vajiheh; Bahrami, Bahador; Winston, Joel S

    2016-08-01

    The amygdala is believed to play a major role in orienting attention towards threat-related stimuli. However, behavioral studies on amygdala-damaged patients have given inconsistent results-variously reporting decreased, persisted, and increased attention towards threat. Here we aimed to characterize the impact of developmental amygdala damage on emotion perception and the nature and time-course of spatial attentional bias towards fearful faces. We investigated SF, a 14-year-old with selective bilateral amygdala damage due to Urbach-Wiethe disease (UWD), and ten healthy controls. Participants completed a fear sensitivity questionnaire, facial expression classification task, and dot-probe task with fearful or neutral faces for spatial cueing. Three cue durations were used to assess the time-course of attentional bias. SF expressed significantly lower fear sensitivity, and showed a selective impairment in classifying fearful facial expressions. Despite this impairment in fear recognition, very brief (100 msec) fearful cues could orient SF's spatial attention. In healthy controls, the attentional bias emerged later and persisted longer. SF's attentional bias was due solely to facilitated engagement to fear, while controls showed the typical phenomenon of difficulty in disengaging from fear. Our study is the first to demonstrate the separable effects of amygdala damage on engagement and disengagement of spatial attention. The findings indicate that multiple mechanisms contribute in biasing attention towards fear, which vary in their timing and dependence on amygdala integrity. It seems that the amygdala is not essential for rapid attention to emotion, but probably has a role in assessment of biological relevance. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  12. Mechanisms Contributing to the Induction and Storage of Pavlovian Fear Memories in the Lateral Amygdala

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Dongbeom; Pare, Denis; Nair, Satish S.

    2013-01-01

    The relative contributions of plasticity in the amygdala vs. its afferent pathways to conditioned fear remain controversial. Some believe that thalamic and cortical neurons transmitting information about the conditioned stimulus (CS) to the lateral amygdala (LA) serve a relay function. Others maintain that thalamic and/or cortical plasticity is…

  13. Increases in extracellular zinc in the amygdala in acquisition and recall of fear experience and their roles in response to fear.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Takeda, A; Tamano, H; Imano, S; Oku, N

    2010-07-14

    The amygdala is enriched with histochemically reactive zinc, which is dynamically coupled with neuronal activity and co-released with glutamate. The dynamics of the zinc in the amygdala was analyzed in rats, which were subjected to inescapable stress, to understand the role of the zinc in emotional behavior. In the communication box, two rats were subjected to foot shock stress and anxiety stress experiencing emotional responses of foot-shocked rat under amygdalar perfusion. Extracellular zinc was increased by foot shock stress, while decreased by anxiety stress, suggesting that the differential changes in extracellular zinc are associated with emotional behavior. In rats conditioned with foot shock, furthermore, extracellular zinc was increased again in the recall of fear (foot shock) in the same box without foot shock. When this recall was performed under perfusion with CaEDTA, a membrane-impermeable zinc chelator, to examine the role of the increase in extracellular zinc, the time of freezing behavior was more increased, suggesting that zinc released in the lateral amygdala during the recall of fear participates in freezing behavior. To examine the role of the increase in extracellular zinc during fear conditioning, fear conditioning was also performed under perfusion with CaEDTA. The time of freezing behavior was more increased in the contextual recall, suggesting that zinc released in the lateral nucleus during fear conditioning also participates in freezing behavior in the recall. In brain slice experiment, CaEDTA enhanced presynaptic activity (exocytosis) in the lateral nucleus after activation of the entorhinal cortex. The present paper demonstrates that zinc released in the lateral amygdala may participate in emotional behavior in response to fear. Copyright 2010 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Fluoxetine pretreatment promotes neuronal survival and maturation after auditory fear conditioning in the rat amygdala.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lizhu Jiang

    Full Text Available The amygdala is a critical brain region for auditory fear conditioning, which is a stressful condition for experimental rats. Adult neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus (DG of the hippocampus, known to be sensitive to behavioral stress and treatment of the antidepressant fluoxetine (FLX, is involved in the formation of hippocampus-dependent memories. Here, we investigated whether neurogenesis also occurs in the amygdala and contributes to auditory fear memory. In rats showing persistent auditory fear memory following fear conditioning, we found that the survival of new-born cells and the number of new-born cells that differentiated into mature neurons labeled by BrdU and NeuN decreased in the amygdala, but the number of cells that developed into astrocytes labeled by BrdU and GFAP increased. Chronic pretreatment with FLX partially rescued the reduction in neurogenesis in the amygdala and slightly suppressed the maintenance of the long-lasting auditory fear memory 30 days after the fear conditioning. The present results suggest that adult neurogenesis in the amygdala is sensitive to antidepressant treatment and may weaken long-lasting auditory fear memory.

  15. Amygdala-dependent fear is regulated by Oprl1 in mice and humans with PTSD.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andero, Raül; Brothers, Shaun P; Jovanovic, Tanja; Chen, Yen T; Salah-Uddin, Hasib; Cameron, Michael; Bannister, Thomas D; Almli, Lynn; Stevens, Jennifer S; Bradley, Bekh; Binder, Elisabeth B; Wahlestedt, Claes; Ressler, Kerry J

    2013-06-05

    The amygdala-dependent molecular mechanisms driving the onset and persistence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are poorly understood. Recent observational studies have suggested that opioid analgesia in the aftermath of trauma may decrease the development of PTSD. Using a mouse model of dysregulated fear, we found altered expression within the amygdala of the Oprl1 gene (opioid receptor-like 1), which encodes the amygdala nociceptin (NOP)/orphanin FQ receptor (NOP-R). Systemic and central amygdala infusion of SR-8993, a new highly selective NOP-R agonist, impaired fear memory consolidation. In humans, a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) within OPRL1 is associated with a self-reported history of childhood trauma and PTSD symptoms (n = 1847) after a traumatic event. This SNP is also associated with physiological startle measures of fear discrimination and magnetic resonance imaging analysis of amygdala-insula functional connectivity. Together, these data suggest that Oprl1 is associated with amygdala function, fear processing, and PTSD symptoms. Further, our data suggest that activation of the Oprl1/NOP receptor may interfere with fear memory consolidation, with implications for prevention of PTSD after a traumatic event.

  16. Conscious and unconscious processing of fear after right amygdala damage : A single case ERP-study

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Heutink, J.H.C.; Brouwer, W.H.; de Jong, B.M.; Bouma, J.M.

    2011-01-01

    In this study, we describe a 58-year-old male patient (FZ) with a right-amygdala lesion after temporal lobe infarction. FZ is unable to recognize fearful facial expressions. Instead, he consistently misinterprets expressions of fear for expressions of surprise. Employing EEG/ERP measures, we

  17. Optogenetic Activation of Presynaptic Inputs in Lateral Amygdala Forms Associative Fear Memory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kwon, Jeong-Tae; Nakajima, Ryuichi; Hyung-Su, Kim; Jeong, Yire; Augustine, George J.; Han, Jin-Hee

    2014-01-01

    In Pavlovian fear conditioning, the lateral amygdala (LA) has been highlighted as a key brain site for association between sensory cues and aversive stimuli. However, learning-related changes are also found in upstream sensory regions such as thalamus and cortex. To isolate the essential neural circuit components for fear memory association, we…

  18. The Amygdala Is Critical for Trace, Delay, and Contextual Fear Conditioning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kochli, Daniel E.; Thompson, Elaine C.; Fricke, Elizabeth A.; Postle, Abagail F.; Quinn, Jennifer J.

    2015-01-01

    Numerous investigations have definitively shown amygdalar involvement in delay and contextual fear conditioning. However, much less is known about amygdala contributions to trace fear conditioning, and what little evidence exists is conflicting as noted in previous studies. This discrepancy may result from selective targeting of individual nuclei…

  19. A Discrete Population of Neurons in the Lateral Amygdala Is Specifically Activated by Contextual Fear Conditioning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Yvette M.; Murphy, Mark

    2009-01-01

    There is no clear identification of the neurons involved in fear conditioning in the amygdala. To search for these neurons, we have used a genetic approach, the "fos-tau-lacZ" (FTL) mouse, to map functionally activated expression in neurons following contextual fear conditioning. We have identified a discrete population of neurons in the lateral…

  20. Amygdala reactivity to fearful faces correlates positively with impulsive aggression

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    da Cunha-Bang, Sofi; Fisher, Patrick M; Hjordt, Liv V

    2018-01-01

    Facial expressions robustly activate the amygdala, a brain structure playing a critical role in aggression. Whereas previous studies suggest that amygdala reactivity is related to various measures of impulsive aggression, we here estimate a composite measure of impulsive aggression and evaluate...

  1. ASIC-dependent LTP at multiple glutamatergic synapses in amygdala network is required for fear memory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chiang, Po-Han; Chien, Ta-Chun; Chen, Chih-Cheng; Yanagawa, Yuchio; Lien, Cheng-Chang

    2015-05-19

    Genetic variants in the human ortholog of acid-sensing ion channel-1a subunit (ASIC1a) gene are associated with panic disorder and amygdala dysfunction. Both fear learning and activity-induced long-term potentiation (LTP) of cortico-basolateral amygdala (BLA) synapses are impaired in ASIC1a-null mice, suggesting a critical role of ASICs in fear memory formation. In this study, we found that ASICs were differentially expressed within the amygdala neuronal population, and the extent of LTP at various glutamatergic synapses correlated with the level of ASIC expression in postsynaptic neurons. Importantly, selective deletion of ASIC1a in GABAergic cells, including amygdala output neurons, eliminated LTP in these cells and reduced fear learning to the same extent as that found when ASIC1a was selectively abolished in BLA glutamatergic neurons. Thus, fear learning requires ASIC-dependent LTP at multiple amygdala synapses, including both cortico-BLA input synapses and intra-amygdala synapses on output neurons.

  2. Pattern Analyses Reveal Separate Experience-Based Fear Memories in the Human Right Amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Braem, Senne; De Houwer, Jan; Demanet, Jelle; Yuen, Kenneth S L; Kalisch, Raffael; Brass, Marcel

    2017-08-23

    Learning fear via the experience of contingencies between a conditioned stimulus (CS) and an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US) is often assumed to be fundamentally different from learning fear via instructions. An open question is whether fear-related brain areas respond differently to experienced CS-US contingencies than to merely instructed CS-US contingencies. Here, we contrasted two experimental conditions where subjects were instructed to expect the same CS-US contingencies while only one condition was characterized by prior experience with the CS-US contingency. Using multivoxel pattern analysis of fMRI data, we found CS-related neural activation patterns in the right amygdala (but not in other fear-related regions) that dissociated between whether a CS-US contingency had been instructed and experienced versus merely instructed. A second experiment further corroborated this finding by showing a category-independent neural response to instructed and experienced, but not merely instructed, CS presentations in the human right amygdala. Together, these findings are in line with previous studies showing that verbal fear instructions have a strong impact on both brain and behavior. However, even in the face of fear instructions, the human right amygdala still shows a separable neural pattern response to experience-based fear contingencies. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT In our study, we addressed a fundamental problem of the science of human fear learning and memory, namely whether fear learning via experience in humans relies on a neural pathway that can be separated from fear learning via verbal information. Using two new procedures and recent advances in the analysis of brain imaging data, we localized purely experience-based fear processing and memory in the right amygdala, thereby making a direct link between human and animal research. Copyright © 2017 the authors 0270-6474/17/378116-15$15.00/0.

  3. Reversible Inactivation of the Higher Order Auditory Cortex during Fear Memory Consolidation Prevents Memory-Related Activity in the Basolateral Amygdala during Remote Memory Retrieval.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cambiaghi, Marco; Renna, Annamaria; Milano, Luisella; Sacchetti, Benedetto

    2017-01-01

    Recent findings have shown that the auditory cortex, and specifically the higher order Te2 area, is necessary for the consolidation of long-term fearful memories and that it interacts with the amygdala during the retrieval of long-term fearful memories. Here, we tested whether the reversible blockade of Te2 during memory consolidation may affect the activity changes occurring in the amygdala during the retrieval of fearful memories. To address this issue, we blocked Te2 in a reversible manner during memory consolidation processes. After 4 weeks, we assessed the activity of Te2 and individual nuclei of the amygdala during the retrieval of long-term memories. Rats in which Te2 was inactivated upon memory encoding showed a decreased freezing and failed to show Te2-to-basolateral amygdala (BLA) synchrony during memory retrieval. In addition, the expression of the immediate early gene zif268 in the lateral, basal and central amygdala nuclei did not show memory-related enhancement. As all sites were intact upon memory retrieval, we propose that the auditory cortex represents a key node in the consolidation of fear memories and it is essential for amygdala nuclei to support memory retrieval process.

  4. Administration of riluzole to the basolateral amygdala facilitates fear extinction in rats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sugiyama, Azusa; Yamada, Misa; Saitoh, Akiyoshi; Oka, Jun-Ichiro; Yamada, Mitsuhiko

    2018-01-15

    A general understanding exists that inhibition of glutamatergic neurotransmission in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) impairs fear extinction in rodents. Surprisingly, we recently found that systemic administration of riluzole, which has been shown to inhibit the glutamatergic system, facilitates extinction learning in rats with a preconditioned contextual fear response. However, the mechanisms underlying this paradoxical effect of riluzole remain unclear. In this study, adult male Wistar rats were bilaterally cannulated in the BLA to examine the effects of intra-BLA administration of riluzole. We also compared the effects of riluzole with those of d-cycloserine, a partial agonist at the glycine-binding region of the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. In this study, intra-BLA administration of either riluzole or d-cycloserine facilitated extinction learning of contextual fear in conditioned rats. In addition, both riluzole and d-cycloserine enhanced the acquisition of recognition memory in the same model. However, intra-BLA injections of riluzole, but not d-cycloserine, had a potent anxiolytic-like effect when investigated using an elevated plus-maze test. Our findings suggest that riluzole-induced facilitation of extinction learning in rats with a preconditioned contextual fear reflects an indirect effect, resulting from the intra-BLA administration of the drug, and might not be directly related to inhibition of glutamatergic signaling. Further research is needed to clarify the mechanisms underlying the paradoxical effect of riluzole on fear extinction learning observed in this study. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  5. Activation of NF-κB in basolateral amygdala is required for memory reconsolidation in auditory fear conditioning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Si, Jijian; Yang, Jianli; Xue, Lifen; Yang, Chenhao; Luo, Yixiao; Shi, Haishui; Lu, Lin

    2012-01-01

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by acute and chronic changes in the stress response, manifested as conditioned fear memory. Previously formed memories that are susceptible to disruption immediately after retrieval undergo a protein synthesis-dependent process to become persistent, termed reconsolidation, a process that is regulated by many distinct molecular mechanisms that control gene expression. Increasing evidence supports the participation of the transcription factor NF-κB in the different phases of memory. Here, we demonstrate that inhibition of NF-κB in the basolateral amygdala (BLA), but not central nucleus of the amygdala, after memory reactivation impairs the retention of amygdala-dependent auditory fear conditioning (AFC). We used two independent pharmacological strategies to disrupt the reconsolidation of AFC. Bilateral intra-BLA infusion of sulfasalazine, an inhibitor of IκB kinase that activates NF-κB, and bilateral intra-BLA infusion of SN50, a direct inhibitor of the NF-κB DNA-binding complex, immediately after retrieval disrupted the reconsolidation of AFC. We also found that systemic pretreatment with sodium butyrate, a histone deacetylase inhibitor that enhances histone acetylation, in the amygdala rescued the disruption of reconsolidation induced by NF-κB inhibition in the BLA. These findings indicate that NF-κB activity in the BLA is required for memory reconsolidation in AFC, suggesting that NF-κB might be a potential pharmacotherapy target for posttraumatic stress disorder.

  6. Activation of NF-κB in basolateral amygdala is required for memory reconsolidation in auditory fear conditioning.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jijian Si

    Full Text Available Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD is characterized by acute and chronic changes in the stress response, manifested as conditioned fear memory. Previously formed memories that are susceptible to disruption immediately after retrieval undergo a protein synthesis-dependent process to become persistent, termed reconsolidation, a process that is regulated by many distinct molecular mechanisms that control gene expression. Increasing evidence supports the participation of the transcription factor NF-κB in the different phases of memory. Here, we demonstrate that inhibition of NF-κB in the basolateral amygdala (BLA, but not central nucleus of the amygdala, after memory reactivation impairs the retention of amygdala-dependent auditory fear conditioning (AFC. We used two independent pharmacological strategies to disrupt the reconsolidation of AFC. Bilateral intra-BLA infusion of sulfasalazine, an inhibitor of IκB kinase that activates NF-κB, and bilateral intra-BLA infusion of SN50, a direct inhibitor of the NF-κB DNA-binding complex, immediately after retrieval disrupted the reconsolidation of AFC. We also found that systemic pretreatment with sodium butyrate, a histone deacetylase inhibitor that enhances histone acetylation, in the amygdala rescued the disruption of reconsolidation induced by NF-κB inhibition in the BLA. These findings indicate that NF-κB activity in the BLA is required for memory reconsolidation in AFC, suggesting that NF-κB might be a potential pharmacotherapy target for posttraumatic stress disorder.

  7. Fear processing and social networking in the absence of a functional amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Becker, Benjamin; Mihov, Yoan; Scheele, Dirk; Kendrick, Keith M; Feinstein, Justin S; Matusch, Andreas; Aydin, Merve; Reich, Harald; Urbach, Horst; Oros-Peusquens, Ana-Maria; Shah, Nadim J; Kunz, Wolfram S; Schlaepfer, Thomas E; Zilles, Karl; Maier, Wolfgang; Hurlemann, René

    2012-07-01

    The human amygdala plays a crucial role in processing social signals, such as face expressions, particularly fearful ones, and facilitates responses to them in face-sensitive cortical regions. This contributes to social competence and individual amygdala size correlates with that of social networks. While rare patients with focal bilateral amygdala lesion typically show impaired recognition of fearful faces, this deficit is variable, and an intriguing possibility is that other brain regions can compensate to support fear and social signal processing. To investigate the brain's functional compensation of selective bilateral amygdala damage, we performed a series of behavioral, psychophysiological, and functional magnetic resonance imaging experiments in two adult female monozygotic twins (patient 1 and patient 2) with equivalent, extensive bilateral amygdala pathology as a sequela of lipoid proteinosis due to Urbach-Wiethe disease. Patient 1, but not patient 2, showed preserved recognition of fearful faces, intact modulation of acoustic startle responses by fear-eliciting scenes, and a normal-sized social network. Functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed that patient 1 showed potentiated responses to fearful faces in her left premotor cortex face area and bilaterally in the inferior parietal lobule. The premotor cortex face area and inferior parietal lobule are both implicated in the cortical mirror-neuron system, which mediates learning of observed actions and may thereby promote both imitation and empathy. Taken together, our findings suggest that despite the pre-eminent role of the amygdala in processing social information, the cortical mirror-neuron system may sometimes adaptively compensate for its pathology. Copyright © 2012 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  8. Human Neural Stem Cells Overexpressing Choline Acetyltransferase Restore Unconditioned Fear in Rats with Amygdala Injury

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kyungha Shin

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Amygdala is involved in the fear memory that recognizes certain environmental cues predicting threatening events. Manipulation of neurotransmission within the amygdala affects the expression of conditioned and unconditioned emotional memories such as fear freezing behaviour. We previously demonstrated that F3.ChAT human neural stem cells (NSCs overexpressing choline acetyltransferase (ChAT improve cognitive function of Alzheimer’s disease model rats with hippocampal or cholinergic nerve injuries by increasing acetylcholine (ACh level. In the present study, we examined the effect of F3.ChAT cells on the deficit of unconditioned fear freezing. Rats given N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA in their amygdala 2 weeks prior to cat odor exposure displayed very short resting (freezing time compared to normal animals. NMDA induced neuronal degeneration in the amygdala, leading to a decreased ACh concentration in cerebrospinal fluid. However, intracerebroventricular transplantation of F3.ChAT cells attenuated amygdala lesions 4 weeks after transplantation. The transplanted cells were found in the NMDA-injury sites and produced ChAT protein. In addition, F3.ChAT-receiving rats recuperated freezing time staying remote from the cat odor source, according to the recovery of brain ACh concentration. The results indicate that human NSCs overexpressing ChAT may facilitate retrieval of unconditioned fear memory by increasing ACh level.

  9. Sleep deprivation affects fear memory consolidation: bi-stable amygdala connectivity with insula and ventromedial prefrontal cortex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feng, Pan; Becker, Benjamin; Zheng, Yong; Feng, Tingyong

    2018-02-01

    Sleep plays an important role for successful fear memory consolidation. Growing evidence suggests that sleep disturbances might contribute to the development and the maintenance of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a disorders characterized by dysregulations in fear learning mechanisms, as well as exaggerated arousal and salience processing. Against this background, the present study examined the effects of sleep deprivation (SD) on the acquisition of fear and the subsequent neural consolidation. To this end, the present study assessed fear acquisition and associated changes in fMRI-based amygdala-functional connectivity following 24 h of SD. Relative to non-sleep deprived controls, SD subjects demonstrated increased fear ratings and skin conductance responses (SCR) during fear acquisition. During fear consolidation SD inhibited increased amygdala-ventromendial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) connectivity and concomitantly increased changes in amygdala-insula connectivity. Importantly, whereas in controls fear indices during acquisition were negatively associated with amygdala-vmPFC connectivity during consolidation, fear indices were positively associated with amygdala-insula coupling following SD. Together the findings suggest that SD may interfere with vmPFC control of the amygdala and increase bottom-up arousal signaling in the amygdala-insula pathway during fear consolidation, which might mediate the negative impact of sleep disturbances on PSTD symptomatology.

  10. Abnormal fear conditioning and amygdala processing in an animal model of autism

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Markram, Kamila; Rinaldi, Tania; La Mendola, Deborah

    2008-01-01

    A core feature of autism spectrum disorders is the impairment in social interactions. Among other brain regions, a deficit in amygdala processing has been suggested to underlie this impairment, but whether the amygdala is processing fear abnormally in autism, is yet not clear. We used the valproic......-treated animals displayed several symptoms common to autism, among them impaired social interactions and increased repetitive behaviors. Furthermore, VPA-treated rats were more anxious and exhibited abnormally high and longer lasting fear memories, which were overgeneralized and harder to extinguish...

  11. Equal pain – Unequal fear response: Enhanced susceptibility of tooth pain to fear conditioning

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael Lukas Meier

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available Experimental fear conditioning in humans is widely used as a model to investigate the neural basis of fear learning and to unravel the pathogenesis of anxiety disorders. It has been observed that fear conditioning depends on stimulus salience and subject vulnerability to fear. It is further known that the prevalence of dental-related fear and phobia is exceedingly high in the population. Dental phobia is unique as no other body part is associated with a specific phobia. Therefore, we hypothesized that painful dental stimuli exhibit an enhanced susceptibility to fear conditioning when comparing to equal perceived stimuli applied to other body sites. Differential susceptibility to pain-related fear was investigated by analyzing responses to an unconditioned stimulus (UCS applied to the right maxillary canine (UCS-c versus the right tibia (UCS-t. For fear conditioning, UCS-c and USC-t consisted of painful electric stimuli, carefully matched at both application sites for equal intensity and quality perception. UCSs were paired to simple geometrical forms which served as conditioned stimuli (CS+. Unpaired CS+ were presented for eliciting and analyzing conditioned fear responses. Outcome parameter were 1 skin conductance changes and 2 time-dependent brain activity (BOLD responses in fear-related brain regions such as the amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex, insula, thalamus, orbitofrontal cortex and medial prefrontal cortex.A preferential susceptibility of dental pain to fear conditioning was observed, reflected by heightened skin conductance responses and enhanced time-dependent brain activity (BOLD responses in the fear network. For the first time, this study demonstrates fear-related neurobiological mechanisms that point towards a superior conditionability of tooth pain. Beside traumatic dental experiences our results offer novel evidence that might explain the high prevalence of dental-related fears in the population.

  12. NMDA Receptor- and ERK-Dependent Histone Methylation Changes in the Lateral Amygdala Bidirectionally Regulate Fear Memory Formation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gupta-Agarwal, Swati; Jarome, Timothy J.; Fernandez, Jordan; Lubin, Farah D.

    2014-01-01

    It is well established that fear memory formation requires de novo gene transcription in the amygdala. We provide evidence that epigenetic mechanisms in the form of histone lysine methylation in the lateral amygdala (LA) are regulated by NMDA receptor (NMDAR) signaling and involved in gene transcription changes necessary for fear memory…

  13. Fear Conditioning Downregulates Rac1 Activity in the Basolateral Amygdala Astrocytes to Facilitate the Formation of Fear Memory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liao, Zhaohui; Tao, Yezheng; Guo, Xiaomu; Cheng, Deqin; Wang, Feifei; Liu, Xing; Ma, Lan

    2017-01-01

    Astrocytes are well known to scale synaptic structural and functional plasticity, while the role in learning and memory, such as conditioned fear memory, is poorly elucidated. Here, using pharmacological approach, we find that fluorocitrate (FC) significantly inhibits the acquisition of fear memory, suggesting that astrocyte activity is required for fear memory formation. We further demonstrate that fear conditioning downregulates astrocytic Rac1 activity in basolateral amygdala (BLA) in mice and promotes astrocyte structural plasticity. Ablation of astrocytic Rac1 in BLA promotes fear memory acquisition, while overexpression or constitutive activation of astrocytic Rac1 attenuates fear memory acquisition. Furthermore, temporal activation of Rac1 by photoactivatable Rac1 (Rac1-PA) induces structural alterations in astrocytes and in vivo activation of Rac1 in BLA astrocytes during fear conditioning attenuates the formation of fear memory. Taken together, our study demonstrates that fear conditioning-induced suppression of BLA astrocytic Rac1 activity, associated with astrocyte structural plasticity, is required for the formation of conditioned fear memory.

  14. A model of amygdala-hippocampal-prefrontal interaction in fear conditioning and extinction in animals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moustafa, Ahmed A.; Gilbertson, Mark W.; Orr, Scott P.; Herzallah, Mohammad M.; Servatius, Richard. J.; Myers, Catherine E.

    2012-01-01

    Empirical research has shown that the amygdala, hippocampus, and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) are involved in fear conditioning. However, the functional contribution of each brain area and the nature of their interactions are not clearly understood. Here, we extend existing neural network models of the functional roles of the hippocampus in classical conditioning to include interactions with the amygdala and prefrontal cortex. We apply the model to fear conditioning, in which animals learn physiological (e.g. heart rate) and behavioral (e.g. freezing) responses to stimuli that have been paired with a highly aversive event (e.g. electrical shock). The key feature of our model is that learning of these conditioned responses in the central nucleus of the amygdala is modulated by two separate processes, one from basolateral amygdala and signaling a positive prediction error, and one from the vmPFC, via the intercalated cells of the amygdala, and signaling a negative prediction error. In addition, we propose that hippocampal input to both vmPFC and basolateral amygdala is essential for contextual modulation of fear acquisition and extinction. The model is sufficient to account for a body of data from various animal fear conditioning paradigms, including acquisition, extinction, reacquisition, and context specificity effects. Consistent with studies on lesioned animals, our model shows that damage to the vmPFC impairs extinction, while damage to the hippocampus impairs extinction in a different context (e.g., a different conditioning chamber from that used in initial training in animal experiments). We also discuss model limitations and predictions, including the effects of number of training trials on fear conditioning. PMID:23164732

  15. Amygdala EphB2 Signaling Regulates Glutamatergic Neuron Maturation and Innate Fear.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhu, Xiao-Na; Liu, Xian-Dong; Zhuang, Hanyi; Henkemeyer, Mark; Yang, Jing-Yu; Xu, Nan-Jie

    2016-09-28

    The amygdala serves as emotional center to mediate innate fear behaviors that are reflected through neuronal responses to environmental aversive cues. However, the molecular mechanism underlying the initial neuron responses is poorly understood. In this study, we monitored the innate defensive responses to aversive stimuli of either elevated plus maze or predator odor in juvenile mice and found that glutamatergic neurons were activated in amygdala. Loss of EphB2, a receptor tyrosine kinase expressed in amygdala neurons, suppressed the reactions and led to defects in spine morphogenesis and fear behaviors. We further found a coupling of spinogenesis with these threat cues induced neuron activation in developing amygdala that was controlled by EphB2. A constitutively active form of EphB2 was sufficient to rescue the behavioral and morphological defects caused by ablation of ephrin-B3, a brain-enriched ligand to EphB2. These data suggest that kinase-dependent EphB2 intracellular signaling plays a major role for innate fear responses during the critical developing period, in which spinogenesis in amygdala glutamatergic neurons was involved. Generation of innate fear responses to threat as an evolutionally conserved brain feature relies on development of functional neural circuit in amygdala, but the molecular mechanism remains largely unknown. We here identify that EphB2 receptor tyrosine kinase, which is specifically expressed in glutamatergic neurons, is required for the innate fear responses in the neonatal brain. We further reveal that EphB2 mediates coordination of spinogenesis and neuron activation in amygdala during the critical period for the innate fear. EphB2 catalytic activity plays a major role for the behavior upon EphB-ephrin-B3 binding and transnucleus neuronal connections. Our work thus indicates an essential synaptic molecular signaling within amygdala that controls synapse development and helps bring about innate fear emotions in the postnatal

  16. Ensemble coding of context-dependent fear memory in the amygdala

    OpenAIRE

    Orsini, Caitlin A.; Yan, Chen; Maren, Stephen

    2013-01-01

    After fear conditioning, presenting the conditioned stimulus (CS) alone yields a context-specific extinction memory; fear is suppressed in the extinction context, but renews in any other context. The context-dependence of extinction is mediated by a brain circuit consisting of the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex and amygdala. In the present work, we sought to determine at what level of this circuit context-dependent representations of the CS emerge. To explore this question, we used cellula...

  17. Hippocampal dendritic spines remodeling and fear memory are modulated by GABAergic signaling within the basolateral amygdala complex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giachero, Marcelo; Calfa, Gaston D; Molina, Victor A

    2015-05-01

    GABAergic signaling in the basolateral amygdala complex (BLA) plays a crucial role on the modulation of the stress influence on fear memory. Moreover, accumulating evidence suggests that the dorsal hippocampus (DH) is a downstream target of BLA neurons in contextual fear. Given that hippocampal structural plasticity is proposed to provide a substrate for the storage of long-term memories, the main aim of this study is to evaluate the modulation of GABA neurotransmission in the BLA on spine density in the DH following stress on contextual fear learning. The present findings show that prior stressful experience promoted contextual fear memory and enhanced spine density in the DH. Intra-BLA infusion of midazolam, a positive modulator of GABAa sites, prevented the facilitating influence of stress on both fear retention and hippocampal dendritic spine remodeling. Similarly to the stress-induced effects, the blockade of GABAa sites within the BLA ameliorated fear memory emergence and induced structural remodeling in the DH. These findings suggest that GABAergic transmission in BLA modulates the structural changes in DH associated to the influence of stress on fear memory. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  18. Testosterone administration in women increases amygdala responses to fearful and happy faces

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bos, P.A.; Honk, J. van; Ramsey, N.F.; Stein, D.J.; Hermans, E.J.

    2013-01-01

    Data from both rodents and humans show that testosterone reduces fear. This effect is hypothesized to result from testosterone's down regulating effects on the amygdala, a key region in the detection of threat and instigator of fight-or-flight behavior. However, neuroimaging studies employing

  19. Context Fear Learning Specifically Activates Distinct Populations of Neurons in Amygdala and Hypothalamus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trogrlic, Lidia; Wilson, Yvette M.; Newman, Andrew G.; Murphy, Mark

    2011-01-01

    The identity and distribution of neurons that are involved in any learning or memory event is not known. In previous studies, we identified a discrete population of neurons in the lateral amygdala that show learning-specific activation of a c-"fos"-regulated transgene following context fear conditioning. Here, we have extended these studies to…

  20. Differential Involvement of Amygdala and Cortical NMDA Receptors Activation upon Encoding in Odor Fear Memory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hegoburu, Chloé; Parrot, Sandrine; Ferreira, Guilaume; Mouly, Anne-Marie

    2014-01-01

    Although the basolateral amygdala (BLA) plays a crucial role for the acquisition of fear memories, sensory cortices are involved in their long-term storage in rats. However, the time course of their respective involvement has received little investigation. Here we assessed the role of the glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the…

  1. The Amygdala Is Involved in Affective Priming Effect for Fearful Faces

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, J.; Cao, Z.; Xu, X.; Chen, G.

    2012-01-01

    The object of this study was to investigate whether the amygdala is involved in affective priming effect after stimuli are encoded unconsciously and consciously. During the encoding phase, each masked face (fearful or neutral) was presented to participants six times for 17 ms each, using a backward masking paradigm. During the retrieval phase,…

  2. A Model of Amygdala-Hippocampal-Prefrontal Interaction in Fear Conditioning and Extinction in Animals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moustafa, Ahmed A.; Gilbertson, Mark W.; Orr, Scott P.; Herzallah, Mohammad M.; Servatius, Richard J.; Myers, Catherine E.

    2013-01-01

    Empirical research has shown that the amygdala, hippocampus, and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) are involved in fear conditioning. However, the functional contribution of each brain area and the nature of their interactions are not clearly understood. Here, we extend existing neural network models of the functional roles of the hippocampus…

  3. Impairment of fear memory consolidation in maternally stressed male mouse offspring: evidence for nongenomic glucocorticoid action on the amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Eun Jeong; Son, Gi Hoon; Chung, Sooyoung; Lee, Sukwon; Kim, Jeongyeon; Choi, Sukwoo; Kim, Kyungjin

    2011-05-11

    The environment in early life elicits profound effects on fetal brain development that can extend into adulthood. However, the long-lasting impact of maternal stress on emotional learning remains largely unknown. Here, we focus on amygdala-related learning processes in maternally stressed mice. In these mice, fear memory consolidation and certain related signaling cascades were significantly impaired, though innate fear, fear memory acquisition, and synaptic NMDA receptor expression in the amygdala were unaltered. In accordance with these findings, maintenance of long-term potentiation (LTP) at amygdala synapses, but not its induction, was significantly impaired in the maternally stressed animals. Interestingly, amygdala glucocorticoid receptor expression was reduced in the maternally stressed mice, and administration of glucocorticoids (GCs) immediately after fear conditioning and LTP induction restored memory consolidation and LTP maintenance, respectively, suggesting that a weakening of GC signaling was responsible for the observed impairment. Furthermore, microinfusion of a membrane-impermeable form of GC (BSA-conjugated GC) into the amygdala mimicked the restorative effects of GC, indicating that a nongenomic activity of GC mediates the restorative effect. Together, these findings suggest that prenatal stress induces long-term dysregulation of nongenomic GC action in the amygdala of adult offspring, resulting in the impairment of fear memory consolidation. Since modulation of amygdala activity is known to alter the consolidation of emotionally influenced memories allocated in other brain regions, the nongenomic action of GC on the amygdala shown herein may also participate in the amygdala-dependent modulation of memory consolidation.

  4. Input from the medial geniculate nucleus modulates amygdala encoding of fear memory discrimination.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferrara, Nicole C; Cullen, Patrick K; Pullins, Shane P; Rotondo, Elena K; Helmstetter, Fred J

    2017-09-01

    Generalization of fear can involve abnormal responding to cues that signal safety and is common in people diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Differential auditory fear conditioning can be used as a tool to measure changes in fear discrimination and generalization. Most prior work in this area has focused on elevated amygdala activity as a critical component underlying generalization. The amygdala receives input from auditory cortex as well as the medial geniculate nucleus (MgN) of the thalamus, and these synapses undergo plastic changes in response to fear conditioning and are major contributors to the formation of memory related to both safe and threatening cues. The requirement for MgN protein synthesis during auditory discrimination and generalization, as well as the role of MgN plasticity in amygdala encoding of discrimination or generalization, have not been directly tested. GluR1 and GluR2 containing AMPA receptors are found at synapses throughout the amygdala and their expression is persistently up-regulated after learning. Some of these receptors are postsynaptic to terminals from MgN neurons. We found that protein synthesis-dependent plasticity in MgN is necessary for elevated freezing to both aversive and safe auditory cues, and that this is accompanied by changes in the expressions of AMPA receptor and synaptic scaffolding proteins (e.g., SHANK) at amygdala synapses. This work contributes to understanding the neural mechanisms underlying increased fear to safety signals after stress. © 2017 Ferrara et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

  5. Calcitonin gene-related peptide erases the fear memory and facilitates long-term potentiation in the central nucleus of the amygdala in rats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Xin; Zhang, Jie-Ting; Liu, Jue; Yang, Si; Chen, Tao; Chen, Jian-Guo; Wang, Fang

    2015-11-01

    Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a 37 amino acid neuropeptide, which plays a critical role in the central nervous system. CGRP binds to G protein-coupled receptors, including CGRP1, which couples positively to adenylyl cyclase (AC) and protein kinase A (PKA) activation. CGRP and CGRP1 receptors are enriched in central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA), the main part of the amygdala, which regulates conditioned fear memories. Here, we reported the importance of CGRP and CGRP1 receptor for synaptic plasticity in the CeA and the extinction of fear memory in rats. Our electrophysiological and behavioral in vitro and in vivo results showed exogenous application of CGRP induced an immediate and lasting long-term potentiation in the basolateral nucleus of amygdala-CeA pathway, but not in the lateral nucleus of amygdala-CeA pathway, while bilateral intra-CeA infusion CGRP (0, 5, 13 and 21 μM/side) dose dependently enhanced fear memory extinction. The effects were blocked by CGRP1 receptor antagonist (CGRP8-37 ), N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors antagonist MK801 and PKA inhibitor H89. These results demonstrate that CGRP can lead to long-term potentiation of basolateral nucleus of amygdala-CeA pathway through a PKA-dependent postsynaptic mechanism that involved N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors and enhance the extinction of fear memory in rats. Together, the results strongly support a pivotal role of CGRP in the synaptic plasticity of CeA and extinction of fear memory. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) plays an essential role in synaptic plasticity in the amygdala and fear memory. We found that CGRP-induced chemical long-term potentiation (LTP) in a dose-dependent way in the BLA-CeA (basolateral and central nucleus of amygdala, respectively) pathway and enhanced fear memory extinction in rats through a protein kinase A (PKA)-dependent postsynaptic mechanism that involved NMDA receptors. These results support a pivotal role of CGRP in amygdala. © 2015 International

  6. Sensory-specific associations stored in the lateral amygdala allow for selective alteration of fear memories.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Díaz-Mataix, Lorenzo; Debiec, Jacek; LeDoux, Joseph E; Doyère, Valérie

    2011-06-29

    Consolidated long-term fear memories become labile and can be disrupted after being reactivated by the presentation of the unconditioned stimulus (US). Whether this is due to an alteration of the conditioned stimulus (CS) representation in the lateral amygdala (LA) is not known. Here, we show in rats that fear memory reactivation through presentation of the aversive US, like CS presentation, triggers a process which, when disrupted, results in a selective depotentiation of CS-evoked neural responses in the LA in correlation with a selective suppression of CS-elicited fear memory. Thus, an aversive US triggers the reconsolidation of its associated predictor representation in LA. This new finding suggests that sensory-specific associations are stored in the lateral amygdala, allowing for their selective alteration by either element of the association.

  7. Disruption of Memory Reconsolidation Erases a Fear Memory Trace in the Human Amygdala: An 18-Month Follow-Up.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Johannes Björkstrand

    Full Text Available Fear memories can be attenuated by reactivation followed by disrupted reconsolidation. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging we recently showed that reactivation and reconsolidation of a conditioned fear memory trace in the basolateral amygdala predicts subsequent fear expression over two days, while reactivation followed by disrupted reconsolidation abolishes the memory trace and suppresses fear. In this follow-up study we demonstrate that the behavioral effect persists over 18 months reflected in superior reacquisition after undisrupted, as compared to disrupted reconsolidation, and that neural activity in the basolateral amygdala representing the initial fear memory predicts return of fear. We conclude that disrupting reconsolidation have long lasting behavioral effects and may permanently erase the fear component of an amygdala-dependent memory.

  8. Activation of ERK2 in basolateral amygdala underlies the promoting influence of stress on fear memory and anxiety: influence of midazolam pretreatment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maldonado, N M; Espejo, P J; Martijena, I D; Molina, V A

    2014-02-01

    Exposure to emotionally arousing experiences elicits a robust and persistent memory and enhances anxiety. The amygdala complex plays a key role in stress-induced emotional processing and in the fear memory formation. It is well known that ERK activation in the amygdala is a prerequisite for fear memory consolidation. Moreover, stress elevates p-ERK2 levels in several areas of the brain stress circuitry. Therefore, given that the ERK1/2 cascade is activated following stress and that the role of this cascade is critical in the formation of fear memory, the present study investigated the potential involvement of p-ERK2 in amygdala subnuclei in the promoting influence of stress on fear memory formation and on anxiety-like behavior. A robust and persistent ERK2 activation was noted in the Basolateral amygdala (BLA), which was evident at 5min after restraint and lasted at least one day after the stressful experience. Midazolam, a short-acting benzodiazepine ligand, administered prior to stress prevented the increase in the p-ERK2 level in the BLA. Pretreatment with intra-BLA infusion of U0126 (MEK inhibitor), but not into the adjacent central nucleus of the amygdala, attenuated the stress-induced promoting influence on fear memory formation. Finally, U0126 intra-BLA infusion prevented the enhancement of anxiety-like behavior in stressed animals. These findings suggest that the selective ERK2 activation in BLA following stress exposure is an important mechanism for the occurrence of the promoting influence of stress on fear memory and on anxiety-like behavior. © 2013 Published by Elsevier B.V. and ECNP.

  9. The central extended amygdala in fear and anxiety: Closing the gap between mechanistic and neuroimaging research.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fox, Andrew S; Shackman, Alexander J

    2017-11-30

    Anxiety disorders impose a staggering burden on public health, underscoring the need to develop a deeper understanding of the distributed neural circuits underlying extreme fear and anxiety. Recent work highlights the importance of the central extended amygdala, including the central nucleus of the amygdala (Ce) and neighboring bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BST). Anatomical data indicate that the Ce and BST form a tightly interconnected unit, where different kinds of threat-relevant information can be integrated to assemble states of fear and anxiety. Neuroimaging studies show that the Ce and BST are engaged by a broad spectrum of potentially threat-relevant cues. Mechanistic work demonstrates that the Ce and BST are critically involved in organizing defensive responses to a wide range of threats. Studies in rodents have begun to reveal the specific molecules, cells, and microcircuits within the central extended amygdala that underlie signs of fear and anxiety, but the relevance of these tantalizing discoveries to human experience and disease remains unclear. Using a combination of focal perturbations and whole-brain imaging, a new generation of nonhuman primate studies is beginning to close this gap. This work opens the door to discovering the mechanisms underlying neuroimaging measures linked to pathological fear and anxiety, to understanding how the Ce and BST interact with one another and with distal brain regions to govern defensive responses to threat, and to developing improved intervention strategies. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  10. A ghrelin-growth hormone axis drives stress-induced vulnerability to enhanced fear.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, R M; Burgos-Robles, A; Liu, E; Correia, S S; Goosens, K A

    2014-12-01

    Hormones in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis mediate many of the bodily responses to stressors, yet there is no clear relationship between the levels of these hormones and stress-associated mental illnesses such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Therefore, other hormones are likely to be involved in this effect of stress. Here we used a rodent model of PTSD in which rats repeatedly exposed to a stressor display heightened fear learning following auditory Pavlovian fear conditioning. Our results show that stress-related increases in circulating ghrelin, a peptide hormone, are necessary and sufficient for stress-associated vulnerability to exacerbated fear learning and these actions of ghrelin occur in the amygdala. Importantly, these actions are also independent of the classic HPA stress axis. Repeated systemic administration of a ghrelin receptor agonist enhanced fear memory but did not increase either corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) or corticosterone. Repeated intraamygdala infusion of a ghrelin receptor agonist produced a similar enhancement of fear memory. Ghrelin receptor antagonism during repeated stress abolished stress-related enhancement of fear memory without blunting stress-induced corticosterone release. We also examined links between ghrelin and growth hormone (GH), a major downstream effector of the ghrelin receptor. GH protein was upregulated in the amygdala following chronic stress, and its release from amygdala neurons was enhanced by ghrelin receptor stimulation. Virus-mediated overexpression of GH in the amygdala was also sufficient to increase fear. Finally, virus-mediated overexpression of a GH receptor antagonist was sufficient to block the fear-enhancing effects of repeated ghrelin receptor stimulation. Thus, ghrelin requires GH in the amygdala to exert fear-enhancing effects. These results suggest that ghrelin mediates a novel branch of the stress response and highlight a previously unrecognized role for ghrelin and

  11. Encoding of Discriminative Fear Memory by Input-Specific LTP in the Amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Woong Bin; Cho, Jun-Hyeong

    2017-08-30

    In auditory fear conditioning, experimental subjects learn to associate an auditory conditioned stimulus (CS) with an aversive unconditioned stimulus. With sufficient training, animals fear conditioned to an auditory CS show fear response to the CS, but not to irrelevant auditory stimuli. Although long-term potentiation (LTP) in the lateral amygdala (LA) plays an essential role in auditory fear conditioning, it is unknown whether LTP is induced selectively in the neural pathways conveying specific CS information to the LA in discriminative fear learning. Here, we show that postsynaptically expressed LTP is induced selectively in the CS-specific auditory pathways to the LA in a mouse model of auditory discriminative fear conditioning. Moreover, optogenetically induced depotentiation of the CS-specific auditory pathways to the LA suppressed conditioned fear responses to the CS. Our results suggest that input-specific LTP in the LA contributes to fear memory specificity, enabling adaptive fear responses only to the relevant sensory cue. VIDEO ABSTRACT. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  12. Early experience of a novel-environment in isolation primes a fearful phenotype characterized by persistent amygdala activation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Daskalakis, Nikolaos P; Diamantopoulou, Anastasia; Claessens, Sanne E F; Remmers, Elisa; Tjälve, Marika; Oitzl, Melly S; Champagne, Danielle L; de Kloet, E Ronald

    2014-01-01

    Prolonged maternal separation (MS) activates the neonate's hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis causing elevated basal and stress-induced corticosterone levels that may initiate amygdala-dependent fear learning. Here we test the hypothesis that the adult fearful phenotype is programmed by the pup's stressful experience during prolonged MS rather than by prolonged maternal absence per se. For this purpose, Wistar rat pups were exposed, on postnatal-day (pnd) 3, to: (i) repeated-MS in home-environment (HOME-SEP), 8h-MS daily for three days with the pups remaining together in the home-cage; (ii) repeated-MS in a novel-environment (NOVEL-SEP), with the same separation procedure, but now the pups were individually housed in a novel-environment during the 8h dam's absence; (iii) repeated handling, which consisted of daily brief (15 min instead of 8h) MS in the home-altogether or in a novel-environment individually (HOME-HAN and NOVEL-HAN, respectively); (iv) no-separation/no-handling (NON-SEP/NON-HAN) control condition, in which pups were left undisturbed in their home-cage. Compared to HOME-SEP rats, the NOVEL-SEP rats showed one day after the last MS enhanced stress-induced amygdala c-Fos expression and ACTH-release, despite of reduced adrenal corticosterone secretion. The higher amygdala c-Fos expression, ACTH-release and reduced corticosterone output observed postnatally, persisted into adulthood of the NOVEL-SEP animals. Behaviorally, NOVEL-SEP juvenile rats displayed deficits in social play, had intact spatial memory in the peri-pubertal period and showed more contextual fear memory compared to HOME-SEP in adulthood. Finally, NOVEL-HAN, compared to HOME-HAN, displayed increased stress-induced corticosterone output, no deficits in social play and reduced contextual fear. In conclusion, programming of an adult fearful phenotype linked to amygdala priming develops if pups are repeatedly isolated from peers in a novel-environment, while away from the dam for a prolonged

  13. Hippocampal Processing of Ambiguity Enhances Fear Memory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amadi, Ugwechi; Lim, Seh Hong; Liu, Elizabeth; Baratta, Michael V; Goosens, Ki A

    2017-02-01

    Despite the ubiquitous use of Pavlovian fear conditioning as a model for fear learning, the highly predictable conditions used in the laboratory do not resemble real-world conditions, in which dangerous situations can lead to unpleasant outcomes in unpredictable ways. In the current experiments, we varied the timing of aversive events after predictive cues in rodents and discovered that temporal ambiguity of aversive events greatly enhances fear. During fear conditioning with unpredictably timed aversive events, pharmacological inactivation of the dorsal hippocampus or optogenetic silencing of cornu ammonis 1 cells during aversive negative prediction errors prevented this enhancement of fear without affecting fear learning for predictable events. Dorsal hippocampal inactivation also prevented ambiguity-related enhancement of fear during auditory fear conditioning under a partial-reinforcement schedule. These results reveal that information about the timing and occurrence of aversive events is rapidly acquired and that unexpectedly timed or omitted aversive events generate hippocampal signals to enhance fear learning.

  14. Sex-specific neuroanatomical correlates of fear expression in prefrontal-amygdala circuits.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gruene, Tina M; Roberts, Elian; Thomas, Virginia; Ronzio, Ashley; Shansky, Rebecca M

    2015-08-01

    The neural projections from the infralimbic region of the prefrontal cortex to the amygdala are important for the maintenance of conditioned fear extinction. Neurons in this pathway exhibit a unique pattern of structural plasticity that is sex-dependent, but the relationship between the morphologic characteristics of these neurons and successful extinction in male and female subjects is unknown. Using classic cued fear conditioning and an extinction paradigm in large cohorts of male and female rats, we identified subpopulations of both sexes that exhibited high (HF) or low (LF) levels of freezing on an extinction retrieval test, representing failed or successful extinction maintenance, respectively. We combined retrograde tracing with fluorescent intracellular microinjections to perform three-dimensional reconstructions of infralimbic neurons that project to the basolateral amygdala in these groups. The HF and LF male rats exhibited neuroanatomical distinctions that were not observed in HF or LF female rats. A retrospective analysis of behavior during fear conditioning and extinction revealed that despite no overall sex differences in freezing behavior, HF and LF phenotypes emerged in male rats during extinction and in female rats during fear conditioning, which does not involve infralimbic-basolateral amygdala neurons. Our results suggest that the neural processes underlying successful or failed extinction maintenance may be sex-specific. These findings are relevant not only to future basic research on sex differences in fear conditioning and extinction but also to exposure-based clinical therapies, which are similar in premise to fear extinction and which are primarily used to treat disorders that are more common in women than in men. Copyright © 2015 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  15. Grin1 receptor deletion within CRF neurons enhances fear memory.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Georgette Gafford

    Full Text Available Corticotropin releasing factor (CRF dysregulation is implicated in mood and anxiety disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD. CRF is expressed in areas engaged in fear and anxiety processing including the central amygdala (CeA. Complicating our ability to study the contribution of CRF-containing neurons to fear and anxiety behavior is the wide variety of cell types in which CRF is expressed. To manipulate specific subpopulations of CRF containing neurons, our lab has developed a mouse with a Cre recombinase gene driven by a CRF promoter (CRFp3.0Cre (Martin et al., 2010. In these studies, mice that have the gene that encodes NR1 (Grin1 flanked by loxP sites (floxed were crossed with our previously developed CRFp3.0Cre mouse to selectively disrupt Grin1 within CRF containing neurons (Cre+/fGrin1+. We find that disruption of Grin1 in CRF neurons did not affect baseline levels of anxiety, locomotion, pain sensitivity or exploration of a novel object. However, baseline expression of Grin1 was decreased in Cre+/fGrin1+ mice as measured by RTPCR. Cre+/fGrin1+ mice showed enhanced auditory fear acquisition and retention without showing any significant effect on fear extinction. We measured Gria1, the gene that encodes AMPAR1 and the CREB activator Creb1 in the amygdala of Cre+/fGrin1+ mice after fear conditioning. Both Gria1 and Creb1 were enhanced in the amygdala after training. To determine if the Grin1-expressing CRF neurons within the CeA are responsible for the enhancement of fear memory in adults, we infused a lentivirus with Cre driven by a CRF promoter (LV pCRF-Cre/fGrin1+ into the CeA of floxed Grin1 mice. Cre driven deletion of Grin1 specifically within CRF expressing cells in the CeA also resulted in enhanced fear memory acquisition and retention. Altogether, these findings suggest that selective disruption of Grin1 within CeA CRF neurons strongly enhances fear memory.

  16. Long-term potentiation in the amygdala: a cellular mechanism of fear learning and memory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sigurdsson, Torfi; Doyère, Valérie; Cain, Christopher K; LeDoux, Joseph E

    2007-01-01

    Much of the research on long-term potentiation (LTP) is motivated by the question of whether changes in synaptic strength similar to LTP underlie learning and memory. Here we discuss findings from studies on fear conditioning, a form of associative learning whose neural circuitry is relatively well understood, that may be particularly suited for addressing this question. We first review the evidence suggesting that fear conditioning is mediated by changes in synaptic strength at sensory inputs to the lateral nucleus of the amygdala. We then discuss several outstanding questions that will be important for future research on the role of synaptic plasticity in fear learning. The results gained from these studies may shed light not only on fear conditioning, but may also help unravel more general cellular mechanisms of learning and memory.

  17. The CB1 receptor antagonist AM251 impairs reconsolidation of pavlovian fear memory in the rat basolateral amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ratano, Patrizia; Everitt, Barry J; Milton, Amy L

    2014-10-01

    We have investigated the requirement for signaling at CB1 receptors in the reconsolidation of a previously consolidated auditory fear memory, by infusing the CB1 receptor antagonist AM251, or the FAAH inhibitor URB597, directly into the basolateral amygdala (BLA) in conjunction with memory reactivation. AM251 disrupted memory restabilization, but only when administered after reactivation. URB597 produced a small, transient enhancement of memory restabilization when administered after reactivation. The amnestic effect of AM251 was rescued by coadministration of the GABAA receptor antagonist bicuculline at reactivation, indicating that the disruption of reconsolidation was mediated by altered GABAergic transmission in the BLA. These data show that the endocannabinoid system in the BLA is an important modulator of fear memory reconsolidation and that its effects on memory are mediated by an interaction with the GABAergic system. Thus, targeting the endocannabinoid system may have therapeutic potential to reduce the impact of maladaptive memories in neuropsychiatric disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder.

  18. Molecular Mechanisms of Stress-Induced Increases in Fear Memory Consolidation within the Amygdala

    OpenAIRE

    Aubry, Antonio V.; Serrano, Peter A.; Burghardt, Nesha S.

    2016-01-01

    Stress can significantly impact brain function and increase the risk for developing various psychiatric disorders. Many of the brain regions that are implicated in psychiatric disorders and are vulnerable to the effects of stress are also involved in mediating emotional learning. Emotional learning has been a subject of intense investigation for the past 30 years, with the vast majority of studies focusing on the amygdala and its role in associative fear learning. However, the mechanisms by w...

  19. Molecular Mechanisms of Stress-Induced Increases in Fear Memory Consolidation Within the Amygdala

    OpenAIRE

    Antonio Aubry; Antonio Aubry; Peter Serrano; Peter Serrano; Nesha Burghardt; Nesha Burghardt

    2016-01-01

    Stress can significantly impact brain function and increase the risk for developing various psychiatric disorders. Many of the brain regions that are implicated in psychiatric disorders and are vulnerable to the effects of stress are also involved in mediating emotional learning. Emotional learning has been a subject of intense investigation for the past 30 years, with the vast majority of studies focusing on the amygdala and its role in associative fear learning. However, the mechanisms by...

  20. Rethinking the fear circuit: the central nucleus of the amygdala is required for the acquisition, consolidation, and expression of Pavlovian fear conditioning

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Wilensky, Ann E; Schafe, Glenn E; Kristensen, Morten Pilgaard

    2006-01-01

    of the amygdala (CE), which serves as the principal output nucleus for the expression of conditioned fear responses. In the present study, we reexamined the roles of LA and CE. Specifically, we asked whether CE, like LA, might also be involved in fear learning and memory consolidation. Using functional...... inactivation methods, we first show that CE is involved not only in the expression but also the acquisition of fear conditioning. Next, we show that inhibition of protein synthesis in CE after training impairs fear memory consolidation. These findings indicate that CE is not only involved in fear expression...... but, like LA, is also involved in the learning and consolidation of pavlovian fear conditioning....

  1. Prefrontal-Amygdala Connectivity and State Anxiety during Fear Extinction Recall in Adolescents

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Despina E. Ganella

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available While deficits in fear extinction recall have been suggested to underlie vulnerability to anxiety disorders in adolescents, the neurobiology of these deficits remain underexplored. Here we investigate the functional connectivity (FC of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC and dorsolateral PFC (dlPFC underlying extinction recall in healthy adolescents, and assess associations between FC and state/trait anxiety. Adolescents (17 and adults (14, for comparison completed a fear-learning paradigm involving extinction and extinction recall during a functional magnetic resonance imaging session, in which skin conductance response (SCR was recorded. Psychophysiological interaction analyses revealed that during extinction recall there was significant negative connectivity between the vmPFC and amygdala in adults, but not adolescents. vmPFC-amygdala connectivity was positively correlated with SCR. Adolescents showed significant negative FC between the dlPFC and the left and right hippocampus, and the amygdala, which was positively correlated with state anxiety. Recall was also associated with negative connectivity between the dlPFC and thalamus, posterior cingulate cortex, fusiform gyrus, and pallidum in adolescents. These results demonstrate that fear extinction recall in healthy adolescents is associated with FC between prefrontal and limbic brain regions, and suggest that alterations in connectivity may be associated with vulnerability to anxiety in adolescence.

  2. GABAergic Synapses at the Axon Initial Segment of Basolateral Amygdala Projection Neurons Modulate Fear Extinction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saha, Rinki; Knapp, Stephanie; Chakraborty, Darpan; Horovitz, Omer; Albrecht, Anne; Kriebel, Martin; Kaphzan, Hanoch; Ehrlich, Ingrid; Volkmer, Hansjürgen; Richter-Levin, Gal

    2017-01-01

    Inhibitory synaptic transmission in the amygdala has a pivotal role in fear learning and its extinction. However, the local circuits formed by GABAergic inhibitory interneurons within the amygdala and their detailed function in shaping these behaviors are not well understood. Here we used lentiviral-mediated knockdown of the cell adhesion molecule neurofascin in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) to specifically remove inhibitory synapses at the axon initial segment (AIS) of BLA projection neurons. Quantitative analysis of GABAergic synapse markers and measurement of miniature inhibitory postsynaptic currents in BLA projection neurons after neurofascin knockdown ex vivo confirmed the loss of GABAergic input. We then studied the impact of this manipulation on anxiety-like behavior and auditory cued fear conditioning and its extinction as BLA related behavioral paradigms, as well as on long-term potentiation (LTP) in the ventral subiculum-BLA pathway in vivo. BLA knockdown of neurofascin impaired ventral subiculum-BLA-LTP. While this manipulation did not affect anxiety-like behavior and fear memory acquisition and consolidation, it specifically impaired extinction. Our findings indicate that modification of inhibitory synapses at the AIS of BLA projection neurons is sufficient to selectively impair extinction behavior. A better understanding of the role of distinct GABAergic synapses may provide novel and more specific targets for therapeutic interventions in extinction-based therapies.

  3. Fear extinction deficits following acute stress associate with increased spine density and dendritic retraction in basolateral amygdala neurons.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maroun, Mouna; Ioannides, Pericles J; Bergman, Krista L; Kavushansky, Alexandra; Holmes, Andrew; Wellman, Cara L

    2013-08-01

    Stress-sensitive psychopathologies such as post-traumatic stress disorder are characterized by deficits in fear extinction and dysfunction of corticolimbic circuits mediating extinction. Chronic stress facilitates fear conditioning, impairs extinction, and produces dendritic proliferation in the basolateral amygdala (BLA), a critical site of plasticity for extinction. Acute stress impairs extinction, alters plasticity in the medial prefrontal cortex-to-BLA circuit, and causes dendritic retraction in the medial prefrontal cortex. Here, we examined extinction learning and basolateral amygdala pyramidal neuron morphology in adult male rats following a single elevated platform stress. Acute stress impaired extinction acquisition and memory, and produced dendritic retraction and increased mushroom spine density in basolateral amygdala neurons in the right hemisphere. Unexpectedly, irrespective of stress, rats that underwent fear and extinction testing showed basolateral amygdala dendritic retraction and altered spine density relative to non-conditioned rats, particularly in the left hemisphere. Thus, extinction deficits produced by acute stress are associated with increased spine density and dendritic retraction in basolateral amygdala pyramidal neurons. Furthermore, the finding that conditioning and extinction as such was sufficient to alter basolateral amygdala morphology and spine density illustrates the sensitivity of basolateral amygdala morphology to behavioral manipulation. These findings may have implications for elucidating the role of the amygdala in the pathophysiology of stress-related disorders. Published 2013. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

  4. Fear extinction deficits following acute stress associate with increased spine density and dendritic retraction in basolateral amygdala neurons

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maroun, Mouna; Ioannides, Pericles J.; Bergman, Krista L.; Kavushansky, Alexandra; Holmes, Andrew; Wellman, Cara L.

    2013-01-01

    Stress-sensitive psychopathologies such as post-traumatic stress disorder are characterized by deficits in fear extinction and dysfunction of corticolimbic circuits mediating extinction. Chronic stress facilitates fear conditioning, impairs extinction, and produces dendritic proliferation in the basolateral amygdala (BLA), a critical site of plasticity for extinction. Acute stress impairs extinction, alters plasticity in the medial prefrontal cortex-to-BLA circuit, and causes dendritic retraction in the medial prefrontal cortex. Here, we examined extinction learning and basolateral amygdala pyramidal neuron morphology in adult male rats following a single elevated platform stress. Acute stress impaired extinction acquisition and memory, and produced dendritic retraction and increased mushroom spine density in basolateral amygdala neurons in the right hemisphere. Unexpectedly, irrespective of stress, rats that underwent fear and extinction testing showed basolateral amygdala dendritic retraction and altered spine density relative to non-conditioned rats, particularly in the left hemisphere. Thus, extinction deficits produced by acute stress are associated with increased spine density and dendritic retraction in basolateral amygdala pyramidal neurons. Furthermore, the finding that conditioning and extinction as such was sufficient to alter basolateral amygdala morphology and spine density illustrates the sensitivity of basolateral amygdala morphology to behavioral manipulation. These findings may have implications for elucidating the role of the amygdala in the pathophysiology of stress-related disorders. PMID:23714419

  5. Facilitation of Contextual Fear Extinction by Orexin-1 Receptor Antagonism Is Associated with the Activation of Specific Amygdala Cell Subpopulations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flores, África; Herry, Cyril; Maldonado, Rafael; Berrendero, Fernando

    2017-08-01

    Orexins are hypothalamic neuropeptides recently involved in the regulation of emotional memory. The basolateral amygdala, an area orchestrating fear memory processes, appears to be modulated by orexin transmission during fear extinction. However, the neuronal types within the basolateral amygdala involved in this modulation remain to be elucidated. We used retrograde tracing combined with immunofluorescence techniques in mice to identify basolateral amygdala projection neurons and cell subpopulations in this brain region influenced by orexin transmission during contextual fear extinction consolidation. Treatment with the orexin-1 receptor antagonist SB334867 increased the activity of basolateral amygdala neurons projecting to infralimbic medial prefrontal cortex during fear extinction. GABAergic interneurons expressing calbindin, but not parvalbumin, were also activated by orexin-1 receptor antagonism in the basolateral amygdala. These data identify neuronal circuits and cell populations of the amygdala associated with the facilitation of fear extinction consolidation induced by the orexin-1 receptor antagonist SB334867. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of CINP.

  6. β-Adrenergic enhancement of neuronal excitability in the lateral amygdala is developmentally gated.

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    Fink, Ann E; LeDoux, Joseph E

    2018-05-01

    Noradrenergic signaling in the amygdala is important for processing threats and other emotionally salient stimuli, and β-adrenergic receptor activation is known to enhance neuronal spiking in the lateral amygdala (LA) of juvenile animals. Nevertheless, intracellular recordings have not yet been conducted to determine the effect of β-adrenergic receptor activation on spike properties in the adult LA, despite the potential significance of developmental changes between adolescence and adulthood. Here we demonstrate that the β-adrenergic agonist isoproterenol (15 μM) enhances spike frequency in dorsal LA principal neurons of juvenile male C57BL/6 mice and fails to do so in strain- and sex-matched adults. Furthermore, we find that the age-dependent effect of isoproterenol on spike frequency is occluded by the GABA A receptor blocker picrotoxin (75 μM), suggesting that β-adrenergic receptors downregulate tonic inhibition specifically in juvenile animals. These findings indicate a significant shift during adolescence in the cellular mechanisms of β-adrenergic modulation in the amygdala. NEW & NOTEWORTHY β-Adrenergic receptors (β-ARs) in amygdala are important in processing emotionally salient stimuli. Most cellular recordings have examined juvenile animals, while behavioral data are often obtained from adults. We replicate findings showing that β-ARs enhance spiking of principal cells in the lateral amygdala of juveniles, but we fail to find this in adults. These findings have notable scientific and clinical implications regarding the noradrenergic modulation of threat processing, alterations of which underlie fear and anxiety disorders.

  7. Heightened amygdala responsiveness in s-carriers of 5-HTTLPR genetic polymorphism reflects enhanced cortical rather than subcortical inputs: An MEG study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luo, Qian; Holroyd, Tom; Mitchell, Derek; Yu, Henry; Cheng, Xi; Hodgkinson, Colin; Chen, Gang; McCaffrey, Daniel; Goldman, David; Blair, R James

    2017-09-01

    Short allele carriers (S-carriers) of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) show an elevated amygdala response to emotional stimuli relative to long allele carriers (LL-homozygous). However, whether this reflects increased responsiveness of the amygdala generally or interactions between the amygdala and the specific input systems remains unknown. It is argued that the amygdala receives input via a quick subcortical and a slower cortical pathway. If the elevated amygdala response in S-carriers reflects generally increased amygdala responding, then group differences in amygdala should be seen across the amygdala response time course. However, if the difference is a secondary consequence of enhanced amygdala-cortical interactions, then group differences might only be present later in the amygdala response. Using magnetoencephalography (MEG), we found an enhanced amygdala response to fearful expressions starting 40-50 ms poststimulus. However, group differences in the amygdala were only seen 190-200 ms poststimulus, preceded by increased superior temporal sulcus (STS) responses in S-carriers from 130 to 140 ms poststimulus. An enhanced amygdala response to angry expressions started 260-270 ms poststimulus with group differences in the amygdala starting at 160-170 ms poststimulus onset, preceded by increased STS responses in S-carriers from 150 to 160 ms poststimulus. These suggest that enhanced amygdala responses in S-carriers might reflect enhanced STS-amygdala connectivity in S-carriers. Hum Brain Mapp 38:4313-4321, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  8. Fear potentiated startle increases phospholipase D (PLD) expression/activity and PLD-linked metabotropic glutamate receptor mediated post-tetanic potentiation in rat amygdala.

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    Krishnan, Balaji; Scott, Michael T; Pollandt, Sebastian; Schroeder, Bradley; Kurosky, Alexander; Shinnick-Gallagher, Patricia

    2016-02-01

    Long-term memory (LTM) of fear stores activity dependent modifications that include changes in amygdala signaling. Previously, we identified an enhanced probability of release of glutamate mediated signaling to be important in rat fear potentiated startle (FPS), a well-established translational behavioral measure of fear. Here, we investigated short- and long-term synaptic plasticity in FPS involving metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) and associated downstream proteomic changes in the thalamic-lateral amygdala pathway (Th-LA). Aldolase A, an inhibitor of phospholipase D (PLD), expression was reduced, concurrent with significantly elevated PLD protein expression. Blocking the PLD-mGluR signaling significantly reduced PLD activity. While transmitter release probability increased in FPS, PLD-mGluR agonist and antagonist actions were occluded. In the unpaired group (UNP), blocking the PLD-mGluR increased while activating the receptor decreased transmitter release probability, consistent with decreased synaptic potentials during tetanic stimulation. FPS Post-tetanic potentiation (PTP) immediately following long-term potentiation (LTP) induction was significantly increased. Blocking PLD-mGluR signaling prevented PTP and reduced cumulative PTP probability but not LTP maintenance in both groups. These effects are similar to those mediated through mGluR7, which is co-immunoprecipitated with PLD in FPS. Lastly, blocking mGluR-PLD in the rat amygdala was sufficient to prevent behavioral expression of fear memory. Thus, our study in the Th-LA pathway provides the first evidence for PLD as an important target of mGluR signaling in amygdala fear-associated memory. Importantly, the PLD-mGluR provides a novel therapeutic target for treating maladaptive fear memories in posttraumatic stress and anxiety disorders. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  9. Ensemble coding of context-dependent fear memory in the amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Orsini, Caitlin A; Yan, Chen; Maren, Stephen

    2013-01-01

    After fear conditioning, presenting the conditioned stimulus (CS) alone yields a context-specific extinction memory; fear is suppressed in the extinction context, but renews in any other context. The context-dependence of extinction is mediated by a brain circuit consisting of the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex (PFC) and amygdala. In the present work, we sought to determine at what level of this circuit context-dependent representations of the CS emerge. To explore this question, we used cellular compartment analysis of temporal activity by fluorescent in situ hybridization (catFISH). This method exploits the intracellular expression profile of the immediate early gene (IEG), Arc, to visualize neuronal activation patterns to two different behavioral experiences. Rats were fear conditioned in one context and extinguished in another; 24 h later, they were sequentially exposed to the CS in the extinction context and another context. Control rats were also tested in each context, but were never extinguished. We assessed Arc mRNA expression within the basal amygdala (BA), lateral amygdala (LA), ventral hippocampus (VH), prelimbic cortex (PL) and infralimbic cortex (IL). We observed that the sequential retention tests induced context-dependent patterns of Arc expression in the BA, LA, and IL of extinguished rats; this was not observed in non-extinguished controls. In general, non-extinguished animals had proportionately greater numbers of non-selective (double-labeled) neurons than extinguished animals. Collectively, these findings suggest that extinction learning results in pattern separation, particularly within the BA, in which unique neuronal ensembles represent fear memories after extinction.

  10. Ensemble coding of context-dependent fear memory in the amygdala

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Caitlin A Orsini

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available After fear conditioning, presenting the conditioned stimulus (CS alone yields a context-specific extinction memory; fear is suppressed in the extinction context, but renews in any other context. The context-dependence of extinction is mediated by a brain circuit consisting of the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex and amygdala. In the present work, we sought to determine at what level of this circuit context-dependent representations of the CS emerge. To explore this question, we used cellular compartment analysis of temporal activity by fluorescent in situ hybridization (catFISH. This method exploits the intracellular expression profile of the immediate early gene, Arc, to visualize neuronal activation patterns to two different behavioral experiences. Rats were fear conditioned in one context and extinguished in another; twenty-four hours later, they were sequentially exposed to the CS in the extinction context and another context. Control rats were also tested in each context, but were never extinguished. We assessed Arc mRNA expression within the basal amygdala (BA, lateral amygdala (LA, ventral hippocampus (VH, prelimbic cortex (PL and infralimbic cortex (IL. We observed that the sequential retention tests induced context-dependent patterns of Arc expression in the BA, LA, and IL of extinguished rats; this was not observed in non-extinguished controls. In general, non-extinguished animals had proportionately greater numbers of non-selective (double-labeled neurons than extinguished animals. Collectively, these findings suggest that extinction learning results in pattern separation, particularly within the BA, in which unique neuronal ensembles represent fear memories after extinction.

  11. An organization of visual and auditory fear conditioning in the lateral amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bergstrom, Hadley C; Johnson, Luke R

    2014-12-01

    Pavlovian fear conditioning is an evolutionary conserved and extensively studied form of associative learning and memory. In mammals, the lateral amygdala (LA) is an essential locus for Pavlovian fear learning and memory. Despite significant progress unraveling the cellular mechanisms responsible for fear conditioning, very little is known about the anatomical organization of neurons encoding fear conditioning in the LA. One key question is how fear conditioning to different sensory stimuli is organized in LA neuronal ensembles. Here we show that Pavlovian fear conditioning, formed through either the auditory or visual sensory modality, activates a similar density of LA neurons expressing a learning-induced phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (p-ERK1/2). While the size of the neuron population specific to either memory was similar, the anatomical distribution differed. Several discrete sites in the LA contained a small but significant number of p-ERK1/2-expressing neurons specific to either sensory modality. The sites were anatomically localized to different levels of the longitudinal plane and were independent of both memory strength and the relative size of the activated neuronal population, suggesting some portion of the memory trace for auditory and visually cued fear conditioning is allocated differently in the LA. Presenting the visual stimulus by itself did not activate the same p-ERK1/2 neuron density or pattern, confirming the novelty of light alone cannot account for the specific pattern of activated neurons after visual fear conditioning. Together, these findings reveal an anatomical distribution of visual and auditory fear conditioning at the level of neuronal ensembles in the LA. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  12. Murine GRPR and stathmin control in opposite directions both cued fear extinction and neural activities of the amygdala and prefrontal cortex.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Guillaume Martel

    Full Text Available Extinction is an integral part of normal healthy fear responses, while it is compromised in several fear-related mental conditions in humans, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD. Although much research has recently been focused on fear extinction, its molecular and cellular underpinnings are still unclear. The development of animal models for extinction will greatly enhance our approaches to studying its neural circuits and the mechanisms involved. Here, we describe two gene-knockout mouse lines, one with impaired and another with enhanced extinction of learned fear. These mutant mice are based on fear memory-related genes, stathmin and gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR. Remarkably, both mutant lines showed changes in fear extinction to the cue but not to the context. We performed indirect imaging of neuronal activity on the second day of cued extinction, using immediate-early gene c-Fos. GRPR knockout mice extinguished slower (impaired extinction than wildtype mice, which was accompanied by an increase in c-Fos activity in the basolateral amygdala and a decrease in the prefrontal cortex. By contrast, stathmin knockout mice extinguished faster (enhanced extinction and showed a decrease in c-Fos activity in the basolateral amygdala and an increase in the prefrontal cortex. At the same time, c-Fos activity in the dentate gyrus was increased in both mutant lines. These experiments provide genetic evidence that the balance between neuronal activities of the amygdala and prefrontal cortex defines an impairment or facilitation of extinction to the cue while the hippocampus is involved in the context-specificity of extinction.

  13. Modulation of cannabinoid signaling by amygdala α2-adrenergic system in fear conditioning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nasehi, Mohammad; Zamanparvar, Majid; Ebrahimi-Ghiri, Mohaddeseh; Zarrindast, Mohammad-Reza

    2016-03-01

    The noradrenergic system plays a critical role in the modulation of emotional state, primarily related to anxiety, arousal, and stress. Growing evidence suggests that the endocannabinoid system mediates stress responses and emotional homeostasis, in part, by targeting noradrenergic circuits. In addition, there is an interaction between the cannabinoid and noradrenergic system that has significant functional and behavioral implications. Considering the importance of these systems in forming memories for fearful events, we have investigated the involvement of basolateral amygdala (BLA) α2-adrenoceptors on ACPA (as selective cannabinoid CB1 agonist)-induced inhibition of the acquisition of contextual and auditory conditioned fear. A contextual and auditory fear conditioning apparatus for assess fear memory in adult male NMRI mice was used. Pre-training, intraperitoneal administration of ACPA decreased the percentage freezing time in contextual (at doses of 0.05 and 0.1mg/kg) and auditory (at dose of 0.1 mg/kg) in the fear conditioning task, indicating memory acquisition deficit. The same result was observed with intra-BLA microinjection of clonidine (0.001-0.5 μg/mouse, for both memories), as α2-adrenoceptor agonist and yohimbine (at doses of 0.005 and 0.05 for contextual and at dose of 0.05 μg/mouse for auditory fear memory), as α2-adrenoceptor antagonist. In addition, intra-BLA microinjection of clonidine (0.0005 μg/mouse) did not alter ACPA response in both conditions, while the same dose of yohimbine potentiated ACPA response at the lower dose on contextual fear memory. It is concluded that BLA α2-adrenergic receptors may be involved in context- but not tone-dependent fear memory impairment induced by activation of CB1 receptors. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  14. Patterns of coupled theta activity in amygdala-hippocampal-prefrontal cortical circuits during fear extinction.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jörg Lesting

    Full Text Available Signals related to fear memory and extinction are processed within brain pathways involving the lateral amygdala (LA for formation of aversive stimulus associations, the CA1 area of the hippocampus for context-dependent modulation of these associations, and the infralimbic region of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC for extinction processes. While many studies have addressed the contribution of each of these modules individually, little is known about their interactions and how they function as an integrated system. Here we show, by combining multiple site local field potential (LFP and unit recordings in freely behaving mice in a fear conditioning paradigm, that theta oscillations may provide a means for temporally and functionally connecting these modules. Theta oscillations occurred with high specificity in the CA1-LA-mPFC network. Theta coupling increased between all areas during retrieval of conditioned fear, and declined during extinction learning. During extinction recall, theta coupling partly rebounded in LA-mPFC and CA1-mPFC, and remained at a low level in CA1-LA. Interfering with theta coupling through local electrical microstimulation in CA1-LA affected conditioned fear and extinction recall depending on theta phase. These results support the hypothesis that theta coupling provides a means for inter-areal coordination in conditioned behavioral responsiveness. More specifically, theta oscillations seem to contribute to a population code indicating conditioned stimuli during recall of fear memory before and after extinction.

  15. Methylphenidate enhances extinction of contextual fear

    OpenAIRE

    Abraham, Antony D.; Cunningham, Christopher L.; Lattal, K. Matthew

    2012-01-01

    Methylphenidate (MPH, Ritalin) is a norepinephrine and dopamine transporter blocker that is widely used in humans for treatment of attention deficit disorder and narcolepsy. Although there is some evidence that targeted microinjections of MPH may enhance fear acquisition, little is known about the effect of MPH on fear extinction. Here, we show that MPH, administered before or immediately following extinction of contextual fear, will enhance extinction retention in C57BL/6 mice. Animals that ...

  16. Propranolol decreases retention of fear memory by modulating the stability of surface glutamate receptor GluA1 subunits in the lateral amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Jun; Luo, Yi; Zhang, Jie-Ting; Li, Ming-Xing; Wang, Can-Ming; Guan, Xin-Lei; Wu, Peng-Fei; Hu, Zhuang-Li; Jin, You; Ni, Lan; Wang, Fang; Chen, Jian-Guo

    2015-11-01

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder with enhanced retention of fear memory and has profound impact on quality of life for millions of people worldwide. The β-adrenoceptor antagonist propranolol has been used in preclinical and clinical studies for the treatment of PTSD, but the mechanisms underlying its potential efficacy on fear memory retention remain to be elucidated. We investigated the action of propranolol on the retention of conditioned fear memory, the surface expression of glutamate receptor GluA1 subunits of AMPA receptors and synaptic adaptation in the lateral amygdala (LA) of rats. Propranolol attenuated reactivation-induced strengthening of fear retention while reducing enhanced surface expression of GluA1 subunits and restoring the impaired long-term depression in LA. These effects of propranolol were mediated by antagonizing reactivation-induced enhancement of adrenergic signalling, which activates PKA and calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II and then regulates the trafficking of AMPA receptors via phosphorylation of GluA1 subunits at the C-terminus. Both i.p. injection and intra-amygdala infusion of propranolol attenuated reactivation-induced enhancement of fear retention. Reactivation strengthens fear retention by increasing the level of noradrenaline and promotes the surface expression of GluA1 subunits and the excitatory synaptic transmission in LA. These findings uncover one mechanism underlying the efficiency of propranolol on retention of fear memories and suggest that β-adrenoceptor antagonists, which act centrally, may be more suitable for the treatment of PTSD. © 2015 The British Pharmacological Society.

  17. The roles of superficial amygdala and auditory cortex in music-evoked fear and joy.

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    Koelsch, Stefan; Skouras, Stavros; Fritz, Thomas; Herrera, Perfecto; Bonhage, Corinna; Küssner, Mats B; Jacobs, Arthur M

    2013-11-01

    This study investigates neural correlates of music-evoked fear and joy with fMRI. Studies on neural correlates of music-evoked fear are scant, and there are only a few studies on neural correlates of joy in general. Eighteen individuals listened to excerpts of fear-evoking, joy-evoking, as well as neutral music and rated their own emotional state in terms of valence, arousal, fear, and joy. Results show that BOLD signal intensity increased during joy, and decreased during fear (compared to the neutral condition) in bilateral auditory cortex (AC) and bilateral superficial amygdala (SF). In the right primary somatosensory cortex (area 3b) BOLD signals increased during exposure to fear-evoking music. While emotion-specific activity in AC increased with increasing duration of each trial, SF responded phasically in the beginning of the stimulus, and then SF activity declined. Psychophysiological Interaction (PPI) analysis revealed extensive emotion-specific functional connectivity of AC with insula, cingulate cortex, as well as with visual, and parietal attentional structures. These findings show that the auditory cortex functions as a central hub of an affective-attentional network that is more extensive than previously believed. PPI analyses also showed functional connectivity of SF with AC during the joy condition, taken to reflect that SF is sensitive to social signals with positive valence. During fear music, SF showed functional connectivity with visual cortex and area 7 of the superior parietal lobule, taken to reflect increased visual alertness and an involuntary shift of attention during the perception of auditory signals of danger. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  18. Acute effects of LSD on amygdala activity during processing of fearful stimuli in healthy subjects.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mueller, F; Lenz, C; Dolder, P C; Harder, S; Schmid, Y; Lang, U E; Liechti, M E; Borgwardt, S

    2017-04-04

    Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) induces profound changes in various mental domains, including perception, self-awareness and emotions. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the acute effects of LSD on the neural substrate of emotional processing in humans. Using a double-blind, randomised, cross-over study design, placebo or 100 μg LSD were orally administered to 20 healthy subjects before the fMRI scan, taking into account the subjective and pharmacological peak effects of LSD. The plasma levels of LSD were determined immediately before and after the scan. The study (including the a priori-defined study end point) was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov before study start (NCT02308969). The administration of LSD reduced reactivity of the left amygdala and the right medial prefrontal cortex relative to placebo during the presentation of fearful faces (PLSD-induced amygdala response to fearful stimuli and the LSD-induced subjective drug effects (PLSD modulates the engagement of brain regions that mediate emotional processing.

  19. Basomedial amygdala mediates top–down control of anxiety and fear

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adhikari, Avishek; Lerner, Talia N.; Finkelstein, Joel; Pak, Sally; Jennings, Joshua H.; Davidson, Thomas J.; Ferenczi, Emily; Gunaydin, Lisa A.; Mirzabekov, Julie J.; Ye, Li; Kim, Sung-Yon; Lei, Anna; Deisseroth, Karl

    2016-01-01

    Anxiety-related conditions are among the most difficult neuropsychiatric diseases to treat pharmacologically, but respond to cognitive therapies. There has therefore been interest in identifying relevant top-down pathways from cognitive control regions in medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Identification of such pathways could contribute to our understanding of the cognitive regulation of affect, and provide pathways for intervention. Previous studies have suggested that dorsal and ventral mPFC subregions exert opposing effects on fear, as do subregions of other structures. However, precise causal targets for top-down connections among these diverse possibilities have not been established. Here we show that the basomedial amygdala (BMA) represents the major target of ventral mPFC in amygdala in mice. Moreover, BMA neurons differentiate safe and aversive environments, and BMA activation decreases fear-related freezing and high-anxiety states. Lastly, we show that the ventral mPFC–BMA projection implements top-down control of anxiety state and learned freezing, both at baseline and in stress-induced anxiety, defining a broadly relevant new top-down behavioural regulation pathway. PMID:26536109

  20. Differential Dynamics of Amino Acid Release in the Amygdala and Olfactory Cortex during Odor Fear Acquisition as Revealed with Simultaneous High Temporal Resolution Microdialysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hegoburu, Chloe; Sevelinges, Yannick; Thevenet, Marc; Gervais, Remi; Parrot, Sandrine; Mouly, Anne-Marie

    2009-01-01

    Although the amygdala seems to be essential to the formation and storage of fear memories, it might store only some aspects of the aversive event and facilitate the storage of more specific sensory aspects in cortical areas. We addressed the time course of amygdala and cortical activation in the context of odor fear conditioning in rats. Using…

  1. Cannabinoid CB1 receptors in distinct circuits of the extended amygdala determine fear responsiveness to unpredictable threat.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lange, M D; Daldrup, T; Remmers, F; Szkudlarek, H J; Lesting, J; Guggenhuber, S; Ruehle, S; Jüngling, K; Seidenbecher, T; Lutz, B; Pape, H C

    2017-10-01

    The brain circuits underlying behavioral fear have been extensively studied over the last decades. Although the vast majority of experimental studies assess fear as a transient state of apprehension in response to a discrete threat, such phasic states of fear can shift to a sustained anxious apprehension, particularly in face of diffuse cues with unpredictable environmental contingencies. Unpredictability, in turn, is considered an important variable contributing to anxiety disorders. The networks of the extended amygdala have been suggested keys to the control of phasic and sustained states of fear, although the underlying synaptic pathways and mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here, we show that the endocannabinoid system acting in synaptic circuits of the extended amygdala can explain the fear response profile during exposure to unpredictable threat. Using fear training with predictable or unpredictable cues in mice, combined with local and cell-type-specific deficiency and rescue of cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors, we found that presynaptic CB1 receptors on distinct amygdala projections to bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) are both necessary and sufficient for the shift from phasic to sustained fear in response to an unpredictable threat. These results thereby identify the causal role of a defined protein in a distinct brain pathway for the temporal development of a sustained state of anxious apprehension during unpredictability of environmental influences, reminiscent of anxiety symptoms in humans.

  2. Signaling through cGMP-dependent protein kinase I in the amygdala is critical for auditory-cued fear memory and long-term potentiation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paul, Cindy; Schöberl, Florian; Weinmeister, Pascal; Micale, Vincenzo; Wotjak, Carsten T; Hofmann, Franz; Kleppisch, Thomas

    2008-12-24

    Long-term potentiation (LTP) of inputs relaying sensory information from cortical and thalamic neurons to principal neurons in the lateral amygdala (LA) is thought to serve as a cellular mechanism for associative fear learning. Nitric oxide (NO), a messenger molecule widely implicated in synaptic plasticity and behavior, has been shown to enhance LTP in the LA as well as consolidation of associative fear memory. Additional evidence suggests that NO-induced enhancement of LTP and amygdala-dependent learning requires signaling through soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) and cGMP-dependent protein kinase (cGK). Mammals possess two genes for cGK: the prkg1 gene gives rise to the cGK type I isoforms, cGKIalpha and cGKIbeta, and the prkg2 gene encodes the cGK type II. Reportedly, both cGKI and cGKII are expressed in the amygdala, and cGKII is involved in controlling anxiety-like behavior. Because selective pharmacological tools for individual cGK isoforms are lacking, we used different knock-out mouse models to examine the function of cGKI and cGKII for LTP in the LA and pavlovian fear conditioning. We found robust expression of the cGKI specifically in the LA with cGKIbeta as the prevailing isoform. We further show a marked reduction of LTP at both thalamic and cortical inputs to the LA and a selective impairment of auditory-cued fear memory in cGKI-deficient mutants. In contrast, cGKII null mutants lack these phenotypes. Our data suggest a function of cGKI, likely the beta isoform, in the LA, supporting synaptic plasticity and consolidation of fear memory.

  3. Toxoplasma gondii Infection in Mice Impairs Long-Term Fear Memory Consolidation through Dysfunction of the Cortex and Amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ihara, Fumiaki; Nishimura, Maki; Muroi, Yoshikage; Mahmoud, Motamed Elsayed; Yokoyama, Naoaki; Nagamune, Kisaburo; Nishikawa, Yoshifumi

    2016-10-01

    Chronic infection with Toxoplasma gondii becomes established in tissues of the central nervous system, where parasites may directly or indirectly modulate neuronal function. Epidemiological studies have revealed that chronic infection in humans is a risk factor for developing mental diseases. However, the mechanisms underlying parasite-induced neuronal dysfunction in the brain remain unclear. Here, we examined memory associated with conditioned fear in mice and found that T. gondii infection impairs consolidation of conditioned fear memory. To examine the brain pathology induced by T. gondii infection, we analyzed the parasite load and histopathological changes. T. gondii infects all brain areas, yet the cortex exhibits more severe tissue damage than other regions. We measured neurotransmitter levels in the cortex and amygdala because these regions are involved in fear memory expression. The levels of dopamine metabolites but not those of dopamine were increased in the cortex of infected mice compared with those in the cortex of uninfected mice. In contrast, serotonin levels were decreased in the amygdala and norepinephrine levels were decreased in the cortex and amygdala of infected mice. The levels of cortical dopamine metabolites were associated with the time spent freezing in the fear-conditioning test. These results suggest that T. gondii infection affects fear memory through dysfunction of the cortex and amygdala. Our findings provide insight into the mechanisms underlying the neurological changes seen during T. gondii infection. Copyright © 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  4. Methylphenidate Enhances Extinction of Contextual Fear

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abraham, Antony D.; Cunningham, Christopher L.; Lattal, K. Matthew

    2012-01-01

    Methylphenidate (MPH, Ritalin) is a norepinephrine and dopamine transporter blocker that is widely used in humans for treatment of attention deficit disorder and narcolepsy. Although there is some evidence that targeted microinjections of MPH may enhance fear acquisition, little is known about the effect of MPH on fear extinction. Here, we show…

  5. Fear extinction deficits following acute stress associate with increased spine density and dendritic retraction in basolateral amygdala neurons

    OpenAIRE

    Maroun, Mouna; Ioannides, Pericles J.; Bergman, Krista L.; Kavushansky, Alexandra; Holmes, Andrew; Wellman, Cara L.

    2013-01-01

    Stress-sensitive psychopathologies such as post-traumatic stress disorder are characterized by deficits in fear extinction and dysfunction of corticolimbic circuits mediating extinction. Chronic stress facilitates fear conditioning, impairs extinction, and produces dendritic proliferation in the basolateral amygdala (BLA), a critical site of plasticity for extinction. Acute stress impairs extinction, alters plasticity in the medial prefrontal cortex-to-BLA circuit, and causes dendritic retrac...

  6. p300/CBP Histone Acetyltransferase Activity Is Required for Newly Acquired and Reactivated Fear Memories in the Lateral Amygdala

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maddox, Stephanie A.; Watts, Casey S.; Schafe, Glenn E.

    2013-01-01

    Modifications in chromatin structure have been widely implicated in memory and cognition, most notably using hippocampal-dependent memory paradigms including object recognition, spatial memory, and contextual fear memory. Relatively little is known, however, about the role of chromatin-modifying enzymes in amygdala-dependent memory formation.…

  7. The Role of the Medial Prefrontal Cortex-Amygdala Circuit in Stress Effects on the Extinction of Fear

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mouna Maroun

    2007-01-01

    Full Text Available Stress exposure, depending on its intensity and duration, affects cognition and learning in an adaptive or maladaptive manner. Studies addressing the effects of stress on cognitive processes have mainly focused on conditioned fear, since it is suggested that fear-motivated learning lies at the root of affective and anxiety disorders. Inhibition of fear-motivated response can be accomplished by experimental extinction of the fearful response to the fear-inducing stimulus. Converging evidence indicates that extinction of fear memory requires plasticity in both the medial prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. These brain areas are also deeply involved in mediating the effects of exposure to stress on memory. Moreover, extensive evidence indicates that gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA transmission plays a primary role in the modulation of behavioral sequelae resulting from a stressful experience, and may also partially mediate inhibitory learning during extinction. In this review, we present evidence that exposure to a stressful experience may impair fear extinction and the possible involvement of the GABA system. Impairment of fear extinction learning is particularly important as it may predispose some individuals to the development of posttraumatic stress disorder. We further discuss a possible dysfunction in the medial prefrontal cortex-amygdala circuit following a stressful experience that may explain the impaired extinction caused by exposure to a stressor.

  8. Juvenile obesity enhances emotional memory and amygdala plasticity through glucocorticoids.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boitard, Chloé; Maroun, Mouna; Tantot, Frédéric; Cavaroc, Amandine; Sauvant, Julie; Marchand, Alain; Layé, Sophie; Capuron, Lucile; Darnaudery, Muriel; Castanon, Nathalie; Coutureau, Etienne; Vouimba, Rose-Marie; Ferreira, Guillaume

    2015-03-04

    In addition to metabolic and cardiovascular disorders, obesity is associated with adverse cognitive and emotional outcomes. Its growing prevalence during adolescence is particularly alarming since recent evidence indicates that obesity can affect hippocampal function during this developmental period. Adolescence is a decisive period for maturation of the amygdala and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) stress axis, both required for lifelong cognitive and emotional processing. However, little data are available on the impact of obesity during adolescence on amygdala function. Herein, we therefore evaluate in rats whether juvenile high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity alters amygdala-dependent emotional memory and whether it depends on HPA axis deregulation. Exposure to HFD from weaning to adulthood, i.e., covering adolescence, enhances long-term emotional memories as assessed by odor-malaise and tone-shock associations. Juvenile HFD also enhances emotion-induced neuronal activation of the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA), which correlates with protracted plasma corticosterone release. HFD exposure restricted to adulthood does not modify all these parameters, indicating adolescence is a vulnerable period to the effects of HFD-induced obesity. Finally, exaggerated emotional memory and BLA synaptic plasticity after juvenile HFD are alleviated by a glucocorticoid receptor antagonist. Altogether, our results demonstrate that juvenile HFD alters HPA axis reactivity leading to an enhancement of amygdala-dependent synaptic and memory processes. Adolescence represents a period of increased susceptibility to the effects of diet-induced obesity on amygdala function. Copyright © 2015 the authors 0270-6474/15/354092-12$15.00/0.

  9. Trace Fear Conditioning Differentially Modulates Intrinsic Excitability of Medial Prefrontal Cortex-Basolateral Complex of Amygdala Projection Neurons in Infralimbic and Prelimbic Cortices.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Song, Chenghui; Ehlers, Vanessa L; Moyer, James R

    2015-09-30

    Neuronal activity in medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is critical for the formation of trace fear memory, yet the cellular mechanisms underlying these memories remain unclear. One possibility involves the modulation of intrinsic excitability within mPFC neurons that project to the basolateral complex of amygdala (BLA). The current study used a combination of retrograde labeling and in vitro whole-cell patch-clamp recordings to examine the effect of trace fear conditioning on the intrinsic excitability of layer 5 mPFC-BLA projection neurons in adult rats. Trace fear conditioning significantly enhanced the intrinsic excitability of regular spiking infralimbic (IL) projection neurons, as evidenced by an increase in the number of action potentials after current injection. These changes were also associated with a reduction in spike threshold and an increase in h current. In contrast, trace fear conditioning reduced the excitability of regular spiking prelimbic (PL) projection neurons, through a learning-related decrease of input resistance. Interestingly, the amount of conditioned freezing was (1) positively correlated with excitability of IL-BLA projection neurons after conditioning and (2) negatively correlated with excitability of PL-BLA projection neurons after extinction. Trace fear conditioning also significantly enhanced the excitability of burst spiking PL-BLA projection neurons. In both regions, conditioning-induced plasticity was learning specific (observed in conditioned but not in pseudoconditioned rats), flexible (reversed by extinction), and transient (lasted extinction of trace fear conditioning. Significance statement: Frontal lobe-related function is vital for a variety of important behaviors, some of which decline during aging. This study involves a novel combination of electrophysiological recordings from fluorescently labeled mPFC-to-amygdala projection neurons in rats with acquisition and extinction of trace fear conditioning to determine how

  10. Delta Subunit-Containing Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid A Receptor Disinhibits Lateral Amygdala and Facilitates Fear Expression in Mice.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Zhi-Peng; He, Qing-Hai; Pan, Han-Qing; Xu, Xiao-Bin; Chen, Wen-Bing; He, Ye; Zhou, Jin; Zhang, Wen-Hua; Zhang, Jun-Yu; Ying, Xiao-Ping; Han, Ren-Wen; Li, Bao-Ming; Gao, Tian-Ming; Pan, Bing-Xing

    2017-06-15

    Maintaining gamma-aminobutyric acidergic (GABAergic) inhibition in the amygdala within a physiological range is critical for the appropriate expression of emotions such as fear and anxiety. The synaptic GABA type A receptor (GABA A R) is generally known to mediate the primary component of amygdala inhibition and prevent inappropriate expression of fear. However, little is known about the contribution of the extrasynaptic GABA A R to amygdala inhibition and fear. By using mice expressing green fluorescent protein in interneurons (INs) and lacking the δ subunit-containing GABA A R (GABA A (δ)R), which is exclusively situated in the extrasynaptic membrane, we systematically investigated the role of GABA A (δ)R in regulating inhibition in the lateral amygdala (LA) and fear learning using the combined approaches of immunohistochemistry, electrophysiology, and behavior. In sharp contrast to the established role of synaptic GABA A R in mediating LA inhibition, we found that either pharmacological or physiological recruitment of GABA A (δ)R resulted in the weakening of GABAergic transmission onto projection neurons in LA while leaving the glutamatergic transmission unaltered, suggesting disinhibition by GABA A (δ)R. The disinhibition arose from IN-specific expression of GABA A (δ)R with its activation decreasing the input resistance of local INs and suppressing their activation. Genetic deletion of GABA A (δ)R attenuated its role in suppressing LA INs and disinhibiting LA. Importantly, the GABA A (δ)R facilitated long-term potentiation in sensory afferents to LA and permitted the expression of learned fear. Our findings suggest that GABA A (δ)R serves as a brake rather than a mediator of GABAergic inhibition in LA. The disinhibition by GABA A (δ)R may help to prevent excessive suppression of amygdala activity and thus ensure the expression of emotion. Copyright © 2016 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  11. Acute serotonin 2A receptor blocking alters the processing of fearful faces in the orbitofrontal cortex and amygdala

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hornboll, Bettina; Macoveanu, Julian; Rowe, James

    2013-01-01

    judging the gender of neutral, fearful and angry faces. Methods: 5-HT2A receptors were blocked with ketanserin to a variable degree across subjects by adjusting the time between ketanserin-infusion and onset of the fMRI protocol. Neocortical 5-HT2A receptor binding in terms of the binding potential (BPp...... blockade reduced the neural response to fearful faces in the medial orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), independently of 5-HT2A receptor occupancy or neocortical 5-HT2A receptor BPp . The medial OFC also showed increased functional coupling with the left amygdala during processing of fearful faces depending...

  12. Activity dependent protein degradation is critical for the formation and stability of fear memory in the amygdala.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Timothy J Jarome

    Full Text Available Protein degradation through the ubiquitin-proteasome system [UPS] plays a critical role in some forms of synaptic plasticity. However, its role in memory formation in the amygdala, a site critical for the formation of fear memories, currently remains unknown. Here we provide the first evidence that protein degradation through the UPS is critically engaged at amygdala synapses during memory formation and retrieval. Fear conditioning results in NMDA-dependent increases in degradation-specific polyubiquitination in the amygdala, targeting proteins involved in translational control and synaptic structure and blocking the degradation of these proteins significantly impairs long-term memory. Furthermore, retrieval of fear memory results in a second wave of NMDA-dependent polyubiquitination that targets proteins involved in translational silencing and synaptic structure and is critical for memory updating following recall. These results indicate that UPS-mediated protein degradation is a major regulator of synaptic plasticity necessary for the formation and stability of long-term memories at amygdala synapses.

  13. Mitochondrial Gene Expression Profiles and Metabolic Pathways in the Amygdala Associated with Exaggerated Fear in an Animal Model of PTSD.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, He; Li, Xin; Smerin, Stanley E; Zhang, Lei; Jia, Min; Xing, Guoqiang; Su, Yan A; Wen, Jillian; Benedek, David; Ursano, Robert

    2014-01-01

    The metabolic mechanisms underlying the development of exaggerated fear in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are not well defined. In the present study, alteration in the expression of genes associated with mitochondrial function in the amygdala of an animal model of PTSD was determined. Amygdala tissue samples were excised from 10 non-stressed control rats and 10 stressed rats, 14 days post-stress treatment. Total RNA was isolated, cDNA was synthesized, and gene expression levels were determined using a cDNA microarray. During the development of the exaggerated fear associated with PTSD, 48 genes were found to be significantly upregulated and 37 were significantly downregulated in the amygdala complex based on stringent criteria (p metabolism, one with transcriptional factors, and one with chromatin remodeling. Thus, informatics of a neuronal gene array allowed us to determine the expression profile of mitochondrial genes in the amygdala complex of an animal model of PTSD. The result is a further understanding of the metabolic and neuronal signaling mechanisms associated with delayed and exaggerated fear.

  14. Alterations of excitatory transmission in the lateral amygdala during expression and extinction of fear memory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lin, Hui-Ching; Mao, Sheng-Chun; Su, Chun-Lin; Gean, Po-Wu

    2010-04-01

    Understanding the neurophysiology of fear extinction has important implications for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorders. Here we report that fear conditioning resulted in an increase in AMPA/NMDA ratio as well as depression of paired-pulse facilitation (PPF) in neurons of the lateral nucleus of amygdala. These conditioning-induced changes in synaptic transmission were not affected by extinction training. D-cycloserine (DCS), a partial agonist at the glycine-binding site of the NMDA receptor, facilitated extinction and reversed the increase in AMPA/NMDA ratio without altering the depression of PPF when administered before extinction training. Extinction training, however, significantly increased the frequency and amplitude of miniature inhibitory post-synaptic currents and these effects were unaffected by the DCS treatment. Disruption of AMPA receptor endocytosis with a synthetic peptide containing a short C-terminal sequence of GluR2 (869YKEGYNVYG877, GluR23Y) specifically blocked DCS-induced reversal of AMPA/NMDA ratio and the facilitation of extinction. These results suggest that extinction training mainly increases inhibitory transmission leaving conditioning-induced excitatory association unaltered. DCS does not affect inhibitory transmission but reverses the conditioning-induced post-synaptic memory trace when administered before extinction training.

  15. Learning Enhances Intrinsic Excitability in a Subset of Lateral Amygdala Neurons

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sehgal, Megha; Ehlers, Vanessa L.; Moyer, James R., Jr.

    2014-01-01

    Learning-induced modulation of neuronal intrinsic excitability is a metaplasticity mechanism that can impact the acquisition of new memories. Although the amygdala is important for emotional learning and other behaviors, including fear and anxiety, whether learning alters intrinsic excitability within the amygdala has received very little…

  16. Modulation of Long-term Potentiation of Cortico-amygdala Synaptic Responses and Auditory Fear Memory by Dietary Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daisuke Yamada

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available Converging evidence suggests that an imbalance of ω3 to ω6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA in the brain is involved in mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders. However, the underlying mechanism is unknown. We previously reported that the dietary ratio of ω3 to ω6 PUFA alters this ratio in the brain, and influences contextual fear memory. In addition to behavioral change, enhancement of cannabinoid CB1 receptor-mediated short-term synaptic plasticity and facilitation of the agonist sensitivity of CB1 receptors have been observed in excitatory synaptic responses in the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala. However, it is not known whether long-term synaptic plasticity in the amygdala is influenced by the dietary ratio of ω3 to ω6 PUFA. In the present study, we examined long-term potentiation (LTP of optogenetically–evoked excitatory synaptic responses in synapses between the terminal of the projection from the auditory cortex and the pyramidal cells in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala. We found that LTP in this pathway was attenuated in mice fed a diet with a high ω3 to ω6 PUFA ratio (0.97, compared with mice fed a diet with a low ω3 to ω6 PUFA ratio (0.14. Furthermore, mice in the former condition showed reduced fear responses in an auditory fear conditioning test, compared with mice in the latter condition. In both electrophysiological and behavioral experiments, the effect of a diet with a high ω3 to ω6 PUFA ratio was completely blocked by treatment with a CB1 receptor antagonist. Furthermore, a significant reduction was observed in cholesterol content, but not in the level of an endogenous CB1 receptor agonist, 2-arachidonoylglycerol, in brain samples containing the amygdala. These results suggest that the balance of ω3 to ω6 PUFA has an impact on fear memory and cortico-amygdala synaptic plasticity, both in a CB1 receptor–dependent manner.

  17. Quantifying deficits in the perception of fear and anger in morphed facial expressions after bilateral amygdala damage.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Reiko; Devinsky, Orrin; Labar, Kevin S

    2007-01-07

    Amygdala damage has been associated with impairments in perceiving facial expressions of fear. However, deficits in perceiving other emotions, such as anger, and deficits in perceiving emotion blends have not been definitively established. One possibility is that methods used to index expression perception are susceptible to heuristic use, which may obscure impairments. To examine this, we adapted a task used to examine categorical perception of morphed facial expressions [Etcoff, N. L., & Magee, J. J. (1992). Categorical perception of facial expressions. Cognition, 44(3), 227-240]. In one version of the task, expressions were categorized with unlimited time constraints. In the other, expressions were presented with limited exposure durations to tap more automatic aspects of processing. Three morph progressions were employed: neutral to anger, neutral to fear, and fear to anger. Both tasks were administered to a participant with bilateral amygdala damage (S.P.), age- and education-matched controls, and young controls. The second task was also administered to unilateral temporal lobectomy patients. In the first version, S.P. showed impairments relative to normal controls on the neutral-to-anger and fear-to-anger morphs, but not on the neutral-to-fear morph. However, reaction times suggested that speed-accuracy tradeoffs could account for results. In the second version, S.P. showed impairments on all morph types relative to all other subject groups. A third experiment showed that this deficit did not extend to the perception of morphed identities. These results imply that when heuristics use is discouraged on tasks utilizing subtle emotion transitions, deficits in the perception of anger and anger/fear blends, as well as fear, are evident with bilateral amygdala damage.

  18. Context-dependent encoding of fear and extinction memories in a large-scale network model of the basal amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vlachos, Ioannis; Herry, Cyril; Lüthi, Andreas; Aertsen, Ad; Kumar, Arvind

    2011-03-01

    The basal nucleus of the amygdala (BA) is involved in the formation of context-dependent conditioned fear and extinction memories. To understand the underlying neural mechanisms we developed a large-scale neuron network model of the BA, composed of excitatory and inhibitory leaky-integrate-and-fire neurons. Excitatory BA neurons received conditioned stimulus (CS)-related input from the adjacent lateral nucleus (LA) and contextual input from the hippocampus or medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). We implemented a plasticity mechanism according to which CS and contextual synapses were potentiated if CS and contextual inputs temporally coincided on the afferents of the excitatory neurons. Our simulations revealed a differential recruitment of two distinct subpopulations of BA neurons during conditioning and extinction, mimicking the activation of experimentally observed cell populations. We propose that these two subgroups encode contextual specificity of fear and extinction memories, respectively. Mutual competition between them, mediated by feedback inhibition and driven by contextual inputs, regulates the activity in the central amygdala (CEA) thereby controlling amygdala output and fear behavior. The model makes multiple testable predictions that may advance our understanding of fear and extinction memories.

  19. Context-dependent encoding of fear and extinction memories in a large-scale network model of the basal amygdala.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ioannis Vlachos

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available The basal nucleus of the amygdala (BA is involved in the formation of context-dependent conditioned fear and extinction memories. To understand the underlying neural mechanisms we developed a large-scale neuron network model of the BA, composed of excitatory and inhibitory leaky-integrate-and-fire neurons. Excitatory BA neurons received conditioned stimulus (CS-related input from the adjacent lateral nucleus (LA and contextual input from the hippocampus or medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC. We implemented a plasticity mechanism according to which CS and contextual synapses were potentiated if CS and contextual inputs temporally coincided on the afferents of the excitatory neurons. Our simulations revealed a differential recruitment of two distinct subpopulations of BA neurons during conditioning and extinction, mimicking the activation of experimentally observed cell populations. We propose that these two subgroups encode contextual specificity of fear and extinction memories, respectively. Mutual competition between them, mediated by feedback inhibition and driven by contextual inputs, regulates the activity in the central amygdala (CEA thereby controlling amygdala output and fear behavior. The model makes multiple testable predictions that may advance our understanding of fear and extinction memories.

  20. Memory for fearful faces across development: specialization of amygdala nuclei and medial temporal lobe structures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pinabiaux, Charlotte; Hertz-Pannier, Lucie; Chiron, Catherine; Rodrigo, Sébastian; Jambaqué, Isabelle; Noulhiane, Marion

    2013-01-01

    Enhanced memory for emotional faces is a significant component of adaptive social interactions, but little is known on its neural developmental correlates. We explored the role of amygdaloid complex (AC) and medial temporal lobe (MTL) in emotional memory recognition across development, by comparing fMRI activations of successful memory encoding of fearful and neutral faces in children (n = 12; 8-12 years) and adolescents (n = 12; 13-17 years). Memory for fearful faces was enhanced compared with neutral ones in adolescents, as opposed to children. In adolescents, activations associated with successful encoding of fearful faces were centered on baso-lateral AC nuclei, hippocampus, enthorhinal and parahippocampal cortices. In children, successful encoding of fearful faces relied on activations of centro-mesial AC nuclei, which was not accompanied by functional activation of MTL memory structures. Successful encoding of neutral faces depended on activations in anterior MTL region (hippocampal head and body) in adolescents, but more posterior ones (hippocampal tail and parahippocampal cortex) in children. In conclusion, two distinct functional specializations emerge from childhood to adolescence and result in the enhancement of memory for these particular stimuli: the specialization of baso-lateral AC nuclei, which is associated with the expertise in processing emotional facial expression, and which is intimately related to the specialization of MTL memory network. How the interplay between specialization of AC nuclei and of MTL memory structures is fundamental for the edification of social interactions remains to be elucidated.

  1. Memory for fearful faces across development: specialization of amygdala nuclei and medial temporal lobe structures

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Charlotte ePinabiaux

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Enhanced memory for emotional faces is a significant component of adaptive social interactions, but little is known on its neural developmental correlates. We explored the role of amygdaloid complex (AC and medial temporal lobe (MTL in emotional memory recognition across development, by comparing fMRI activations of successful memory encoding of fearful and neutral faces in children (n=12; 8-12 years and adolescents (n=12; 13-17 years. Memory for fearful faces was enhanced compared with neutral ones in adolescents, as opposed to children. In adolescents, activations associated with successful encoding of fearful faces were centered on baso-lateral AC nuclei, hippocampus, enthorhinal and parahippocampal cortices. In children, successful encoding of fearful faces relied on activations of centro-mesial AC nuclei, which was not accompanied by functional activation of MTL memory structures. Successful encoding of neutral faces depended on activations in anterior MTL region (hippocampal head and body in adolescents, but more posterior ones (hippocampal tail and parahippocampal cortex in children. In conclusion, two distinct functional specializations emerge from childhood to adolescence and result in the enhancement of memory for these particular stimuli: the specialization of baso-lateral AC nuclei, which is associated with the expertise in processing emotional facial expression, and which is intimately related to the specialization of MTL memory network. How the interplay between specialization of AC nuclei and of MTL memory structures is fundamental for the edification of social interactions remains to be elucidated.

  2. Enhancing dopaminergic signaling and histone acetylation promotes long-term rescue of deficient fear extinction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whittle, N; Maurer, V; Murphy, C; Rainer, J; Bindreither, D; Hauschild, M; Scharinger, A; Oberhauser, M; Keil, T; Brehm, C; Valovka, T; Striessnig, J; Singewald, N

    2016-01-01

    Extinction-based exposure therapy is used to treat anxiety- and trauma-related disorders; however, there is the need to improve its limited efficacy in individuals with impaired fear extinction learning and to promote greater protection against return-of-fear phenomena. Here, using 129S1/SvImJ mice, which display impaired fear extinction acquisition and extinction consolidation, we revealed that persistent and context-independent rescue of deficient fear extinction in these mice was associated with enhanced expression of dopamine-related genes, such as dopamine D1 (Drd1a) and -D2 (Drd2) receptor genes in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and amygdala, but not hippocampus. Moreover, enhanced histone acetylation was observed in the promoter of the extinction-regulated Drd2 gene in the mPFC, revealing a potential gene-regulatory mechanism. Although enhancing histone acetylation, via administering the histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor MS-275, does not induce fear reduction during extinction training, it promoted enduring and context-independent rescue of deficient fear extinction consolidation/retrieval once extinction learning was initiated as shown following a mild conditioning protocol. This was associated with enhanced histone acetylation in neurons of the mPFC and amygdala. Finally, as a proof-of-principle, mimicking enhanced dopaminergic signaling by L-dopa treatment rescued deficient fear extinction and co-administration of MS-275 rendered this effect enduring and context-independent. In summary, current data reveal that combining dopaminergic and epigenetic mechanisms is a promising strategy to improve exposure-based behavior therapy in extinction-impaired individuals by initiating the formation of an enduring and context-independent fear-inhibitory memory. PMID:27922638

  3. The role of the lateral amygdala in the retrieval and maintenance of fear-memories formed by probabilistic reinforcement

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jeffrey C. Erlich

    2012-04-01

    Full Text Available The lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA is a key element in the neural circuit subserving Pavlovian fear conditioning, an animal model of fear and anxiety. Most studies have focused on the role of the LA in fear acquisition and extinction, i.e. how neural plasticity results from changing contingencies between a neutral conditioned stimulus (e.g. a tone and an aversive unconditioned stimulus (e.g. a shock. However, outside of the lab, fear memories are often the result of repeated and unpredictable experiences. Examples include domestic violence, child abuse or combat. To better understand the role of the LA in the expression of fear resulting from repeated and uncertain reinforcement, rats experienced a 30% partial reinforcement fear-conditioning schedule four days a week for four weeks. Rats reached asymptotic levels of conditioned fear expression after the first week. We then manipulated LA activity with drug (or vehicle infusions once a week, for the next three weeks, before the training session. LA infusions of muscimol, a GABA-A agonist that inhibits neural activity, reduced conditioned stimulus (CS evoked fear behavior to pre-conditioning levels. LA infusions of pentagastrin, a cholecystokinin-2 (CCK agonist that increases neural excitability, resulted in CS-evoked fear behavior that continued past the offset of the CS. This suggests that neural activity in the LA is required for the retrieval of fear memories that stem from repeated and uncertain reinforcement, and that CCK signaling in the LA plays a role in the recovery from fear after the removal of the fear-evoking stimulus.

  4. Enhanced amygdala reactivity to emotional faces in adults reporting childhood emotional maltreatment

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Tol, Marie-José; Demenescu, Liliana R.; van der Wee, Nic J. A.; Veltman, Dick J.; Aleman, André; van Buchem, Mark A.; Spinhoven, Philip; Penninx, Brenda W. J. H.; Elzinga, Bernet M.

    2013-01-01

    In the context of chronic childhood emotional maltreatment (CEM; emotional abuse and/or neglect), adequately responding to facial expressions is an important skill. Over time, however, this adaptive response may lead to a persistent vigilance for emotional facial expressions. The amygdala and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) are key regions in face processing. However, the neurobiological correlates of face processing in adults reporting CEM are yet unknown. We examined amydala and mPFC reactivity to emotional faces (Angry, Fearful, Sad, Happy, Neutral) vs scrambled faces in healthy controls and unmedicated patients with depression and/or anxiety disorders reporting CEM before the age of 16 years (n = 60), and controls and patients who report no childhood abuse (n = 75). We found that CEM was associated with enhanced bilateral amygdala reactivity to emotional faces in general, and independent of psychiatric status. Furthermore, we found no support for differential mPFC functioning, suggesting that amygdala hyper-responsivity to emotional facial perception in adults reporting CEM may be independent from top–down influences of the mPFC. These findings may be key in understanding the increased emotional sensitivity and interpersonal difficulties, that have been reported in individuals with a history of CEM. PMID:22258799

  5. Rescue of Impaired Fear Extinction and Normalization of Cortico-Amygdala Circuit Dysfunction in a Genetic Mouse Model by Dietary Zinc Restriction

    OpenAIRE

    Whittle, Nigel; Hauschild, Markus; Lubec, Gert; Holmes, Andrew; Singewald, Nicolas

    2010-01-01

    Fear extinction is impaired in neuropsychiatric disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder. Identifying drugs that facilitate fear extinction in animal models provides leads for novel pharmacological treatments for these disorders. Zinc (Zn) is expressed in neurons in a cortico-amygdala circuit mediating fear extinction, and modulates neurotransmitter systems regulating extinction. We previously found that the 129S1/SvImJ mouse strain (S1) exhibited a profound impairment in fear extin...

  6. Differential role of Rac in the basolateral amygdala and cornu ammonis 1 in the reconsolidation of auditory and contextual Pavlovian fear memory in rats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Ping; Ding, Zeng-Bo; Meng, Shi-Qiu; Shen, Hao-Wei; Sun, Shi-Chao; Luo, Yi-Xiao; Liu, Jian-Feng; Lu, Lin; Zhu, Wei-Li; Shi, Jie

    2014-08-01

    A conditioned stimulus (CS) is associated with a fearful unconditioned stimulus (US) in the traditional fear conditioning model. After fear conditioning, the CS-US association memory undergoes the consolidation process to become stable. Consolidated memory enters an unstable state after retrieval and requires the reconsolidation process to stabilize again. Evidence indicates the important role of Rac (Ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate) in the acquisition and extinction of fear memory. In the present study, we hypothesized that Rac in the amygdala is crucial for the reconsolidation of auditory and contextual Pavlovian fear memory. Auditory and contextual fear conditioning and microinjections of the Rac inhibitor NSC23766 were used to explore the role of Rac in the reconsolidation of auditory and contextual Pavlovian fear memory in rats. A microinjection of NSC23766 into the basolateral amygdala (BLA) but not central amygdala (CeA) or cornu ammonis 1 (CA1) immediately after memory retrieval disrupted the reconsolidation of auditory Pavlovian fear memory. A microinjection of NSC23766 into the CA1 but not BLA or CeA after memory retrieval disrupted the reconsolidation of contextual Pavlovian fear memory. Our experiments demonstrate that Rac in the BLA is crucial for the reconsolidation of auditory Pavlovian fear memory, whereas Rac in the CA1 is critical for the reconsolidation of contextual Pavlovian fear memory.

  7. Prior stress promotes the generalization of contextual fear memories: Involvement of the gabaergic signaling within the basolateral amygdala complex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bender, C L; Otamendi, A; Calfa, G D; Molina, V A

    2018-04-20

    Fear generalization occurs when a response, previously acquired with a threatening stimulus, is transferred to a similar one. However, it could be maladaptive when stimuli that do not represent a real threat are appraised as dangerous, which is a hallmark of several anxiety disorders. Stress exposure is a major risk factor for the occurrence of anxiety disorders and it is well established that it influences different phases of fear memory; nevertheless, its impact on the generalization of contextual fear memories has been less studied. In the present work, we have characterized the impact of acute restraint stress prior to contextual fear conditioning on the generalization of this fear memory, and the role of the GABAergic signaling within the basolateral amygdala complex (BLA) on the stress modulatory effects. We have found that a single stress exposure promoted the generalization of this memory trace to a different context that was well discriminated in unstressed conditioned animals. Moreover, this effect was dependent on the formation of a contextual associative memory and on the testing order (i.e., conditioning context first vs generalization context first). Furthermore, we observed that increasing GABA-A signaling by intra-BLA midazolam administration prior to the stressful session exposure prevented the generalization of fear memory, whereas intra-BLA administration of the GABA-A antagonist (Bicuculline), prior to fear conditioning, induced the generalization of fear memory in unstressed rats. We concluded that stress exposure, prior to contextual fear conditioning, promotes the generalization of fear memory and that the GABAergic transmission within the BLA has a critical role in this phenomenon. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  8. Emotional Perseveration: An Update on Prefrontal-Amygdala Interactions in Fear Extinction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sotres-Bayon, Francisco; Bush, David E. A.; LeDoux, Joseph E.

    2004-01-01

    Fear extinction refers to the ability to adapt as situations change by learning to suppress a previously learned fear. This process involves a gradual reduction in the capacity of a fear-conditioned stimulus to elicit fear by presenting the conditioned stimulus repeatedly on its own. Fear extinction is context-dependent and is generally considered…

  9. Sliding-window analysis tracks fluctuations in amygdala functional connectivity associated with physiological arousal and vigilance during fear conditioning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baczkowski, Blazej M; Johnstone, Tom; Walter, Henrik; Erk, Susanne; Veer, Ilya M

    2017-06-01

    We evaluated whether sliding-window analysis can reveal functionally relevant brain network dynamics during a well-established fear conditioning paradigm. To this end, we tested if fMRI fluctuations in amygdala functional connectivity (FC) can be related to task-induced changes in physiological arousal and vigilance, as reflected in the skin conductance level (SCL). Thirty-two healthy individuals participated in the study. For the sliding-window analysis we used windows that were shifted by one volume at a time. Amygdala FC was calculated for each of these windows. Simultaneously acquired SCL time series were averaged over time frames that corresponded to the sliding-window FC analysis, which were subsequently regressed against the whole-brain seed-based amygdala sliding-window FC using the GLM. Surrogate time series were generated to test whether connectivity dynamics could have occurred by chance. In addition, results were contrasted against static amygdala FC and sliding-window FC of the primary visual cortex, which was chosen as a control seed, while a physio-physiological interaction (PPI) was performed as cross-validation. During periods of increased SCL, the left amygdala became more strongly coupled with the bilateral insula and anterior cingulate cortex, core areas of the salience network. The sliding-window analysis yielded a connectivity pattern that was unlikely to have occurred by chance, was spatially distinct from static amygdala FC and from sliding-window FC of the primary visual cortex, but was highly comparable to that of the PPI analysis. We conclude that sliding-window analysis can reveal functionally relevant fluctuations in connectivity in the context of an externally cued task. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  10. Oxytocin Signaling in Basolateral and Central Amygdala Nuclei Differentially Regulates the Acquisition, Expression, and Extinction of Context-Conditioned Fear in Rats

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campbell-Smith, Emma J.; Holmes, Nathan M.; Lingawi, Nura W.; Panayi, Marios C.; Westbrook, R. Frederick

    2015-01-01

    The present study investigated how oxytocin (OT) signaling in the central (CeA) and basolateral (BLA) amygdala affects acquisition, expression, and extinction of context-conditioned fear (freezing) in rats. In the first set of experiments, acquisition of fear to a shocked context was impaired by a preconditioning infusion of synthetic OT into the…

  11. Inhibition of projections from the basolateral amygdala to the entorhinal cortex disrupts the acquisition of contextual fear

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dennis R. Sparta

    2014-05-01

    Full Text Available The development of excessive fear and/or stress responses to environmental cues such as contexts associated with a traumatic event is a hallmark of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD. The basolateral amygdala (BLA has been implicated as a key structure mediating contextual fear conditioning. In addition, the hippocampus has an integral role in the encoding and processing of contexts associated with strong, salient stimuli such as fear. Given that both the BLA and hippocampus play an important role in the regulation of contextual fear conditioning, examining the functional connectivity between these two structures may elucidate a role for this pathway in the development of PTSD. Here, we used optogenetic strategies to demonstrate that the BLA sends a strong glutamatergic projection to the hippocampal formation through the entorhinal cortex (EC. Next, we photoinhibited glutamatergic fibers from the BLA terminating in the EC during the acquisition or expression of contextual fear conditioning. In mice that received optical inhibition of the BLA-to-EC pathway during the acquisition session, we observed a significant decrease in freezing behavior in a context re-exposure session. In contrast, we observed no differences in freezing behavior in mice that were only photoinhibited during the context re-exposure session. These data demonstrate an important role for the BLA-to-EC glutamatergic pathway in the acquisition of contextual fear conditioning.

  12. Enhanced discriminative fear learning of phobia-irrelevant stimuli in spider-fearful individuals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carina eMosig

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Avoidance is considered as a central hallmark of all anxiety disorders. The acquisition and expression of avoidance which leads to the maintenance and exacerbation of pathological fear is closely linked to Pavlovian and operant conditioning processes. Changes in conditionability might represent a key feature of all anxiety disorders but the exact nature of these alterations might vary across different disorders. To date, no information is available on specific changes in conditionability for disorder-irrelevant stimuli in specific phobia (SP. The first aim of this study was to investigate changes in fear acquisition and extinction in spider-fearful individuals as compared to non-fearful participants by using the de novo fear conditioning paradigm. Secondly, we aimed to determine whether differences in the magnitude of context-dependent fear retrieval exist between spider-fearful and non-fearful individuals. Our findings point to an enhanced fear discrimination in spider-fearful individuals as compared to non-fearful individuals at both the physiological and subjective level. The enhanced fear discrimination in spider-fearful individuals was neither mediated by increased state anxiety, depression, nor stress tension. Spider-fearful individuals displayed no changes in extinction learning and/or fear retrieval. Surprisingly, we found no evidence for context-dependent modulation of fear retrieval in either group. Here we provide first evidence that spider-fearful individuals show an enhanced discriminative fear learning of phobia-irrelevant (de novo stimuli. Our findings provide novel insights into the role of fear acquisition and expression for the development and maintenance of maladaptive responses in the course of SP.

  13. The Amygdala Is Not Necessary for Unconditioned Stimulus Inflation after Pavlovian Fear Conditioning in Rats

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rabinak, Christine A.; Orsini, Caitlin A.; Zimmerman, Joshua M.; Maren, Stephen

    2009-01-01

    The basolateral complex (BLA) and central nucleus (CEA) of the amygdala play critical roles in associative learning, including Pavlovian conditioning. However, the precise role for these structures in Pavlovian conditioning is not clear. Recent work in appetitive conditioning paradigms suggests that the amygdala, particularly the BLA, has an…

  14. Genistein alleviates anxiety-like behaviors in post-traumatic stress disorder model through enhancing serotonergic transmission in the amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Zhong-Min; Ni, Gui-Lian; Shao, Ai-Min; Cui, Rong

    2017-09-01

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a chronic psychiatric disorder, characterized by intense fear, and increased arousal and avoidance of traumatic events. The current available treatments for PTSD have limited therapeutic value. Genistein, a natural isoflavone, modulates a variety of cell functions. In this study, we tested anti-anxiety activity and underlying mechanisms of genistein in a PTSD rat model. The rats were trained to associate a tone with foot shock delivery on day 0, then fear conditioning was performed on day 7, 14 and 21. Genistein (2-8mg/kg) was injected intraperitoneally daily for 7 days. The anti-anxiety effects of genistein were measured by contextual freezing behavior and elevated plus maze. By the end of the experiments, the amygdala was extracted and subject to neurochemistry analysis. Genistein alleviated contextual freezing behavior and improved performance in elevated plus maze dose-dependently in PTSD rats. Furthermore, in these rats, genistein enhanced serotonergic transmission in the amygdala, including upregulation of tryptophan hydroxylase, serotonin, and phosphorylated (p)-CaMKII and p-CREB, as well. Genistein exerts anti-anxiety effects on a PTSD model probably through enhancing serotonergic system and CaMKII/CREB signaling pathway in the amygdala. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Amygdala activity related to enhanced memory for pleasant and aversive stimuli.

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    Hamann, S B; Ely, T D; Grafton, S T; Kilts, C D

    1999-03-01

    Pleasant or aversive events are better remembered than neutral events. Emotional enhancement of episodic memory has been linked to the amygdala in animal and neuropsychological studies. Using positron emission tomography, we show that bilateral amygdala activity during memory encoding is correlated with enhanced episodic recognition memory for both pleasant and aversive visual stimuli relative to neutral stimuli, and that this relationship is specific to emotional stimuli. Furthermore, data suggest that the amygdala enhances episodic memory in part through modulation of hippocampal activity. The human amygdala seems to modulate the strength of conscious memory for events according to emotional importance, regardless of whether the emotion is pleasant or aversive.

  16. Pre-Training Reversible Inactivation of the Basal Amygdala (BA Disrupts Contextual, but Not Auditory, Fear Conditioning, in Rats.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elisa Mari Akagi Jordão

    Full Text Available The basolateral amygdala complex (BLA, including the lateral (LA, basal (BA and accessory basal (AB nuclei, is involved in acquisition of contextual and auditory fear conditioning. The BA is one of the main targets for hippocampal information, a brain structure critical for contextual learning, which integrates several discrete stimuli into a single configural representation. Congruent with the hodology, selective neurotoxic damage to the BA results in impairments in contextual, but not auditory, fear conditioning, similarly to the behavioral impairments found after hippocampal damage. This study evaluated the effects of muscimol-induced reversible inactivation of the BA during a simultaneous contextual and auditory fear conditioning training on later fear responses to both the context and the tone, tested separately, without muscimol administration. As compared to control rats micro-infused with vehicle, subjects micro-infused with muscimol before training exhibited, during testing without muscimol, significant reduction of freezing responses to the conditioned context, but not to the conditioned tone. Therefore, reversible inactivation of the BA during training impaired contextual, but not auditory fear conditioning, thus confirming and extending similar behavioral observations following selective neurotoxic damage to the BA and, in addition, revealing that this effect is not related to the lack of a functional BA during testing.

  17. Psychopaths Show Enhanced Amygdala Activation during Fear Conditioning

    OpenAIRE

    Schultz, Douglas H.; Balderston, Nicholas L.; Baskin-Sommers, Arielle R.; Larson, Christine L.; Helmstetter, Fred J.

    2016-01-01

    Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by emotional deficits and a failure to inhibit impulsive behavior and is often subdivided into “primary” and “secondary” psychopathic subtypes. The maladaptive behavior related to primary psychopathy is thought to reflect constitutional “fearlessness,” while the problematic behavior related to secondary psychopathy is motivated by other factors. The fearlessness observed in psychopathy has often been interpreted as reflecting a fundamental d...

  18. GABAA receptor endocytosis in the basolateral amygdala is critical to the reinstatement of fear memory measured by fear-potentiated startle.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lin, Hui-Ching; Tseng, Yu-Chou; Mao, Sheng-Chun; Chen, Po-See; Gean, Po-Wu

    2011-06-15

    Reinstatement represents a phenomenon that may be used to model the effects of retraumatization observed in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In this study, we found intraperitoneal injection of the β-adrenergic receptor antagonist propranolol (10 mg/kg) 1 h before reinstatement training attenuated reinstatement of fear memory in rats. Conversely, reinstatement was facilitated by intra-amygdalar administration of β-adrenergic receptor agonist isoproterenol (Iso; 2 μg per side) 30 min before reinstatement training. The frequency and amplitude of the miniature IPSC (mIPSC) and the surface expression of the β3 and γ2 subunits of the GABA(A) receptor (GABA(A)R) were significantly lower in reinstated than in extinction rats, whereas the AMPA/NMDA ratio and the surface expression of GluR1 and GluR2 in the amygdala did not differ between groups. In amygdala slices, Iso-induced decrease in the surface β3 subunit of GABA(A) receptor was blocked by a Tat-conjugated dynamin function-blocking peptide (Tat-P4) pretreatment (10 μm for 30 min). By contrast, Tat-scramble peptide had no effect. Intravenous injection (3 μmol/kg) or intra-amygdalar infusion (30 pmol per side) of Tat-P4 interfered with reinstatement. Reinstatement increased the association between protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) and the β3 subunit of the GABA(A)R, which was abolished by PP1/PP2A inhibitors okadaic acid and calyculin A. These results suggest the involvement of β-adrenergic receptor activation and GABA(A) receptor endocytosis in the amygdala for the reinstatement in fear memory.

  19. Prevention of Stress-Impaired Fear Extinction Through Neuropeptide S Action in the Lateral Amygdala

    OpenAIRE

    Chauveau, Frédéric; Lange, Maren Denise; Jüngling, Kay; Lesting, Jörg; Seidenbecher, Thomas; Pape, Hans-Christian

    2012-01-01

    Stressful and traumatic events can create aversive memories, which are a predisposing factor for anxiety disorders. The amygdala is critical for transforming such stressful events into anxiety, and the recently discovered neuropeptide S transmitter system represents a promising candidate apt to control these interactions. Here we test the hypothesis that neuropeptide S can regulate stress-induced hyperexcitability in the amygdala, and thereby can interact with stress-induced alterations of fe...

  20. 15. Amygdala pain mechanisms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neugebauer, Volker

    2015-01-01

    A limbic brain area the amygdala plays a key role in emotional responses and affective states and disorders such as learned fear, anxiety and depression. The amygdala has also emerged as an important brain center for the emotional-affective dimension of pain and for pain modulation. Hyperactivity in the laterocapsular division of the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeLC, also termed the “nociceptive amygdala”) accounts for pain-related emotional responses and anxiety-like behavior. Abnormally enhanced output from the CeLC is the consequence of an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory mechanisms. Impaired inhibitory control mediated by a cluster of GABAergic interneurons in the intercalated cell masses (ITC) allows the development of glutamate- and neuropeptide-driven synaptic plasticity of excitatory inputs from the brainstem (parabrachial area) and from the lateral-basolateral amygdala network (LA-BLA, site of integration of polymodal sensory information). BLA hyperactivity also generates abnormally enhanced feedforward inhibition of principal cells in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), a limbic cortical area that is strongly interconnected with the amygdala. Pain-related mPFC deactivation results in cognitive deficits and failure to engage cortically driven ITC-mediated inhibitory control of amygdala processing. Impaired cortical control allows the uncontrolled persistence of amygdala pain mechanisms. PMID:25846623

  1. Fear-Specific Amygdala Function in Children and Adolescents on the Fragile X Spectrum: A Dosage Response of the FMR1 Gene

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, So-Yeon; Burris, Jessica; Bassal, Frederick; Koldewyn, Kami; Chattarji, Sumantra; Tassone, Flora; Hessl, David; Rivera, Susan M.

    2014-01-01

    Mutations of the fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene are the genetic cause of fragile X syndrome (FXS). The presence of significant socioemotional problems has been well documented in FXS although the brain basis of those deficits remains unspecified. Here, we investigated amygdala dysfunction and its relation to socioemotional deficits and FMR1 gene expression in children and adolescents on the FX spectrum (i.e., individuals whose trinucleotide CGG repeat expansion from 55 to over 200 places them somewhere within the fragile X diagnostic range from premutation to full mutation). Participants performed an fMRI task in which they viewed fearful, happy, and scrambled faces. Neuroimaging results demonstrated that FX participants revealed significantly attenuated amygdala activation in Fearful > Scrambled and Fearful > Happy contrasts compared with their neurotypical counterparts, while showing no differences in amygdala volume. Furthermore, we found significant relationships between FMR1 gene expression, anxiety/social dysfunction scores, and reduced amygdala activation in the FX group. In conclusion, we report novel evidence regarding a dosage response of the FMR1 gene on fear-specific functions of the amygdala, which is associated with socioemotional deficits in FXS. PMID:23146966

  2. Stress during puberty boosts metabolic activation associated with fear-extinction learning in hippocampus, basal amygdala and cingulate cortex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toledo-Rodriguez, Maria; Pitiot, Alain; Paus, Tomáš; Sandi, Carmen

    2012-07-01

    Adolescence is characterized by major developmental changes that may render the individual vulnerable to stress and the development of psychopathologies in a sex-specific manner. Earlier we reported lower anxiety-like behavior and higher risk-taking and novelty seeking in rats previously exposed to peri-pubertal stress. Here we studied whether peri-pubertal stress affected the acquisition and extinction of fear memories and/or the associated functional engagement of various brain regions, as assessed with 2-deoxyglucose. We showed that while peri-pubertal stress reduced freezing during the acquisition of fear memories (training) in both sexes, it had a sex-specific effect on extinction of these memories. Moreover hippocampus, basal amygdala and cingulate and motor cortices showed higher metabolic rates during extinction in rats exposed to peri-pubertal stress. Interestingly, activation of the infralimbic cortex was negatively correlated with freezing during extinction only in control males, while only males stressed during puberty showed a significant correlation between behavior during extinction and metabolic activation of hippocampus, amygdala and paraventricular nucleus. No correlations between brain activation and behavior during extinction were observed in females (control or stress). These results indicate that exposure to peri-pubertal stress affects behavior and brain metabolism when the individual is exposed to an additional stressful challenge. Some of these effects are sex-specific. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  3. Beta-adrenergic receptors in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala contribute to the acquisition but not the consolidation of auditory fear conditioning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bush, David E A; Caparosa, Ellen M; Gekker, Anna; Ledoux, Joseph

    2010-01-01

    Beta-adrenergic receptors (βARs) have long been associated with fear disorders and with learning and memory. However, the contribution of these receptors to Pavlovian fear conditioning, a leading behavioral model for studying fear learning and memory, is still poorly understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the involvement of βAR activation in the acquisition, consolidation and expression of fear conditioning. We focused on manipulations of βARs in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA) because of the well-established contribution of this area to fear conditioning. Specifically, we tested the effects of intra-LA microinfusions of the βAR antagonist, propranolol, on learning and memory for auditory Pavlovian fear conditioning in rats. Pre-training propranolol infusions disrupted the initial acquisition, short-term memory (STM), and long-term memory (LTM) for fear conditioning, but infusions immediately after training had no effect. Further, infusion of propranolol prior to testing fear responses did not affect fear memory expression. These findings indicate that amygdala βARs are important for the acquisition but not the consolidation of fear conditioning.

  4. Impaired fear extinction learning and cortico-amygdala circuit abnormalities in a common genetic mouse strain

    OpenAIRE

    Hefner, Kathryn; Whittle, Nigel; Juhasz, Jaynann; Norcross, Maxine; Karlsson, Rose-Marie; Saksida, Lisa M.; Bussey, Timothy J.; Singewald, Nicolas; Holmes, Andrew

    2008-01-01

    Fear extinction is a form of new learning that results in the inhibition of conditioned fear. Trait deficits in fear extinction are a risk factor for anxiety disorders. There are few examples of naturally-occurring animal models of impaired extinction. The present study compared fear extinction in a panel of inbred mouse strains. This strain survey revealed an impairment in fear extinction in 129/SvImJ (129S1). The phenotypic specificity of this deficit was evaluated by comparing 129S1 and C5...

  5. Fear conditioning leads to alteration in specific genes expression in cortical and thalamic neurons that project to the lateral amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Katz, Ira K; Lamprecht, Raphael

    2015-02-01

    RNA transcription is needed for memory formation. However, the ability to identify genes whose expression is altered by learning is greatly impaired because of methodological difficulties in profiling gene expression in specific neurons involved in memory formation. Here, we report a novel approach to monitor the expression of genes after learning in neurons in specific brain pathways needed for memory formation. In this study, we aimed to monitor gene expression after fear learning. We retrogradely labeled discrete thalamic neurons that project to the lateral amygdala (LA) of rats. The labeled neurons were dissected, using laser microdissection microscopy, after fear conditioning learning or unpaired training. The RNAs from the dissected neurons were subjected to microarray analysis. The levels of selected RNAs detected by the microarray analysis to be altered by fear conditioning were also assessed by nanostring analysis. We observed that the expression of genes involved in the regulation of translation, maturation and degradation of proteins was increased 6 h after fear conditioning compared to unpaired or naïve trained rats. These genes were not expressed 24 h after training or in cortical neurons that project to the LA. The expression of genes involved in transcription regulation and neuronal development was altered after fear conditioning learning in the cortical-LA pathway. The present study provides key information on the identity of genes expressed in discrete thalamic and cortical neurons that project to the LA after fear conditioning. Such an approach could also serve to identify gene products as targets for the development of a new generation of therapeutic agents that could be aimed to functionally identified brain circuits to treat memory-related disorders. © 2014 International Society for Neurochemistry.

  6. Moderation of prior exposure to trauma on the inverse relationship between callous-unemotional traits and amygdala responses to fearful expressions: an exploratory study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meffert, Harma; Thornton, Laura C; Tyler, Patrick M; Botkin, Mary L; Erway, Anna K; Kolli, Venkata; Pope, Kayla; White, Stuart F; Blair, R James R

    2018-02-12

    Previous work has shown that amygdala responsiveness to fearful expressions is inversely related to level of callous-unemotional (CU) traits (i.e. reduced guilt and empathy) in youth with conduct problems. However, some research has suggested that the relationship between pathophysiology and CU traits may be different in those youth with significant prior trauma exposure. In experiment 1, 72 youth with varying levels of disruptive behavior and trauma exposure performed a gender discrimination task while viewing morphed fear expressions (0, 50, 100, 150 fear) and Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent responses were recorded. In experiment 2, 66 of these youth performed the Social Goals Task, which measures self-reports of the importance of specific social goals to the participant in provoking social situations. In experiment 1, a significant CU traits-by-trauma exposure interaction was observed within right amygdala; fear intensity-modulated amygdala responses negatively predicted CU traits for those youth with low levels of trauma but positively predicted CU traits for those with high levels of trauma. In experiment 2, a bootstrapped model revealed that the indirect effect of fear intensity amygdala response on social goal importance through CU traits is moderated by prior trauma exposure. This study, while exploratory, indicates that the pathophysiology associated with CU traits differs in youth as a function of prior trauma exposure. These data suggest that prior trauma exposure should be considered when evaluating potential interventions for youth with high CU traits.

  7. Awareness of Emotional Stimuli Determines the Behavioral Consequences of Amygdala Activation and Amygdala-Prefrontal Connectivity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lapate, R. C.; Rokers, B.; Tromp, D. P. M.; Orfali, N. S.; Oler, J. A.; Doran, S. T.; Adluru, N.; Alexander, A. L.; Davidson, R. J.

    2016-01-01

    Conscious awareness of negative cues is thought to enhance emotion-regulatory capacity, but the neural mechanisms underlying this effect are unknown. Using continuous flash suppression (CFS) in the MRI scanner, we manipulated visual awareness of fearful faces during an affect misattribution paradigm, in which preferences for neutral objects can be biased by the valence of a previously presented stimulus. The amygdala responded to fearful faces independently of awareness. However, when awareness of fearful faces was prevented, individuals with greater amygdala responses displayed a negative bias toward unrelated novel neutral faces. In contrast, during the aware condition, inverse coupling between the amygdala and prefrontal cortex reduced this bias, particularly among individuals with higher structural connectivity in the major white matter pathway connecting the prefrontal cortex and amygdala. Collectively, these results indicate that awareness promotes the function of a critical emotion-regulatory network targeting the amygdala, providing a mechanistic account for the role of awareness in emotion regulation. PMID:27181344

  8. The basolateral amygdala can mediate the effects of fear memory on sleep independently of fear behavior and the peripheral stress response.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wellman, Laurie L; Fitzpatrick, Mairen E; Hallum, Olga Y; Sutton, Amy M; Williams, Brook L; Sanford, Larry D

    2017-01-01

    Fear conditioning associated with inescapable shock training (ST) and fearful context re-exposure (CR) alone can produce significant behavioral fear, a stress response and alterations in subsequent REM sleep. These alterations may vary among animals and are mediated by the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA). Here, we used the GABA A agonist, muscimol (Mus), to inactivate BLA prior to CR and examined the effects on sleep, freezing and stress-induced hyperthermia (SIH). Wistar rats (n=28) were implanted with electrodes for recording sleep, data loggers for recording core body temperature, and with cannulae aimed bilaterally into BLA. After recovery, the animals were habituated to the injection procedure and baseline sleep was recorded. On experimental day 1, rats received ST (20 footshocks, 0.8mA, 0.5s duration, 60s interstimulus interval). On experimental day 7, the rats received microinjections (0.5μl) into BLA of either Mus (1.0μM; n=13) or vehicle (Veh; n=15) prior to CR (CR1). On experimental day 21, the animals experienced a second CR (CR2) without Mus. For analysis, the rats were separated into 4 groups: (Veh-vulnerable (Veh-Vul; n=8), Veh-resilient (Veh-Res; n=7), Mus-vulnerable (Mus-Vul; n=7), and Mus-resilient (Mus-Res; n=6)) based on whether or not REM was decreased, compared to baseline, during the first 4h following ST. Pre-CR1 inactivation of BLA did not alter freezing or SIH, but did block the reduction in REM in the Mus-Vul group compared to the Veh-Vul group. These data indicate that BLA is an important region for mediating the effects of fearful memories on sleep. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  9. Higher-Order Sensory Cortex Drives Basolateral Amygdala Activity during the Recall of Remote, but Not Recently Learned Fearful Memories.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cambiaghi, Marco; Grosso, Anna; Likhtik, Ekaterina; Mazziotti, Raffaele; Concina, Giulia; Renna, Annamaria; Sacco, Tiziana; Gordon, Joshua A; Sacchetti, Benedetto

    2016-02-03

    Negative experiences are quickly learned and long remembered. Key unresolved issues in the field of emotional memory include identifying the loci and dynamics of memory storage and retrieval. The present study examined neural activity in the higher-order auditory cortex Te2 and basolateral amygdala (BLA) and their crosstalk during the recall of recent and remote fear memories. To this end, we obtained local field potentials and multiunit activity recordings in Te2 and BLA of rats that underwent recall at 24 h and 30 d after the association of an acoustic conditioned (CS, tone) and an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US, electric shock). Here we show that, during the recall of remote auditory threat memories in rats, the activity of the Te2 and BLA is highly synchronized in the theta frequency range. This functional connectivity stems from memory consolidation processes because it is present during remote, but not recent, memory retrieval. Moreover, the observed increase in synchrony is cue and region specific. A preponderant Te2-to-BLA directionality characterizes this dialogue, and the percentage of time Te2 theta leads the BLA during remote memory recall correlates with a faster latency to freeze to the auditory conditioned stimulus. The blockade of this information transfer via Te2 inhibition with muscimol prevents any retrieval-evoked neuronal activity in the BLA and animals are unable to retrieve remote memories. We conclude that memories stored in higher-order sensory cortices drive BLA activity when distinguishing between learned threatening and neutral stimuli. How and where in the brain do we store the affective/motivational significance of sensory stimuli acquired through life experiences? Scientists have long investigated how "limbic" structures, such as the amygdala, process affective stimuli. Here we show that retrieval of well-established threat memories requires the functional interplay between higher-order components of the auditory cortex and the

  10. Olfactory Fear Conditioning Induces Field Potential Potentiation in Rat Olfactory Cortex and Amygdala

    Science.gov (United States)

    Messaoudi, Belkacem; Granjon, Lionel; Mouly, Anne-Marie; Sevelinges, Yannick; Gervais, Remi

    2004-01-01

    The widely used Pavlovian fear-conditioning paradigms used for studying the neurobiology of learning and memory have mainly used auditory cues as conditioned stimuli (CS). The present work assessed the neural network involved in olfactory fear conditioning, using olfactory bulb stimulation-induced field potential signal (EFP) as a marker of…

  11. Antagonism of Lateral Amygdala Alpha1-Adrenergic Receptors Facilitates Fear Conditioning and Long-Term Potentiation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lazzaro, Stephanie C.; Hou, Mian; Cunha, Catarina; LeDoux, Joseph E.; Cain, Christopher K.

    2010-01-01

    Norepinephrine receptors have been studied in emotion, memory, and attention. However, the role of alpha1-adrenergic receptors in fear conditioning, a major model of emotional learning, is poorly understood. We examined the effect of terazosin, an alpha1-adrenergic receptor antagonist, on cued fear conditioning. Systemic or intra-lateral amygdala…

  12. Systemic or Intra-Amygdala Infusion of the Benzodiazepine, Midazolam, Impairs Learning, but Facilitates Re-Learning to Inhibit Fear Responses in Extinction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hart, Genevra; Harris, Justin A.; Westbrook, R. Frederick

    2010-01-01

    A series of experiments used rats to study the effect of a systemic or intra-amygdala infusion of the benzodiazepine, midazolam, on learning and re-learning to inhibit context conditioned fear (freezing) responses. Rats were subjected to two context-conditioning episodes followed by extinction under drug or vehicle, or to two cycles of context…

  13. Neonatal Whisker Trimming Impairs Fear/Anxiety-Related Emotional Systems of the Amygdala and Social Behaviors in Adult Mice.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hitomi Soumiya

    Full Text Available Abnormalities in tactile perception, such as sensory defensiveness, are common features in autism spectrum disorder (ASD. While not a diagnostic criterion for ASD, deficits in tactile perception contribute to the observed lack of social communication skills. However, the influence of tactile perception deficits on the development of social behaviors remains uncertain, as do the effects on neuronal circuits related to the emotional regulation of social interactions. In neonatal rodents, whiskers are the most important tactile apparatus, so bilateral whisker trimming is used as a model of early tactile deprivation. To address the influence of tactile deprivation on adult behavior, we performed bilateral whisker trimming in mice for 10 days after birth (BWT10 mice and examined social behaviors, tactile discrimination, and c-Fos expression, a marker of neural activation, in adults after full whisker regrowth. Adult BWT10 mice exhibited significantly shorter crossable distances in the gap-crossing test than age-matched controls, indicating persistent deficits in whisker-dependent tactile perception. In contrast to controls, BWT10 mice exhibited no preference for the social compartment containing a conspecific in the three-chamber test. Furthermore, the development of amygdala circuitry was severely affected in BWT10 mice. Based on the c-Fos expression pattern, hyperactivity was found in BWT10 amygdala circuits for processing fear/anxiety-related responses to height stress but not in circuits for processing reward stimuli during whisker-dependent cued learning. These results demonstrate that neonatal whisker trimming and concomitant whisker-dependent tactile discrimination impairment severely disturbs the development of amygdala-dependent emotional regulation.

  14. The basolateral amygdala determines the effects of fear memory on sleep in an animal model of PTSD.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wellman, Laurie L; Fitzpatrick, Mairen E; Machida, Mayumi; Sanford, Larry D

    2014-05-01

    Fear conditioning [inescapable shock training (ST)] and fearful context re-exposure (CR) alone can produce significant fear indicated by increased freezing and reductions in subsequent rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Damage to or inactivation of the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA) prior to or after ST or prior to CR generally has been found to attenuate freezing in the shock training context. However, no one has examined the impact of BLA inactivation on fear-induced changes in sleep. Here, we used the GABAA agonist, muscimol (MUS), to inactivate BLA prior to ST, the period when fear is learned, and assessed sleep after ST and sleep and freezing after two CR sessions. Wistar rats (n = 14) were implanted with electrodes for recording sleep and with cannulae aimed bilaterally into BLA. After recovery, the animals were habituated to the injection procedure (handling) over 2 consecutive days and baseline sleep following handling was recorded. On experimental day 1, the rats were injected (0.5 μl) into BLA with either MUS (1.0 μM; n = 7) or vehicle (distilled water, n = 7) 30 min prior to ST (20 footshocks, 0.8 mA, 0.5-s duration, 60-s interstimulus interval). On experimental days 7 and 21, the animals experienced CR (CR1 and CR2, respectively) alone. Electroencephalogram and electromyogram were recorded for 8 h on each day, and the recording was scored for non-rapid eye movement sleep, REM sleep, and wakefulness. Freezing was examined during CR1 and CR2. MUS microinjections into BLA prior to ST blocked the post-training reduction in REM sleep seen in vehicle-treated rats. Furthermore, in MUS-treated rats, REM sleep after CR1 and CR2 was at baseline levels and freezing was significantly attenuated. Thus, BLA inactivation prior to ST blocks the effects of footshock stress on sleep and reduces fear memory, as indicated by the lack of freezing and changes in sleep after CR. These data indicate that BLA is an important regulator of stress-induced alterations in

  15. Memory-enhancing corticosterone treatment increases amygdala norepinephrine and Arc protein expression in hippocampal synaptic fractions

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    McReynolds, Jayme R.; Donowho, Kyle; Abdi, Amin; McGaugh, James L.; Roozendaal, Benno; McIntyre, Christa K.

    Considerable evidence indicates that glucocorticoid hormones enhance the consolidation of memory for emotionally arousing events through interactions with the noradrenergic system of the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA). We previously reported that intra-BLA administration of a

  16. EphrinA4 mimetic peptide targeted to EphA binding site impairs the formation of long-term fear memory in lateral amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dines, M; Lamprecht, R

    2014-09-30

    Fear conditioning leads to long-term fear memory formation and is a model for studying fear-related psychopathologies conditions such as phobias and posttraumatic stress disorder. Long-term fear memory formation is believed to involve alterations of synaptic efficacy mediated by changes in synaptic transmission and morphology in lateral amygdala (LA). EphrinA4 and its cognate Eph receptors are intimately involved in regulating neuronal morphogenesis, synaptic transmission and plasticity. To assess possible roles of ephrinA4 in fear memory formation we designed and used a specific inhibitory ephrinA4 mimetic peptide (pep-ephrinA4) targeted to EphA binding site. We show that this peptide, composed of the ephrinA4 binding domain, interacts with EphA4 and inhibits ephrinA4-induced phosphorylation of EphA4. Microinjection of the pep-ephrinA4 into rat LA 30 min before training impaired long- but not short-term fear conditioning memory. Microinjection of a control peptide derived from a nonbinding E helix site of ephrinA4, that does not interact with EphA, had no effect on fear memory formation. Microinjection of pep-ephrinA4 into areas adjacent to the amygdala had no effect on fear memory. Acute systemic administration of pep-ephrinA4 1 h after training also impaired long-term fear conditioning memory formation. These results demonstrate that ephrinA4 binding sites in LA are essential for long-term fear memory formation. Moreover, our research shows that ephrinA4 binding sites may serve as a target for pharmacological treatment of fear and anxiety disorders.

  17. Release of gliotransmitters through astroglial connexin 43 hemichannels is necessary for fear memory consolidation in the basolateral amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stehberg, Jimmy; Moraga-Amaro, Rodrigo; Salazar, Christian; Becerra, Alvaro; Echeverría, Cesar; Orellana, Juan A; Bultynck, Geert; Ponsaerts, Raf; Leybaert, Luc; Simon, Felipe; Sáez, Juan C; Retamal, Mauricio A

    2012-09-01

    Recent in vitro evidence indicates that astrocytes can modulate synaptic plasticity by releasing neuroactive substances (gliotransmitters). However, whether gliotransmitter release from astrocytes is necessary for higher brain function in vivo, particularly for memory, as well as the contribution of connexin (Cx) hemichannels to gliotransmitter release, remain elusive. Here, we microinfused into the rat basolateral amygdala (BLA) TAT-Cx43L2, a peptide that selectively inhibits Cx43-hemichannel opening while maintaining synaptic transmission or interastrocyte gap junctional communication. In vivo blockade of Cx43 hemichannels during memory consolidation induced amnesia for auditory fear conditioning, as assessed 24 h after training, without affecting short-term memory, locomotion, or shock reactivity. The amnesic effect was transitory, specific for memory consolidation, and was confirmed after microinfusion of Gap27, another Cx43-hemichannel blocker. Learning capacity was recovered after coinfusion of TAT-Cx43L2 and a mixture of putative gliotransmitters (glutamate, glutamine, lactate, d-serine, glycine, and ATP). We propose that gliotransmitter release from astrocytes through Cx43 hemichannels is necessary for fear memory consolidation at the BLA. Thus, the present study is the first to demonstrate a physiological role for astroglial Cx43 hemichannels in brain function, making these channels a novel pharmacological target for the treatment of psychiatric disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder.

  18. Hippocampal Structural Plasticity Accompanies the Resulting Contextual Fear Memory Following Stress and Fear Conditioning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giachero, Marcelo; Calfa, Gaston D.; Molina, Victor A.

    2013-01-01

    The present research investigated the resulting contextual fear memory and structural plasticity changes in the dorsal hippocampus (DH) following stress and fear conditioning. This combination enhanced fear retention and increased the number of total and mature dendritic spines in DH. Intra-basolateral amygdala (BLA) infusion of midazolam prior to…

  19. Increased amygdala reactivity following early life stress: a potential resilience enhancer role.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yamamoto, Tetsuya; Toki, Shigeru; Siegle, Greg J; Takamura, Masahiro; Takaishi, Yoshiyuki; Yoshimura, Shinpei; Okada, Go; Matsumoto, Tomoya; Nakao, Takashi; Muranaka, Hiroyuki; Kaseda, Yumiko; Murakami, Tsuneji; Okamoto, Yasumasa; Yamawaki, Shigeto

    2017-01-18

    Amygdala hyper-reactivity is sometimes assumed to be a vulnerability factor that predates depression; however, in healthy people, who experience early life stress but do not become depressed, it may represent a resilience mechanism. We aimed to test these hypothesis examining whether increased amygdala activity in association with a history of early life stress (ELS) was negatively or positively associated with depressive symptoms and impact of negative life event stress in never-depressed adults. Twenty-four healthy participants completed an individually tailored negative mood induction task during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) assessment along with evaluation of ELS. Mood change and amygdala reactivity were increased in never-depressed participants who reported ELS compared to participants who reported no ELS. Yet, increased amygdala reactivity lowered effects of ELS on depressive symptoms and negative life events stress. Amygdala reactivity also had positive functional connectivity with the bilateral DLPFC, motor cortex and striatum in people with ELS during sad memory recall. Increased amygdala activity in those with ELS was associated with decreased symptoms and increased neural features, consistent with emotion regulation, suggesting that preservation of robust amygdala reactions may reflect a stress buffering or resilience enhancing factor against depression and negative stressful events.

  20. Enhanced prefrontal-amygdala connectivity following childhood adversity as a protective mechanism against internalizing in adolescence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herringa, Ryan J; Burghy, Cory A; Stodola, Diane E; Fox, Michelle E; Davidson, Richard J; Essex, Marilyn J

    2016-07-01

    Much research has focused on the deleterious neurobiological effects of childhood adversity that may underlie internalizing disorders. While most youth show emotional adaptation following adversity, the corresponding neural mechanisms remain poorly understood. In this longitudinal community study, we examined the associations among childhood family adversity, adolescent internalizing symptoms, and their interaction on regional brain activation and amygdala/hippocampus functional connectivity during emotion processing in 132 adolescents. Consistent with prior work, childhood adversity predicted heightened amygdala reactivity to negative, but not positive, images in adolescence. However, amygdala reactivity was not related to internalizing symptoms. Furthermore, childhood adversity predicted increased fronto-amygdala connectivity to negative, but not positive, images, yet only in lower internalizing adolescents. Childhood adversity also predicted increased fronto-hippocampal connectivity to negative images, but was not moderated by internalizing. These findings were unrelated to adolescence adversity or externalizing symptoms, suggesting specificity to childhood adversity and adolescent internalizing. Together, these findings suggest that adaptation to childhood adversity is associated with augmentation of fronto-subcortical circuits specifically for negative emotional stimuli. Conversely, insufficient enhancement of fronto-amygdala connectivity, with increasing amygdala reactivity, may represent a neural signature of vulnerability for internalizing by late adolescence. These findings implicate early childhood as a critical period in determining the brain's adaptation to adversity, and suggest that even normative adverse experiences can have significant impact on neurodevelopment and functioning. These results offer potential neural mechanisms of adaptation and vulnerability which could be used in the prediction of risk for psychopathology following childhood

  1. D-cycloserine enhances generalization of fear extinction in children.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Byrne, Simon P; Rapee, Ronald M; Richardson, Rick; Malhi, Gin S; Jones, Michael; Hudson, Jennifer L

    2015-06-01

    For exposure therapy to be successful, it is essential that fear extinction learning extends beyond the treatment setting. D-cycloserine (DCS) may facilitate treatment gains by increasing generalization of extinction learning, however, its effects have not been tested in children. We examined whether DCS enhanced generalization of fear extinction learning across different stimuli and contexts among children with specific phobias. The study was a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized controlled trial among dog or spider phobic children aged 6-14. Participants ingested either 50 mg of DCS (n = 18) or placebo (n = 17) before receiving a single prolonged exposure session to their feared stimulus. Return of fear was examined 1 week later to a different stimulus (a different dog or spider), presented in both the original treatment context and an alternate context. Avoidance and fear were measured with Behavior Approach Tests (BATs), where the child was asked to increase proximity to the stimulus while reporting their fear level. There were no differences in BAT performance between groups during the exposure session or when a new stimulus was later presented in the treatment context. However, when the new stimulus was presented in a different context, relative to placebo, the DCS group showed less avoidance (P = .03) and less increase in fear (P = .04) with moderate effect sizes. DCS enabled children to better retain their fear extinction learning. This new learning generalized to different stimuli and contexts. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  2. Synapse-specific astrocyte gating of amygdala-related behavior.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martin-Fernandez, Mario; Jamison, Stephanie; Robin, Laurie M; Zhao, Zhe; Martin, Eduardo D; Aguilar, Juan; Benneyworth, Michael A; Marsicano, Giovanni; Araque, Alfonso

    2017-11-01

    The amygdala plays key roles in fear and anxiety. Studies of the amygdala have largely focused on neuronal function and connectivity. Astrocytes functionally interact with neurons, but their role in the amygdala remains largely unknown. We show that astrocytes in the medial subdivision of the central amygdala (CeM) determine the synaptic and behavioral outputs of amygdala circuits. To investigate the role of astrocytes in amygdala-related behavior and identify the underlying synaptic mechanisms, we used exogenous or endogenous signaling to selectively activate CeM astrocytes. Astrocytes depressed excitatory synapses from basolateral amygdala via A 1 adenosine receptor activation and enhanced inhibitory synapses from the lateral subdivision of the central amygdala via A 2A receptor activation. Furthermore, astrocytic activation decreased the firing rate of CeM neurons and reduced fear expression in a fear-conditioning paradigm. Therefore, we conclude that astrocyte activity determines fear responses by selectively regulating specific synapses, which indicates that animal behavior results from the coordinated activity of neurons and astrocytes.

  3. Intrinsic functional connectivity between amygdala and hippocampus during rest predicts enhanced memory under stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Voogd, Lycia D; Klumpers, Floris; Fernández, Guillén; Hermans, Erno J

    2017-01-01

    Declarative memories of stressful events are less prone to forgetting than mundane events. Animal research has demonstrated that such stress effects on consolidation of hippocampal-dependent memories require the amygdala. In humans, it has been shown that during learning, increased amygdala-hippocampal interactions are related to more efficient memory encoding. Animal models predict that following learning, amygdala-hippocampal interactions are instrumental to strengthening the consolidation of such declarative memories. Whether this is the case in humans is unknown and remains to be empirically verified. To test this, we analyzed data from a sample of 120 healthy male participants who performed an incidental encoding task and subsequently underwent resting-state functional MRI in a stressful and a neutral context. Stress was assessed by measures of salivary cortisol, blood pressure, heart rate, and subjective ratings. Memory was tested afterwards outside of the scanner. Our data show that memory was stronger in the stress context compared to the neutral context and that stress-induced cortisol responses were associated with this memory enhancement. Interestingly, amygdala-hippocampal connectivity during post-encoding awake rest regardless of context (stress or neutral) was associated with the enhanced memory performance under stress. Thus, our findings are in line with a role for intrinsic functional connectivity during rest between the amygdala and the hippocampus in the state effects of stress on strengthening memory. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Interaction of basolateral amygdala, ventral hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex regulates the consolidation and extinction of social fear.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qi, Chu-Chu; Wang, Qing-Jun; Ma, Xue-Zhu; Chen, Hai-Chao; Gao, Li-Ping; Yin, Jie; Jing, Yu-Hong

    2018-03-19

    Following a social defeat, the balanced establishment and extinction of aversive information is a beneficial strategy for individual survival. Abnormal establishment or extinction is implicated in the development of mental disorders. This study investigated the time course of the establishment and extinction of aversive information from acute social defeat and the temporal responsiveness of the basolateral amygdala (BLA), ventral hippocampus (vHIP) and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) in this process. Mouse models of acute social defeat were established by using the resident-intruder paradigm. To evaluate the engram of social defeat, the intruder mice were placed into the novel context at designated time to test the social behavior. Furthermore, responses of BLA, vHIP and mPFC were investigated by analyzing the expression of immediate early genes, such as zif268, arc, and c-fos. The results showed after an aggressive attack, aversive memory was maintained for approximately 7 days before gradually diminishing. The establishment and maintenance of aversive stimulation were consistently accompanied by BLA activity. By contrast, vHIP and mPFC response was inhibited from this process. Additionally, injecting muscimol (Mus), a GABA receptor agonist, into the BLA alleviated the freezing behavior and social fear and avoidance. Simultaneously, Mus treatment decreased the zif268 and arc expression in BLA, but it increased their expression in vHIP. Our data support and extend earlier findings that implicate BLA, vHIP and mPFC in social defeat. The time courses of the establishment and extinction of social defeat are particularly consistent with the contrasting BLA and vHIP responses involved in this process.

  5. Enhanced temporal variability of amygdala-frontal functional connectivity in patients with schizophrenia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yue, Jing-Li; Li, Peng; Shi, Le; Lin, Xiao; Sun, Hong-Qiang; Lu, Lin

    2018-01-01

    The "dysconnectivity hypothesis" was proposed 20 years ago. It characterized schizophrenia as a disorder with dysfunctional connectivity across a large range of distributed brain areas. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI) data have supported this theory. Previous studies revealed that the amygdala might be responsible for the emotion regulation-related symptoms of schizophrenia. However, conventional methods oversimplified brain activities by assuming that it remained static throughout the entire scan duration, which may explain why inconsistent results have been reported for the same brain region. An emerging technique is sliding time window analysis, which is used to describe functional connectivity based on the temporal variability of regions of interest (e.g., amygdala) in patients with schizophrenia. Conventional analysis of the static functional connectivity between the amygdala and whole brain was also conducted. Static functional connectivity between the amygdala and orbitofrontal region was impaired in patients with schizophrenia. The variability of connectivity between the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex was enhanced (i.e., greater dynamics) in patients with schizophrenia. A negative relationship was found between the variability of connectivity and information processing efficiency. A positive correlation was found between the variability of connectivity and symptom severity. The findings suggest that schizophrenia was related to abnormal patterns of fluctuating communication among brain areas that are involved in emotion regulations. Unveiling the temporal properties of functional connectivity could disentangle the inconsistent results of previous functional connectivity studies.

  6. Ex vivo dissection of optogenetically activated mPFC and hippocampal inputs to neurons in the basolateral amygdala: implications for fear and emotional memory

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cora eHübner

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available Many lines of evidence suggest that a reciprocally interconnected network comprising the amygdala, ventral hippocampus (vHC, and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC participates in different aspects of the acquisition and extinction of conditioned fear responses and fear behavior. This could at least in part be mediated by direct connections from mPFC or vHC to amygdala to control amygdala activity and output. However, currently the interactions between mPFC and vHC afferents and their specific targets in the amygdala are still poorly understood. Here, we use an ex-vivo optogenetic approach to dissect synaptic properties of inputs from mPFC and vHC to defined neuronal populations in the basal amygdala (BA, the area that we identify as a major target of these projections. We find that BA principal neurons (PNs and local BA interneurons (INs receive monosynaptic excitatory inputs from mPFC and vHC. In addition, both these inputs also recruit GABAergic feedforward inhibition in a substantial fraction of PNs, in some neurons this also comprises a slow GABAB-component. Amongst the innervated PNs we identify neurons that project back to subregions of the mPFC, indicating a loop between neurons in mPFC and BA, and a pathway from vHC to mPFC via BA. Interestingly, mPFC inputs also recruit feedforward inhibition in a fraction of INs, suggesting that these inputs can activate dis-inhibitory circuits in the BA. A general feature of both mPFC and vHC inputs to local INs is that excitatory inputs display faster rise and decay kinetics than in PNs, which would enable temporally precise signaling. However, mPFC and vHC inputs to both PNs and INs differ in their presynaptic release properties, in that vHC inputs are more depressing. In summary, our data describe novel wiring, and features of synaptic connections from mPFC and vHC to amygdala that could help to interpret functions of these interconnected brain areas at the network level.

  7. Ex vivo dissection of optogenetically activated mPFC and hippocampal inputs to neurons in the basolateral amygdala: implications for fear and emotional memory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hübner, Cora; Bosch, Daniel; Gall, Andrea; Lüthi, Andreas; Ehrlich, Ingrid

    2014-01-01

    Many lines of evidence suggest that a reciprocally interconnected network comprising the amygdala, ventral hippocampus (vHC), and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) participates in different aspects of the acquisition and extinction of conditioned fear responses and fear behavior. This could at least in part be mediated by direct connections from mPFC or vHC to amygdala to control amygdala activity and output. However, currently the interactions between mPFC and vHC afferents and their specific targets in the amygdala are still poorly understood. Here, we use an ex-vivo optogenetic approach to dissect synaptic properties of inputs from mPFC and vHC to defined neuronal populations in the basal amygdala (BA), the area that we identify as a major target of these projections. We find that BA principal neurons (PNs) and local BA interneurons (INs) receive monosynaptic excitatory inputs from mPFC and vHC. In addition, both these inputs also recruit GABAergic feedforward inhibition in a substantial fraction of PNs, in some neurons this also comprises a slow GABAB-component. Amongst the innervated PNs we identify neurons that project back to subregions of the mPFC, indicating a loop between neurons in mPFC and BA, and a pathway from vHC to mPFC via BA. Interestingly, mPFC inputs also recruit feedforward inhibition in a fraction of INs, suggesting that these inputs can activate dis-inhibitory circuits in the BA. A general feature of both mPFC and vHC inputs to local INs is that excitatory inputs display faster rise and decay kinetics than in PNs, which would enable temporally precise signaling. However, mPFC and vHC inputs to both PNs and INs differ in their presynaptic release properties, in that vHC inputs are more depressing. In summary, our data describe novel wiring, and features of synaptic connections from mPFC and vHC to amygdala that could help to interpret functions of these interconnected brain areas at the network level. PMID:24634648

  8. Selective enhancement of main olfactory input to the medial amygdala by GnRH.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blake, Camille Bond; Meredith, Michael

    2010-03-04

    In male hamsters mating behavior is dependent on chemosensory input from the main olfactory and vomeronasal systems, whose central pathways contain cell bodies and fibers of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons. In sexually naive males, vomeronasal organ removal (VNX), but not main olfactory lesions, impairs mating behavior. Intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.)-GnRH restores mating in sexually naive VNX males and enhances medial amygdala (Me) immediate-early gene activation by chemosensory stimulation. In sexually experienced males, VNX does not impair mating and i.c.v.-GnRH suppresses Me activation. Thus, the main olfactory system is sufficient for mating in experienced-VNX males, but not in naive-VNX males. We investigated the possibility that GnRH enhances main olfactory input to the amygdala in naive-VNX males using i.c.v.-GnRH and pharmacological stimulation (bicuculline/D,L-homocysteic acid mixture) of the main olfactory bulb (MOB). In sexually naive intact males there was a robust increase of Fos protein expression in the anteroventral medial amygdala (MeAv) with MOB stimulation, but no effect of GnRH. There was no effect of stimulation or GnRH in posterodorsal medial amygdala (MePd). In naive-VNX animals, GnRH increased Fos in MeAv and MePv. Only combined MOB stimulation and i.c.v.-GnRH produced a significant increase in Fos in the dorsal (reproduction-related) portion of MeP (MePd). When the animals were sexually experienced before VNX, a condition in which GnRH does not enhance mating, i.c.v.-GnRH combined with MOB stimulation suppressed Fos expression in MePd. This suggests a more selective effect of GnRH on olfactory input in MePd than elsewhere in medial amygdala of VNX males. 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  9. Age-dependent changes in autophosphorylation of alpha calcium/calmodulin dependent kinase II in hippocampus and amygdala after contextual fear conditioning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fang, Ton; Kasbi, Kamillia; Rothe, Stephanie; Aziz, Wajeeha; Giese, K Peter

    2017-09-01

    The hippocampus and amygdala are essential brain regions responsible for contextual fear conditioning (CFC). The autophosphorylation of alpha calcium-calmodulin kinase II (αCaMKII) at threonine-286 (T286) is a critical step implicated in long-term potentiation (LTP), learning and memory. However, the changes in αCaMKII levels with aging and training in associated brain regions are not fully understood. Here, we studied how aging and training affect the levels of phosphorylated (T286) and proportion of phosphorylated:total αCaMKII in the hippocampus and amygdala. Young and aged mice, naïve (untrained) and trained in CFC, were analysed by immunohistochemistry for the levels of total and phosphorylated αCaMKII in the hippocampus and amygdala. We found that two hours after CFC training, young mice exhibited a higher level of phosphorylated and increased ratio of phosphorylated:total αCaMKII in hippocampal CA3 stratum radiatum. Furthermore, aged untrained mice showed a higher ratio of phosphorylated:total αCaMKII in the CA3 region of the hippocampus when compared to the young untrained group. No effect of training or aging were seen in the central, lateral and basolateral amygdala regions, for both phosphorylated and ratio of phosphorylated:total αCaMKII. These results show that aging impairs the training-induced upregulation of autophosphorylated (T286) αCaMKII in the CA3 stratum radiatum of the hippocampus. This indicates that distinct age-related mechanisms underlie CFC that may rely more heavily on NMDA receptor-dependent plasticity in young age. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  10. Stimulation of the medial amygdala enhances medial preoptic dopamine release: implications for male rat sexual behavior.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dominguez, J M; Hull, E M

    2001-11-02

    Increased dopamine (DA) in the medial preoptic area (MPOA) facilitates male sexual behavior. A major source of innervation to the MPOA is the medial amygdala (MeA). We now report that chemical stimulation of the MeA enhanced levels of extracellular MPOA DA in anesthetized male rats. These results suggest that DA activity in the MPOA can be regulated by input from the MeA to the MPOA.

  11. Stress-induced resistance to the fear memory labilization/reconsolidation process. Involvement of the basolateral amygdala complex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Espejo, Pablo Javier; Ortiz, Vanesa; Martijena, Irene Delia; Molina, Victor Alejandro

    2016-10-01

    Consolidated memories can enter into a labile state after reactivation followed by a restabilization process defined as reconsolidation. This process can be interfered with Midazolam (MDZ), a positive allosteric modulator of the GABA-A receptor. The present study has evaluated the influence of prior stress on MDZ's interfering effect. We also assessed the influence of both systemic and intra-basolateral amygdala (BLA) infusion of d-cycloserine (DCS), a partial agonist of the NMDA receptors, on the MDZ effect in previously stressed rats. Furthermore, we analyzed the effect of stress on the expression of Zif-268 and the GluN2B sites, two molecular markers of the labilization/reconsolidation process, following reactivation. The results revealed that prior stress resulted into a memory trace that was insensitive to the MDZ impairing effect. Both systemic and intra-BLA DCS administration previous to reactivation restored MDZ's disruptive effect on memory reconsolidation in stressed animals. Further, reactivation enhanced Zif-268 expression in the BLA in control unstressed rats, whereas no elevation was observed in stressed animals. In agreement with the behavioral findings, DCS restored the increased level of Zif-268 expression in the BLA in stressed animals. Moreover, memory reactivation in unstressed animals elevated GluN2B expression in the BLA, thus suggesting that this effect is involved in memory destabilization, whereas stressed animals did not reveal any changes. These findings are consistent with resistance to the MDZ effect in these rats, indicating that stress exposure prevents the onset of destabilization following reactivation. In summary, prior stress limited both the occurrence of the reactivation-induced destabilization and restabilization. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. A BDNF Sensitive Mechanism Is Involved in the Fear Memory Resulting from the Interaction between Stress and the Retrieval of an Established Trace

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giachero, Marcelo; Bustos, Silvia G.; Calfa, Gaston; Molina, Victor A.

    2013-01-01

    The present study investigates the fear memory resulting from the interaction of a stressful experience and the retrieval of an established fear memory trace. Such a combination enhanced both fear expression and fear retention in adult Wistar rats. Likewise, midazolam intra-basolateral amygdala (BLA) infusion prior to stress attenuated the…

  13. Impaired fear extinction in serotonin transporter knockout rats is associated with increased 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in the amygdala

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Shan, L.; Guo, Hang-Yuan; van den Heuvel, Corina N A M; van Heerikhuize, J.J.; Homberg, Judith R

    2018-01-01

    AIMS: One potential risk factor for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) involves the low activity (short; s) allelic variant of the serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR), possibly due to reduced prefrontal control over the amygdala. Evidence shows that DNA

  14. Long-Term Synaptic Changes in Two Input Pathways into the Lateral Nucleus of the Amygdala Underlie Fear Extinction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Park, Junchol; Choi, June-Seek

    2010-01-01

    Plasticity in two input pathways into the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA), the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and the sensory thalamus, have been suggested to underlie extinction, suppression of a previously acquired conditioned response (CR) following repeated presentations of the conditioned stimulus (CS). However, little is known about…

  15. Transient acidosis while retrieving a fear-related memory enhances its lability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Du, Jianyang; Price, Margaret P; Taugher, Rebecca J; Grigsby, Daniel; Ash, Jamison J; Stark, Austin C; Hossain Saad, Md Zubayer; Singh, Kritika; Mandal, Juthika; Wemmie, John A; Welsh, Michael J

    2017-01-01

    Attenuating the strength of fearful memories could benefit people disabled by memories of past trauma. Pavlovian conditioning experiments indicate that a retrieval cue can return a conditioned aversive memory to a labile state. However, means to enhance retrieval and render a memory more labile are unknown. We hypothesized that augmenting synaptic signaling during retrieval would increase memory lability. To enhance synaptic transmission, mice inhaled CO2 to induce an acidosis and activate acid sensing ion channels. Transient acidification increased the retrieval-induced lability of an aversive memory. The labile memory could then be weakened by an extinction protocol or strengthened by reconditioning. Coupling CO2 inhalation to retrieval increased activation of amygdala neurons bearing the memory trace and increased the synaptic exchange from Ca2+-impermeable to Ca2+-permeable AMPA receptors. The results suggest that transient acidosis during retrieval renders the memory of an aversive event more labile and suggest a strategy to modify debilitating memories. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.22564.001 PMID:28650315

  16. The Responsive Amygdala: Treatment-induced Alterations in Functional Connectivity in Pediatric Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simons, LE; Pielech, M; Erpelding, N; Linnman, C; Moulton, E; Sava, S; Lebel, A; Serrano, P; Sethna, N; Berde, C; Becerra, L; Borsook, D

    2014-01-01

    The amygdala is a key brain region with efferent and afferent neural connections that involve complex behaviors such as pain, reward, fear and anxiety. This study evaluated resting state functional connectivity of the amygdala with cortical and subcortical regions in a group of chronic pain patients (pediatric complex regional pain syndrome) with age-gender matched controls before and after intensive physical-biobehavioral pain treatment. Our main findings include (1) enhanced functional connectivity from the amygdala to multiple cortical, subcortical, and cerebellar regions in patients compared to controls, with differences predominantly in the left amygdala in the pre-treated condition (disease state); (2) dampened hyperconnectivity from the left amygdala to the motor cortex, parietal lobe, and cingulate cortex after intensive pain rehabilitation treatment within patients with nominal differences observed among healthy controls from Time 1 to Time 2 (treatment effects); (3) functional connectivity to several regions key to fear circuitry (prefrontal cortex, bilateral middle temporal lobe, bilateral cingulate, hippocampus) correlated with higher pain-related fear scores and (4) decreases in pain-related fear associated with decreased connectivity between the amygdala and the motor and somatosensory cortex, cingulate, and frontal areas. Our data suggest that there are rapid changes in amygdala connectivity following an aggressive treatment program in children with chronic pain and intrinsic amygdala functional connectivity activity serving as a potential indicator of treatment response. PMID:24861582

  17. Regulation of the fear network by mediators of stress: Norepinephrine alters the balance between Cortical and Subcortical afferent excitation of the Lateral Amygdala

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luke R Johnson

    2011-05-01

    Full Text Available Pavlovian auditory fear conditioning crucially involves the integration of information about and acoustic conditioned stimulus (CS and an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA. The auditory CS reaches the LA subcortically via a direct connection from the auditory thalamus and also from the auditory association cortex itself. How neural modulators, especially those activated during stress, such as norepinephrine (NE, regulate synaptic transmission and plasticity in this network is poorly understood. Here we show that NE inhibits synaptic transmission in both the subcortical and cortical input pathway but that sensory processing is biased towards the subcortical pathway. In addition binding of NE to β-adrenergic receptors further dissociates sensory processing in the LA. These findings suggest a network mechanism that shifts sensory balance towards the faster but more primitive subcortical input.

  18. Emotional Memories Are Not All Created Equal: Evidence for Selective Memory Enhancement

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, Adam K.; Grabski, Wojtek; Lacka, Dominika; Yamaguchi, Yuki

    2006-01-01

    Human brain imaging studies have shown that greater amygdala activation to emotional relative to neutral events leads to enhanced episodic memory. Other studies have shown that fearful faces also elicit greater amygdala activation relative to neutral faces. To the extent that amygdala recruitment is sufficient to enhance recollection, these…

  19. Gastrin-releasing peptide signaling plays a limited and subtle role in amygdala physiology and aversive memory.

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    Frederique Chaperon

    Full Text Available Links between synaptic plasticity in the lateral amygdala (LA and Pavlovian fear learning are well established. Neuropeptides including gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP can modulate LA function. GRP increases inhibition in the LA and mice lacking the GRP receptor (GRPR KO show more pronounced and persistent fear after single-trial associative learning. Here, we confirmed these initial findings and examined whether they extrapolate to more aspects of amygdala physiology and to other forms of aversive associative learning. GRP application in brain slices from wildtype but not GRPR KO mice increased spontaneous inhibitory activity in LA pyramidal neurons. In amygdala slices from GRPR KO mice, GRP did not increase inhibitory activity. In comparison to wildtype, short- but not long-term plasticity was increased in the cortico-lateral amygdala (LA pathway of GRPR KO amygdala slices, whereas no changes were detected in the thalamo-LA pathway. In addition, GRPR KO mice showed enhanced fear evoked by single-trial conditioning and reduced spontaneous firing of neurons in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA. Altogether, these results are consistent with a potentially important modulatory role of GRP/GRPR signaling in the amygdala. However, administration of GRP or the GRPR antagonist (D-Phe(6, Leu-NHEt(13, des-Met(14-Bombesin (6-14 did not affect amygdala LTP in brain slices, nor did they affect the expression of conditioned fear following intra-amygdala administration. GRPR KO mice also failed to show differences in fear expression and extinction after multiple-trial fear conditioning, and there were no differences in conditioned taste aversion or gustatory neophobia. Collectively, our data indicate that GRP/GRPR signaling modulates amygdala physiology in a paradigm-specific fashion that likely is insufficient to generate therapeutic effects across amygdala-dependent disorders.

  20. ABA renewal involves enhancements in both GluA2-lacking AMPA receptor activity and GluA1 phosphorylation in the lateral amygdala.

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    Kyungjoon Park

    Full Text Available Fear renewal, the context-specific relapse of fear following fear extinction, is a leading animal model of post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD and fear-related disorders. Although fear extinction can diminish fear responses, this effect is restricted to the context where the extinction is carried out, and the extinguished fear strongly relapses when assessed in the original acquisition context (ABA renewal or in a context distinct from the conditioning and extinction contexts (ABC renewal. We have previously identified Ser831 phosphorylation of GluA1 subunit in the lateral amygdala (LA as a key molecular mechanism for ABC renewal. However, molecular mechanisms underlying ABA renewal remain to be elucidated. Here, we found that both the excitatory synaptic efficacy and GluA2-lacking AMPAR activity at thalamic input synapses onto the LA (T-LA synapses were enhanced upon ABA renewal. GluA2-lacking AMPAR activity was also increased during low-threshold potentiation, a potential cellular substrate of renewal, at T-LA synapses. The microinjection of 1-naphtylacetyl-spermine (NASPM, a selective blocker of GluA2-lacking AMPARs, into the LA attenuated ABA renewal, suggesting a critical role of GluA2-lacking AMPARs in ABA renewal. We also found that Ser831 phosphorylation of GluA1 in the LA was increased upon ABA renewal. We developed a short peptide mimicking the Ser831-containing C-tail region of GluA1, which can be phosphorylated upon renewal (GluA1S; thus, the phosphorylated GluA1S may compete with Ser831-phosphorylated GluA1. This GluA1S peptide blocked the low-threshold potentiation when dialyzed into a recorded neuron. The microinjection of a cell-permeable form of GluA1S peptide into the LA attenuated ABA renewal. In support of the GluA1S experiments, a GluA1D peptide (in which the serine at 831 is replaced with a phosphomimetic amino acid, aspartate attenuated ABA renewal when microinjected into the LA. These findings suggest that enhancements

  1. ABA renewal involves enhancements in both GluA2-lacking AMPA receptor activity and GluA1 phosphorylation in the lateral amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Park, Kyungjoon; Song, Beomjong; Kim, Jeongyeon; Hong, Ingie; Song, Sangho; Lee, Junuk; Park, Sungmo; Kim, Jihye; An, Bobae; Lee, Hyun Woo; Lee, Seungbok; Kim, Hyun; Lee, Justin C; Lee, Sukwon; Choi, Sukwoo

    2014-01-01

    Fear renewal, the context-specific relapse of fear following fear extinction, is a leading animal model of post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) and fear-related disorders. Although fear extinction can diminish fear responses, this effect is restricted to the context where the extinction is carried out, and the extinguished fear strongly relapses when assessed in the original acquisition context (ABA renewal) or in a context distinct from the conditioning and extinction contexts (ABC renewal). We have previously identified Ser831 phosphorylation of GluA1 subunit in the lateral amygdala (LA) as a key molecular mechanism for ABC renewal. However, molecular mechanisms underlying ABA renewal remain to be elucidated. Here, we found that both the excitatory synaptic efficacy and GluA2-lacking AMPAR activity at thalamic input synapses onto the LA (T-LA synapses) were enhanced upon ABA renewal. GluA2-lacking AMPAR activity was also increased during low-threshold potentiation, a potential cellular substrate of renewal, at T-LA synapses. The microinjection of 1-naphtylacetyl-spermine (NASPM), a selective blocker of GluA2-lacking AMPARs, into the LA attenuated ABA renewal, suggesting a critical role of GluA2-lacking AMPARs in ABA renewal. We also found that Ser831 phosphorylation of GluA1 in the LA was increased upon ABA renewal. We developed a short peptide mimicking the Ser831-containing C-tail region of GluA1, which can be phosphorylated upon renewal (GluA1S); thus, the phosphorylated GluA1S may compete with Ser831-phosphorylated GluA1. This GluA1S peptide blocked the low-threshold potentiation when dialyzed into a recorded neuron. The microinjection of a cell-permeable form of GluA1S peptide into the LA attenuated ABA renewal. In support of the GluA1S experiments, a GluA1D peptide (in which the serine at 831 is replaced with a phosphomimetic amino acid, aspartate) attenuated ABA renewal when microinjected into the LA. These findings suggest that enhancements in both the

  2. Facilitated orienting underlies fearful face-enhanced gaze cueing of spatial location

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joshua M. Carlson

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Faces provide a platform for non-verbal communication through emotional expression and eye gaze. Fearful facial expressions are salient indicators of potential threat within the environment, which automatically capture observers’ attention. However, the degree to which fearful facial expressions facilitate attention to others’ gaze is unresolved. Given that fearful gaze indicates the location of potential threat, it was hypothesized that fearful gaze facilitates location processing. To test this hypothesis, a gaze cueing study with fearful and neutral faces assessing target localization was conducted. The task consisted of leftward, rightward, and forward/straight gaze trials. The inclusion of forward gaze trials allowed for the isolation of orienting and disengagement components of gaze-directed attention. The results suggest that both neutral and fearful gaze modulates attention through orienting and disengagement components. Fearful gaze, however, resulted in quicker orienting than neutral gaze. Thus, fearful faces enhance gaze cueing of spatial location through facilitated orienting.

  3. Individual Differences in Animal Stress Models: Considering Resilience, Vulnerability, and the Amygdala in Mediating the Effects of Stress and Conditioned Fear on Sleep.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wellman, Laurie L; Fitzpatrick, Mairen E; Hallum, Olga Y; Sutton, Amy M; Williams, Brook L; Sanford, Larry D

    2016-06-01

    To examine the REM sleep response to stress and fearful memories as a potential marker of stress resilience and vulnerability and to assess the role of the basolateral amygdala (BLA) in mediating the effects of fear memory on sleep. Outbred Wistar rats were surgically implanted with electrodes for recording EEG and EMG and with bilateral guide cannulae directed at the BLA. Data loggers were placed intraperitoneally to record core body temperature. After recovery from surgery, the rats received shock training (ST: 20 footshocks, 0.8 mA, 0.5-s duration, 60-s interstimulus interval) and afterwards received microinjections of the GABAA agonist muscimol (MUS; 1.0 μM) to inactivate BLA or microinjections of vehicle (VEH) alone. Subsequently, the rats were separated into 4 groups (VEH-vulnerable (VEH-Vul; n = 14), VEH-resilient (VEH-Res; n = 13), MUS-vulnerable (MUS-Vul; n = 8), and MUS-resilient (MUS-Res; n = 11) based on whether or not REM was decreased, compared to baseline, during the first 4 h following ST. We then compared sleep, freezing, and the stress response (stress-induced hyperthermia, SIH) across groups to determine the effects of ST and fearful context re-exposure alone (CTX). REM was significantly reduced on the ST day in both VEH-Vul and MUS-Vul rats; however, post-ST MUS blocked the reduction in REM on the CTX day in the MUS-Vul group. The VEH-Res and MUS-Res rats showed similar levels of REM on both ST and CTX days. The effects of post-ST inactivation of BLA on freezing and SIH were minimal. Outbred Wistar rats can show significant individual differences in the effects of stress on REM that are mediated by BLA. These differences in REM can be independent of behavioral fear and the peripheral stress response, and may be an important biomarker of stress resilience and vulnerability. © 2016 Associated Professional Sleep Societies, LLC.

  4. Hippocampal structural plasticity accompanies the resulting contextual fear memory following stress and fear conditioning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giachero, Marcelo; Calfa, Gaston D; Molina, Victor A

    2013-10-15

    The present research investigated the resulting contextual fear memory and structural plasticity changes in the dorsal hippocampus (DH) following stress and fear conditioning. This combination enhanced fear retention and increased the number of total and mature dendritic spines in DH. Intra-basolateral amygdala (BLA) infusion of midazolam prior to stress prevented both the enhancement of fear retention and an increase in the density of total and mature dendritic spines in DH. These findings emphasize the role of the stress-induced attenuation of GABAergic neurotransmission in BLA in the promoting influence of stress on fear memory and on synaptic remodeling in DH. In conclusion, the structural remodeling in DH accompanied the facilitated fear memory following a combination of fear conditioning and stressful stimulation.

  5. Inhibition of amygdaloid dopamine D2 receptors impairs emotional learning measured with fear-potentiated startle.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greba, Q; Gifkins, A; Kokkinidis, L

    2001-04-27

    Considerable advances have been made in understanding the neurocircuitry underlying the acquisition and expression of Pavlovian conditioned fear responses. Within the complex cellular and molecular processes mediating fearfulness, amygdaloid dopamine (DA), originating from cells in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the midbrain, is thought to contribute to fear-motivated responding. Considering that blockade of DA D(2) receptors is a common mechanism of action for antipsychotic agents, we hypothesized that inhibition of D(2) receptors in the amygdala may be involved in the antiparanoid effects of these drugs. To assess the role of amygdaloid DA D(2) receptors in aversive emotionality, the D(2) receptor antagonist raclopride was infused into the amygdala prior to Pavlovian fear conditioning. Potentiated startle was used as a behavioral indicator of fear and anxiety. Classical fear conditioning and acoustic startle testing were conducted in a single session allowing for the concomitant assessment of shock reactivity with startle enhancement. Depending on dose, the results found conditioned fear acquisition and retention to be impaired following administration of raclopride into the amygdala. Additionally, the learning deficit was dissociated from shock detection and from fear expression assessed with the shock sensitization of acoustic startle. These findings further refine the known neural mechanisms of amygdala-based emotional learning and memory and were interpreted to suggest that, along with D(1) receptors, D(2) receptors in the amygdala may mediate the formation and the retention of newly-acquired fear associations.

  6. Enhancing second-order conditioning with lesions of the basolateral amygdala.

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    Holland, Peter C

    2016-04-01

    Because the occurrence of primary reinforcers in natural environments is relatively rare, conditioned reinforcement plays an important role in many accounts of behavior, including pathological behaviors such as the abuse of alcohol or drugs. As a result of pairing with natural or drug reinforcers, initially neutral cues acquire the ability to serve as reinforcers for subsequent learning. Accepting a major role for conditioned reinforcement in everyday learning is complicated by the often-evanescent nature of this phenomenon in the laboratory, especially when primary reinforcers are entirely absent from the test situation. Here, I found that under certain conditions, the impact of conditioned reinforcement could be extended by lesions of the basolateral amygdala (BLA). Rats received first-order Pavlovian conditioning pairings of 1 visual conditioned stimulus (CS) with food prior to receiving excitotoxic or sham lesions of the BLA, and first-order pairings of another visual CS with food after that surgery. Finally, each rat received second-order pairings of a different auditory cue with each visual first-order CS. As in prior studies, relative to sham-lesioned control rats, lesioned rats were impaired in their acquisition of second-order conditioning to the auditory cue paired with the first-order CS that was trained after surgery. However, lesioned rats showed enhanced and prolonged second-order conditioning to the auditory cue paired with the first-order CS that was trained before amygdala damage was made. Implications for an enhanced role for conditioned reinforcement by drug-related cues after drug-induced alterations in neural plasticity are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved).

  7. Cannabinoid receptors activation and glucocorticoid receptors deactivation in the amygdala prevent the stress-induced enhancement of a negative learning experience.

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    Ramot, Assaf; Akirav, Irit

    2012-05-01

    The enhancement of emotional memory is clearly important as emotional stimuli are generally more significant than neutral stimuli for surviving and reproduction purposes. Yet, the enhancement of a negative emotional memory following exposure to stress may result in dysfunctional or intrusive memory that underlies several psychiatric disorders. Here we examined the effects of stress exposure on a negative emotional learning experience as measured by a decrease in the magnitude of the expected quantity of reinforcements in an alley maze. In contrast to other fear-related negative experiences, reward reduction is more associated with frustration and is assessed by measuring the latency to run the length of the alley to consume the reduced quantity of reward. We also examined whether the cannabinoid receptors agonist WIN55,212-2 (5 μg/side) and the glucocorticoid receptors (GRs) antagonist RU-486 (10 ng/side) administered into the rat basolateral amygdala (BLA) could prevent the stress-induced enhancement. We found that intra-BLA RU-486 or WIN55,212 before stress exposure prevented the stress-induced enhancement of memory consolidation for reduction in reward magnitude. These findings suggest that cannabinoid receptors and GRs in the BLA are important modulators of stress-induced enhancement of emotional memory. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  8. Presynaptic CRF1 Receptors Mediate the Ethanol Enhancement of GABAergic Transmission in the Mouse Central Amygdala

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    Zhiguo Nie

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF is a 41-amino-acid neuropeptide involved in stress responses initiated from several brain areas, including the amygdala formation. Research shows a strong relationship between stress, brain CRF, and excessive alcohol consumption. Behavioral studies suggest that the central amygdala (CeA is significantly involved in alcohol reward and dependence. We recently reported that the ethanol augmentation of GABAergic synaptic transmission in rat CeA involves CRF1 receptors, because both CRF and ethanol significantly enhanced the amplitude of evoked GABAergic inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs in CeA neurons from wild-type (WT and CRF2 knockout (KO mice, but not in neurons of CRF1 KO mice. The present study extends these findings using selective CRF receptor ligands, gene KO models, and miniature IPSC (mIPSC analysis to assess further a presynaptic role for the CRF receptors in mediating ethanol effects in the CeA. In whole-cell patch recordings of pharmacologically isolated GABAAergic IPSCs from slices of mouse CeA, both CRF and ethanol augmented evoked IPSCs in a concentration-dependent manner, with low EC50s. A CRF1 (but not CRF2 KO construct and the CRF1-selective nonpeptide antagonist NIH-3 (LWH-63 blocked the augmenting effect of both CRF and ethanol on evoked IPSCs. Furthermore, the new selective CRF1 agonist stressin1, but not the CRF2 agonist urocortin 3, also increased evoked IPSC amplitudes. Both CRF and ethanol decreased paired-pulse facilitation (PPF of evoked IPSCs and significantly enhanced the frequency, but not the amplitude, of spontaneous miniature GABAergic mIPSCs in CeA neurons of WT mice, suggesting a presynaptic site of action. The PPF effect of ethanol was abolished in CeA neurons of CRF1 KO mice. The CRF1 antagonist NIH-3 blocked the CRF- and ethanol-induced enhancement of mIPSC frequency in CeA neurons. These data indicate that presynaptic CRF1 receptors play a critical role in permitting

  9. Tracking the Fear Memory Engram: Discrete Populations of Neurons within Amygdala, Hypothalamus, and Lateral Septum Are Specifically Activated by Auditory Fear Conditioning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Butler, Christopher W.; Wilson, Yvette M.; Gunnersen, Jenny M.; Murphy, Mark

    2015-01-01

    Memory formation is thought to occur via enhanced synaptic connectivity between populations of neurons in the brain. However, it has been difficult to localize and identify the neurons that are directly involved in the formation of any specific memory. We have previously used "fos-tau-lacZ" ("FTL") transgenic mice to identify…

  10. Enhanced noradrenergic activity in the amygdala contributes to hyperarousal in an animal model of PTSD

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ronzoni, G.; Arco, A. Del; Mora, F.; Segovia, G.

    2016-01-01

    Increased activity of the noradrenergic system in the amygdala has been suggested to contribute to the hyperarousal symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, only two studies have examined the content of noradrenaline or its metabolites in the amygdala of rats

  11. An Appetitive Conditioned Stimulus Enhances Fear Acquisition and Impairs Fear Extinction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leung, Hiu T.; Holmes, Nathan M.; Westbrook, R. Frederick

    2016-01-01

    Four experiments used between- and within-subject designs to examine appetitive-aversive interactions in rats. Experiments 1 and 2 examined the effect of an excitatory appetitive conditioned stimulus (CS) on acquisition and extinction of conditioned fear. In Experiment 1, a CS shocked in a compound with an appetitive excitor (i.e., a stimulus…

  12. MEG evidence for dynamic amygdala modulations by gaze and facial emotions.

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    Thibaud Dumas

    Full Text Available Amygdala is a key brain region for face perception. While the role of amygdala in the perception of facial emotion and gaze has been extensively highlighted with fMRI, the unfolding in time of amydgala responses to emotional versus neutral faces with different gaze directions is scarcely known.Here we addressed this question in healthy subjects using MEG combined with an original source imaging method based on individual amygdala volume segmentation and the localization of sources in the amygdala volume. We found an early peak of amygdala activity that was enhanced for fearful relative to neutral faces between 130 and 170 ms. The effect of emotion was again significant in a later time range (310-350 ms. Moreover, the amygdala response was greater for direct relative averted gaze between 190 and 350 ms, and this effect was selective of fearful faces in the right amygdala.Altogether, our results show that the amygdala is involved in the processing and integration of emotion and gaze cues from faces in different time ranges, thus underlining its role in multiple stages of face perception.

  13. MEG Evidence for Dynamic Amygdala Modulations by Gaze and Facial Emotions

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    Dumas, Thibaud; Dubal, Stéphanie; Attal, Yohan; Chupin, Marie; Jouvent, Roland; Morel, Shasha; George, Nathalie

    2013-01-01

    Background Amygdala is a key brain region for face perception. While the role of amygdala in the perception of facial emotion and gaze has been extensively highlighted with fMRI, the unfolding in time of amydgala responses to emotional versus neutral faces with different gaze directions is scarcely known. Methodology/Principal Findings Here we addressed this question in healthy subjects using MEG combined with an original source imaging method based on individual amygdala volume segmentation and the localization of sources in the amygdala volume. We found an early peak of amygdala activity that was enhanced for fearful relative to neutral faces between 130 and 170 ms. The effect of emotion was again significant in a later time range (310–350 ms). Moreover, the amygdala response was greater for direct relative averted gaze between 190 and 350 ms, and this effect was selective of fearful faces in the right amygdala. Conclusion Altogether, our results show that the amygdala is involved in the processing and integration of emotion and gaze cues from faces in different time ranges, thus underlining its role in multiple stages of face perception. PMID:24040190

  14. Amygdala and auditory cortex exhibit distinct sensitivity to relevant acoustic features of auditory emotions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pannese, Alessia; Grandjean, Didier; Frühholz, Sascha

    2016-12-01

    Discriminating between auditory signals of different affective value is critical to successful social interaction. It is commonly held that acoustic decoding of such signals occurs in the auditory system, whereas affective decoding occurs in the amygdala. However, given that the amygdala receives direct subcortical projections that bypass the auditory cortex, it is possible that some acoustic decoding occurs in the amygdala as well, when the acoustic features are relevant for affective discrimination. We tested this hypothesis by combining functional neuroimaging with the neurophysiological phenomena of repetition suppression (RS) and repetition enhancement (RE) in human listeners. Our results show that both amygdala and auditory cortex responded differentially to physical voice features, suggesting that the amygdala and auditory cortex decode the affective quality of the voice not only by processing the emotional content from previously processed acoustic features, but also by processing the acoustic features themselves, when these are relevant to the identification of the voice's affective value. Specifically, we found that the auditory cortex is sensitive to spectral high-frequency voice cues when discriminating vocal anger from vocal fear and joy, whereas the amygdala is sensitive to vocal pitch when discriminating between negative vocal emotions (i.e., anger and fear). Vocal pitch is an instantaneously recognized voice feature, which is potentially transferred to the amygdala by direct subcortical projections. These results together provide evidence that, besides the auditory cortex, the amygdala too processes acoustic information, when this is relevant to the discrimination of auditory emotions. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. From circuits to behaviour in the amygdala

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    Janak, Patricia H.; Tye, Kay M.

    2015-01-01

    The amygdala has long been associated with emotion and motivation, playing an essential part in processing both fearful and rewarding environmental stimuli. How can a single structure be crucial for such different functions? With recent technological advances that allow for causal investigations of specific neural circuit elements, we can now begin to map the complex anatomical connections of the amygdala onto behavioural function. Understanding how the amygdala contributes to a wide array of behaviours requires the study of distinct amygdala circuits. PMID:25592533

  16. Increased levels of conditioned fear and avoidance behavior coincide with changes in phosphorylation of the protein kinase B (AKT) within the amygdala in a mouse model of extremes in trait anxiety.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yen, Yi-Chun; Mauch, Christoph P; Dahlhoff, Maik; Micale, Vincenzo; Bunck, Mirjam; Sartori, Simone B; Singewald, Nicolas; Landgraf, Rainer; Wotjak, Carsten T

    2012-07-01

    Patients diagnosed for anxiety disorders often display faster acquisition and slower extinction of learned fear. To gain further insights into the mechanisms underlying these phenomenona, we studied conditioned fear in mice originating form a bi-directional selective breeding approach, which is based on elevated plus-maze behavior and results in CD1-derived high (HAB), normal (NAB), and low (LAB) anxiety-related behavior mice. HAB mice displayed pronounced cued-conditioned fear compared to NAB/CD1 and LAB mice that coincided with increased phosphorylation of the protein kinase B (AKT) in the basolateral amygdala 45 min after conditioning. No similar changes were observed after non-associative immediate shock presentations. Fear extinction of recent but not older fear memories was preserved. However, HAB mice were more prone to relapse of conditioned fear with the passage of time. HAB mice also displayed higher levels of contextual fear compared to NAB and LAB mice and exaggerated avoidance following step-down avoidance training. Interestingly, HAB mice showed lower and LAB mice higher levels of acoustic startle responses compared to NAB controls. The increase in arousal observed in LAB mice coincided with the general absence of conditioned freezing. Taken together, our results suggest that the genetic predisposition to high anxiety-related behavior may increase the risk of forming traumatic memories, phobic-like fear and avoidance behavior following aversive encounters, with a clear bias towards passive coping styles. In contrast, genetic predisposition to low anxiety-related and high risk-taking behavior seems to be associated with an increase in active coping styles. Our data imply changes in AKT phosphorylation as a therapeutic target for the prevention of exaggerated fear memories. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  17. Fear or greed? Oxytocin regulates inter-individual conflict by enhancing fear in men.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zheng, Huimin; Kendrick, Keith M; Yu, Rongjun

    2016-09-01

    People may choose non-cooperation in social dilemmas either out of fear (if others choose to defect) or out of greed (when others choose to cooperate). Previous studies have shown that exogenous oxytocin motivates a "tend and defend" pattern in inter-group conflict in which oxytocin stimulates in-group cooperation and out-group defense. Using a double-blind placebo-controlled design combined with a modified Prisoner's dilemma game (PDG), we examined the effect of oxytocin on social motivations in inter-individual conflict in men. Results showed that compared with the placebo group, oxytocin-exposed participants were less cooperative in general. Specifically, oxytocin amplified the effect of fear on defection but did not influence the effect of greed. Another non-social control study confirmed participants' decisions were sensitive to social factors. Our findings suggest that even when social group conflict is removed, oxytocin promotes distrust of strangers in "me and you" inter-individual conflict by elevating social fear in men. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  18. Differential Expression of Phosphorylated Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase (pMAPK) in the Lateral Amygdala of Mice Selectively Bred for High and Low Fear

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-07-02

    conditions, box geometry, flooring surface (smooth surface with sawdust bedding as opposed to the conducting rod floor), wall color and olfactory cues...lateral nucleus of the amygdala. Behavioral neuroscience 107:444-50 112. Romanski LM, LeDoux JE. 1992. Equipotentiality of thalamo-amygdala and

  19. Repetition Enhancement of Amygdala and Visual Cortex Functional Connectivity Reflects Nonconscious Memory for Negative Visual Stimuli.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kark, Sarah M; Slotnick, Scott D; Kensinger, Elizabeth A

    2016-12-01

    Most studies using a recognition memory paradigm examine the neural processes that support the ability to consciously recognize past events. However, there can also be nonconscious influences from the prior study episode that reflect repetition suppression effects-a reduction in the magnitude of activity for repeated presentations of stimuli-that are revealed by comparing neural activity associated with forgotten items to correctly rejected novel items. The present fMRI study examined the effect of emotional valence (positive vs. negative) on repetition suppression effects. Using a standard recognition memory task, 24 participants viewed line drawings of previously studied negative, positive, and neutral photos intermixed with novel line drawings. For each item, participants made an old-new recognition judgment and a sure-unsure confidence rating. Collapsed across valence, repetition suppression effects were found in ventral occipital-temporal cortex and frontal regions. Activity levels in the majority of these regions were not modulated by valence. However, repetition enhancement of the amygdala and ventral occipital-temporal cortex functional connectivity reflected nonconscious memory for negative items. In this study, valence had little effect on activation patterns but had a larger effect on functional connectivity patterns that were markers of nonconscious memory. Beyond memory and emotion, these findings are relevant to other cognitive and social neuroscientists that utilize fMRI repetition effects to investigate perception, attention, social cognition, and other forms of learning and memory.

  20. Psilocybin-Induced Decrease in Amygdala Reactivity Correlates with Enhanced Positive Mood in Healthy Volunteers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kraehenmann, Rainer; Preller, Katrin H; Scheidegger, Milan; Pokorny, Thomas; Bosch, Oliver G; Seifritz, Erich; Vollenweider, Franz X

    2015-10-15

    The amygdala is a key structure in serotonergic emotion-processing circuits. In healthy volunteers, acute administration of the serotonin 1A/2A/2C receptor agonist psilocybin reduces neural responses to negative stimuli and induces mood changes toward positive states. However, it is little-known whether psilocybin reduces amygdala reactivity to negative stimuli and whether any change in amygdala reactivity is related to mood change. This study assessed the effects of acute administration of the hallucinogen psilocybin (.16 mg/kg) versus placebo on amygdala reactivity to negative stimuli in 25 healthy volunteers using blood oxygen level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging. Mood changes were assessed using the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule and the state portion of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. A double-blind, randomized, cross-over design was used with volunteers counterbalanced to receive psilocybin and placebo in two separate sessions at least 14 days apart. Amygdala reactivity to negative and neutral stimuli was lower after psilocybin administration than after placebo administration. The psilocybin-induced attenuation of right amygdala reactivity in response to negative stimuli was related to the psilocybin-induced increase in positive mood state. These results demonstrate that acute treatment with psilocybin decreased amygdala reactivity during emotion processing and that this was associated with an increase of positive mood in healthy volunteers. These findings may be relevant to the normalization of amygdala hyperactivity and negative mood states in patients with major depression. Copyright © 2015 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  1. fMRI neurofeedback of amygdala response to aversive stimuli enhances prefrontal-limbic brain connectivity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paret, Christian; Ruf, Matthias; Gerchen, Martin Fungisai; Kluetsch, Rosemarie; Demirakca, Traute; Jungkunz, Martin; Bertsch, Katja; Schmahl, Christian; Ende, Gabriele

    2016-01-15

    Down-regulation of the amygdala with real-time fMRI neurofeedback (rtfMRI NF) potentially allows targeting brain circuits of emotion processing and may involve prefrontal-limbic networks underlying effective emotion regulation. Little research has been dedicated to the effect of rtfMRI NF on the functional connectivity of the amygdala and connectivity patterns in amygdala down-regulation with neurofeedback have not been addressed yet. Using psychophysiological interaction analysis of fMRI data, we present evidence that voluntary amygdala down-regulation by rtfMRI NF while viewing aversive pictures was associated with increased connectivity of the right amygdala with the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) in healthy subjects (N=16). In contrast, a control group (N=16) receiving sham feedback did not alter amygdala connectivity (Group×Condition t-contrast: pneurofeedback to influence functional connectivity in key networks of emotion processing and regulation. This may be beneficial for patients suffering from severe emotion dysregulation by improving neural self-regulation. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  2. Toll-like receptor 7-mediated enhancement of contextual fear memory in mice.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kubo, Yasunori; Yanagawa, Yoshiki; Matsumoto, Machiko; Hiraide, Sachiko; Kobayashi, Masanobu; Togashi, Hiroko

    2012-10-01

    Toll-like receptor (TLR) 7 recognizes viral single-stranded RNA and triggers production of the type I interferons (IFNs) IFN-α and IFN-β. Imiquimod, a synthetic TLR7 ligand, induces production of type I IFNs and is used clinically as an antiviral and antitumor drug. In the present study, we examined the effect of imiquimod on conditioned and innate fear behaviors in mice. Imiquimod was administered 2, 4, or 15 h before contextual fear conditioning. Imiquimod treatment 4 or 15 h before fear conditioning significantly enhanced context-dependent freezing behavior. This imiquimod-induced enhancement of fear-related behaviors was observed 120 h after fear conditioning. In contrast, imiquimod failed to enhance context-dependent freezing behavior in TLR7 knockout mice. Imiquimod had no significant effect on pain threshold or on innate fear-related behavior, as measured by the elevated plus-maze. The levels of type I IFN mRNA in the brain were significantly increased at 2 h after imiquimod treatment. Imiquimod also increased interleukin (IL)-1β mRNA expression in the brain at 4 h following administration, while mRNA expression of F4/80, a macrophage marker, was unaffected by imiquimod treatment. Our findings suggest that TLR7-mediated signaling enhances contextual fear memory in mice, possibly by inducing the expression of type I IFNs and IL-1β in the brain. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  3. Enhanced fear expression in a psychopathological mouse model of trait anxiety: pharmacological interventions.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Simone B Sartori

    Full Text Available The propensity to develop an anxiety disorder is thought to be determined by genetic and environmental factors. Here we investigated the relationship between a genetic predisposition to trait anxiety and experience-based learned fear in a psychopathological mouse model. Male CD-1 mice selectively bred for either high (HAB, or normal (NAB anxiety-related behaviour on the elevated plus maze were subjected to classical fear conditioning. During conditioning both mouse lines showed increased fear responses as assessed by freezing behaviour. However, 24 h later, HAB mice displayed more pronounced conditioned responses to both a contextual or cued stimulus when compared with NAB mice. Interestingly, 6 h and already 1 h after fear conditioning, freezing levels were high in HAB mice but not in NAB mice. These results suggest that trait anxiety determines stronger fear memory and/or a weaker ability to inhibit fear responses in the HAB line. The enhanced fear response of HAB mice was attenuated by treatment with either the α(2,3,5-subunit selective benzodiazepine partial agonist L-838,417, corticosterone or the selective neurokinin-1 receptor antagonist L-822,429. Overall, the HAB mouse line may represent an interesting model (i for identifying biological factors underlying misguided conditioned fear responses and (ii for studying novel anxiolytic pharmacotherapies for patients with fear-associated disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder and phobias.

  4. Central Ghrelin Resistance Permits the Overconsolidation of Fear Memory.

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    Harmatz, Elia S; Stone, Lauren; Lim, Seh Hong; Lee, Graham; McGrath, Anna; Gisabella, Barbara; Peng, Xiaoyu; Kosoy, Eliza; Yao, Junmei; Liu, Elizabeth; Machado, Nuno J; Weiner, Veronica S; Slocum, Warren; Cunha, Rodrigo A; Goosens, Ki A

    2017-06-15

    There are many contradictory findings about the role of the hormone ghrelin in aversive processing, with studies suggesting that ghrelin signaling can both inhibit and enhance aversion. Here, we characterize and reconcile the paradoxical role of ghrelin in the acquisition of fearful memories. We used enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to measure endogenous acyl-ghrelin and corticosterone at time points surrounding auditory fear learning. We used pharmacological (systemic and intra-amygdala) manipulations of ghrelin signaling and examined several aversive and appetitive behaviors. We also used biotin-labeled ghrelin to visualize ghrelin binding sites in coronal brain sections of amygdala. All work was performed in rats. In unstressed rodents, endogenous peripheral acyl-ghrelin robustly inhibits fear memory consolidation through actions in the amygdala and accounts for virtually all interindividual variability in long-term fear memory strength. Higher levels of endogenous ghrelin after fear learning were associated with weaker long-term fear memories, and pharmacological agonism of the ghrelin receptor during the memory consolidation period reduced fear memory strength. These fear-inhibitory effects cannot be explained by changes in appetitive behavior. In contrast, we show that chronic stress, which increases both circulating endogenous acyl-ghrelin and fear memory formation, promotes profound loss of ghrelin binding sites in the amygdala and behavioral insensitivity to ghrelin receptor agonism. These studies provide a new link between stress, a novel type of metabolic resistance, and vulnerability to excessive fear memory formation and reveal that ghrelin can regulate negative emotionality in unstressed animals without altering appetite. Copyright © 2016 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  5. HDAC inhibitors as cognitive enhancers in fear, anxiety and trauma therapy: where do we stand?

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    Whittle, Nigel; Singewald, Nicolas

    2014-01-01

    A novel strategy to treat anxiety and fear-related disorders such as phobias, panic and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is combining CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), including extinction-based exposure therapy, with cognitive enhancers. By targeting and boosting mechanisms underlying learning, drug development in this field aims at designing CBT-augmenting compounds that help to overcome extinction learning deficits, promote long-term fear inhibition and thus support relapse prevent...

  6. Systemic or Intra-Amygdala Injection of a Benzodiazepine (Midazolam) Impairs Extinction but Spares Re-Extinction of Conditioned Fear Responses

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    Hart, Genevra; Harris, Justin A.; Westbrook, R. Frederick

    2009-01-01

    Rats were subjected to one or two cycles of fear conditioning and extinction, injected with a benzodiazepine, midazolam, before the first or second extinction, and tested for long-term inhibition of fear responses (freezing). In Experiment 1, inhibition of context-conditioned fear was spared when midazolam was injected before the second…

  7. Reciprocal Patterns of c-Fos Expression in the Medial Prefrontal Cortex and Amygdala after Extinction and Renewal of Conditioned Fear

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    Knapska, Ewelina; Maren, Stephen

    2009-01-01

    After extinction of conditioned fear, memory for the conditioning and extinction experiences becomes context dependent. Fear is suppressed in the extinction context, but renews in other contexts. This study characterizes the neural circuitry underlying the context-dependent retrieval of extinguished fear memories using c-Fos immunohistochemistry.…

  8. The L-Type Voltage-Gated Calcium Channel Ca [subscript V] 1.2 Mediates Fear Extinction and Modulates Synaptic Tone in the Lateral Amygdala

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    Temme, Stephanie J.; Murphy, Geoffrey G.

    2017-01-01

    L-type voltage-gated calcium channels (LVGCCs) have been implicated in both the formation and the reduction of fear through Pavlovian fear conditioning and extinction. Despite the implication of LVGCCs in fear learning and extinction, studies of the individual LVGCC subtypes, Ca[subscript V]1.2 and Ca[subscript V] 1.3, using transgenic mice have…

  9. Stress-enhanced fear learning in rats is resistant to the effects of immediate massed extinction

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    Long, Virginia A.; Fanselow, Michael S.

    2014-01-01

    Enhanced fear learning occurs subsequent to traumatic or stressful events and is a persistent challenge to the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Facilitation of learning produced by prior stress can elicit an exaggerated fear response to a minimally aversive event or stimulus. Stress-enhanced fear learning (SEFL) is a rat model of PTSD; rats previously exposed to the SEFL 15 electrical shocks procedure exhibit several behavioral responses similar to those seen in patients with PTSD. However, past reports found that SEFL is not mitigated by extinction (a model of exposure therapy) when the spaced extinction began 24 h after stress. Recent studies found that extinction from 10 min to 1 h subsequent to fear conditioning “erased” learning, whereas later extinction, occurring from 24 to 72 h after conditioning did not. Other studies indicate that massed extinction is more effective than spaced procedures. Therefore, we examined the time-dependent nature of extinction on the stress-induced enhancement of fear learning using a massed trial’s procedure. Experimental rats received 15 foot shocks and were given either no extinction or massed extinction 10 min or 72 h later. Our present data indicate that SEFL, following traumatic stress, is resistant to immediate massed extinction. Experimental rats showed exaggerated new fear learning regardless of when extinction training occurred. Thus, post-traumatic reactivity such as SEFL does not seem responsive to extinction treatments. PMID:22176467

  10. Endocannabinoids in the rat basolateral amygdala enhance memory consolidation and enable glucocorticoid modulation of memory

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Campolongo, Patrizia; Roozendaal, Benno; Trezza, Viviana; Hauer, Daniela; Schelling, Gustav; McGaugh, James L.; Cuomo, Vincenzo

    2009-01-01

    Extensive evidence indicates that the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA) modulates the consolidation of memories for emotionally arousing experiences, an effect that involves the activation of the glucocorticoid system. Because the BLA expresses high densities of cannabinoid CB1 receptors,

  11. Intrinsic functional connectivity between amygdala and hippocampus during rest predicts enhanced memory under stress

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Voogd, L.D. de; Klumpers, F.; Fernandez, G.; Hermans, E.

    2017-01-01

    Declarative memories of stressful events are less prone to forgetting than mundane events. Animal research has demonstrated that such stress effects on consolidation of hippocampal-dependent memories require the amygdala. In humans, it has been shown that during learning, increased

  12. How acute stress may enhance subsequent memory for threat stimuli outside the focus of attention: DLPFC-amygdala decoupling.

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    Luo, Yu; Fernández, Guillén; Hermans, Erno; Vogel, Susanne; Zhang, Yu; Li, Hong; Klumpers, Floris

    2018-05-01

    Stress-related disorders, e.g., anxiety and depression, are characterized by decreased top-down control for distracting information, as well as a memory bias for threatening information. However, it is unclear how acute stress biases mnemonic encoding and leads to prioritized storage of threat-related information even if outside the focus of attention. In the current study, healthy adults (N = 53, all male) were randomly assigned to stress induction using the socially evaluated cold-pressor test (SECPT) or a control condition. Participants performed a task in which they were required to identify a target letter within a string of letters that were either identical to the target and thereby facilitating detection (low distractor load) or mixed with other letters to complicate the search (high load). Either a fearful or neutral face was presented on the background, outside the focus of attention. Twenty-four hours later, participants were asked to perform a surprise recognition memory test for those background faces. Stress induction resulted in increased cortisol and negative subjective mood ratings. Stress did not affect visual search performance, however, participants in the stress group showed stronger memory compared to the control group for fearful faces in the low attentional load condition. Critically, the stress induced memory bias was accompanied by decoupling between amygdala and DLFPC during encoding, which may represent a mechanism for decreased ability to filter task-irrelevant threatening background information. The current study provides a potential neural account for how stress can produce a negative memory bias for threatening information even if presented outside the focus of attention. Despite of an adaptive advantage for survival, such tendencies may ultimately also lead to generalized fear, a possibility requiring additional investigation. Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  13. The Class I HDAC Inhibitor RGFP963 Enhances Consolidation of Cued Fear Extinction

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    Bowers, Mallory E.; Xia, Bing; Carreiro, Samantha; Ressler, Kerry J.

    2015-01-01

    Evidence indicates that broad, nonspecific histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibition enhances learning and memory, however, the contribution of the various HDACs to specific forms of learning is incompletely understood. Here, we show that the Class I HDAC inhibitor, RGFP963, enhances consolidation of cued fear extinction. However, RGFP966, a strong…

  14. Dispositional fear, negative affectivity, and neuroimaging response to visually suppressed emotional faces.

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    Vizueta, Nathalie; Patrick, Christopher J; Jiang, Yi; Thomas, Kathleen M; He, Sheng

    2012-01-02

    "Invisible" stimulus paradigms provide a method for investigating basic affective processing in clinical and non-clinical populations. Neuroimaging studies utilizing continuous flash suppression (CFS) have shown increased amygdala response to invisible fearful versus neutral faces. The current study used CFS in conjunction with functional MRI to test for differences in brain reactivity to visible and invisible emotional faces in relation to two distinct trait dimensions relevant to psychopathology: negative affectivity (NA) and fearfulness. Subjects consisted of college students (N=31) assessed for fear/fearlessness along with dispositional NA. The main brain regions of interest included the fusiform face area (FFA), superior temporal sulcus (STS), and amygdala. Higher NA, but not trait fear, was associated with enhanced response to fearful versus neutral faces in STS and right amygdala (but not FFA), within the invisible condition specifically. The finding that NA rather than fearfulness predicted degree of amygdala reactivity to suppressed faces implicates the input subdivision of the amygdala in the observed effects. Given the central role of NA in anxiety and mood disorders, the current data also support use of the CFS methodology for investigating the neurobiology of these disorders. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  15. Optogenetic dissection of amygdala functioning

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ryan eLalumiere

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available Studies of amygdala functioning have occupied a significant place in the history of understanding how the brain controls behavior and cognition. Early work on the amygdala placed this small structure as a key component in the regulation of emotion and affective behavior. Over time, our understanding of its role in brain processes has expanded, as we have uncovered amygdala influences on memory, reward behavior, and overall functioning in many other brain regions. Studies have indicated that the amygdala has widespread connections with a variety of brain structures, from the prefrontal cortex to regions of the brainstem, that explain its powerful influence on other parts of the brain and behaviors mediated by those regions. Thus, many optogenetic studies have focused on harnessing the powers of this technique to elucidate the functioning of the amygdala in relation to motivation, fear, and memory as well as to determine how the amygdala regulates activity in other structures. For example, studies using optogenetics have examined how specific circuits within amygdala nuclei regulate anxiety. Other work has provided insight into how the basolateral and central amygdala nuclei regulate memory processing underlying aversive learning. Many experiments have taken advantage of optogenetics’ ability to target either genetically distinct subpopulations of neurons or the specific projections from the amygdala to other brain regions. Findings from such studies have provided evidence that particular patterns of activity in basolateral amygdala glutamatergic neurons are related to memory consolidation processes, while other work has indicated the critical nature of amygdala inputs to the prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens in regulating behavior dependent on those downstream structures. This review will examine the recent discoveries on amygdala functioning made through experiments using optogenetics, placing these findings in the context of the major

  16. Endocannabinoids in the rat basolateral amygdala enhance memory consolidation and enable glucocorticoid modulation of memory

    OpenAIRE

    Campolongo, Patrizia; Roozendaal, Benno; Trezza, Viviana; Hauer, Daniela; Schelling, Gustav; McGaugh, James L.; Cuomo, Vincenzo

    2009-01-01

    Extensive evidence indicates that the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA) modulates the consolidation of memories for emotionally arousing experiences, an effect that involves the activation of the glucocorticoid system. Because the BLA expresses high densities of cannabinoid CB1 receptors, the present experiments investigated whether the endocannabinoid system in the BLA influences memory consolidation and whether glucocorticoids interact with this system. The CB1 receptor agonist WIN5...

  17. Reward prediction error signal enhanced by striatum-amygdala interaction explains the acceleration of probabilistic reward learning by emotion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Watanabe, Noriya; Sakagami, Masamichi; Haruno, Masahiko

    2013-03-06

    Learning does not only depend on rationality, because real-life learning cannot be isolated from emotion or social factors. Therefore, it is intriguing to determine how emotion changes learning, and to identify which neural substrates underlie this interaction. Here, we show that the task-independent presentation of an emotional face before a reward-predicting cue increases the speed of cue-reward association learning in human subjects compared with trials in which a neutral face is presented. This phenomenon was attributable to an increase in the learning rate, which regulates reward prediction errors. Parallel to these behavioral findings, functional magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated that presentation of an emotional face enhanced reward prediction error (RPE) signal in the ventral striatum. In addition, we also found a functional link between this enhanced RPE signal and increased activity in the amygdala following presentation of an emotional face. Thus, this study revealed an acceleration of cue-reward association learning by emotion, and underscored a role of striatum-amygdala interactions in the modulation of the reward prediction errors by emotion.

  18. Chemosensory anxiety cues enhance the perception of fearful faces - An fMRI study.

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    Wudarczyk, Olga A; Kohn, Nils; Bergs, Rene; Goerlich, Katharina S; Gur, Raquel E; Turetsky, Bruce; Schneider, Frank; Habel, Ute

    2016-12-01

    Recent evidence suggests that humans can communicate emotion via chemosensory signals. Olfactory cues signaling anxiety can bias the perception of ambiguous stimuli, but the underlying neurobiological mechanisms of this effect are currently unknown. Here, we investigated the brain responses to subtle changes in facial expressions in response to anxiety chemosensory cues. Ten healthy individuals donated their sweat in two situations: while anticipating an important oral examination (anxiety condition) and during physical exercise (control condition). Subsequently, 24 participants completed a parametrically morphed (neutral to fearful) emotion recognition task under exposure to the olfactory cues of anxiety and sports, in the fMRI scanner. Behaviorally, the participants rated more discernible fearful faces as more fearful and neutral faces as more neutral under exposure to the anxiety cues. For brain response, under exposure to the anxiety cues, increased fearfulness of the face corresponded to increased activity in the left insula and the left middle occipital gyrus extending into fusiform gyrus. Moreover, with higher subjective ratings of facial fearfulness, participants additionally showed increased activity in the left hippocampus. These results suggest that chemosensory anxiety cues facilitate processing of socially relevant fearful stimuli and boost memory retrieval due to enhanced emotional context. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  19. Cortisol modifies extinction learning of recently acquired fear in men

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    Hermann, Andrea; Stark, Rudolf; Wolf, Oliver Tobias

    2014-01-01

    Exposure therapy builds on the mechanism of fear extinction leading to decreased fear responses. How the stress hormone cortisol affects brain regions involved in fear extinction in humans is unknown. For this reason, we tested 32 men randomly assigned to receive either 30 mg hydrocortisone or placebo 45 min before fear extinction. In fear acquisition, a picture of a geometrical figure was either partially paired (conditioned stimulus; CS+) or not paired (CS−) with an electrical stimulation (unconditioned stimulus; UCS). In fear extinction, each CS was presented again, but no UCS occurred. Cortisol increased conditioned skin conductance responses in early and late extinction. In early extinction, higher activation towards the CS− than to the CS+ was found in the amygdala, hippocampus and posterior parahippocampal gyrus. This pattern might be associated with the establishment of a new memory trace. In late extinction, the placebo compared with the cortisol group displayed enhanced CS+/CS− differentiation in the amygdala, medial frontal cortex and nucleus accumbens. A change from early deactivation to late activation of the extinction circuit as seen in the placebo group seems to be needed to enhance extinction and to reduce fear. Cortisol appears to interfere with this process thereby impairing extinction of recently acquired conditioned fear. PMID:23945999

  20. Posttraumatic stress disorder: the role of medial prefrontal cortex and amygdala.

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    Koenigs, Michael; Grafman, Jordan

    2009-10-01

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by recurrent distressing memories of an emotionally traumatic event. In this review, the authors present neuroscientific data highlighting the function of two brain areas--the amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC)--in PTSD and related emotional processes. A convergent body of human and nonhuman studies suggests that the amygdala mediates the acquisition and expression of conditioned fear and the enhancement of emotional memory, whereas the vmPFC mediates the extinction of conditioned fear and the volitional regulation of negative emotion. It has been theorized that the vmPFC exerts inhibition on the amygdala, and that a defect in this inhibition could account for the symptoms of PTSD. This theory is supported by functional imaging studies of PTSD patients, who exhibit hypoactivity in the vmPFC but hyperactivity in the amygdala. A recent study of brain-injured and trauma-exposed combat veterans confirms that amygdala damage reduces the likelihood of developing PTSD. But contrary to the prediction of the top-down inhibition model, vmPFC damage also reduces the likelihood of developing PTSD. The putative roles of the amygdala and the vmPFC in the pathophysiology of PTSD, as well as implications for potential treatments, are discussed in light of these results.

  1. Pharmacological Enhancement of mGluR5 Facilitates Contextual Fear Memory Extinction

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    Sethna, Ferzin; Wang, Hongbing

    2014-01-01

    Behavioral exposure therapy, which involves extinction of the previously acquired fear, has been used to treat anxiety-related symptoms such as post-traumatic stress disorder. It has been hypothesized that proextinction pharmacotherapeutics may enhance the efficacy of exposure therapy. Systemic administration of the metabotropic glutamate receptor…

  2. Toxoplasma gondii infection induces dendritic retraction in basolateral amygdala accompanied by reduced corticosterone secretion

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rupshi Mitra

    2013-03-01

    Pathological anxiety is thought to reflect a maladaptive state characterized by exaggerated fear. Naturally occurring perturbations that reduce fear can be crucial in the search for new treatments. The protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii invades rat brain and removes the fear that rats have of cat odors, a change believed to be parasitic manipulation of host behavior aimed at increasing parasite transmission. It is likely that mechanisms employed by T. gondii can be used as a heuristic tool to understand possible means of fear reduction in clinical settings. Male Long-Evans rats were infected with T. gondii and compared with sham-infected animals 8 weeks after infection. The amount of circulating plasma corticosterone and dendritic arborization of basolateral amygdala principal neurons were quantified. Previous studies have shown that corticosterone, acting within the basolateral amygdala, enhances the fear response to environmental stimuli. Here we show that T. gondii infection causes a dendritic retraction in basolateral amygdala neurons. Such dendritic retraction is accompanied by lower amounts of circulating corticosterone, both at baseline and when induced by an aversive cat odor. The concerted effects of parasitism on two pivotal physiological nodes of the fear response provide an animal model relevant to interactions between stress hormones and amygdalar plasticity.

  3. Unpredictable neonatal stress enhances adult anxiety and alters amygdala gene expression related to serotonin and GABA.

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    Sarro, E C; Sullivan, R M; Barr, G

    2014-01-31

    Anxiety-related disorders are among the most common psychiatric illnesses, thought to have both genetic and environmental causes. Early-life trauma, such as abuse from a caregiver, can be predictable or unpredictable, each resulting in increased prevalence and severity of a unique set of disorders. In this study, we examined the influence of early unpredictable trauma on both the behavioral expression of adult anxiety and gene expression within the amygdala. Neonatal rats were exposed to unpaired odor-shock conditioning for 5 days, which produces deficits in adult behavior and amygdala dysfunction. In adulthood, we used the Light/Dark box test to measure anxiety-related behaviors, measuring the latency to enter the lit area and quantified urination and defecation. The amygdala was then dissected and a microarray analysis was performed to examine changes in gene expression. Animals that had received early unpredictable trauma displayed significantly longer latencies to enter the lit area and more defecation and urination. The microarray analysis revealed over-represented genes related to learning and memory, synaptic transmission and trans-membrane transport. Gene ontology and pathway analysis identified highly represented disease states related to anxiety phenotypes, including social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder. Addiction-related genes were also overrepresented in this analysis. Unpredictable shock during early development increased anxiety-like behaviors in adulthood with concomitant changes in genes related to neurotransmission, resulting in gene expression patterns similar to anxiety-related psychiatric disorders. Copyright © 2013 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Methamphetamine facilitates female sexual behavior and enhances neuronal activation in the medial amygdala and ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus.

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    Holder, Mary K; Hadjimarkou, Maria M; Zup, Susan L; Blutstein, Tamara; Benham, Rebecca S; McCarthy, Margaret M; Mong, Jessica A

    2010-02-01

    Methamphetamine (MA) abuse has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Users of MA report dramatic increases in sexual drive that have been associated with increased engagement in risky sexual behavior leading to higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies. The ability of MA to enhance sexual drive in females is enigmatic since related psychostimulants like amphetamine and cocaine appear not to affect sexual drive in women, and in rodents models, amphetamine has been reported to be inhibitory to female sexual behavior. Examination of MA's effects on female sexual behavior in an animal model is lacking. Here, using a rodent model, we have demonstrated that MA enhanced female sexual behavior. MA (5mg/kg) or saline vehicle was administered once daily for 3 days to adult ovariectomized rats primed with ovarian steroids. MA treatment significantly increased the number of proceptive events and the lordosis response compared to hormonally primed, saline controls. The effect of MA on the neural circuitry underlying the motivation for sexual behavior was examined using Fos immunoreactivity. In the medial amygdala and the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus, nuclei implicated in motivated behaviors, ovarian hormones and MA independently enhance the neuronal activation, but more striking was the significantly greater activation induced by their combined administration. Increases in dopamine neurotransmission may underlie the MA/hormone mediated increase in neuronal activation. In support of this possibility, ovarian hormones significantly increased tyrosine hydroxylase (the rate limiting enzyme in dopamine synthesis) immunoreactivity in the medial amygdala. Thus our present data suggest that the interactions of MA and ovarian hormones leads to changes in the neural substrate of key nuclei involved in mediating female sexual behaviors, and these changes may underlie MA's ability to enhance these behaviors. 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All

  5. Lesions of the amygdala central nucleus abolish lipoprivic-enhanced responding during oil-predicting conditioned stimuli.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benoit, S C; Morell, J R; Davidson, T L

    1999-12-01

    T. L. Davidson, A. M. Altizer, S. C. Benoit, E. K. Walls, and T. L. Powley (1997) reported that rats show facilitated responding to conditioned stimuli (CSs) that predict oil, after administration of the lipoprivic agent, Na-2-mercaptoacetate (MA). This facilitation was blocked by vagal deafferentation. The present article extends that investigation to another structure, the amygdala central nucleus (CN). The CN receives inputs from dorsal vagal nuclei, and neurotoxic lesions of this nucleus are reported to abolish feeding in response to lipoprivic challenges. In Experiment 1, rats with ibotenic acid (IBO) lesions of the CN failed to show enhanced appetitive responding during oil-predicting CSs after administration of MA. Experiment 2 used a conditioned taste-aversion procedure to establish that rats with IBO lesions of the CN were able to discriminate the tastes of sucrose and peanut oil and had intact CS-US representations. It is concluded that the amygdala CN is a necessary structure for the detection of lipoprivic challenges.

  6. Enhanced visuomotor processing of phobic images in blood-injury-injection fear.

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    Haberkamp, Anke; Schmidt, Thomas

    2014-04-01

    Numerous studies have identified attentional biases and processing enhancements for fear-relevant stimuli in individuals with specific phobias. However, this has not been conclusively shown in blood-injury-injection (BII) phobia, which has rarely been investigated even though it has features distinct from all other specific phobias. The present study aims to fill that gap and compares the time-course of visuomotor processing of phobic stimuli (i.e., pictures of small injuries) in BII-fearful (n=19) and non-anxious control participants (n=23) by using a response priming paradigm. In BII-fearful participants, phobic stimuli produced larger priming effects and lower response times compared to neutral stimuli, whereas non-anxious control participants showed no such differences. Because these effects are fully present in the fastest responses, they indicate an enhancement in early visuomotor processing of injury pictures in BII-fearful participants. These results are comparable to the enhanced processing of phobic stimuli in other specific phobias (i.e., spider phobia). Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. Repeated homotypic stress elevates 2-arachidonoylglycerol levels and enhances short-term endocannabinoid signaling at inhibitory synapses in basolateral amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patel, Sachin; Kingsley, Philip J; Mackie, Ken; Marnett, Lawrence J; Winder, Danny G

    2009-12-01

    Psychosocial stress is a risk factor for development and exacerbation of neuropsychiatric illness. Repeated stress causes biochemical adaptations in endocannabinoid (eCB) signaling that contribute to stress-response habituation, however, the synaptic correlates of these adaptations have not been examined. Here, we show that the synthetic enzyme for the eCB 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), diacylglycerol (DAG) lipase alpha, is heterogeneously expressed in the amygdala, and that levels of 2-AG and precursor DAGs are increased in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) after 10 days, but not 1 day, of restraint stress. In contrast, arachidonic acid was decreased after both 1 and 10 days of restraint stress. To examine the synaptic correlates of these alterations in 2-AG metabolism, we used whole-cell electrophysiology to determine the effects of restraint stress on depolarization-induced suppression of inhibition (DSI) in the BLA. A single restraint stress exposure did not alter DSI compared with control mice. However, after 10 days of restraint stress, DSI duration, but not magnitude, was significantly prolonged. Inhibition of 2-AG degradation with MAFP also prolonged DSI duration; the effects of repeated restraint stress and MAFP were mutually occlusive. These data indicate that exposure to repeated, but not acute, stress produces neuroadaptations that confer BLA neurons with an enhanced capacity to elevate 2-AG content and engage in 2-AG-mediated short-term retrograde synaptic signaling. We suggest stress-induced enhancement of eCB-mediated suppression of inhibitory transmission in the BLA could contribute to affective dysregulation associated with chronic stress.

  8. A Central Amygdala CRF Circuit Facilitates Learning about Weak Threats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sanford, Christina A; Soden, Marta E; Baird, Madison A; Miller, Samara M; Schulkin, Jay; Palmiter, Richard D; Clark, Michael; Zweifel, Larry S

    2017-01-04

    Fear is a graded central motive state ranging from mild to intense. As threat intensity increases, fear transitions from discriminative to generalized. The circuit mechanisms that process threats of different intensity are not well resolved. Here, we isolate a unique population of locally projecting neurons in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) that produce the neuropeptide corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF). CRF-producing neurons and CRF in the CeA are required for discriminative fear, but both are dispensable for generalized fear at high US intensities. Consistent with a role in discriminative fear, CRF neurons undergo plasticity following threat conditioning and selectively respond to threat-predictive cues. We further show that excitability of genetically isolated CRF-receptive (CRFR1) neurons in the CeA is potently enhanced by CRF and that CRFR1 signaling in the CeA is critical for discriminative fear. These findings demonstrate a novel CRF gain-control circuit and show separable pathways for graded fear processing. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  9. Contributions of the Nucleus Accumbens Shell in Mediating the Enhancement in Memory Following Noradrenergic Activation of Either the Amygdala or Hippocampus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Erin C. Kerfoot

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available The nucleus accumbens shell is a site of converging inputs during memory processing for emotional events. The accumbens receives input from the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS regarding changes in peripheral autonomic functioning following emotional arousal. The shell also receives input from the amygdala and hippocampus regarding affective and contextual attributes of new learning experiences. The successful encoding of affect or context is facilitated by activating noradrenergic systems in either the amygdala or hippocampus. Recent findings indicate that memory enhancement produced by activating NTS neurons, is attenuated by suppressing accumbens functioning after learning. This finding illustrates the significance of the shell in integrating information from the periphery to modulate memory for arousing events. However, it is not known if the accumbens shell plays an equally important role in consolidating information that is initially processed in the amygdala and hippocampus. The present study determined if the convergence of inputs from these limbic regions within the nucleus accumbens contributes to successful encoding of emotional events into memory. Male Sprague-Dawley rats received bilateral cannula implants 2 mm above the accumbens shell and a second bilateral implant 2 mm above either the amygdala or hippocampus. The subjects were trained for 6 days to drink from a water spout. On day 7, a 0.35 mA footshock was initiated as the rat approached the spout and was terminated once the rat escaped into a white compartment. Subjects were then given intra-amygdala or hippocampal infusions of PBS or a dose of norepinephrine (0.2 μg previously shown to enhance memory. Later, all subjects were given intra-accumbens infusion of muscimol to functionally inactivate the shell. Muscimol inactivation of the accumbens shell was delayed to allow sufficient time for norepinephrine to activate intracellular cascades that lead to long-term synaptic

  10. Contributions of the Nucleus Accumbens Shell in Mediating the Enhancement in Memory Following Noradrenergic Activation of Either the Amygdala or Hippocampus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kerfoot, Erin C; Williams, Cedric L

    2018-01-01

    The nucleus accumbens shell is a site of converging inputs during memory processing for emotional events. The accumbens receives input from the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) regarding changes in peripheral autonomic functioning following emotional arousal. The shell also receives input from the amygdala and hippocampus regarding affective and contextual attributes of new learning experiences. The successful encoding of affect or context is facilitated by activating noradrenergic systems in either the amygdala or hippocampus. Recent findings indicate that memory enhancement produced by activating NTS neurons, is attenuated by suppressing accumbens functioning after learning. This finding illustrates the significance of the shell in integrating information from the periphery to modulate memory for arousing events. However, it is not known if the accumbens shell plays an equally important role in consolidating information that is initially processed in the amygdala and hippocampus. The present study determined if the convergence of inputs from these limbic regions within the nucleus accumbens contributes to successful encoding of emotional events into memory. Male Sprague-Dawley rats received bilateral cannula implants 2 mm above the accumbens shell and a second bilateral implant 2 mm above either the amygdala or hippocampus. The subjects were trained for 6 days to drink from a water spout. On day 7, a 0.35 mA footshock was initiated as the rat approached the spout and was terminated once the rat escaped into a white compartment. Subjects were then given intra-amygdala or hippocampal infusions of PBS or a dose of norepinephrine (0.2 μg) previously shown to enhance memory. Later, all subjects were given intra-accumbens infusion of muscimol to functionally inactivate the shell. Muscimol inactivation of the accumbens shell was delayed to allow sufficient time for norepinephrine to activate intracellular cascades that lead to long-term synaptic modifications

  11. Disentangling the roles of arousal and amygdala activation in emotional declarative memory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Voogd, Lycia D; Fernández, Guillén; Hermans, Erno J

    2016-09-01

    A large body of evidence in animals and humans implicates the amygdala in promoting memory for arousing experiences. Although the amygdala can trigger threat-related noradrenergic-sympathetic arousal, in humans amygdala activation and noradrenergic-sympathetic arousal do not always concur. This raises the question how these two processes play a role in enhancing emotional declarative memory. This study was designed to disentangle these processes in a combined subsequent-memory/fear-conditioning paradigm with neutral items belonging to two conceptual categories as conditioned stimuli. Functional MRI, skin conductance (index of sympathetic activity), and pupil dilation (indirect index of central noradrenergic activity) were acquired throughout procedures. Recognition memory for individual items was tested 24 h later. We found that pupil dilation and skin conductance responses were higher on CS+ (associated with a shock) compared with CS- trials, irrespective of later memory for those items. By contrast, amygdala activity was only higher for CS+ items that were later confidently remembered compared with CS+ items that were later forgotten. Thus, amygdala activity and not noradrenergic-sympathetic arousal, predicted enhanced declarative item memory. This dissociation is in line with animal models stating that the amygdala integrates arousal-related neuromodulatory changes to alter mnemonic processes elsewhere in the brain. © The Author (2016). Published by Oxford University Press. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  12. Computational search for hypotheses concerning the endocannabinoid contribution to the extinction of fear conditioning

    OpenAIRE

    Anastasio, Thomas J.

    2013-01-01

    Fear conditioning, in which a cue is conditioned to elicit a fear response, and extinction, in which a previously conditioned cue no longer elicits a fear response, depend on neural plasticity occurring within the amygdala. Projection neurons in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) learn to respond to the cue during fear conditioning, and they mediate fear responding by transferring cue signals to the output stage of the amygdala. Some BLA projection neurons retain their cue responses after extinct...

  13. Oxytocin increases attention to the eyes and selectively enhances self-reported affective empathy for fear.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hubble, Kelly; Daughters, Katie; Manstead, Antony S R; Rees, Aled; Thapar, Anita; van Goozen, Stephanie H M

    2017-11-01

    Oxytocin (OXT) has previously been implicated in a range of prosocial behaviors such as trust and emotion recognition. Nevertheless, recent studies have questioned the evidence for this link. In addition, there has been relatively little conclusive research on the effect of OXT on empathic ability and such studies as there are have not examined the mechanisms through which OXT might affect empathy, or whether OXT selectively facilitates empathy for specific emotions. In the current study, we used eye-tracking to assess attention to socially relevant information while participants viewed dynamic, empathy-inducing video clips, in which protagonists expressed sadness, happiness, pain or fear. In a double-blind, within-subjects, randomized control trial, 40 healthy male participants received 24 IU intranasal OXT or placebo in two identical experimental sessions, separated by a 2-week interval. OXT led to an increase in time spent fixating upon the eye-region of the protagonist's face across emotions. OXT also selectively enhanced self-reported affective empathy for fear, but did not affect cognitive or affective empathy for other emotions. Nevertheless, there was no positive relationship between eye-gaze patterns and affective empathy, suggesting that although OXT influences eye-gaze and may enhance affective empathy for fear, these two systems are independent. Future studies need to further examine the effect of OXT on eye-gaze to fully ascertain whether this can explain the improvements in emotional behavior. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Administration of riluzole into the basolateral amygdala has an anxiolytic-like effect and enhances recognition memory in the rat.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sugiyama, Azusa; Saitoh, Akiyoshi; Yamada, Misa; Oka, Jun-Ichiro; Yamada, Mitsuhiko

    2017-06-01

    It is widely thought that inactivation of the glutamatergic system impairs recognition memory in rodents. However, we previously demonstrated that systemic administration of riluzole, which blocks the glutamatergic system, enhances recognition memory in the rat novel object recognition (NOR) test. The mechanisms underlying this paradoxical effect of riluzole on recognition memory remain unclear. In the present study, adult male Wistar rats were bilaterally cannulated in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) to examine the effects of intra-BLA administration of riluzole. We also compared the effects of riluzole with those of d-cycloserine, a partial agonist at the glycine binding site on the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. The BLA plays a critical role not only in recognition memory, but also in the regulation of anxiety. In the present study, intra-BLA administration of riluzole or d-cycloserine enhanced recognition memory in the NOR test. It was previously suggested that recognition memory can be strongly affected by the state of anxiety in rodents. Interestingly, intra-BLA administration of riluzole, but not d-cycloserine, produced a potent anxiolytic-like effect in the elevated plus-maze test. Thus, the enhancement of recognition memory by riluzole might be an indirect effect resulting from the anxiolytic-like action of the intra-BLA administration of the drug, and may not be directly related to inhibition of the glutamatergic system. Further studies are needed to clarify the mechanisms underlying the memory enhancing effect of riluzole. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  15. Distinct Contributions of Median Raphe Nucleus to Contextual Fear Conditioning and Fear-Potentiated Startle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silva, R. C. B.; Cruz, A. P. M.; Avanzi, V.; Landeira-Fernandez, J.; Brandão, M. L.

    2002-01-01

    Ascending 5-HT projections from the median raphe nucleus (MRN), probably to the hippocampus, are implicated in the acquisition of contextual fear (background stimuli), as assessed by freezing behavior. Foreground cues like light, used as a conditioned stimulus (CS) in classical fear conditioning, also cause freezing through thalamic transmission to the amygdala. As the MRN projects to the hippocampus and amygdala, the role of this raphe nucleus in fear conditioning to explicit cues remains to be explained. Here we analyzed the behavior of rats with MRN electrolytic lesions in a contextual conditioning situation and in a fear-potentiated startle procedure. The animals received MRN electrolytic lesions either before or on the day after two consecutive training sessions in which they were submitted to 10 conditioning trials, each in an experimental chamber (same context) where they. received foot-shocks (0.6 mA, 1 sec) paired to a 4-sec light CS. Seven to ten days later, the animals were submitted to testing sessions for assessing conditioned fear when they were placed for five shocks, and the duration of contextual freezing was recorded. The animals were then submitted to a fear-potentiated startle in response to a 4-sec light-CS, followed by white noise (100 dB, 50 ms). Control rats (sham) tested in the same context showed more freezing than did rats with pre- or post-training MRN lesions. Startle was clearly potentiated in the presence of light CS in the sham-lesioned animals. Whereas pretraining lesions reduced both freezing and fear-potentiated startle, the post-training lesions reduced only freezing to context, without changing the fear-potentiated startle. In a second experiment, neurotoxic lesions of the MRN with local injections of N-methyl-D-aspartate or the activation of 5-HT1A somatodendritic auto-receptors of the MRN by microinjections of the 5-HT1A receptor agonist 8-hydroxy- 2-(di-n-propylamino)tetralin (8-OH-DPAT) before the training sessions also

  16. Dynamic Changes in Amygdala Psychophysiological Connectivity Reveal Distinct Neural Networks for Facial Expressions of Basic Emotions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Diano, Matteo; Tamietto, Marco; Celeghin, Alessia; Weiskrantz, Lawrence; Tatu, Mona-Karina; Bagnis, Arianna; Duca, Sergio; Geminiani, Giuliano; Cauda, Franco; Costa, Tommaso

    2017-03-27

    The quest to characterize the neural signature distinctive of different basic emotions has recently come under renewed scrutiny. Here we investigated whether facial expressions of different basic emotions modulate the functional connectivity of the amygdala with the rest of the brain. To this end, we presented seventeen healthy participants (8 females) with facial expressions of anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and emotional neutrality and analyzed amygdala's psychophysiological interaction (PPI). In fact, PPI can reveal how inter-regional amygdala communications change dynamically depending on perception of various emotional expressions to recruit different brain networks, compared to the functional interactions it entertains during perception of neutral expressions. We found that for each emotion the amygdala recruited a distinctive and spatially distributed set of structures to interact with. These changes in amygdala connectional patters characterize the dynamic signature prototypical of individual emotion processing, and seemingly represent a neural mechanism that serves to implement the distinctive influence that each emotion exerts on perceptual, cognitive, and motor responses. Besides these differences, all emotions enhanced amygdala functional integration with premotor cortices compared to neutral faces. The present findings thus concur to reconceptualise the structure-function relation between brain-emotion from the traditional one-to-one mapping toward a network-based and dynamic perspective.

  17. Intranasal Oxytocin Administration Dampens Amygdala Reactivity towards Emotional Faces in Male and Female PTSD Patients.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koch, Saskia Bj; van Zuiden, Mirjam; Nawijn, Laura; Frijling, Jessie L; Veltman, Dick J; Olff, Miranda

    2016-05-01

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disabling psychiatric disorder. As a substantial part of PTSD patients responds poorly to currently available psychotherapies, pharmacological interventions boosting treatment response are needed. Because of its anxiolytic and pro-social properties, the neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) has been proposed as promising strategy for treatment augmentation in PTSD. As a first step to investigate the therapeutic potential of OT in PTSD, we conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over functional MRI study examining OT administration effects (40 IU) on amygdala reactivity toward emotional faces in unmedicated male and female police officers with (n=37, 21 males) and without (n=40, 20 males) PTSD. Trauma-exposed controls were matched to PTSD patients based on age, sex, years of service and educational level. Under placebo, the expected valence-dependent amygdala reactivity (ie, greater activity toward fearful-angry faces compared with happy-neutral faces) was absent in PTSD patients. OT administration dampened amygdala reactivity toward all emotional faces in male and female PTSD patients, but enhanced amygdala reactivity in healthy male and female trauma-exposed controls, independent of sex and stimulus valence. In PTSD patients, greater anxiety prior to scanning and amygdala reactivity during the placebo session were associated with greater reduction of amygdala reactivity after OT administration. Taken together, our results indicate presumably beneficial neurobiological effects of OT administration in male and female PTSD patients. Future studies should investigate OT administration in clinical settings to fully appreciate its therapeutic potential.

  18. The potential of epigenetics in stress-enhanced fear learning models of PTSD.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blouin, Ashley M; Sillivan, Stephanie E; Joseph, Nadine F; Miller, Courtney A

    2016-10-01

    Prolonged distress and dysregulated memory processes are the core features of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and represent the debilitating, persistent nature of the illness. However, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the expression of these symptoms are challenging to study in human patients. Stress-enhanced fear learning (SEFL) paradigms, which encompass both stress and memory components in rodents, are emerging as valuable preclinical models of PTSD. Rodent models designed to study the long-term mechanisms of either stress or fear memory alone have identified a critical role for numerous epigenetic modifications to DNA and histone proteins. However, the epigenetic modifications underlying SEFL remain largely unknown. This review will provide a brief overview of the epigenetic modifications implicated in stress and fear memory independently, followed by a description of existing SEFL models and the few epigenetic mechanisms found to date to underlie SEFL. The results of the animal studies discussed here highlight neuroepigenetics as an essential area for future research in the context of PTSD through SEFL studies, because of its potential to identify novel candidates for neurotherapeutics targeting stress-induced pathogenic memories. © 2016 Blouin et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

  19. Nicotine disrupts safety learning by enhancing fear associated with a safety cue via the dorsal hippocampus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Connor, David A; Kutlu, Munir G; Gould, Thomas J

    2017-07-01

    Learned safety, a learning process in which a cue becomes associated with the absence of threat, is disrupted in individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A bi-directional relationship exists between smoking and PTSD and one potential explanation is that nicotine-associated changes in cognition facilitate PTSD emotional dysregulation by disrupting safety associations. Therefore, we investigated whether nicotine would disrupt learned safety by enhancing fear associated with a safety cue. In the present study, C57BL/6 mice were administered acute or chronic nicotine and trained over three days in a differential backward trace conditioning paradigm consisting of five trials of a forward conditioned stimulus (CS)+ (Light) co-terminating with a footshock unconditioned stimulus followed by a backward CS- (Tone) presented 20 s after cessation of the unconditioned stimulus. Summation testing found that acute nicotine disrupted learned safety, but chronic nicotine had no effect. Another group of animals administered acute nicotine showed fear when presented with the backward CS (Light) alone, indicating the formation of a maladaptive fear association with the backward CS. Finally, we investigated the brain regions involved by administering nicotine directly into the dorsal hippocampus, ventral hippocampus, and prelimbic cortex. Infusion of nicotine into the dorsal hippocampus disrupted safety learning.

  20. Extending the amygdala in theories of threat processing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fox, Andrew S.; Oler, Jonathan A.; Tromp, Do P.M.; Fudge, Julie L.; Kalin, Ned H.

    2015-01-01

    The central extended amygdala is an evolutionarily conserved set of interconnected brain regions that play an important role in threat processing to promote survival. Two core components of the central extended amygdala, the central nucleus of the amygdala (Ce) and the lateral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BST) are highly similar regions that serve complimentary roles by integrating fear- and anxiety-relevant information. Survival depends on the central extended amygdala's ability to rapidly integrate and respond to threats that vary in their immediacy, proximity, and characteristics. Future studies will benefit from understanding alterations in central extended amygdala function in relation to stress-related psychopathology. PMID:25851307

  1. HDAC inhibitors as cognitive enhancers in fear, anxiety and trauma therapy: where do we stand?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whittle, Nigel; Singewald, Nicolas

    2014-04-01

    A novel strategy to treat anxiety and fear-related disorders such as phobias, panic and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is combining CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), including extinction-based exposure therapy, with cognitive enhancers. By targeting and boosting mechanisms underlying learning, drug development in this field aims at designing CBT-augmenting compounds that help to overcome extinction learning deficits, promote long-term fear inhibition and thus support relapse prevention. Progress in revealing the role of epigenetic regulation of specific genes associated with extinction memory generation has opened new avenues in this direction. The present review examines recent evidence from pre-clinical studies showing that increasing histone acetylation, either via genetic or pharmacological inhibition of HDACs (histone deacetylases) by e.g. vorinostat/SAHA (suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid), entinostat/MS-275, sodium butyrate, TSA (trichostatin A) or VPA (valproic acid), or by targeting HATs (histone acetyltransferases), augments fear extinction and, importantly, generates a long-term extinction memory that can protect from return of fear phenomena. The molecular mechanisms and pathways involved including BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) and NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor signalling are just beginning to be revealed. First studies in healthy humans are in support of extinction-facilitating effects of HDAC inhibitors. Very recent evidence that HDAC inhibitors can rescue deficits in extinction-memory-impaired rodents indicates a potential clinical utility of this approach also for exposure therapy-resistant patients. Important future work includes investigation of the long-term safety aspects of HDAC inhibitor treatment, as well as design of isotype(s)-specific inhibitors. Taken together, HDAC inhibitors display promising potential as pharmacological adjuncts to augment the efficacy of exposure-based approaches in anxiety and trauma therapy.

  2. Stress Enables Reinforcement-Elicited Serotonergic Consolidation of Fear Memory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baratta, Michael V; Kodandaramaiah, Suhasa B; Monahan, Patrick E; Yao, Junmei; Weber, Michael D; Lin, Pei-Ann; Gisabella, Barbara; Petrossian, Natalie; Amat, Jose; Kim, Kyungman; Yang, Aimei; Forest, Craig R; Boyden, Edward S; Goosens, Ki A

    2016-05-15

    Prior exposure to stress is a risk factor for developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in response to trauma, yet the mechanisms by which this occurs are unclear. Using a rodent model of stress-based susceptibility to PTSD, we investigated the role of serotonin in this phenomenon. Adult mice were exposed to repeated immobilization stress or handling, and the role of serotonin in subsequent fear learning was assessed using pharmacologic manipulation and western blot detection of serotonin receptors, measurements of serotonin, high-speed optogenetic silencing, and behavior. Both dorsal raphe serotonergic activity during aversive reinforcement and amygdala serotonin 2C receptor (5-HT2CR) activity during memory consolidation were necessary for stress enhancement of fear memory, but neither process affected fear memory in unstressed mice. Additionally, prior stress increased amygdala sensitivity to serotonin by promoting surface expression of 5-HT2CR without affecting tissue levels of serotonin in the amygdala. We also showed that the serotonin that drives stress enhancement of associative cued fear memory can arise from paired or unpaired footshock, an effect not predicted by theoretical models of associative learning. Stress bolsters the consequences of aversive reinforcement, not by simply enhancing the neurobiological signals used to encode fear in unstressed animals, but rather by engaging distinct mechanistic pathways. These results reveal that predictions from classical associative learning models do not always hold for stressed animals and suggest that 5-HT2CR blockade may represent a promising therapeutic target for psychiatric disorders characterized by excessive fear responses such as that observed in PTSD. Copyright © 2016 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  3. Activation of corticotropin-releasing factor receptors from the basolateral or central amygdala increases the tonic immobility response in guinea pigs: an innate fear behavior.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donatti, Alberto Ferreira; Leite-Panissi, Christie Ramos Andrade

    2011-11-20

    The tonic immobility (TI) behavior is an innate response associated with extreme threat situations such as a predator attack. Several studies have provided evidence suggesting an important role for corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) in the regulation of the endocrine system, defensive behaviors and behavioral responses to stress. TI has been shown to be positively correlated with the basal plasma levels of corticosterone. CRF receptors and neurons that are immunoreactive to CRF are found in many cerebral regions, especially in the amygdaloid complex. Previous reports have demonstrated the involvement of the basolateral amygdaloid (BLA) and central amygdaloid (CeA) nuclei in the TI response. In this study, we evaluated the CRF system of the BLA and the CeA in the modulation of the TI response in guinea pigs. The activation of CRF receptors in the BLA and in the CeA promoted an increase in the TI response. In contrast, the inhibition of these receptors via alpha-helical-CRF(9-41) decreased the duration of the TI response. Moreover, neither the activation nor inhibition of CRF receptors in the BLA or the CeA altered spontaneous motor activity in the open-field test. These data suggest that the activation of the CRF receptors in the BLA or the CeA probably potentiates fear and anxiety, which may be one of the factors that promote an increase in the TI behavior. Therefore, these data support the role of the CRF system in the control of emotional responses, particularly in the modulation of innate fear. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  4. Methamphetamine-enhanced female sexual motivation is dependent on dopamine and progesterone signaling in the medial amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holder, Mary K; Veichweg, Shaun S; Mong, Jessica A

    2015-01-01

    Methamphetamine (METH) is a psychomotor stimulant strongly associated with increases in sexual drive and impulsive sexual behaviors that often lead to unsafe sexual practices. In women METH users, such practices have been associated with increases in unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Despite this significant heath concern, the neural mechanisms underlying this drug-sex association are not known. We previously established a rodent model of METH-facilitated female sexual behavior in which estradiol and progesterone interact with METH to increase motivational components of female behavior and neuronal activation in the posterodorsal medial amygdala (MePD) (Holder et al., 2010; Holder and Mong, 2010). The current study more directly examines the mechanisms underlying the drug-sex interaction. Here, we hypothesize that METH-induced increases in MePD dopamine signaling bridge the METH-hormone interaction. In support of this hypothesis, we found that excitotoxic lesions targeted to the MePD attenuated the METH-induced increases in proceptive behavior. Furthermore, infusion of a D1 agonist into the MePD increased proceptive behavior, while infusion of a D1 antagonist blocked the ability of METH to increase proceptive behaviors. Additionally, we found that METH-treatment increased progesterone receptor (PR) immunoreactivity in the MePD, suggesting an interaction between dopamine and progesterone signaling. Indeed, infusions of the PR antagonist, RU486, prevented METH-induced increases in sexual behavior. Thus, taken together, the current findings suggest that dopamine in the MePD modulates enhanced sexual motivation via an amplification of progesterone signaling and contributes to a better understanding of the neurobiology of drug-enhanced sexual behaviors. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  5. Noradrenergic Activation of the Basolateral Amygdala Enhances Object Recognition Memory and Induces Chromatin Remodeling in the Insular Cortex

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hassiba eBeldjoud

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available It is well established that arousal-induced memory enhancement requires noradrenergic activation of the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA and modulatory influences on information storage processes in its many target regions. While this concept is well accepted, the molecular basis of such BLA effects on neural plasticity changes within other brain regions remains to be elucidated. The present study investigated whether noradrenergic activation of the BLA after object recognition training induces chromatin remodeling through histone post-translational modifications in the insular cortex (IC, a brain region that is importantly involved in object recognition memory. Male Sprague–Dawley rats were trained on an object recognition task, followed immediately by bilateral microinfusions of norepinephrine (1.0 µg or saline administered into the BLA. Saline-treated control rats exhibited poor 24-h retention, whereas norepinephrine treatment induced robust 24-h object recognition memory. Most importantly, this memory-enhancing dose of norepinephrine induced a global reduction in the acetylation levels of histone H3 at lysine 14, H2B and H4 in the IC 1 h later, whereas it had no effect on the phosphorylation of histone H3 at serine 10 or tri-methylation of histone H3 at lysine 27. Norepinephrine administered into the BLA of non-trained control rats did not induce any changes in the histone marks investigated in this study. These findings indicate that noradrenergic activation of the BLA induces training-specific effects on chromatin remodeling mechanisms, and presumably gene transcription, in its target regions, which may contribute to the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of stress and emotional arousal effects on memory consolidation.

  6. Enhanced hippocampal long-term potentiation and fear memory in Btbd9 mutant mice.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mark P DeAndrade

    Full Text Available Polymorphisms in BTBD9 have recently been associated with higher risk of restless legs syndrome (RLS, a neurological disorder characterized by uncomfortable sensations in the legs at rest that are relieved by movement. The BTBD9 protein contains a BTB/POZ domain and a BACK domain, but its function is unknown. To elucidate its function and potential role in the pathophysiology of RLS, we generated a line of mutant Btbd9 mice derived from a commercial gene-trap embryonic stem cell clone. Btbd9 is the mouse homolog of the human BTBD9. Proteins that contain a BTB/POZ domain have been reported to be associated with synaptic transmission and plasticity. We found that Btbd9 is naturally expressed in the hippocampus of our mutant mice, a region critical for learning and memory. As electrophysiological characteristics of CA3-CA1 synapses of the hippocampus are well characterized, we performed electrophysiological recordings in this region. The mutant mice showed normal input-output relationship, a significant impairment in pre-synaptic activity, and an enhanced long-term potentiation. We further performed an analysis of fear memory and found the mutant mice had an enhanced cued and contextual fear memory. To elucidate a possible molecular basis for these enhancements, we analyzed proteins that have been associated with synaptic plasticity. We found an elevated level of dynamin 1, an enzyme associated with endocytosis, in the mutant mice. These results suggest the first identified function of Btbd9 as being involved in regulating synaptic plasticity and memory. Recent studies have suggested that enhanced synaptic plasticity, analogous to what we have observed, in other regions of the brain could enhance sensory perception similar to what is seen in RLS patients. Further analyses of the mutant mice will help shine light on the function of BTBD9 and its role in RLS.

  7. Enhanced hippocampal long-term potentiation and fear memory in Btbd9 mutant mice.

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeAndrade, Mark P; Zhang, Li; Doroodchi, Atbin; Yokoi, Fumiaki; Cheetham, Chad C; Chen, Huan-Xin; Roper, Steven N; Sweatt, J David; Li, Yuqing

    2012-01-01

    Polymorphisms in BTBD9 have recently been associated with higher risk of restless legs syndrome (RLS), a neurological disorder characterized by uncomfortable sensations in the legs at rest that are relieved by movement. The BTBD9 protein contains a BTB/POZ domain and a BACK domain, but its function is unknown. To elucidate its function and potential role in the pathophysiology of RLS, we generated a line of mutant Btbd9 mice derived from a commercial gene-trap embryonic stem cell clone. Btbd9 is the mouse homolog of the human BTBD9. Proteins that contain a BTB/POZ domain have been reported to be associated with synaptic transmission and plasticity. We found that Btbd9 is naturally expressed in the hippocampus of our mutant mice, a region critical for learning and memory. As electrophysiological characteristics of CA3-CA1 synapses of the hippocampus are well characterized, we performed electrophysiological recordings in this region. The mutant mice showed normal input-output relationship, a significant impairment in pre-synaptic activity, and an enhanced long-term potentiation. We further performed an analysis of fear memory and found the mutant mice had an enhanced cued and contextual fear memory. To elucidate a possible molecular basis for these enhancements, we analyzed proteins that have been associated with synaptic plasticity. We found an elevated level of dynamin 1, an enzyme associated with endocytosis, in the mutant mice. These results suggest the first identified function of Btbd9 as being involved in regulating synaptic plasticity and memory. Recent studies have suggested that enhanced synaptic plasticity, analogous to what we have observed, in other regions of the brain could enhance sensory perception similar to what is seen in RLS patients. Further analyses of the mutant mice will help shine light on the function of BTBD9 and its role in RLS.

  8. Trauma exposure relates to heightened stress, altered amygdala morphology and deficient extinction learning: Implications for psychopathology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cacciaglia, Raffaele; Nees, Frauke; Grimm, Oliver; Ridder, Stephanie; Pohlack, Sebastian T; Diener, Slawomira J; Liebscher, Claudia; Flor, Herta

    2017-02-01

    Stress exposure causes a structural reorganization in neurons of the amygdala. In particular, animal models have repeatedly shown that both acute and chronic stress induce neuronal hypertrophy and volumetric increase in the lateral and basolateral nuclei of amygdala. These effects are visible on the behavioral level, where stress enhances anxiety behaviors and provokes greater fear learning. We assessed stress and anxiety levels in a group of 18 healthy human trauma-exposed individuals (TR group) compared to 18 non-exposed matched controls (HC group), and related these measurements to amygdala volume. Traumas included unexpected adverse experiences such as vehicle accidents or sudden loss of a loved one. As a measure of aversive learning, we implemented a cued fear conditioning paradigm. Additionally, to provide a biological marker of chronic stress, we measured the sensitivity of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis using a dexamethasone suppression test. Compared to the HC, the TR group showed significantly higher levels of chronic stress, current stress and trait anxiety, as well as increased volume of the left amygdala. Specifically, we observed a focal enlargement in its lateral portion, in line with previous animal data. Compared to HC, the TR group also showed enhanced late acquisition of conditioned fear and deficient extinction learning, as well as salivary cortisol hypo-suppression to dexamethasone. Left amygdala volumes positively correlated with suppressed morning salivary cortisol. Our results indicate differences in trauma-exposed individuals which resemble those previously reported in animals exposed to stress and in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. These data provide new insights into the mechanisms through which traumatic stress might prompt vulnerability for psychopathology. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Amygdala's involvement in facilitating associative learning-induced plasticity: a promiscuous role for the amygdala in memory acquisition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chau, Lily S; Galvez, Roberto

    2012-01-01

    It is widely accepted that the amygdala plays a critical role in acquisition and consolidation of fear-related memories. Some of the more widely employed behavioral paradigms that have assisted in solidifying the amygdala's role in fear-related memories are associative learning paradigms. With most associative learning tasks, a neutral conditioned stimulus (CS) is paired with a salient unconditioned stimulus (US) that elicits an unconditioned response (UR). After multiple CS-US pairings, the subject learns that the CS predicts the onset or delivery of the US, and thus elicits a learned conditioned response (CR). Most fear-related associative paradigms have suggested that an aspect of the fear association is stored in the amygdala; however, some fear-motivated associative paradigms suggest that the amygdala is not a site of storage, but rather facilitates consolidation in other brain regions. Based upon various learning theories, one of the most likely sites for storage of long-term memories is the neocortex. In support of these theories, findings from our laboratory, and others, have demonstrated that trace-conditioning, an associative paradigm where there is a separation in time between the CS and US, induces learning-specific neocortical plasticity. The following review will discuss the amygdala's involvement, either as a site of storage or facilitating storage in other brain regions such as the neocortex, in fear- and non-fear-motivated associative paradigms. In this review, we will discuss recent findings suggesting a broader role for the amygdala in increasing the saliency of behaviorally relevant information, thus facilitating acquisition for all forms of memory, both fear- and non-fear-related. This proposed promiscuous role of the amygdala in facilitating acquisition for all memories further suggests a potential role of the amygdala in general learning disabilities.

  10. Inhibition of serotonin transporters disrupts the enhancement of fear memory extinction by 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Young, Matthew B; Norrholm, Seth D; Khoury, Lara M; Jovanovic, Tanja; Rauch, Sheila A M; Reiff, Collin M; Dunlop, Boadie W; Rothbaum, Barbara O; Howell, Leonard L

    2017-10-01

    3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) persistently improves symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when combined with psychotherapy. Studies in rodents suggest that these effects can be attributed to enhancement of fear memory extinction. Therefore, MDMA may improve the effects of exposure-based therapy for PTSD, particularly in treatment-resistant patients. However, given MDMA's broad pharmacological profile, further investigation is warranted before moving to a complex clinical population. We aimed to inform clinical research by providing a translational model of MDMA's effect, and elucidating monoaminergic mechanisms through which MDMA enhances fear extinction. We explored the importance of monoamine transporters targeted by MDMA to fear memory extinction, as measured by reductions in conditioned freezing and fear-potentiated startle (FPS) in mice. Mice were treated with selective inhibitors of individual monoamine transporters prior to combined MDMA treatment and fear extinction training. MDMA enhanced the lasting extinction of FPS. Acute and chronic treatment with a 5-HT transporter (5-HTT) inhibitor blocked MDMA's effect on fear memory extinction. Acute inhibition of dopamine (DA) and norepinephrine (NE) transporters had no effect. 5-HT release alone did not enhance extinction. Blockade of MDMA's effect by 5-HTT inhibition also downregulated 5-HT 2A -mediated behavior, and 5-HT 2A antagonism disrupted MDMA's effect on extinction. We validate enhancement of fear memory extinction by MDMA in a translational behavioral model, and reveal the importance of 5-HTT and 5-HT 2A receptors to this effect. These observations support future clinical research of MDMA as an adjunct to exposure therapy, and provide important pharmacological considerations for clinical use in a population frequently treated with 5-HTT inhibitors.

  11. Enhancement of synchronized activity between hippocampal CA1 neurons during initial storage of associative fear memory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Yu-Zhang; Wang, Yao; Shen, Weida; Wang, Zhiru

    2017-08-01

    Learning and memory storage requires neuronal plasticity induced in the hippocampus and other related brain areas, and this process is thought to rely on synchronized activity in neural networks. We used paired whole-cell recording in vivo to examine the synchronized activity that was induced in hippocampal CA1 neurons by associative fear learning. We found that both membrane potential synchronization and spike synchronization of CA1 neurons could be transiently enhanced after task learning, as observed on day 1 but not day 5. On day 1 after learning, CA1 neurons showed a decrease in firing threshold and rise times of suprathreshold membrane potential changes as well as an increase in spontaneous firing rates, possibly contributing to the enhancement of spike synchronization. The transient enhancement of CA1 neuronal synchronization may play important roles in the induction of neuronal plasticity for initial storage and consolidation of associative memory. The hippocampus is critical for memory acquisition and consolidation. This function requires activity- and experience-induced neuronal plasticity. It is known that neuronal plasticity is largely dependent on synchronized activity. As has been well characterized, repetitive correlated activity of presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons can lead to long-term modifications at their synapses. Studies on network activity have also suggested that memory processing in the hippocampus may involve learning-induced changes of neuronal synchronization, as observed in vivo between hippocampal CA3 and CA1 networks as well as between the rhinal cortex and the hippocampus. However, further investigation of learning-induced synchronized activity in the hippocampus is needed for a full understanding of hippocampal memory processing. In this study, by performing paired whole-cell recording in vivo on CA1 pyramidal cells (PCs) in anaesthetized adult rats, we examined CA1 neuronal synchronization before and after associative fear

  12. Estradiol replacement enhances fear memory formation, impairs extinction and reduces COMT expression levels in the hippocampus of ovariectomized female mice.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McDermott, Carmel M; Liu, Dan; Ade, Catherine; Schrader, Laura A

    2015-02-01

    Females experience depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety disorders at approximately twice the rate of males, but the mechanisms underlying this difference remain undefined. The effect of sex hormones on neural substrates presents a possible mechanism. We investigated the effect of ovariectomy at two ages, before puberty and in adulthood, and 17β-estradiol (E2) replacement administered chronically in drinking water on anxiety level, fear memory formation, and extinction. Based on previous studies, we hypothesized that estradiol replacement would impair fear memory formation and enhance extinction rate. Females, age 4 weeks and 10 weeks, were divided randomly into 4 groups; sham surgery, OVX, OVX+low E2 (200nM), and OVX+high E2 (1000nM). Chronic treatment with high levels of E2 significantly increased anxiety levels measured in the elevated plus maze. In both age groups, high levels of E2 significantly increased contextual fear memory but had no effect on cued fear memory. In addition, high E2 decreased the rate of extinction in both ages. Finally, catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is important for regulation of catecholamine levels, which play a role in fear memory formation and extinction. COMT expression in the hippocampus was significantly reduced by high E2 replacement, implying increased catecholamine levels in the hippocampus of high E2 mice. These results suggest that estradiol enhanced fear memory formation, and inhibited fear memory extinction, possibly stabilizing the fear memory in female mice. This study has implications for a neurobiological mechanism for PTSD and anxiety disorders. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  13. Neuronal Adaptations during Amygdala-Dependent Learning and Memory : Neuronale aanpassingen tijdens Amygdala-afhankelijk leren en geheugen

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    B.S. Hosseini (Behdokht)

    2016-01-01

    textabstractThe amygdala, a structure deep in the temporal lobe of the brain, is an essential region for emotional and fearful processing. Neuronal coding in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA) endows the brain with the ability to acquire enduring aversive associations, physically represented

  14. Learning-dependent and -independent enhancement of mitral/tufted cell glomerular odor responses following olfactory fear conditioning in awake mice.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ross, Jordan M; Fletcher, Max L

    2018-04-18

    Associative fear learning produces fear toward the conditioned stimulus (CS) and often generalization, the expansion of fear from the CS to similar, unlearned stimuli. However, how fear learning affects early sensory processing of learned and unlearned stimuli in relation to behavioral fear responses to these stimuli remains unclear. We subjected male and female mice expressing the fluorescent calcium indicator GCaMP3 in olfactory bulb mitral and tufted cells to a classical olfactory fear conditioning paradigm. We then used awake, in vivo calcium imaging to quantify learning-induced changes in glomerular odor responses, which constitute the first site of olfactory processing in the brain. The results demonstrate that odor-shock pairing non-specifically enhances glomerular odor representations in a learning-dependent manner and increases representational similarity between the CS and non-conditioned odors, potentially priming the system towards generalization of learned fear. Additionally, CS-specific glomerular enhancements remain even when associative learning is blocked, suggesting two separate mechanisms lead to enhanced glomerular responses following odor-shock pairings. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT In the olfactory bulb (OB), odors are uniquely coded in a spatial map that represents odor identity, making the OB a unique model system for investigating how learned fear alters sensory processing. Classical fear conditioning causes fear of the conditioned stimulus (CS) and of neutral stimuli, known as generalization. Combining fear conditioning with fluorescent calcium imaging of OB glomeruli, we found enhanced glomerular responses of the CS as well as neutral stimuli in awake mice, which mirrors fear generalization. We report that CS and neutral stimuli enhancements are, respectively, learning- independent and learning-dependent. Together, these results reveal distinct mechanisms leading to enhanced OB processing of fear-inducing stimuli and provide important

  15. Activation of the Infralimbic Cortex in a Fear Context Enhances Extinction Learning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thompson, Brittany M.; Baratta, Michael V.; Biedenkapp, Joseph C.; Rudy, Jerry W.; Watkins, Linda R.; Maier, Steven F.

    2010-01-01

    Activation of the infralimbic region (IL) of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) reduces conditioned fear in a variety of situations, and the IL is thought to play an important role in the extinction of conditioned fear. Here we report a series of experiments using contextual fear conditioning in which the IL is activated with the GABAa antagonist…

  16. Enhanced interoceptive awareness during anticipation of public speaking is associated with fear of negative evaluation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Durlik, Caroline; Brown, Gary; Tsakiris, Manos

    2014-04-01

    Interoceptive awareness (IA)--the ability to detect internal body signals--has been linked to various aspects of emotional processing. However, it has been examined mostly as a trait variable, with few studies also investigating state dependent fluctuations in IA. Based on the known positive correlation between IA and emotional reactivity, negative affectivity, and trait anxiety, the current study examined whether IA, as indexed by heartbeat detection accuracy, would change during an anxiety-provoking situation. Participants in the experimental condition, in which they anticipated giving a speech in front of a small audience, displayed significant IA increases from baseline to anticipation. Enhancement in IA was positively correlated with fear of negative evaluation. Implications of the results are discussed in relation to the role of trait and state IA in emotional experience.

  17. The BOLD signal in the amygdala does not differentiate between dynamic facial expressions

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van der Gaag, Christiaan; Minderaa, Ruud B.; Keysers, Christian

    The amygdala has been considered to be essential for recognizing fear in other people's facial expressions. Recent studies shed doubt on this interpretation. Here we used movies of facial expressions instead of static photographs to investigate the putative fear selectivity of the amygdala using

  18. The amygdala: securing pleasure and avoiding pain

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anushka B P Fernando

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available The amygdala has traditionally been associated with fear, mediating the impact of negative emotions on memory. However, this view does not fully encapsulate the function of the amygdala, nor the impact that processing in this structure has on the motivational limbic corticostriatal circuitry of which it is an important structure. Here we discuss the interactions between different amygdala nuclei with cortical and striatal regions involved in motivation; interconnections and parallel circuitries that have become increasingly understood in recent years. We review the evidence that the amygdala stores memories that allow initially motivationally neutral stimuli to become associated through pavlovian conditioning with motivationally relevant outcomes which, importantly, can be either appetitive (e.g. food or aversive (e.g. electric shock. We also consider how different psychological processes supported by the amygdala such as conditioned reinforcement and punishment, conditioned motivation and suppression, and conditioned approach and avoidance behavior, are not only psychologically but also neurobiologically dissociable, being mediated by distinct yet overlapping neural circuits within the limbic corticostriatal circuitry. Clearly the role of the amygdala goes beyond encoding aversive stimuli to also encode the appetitive, requiring an appreciation of the amygdala’s mediation of both appetitive and fearful behavior through diverse psychological processes.

  19. 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine facilitates fear extinction learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Young, M B; Andero, R; Ressler, K J; Howell, L L

    2015-09-15

    Acutely administered 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, 'ecstasy') has been proposed to have long-term positive effects on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms when combined with psychotherapy. No preclinical data support a mechanistic basis for these claims. Given the persistent nature of psychotherapeutic gains facilitated by MDMA, we hypothesized that MDMA improves fear extinction learning, a key process in exposure-based therapies for PTSD. In these experiments, mice were first exposed to cued fear conditioning and treated with drug vehicle or MDMA before extinction training 2 days later. MDMA was administered systemically and also directly targeted to brain structures known to contribute to extinction. In addition to behavioral measures of extinction, changes in mRNA levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf) and Fos were measured after MDMA treatment and extinction. MDMA (7.8 mg kg(-1)) persistently and robustly enhanced long-term extinction when administered before extinction training. MDMA increased the expression of Fos in the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), whereas increases in Bdnf expression were observed only in the amygdala after extinction training. Extinction enhancements were recapitulated when MDMA (1 μg) was infused directly into the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA), and enhancement was abolished when BDNF signaling was inhibited before extinction. These findings suggest that MDMA enhances fear memory extinction through a BDNF-dependent mechanism, and that MDMA may be a useful adjunct to exposure-based therapies for PTSD and other anxiety disorders characterized by altered fear learning.

  20. The hypocretin/orexin system mediates the extinction of fear memories.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flores, África; Valls-Comamala, Victòria; Costa, Giulia; Saravia, Rocío; Maldonado, Rafael; Berrendero, Fernando

    2014-11-01

    Anxiety disorders are often associated with an inability to extinguish learned fear responses. The hypocretin/orexin system is involved in the regulation of emotional states and could also participate in the consolidation and extinction of aversive memories. Using hypocretin receptor-1 and hypocretin receptor-2 antagonists, hypocretin-1 and hypocretin-2 peptides, and hypocretin receptor-1 knockout mice, we investigated the role of the hypocretin system in cue- and context-dependent fear conditioning and extinction. Hypocretins were crucial for the consolidation of fear conditioning, and this effect was mainly observed in memories with a high emotional component. Notably, after the acquisition of fear memory, hypocretin receptor-1 blockade facilitated fear extinction, whereas hypocretin-1 administration impaired this extinction process. The extinction-facilitating effects of the hypocretin receptor-1 antagonist SB334867 were associated with increased expression of cFos in the basolateral amygdala and the infralimbic cortex. Intra-amygdala, but neither intra-infralimbic prefrontal cortex nor intra-dorsohippocampal infusion of SB334867 enhanced fear extinction. These results reveal a key role for hypocretins in the extinction of aversive memories and suggest that hypocretin receptor-1 blockade could represent a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of diseases associated with inappropriate retention of fear, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and phobias.

  1. The Hypocretin/Orexin System Mediates the Extinction of Fear Memories

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flores, África; Valls-Comamala, Victòria; Costa, Giulia; Saravia, Rocío; Maldonado, Rafael; Berrendero, Fernando

    2014-01-01

    Anxiety disorders are often associated with an inability to extinguish learned fear responses. The hypocretin/orexin system is involved in the regulation of emotional states and could also participate in the consolidation and extinction of aversive memories. Using hypocretin receptor-1 and hypocretin receptor-2 antagonists, hypocretin-1 and hypocretin-2 peptides, and hypocretin receptor-1 knockout mice, we investigated the role of the hypocretin system in cue- and context-dependent fear conditioning and extinction. Hypocretins were crucial for the consolidation of fear conditioning, and this effect was mainly observed in memories with a high emotional component. Notably, after the acquisition of fear memory, hypocretin receptor-1 blockade facilitated fear extinction, whereas hypocretin-1 administration impaired this extinction process. The extinction-facilitating effects of the hypocretin receptor-1 antagonist SB334867 were associated with increased expression of cFos in the basolateral amygdala and the infralimbic cortex. Intra-amygdala, but neither intra-infralimbic prefrontal cortex nor intra-dorsohippocampal infusion of SB334867 enhanced fear extinction. These results reveal a key role for hypocretins in the extinction of aversive memories and suggest that hypocretin receptor-1 blockade could represent a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of diseases associated with inappropriate retention of fear, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and phobias. PMID:24930888

  2. LSD Acutely Impairs Fear Recognition and Enhances Emotional Empathy and Sociality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dolder, Patrick C; Schmid, Yasmin; Müller, Felix; Borgwardt, Stefan; Liechti, Matthias E

    2016-10-01

    Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is used recreationally and has been evaluated as an adjunct to psychotherapy to treat anxiety in patients with life-threatening illness. LSD is well-known to induce perceptual alterations, but unknown is whether LSD alters emotional processing in ways that can support psychotherapy. We investigated the acute effects of LSD on emotional processing using the Face Emotion Recognition Task (FERT) and Multifaceted Empathy Test (MET). The effects of LSD on social behavior were tested using the Social Value Orientation (SVO) test. Two similar placebo-controlled, double-blind, random-order, crossover studies were conducted using 100 μg LSD in 24 subjects and 200 μg LSD in 16 subjects. All of the subjects were healthy and mostly hallucinogen-naive 25- to 65-year-old volunteers (20 men, 20 women). LSD produced feelings of happiness, trust, closeness to others, enhanced explicit and implicit emotional empathy on the MET, and impaired the recognition of sad and fearful faces on the FERT. LSD enhanced the participants' desire to be with other people and increased their prosocial behavior on the SVO test. These effects of LSD on emotion processing and sociality may be useful for LSD-assisted psychotherapy.

  3. Noradrenergic Modulation of Fear Conditioning and Extinction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giustino, Thomas F; Maren, Stephen

    2018-01-01

    The locus coeruleus norepinephrine (LC-NE) system plays a broad role in learning and memory. Here we begin with an overview of the LC-NE system. We then consider how both direct and indirect manipulations of the LC-NE system affect cued and contextual aversive learning and memory. We propose that NE dynamically modulates Pavlovian conditioning and extinction, either promoting or impairing learning aversive processes under different levels of behavioral arousal. We suggest that under high levels of stress (e.g., during/soon after fear conditioning) the locus coeruleus (LC) promotes cued fear learning by enhancing amygdala function while simultaneously blunting prefrontal function. Under low levels of arousal, the LC promotes PFC function to promote downstream inhibition of the amygdala and foster the extinction of cued fear. Thus, LC-NE action on the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) might be described by an inverted-U function such that it can either enhance or hinder learning depending on arousal states. In addition, LC-NE seems to be particularly important for the acquisition, consolidation and extinction of contextual fear memories. This may be due to dense adrenoceptor expression in the hippocampus (HPC) which encodes contextual information, and the ability of NE to regulate long-term potentiation (LTP). Moreover, recent work reveals that the diversity of LC-NE functions in aversive learning and memory are mediated by functionally heterogeneous populations of LC neurons that are defined by their projection targets. Hence, LC-NE function in learning and memory is determined by projection-specific neuromodulation that accompanies various states of behavioral arousal.

  4. Noradrenergic Modulation of Fear Conditioning and Extinction

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thomas F. Giustino

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available The locus coeruleus norepinephrine (LC-NE system plays a broad role in learning and memory. Here we begin with an overview of the LC-NE system. We then consider how both direct and indirect manipulations of the LC-NE system affect cued and contextual aversive learning and memory. We propose that NE dynamically modulates Pavlovian conditioning and extinction, either promoting or impairing learning aversive processes under different levels of behavioral arousal. We suggest that under high levels of stress (e.g., during/soon after fear conditioning the locus coeruleus (LC promotes cued fear learning by enhancing amygdala function while simultaneously blunting prefrontal function. Under low levels of arousal, the LC promotes PFC function to promote downstream inhibition of the amygdala and foster the extinction of cued fear. Thus, LC-NE action on the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC might be described by an inverted-U function such that it can either enhance or hinder learning depending on arousal states. In addition, LC-NE seems to be particularly important for the acquisition, consolidation and extinction of contextual fear memories. This may be due to dense adrenoceptor expression in the hippocampus (HPC which encodes contextual information, and the ability of NE to regulate long-term potentiation (LTP. Moreover, recent work reveals that the diversity of LC-NE functions in aversive learning and memory are mediated by functionally heterogeneous populations of LC neurons that are defined by their projection targets. Hence, LC-NE function in learning and memory is determined by projection-specific neuromodulation that accompanies various states of behavioral arousal.

  5. A Model of Differential Amygdala Activation in Psychopathy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moul, Caroline; Killcross, Simon; Dadds, Mark R.

    2012-01-01

    This article introduces a novel hypothesis regarding amygdala function in psychopathy. The first part of this article introduces the concept of psychopathy and describes the main cognitive and affective impairments demonstrated by this population; that is, a deficit in fear-recognition, lower conditioned fear responses and poor performance in…

  6. The Role of the Basolateral Amygdala in Punishment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dit-Bressel, Philip Jean-Richard; McNally, Gavan P.

    2015-01-01

    Aversive stimuli not only support fear conditioning to their environmental antecedents, they also punish behaviors that cause their occurrence. The amygdala, especially the basolateral nucleus (BLA), has been critically implicated in Pavlovian fear learning but its role in punishment remains poorly understood. Here, we used a within-subjects…

  7. Impaired fear extinction in adolescent rodents: Behavioural and neural analyses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baker, Kathryn D; Bisby, Madelyne A; Richardson, Rick

    2016-11-01

    Despite adolescence being a developmental window of vulnerability, up until very recently there were surprisingly few studies on fear extinction during this period. Here we summarise the recent work in this area, focusing on the unique behavioural and neural characteristics of fear extinction in adolescent rodents, and humans where relevant. A prominent hypothesis posits that anxiety disorders peak during late childhood/adolescence due to the non-linear maturation of the fear inhibition neural circuitry. We discuss evidence that impaired extinction retention in adolescence is due to subregions of the medial prefrontal cortex and amygdala mediating fear inhibition being underactive while other subregions that mediate fear expression are overactive. We also review work on various interventions and surprising circumstances which enhance fear extinction in adolescence. This latter work revealed that the neural correlates of extinction in adolescence are different to that in younger and older animals even when extinction retention is not impaired. This growing body of work highlights that adolescence is a unique period of development for fear inhibition. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Repeated stressor exposure enhances contextual fear memory in a beta-adrenergic receptor-dependent process and increases impulsivity in a non-beta receptor-dependent fashion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Camp, Robert M; Johnson, John D

    2015-10-15

    Memory formation is promoted by stress via the release of norepinephrine and stimulation of beta-adrenergic receptors (β-ARs). Previous data demonstrate that repeated stressor exposure increases norepinephrine turnover and β-AR signaling within the amygdala, which led to the hypothesis that some stress-induced behavioral changes are likely due to facilitated associative learning. To test this, Fischer rats were exposed to chronic mild stress for four days. On day 5, subjects (including non-stressed controls) were injected with the beta-blocker propranolol or vehicle prior to conditioning in an operant box (animals receive two mild foot shocks) or passive avoidance apparatus (animals received a foot shock upon entry into the dark chamber). Twenty-four hours later, subjects were returned to the operant box for measurement of freezing or returned to the passive avoidance apparatus for measurement of latency to enter the dark chamber. Subjects were also tested in an open field to assess context-independent anxiety-like behavior. Animals exposed to chronic stress showed significantly more freezing behavior in the operant box than did controls, and this exaggerated freezing was blocked by propranolol during the conditioning trial. There was no effect of stress on behavior in the open field. Unexpectedly, retention latency was significantly reduced in subjects exposed to chronic stress. These results indicate that chronic exposure to stress results in complex behavioral changes. While repeated stress appears to enhance the formation of fearful memories, it also results in behavioral responses that resemble impulsive behaviors that result in poor decision-making. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  9. Enhancing effects of contingency instructions on fear acquisition and extinction in anxiety disorders.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Duits, Puck; Richter, Jan; Baas, Johanna M P; Engelhard, Iris M; Limberg-Thiesen, Anke; Heitland, Ivo; Hamm, Alfons O; Cath, Danielle C

    2017-05-01

    Explicit instructions regarding stimulus-threat associations increase acquisition and extinction of fear in healthy participants. The current study aimed to investigate the effect of contingency instructions on fear acquisition and extinction in patients with anxiety disorders. Patients with various anxiety disorders (N = 104) and healthy comparison participants (N = 93) participated in a differential fear conditioning task (within-subjects design). Approximately halfway through the acquisition phase, participants were instructed about the stimulus-threat association, and approximately halfway through the extinction phase, participants were informed that the unconditioned stimulus (US) would no longer be administered. Outcome measures were: fear-potentiated startle, skin conductance, fearfulness ratings, and US expectancy ratings. Patients demonstrated overall increased physiological and subjective fear responses during acquisition and extinction phases, relative to the comparison group. There were no major differences in fear acquisition and extinction between patients with different anxiety disorders. During acquisition, instructions led to increased discrimination of fear responses between a danger cue (conditioned stimulus [CS]+) and safety cue (CS-) in both patients and comparison participants. Moreover, instructions strengthened extinction of fear responses in the patient and comparison group. Patients and healthy comparison participants are better able to discriminate between danger and safety cues when they have been explicitly informed about cues that announce a threat situation. Considering the analogies between fear extinction procedures and exposure therapy, this suggests that specific instructions on stimulus-threat associations during exposure therapy might improve short-term treatment efficacy. The question remains for future studies whether instructions have a positive effect on extinction learning in the longer term. (PsycINFO Database Record (c

  10. When psychopathy impairs moral judgments: neural responses during judgments about causing fear

    OpenAIRE

    Marsh, Abigail A.; Cardinale, Elise M.

    2012-01-01

    Psychopathy is a disorder characterized by reduced empathy, shallow affect and behaviors that cause victims distress, like threats, bullying and violence. Neuroimaging research in both institutionalized and community samples implicates amygdala dysfunction in the etiology of psychopathic traits. Reduced amygdala responsiveness may disrupt processing of fear-relevant stimuli like fearful facial expressions. The present study links amygdala dysfunction in response to fear-relevant stimuli to th...

  11. Which Cue to ‘Want?’ Central Amygdala Opioid Activation Enhances and Focuses Incentive Salience on a Prepotent Reward Cue

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahler, Stephen V.; Berridge, Kent C.

    2009-01-01

    The central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) helps translate learning into motivation, and here we show that opioid stimulation of CeA magnifies and focuses learned incentive salience onto a specific reward cue (Pavlovian conditioned stimulus, or CS). This motivation enhancement makes that cue more attractive, noticeable, and liable to elicit appetitive and consummatory behaviors. To reveal the focusing of incentive salience, we exploited individual differences in an autoshaping paradigm in which a rat prefers to approach, nibble and sniff one of two reward-associated stimuli (its prepotent stimulus). The individually-prepotent cue is either a predictive CS+ that signals reward (8sec metal lever insertion), or instead the metal cup that delivers sucrose pellets (the reward source). Results indicated that CeA opioid activation by microinjection of the μ agonist DAMGO (0.1μg) selectively and reversibly enhanced the attractiveness of whichever reward CS was that rat's prepotent cue. CeA DAMGO microinjections made rats more vigorously approach their particular prepotent CS, and to energetically sniff and nibble it in a nearly frenzied consummatory fashion. Only the prepotent cue was enhanced as an incentive target, and alternative cues were not enhanced. Conversely, inactivation of CeA by muscimol microinjection (0.25μg) suppressed approach, nibbles and sniffs of the prepotent CS. Confirming modulation of incentive salience, unconditioned food intake was similarly increased by DAMGO microinjection and decreased by muscimol in CeA. We conclude that opioid neurotransmission in central amygdala helps determine which environmental stimuli become most ‘wanted,’ and how ‘wanted’ they become. This may powerfully guide reward-seeking behavior. PMID:19458221

  12. The human amygdala parametrically encodes the intensity of specific facial emotions and their categorical ambiguity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Shuo; Yu, Rongjun; Tyszka, J. Michael; Zhen, Shanshan; Kovach, Christopher; Sun, Sai; Huang, Yi; Hurlemann, Rene; Ross, Ian B.; Chung, Jeffrey M.; Mamelak, Adam N.; Adolphs, Ralph; Rutishauser, Ueli

    2017-01-01

    The human amygdala is a key structure for processing emotional facial expressions, but it remains unclear what aspects of emotion are processed. We investigated this question with three different approaches: behavioural analysis of 3 amygdala lesion patients, neuroimaging of 19 healthy adults, and single-neuron recordings in 9 neurosurgical patients. The lesion patients showed a shift in behavioural sensitivity to fear, and amygdala BOLD responses were modulated by both fear and emotion ambiguity (the uncertainty that a facial expression is categorized as fearful or happy). We found two populations of neurons, one whose response correlated with increasing degree of fear, or happiness, and a second whose response primarily decreased as a linear function of emotion ambiguity. Together, our results indicate that the human amygdala processes both the degree of emotion in facial expressions and the categorical ambiguity of the emotion shown and that these two aspects of amygdala processing can be most clearly distinguished at the level of single neurons. PMID:28429707

  13. Synaptic dysfunction in amygdala in intellectual disorder models.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aincy, Marianne; Meziane, Hamid; Herault, Yann; Humeau, Yann

    2018-06-08

    The amygdala is a part of the limbic circuit that has been extensively studied in terms of synaptic connectivity, plasticity and cellular organization since decades (Ehrlich et al., 2009; Ledoux, 2000; Maren, 2001). Amygdala sub-nuclei, including lateral, basolateral and central amygdala appear now as "hubs" providing in parallel and in series neuronal processing enabling the animal to elicit freezing or escaping behavior in response to external threats. In rodents, these behaviors are easily observed and quantified following associative fear conditioning. Thus, studies on amygdala circuit in association with threat/fear behavior became very popular in laboratories and are often used among other behavioral tests to evaluate learning abilities of mouse models for various neuropsychiatric conditions including genetically encoded intellectual disabilities (ID). Yet, more than 100 human X-linked genes - and several hundreds of autosomal genes - have been associated with ID in humans. These mutations introduced in mice can generate social deficits, anxiety dysregulations and fear learning impairments (McNaughton et al., 2008; Houbaert et al., 2013; Jayachandran et al., 2014; Zhang et al., 2015). Noteworthy, a significant proportion of the coded ID gene products are synaptic proteins. It is postulated that the loss of function of these proteins could destabilize neuronal circuits by global changes of the balance between inhibitory and excitatory drives onto neurons. However, whereas amygdala related behavioral deficits are commonly observed in ID models, the role of most of these ID-genes in synaptic function and plasticity in the amygdala are only sparsely studied. We will here discuss some of the concepts that emerged from amygdala-targeted studies examining the role of syndromic and non-syndromic ID genes in fear-related behaviors and/or synaptic function. Along describing these cases, we will discuss how synaptic deficits observed in amygdala circuits could impact

  14. Pattern of distribution of serotonergic fibers to the amygdala and extended amygdala in the rat.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linley, Stephanie B; Olucha-Bordonau, Francisco; Vertes, Robert P

    2017-01-01

    As is well recognized, serotonergic (5-HT) fibers distribute widely throughout the forebrain, including the amygdala. Although a few reports have examined the 5-HT innervation of select nuclei of the amygdala in the rat, no previous report has described overall 5-HT projections to the amygdala in the rat. Using immunostaining for the serotonin transporter, SERT, we describe the complete pattern of distribution of 5-HT fibers to the amygdala (proper) and to the extended amygdala in the rat. Based on its ontogenetic origins, the amygdala was subdivided into two major parts, pallial and subpallial components, with the pallial component further divided into superficial and deep nuclei (Olucha-Bordonau et al. 2015). SERT + fibers were shown to distributed moderately to densely to the deep and cortical pallial nuclei, but, by contrast, lightly to the subpallial nuclei. Specifically, 1) of the deep pallial nuclei, the lateral, basolateral, and basomedial nuclei contained a very dense concentration of 5-HT fibers; 2) of the cortical pallial nuclei, the anterior cortical and amygdala-cortical transition zone rostrally and the posteromedial and posterolateral nuclei caudally contained a moderate concentration of 5-HT fibers; and 3) of the subpallial nuclei, the anterior nuclei and the rostral part of the medial (Me) nuclei contained a moderate concentration of 5-HT fibers, whereas caudal regions of Me as well as the central nuclei and the intercalated nuclei contained a sparse/light concentration of 5-HT fibers. With regard to the extended amygdala (primarily the bed nucleus of stria terminalis; BST), on the whole, the BST contained moderate numbers of 5-HT fibers, spread fairly uniformly throughout BST. The findings are discussed with respect to a critical serotonergic influence on the amygdala, particularly on the basal complex, and on the extended amygdala in the control of states of fear and anxiety. J. Comp. Neurol. 525:116-139, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  15. Intranasal Oxytocin Normalizes Amygdala Functional Connectivity in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koch, Saskia B J; van Zuiden, Mirjam; Nawijn, Laura; Frijling, Jessie L; Veltman, Dick J; Olff, Miranda

    2016-07-01

    The neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) has been suggested as a promising pharmacological agent for medication-enhanced psychotherapy in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of its anxiolytic and prosocial properties. We therefore investigated the behavioral and neurobiological effects of a single intranasal OT administration (40 IU) in PTSD patients. We conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over resting-state fMRI study in male and female police officers with (n=37, 21 males) and without PTSD (n=40, 20 males). We investigated OT administration effects on subjective anxiety and functional connectivity of basolateral (BLA) and centromedial (CeM) amygdala subregions with prefrontal and salience processing areas. In PTSD patients, OT administration resulted in decreased subjective anxiety and nervousness. Under placebo, male PTSD patients showed diminished right CeM to left ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) connectivity compared with male trauma-exposed controls, which was reinstated after OT administration. Additionally, female PTSD patients showed enhanced right BLA to bilateral dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) connectivity compared with female trauma-exposed controls, which was dampened after OT administration. Although caution is warranted, our findings tentatively suggest that OT has the potential to diminish anxiety and fear expression of the amygdala in PTSD, either via increased control of the vmPFC over the CeM (males) or via decreased salience processing of the dACC and BLA (females). Our findings add to accumulating evidence that OT administration could potentially enhance treatment response in PTSD.

  16. Enhanced fear recall and emotional arousal in rats recovering from chronic variable stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGuire, Jennifer; Herman, James P; Horn, Paul S; Sallee, Floyd R; Sah, Renu

    2010-11-02

    Emergence of posttraumatic-like behaviors following chronic trauma is of interest given the rising prevalence of combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Stress associated with combat usually involves chronic traumatization, composed of multiple, single episode events occurring in an unpredictable fashion. In this study, we investigated whether rats recovering from repeated trauma in the form of chronic variable stress (CVS) express posttraumatic stress-like behaviors and dysregulated neuroendocrine responses. Cohorts of Long-Evans rats underwent a 7 day CVS paradigm followed by behavioral and neuroendocrine testing during early (16 h post CVS) and delayed (7 day) recovery time points. A fear conditioning-extinction-reminder shock paradigm revealed that CVS induces exaggerated fear recall to reminder shock, suggestive of potentiated fear memory. Rats with CVS experience also expressed a delayed expression of fearful arousal under aversive context, however, social anxiety was not affected during post-CVS recovery. Persistent sensitization of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocorticotropic response to a novel acute stressor was observed in CVS exposed rats. Collectively, our data are consistent with the constellation of symptoms associated with posttraumatic stress syndrome, such as re-experiencing, and arousal to fearful contexts. The CVS-recovery paradigm may be useful to simulate trauma outcomes following chronic traumatization that is often associated with repeated combat stress. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  17. ADRA2B genotype differentially modulates stress-induced neural activity in the amygdala and hippocampus during emotional memory retrieval.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Shijia; Weerda, Riklef; Milde, Christopher; Wolf, Oliver T; Thiel, Christiane M

    2015-02-01

    Noradrenaline interacts with stress hormones in the amygdala and hippocampus to enhance emotional memory consolidation, but the noradrenergic-glucocorticoid interaction at retrieval, where stress impairs memory, is less understood. We used a genetic neuroimaging approach to investigate whether a genetic variation of the noradrenergic system impacts stress-induced neural activity in amygdala and hippocampus during recognition of emotional memory. This study is based on genotype-dependent reanalysis of data from our previous publication (Li et al. Brain Imaging Behav 2014). Twenty-two healthy male volunteers were genotyped for the ADRA2B gene encoding the α2B-adrenergic receptor. Ten deletion carriers and 12 noncarriers performed an emotional face recognition task, while their brain activity was measured with fMRI. During encoding, 50 fearful and 50 neutral faces were presented. One hour later, they underwent either an acute stress (Trier Social Stress Test) or a control procedure which was followed immediately by the retrieval session, where participants had to discriminate between 100 old and 50 new faces. A genotype-dependent modulation of neural activity at retrieval was found in the bilateral amygdala and right hippocampus. Deletion carriers showed decreased neural activity in the amygdala when recognizing emotional faces in control condition and increased amygdala activity under stress. Noncarriers showed no differences in emotional modulated amygdala activation under stress or control. Instead, stress-induced increases during recognition of emotional faces were present in the right hippocampus. The genotype-dependent effects of acute stress on neural activity in amygdala and hippocampus provide evidence for noradrenergic-glucocorticoid interaction in emotional memory retrieval.

  18. Prior fear conditioning does not impede enhanced active avoidance in serotonin transporter knockout rats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schipper, Pieter; Henckens, Marloes J A G; Borghans, Bart; Hiemstra, Marlies; Kozicz, Tamas; Homberg, Judith R

    2017-05-30

    Stressors can be actively or passively coped with, and adequate adaption of the coping response to environmental conditions can reduce their potential deleterious effects. One major factor influencing stress coping behaviour is serotonin transporter (5-HTT) availability. Abolishment of 5-HTT is known to impair fear extinction but facilitates acquisition of signalled active avoidance (AA), a behavioural task in which an animal learns to avoid an aversive stimulus that is predicted by a cue. Flexibility in adapting coping behaviour to the nature of the stressor shapes resilience to stress-related disorders. Therefore, we investigated the relation between 5-HTT expression and ability to adapt a learned coping response to changing environmental conditions. To this end, we first established and consolidated a cue-conditioned passive fear response in 5-HTT -/- and wildtype rats. Next, we used the conditioned stimulus (CS) to signal oncoming shocks during signalled AA training in 5-HTT -/- and wildtype rats to study their capability to acquire an active coping response to the CS following fear conditioning. Finally, we investigated the behavioural response to the CS in a novel environment and measured freezing, exploration and self-grooming, behaviours reflective of stress coping strategy. We found that fear conditioned and sham conditioned 5-HTT -/- animals acquired the signalled AA response faster than wildtypes, while prior conditioning briefly delayed AA learning similarly in both genotypes. Subsequent exposure to the CS in the novel context reduced freezing and increased locomotion in 5-HTT -/- compared to wildtype rats. This indicates that improved AA performance in 5-HTT -/- rats resulted in a weaker residual passive fear response to the CS in a novel context. Fear conditioning prior to AA training did not affect freezing upon re-encountering the CS, although it did reduce locomotion in 5-HTT -/- rats. We conclude that independent of 5-HTT signalling, prior fear

  19. Using novel control groups to dissect the amygdala's role in Williams syndrome.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thornton-Wells, Tricia A; Avery, Suzanne N; Blackford, Jennifer Urbano

    2011-07-01

    Williams syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder with an intriguing behavioral phenotype-hypersociability combined with significant non-social fears. Previous studies have demonstrated abnormalities in amygdala function in individuals with Williams syndrome compared to typically-developing controls. However, it remains unclear whether the findings are related to the atypical neurodevelopment of Williams syndrome, or are also associated with behavioral traits at the extreme end of a normal continuum. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare amygdala blood-oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD) responses to non-social and social images in individuals with Williams syndrome compared to either individuals with inhibited temperament (high non-social fear) or individuals with uninhibited temperament (high sociability). Individuals with Williams syndrome had larger amygdala BOLD responses when viewing the non-social fear images than the inhibited temperament control group. In contrast, when viewing both fear and neutral social images, individuals with Williams syndrome did not show smaller amygdala BOLD responses relative to the uninhibited temperament control group, but instead had amygdala responses proportionate to their sociability. These results suggest heightened amygdala response to non-social fear images is characteristic of WS, whereas, variability in amygdala response to social fear images is proportionate to, and might be explained by, levels of trait sociability.

  20. Neurons in the human amygdala selective for perceived emotion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Shuo; Tudusciuc, Oana; Mamelak, Adam N.; Ross, Ian B.; Adolphs, Ralph; Rutishauser, Ueli

    2014-01-01

    The human amygdala plays a key role in recognizing facial emotions and neurons in the monkey and human amygdala respond to the emotional expression of faces. However, it remains unknown whether these responses are driven primarily by properties of the stimulus or by the perceptual judgments of the perceiver. We investigated these questions by recording from over 200 single neurons in the amygdalae of 7 neurosurgical patients with implanted depth electrodes. We presented degraded fear and happy faces and asked subjects to discriminate their emotion by button press. During trials where subjects responded correctly, we found neurons that distinguished fear vs. happy emotions as expressed by the displayed faces. During incorrect trials, these neurons indicated the patients’ subjective judgment. Additional analysis revealed that, on average, all neuronal responses were modulated most by increases or decreases in response to happy faces, and driven predominantly by judgments about the eye region of the face stimuli. Following the same analyses, we showed that hippocampal neurons, unlike amygdala neurons, only encoded emotions but not subjective judgment. Our results suggest that the amygdala specifically encodes the subjective judgment of emotional faces, but that it plays less of a role in simply encoding aspects of the image array. The conscious percept of the emotion shown in a face may thus arise from interactions between the amygdala and its connections within a distributed cortical network, a scheme also consistent with the long response latencies observed in human amygdala recordings. PMID:24982200

  1. White matter integrity deficits in prefrontal-amygdala pathways in Williams syndrome.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Avery, Suzanne N; Thornton-Wells, Tricia A; Anderson, Adam W; Blackford, Jennifer Urbano

    2012-01-16

    Williams syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with significant non-social fears. Consistent with this elevated non-social fear, individuals with Williams syndrome have an abnormally elevated amygdala response when viewing threatening non-social stimuli. In typically-developing individuals, amygdala activity is inhibited through dense, reciprocal white matter connections with the prefrontal cortex. Neuroimaging studies suggest a functional uncoupling of normal prefrontal-amygdala inhibition in individuals with Williams syndrome, which might underlie both the extreme amygdala activity and non-social fears. This functional uncoupling might be caused by structural deficits in underlying white matter pathways; however, prefrontal-amygdala white matter deficits have yet to be explored in Williams syndrome. We used diffusion tensor imaging to investigate prefrontal-amygdala white matter integrity differences in individuals with Williams syndrome and typically-developing controls with high levels of non-social fear. White matter pathways between the amygdala and several prefrontal regions were isolated using probabilistic tractography. Within each pathway, we tested for between-group differences in three measures of white matter integrity: fractional anisotropy (FA), radial diffusivity (RD), and parallel diffusivity (λ(1)). Individuals with Williams syndrome had lower FA, compared to controls, in several of the prefrontal-amygdala pathways investigated, indicating a reduction in white matter integrity. Lower FA in Williams syndrome was explained by significantly higher RD, with no differences in λ(1), suggestive of lower fiber density or axon myelination in prefrontal-amygdala pathways. These results suggest that deficits in the structural integrity of prefrontal-amygdala white matter pathways might underlie the increased amygdala activity and extreme non-social fears observed in Williams syndrome. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  2. Basolateral amygdala and stress-induced hyperexcitability affect motivated behaviors and addiction

    OpenAIRE

    Sharp, B M

    2017-01-01

    The amygdala integrates and processes incoming information pertinent to reward and to emotions such as fear and anxiety that promote survival by warning of potential danger. Basolateral amygdala (BLA) communicates bi-directionally with brain regions affecting cognition, motivation and stress responses including prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, nucleus accumbens and hindbrain regions that trigger norepinephrine-mediated stress responses. Disruption of intrinsic amygdala and BLA regulatory neuro...

  3. Basolateral amygdala and stress-induced hyperexcitability affect motivated behaviors and addiction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sharp, B M

    2017-08-08

    The amygdala integrates and processes incoming information pertinent to reward and to emotions such as fear and anxiety that promote survival by warning of potential danger. Basolateral amygdala (BLA) communicates bi-directionally with brain regions affecting cognition, motivation and stress responses including prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, nucleus accumbens and hindbrain regions that trigger norepinephrine-mediated stress responses. Disruption of intrinsic amygdala and BLA regulatory neurocircuits is often caused by dysfunctional neuroplasticity frequently due to molecular alterations in local GABAergic circuits and principal glutamatergic output neurons. Changes in local regulation of BLA excitability underlie behavioral disturbances characteristic of disorders including post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and stress-induced relapse to drug use. In this Review, we discuss molecular mechanisms and neural circuits that regulate physiological and stress-induced dysfunction of BLA/amygdala and its principal output neurons. We consider effects of stress on motivated behaviors that depend on BLA; these include drug taking and drug seeking, with emphasis on nicotine-dependent behaviors. Throughout, we take a translational approach by integrating decades of addiction research on animal models and human trials. We show that changes in BLA function identified in animal addiction models illuminate human brain imaging and behavioral studies by more precisely delineating BLA mechanisms. In summary, BLA is required to promote responding for natural reward and respond to second-order drug-conditioned cues; reinstate cue-dependent drug seeking; express stress-enhanced reacquisition of nicotine intake; and drive anxiety and fear. Converging evidence indicates that chronic stress causes BLA principal output neurons to become hyperexcitable.

  4. Can fear extinction be enhanced? A review of pharmacological and behavioral findings

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fitzgerald, Paul J.; Seemann, Jocelyn R.; Maren, Stephen

    2014-01-01

    There is considerable interest, from both a basic and clinical standpoint, in gaining a greater understanding of how pharmaceutical or behavioral manipulations alter fear extinction in animals. Not only does fear extinction in rodents model exposure therapy in humans, where the latter is a cornerstone of behavioral intervention for anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and specific phobias, but also understanding more about extinction provides basic information into learning and memory processes and their underlying circuitry. In this paper, we briefly review three principal approaches that have been used to modulate extinction processes in animals and humans: a purely pharmacological approach, the more widespread approach of combining pharmacology with behavior, and a purely behavioral approach. The pharmacological studies comprise modulation by: brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), d-cycloserine, serotonergic and noradrenergic drugs, neuropeptides, endocannabinoids, glucocorticoids, histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, and others. These studies strongly suggest that extinction can be modulated by drugs, behavioral interventions, or their combination, although not always in a lasting manner. We suggest that pharmacotherapeutic manipulations provide considerable promise for promoting effective and lasting fear reduction in individuals with anxiety disorders. PMID:24374101

  5. Dissecting the role of amygdala reactivity in antisocial behavior in a sample of young, low-income, urban men

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hyde, Luke W.; Shaw, Daniel S.; Murray, Laura; Gard, Arianna; Hariri, Ahmad R.; Forbes, Erika E.

    2015-01-01

    Neuroimaging has suggested that amygdala reactivity to emotional facial expressions is associated with antisocial behavior (AB), particularly among those high on callous-unemotional (CU) traits. To investigate this association and potential moderators of this relationship, including task/stimuli effects, subregional anatomy of the amygdala, and participant race, we used fMRI in a sample of 167 racially diverse, 20 year-old men from low-income families. We found that AB, but not CU traits, was negatively related to amygdala reactivity to fearful faces. This result was specific to fearful faces and strongest in the centro-medial subregion of the amygdala. Arrest record was positively related to basolateral amygdala reactivity to fearful and angry faces. Results were strongest among those identified as African American and not present in those identified as European American. Our findings suggest substantial complexity in the relationship between amygdala function and AB reflecting moderating effects of task stimulus, subregional anatomy, and race. PMID:27429865

  6. Genetic Deletion of Neuronal PPARγ Enhances the Emotional Response to Acute Stress and Exacerbates Anxiety: An Effect Reversed by Rescue of Amygdala PPARγ Function.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Domi, Esi; Uhrig, Stefanie; Soverchia, Laura; Spanagel, Rainer; Hansson, Anita C; Barbier, Estelle; Heilig, Markus; Ciccocioppo, Roberto; Ubaldi, Massimo

    2016-12-14

    PPARγ is one of the three isoforms of the Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors (PPARs). PPARγ is activated by thiazolidinediones such as pioglitazone and is targeted to treat insulin resistance. PPARγ is densely expressed in brain areas involved in regulation of motivational and emotional processes. Here, we investigated the role of PPARγ in the brain and explored its role in anxiety and stress responses in mice. The results show that stimulation of PPARγ by pioglitazone did not affect basal anxiety, but fully prevented the anxiogenic effect of acute stress. Using mice with genetic ablation of neuronal PPARγ (PPARγ NestinCre ), we demonstrated that a lack of receptors, specifically in neurons, exacerbated basal anxiety and enhanced stress sensitivity. The administration of GW9662, a selective PPARγ antagonist, elicited a marked anxiogenic response in PPARγ wild-type (WT), but not in PPARγ NestinCre knock-out (KO) mice. Using c-Fos immunohistochemistry, we observed that acute stress exposure resulted in a different pattern of neuronal activation in the amygdala (AMY) and the hippocampus (HIPP) of PPARγ NestinCre KO mice compared with WT mice. No differences were found between WT and KO mice in hypothalamic regions responsible for hormonal response to stress or in blood corticosterone levels. Microinjection of pioglitazone into the AMY, but not into the HIPP, abolished the anxiogenic response elicited by acute stress. Results also showed that, in both regions, PPARγ colocalizes with GABAergic cells. These findings demonstrate that neuronal PPARγ is involved the regulation of the stress response and that the AMY is a key substrate for the anxiolytic effect of PPARγ. Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma (PPARγ) is a classical target for antidiabetic therapies with thiazolidinedione compounds. PPARγ agonists such as rosiglitazone and pioglitazone are in clinical use for the treatment of insulin resistance. PPARγ has recently attracted

  7. Fear and Reward Circuit Alterations in Pediatric CRPS.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simons, Laura E; Erpelding, Nathalie; Hernandez, Jessica M; Serrano, Paul; Zhang, Kunyu; Lebel, Alyssa A; Sethna, Navil F; Berde, Charles B; Prabhu, Sanjay P; Becerra, Lino; Borsook, David

    2015-01-01

    In chronic pain, a number of brain regions involved in emotion (e.g., amygdala, hippocampus, nucleus accumbens, insula, anterior cingulate, and prefrontal cortex) show significant functional and morphometric changes. One phenotypic manifestation of these changes is pain-related fear (PRF). PRF is associated with profoundly altered behavioral adaptations to chronic pain. For example, patients with a neuropathic pain condition known as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) often avoid use of and may even neglect the affected body area(s), thus maintaining and likely enhancing PRF. These changes form part of an overall maladaptation to chronic pain. To examine fear-related brain circuit alterations in humans, 20 pediatric patients with CRPS and 20 sex- and age-matched healthy controls underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in response to a well-established fearful faces paradigm. Despite no significant differences on self-reported emotional valence and arousal between the two groups, CRPS patients displayed a diminished response to fearful faces in regions associated with emotional processing compared to healthy controls. Additionally, increased PRF levels were associated with decreased activity in a number of brain regions including the right amygdala, insula, putamen, and caudate. Blunted activation in patients suggests that (a) individuals with chronic pain may have deficits in cognitive-affective brain circuits that may represent an underlying vulnerability or consequence to the chronic pain state; and (b) fear of pain may contribute and/or maintain these brain alterations. Our results shed new light on altered affective circuits in patients with chronic pain and identify PRF as a potentially important treatment target.

  8. The Interplay of Attention and Emotion: Top-down Attention Modulates Amygdala Activation in Psychopathy

    OpenAIRE

    Larson, Christine L.; Baskin-Sommers, Arielle R.; Stout, Daniel M.; Balderston, Nicholas L.; Curtin, John J.; Schultz, Douglas H.; Kiehl, Kent A.; Newman, Joseph P.

    2013-01-01

    Psychopathic behavior has long been attributed to a fundamental deficit in fear that arises from impaired amygdala function. Growing evidence demonstrates that fear potentiated startle (FPS) and other psychopathy-related deficits are moderated by focus of attention but, to date, no work on adult psychopathy has examined attentional modulation of the amygdala, or concomitant recruitment of relevant attention-related circuitry. Consistent with previous FPS findings, here we report that psychopa...

  9. Activation of the basolateral amygdala induces long-term enhancement of specific memory representations in the cerebral cortex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chavez, Candice M; McGaugh, James L; Weinberger, Norman M

    2013-03-01

    The basolateral amygdala (BLA) modulates memory, particularly for arousing or emotional events, during post-training periods of consolidation. It strengthens memories whose substrates in part or whole are stored remotely, in structures such as the hippocampus, striatum and cerebral cortex. However, the mechanisms by which the BLA influences distant memory traces are unknown, largely because of the need for identifiable target mnemonic representations. Associative tuning plasticity in the primary auditory cortex (A1) constitutes a well-characterized candidate specific memory substrate that is ubiquitous across species, tasks and motivational states. When tone predicts reinforcement, the tuning of cells in A1 shifts toward or to the signal frequency within its tonotopic map, producing an over-representation of behaviorally important sounds. Tuning shifts have the cardinal attributes of forms of memory, including associativity, specificity, rapid induction, consolidation and long-term retention and are therefore likely memory representations. We hypothesized that the BLA strengthens memories by increasing their cortical representations. We recorded multiple unit activity from A1 of rats that received a single discrimination training session in which two tones (2.0 s) separated by 1.25 octaves were either paired with brief electrical stimulation (400 ms) of the BLA (CS+) or not (CS-). Frequency response areas generated by presenting a matrix of test tones (0.5-53.82 kHz, 0-70 dB) were obtained before training and daily for 3 weeks post-training. Tuning both at threshold and above threshold shifted predominantly toward the CS+ beginning on day 1. Tuning shifts were maintained for the entire 3 weeks. Absolute threshold and bandwidth decreased, producing less enduring increases in sensitivity and selectivity. BLA-induced tuning shifts were associative, highly specific and long-lasting. We propose that the BLA strengthens memory for important experiences by increasing the

  10. Activation of D1/5 Dopamine Receptors: A Common Mechanism for Enhancing Extinction of Fear and Reward-Seeking Behaviors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abraham, Antony D; Neve, Kim A; Lattal, K Matthew

    2016-07-01

    Dopamine is critical for many processes that drive learning and memory, including motivation, prediction error, incentive salience, memory consolidation, and response output. Theories of dopamine's function in these processes have, for the most part, been developed from behavioral approaches that examine learning mechanisms in appetitive tasks. A parallel and growing literature indicates that dopamine signaling is involved in consolidation of memories into stable representations in aversive tasks such as fear conditioning. Relatively little is known about how dopamine may modulate memories that form during extinction, when organisms learn that the relation between previously associated events is severed. We investigated whether fear and reward extinction share common mechanisms that could be enhanced with dopamine D1/5 receptor activation. Pharmacological activation of dopamine D1/5 receptors (with SKF 81297) enhanced extinction of both cued and contextual fear. These effects also occurred in the extinction of cocaine-induced conditioned place preference, suggesting that the observed effects on extinction were not specific to a particular type of procedure (aversive or appetitive). A cAMP/PKA biased D1 agonist (SKF 83959) did not affect fear extinction, whereas a broadly efficacious D1 agonist (SKF 83822) promoted fear extinction. Together, these findings show that dopamine D1/5 receptor activation is a target for the enhancement of fear or reward extinction.

  11. How the amygdala affects emotional memory by altering brain network properties.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hermans, Erno J; Battaglia, Francesco P; Atsak, Piray; de Voogd, Lycia D; Fernández, Guillén; Roozendaal, Benno

    2014-07-01

    The amygdala has long been known to play a key role in supporting memory for emotionally arousing experiences. For example, classical fear conditioning depends on neural plasticity within this anterior medial temporal lobe region. Beneficial effects of emotional arousal on memory, however, are not restricted to simple associative learning. Our recollection of emotional experiences often includes rich representations of, e.g., spatiotemporal context, visceral states, and stimulus-response associations. Critically, such memory features are known to bear heavily on regions elsewhere in the brain. These observations led to the modulation account of amygdala function, which postulates that amygdala activation enhances memory consolidation by facilitating neural plasticity and information storage processes in its target regions. Rodent work in past decades has identified the most important brain regions and neurochemical processes involved in these modulatory actions, and neuropsychological and neuroimaging work in humans has produced a large body of convergent data. Importantly, recent methodological developments make it increasingly realistic to monitor neural interactions underlying such modulatory effects as they unfold. For instance, functional connectivity network modeling in humans has demonstrated how information exchanges between the amygdala and specific target regions occur within the context of large-scale neural network interactions. Furthermore, electrophysiological and optogenetic techniques in rodents are beginning to make it possible to quantify and even manipulate such interactions with millisecond precision. In this paper we will discuss that these developments will likely lead to an updated view of the amygdala as a critical nexus within large-scale networks supporting different aspects of memory processing for emotionally arousing experiences. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  12. Spider phobia is associated with decreased left amygdala volume: a cross-sectional study

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-01-01

    Background Evidence from animal and human studies imply the amygdala as the most critical structure involved in processing of fear-relevant stimuli. In phobias, the amygdala seems to play a crucial role in the pathogenesis and maintenance of the disorder. However, the neuropathology of specific phobias remains poorly understood. In the present study, we investigated whether patients with spider phobia show altered amygdala volumes as compared to healthy control subjects. Methods Twenty female patients with spider phobia and twenty age-matched healthy female controls underwent magnetic resonance imaging to investigate amygdala volumes. The amygdalae were segmented using an automatic, model-based segmentation tool (FSL FIRST). Differences in amygdala volume were investigated by multivariate analysis of covariance with group as between-subject factor and left and right amygdala as dependent factors. The relation between amygdala volume and clinical features such as symptom severity, disgust sensitivity, trait anxiety and duration of illness was investigated by Spearman correlation analysis. Results Spider phobic patients showed significantly smaller left amygdala volume than healthy controls. No significant difference in right amygdala volume was detected. Furthermore, the diminished amygdala size in patients was related to higher symptom severity, but not to higher disgust sensitivity or trait anxiety and was independent of age. Conclusions In summary, the results reveal a relation between higher symptom severity and smaller left amygdala volume in patients with spider phobia. This relation was independent of other potential confounders such as the disgust sensitivity or trait anxiety. The findings suggest that greater spider phobic fear is associated with smaller left amygdala. However, the smaller left amygdala volume may either stand for a higher vulnerability to develop a phobic disorder or emerge as a consequence of the disorder. PMID:23442196

  13. Egg cortisol exposure enhances fearfulness in larvae and juvenile rainbow trout

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Colson, Violaine; Valotaire, Claudiane; Geffroy, Benjamin

    2015-01-01

    We investigated the effects of an early boost of cortisol exposure in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) eggs during fertilisation on subsequent behavioural responses when exposed to a sudden stimulus in larvae and juveniles. At 55 d post-fertilisation (dpf), treatment had no effect on high...... accelerations occurring after a sudden event. At 146 dpf, these high accelerations were more frequent in cortisol-treated fish than in controls. At 146 dpf also, swimming activity was increased in cortisol-treated fish both before and after the sudden stimulus. This study underlines the important behavioural...... modifications in both larvae and juveniles, linked to a change in the surrounding environment of the embryo. Indeed, fish exposed to cortisol as eggs showed a higher level of fearfulness later in life. Our findings are of major interest for stress management in an aquaculture context and also allow for a better...

  14. NMDA receptors regulate nicotine-enhanced brain reward function and intravenous nicotine self-administration: role of the ventral tegmental area and central nucleus of the amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kenny, Paul J; Chartoff, Elena; Roberto, Marisa; Carlezon, William A; Markou, Athina

    2009-01-01

    Nicotine is considered an important component of tobacco responsible for the smoking habit in humans. Nicotine increases glutamate-mediated transmission throughout brain reward circuitries. This action of nicotine could potentially contribute to its intrinsic rewarding and reward-enhancing properties, which motivate consumption of the drug. Here we show that the competitive N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist LY235959 (0.5-2.5 mg per kg) abolished nicotine-enhanced brain reward function, reflected in blockade of the lowering of intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) thresholds usually observed after experimenter-administered (0.25 mg per kg) or intravenously self-administered (0.03 mg per kg per infusion) nicotine injections. The highest LY235959 dose (5 mg per kg) tested reversed the hedonic valence of nicotine from positive to negative, reflected in nicotine-induced elevations of ICSS thresholds. LY235959 doses that reversed nicotine-induced lowering of ICSS thresholds also markedly decreased nicotine self-administration without altering responding for food reinforcement, whereas the alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid receptor antagonist NBQX had no effects on nicotine intake. In addition, nicotine self-administration upregulated NMDA receptor subunit expression in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) and ventral tegmental area (VTA), suggesting important interactions between nicotine and the NMDA receptor. Furthermore, nicotine (1 microM) increased NMDA receptor-mediated excitatory postsynaptic currents in rat CeA slices, similar to its previously described effects in the VTA. Finally, infusion of LY235959 (0.1-10 ng per side) into the CeA or VTA decreased nicotine self-administration. Taken together, these data suggest that NMDA receptors, including those in the CeA and VTA, gate the magnitude and valence of the effects of nicotine on brain reward systems, thereby regulating motivation to consume the drug.

  15. When psychopathy impairs moral judgments: neural responses during judgments about causing fear.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marsh, Abigail A; Cardinale, Elise M

    2014-01-01

    Psychopathy is a disorder characterized by reduced empathy, shallow affect and behaviors that cause victims distress, like threats, bullying and violence. Neuroimaging research in both institutionalized and community samples implicates amygdala dysfunction in the etiology of psychopathic traits. Reduced amygdala responsiveness may disrupt processing of fear-relevant stimuli like fearful facial expressions. The present study links amygdala dysfunction in response to fear-relevant stimuli to the willingness of individuals with psychopathic traits to cause fear in other people. Thirty-three healthy adult participants varying in psychopathic traits underwent whole-brain fMRI scanning while they viewed statements that selectively evoke anger, disgust, fear, happiness or sadness. During scanning, participants judged whether it is morally acceptable to make each statement to another person. Psychopathy was associated with reduced activity in right amygdala during judgments of fear-evoking statements and with more lenient moral judgments about causing fear. No group differences in amygdala function or moral judgments emerged for other emotion categories. Psychopathy was also associated with increased activity in middle frontal gyrus (BA 10) during the task. These results implicate amygdala dysfunction in impaired judgments about causing distress in psychopathy and suggest that atypical amygdala responses to fear in psychopathy extend across multiple classes of stimuli.

  16. Fear conditioning following a unilateral anterior temporal lobectomy: reduced autonomic responding and stimulus contingency knowledge.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coppens, Evelien; van Paesschen, Wim; Vandenbulcke, Mathieu; Vansteenwegen, Debora

    2010-03-01

    Animal research demonstrated that during fear conditioning the amygdala plays a central role in forming an association between the conditioned stimulus (CS) and the unconditioned stimulus (US). Lesion studies conducted in patients who underwent a unilateral anterior temporal lobe resection, however; yielded contradictory findings. To date, it remains unclear whether amygdala damage only affects fear-conditioned startle responding or impairs both the latter and fear-conditioned skin conductance responding (SCR). Moreover inconsistency exists regarding the preservation of contingency knowledge in amygdala-damaged patients. In the current study, a differential fear conditioning task was presented to a unilaterally amygdala-damaged patient group and a healthy control group, recording fear-potentiated startle responses along with SCRs. Retrospectively, the valence of the CSs and contingency awareness was assessed. Unlike the control group, unilaterally amygdala-damaged patients showed neither in their SCRs nor in their valence ratings an effect of fear conditioning. The startle data, however, yielded in none of the two test groups fear-conditioned responding. Finally, considerably fewer patients (37.5%) than controls (95%) acquired correct memory of the presented contingency. Based on these findings we concluded that the fear conditioning impairment in amygdala-damaged patients was not restricted to SCRs, but also affected valence ratings and memory of the presented contingency. A broader theory of the amygdala as relevance detector is proposed in order to account for the diverse neurological findings obtained so far.

  17. Localization of deformations within the amygdala in individuals with psychopathy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Yaling; Raine, Adrian; Narr, Katherine L; Colletti, Patrick; Toga, Arthur W

    2009-09-01

    Despite the repeated findings of impaired fear conditioning and affective recognition in psychopathic individuals, there has been a paucity of brain imaging research on the amygdala and no evidence suggesting which regions within the amygdala may be structurally compromised in individuals with psychopathy. To detect global and regional anatomical abnormalities in the amygdala in individuals with psychopathy. Cross-sectional design using structural magnetic resonance imaging. Participants were recruited from high-risk communities (temporary employment agencies) in the Los Angeles, California, area and underwent imaging at a hospital research facility at the University of Southern California. Twenty-seven psychopathic individuals as defined by the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised and 32 normal controls matched on age, sex, and ethnicity. Amygdala volumes were examined using traditional volumetric analyses and surface-based mesh modeling methods were used to localize regional surface deformations. Individuals with psychopathy showed significant bilateral volume reductions in the amygdala compared with controls (left, 17.1%; right, 18.9%). Surface deformations were localized in regions in the approximate vicinity of the basolateral, lateral, cortical, and central nuclei of the amygdala. Significant correlations were found between reduced amygdala volumes and increased total and facet psychopathy scores, with correlations strongest for the affective and interpersonal facets of psychopathy. Results provide the first evidence, to our knowledge, of focal amygdala abnormalities in psychopathic individuals and corroborate findings from previous lesion studies. Findings support prior hypotheses of amygdala deficits in individuals with psychopathy and indicate that amygdala abnormalities contribute to emotional and behavioral symptoms of psychopathy.

  18. Corticotropin-releasing factor in the basolateral amygdala enhances memory consolidation via an interaction with the beta-adrenoceptor-cAMP pathway: dependence on glucocorticoid receptor activation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roozendaal, Benno; Schelling, Gustav; McGaugh, James L

    2008-06-25

    Extensive evidence indicates that stress hormone effects on the consolidation of emotionally influenced memory involve noradrenergic activation of the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA). The present experiments examined whether corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) modulates memory consolidation via an interaction with the beta-adrenoceptor-cAMP system in the BLA. In a first experiment, male Sprague Dawley rats received bilateral infusions of the CRF-binding protein ligand inhibitor CRF(6-33) into the BLA either alone or together with the CRF receptor antagonist alpha-helical CRF(9-41) immediately after inhibitory avoidance training. CRF(6-33) induced dose-dependent enhancement of 48 h retention latencies, which was blocked by coadministration of alpha-helical CRF(9-41), suggesting that CRF(6-33) enhances memory consolidation by displacing CRF from its binding protein, thereby increasing "free" endogenous CRF concentrations. In a second experiment, intra-BLA infusions of atenolol (beta-adrenoceptor antagonist) and Rp-cAMPS (cAMP inhibitor), but not prazosin (alpha(1)-adrenoceptor antagonist), blocked CRF(6-33)-induced retention enhancement. In a third experiment, the CRF receptor antagonist alpha-helical CRF(9-41) administered into the BLA immediately after training attenuated the dose-response effects of concurrent intra-BLA infusions of clenbuterol (beta-adrenoceptor agonist). In contrast, alpha-helical CRF(9-41) did not alter retention enhancement induced by posttraining intra-BLA infusions of either cirazoline (alpha(1)-adrenoceptor agonist) or 8-br-cAMP (cAMP analog). These findings suggest that CRF facilitates the memory-modulatory effects of noradrenergic stimulation in the BLA via an interaction with the beta-adrenoceptor-cAMP cascade, at a locus between the membrane-bound beta-adrenoceptor and the intracellular cAMP formation site. Moreover, consistent with evidence that glucocorticoids enhance memory consolidation via a similar interaction with the

  19. Hippocampus and amygdala volumes in patients with vaginismus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Atmaca, Murad; Baykara, Sema; Ozer, Omer; Korkmaz, Sevda; Akaslan, Unsal; Yildirim, Hanefi

    2016-06-22

    To compare hippocampus and amygdala volumes of patients with vaginismus with those of healthy control subjects. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed on ten patients with vaginismus and ten control subjects matched for age and gender. Volumes of the hippocampus and amygdala were blindly measured. We found that the mean right amygdala volume of patients with vaginismus were smaller than that of the healthy controls. With regard to hippocampus volumes, the mean left and right hippocampus volumes were smaller than those of the healthy controls. Our present findings suggest that there have been hippocampus and amygdala structural abnormalities in patients with vaginismus. These changes provide the notion that vaginismus may be a fear-related condition.

  20. Preferential amygdala reactivity to the negative assessment of neutral faces.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blasi, Giuseppe; Hariri, Ahmad R; Alce, Guilna; Taurisano, Paolo; Sambataro, Fabio; Das, Saumitra; Bertolino, Alessandro; Weinberger, Daniel R; Mattay, Venkata S

    2009-11-01

    Prior studies suggest that the amygdala shapes complex behavioral responses to socially ambiguous cues. We explored human amygdala function during explicit behavioral decision making about discrete emotional facial expressions that can represent socially unambiguous and ambiguous cues. During functional magnetic resonance imaging, 43 healthy adults were required to make complex social decisions (i.e., approach or avoid) about either relatively unambiguous (i.e., angry, fearful, happy) or ambiguous (i.e., neutral) facial expressions. Amygdala activation during this task was compared with that elicited by simple, perceptual decisions (sex discrimination) about the identical facial stimuli. Angry and fearful expressions were more frequently judged as avoidable and happy expressions most often as approachable. Neutral expressions were equally judged as avoidable and approachable. Reaction times to neutral expressions were longer than those to angry, fearful, and happy expressions during social judgment only. Imaging data on stimuli judged to be avoided revealed a significant task by emotion interaction in the amygdala. Here, only neutral facial expressions elicited greater activity during social judgment than during sex discrimination. Furthermore, during social judgment only, neutral faces judged to be avoided were associated with greater amygdala activity relative to neutral faces that were judged as approachable. Moreover, functional coupling between the amygdala and both dorsolateral prefrontal (social judgment > sex discrimination) and cingulate (sex discrimination > social judgment) cortices was differentially modulated by task during processing of neutral faces. Our results suggest that increased amygdala reactivity and differential functional coupling with prefrontal circuitries may shape complex decisions and behavioral responses to socially ambiguous cues.

  1. Neural correlates of fear: insights from neuroimaging

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Garfinkel SN

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available Sarah N Garfinkel,1,2 Hugo D Critchley1,2 1Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, 2Department of Psychiatry, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK Abstract: Fear anticipates a challenge to one's well-being and is a reaction to the risk of harm. The expression of fear in the individual is a constellation of physiological, behavioral, cognitive, and experiential responses. Fear indicates risk and will guide adaptive behavior, yet fear is also fundamental to the symptomatology of most psychiatric disorders. Neuroimaging studies of normal and abnormal fear in humans extend knowledge gained from animal experiments. Neuroimaging permits the empirical evaluation of theory (emotions as response tendencies, mental states, and valence and arousal dimensions, and improves our understanding of the mechanisms of how fear is controlled by both cognitive processes and bodily states. Within the human brain, fear engages a set of regions that include insula and anterior cingulate cortices, the amygdala, and dorsal brain-stem centers, such as periaqueductal gray matter. This same fear matrix is also implicated in attentional orienting, mental planning, interoceptive mapping, bodily feelings, novelty and motivational learning, behavioral prioritization, and the control of autonomic arousal. The stereotyped expression of fear can thus be viewed as a special construction from combinations of these processes. An important motivator for understanding neural fear mechanisms is the debilitating clinical expression of anxiety. Neuroimaging studies of anxiety patients highlight the role of learning and memory in pathological fear. Posttraumatic stress disorder is further distinguished by impairment in cognitive control and contextual memory. These processes ultimately need to be targeted for symptomatic recovery. Neuroscientific knowledge of fear has broader relevance to understanding human and societal behavior. As yet, only some of

  2. A BDNF sensitive mechanism is involved in the fear memory resulting from the interaction between stress and the retrieval of an established trace.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giachero, Marcelo; Bustos, Silvia G; Calfa, Gaston; Molina, Victor A

    2013-04-15

    The present study investigates the fear memory resulting from the interaction of a stressful experience and the retrieval of an established fear memory trace. Such a combination enhanced both fear expression and fear retention in adult Wistar rats. Likewise, midazolam intra-basolateral amygdala (BLA) infusion prior to stress attenuated the enhancement of fear memory thus suggesting the involvement of a stress-induced reduction of the GABAergic transmission in BLA in the stress-induced enhancing effect. It has been suggested that, unlike the immediate-early gene Zif268 which is related to the reconsolidation process, the expression of hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is highly correlated with consolidation. We therefore evaluate the relative contribution of these two neurobiological processes to the fear memory resulting from the above-mentioned interaction. Intra-dorsal hippocampus (DH) infusions of either the antisense Zif268 or the inhibitor of the protein degradation (Clasto-Lactacystin β-Lactone), suggested to be involved in the retrieval-dependent destabilization process, did not affect the resulting contextual memory. In contrast, the knockdown of hippocampal BDNF mitigated the stress-induced facilitating influence on fear retention. In addition, the retrieval experience elevated BDNF level in DH at 60 min after recall exclusively in stressed animals. These findings suggest the involvement of a hippocampal BDNF sensitive mechanism in the stress-promoting influence on the fear memory following retrieval.

  3. Human fear conditioning and extinction in neuroimaging: a systematic review.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christina Sehlmeyer

    Full Text Available Fear conditioning and extinction are basic forms of associative learning that have gained considerable clinical relevance in enhancing our understanding of anxiety disorders and facilitating their treatment. Modern neuroimaging techniques have significantly aided the identification of anatomical structures and networks involved in fear conditioning. On closer inspection, there is considerable variation in methodology and results between studies. This systematic review provides an overview of the current neuroimaging literature on fear conditioning and extinction on healthy subjects, taking into account methodological issues such as the conditioning paradigm. A Pubmed search, as of December 2008, was performed and supplemented by manual searches of bibliographies of key articles. Two independent reviewers made the final study selection and data extraction. A total of 46 studies on cued fear conditioning and/or extinction on healthy volunteers using positron emission tomography or functional magnetic resonance imaging were reviewed. The influence of specific experimental factors, such as contingency and timing parameters, assessment of conditioned responses, and characteristics of conditioned and unconditioned stimuli, on cerebral activation patterns was examined. Results were summarized descriptively. A network consisting of fear-related brain areas, such as amygdala, insula, and anterior cingulate cortex, is activated independently of design parameters. However, some neuroimaging studies do not report these findings in the presence of methodological heterogeneities. Furthermore, other brain areas are differentially activated, depending on specific design parameters. These include stronger hippocampal activation in trace conditioning and tactile stimulation. Furthermore, tactile unconditioned stimuli enhance activation of pain related, motor, and somatosensory areas. Differences concerning experimental factors may partly explain the variance

  4. Fear extinction and BDNF: Translating animal models of PTSD to the clinic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andero, Raül; Ressler, Kerry J

    2012-01-01

    Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is the most studied neurotrophin involved in synaptic plasticity processes that are required for long-term learning and memory. Specifically, BDNF gene expression and activation of its high-affinity TrkB receptor are necessary in the amygdala, hippocampus and prefrontal cortex for the formation of emotional memories, including fear memories. Among the psychiatric disorders with altered fear processing there is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which is characterized by an inability to extinguish fear memories. Since BDNF appears to enhance extinction of fear, targeting impaired extinction in anxiety disorders such as PTSD via BDNF signalling may be an important and novel way to enhance treatment efficacy. The aim of this review is to provide a translational point of view that stems from findings in the BDNF regulation of synaptic plasticity and fear extinction. In addition, there are different systems that seem to alter fear extinction through BDNF modulation like the endocannabionoid system and the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis (HPA). Recent work also finds that the pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) and PAC1 receptor, which are upstream of BDNF activation, may be implicated in PTSD. Especially interesting are data that exogenous fear extinction enhancers such as antidepressants, histone deacetylases inhibitors (HDACi) and D-cycloserine, a partial NMDA agonist, may act through or in concert with the BDNF-TrkB system. Finally, we review studies where recombinant BDNF and a putative TrkB agonist, 7,8-DHF, may enhance extinction of fear. These approaches may lead to novel agents that improve extinction in animal models and eventually humans. PMID:22530815

  5. 5-HT2C receptors in the BNST are necessary for the enhancement of fear learning by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pelrine, Eliza; Pasik, Sara Diana; Bayat, Leyla; Goldschmiedt, Debora; Bauer, Elizabeth P

    2016-12-01

    Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are widely prescribed to treat anxiety and depression, yet they paradoxically increase anxiety during initial treatment. Acute administration of these drugs prior to learning can also enhance Pavlovian cued fear conditioning. This potentiation has been previously reported to depend upon the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST). Here, using temporary inactivation, we confirmed that the BNST is not necessary for the acquisition of cued or contextual fear memory. Systemic administration of the SSRI citalopram prior to fear conditioning led to an upregulation of the immediate early gene Arc (activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein) in the oval nucleus of the BNST, and a majority of these neurons expressed the 5-HT2C receptor. Finally, local infusions of a 5-HT2C receptor antagonist directly into the oval nucleus of the BNST prevented the fear memory-enhancing effects of citalopram. These findings highlight the ability of the BNST circuitry to be recruited into gating fear and anxiety-like behaviors. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  6. Rapid Fear Detection Relies on High Spatial Frequencies

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Stein, T.; Seymour, K.; Hebart, M.N.; Sterzer, P.

    Signals of threat—such as fearful faces—are processed with priority and have privileged access to awareness. This fear advantage is commonly believed to engage a specialized subcortical pathway to the amygdala that bypasses visual cortex and processes predominantly low-spatial-frequency information

  7. Running from fear: Exercise modulation of fear extinction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tanner, Margaret K; Hake, Holly S; Bouchet, Courtney A; Greenwood, Benjamin N

    2018-03-31

    Extinction-based exposure therapy is the most common behavioral therapy for anxiety and trauma-related disorders, but fear tends to resurface even after successful extinction. Identification of novel strategies to enhance fear extinction and reduce fear relapse is of paramount importance to mental health. Exercise can enhance cognitive function, but it is not yet well understood whether exercise can be an effective augmentation strategy for fear extinction. In the current review, we present the current state of knowledge on the effects of exercise on fear extinction. Effects of exercise duration, explanations for conflicting results, and potential mechanisms, focusing on a hypothesized role for dopamine, are all discussed. We also provide new data suggesting that the timing in which acute exercise occurs relative to fear extinction, is a crucial variable in determining whether exercise can enhance fear extinction. Clinical implications and ideas to guide future research endeavors in this area are provided. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  8. The dosage of the neuroD2 transcription factor regulates amygdala development and emotional learning

    OpenAIRE

    Lin, Chin-Hsing; Hansen, Stacey; Wang, Zhenshan; Storm, Daniel R.; Tapscott, Stephen J.; Olson, James M.

    2005-01-01

    The amygdala is centrally involved in formation of emotional memory and response to fear or risk. We have demonstrated that the lateral and basolateral amygdala nuclei fail to form in neuroD2 null mice and neuroD2 heterozygotes have fewer neurons in this region. NeuroD2 heterozygous mice show profound deficits in emotional learning as assessed by fear conditioning. Unconditioned fear was also diminished in neuroD2 heterozygotes compared to wild-type controls. Several key molecular regulators ...

  9. Pulvinar projections to the striatum and amygdala

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jonathan D Day-Brown

    2010-11-01

    Full Text Available Visually-guided movement is possible in the absence of conscious visual perception, a phenomenon referred to as blindsight. Similarly, fearful images can elicit emotional responses in the absence of their conscious perception. Both capabilities are thought to be mediated by pathways from the retina through the superior colliculus (SC and pulvinar nucleus. To define potential pathways that underlie behavioral responses to unperceived visual stimuli, we examined the projections from the pulvinar nucleus to the striatum and amygdala in the tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri, a species considered to be a protypical primate. The tree shrew brain has a large pulvinar nucleus that contains two SC-recipient subdivisions; the dorsal (Pd and central (Pc pulvinar both receive topographic (specific projections from SC, and Pd receives an additional nontopographic (diffuse projection from SC (Chomsung et al., 2008; JCN 510:24-46. Anterograde and retrograde tract tracing revealed that both Pd and Pc project to the caudate and putamen, and Pd, but not Pc, additionally projects to the lateral amygdala. Using immunocytochemical staining for substance P (SP and parvalbumin (PV to reveal the patch/matrix organization of tree shrew striatum, we found that SP-rich/PV-poor patches interlock with a PV-rich/SP-poor matrix. Confocal microscopy revealed that tracer-labeled pulvinostriatal terminals preferentially innervate the matrix. Electron microscopy revealed that the postsynaptic targets of tracer-labeled pulvino-striatal and pulvino-amygdala terminals are spines, demonstrating that the pulvinar nucleus projects to the spiny output cells of the striatum matrix and the lateral amygdala, potentially relaying: 1 topographic visual information from SC to striatum to aid in guiding precise movements, and 2 nontopographic visual information from SC to the amygdala alerting the animal to potentially dangerous visual images.

  10. Neural circuitry of abdominal pain-related fear learning and reinstatement in irritable bowel syndrome.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Icenhour, A; Langhorst, J; Benson, S; Schlamann, M; Hampel, S; Engler, H; Forsting, M; Elsenbruch, S

    2015-01-01

    Altered pain anticipation likely contributes to disturbed central pain processing in chronic pain conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but the learning processes shaping the expectation of pain remain poorly understood. We assessed the neural circuitry mediating the formation, extinction, and reactivation of abdominal pain-related memories in IBS patients compared to healthy controls (HC) in a differential fear conditioning paradigm. During fear acquisition, predictive visual cues (CS(+)) were paired with rectal distensions (US), while control cues (CS(-)) were presented unpaired. During extinction, only CSs were presented. Subsequently, memory reactivation was assessed with a reinstatement procedure involving unexpected USs. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, group differences in neural activation to CS(+) vs CS(-) were analyzed, along with skin conductance responses (SCR), CS valence, CS-US contingency, state anxiety, salivary cortisol, and alpha-amylase activity. The contribution of anxiety symptoms was addressed in covariance analyses. Fear acquisition was altered in IBS, as indicated by more accurate contingency awareness, greater CS-related valence change, and enhanced CS(+)-induced differential activation of prefrontal cortex and amygdala. IBS patients further revealed enhanced differential cingulate activation during extinction and greater differential hippocampal activation during reinstatement. Anxiety affected neural responses during memory formation and reinstatement. Abdominal pain-related fear learning and memory processes are altered in IBS, mediated by amygdala, cingulate cortex, prefrontal areas, and hippocampus. Enhanced reinstatement may contribute to hypervigilance and central pain amplification, especially in anxious patients. Preventing a 'relapse' of learned fear utilizing extinction-based interventions may be a promising treatment goal in IBS. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  11. MicroRNA-Mediated Rescue of Fear Extinction Memory by miR-144-3p in Extinction-Impaired Mice.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Murphy, Conor P; Li, Xiang; Maurer, Verena; Oberhauser, Michael; Gstir, Ronald; Wearick-Silva, Luis Eduardo; Viola, Thiago Wendt; Schafferer, Simon; Grassi-Oliveira, Rodrigo; Whittle, Nigel; Hüttenhofer, Alexander; Bredy, Timothy W; Singewald, Nicolas

    2017-06-15

    MicroRNA (miRNA)-mediated control of gene expression suggests that miRNAs are interesting targets and/or biomarkers in the treatment of anxiety- and trauma-related disorders, where often memory-associated gene expression is adversely affected. The role of miRNAs in the rescue of impaired fear extinction was assessed using the 129S1/SvlmJ (S1) mouse model of impaired fear extinction. miRNA microarray analysis, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, fluorescent in situ hybridization, lentiviral overexpression, and Luciferase reporter assays were used to gain insight into the mechanisms underlying miRNA-mediated normalization of deficient fear extinction. Rescuing impaired fear extinction via dietary zinc restriction was associated with differential expression of miRNAs in the amygdala. One candidate, miR-144-3p, robustly expressed in the basolateral amygdala, showed specific extinction-induced, but not fear-induced, increased expression in both extinction-rescued S1 mice and extinction-intact C57BL/6 (BL6) mice. miR-144-3p upregulation and effects on subsequent behavioral adaption was assessed in S1 and BL6 mice. miR-144-3p overexpression in the basolateral amygdala rescued impaired fear extinction in S1 mice, led to enhanced fear extinction acquisition in BL6 mice, and furthermore protected against fear renewal in BL6 mice. miR-144-3p targets a number of genes implicated in the control of plasticity-associated signaling cascades, including Pten, Spred1, and Notch1. In functional interaction studies, we revealed that the miR-144-3p target, PTEN, colocalized with miR-144-3p in the basolateral amygdala and showed functional downregulation following successful fear extinction in S1 mice. These findings identify a fundamental role of miR-144-3p in the rescue of impaired fear extinction and suggest this miRNA as a viable target in developing novel treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder and related disorders. Copyright © 2017 Society of Biological

  12. BDNFval66met affects neural activation pattern during fear conditioning and 24 h delayed fear recall.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lonsdorf, Tina B; Golkar, Armita; Lindström, Kara M; Haaker, Jan; Öhman, Arne; Schalling, Martin; Ingvar, Martin

    2015-05-01

    Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), the most abundant neutrophin in the mammalian central nervous system, is critically involved in synaptic plasticity. In both rodents and humans, BDNF has been implicated in hippocampus- and amygdala-dependent learning and memory and has more recently been linked to fear extinction processes. Fifty-nine healthy participants, genotyped for the functional BDNFval66met polymorphism, underwent a fear conditioning and 24h-delayed extinction protocol while skin conductance and blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) responses (functional magnetic resonance imaging) were acquired. We present the first report of neural activation pattern during fear acquisition 'and' extinction for the BDNFval66met polymorphism using a differential conditioned stimulus (CS)+ > CS- comparison. During conditioning, we observed heightened allele dose-dependent responses in the amygdala and reduced responses in the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex in BDNFval66met met-carriers. During early extinction, 24h later, we again observed heightened responses in several regions ascribed to the fear network in met-carriers as opposed to val-carriers (insula, amygdala, hippocampus), which likely reflects fear memory recall. No differences were observed during late extinction, which likely reflects learned extinction. Our data thus support previous associations of the BDNFval66met polymorphism with neural activation in the fear and extinction network, but speak against a specific association with fear extinction processes. © The Author (2014). Published by Oxford University Press. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  13. Retrieving fear memories, as time goes by…

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    Do Monte, Fabricio H.; Quirk, Gregory J.; Li, Bo; Penzo, Mario A.

    2016-01-01

    Fear conditioning researches have led to a comprehensive picture of the neuronal circuit underlying the formation of fear memories. In contrast, knowledge about the retrieval of fear memories is much more limited. This disparity may stem from the fact that fear memories are not rigid, but reorganize over time. To bring clarity and raise awareness on the time-dependent dynamics of retrieval circuits, we review current evidence on the neuronal circuitry participating in fear memory retrieval at both early and late time points after conditioning. We focus on the temporal recruitment of the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus, and its BDNFergic efferents to the central nucleus of the amygdala, for the retrieval and maintenance of fear memories. Finally, we speculate as to why retrieval circuits change across time, and the functional benefits of recruiting structures such as the paraventricular nucleus into the retrieval circuit. PMID:27217148

  14. The interplay of attention and emotion: top-down attention modulates amygdala activation in psychopathy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Larson, Christine L; Baskin-Sommers, Arielle R; Stout, Daniel M; Balderston, Nicholas L; Curtin, John J; Schultz, Douglas H; Kiehl, Kent A; Newman, Joseph P

    2013-12-01

    Psychopathic behavior has long been attributed to a fundamental deficit in fear that arises from impaired amygdala function. Growing evidence has demonstrated that fear-potentiated startle (FPS) and other psychopathy-related deficits are moderated by focus of attention, but to date, no work on adult psychopathy has examined attentional modulation of the amygdala or concomitant recruitment of relevant attention-related circuitry. Consistent with previous FPS findings, here we report that psychopathy-related differences in amygdala activation appear and disappear as a function of goal-directed attention. Specifically, decreased amygdala activity was observed in psychopathic offenders only when attention was engaged in an alternative goal-relevant task prior to presenting threat-relevant information. Under this condition, psychopaths also exhibited greater activation in selective-attention regions of the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) than did nonpsychopaths, and this increased LPFC activation mediated psychopathy's association with decreased amygdala activation. In contrast, when explicitly attending to threat, amygdala activation did not differ in psychopaths and nonpsychopaths. This pattern of amygdala activation highlights the potential role of LPFC in mediating the failure of psychopathic individuals to process fear and other important information when it is peripheral to the primary focus of goal-directed attention.

  15. General and specific responsiveness of the amygdala during explicit emotion recognition in females and males

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Windischberger Christian

    2009-08-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The ability to recognize emotions in facial expressions relies on an extensive neural network with the amygdala as the key node as has typically been demonstrated for the processing of fearful stimuli. A sufficient characterization of the factors influencing and modulating amygdala function, however, has not been reached now. Due to lacking or diverging results on its involvement in recognizing all or only certain negative emotions, the influence of gender or ethnicity is still under debate. This high-resolution fMRI study addresses some of the relevant parameters, such as emotional valence, gender and poser ethnicity on amygdala activation during facial emotion recognition in 50 Caucasian subjects. Stimuli were color photographs of emotional Caucasian and African American faces. Results Bilateral amygdala activation was obtained to all emotional expressions (anger, disgust, fear, happy, and sad and neutral faces across all subjects. However, only in males a significant correlation of amygdala activation and behavioral response to fearful stimuli was observed, indicating higher amygdala responses with better fear recognition, thus pointing to subtle gender differences. No significant influence of poser ethnicity on amygdala activation occurred, but analysis of recognition accuracy revealed a significant impact of poser ethnicity that was emotion-dependent. Conclusion Applying high-resolution fMRI while subjects were performing an explicit emotion recognition task revealed bilateral amygdala activation to all emotions presented and neutral expressions. This mechanism seems to operate similarly in healthy females and males and for both in-group and out-group ethnicities. Our results support the assumption that an intact amygdala response is fundamental in the processing of these salient stimuli due to its relevance detecting function.

  16. When scientific paradigms lead to tunnel vision: lessons from the study of fear

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paré, Denis; Quirk, Gregory J.

    2017-03-01

    For the past 30 years, research on the amygdala has largely focused on the genesis of defensive behaviors as its main function. This focus originated from early lesion studies and was supported by extensive anatomical, physiological, and pharmacological data. Here we argue that while much data is consistent with the fear model of amygdala function, it has never been directly tested, in part due to overreliance on the fear conditioning task. In support of the fear model, amygdala neurons appear to signal threats and/or stimuli predictive of threats. However, recent studies in a natural threat setting show that amygdala activity does not correlate with threats, but simply with the movement of the rat, independent of valence. This was true for both natural threats as well as conditioned stimuli; indeed there was no evidence of threat signaling in amygdala neurons. Similar findings are emerging for prefrontal neurons that modulate the amygdala. These recent developments lead us to propose a new conceptualization of amygdala function whereby the amygdala inhibits behavioral engagement. Moreover, we propose that the goal of understanding the amygdala will be best served by shifting away from fear conditioning toward naturalistic approach and avoidance paradigms that involve decision-making and a larger repertoire of spontaneous and learned behaviors, all the while keeping an open mind.

  17. Oxytocin increases amygdala reactivity to threatening scenes in females.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lischke, Alexander; Gamer, Matthias; Berger, Christoph; Grossmann, Annette; Hauenstein, Karlheinz; Heinrichs, Markus; Herpertz, Sabine C; Domes, Gregor

    2012-09-01

    The neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) is well known for its profound effects on social behavior, which appear to be mediated by an OT-dependent modulation of amygdala activity in the context of social stimuli. In humans, OT decreases amygdala reactivity to threatening faces in males, but enhances amygdala reactivity to similar faces in females, suggesting sex-specific differences in OT-dependent threat-processing. To further explore whether OT generally enhances amygdala-dependent threat-processing in females, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in a randomized within-subject crossover design to measure amygdala activity in response to threatening and non-threatening scenes in 14 females following intranasal administration of OT or placebo. Participants' eye movements were recorded to investigate whether an OT-dependent modulation of amygdala activity is accompanied by enhanced exploration of salient scene features. Although OT had no effect on participants' gazing behavior, it increased amygdala reactivity to scenes depicting social and non-social threat. In females, OT may, thus, enhance the detection of threatening stimuli in the environment, potentially by interacting with gonadal steroids, such as progesterone and estrogen. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Neural circuits involved in the renewal of extinguished fear.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Weihai; Wang, Yan; Wang, Xiaqing; Li, Hong

    2017-07-01

    The last 10 years have witnessed a substantial progress in understanding the neural mechanisms for the renewal of the extinguished fear memory. Based on the theory of fear extinction, exposure therapy has been developed as a typical cognitive behavioral therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder. Although the fear memory can be extinguished by repeated presentation of conditioned stimulus without unconditioned stimulus, the fear memory is not erased and tends to relapse outside of extinction context, which is referred to as renewal. Therefore, the renewal is regarded as a great obstruction interfering with the effect of exposure therapy. In recent years, there has been a great deal of studies in understanding the neurobiological underpinnings of fear renewal. These offer a foundation upon which novel therapeutic interventions for the renewal may be built. This review focuses on behavioral, anatomical and electrophysiological studies that interpret roles of the hippocampus, prelimbic cortex and amygdala as well as the connections between them for the renewal of the extinguished fear. Additionally, this review suggests the possible pathways for the renewal: (1) the prelimbic cortex may integrate contextual information from hippocampal inputs and project to the basolateral amygdala to mediate the renewal of extinguished fear memory; the ventral hippocampus may innervate the activities of the basolateral amygdala or the central amygdala directly for the renewal. © 2017 IUBMB Life, 69(7):470-478, 2017. © 2017 International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

  19. Cocaine and Pavlovian fear conditioning: dose-effect analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wood, Suzanne C; Fay, Jonathan; Sage, Jennifer R; Anagnostaras, Stephan G

    2007-01-25

    Emerging evidence suggests that cocaine and other drugs of abuse can interfere with many aspects of cognitive functioning. The authors examined the effects of 0.1-15mg/kg of cocaine on Pavlovian contextual and cued fear conditioning in mice. As expected, pre-training cocaine dose-dependently produced hyperactivity and disrupted freezing. Surprisingly, when the mice were tested off-drug later, the group pre-treated with a moderate dose of cocaine (15mg/kg) displayed significantly less contextual and cued memory, compared to saline control animals. Conversely, mice pre-treated with a very low dose of cocaine (0.1mg/kg) showed significantly enhanced fear memory for both context and tone, compared to controls. These results were not due to cocaine's anesthetic effects, as shock reactivity was unaffected by cocaine. The data suggest that despite cocaine's reputation as a performance-enhancing and anxiogenic drug, this effect is seen only at very low doses, whereas a moderate dose disrupts hippocampus and amygdala-dependent fear conditioning.

  20. Chemosensory function of the amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gutiérrez-Castellanos, Nicolás; Martínez-Marcos, Alino; Martínez-García, Fernando; Lanuza, Enrique

    2010-01-01

    The chemosensory amygdala has been traditionally divided into two divisions based on inputs from the main (olfactory amygdala) or accessory (vomeronasal amygdala) olfactory bulbs, supposedly playing different and independent functional roles detecting odors and pheromones, respectively. Recently, there has been increased anatomical evidence of convergence inputs from the main and accessory bulbs in some areas of the amygdala, and this is correlated with functional evidence of interrelationships between the olfactory and the vomeronasal systems. This has lead to the characterization of a third division of the chemosensory amygdala, the mixed chemosensory amygdala, providing a new perspective of how chemosensory information is processed in the amygdaloid complex, in particular in relation to emotional behaviors. In this chapter, we analyze the anatomical and functional organization of the chemosensory amygdala from this new perspective. Finally, the evolutionary changes of the chemosensory nuclei of the mammalian amygdala are discussed, paying special attention to the case of primates, including humans. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  1. Stress and Fear Extinction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maren, Stephen; Holmes, Andrew

    2016-01-01

    Stress has a critical role in the development and expression of many psychiatric disorders, and is a defining feature of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Stress also limits the efficacy of behavioral therapies aimed at limiting pathological fear, such as exposure therapy. Here we examine emerging evidence that stress impairs recovery from trauma by impairing fear extinction, a form of learning thought to underlie the suppression of trauma-related fear memories. We describe the major structural and functional abnormalities in brain regions that are particularly vulnerable to stress, including the amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus, which may underlie stress-induced impairments in extinction. We also discuss some of the stress-induced neurochemical and molecular alterations in these brain regions that are associated with extinction deficits, and the potential for targeting these changes to prevent or reverse impaired extinction. A better understanding of the neurobiological basis of stress effects on extinction promises to yield novel approaches to improving therapeutic outcomes for PTSD and other anxiety and trauma-related disorders. PMID:26105142

  2. Vorinostat, a histone deacetylase inhibitor, facilitates fear extinction and enhances expression of the hippocampal NR2B-containing NMDA receptor gene.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fujita, Yosuke; Morinobu, Shigeru; Takei, Shiro; Fuchikami, Manabu; Matsumoto, Tomoya; Yamamoto, Shigeto; Yamawaki, Shigeto

    2012-05-01

    Histone acetylation, which alters the compact chromatin structure and changes the accessibility of DNA to regulatory proteins, is emerging as a fundamental mechanism for regulating gene expression. Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors increase histone acetylation and enhance fear extinction. In this study, we examined whether vorinostat, an HDAC inhibitor, facilitates fear extinction, using a contextual fear conditioning (FC) paradigm, in Sprague-Dawley rats. We found that vorinostat facilitated fear extinction. Next, the levels of global acetylated histone H3 and H4 were measured by Western blotting. We also assessed the effect of vorinostat on the hippocampal levels of NMDA receptor mRNA by real-time quantitative PCR (RT-PCR) and protein by Western blotting. 2 h after vorinostat administration, the levels acetylated histones and NR2B mRNA, but not NR1 or NR2A mRNA, were elevated in the hippocampus. The NR2B protein level was elevated 4 h after vorinostat administration. Last, we investigated the levels of acetylated histones and phospho-CREB (p-CREB) binding at the promoter of the NR2B gene using the chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay followed by RT-PCR. The ChIP assay revealed increases in the levels of acetylated histones and they were accompanied by enhanced binding of p-CREB to its binding site at the promoter of the NR2B gene 2 h after vorinostat administration. These findings suggest that vorinostat increases the expression of NR2B in the hippocampus by enhancing histone acetylation, and this process may be implicated in fear extinction. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD: Are memory reconsolidation and fear extinction underlying mechanisms?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feduccia, Allison A; Mithoefer, Michael C

    2018-06-08

    MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treatment of PTSD has recently progressed to Phase 3 clinical trials and received Breakthrough Therapy designation by the FDA. MDMA used as an adjunct during psychotherapy sessions has demonstrated effectiveness and acceptable safety in reducing PTSD symptoms in Phase 2 trials, with durable remission of PTSD diagnosis in 68% of participants. The underlying psychological and neurological mechanisms for the robust effects in mitigating PTSD are being investigated in animal models and in studies of healthy volunteers. This review explores the potential role of memory reconsolidation and fear extinction during MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. MDMA enhances release of monoamines (serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine), hormones (oxytocin, cortisol), and other downstream signaling molecules (BDNF) to dynamically modulate emotional memory circuits. By reducing activation in brain regions implicated in the expression of fear- and anxiety-related behaviors, namely the amygdala and insula, and increasing connectivity between the amygdala and hippocampus, MDMA may allow for reprocessing of traumatic memories and emotional engagement with therapeutic processes. Based on the pharmacology of MDMA and the available translational literature of memory reconsolidation, fear learning, and PTSD, this review suggests a neurobiological rationale to explain, at least in part, the large effect sizes demonstrated for MDMA in treating PTSD. Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  4. Effects of Optogenetic inhibition of BLA on Sleep Brief Optogenetic Inhibition of the Basolateral Amygdala in Mice Alters Effects of Stressful Experiences on Rapid Eye Movement Sleep.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Machida, Mayumi; Wellman, Laurie L; Fitzpatrick Bs, Mairen E; Hallum Bs, Olga; Sutton Bs, Amy M; Lonart, György; Sanford, Larry D

    2017-04-01

    Stressful events can directly produce significant alterations in subsequent sleep, in particular rapid eye movement sleep (REM); however, the neural mechanisms underlying the process are not fully known. Here, we investigated the role of the basolateral nuclei of the amygdala (BLA) in regulating the effects of stressful experience on sleep. We used optogenetics to briefly inhibit glutamatergic cells in BLA during the presentation of inescapable footshock (IS) and assessed effects on sleep, the acute stress response, and fear memory. c-Fos expression was also assessed in the amygdala and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), both regions involved in coping with stress, and in brain stem regions implicated in the regulation of REM. Compared to control mice, peri-shock inhibition of BLA attenuated an immediate reduction in REM after IS and produced a significant overall increase in REM. Moreover, upon exposure to the shock context alone, mice receiving peri-shock inhibition of BLA during training showed increased REM without altered freezing (an index of fear memory) or stress-induced hyperthermia (an index of acute stress response). Inhibition of BLA during REM under freely sleeping conditions enhanced REM only when body temperature was high, suggesting the effect was influenced by stress. Peri-shock inhibition of BLA also led to elevated c-Fos expression in the central nucleus of the amygdala and mPFC and differentially altered c-Fos activity in the selected brain stem regions. Glutamatergic cells in BLA can modulate the effects of stress on REM and can mediate effects of fear memory on sleep that can be independent of behavioral fear. © Sleep Research Society 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Sleep Research Society. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail journals.permissions@oup.com.

  5. Stimulus fear-relevance and the vicarious learning pathway to childhood fears

    OpenAIRE

    Askew, C.; Dunne, G.; Ozdil, A.; Reynolds, G.; Field, A.P.

    2013-01-01

    Enhanced fear learning for fear-relevant stimuli has been demonstrated in procedures with adults in the laboratory. Three experiments investigated the effect of stimulus fear-relevance on vicarious fear learning in children (aged 6-11 years). Pictures of stimuli with different levels of fear-relevance (flowers, caterpillars, snakes, worms, and Australian marsupials) were presented alone or together with scared faces. In line with previous studies, children's fear beliefs and avoidance prefere...

  6. Facilitation of fear extinction in phobic participants with a novel cognitive enhancer: a randomized placebo controlled trial of yohimbine augmentation

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Powers, M.B.; Smits, J.A.J.; Otto, M.W.; Sanders, C.; Emmelkamp, P.M.G.

    2009-01-01

    Preliminary animal research suggests that yohimbine hydrochloride, a selective competitive alpha2-adrenergic receptor antagonist, accelerates fear extinction and converts ineffective extinction regimens (long intertrial intervals) to effective ones. This randomized placebo controlled study examined

  7. Lateralized Interactive Social Content and Valence Processing within the Human Amygdala

    OpenAIRE

    Vrticka Pascal; Sander David; Vuilleumier Patrik

    2013-01-01

    In the past, the amygdala has generally been conceptualized as a fear-processing module. Recently, however, it has been proposed to respond to all stimuli that are relevant with respect to the current needs, goals, and values of an individual. This raises the question of whether the human amygdala may differentiate between separate kinds of relevance. A distinction between emotional (vs. neutral) and social (vs. non-social) relevance is supported by previous studies showing that the human amy...

  8. Neuronal Correlates of Fear Conditioning in the Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haufler, Darrell; Nagy, Frank Z.; Pare, Denis

    2013-01-01

    Lesion and inactivation studies indicate that the central amygdala (CeA) participates in the expression of cued and contextual fear, whereas the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) is only involved in the latter. The basis for this functional dissociation is unclear because CeA and BNST form similar connections with the amygdala and…

  9. Dissociating response systems: erasing fear from memory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soeter, Marieke; Kindt, Merel

    2010-07-01

    In addition to the extensive evidence in animals, we previously showed that disrupting reconsolidation by noradrenergic blockade produced amnesia for the original fear response in humans. Interestingly, the declarative memory for the fear association remained intact. These results asked for a solid replication. Moreover, given the constructive nature of memories, the intact recollection of the fear association could eventually 'rebuild' the fear memory, resulting in the spontaneous recovery of the fear response. Yet, perseverance of the amnesic effects would have substantial clinical implications, as even the most effective treatments for psychiatric disorders display high percentages of relapse. Using a differential fear conditioning procedure in humans, we replicated our previous findings by showing that administering propranolol (40mg) prior to memory reactivation eliminated the startle fear response 24h later. But most importantly, this effect persisted at one month follow-up. Notably, the propranolol manipulation not only left the declarative memory for the acquired contingency untouched, but also skin conductance discrimination. In addition, a close association between declarative knowledge and skin conductance responses was found. These findings are in line with the supposed double dissociation of fear conditioning and declarative knowledge relative to the amygdala and hippocampus in humans. They support the view that skin conductance conditioning primarily reflects contingency learning, whereas the startle response is a rather specific measure of fear. Furthermore, the results indicate the absence of a causal link between the actual knowledge of a fear association and its fear response, even though they often operate in parallel. Interventions targeting the amygdalar fear memory may be essential in specifically and persistently dampening the emotional impact of fear. From a clinical and ethical perspective, disrupting reconsolidation points to promising

  10. Maltreatment Exposure, Brain Structure, and Fear Conditioning in Children and Adolescents.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLaughlin, Katie A; Sheridan, Margaret A; Gold, Andrea L; Duys, Andrea; Lambert, Hilary K; Peverill, Matthew; Heleniak, Charlotte; Shechner, Tomer; Wojcieszak, Zuzanna; Pine, Daniel S

    2016-07-01

    Alterations in learning processes and the neural circuitry that supports fear conditioning and extinction represent mechanisms through which trauma exposure might influence risk for psychopathology. Few studies examine how trauma or neural structure relates to fear conditioning in children. Children (n=94) aged 6-18 years, 40.4% (n=38) with exposure to maltreatment (physical abuse, sexual abuse, or domestic violence), completed a fear conditioning paradigm utilizing blue and yellow bells as conditioned stimuli (CS+/CS-) and an aversive alarm noise as the unconditioned stimulus. Skin conductance responses (SCR) and self-reported fear were acquired. Magnetic resonance imaging data were acquired from 60 children. Children without maltreatment exposure exhibited strong differential conditioning to the CS+ vs CS-, based on SCR and self-reported fear. In contrast, maltreated children exhibited blunted SCR to the CS+ and failed to exhibit differential SCR to the CS+ vs CS- during early conditioning. Amygdala and hippocampal volume were reduced among children with maltreatment exposure and were negatively associated with SCR to the CS+ during early conditioning in the total sample, although these associations were negative only among non-maltreated children and were positive among maltreated children. The association of maltreatment with externalizing psychopathology was mediated by this perturbed pattern of fear conditioning. Child maltreatment is associated with failure to discriminate between threat and safety cues during fear conditioning in children. Poor threat-safety discrimination might reflect either enhanced fear generalization or a deficit in associative learning, which may in turn represent a central mechanism underlying the development of maltreatment-related externalizing psychopathology in children.

  11. Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 9 transcription in mouse brain induced by fear learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ganguly, Krishnendu; Rejmak, Emilia; Mikosz, Marta; Nikolaev, Evgeni; Knapska, Ewelina; Kaczmarek, Leszek

    2013-07-19

    Memory formation requires learning-based molecular and structural changes in neurons, whereas matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 9 is involved in the synaptic plasticity by cleaving extracellular matrix proteins and, thus, is associated with learning processes in the mammalian brain. Because the mechanisms of MMP-9 transcription in the brain are poorly understood, this study aimed to elucidate regulation of MMP-9 gene expression in the mouse brain after fear learning. We show here that contextual fear conditioning markedly increases MMP-9 transcription, followed by enhanced enzymatic levels in the three major brain structures implicated in fear learning, i.e. the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex. To reveal the role of AP-1 transcription factor in MMP-9 gene expression, we have used reporter gene constructs with specifically mutated AP-1 gene promoter sites. The constructs were introduced into the medial prefrontal cortex of neonatal mouse pups by electroporation, and the regulation of MMP-9 transcription was studied after contextual fear conditioning in the adult animals. Specifically, -42/-50- and -478/-486-bp AP-1 binding motifs of the mouse MMP-9 promoter sequence have been found to play a major role in MMP-9 gene activation. Furthermore, increases in MMP-9 gene promoter binding by the AP-1 transcription factor proteins c-Fos and c-Jun have been demonstrated in all three brain structures under investigation. Hence, our results suggest that AP-1 acts as a positive regulator of MMP-9 transcription in the brain following fear learning.

  12. Neuroimaging of Fear-Associated Learning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greco, John A; Liberzon, Israel

    2016-01-01

    Fear conditioning has been commonly used as a model of emotional learning in animals and, with the introduction of functional neuroimaging techniques, has proven useful in establishing the neurocircuitry of emotional learning in humans. Studies of fear acquisition suggest that regions such as amygdala, insula, anterior cingulate cortex, and hippocampus play an important role in acquisition of fear, whereas studies of fear extinction suggest that the amygdala is also crucial for safety learning. Extinction retention testing points to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex as an essential region in the recall of the safety trace, and explicit learning of fear and safety associations recruits additional cortical and subcortical regions. Importantly, many of these findings have implications in our understanding of the pathophysiology of psychiatric disease. Recent studies using clinical populations have lent insight into the changes in regional activity in specific disorders, and treatment studies have shown how pharmaceutical and other therapeutic interventions modulate brain activation during emotional learning. Finally, research investigating individual differences in neurotransmitter receptor genotypes has highlighted the contribution of these systems in fear-associated learning. PMID:26294108

  13. Functional Brain Activation to Emotional and non-Emotional Faces in Healthy Children: Evidence for Developmentally Undifferentiated Amygdala Function During the School Age Period

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pagliaccio, David; Luby, Joan L.; Gaffrey, Michael S.; Belden, Andrew C.; Botteron, Kelly N.; Harms, Michael P.; Barch, Deanna M.

    2013-01-01

    The amygdala is a key region in emotion processing. Particularly, fMRI studies have demonstrated that the amygdala is active during the viewing of emotional faces. Previous research has consistently found greater amygdala responses to fearful faces as compared to neutral faces in adults, convergent with a focus in the animal literature on the amygdala's role in fear processing. Studies have found that the amygdala also responds differentially to other facial emotion types in adults. Yet, the literature regarding when this differential amygdala responsivity develops is limited and mixed. Thus, the goal of current study was to examine amygdala responses to emotional and neutral faces in a relatively large sample of healthy school age children (N = 52). While the amygdala was active in response to emotional and neutral faces, the results do not support the hypothesis that the amygdala responds differentially to emotional faces in 7 – 12 year old children. Nonetheless, amygdala activity was correlated with the severity of subclinical depression symptoms and emotional regulation skills. Additionally, sex differences were observed in frontal, temporal, and visual regions as well as effects of pubertal development in visual regions. These findings suggest important differences in amygdala reactivity in childhood. PMID:23636982

  14. Amygdala’s involvement in facilitating associative learning-induced plasticity: a promiscuous role for the amygdala in memory acquisition

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lily S Chau

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available It is widely accepted that the amygdala plays a critical role in acquisition and consolidation of fear-related memories. Some of the more widely employed behavioral paradigms that have assisted in solidifying the amygdala’s role in fear-related memories are associative learning paradigms. With most associative learning tasks, a neutral conditioned stimulus (CS is paired with a salient unconditioned stimulus (US that elicits an unconditioned response (UR. After multiple CS-US pairings, the subject learns that the CS predicts the onset or delivery of the US, and thus elicits a learned conditioned response (CR. Most fear-related associative paradigms have suggested that an aspect of the fear association is stored in the amygdala; however, some fear-motivated associative paradigms suggest that the amygdala is not a site of storage, but rather facilitates consolidation in other brain regions. Based upon various learning theories, one of the most likely sites for storage of long-term memories is the neocortex. In support of these theories, findings from our laboratory, and others, have demonstrated that trace-conditioning, an associative paradigm where there is a separation in time between the CS and US, induces learning-specific neocortical plasticity. The following review will discuss the amygdala’s involvement, either as a site of storage or facilitating storage in other brain regions such as the neocortex, in fear- and non-fear-motivated associative paradigms. In this review, we will discuss recent findings suggesting a broader role for the amygdala in increasing the saliency of behaviorally relevant information, thus facilitating acquisition for all forms of memory, both fear- and non-fear-related. This proposed promiscuous role of the amygdala in facilitating acquisition for all memories further suggests a potential role of the amygdala in general learning disabilities.

  15. Baseline Levels of Rapid Eye Movement Sleep May Protect Against Excessive Activity in Fear-Related Neural Circuitry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lerner, Itamar; Lupkin, Shira M; Sinha, Neha; Tsai, Alan; Gluck, Mark A

    2017-11-15

    current study provides the first evidence in humans of such an effect. Specifically, the results of this study suggest that baseline rapid eye movement (REM) sleep may serve a protective function against enhanced fear encoding through the modulation of connectivity between the hippocampus, amygdala, and the ventromedial PFC. Building on this finding, baseline REM measurements may serve as a noninvasive biomarker for resilience to trauma or, conversely, to the potential development of posttraumatic stress disorder following trauma. Copyright © 2017 the authors 0270-6474/17/3711233-12$15.00/0.

  16. When the mind forms fear: embodied fear knowledge potentiates bodily reactions

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Oosterwijk, S.; Topper, M.; Rotteveel, M.; Fischer, A.H.

    2010-01-01

    In the present study, the authors tested whether conceptual fear knowledge can (a) evoke bodily reactions and (b) enhance subsequent bodily reactions to fearful stimuli. Participants unscrambled neutral or fear sentences and subsequently viewed fearful and neutral pictures in combination with

  17. Involvement of the amygdala in memory storage: Interaction with other brain systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGaugh, James L.; Cahill, Larry; Roozendaal, Benno

    1996-01-01

    There is extensive evidence that the amygdala is involved in affectively influenced memory. The central hypothesis guiding the research reviewed in this paper is that emotional arousal activates the amygdala and that such activation results in the modulation of memory storage occurring in other brain regions. Several lines of evidence support this view. First, the effects of stress-related hormones (epinephrine and glucocorticoids) are mediated by influences involving the amygdala. In rats, lesions of the amygdala and the stria terminalis block the effects of posttraining administration of epinephrine and glucocorticoids on memory. Furthermore, memory is enhanced by posttraining intra-amygdala infusions of drugs that activate β-adrenergic and glucocorticoid receptors. Additionally, infusion of β-adrenergic blockers into the amygdala blocks the memory-modulating effects of epinephrine and glucocorticoids, as well as those of drugs affecting opiate and GABAergic systems. Second, an intact amygdala is not required for expression of retention. Inactivation of the amygdala prior to retention testing (by posttraining lesions or drug infusions) does not block retention performance. Third, findings of studies using human subjects are consistent with those of animal experiments. β-Blockers and amygdala lesions attenuate the effects of emotional arousal on memory. Additionally, 3-week recall of emotional material is highly correlated with positron-emission tomography activation (cerebral glucose metabolism) of the right amygdala during encoding. These findings provide strong evidence supporting the hypothesis that the amygdala is involved in modulating long-term memory storage. PMID:8942964

  18. Cannabinoids prevent the differential long-term effects of exposure to severe stress on hippocampal- and amygdala-dependent memory and plasticity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shoshan, Noa; Segev, Amir; Abush, Hila; Mizrachi Zer-Aviv, Tomer; Akirav, Irit

    2017-10-01

    Exposure to excessive or uncontrolled stress is a major factor associated with various diseases including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The consequences of exposure to trauma are affected not only by aspects of the event itself, but also by the frequency and severity of trauma reminders. It was suggested that in PTSD, hippocampal-dependent memory is compromised while amygdala-dependent memory is strengthened. Several lines of evidence support the role of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system as a modulator of the stress response. In this study we aimed to examine cannabinoids modulation of the long-term effects (i.e., 1 month) of exposure to a traumatic event on memory and plasticity in the hippocampus and amygdala. Following exposure to the shock and reminders model of PTSD in an inhibitory avoidance light-dark apparatus rats demonstrated: (i) enhanced fear retrieval and impaired inhibitory extinction (Ext), (ii) no long-term potentiation (LTP) in the CA1, (iii) impaired hippocampal-dependent short-term memory in the object location task, (iv) enhanced LTP in the amygdala, and (v) enhanced amygdala-dependent conditioned taste aversion memory. The cannabinoid CB1/2 receptor agonist WIN55-212,2 (0.5mg/kg, i.p.) and the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) inhibitor URB597 (0.3mg/kg, i.p.), administered 2 hr after shock exposure prevented these opposing effects on hippocampal- and amygdala-dependent processes. Moreover, the effects of WIN55-212,2 and URB597 on Ext and acoustic startle were prevented by co-administration of a low dose of the CB1 receptor antagonist AM251 (0.5mg/kg, i.p.), suggesting that the preventing effects of both drugs are mediated by CB1 receptors. Exposure to shock and reminders increased CB1 receptor levels in the CA1 and basolateral amygdala 1 month after shock exposure and this increase was also prevented by administering WIN55-212,2 or URB597. Taken together, these findings suggest the involvement of the eCB system, and specifically CB1

  19. The amygdala, reward and emotion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Murray, Elisabeth A

    2007-11-01

    Recent research provides new insights into amygdala contributions to positive emotion and reward. Studies of neuronal activity in the monkey amygdala and of autonomic responses mediated by the monkey amygdala show that, contrary to a widely held view, the amygdala is just as important for processing positive reward and reinforcement as it is for negative. In addition, neuropsychological studies reveal that the amygdala is essential for only a fraction of what might be considered 'stimulus-reward processing', and that the neural substrates for emotion and reward are partially nonoverlapping. Finally, evidence suggests that two systems within the amygdala, operating in parallel, enable reward-predicting cues to influence behavior; one mediates a general, arousing effect of reward and the other links the sensory properties of reward to emotion.

  20. Gradients of fear: How perception influences fear generalization.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Struyf, Dieter; Zaman, Jonas; Hermans, Dirk; Vervliet, Bram

    2017-06-01

    The current experiment investigated whether overgeneralization of fear could be due to an inability to perceptually discriminate the initial fear-evoking stimulus from similar stimuli, as fear learning-induced perceptual impairments have been reported but their influence on generalization gradients remain to be elucidated. Three hundred and sixty-eight healthy volunteers participated in a differential fear conditioning paradigm with circles of different sizes as conditioned stimuli (CS), of which one was paired to an aversive IAPS picture. During generalization, each subject was presented with one of 10 different sized circles including the CSs, and were asked to categorize the stimulus as either a CS or as novel after fear responses were recorded. Linear mixed models were used to investigate differences in fear generalization gradients depending on the participant's perception of the test stimulus. We found that the incorrect perception of a novel stimulus as the initial fear-evoking stimulus strongly boosted fear responses. The current findings demonstrate that a significant number of novel stimuli used to assess generalization are incorrectly identified as the initial fear-evoking stimulus, providing a perceptual account for the observed overgeneralization in panic and anxiety disorders. Accordingly, enhancing perceptual processing may be a promising treatment for targeting excessive fear generalization. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  1. The role of β-arrestin-2 on Fear/anxious-related memory in a rat model of Post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ding, Jinlan; Han, Fang; Wen, Lili; Xiao, Bing; Shi, Yuxiu

    2017-04-15

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be categorised as a disorder of dysregulated fear processing. In the formation and development of PTSD, whether fear/anxious-related memory is regulated by β-arrestin-2, and happened along the signal transduction pathways remains unknown. We used single prolonged stress (SPS) as the animal model of PTSD. Next, elevated plus maze tests (EPM) was performed to examine fear/anxious memory- related behaviors. Then, we detected β-arrestin-2, PDE-4, and signal transduction pathways with immunofluorescence, co-immunoprecipitation, immunohistochemistry, Elisa, western blot, RT-PCR, and real-time PCR. Our data indicated that SPS caused fear/anxious memory-related behaviors enhancement. The low expression of β-arrestin-2, PDE-4 and their complex on SPS 7d, and high expression of signal transduction pathways on SPS7d in basolateral amygdala (BLA). That indicating that β-arrestin-2 is critical for the formation of abnormal fear/anxious memory in PTSD; and fear/anxious memory occured through signal transduction pathways. Finally, these results suggest that β-arrestin-2, PDE-4 and signal transduction pathways may be by influencing the fear/anxious memory thereby involved in the formation and development of PTSD. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  2. Increased amygdala responses to emotional faces after psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roseman, Leor; Demetriou, Lysia; Wall, Matthew B; Nutt, David J; Carhart-Harris, Robin L

    2017-12-27

    Recent evidence indicates that psilocybin with psychological support may be effective for treating depression. Some studies have found that patients with depression show heightened amygdala responses to fearful faces and there is reliable evidence that treatment with SSRIs attenuates amygdala responses (Ma, 2015). We hypothesised that amygdala responses to emotional faces would be altered post-treatment with psilocybin. In this open-label study, 20 individuals diagnosed with moderate to severe, treatment-resistant depression, underwent two separate dosing sessions with psilocybin. Psychological support was provided before, during and after these sessions and 19 completed fMRI scans one week prior to the first session and one day after the second and last. Neutral, fearful and happy faces were presented in the scanner and analyses focused on the amygdala. Group results revealed rapid and enduring improvements in depressive symptoms post psilocybin. Increased responses to fearful and happy faces were observed in the right amygdala post-treatment, and right amygdala increases to fearful versus neutral faces were predictive of clinical improvements at 1-week. Psilocybin with psychological support was associated with increased amygdala responses to emotional stimuli, an opposite effect to previous findings with SSRIs. This suggests fundamental differences in these treatments' therapeutic actions, with SSRIs mitigating negative emotions and psilocybin allowing patients to confront and work through them. Based on the present results, we propose that psilocybin with psychological support is a treatment approach that potentially revives emotional responsiveness in depression, enabling patients to reconnect with their emotions. ISRCTN, number ISRCTN14426797. Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  3. A Rapid Subcortical Amygdala Route for Faces Irrespective of Spatial Frequency and Emotion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McFadyen, Jessica; Mermillod, Martial; Mattingley, Jason B; Halász, Veronika; Garrido, Marta I

    2017-04-05

    There is significant controversy over the existence and function of a direct subcortical visual pathway to the amygdala. It is thought that this pathway rapidly transmits low spatial frequency information to the amygdala independently of the cortex, and yet the directionality of this function has never been determined. We used magnetoencephalography to measure neural activity while human participants discriminated the gender of neutral and fearful faces filtered for low or high spatial frequencies. We applied dynamic causal modeling to demonstrate that the most likely underlying neural network consisted of a pulvinar-amygdala connection that was uninfluenced by spatial frequency or emotion, and a cortical-amygdala connection that conveyed high spatial frequencies. Crucially, data-driven neural simulations revealed a clear temporal advantage of the subcortical connection over the cortical connection in influencing amygdala activity. Thus, our findings support the existence of a rapid subcortical pathway that is nonselective in terms of the spatial frequency or emotional content of faces. We propose that that the "coarseness" of the subcortical route may be better reframed as "generalized." SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The human amygdala coordinates how we respond to biologically relevant stimuli, such as threat or reward. It has been postulated that the amygdala first receives visual input via a rapid subcortical route that conveys "coarse" information, namely, low spatial frequencies. For the first time, the present paper provides direction-specific evidence from computational modeling that the subcortical route plays a generalized role in visual processing by rapidly transmitting raw, unfiltered information directly to the amygdala. This calls into question a widely held assumption across human and animal research that fear responses are produced faster by low spatial frequencies. Our proposed mechanism suggests organisms quickly generate fear responses to a wide range

  4. Psilocybin modulates functional connectivity of the amygdala during emotional face discrimination.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grimm, O; Kraehenmann, R; Preller, K H; Seifritz, E; Vollenweider, F X

    2018-04-24

    Recent studies suggest that the antidepressant effects of the psychedelic 5-HT2A receptor agonist psilocybin are mediated through its modulatory properties on prefrontal and limbic brain regions including the amygdala. To further investigate the effects of psilocybin on emotion processing networks, we studied for the first-time psilocybin's acute effects on amygdala seed-to-voxel connectivity in an event-related face discrimination task in 18 healthy volunteers who received psilocybin and placebo in a double-blind balanced cross-over design. The amygdala has been implicated as a salience detector especially involved in the immediate response to emotional face content. We used beta-series amygdala seed-to-voxel connectivity during an emotional face discrimination task to elucidate the connectivity pattern of the amygdala over the entire brain. When we compared psilocybin to placebo, an increase in reaction time for all three categories of affective stimuli was found. Psilocybin decreased the connectivity between amygdala and the striatum during angry face discrimination. During happy face discrimination, the connectivity between the amygdala and the frontal pole was decreased. No effect was seen during discrimination of fearful faces. Thus, we show psilocybin's effect as a modulator of major connectivity hubs of the amygdala. Psilocybin decreases the connectivity between important nodes linked to emotion processing like the frontal pole or the striatum. Future studies are needed to clarify whether connectivity changes predict therapeutic effects in psychiatric patients. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. and ECNP. All rights reserved.

  5. Stress-Induced Enhancement of the Startle Reflex

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Davis, Michael

    1997-01-01

    A major goal of the work currently funded by the AFOSR is to determine to role of glutamate receptors in the amygdala in conditioned fear and to begin to determine brain areas involved in the inhibition of fear...

  6. Altered Amygdala Resting-State Functional Connectivity and Hemispheric Asymmetry in Patients With Social Anxiety Disorder

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ye-Ha Jung

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available Background: The amygdala plays a key role in emotional hyperreactivity in response to social threat in patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD. We investigated resting-state functional connectivity (rs-FCN of the left and right amygdala with various brain regions and functional lateralization in patients with SAD.Methods: A total of 36 patients with SAD and 42 matched healthy controls underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI at rest. Using the left and right amygdala as seed regions, we compared the strength of the rs-FCN in the patient and control groups. Furthermore, we investigated group differences in the hemispheric asymmetry of the functional connectivity maps of the left and right amygdala.Results: Compared with healthy controls, the rs-FCN between the left amygdala and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was reduced in patients with SAD, whereas left amygdala connectivity with the fusiform gyrus, anterior insula, supramarginal gyrus, and precuneus was increased or positively deflected in the patient group. Additionally, the strength rs-FCN between the left amygdala and anterior insula was positively associated with the severity of the fear of negative evaluation in patients with SAD (r = 0.338, p = 0.044. The rs-FCN between the right amygdala and medial frontal gyrus was decreased in patients with SAD compared with healthy controls, whereas connectivity with the parahippocampal gyrus was greater in the patient group than in the control group. The hemispheric asymmetry patterns in the anterior insula, intraparietal sulcus (IPS, and inferior frontal gyrus of the patient group were opposite those of the control group, and functional lateralization of the connectivity between the amygdala and the IPS was associated with the severity of social anxiety symptoms (r = 0.365, p = 0.037.Conclusion: Our findings suggest that in addition to impaired fronto-amygdala communication, the functional lateralization of amygdala function

  7. Combining D-cycloserine with appetitive extinction learning modulates amygdala activity during recall.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ebrahimi, Claudia; Koch, Stefan P; Friedel, Eva; Crespo, Ilsoray; Fydrich, Thomas; Ströhle, Andreas; Heinz, Andreas; Schlagenhauf, Florian

    2017-07-01

    Appetitive Pavlovian conditioning plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of drug addiction and conditioned reward cues can trigger craving and relapse even after long phases of abstinence. Promising preclinical work showed that the NMDA-receptor partial agonist D-cycloserine (DCS) facilitates Pavlovian extinction learning of fear and drug cues. Furthermore, DCS-augmented exposure therapy seems to be beneficial in various anxiety disorders, while the supposed working mechanism of DCS during human appetitive or aversive extinction learning is still not confirmed. To test the hypothesis that DCS administration before extinction training improves extinction learning, healthy adults (n=32) underwent conditioning, extinction, and extinction recall on three successive days in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled fMRI design. Monetary wins and losses served as unconditioned stimuli during conditioning to probe appetitive and aversive learning. An oral dose of 50mg of DCS or placebo was administered 1h before extinction training and DCS effects during extinction recall were evaluated on a behavioral and neuronal level. We found attenuated amygdala activation in the DCS compared to the placebo group during recall of the extinguished appetitive cue, along with evidence for enhanced functional amygdala-vmPFC coupling in the DCS group. While the absence of additional physiological measures of conditioned responses during recall in this study prevent the evaluation of a behavioral DCS effect, our neuronal findings are in accordance with recent theories linking successful extinction recall in humans to modulatory top-down influences from the vmPFC that inhibit amygdala activation. Our results should encourage further translational studies concerning the usefulness of DCS to target maladaptive Pavlovian reward associations. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  8. The influence of serotonin on fear learning.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Catherine Hindi Attar

    Full Text Available Learning of associations between aversive stimuli and predictive cues is the basis of Pavlovian fear conditioning and is driven by a mismatch between expectation and outcome. To investigate whether serotonin modulates the formation of such aversive cue-outcome associations, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI and dietary tryptophan depletion to reduce brain serotonin (5-HT levels in healthy human subjects. In a Pavlovian fear conditioning paradigm, 5-HT depleted subjects compared to a non-depleted control group exhibited attenuated autonomic responses to cues indicating the upcoming of an aversive event. These results were closely paralleled by reduced aversive learning signals in the amygdala and the orbitofrontal cortex, two prominent structures of the neural fear circuit. In agreement with current theories of serotonin as a motivational opponent system to dopamine in fear learning, our data provide first empirical evidence for a role of serotonin in representing formally derived learning signals for aversive events.

  9. Effects of psilocybin on hippocampal neurogenesis and extinction of trace fear conditioning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Catlow, Briony J; Song, Shijie; Paredes, Daniel A; Kirstein, Cheryl L; Sanchez-Ramos, Juan

    2013-08-01

    Drugs that modulate serotonin (5-HT) synaptic concentrations impact neurogenesis and hippocampal (HPC)-dependent learning. The primary objective is to determine the extent to which psilocybin (PSOP) modulates neurogenesis and thereby affects acquisition and extinction of HPC-dependent trace fear conditioning. PSOP, the 5-HT2A agonist 25I-NBMeO and the 5-HT2A/C antagonist ketanserin were administered via an acute intraperitoneal injection to mice. Trace fear conditioning was measured as the amount of time spent immobile in the presence of the conditioned stimulus (CS, auditory tone), trace (silent interval) and post-trace interval over 10 trials. Extinction was determined by the number of trials required to resume mobility during CS, trace and post-trace when the shock was not delivered. Neurogenesis was determined by unbiased counts of cells in the dentate gyrus of the HPC birth-dated with BrdU co-expressing a neuronal marker. Mice treated with a range of doses of PSOP acquired a robust conditioned fear response. Mice injected with low doses of PSOP extinguished cued fear conditioning significantly more rapidly than high-dose PSOP or saline-treated mice. Injection of PSOP, 25I-NBMeO or ketanserin resulted in significant dose-dependent decreases in number of newborn neurons in hippocampus. At the low doses of PSOP that enhanced extinction, neurogenesis was not decreased, but rather tended toward an increase. Extinction of "fear conditioning" may be mediated by actions of the drugs at sites other than hippocampus such as the amygdala, which is known to mediate the perception of fear. Another caveat is that PSOP is not purely selective for 5-HT2A receptors. PSOP facilitates extinction of the classically conditioned fear response, and this, and similar agents, should be explored as potential treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions.

  10. Cognitive Bias as a Mediator in the Relation Between Fear-Enhancing Parental Behaviors and Anxiety Symptoms in Children: A Cross-Sectional Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fliek, Lorraine; Dibbets, Pauline; Roelofs, Jeffrey; Muris, Peter

    2017-02-01

    The present cross-sectional study explored the relations between fear-enhancing parenting behaviors (modeling and threat information transmission) and children's cognitive biases and anxiety symptoms. Participants were 258 children aged 7-12 years (132 boys and 126 girls), and their mothers (n = 199) and/or fathers (n = 117). Children and parents completed the Parental Enhancement of Anxious Cognitions questionnaire, which measures parental modeling and threat information transmission, while children also filled in a scale for assessing anxiety symptoms. In addition, children conducted a number of computerized tasks for measuring confirmation and interpretation bias. The data indicated that both biases mediated the relationship between threat information transmission (of both parents) and children's anxiety symptoms. Only interpretation bias significantly mediated the relationship between modeling (of mothers) and anxiety symptoms. These findings give partial support for the hypothesis that cognitive biases play a mediating role in the relation between fear-enhancing parental behaviors and children's anxiety symptoms.

  11. Functionally distinct amygdala subregions identified using DTI and high-resolution fMRI

    Science.gov (United States)

    Balderston, Nicholas L.; Schultz, Douglas H.; Hopkins, Lauren

    2015-01-01

    Although the amygdala is often directly linked with fear and emotion, amygdala neurons are activated by a wide variety of emotional and non-emotional stimuli. Different subregions within the amygdala may be engaged preferentially by different aspects of emotional and non-emotional tasks. To test this hypothesis, we measured and compared the effects of novelty and fear on amygdala activity. We used high-resolution blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) imaging and streamline tractography to subdivide the amygdala into three distinct functional subunits. We identified a laterobasal subregion connected with the visual cortex that responds generally to visual stimuli, a non-projecting region that responds to salient visual stimuli, and a centromedial subregion connected with the diencephalon that responds only when a visual stimulus predicts an aversive outcome. We provide anatomical and functional support for a model of amygdala function where information enters through the laterobasal subregion, is processed by intrinsic circuits in the interspersed tissue, and is then passed to the centromedial subregion, where activation leads to behavioral output. PMID:25969533

  12. Impact of sleep quality on amygdala reactivity, negative affect, and perceived stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prather, Aric A; Bogdan, Ryan; Hariri, Ahmad R

    2013-05-01

    Research demonstrates a negative impact of sleep disturbance on mood and affect; however, the biological mechanisms mediating these links are poorly understood. Amygdala reactivity to negative stimuli has emerged as one potential pathway. Here, we investigate the influence of self-reported sleep quality on associations between threat-related amygdala reactivity and measures of negative affect and perceived stress. Analyses on data from 299 participants (125 men, 50.5% white, mean [standard deviation] age = 19.6 [1.3] years) who completed the Duke Neurogenetics Study were conducted. Participants completed several self-report measures of negative affect and perceived stress. Threat-related (i.e., angry and fearful facial expressions) amygdala reactivity was assayed using blood oxygen level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging. Global sleep quality was assessed using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Amygdala reactivity to fearful facial expressions predicted greater depressive symptoms and higher perceived stress in poor (β values = 0.18-1.86, p values .05). In sex-specific analyses, men reporting poorer global sleep quality showed a significant association between amygdala reactivity and levels of depression and perceived stress (β values = 0.29-0.44, p values sleep quality or in women, irrespective of sleep quality. This study provides novel evidence that self-reported sleep quality moderates the relationships between amygdala reactivity, negative affect, and perceived stress, particularly among men.

  13. Amygdala subsystems and control of feeding behavior by learned cues.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Petrovich, Gorica D; Gallagher, Michela

    2003-04-01

    A combination of behavioral studies and a neural systems analysis approach has proven fruitful in defining the role of the amygdala complex and associated circuits in fear conditioning. The evidence presented in this chapter suggests that this approach is also informative in the study of other adaptive functions that involve the amygdala. In this chapter we present a novel model to study learning in an appetitive context. Furthermore, we demonstrate that long-recognized connections between the amygdala and the hypothalamus play a crucial role in allowing learning to modulate feeding behavior. In the first part we describe a behavioral model for motivational learning. In this model a cue that acquires motivational properties through pairings with food delivery when an animal is hungry can override satiety and promote eating in sated rats. Next, we present evidence that a specific amygdala subsystem (basolateral area) is responsible for allowing such learned cues to control eating (override satiety and promote eating in sated rats). We also show that basolateral amygdala mediates these actions via connectivity with the lateral hypothalamus. Lastly, we present evidence that the amygdalohypothalamic system is specific for the control of eating by learned motivational cues, as it does not mediate another function that depends on intact basolateral amygdala, namely, the ability of a conditioned cue to support new learning based on its acquired value. Knowledge about neural systems through which food-associated cues specifically control feeding behavior provides a defined model for the study of learning. In addition, this model may be informative for understanding mechanisms of maladaptive aspects of learned control of eating that contribute to eating disorders and more moderate forms of overeating.

  14. Alterations in protein phosphorylation in the amygdala of the 5XFamilial Alzheimer's disease animal model.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Eun-Jeong; Mahmood, Usman; Kim, Hyunju; Choi, Moonseok; Choi, Yunjung; Lee, Jean-Pyo; Chang, Moon-Jeong; Kim, Hye-Sun

    2017-04-01

    Alzheimer's disease is the most common disease underlying dementia in humans. Two major neuropathological hallmarks of AD are neuritic plaques primarily composed of amyloid beta peptide and neurofibrillary tangles primarily composed of hyperphosphorylated tau. In addition to impaired memory function, AD patients often display neuropsychiatric symptoms and abnormal emotional states such as confusion, delusion, manic/depressive episodes and altered fear status. Brains from AD patients show atrophy of the amygdala which is involved in fear expression and emotional processing as well as hippocampal atrophy. However, which molecular changes are responsible for the altered emotional states observed in AD remains to be elucidated. Here, we observed that the fear response as assessed by evaluating fear memory via a cued fear conditioning test was impaired in 5XFamilial AD (5XFAD) mice, an animal model of AD. Compared to wild-type mice, 5XFAD mice showed changes in the phosphorylation of twelve proteins in the amygdala. Thus, our study provides twelve potential protein targets in the amygdala that may be responsible for the impairment in fear memory in AD. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  15. Distinctive Roles for Amygdalar CREB in Reconsolidation and Extinction of Fear Memory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tronson, Natalie C.; Wiseman, Shari L.; Neve, Rachael L.; Nestler, Eric J.; Olausson, Peter; Taylor, Jane R.

    2012-01-01

    Cyclic AMP response element binding protein (CREB) plays a critical role in fear memory formation. Here we determined the role of CREB selectively within the amygdala in reconsolidation and extinction of auditory fear. Viral overexpression of the inducible cAMP early repressor (ICER) or the dominant-negative mCREB, specifically within the lateral…

  16. Brain Region-Specific Activity Patterns after Recent or Remote Memory Retrieval of Auditory Conditioned Fear

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kwon, Jeong-Tae; Jhang, Jinho; Kim, Hyung-Su; Lee, Sujin; Han, Jin-Hee

    2012-01-01

    Memory is thought to be sparsely encoded throughout multiple brain regions forming unique memory trace. Although evidence has established that the amygdala is a key brain site for memory storage and retrieval of auditory conditioned fear memory, it remains elusive whether the auditory brain regions may be involved in fear memory storage or…

  17. Age-Dependent Deficits in Fear Learning in Heterozygous BDNF Knock-Out Mice

    Science.gov (United States)

    Endres, Thomas; Lessmann, Volkmar

    2012-01-01

    Beyond its trophic function, the neurotrophin BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) is well known to crucially mediate synaptic plasticity and memory formation. Whereas recent studies suggested that acute BDNF/TrkB signaling regulates amygdala-dependent fear learning, no impairments of cued fear learning were reported in heterozygous BDNF…

  18. Behavioural, neurochemical and neuroendocrine effects of the endogenous β-carboline harmane in fear-conditioned rats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Karen L; Ford, Gemma K; Jessop, David S; Finn, David P

    2013-02-01

    The putative endogenous imidazoline binding site ligand harmane enhances neuronal activation in response to psychological stress and alters behaviour in animal models of anxiety and antidepressant efficacy. However, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying harmane's psychotropic effects are poorly understood. We investigated the effects of intraperitoneal injection of harmane (2.5 and 10 mg/kg) on fear-conditioned behaviour, hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis activity, and monoaminergic activity within specific fear-associated areas of the rat brain. Harmane had no significant effect on the duration of contextually induced freezing or 22 kHz ultrasonic vocalisations and did not alter the contextually induced suppression of motor activity, including rearing. Harmane reduced the duration of rearing and tended to increase freezing in non-fear-conditioned controls, suggesting potential sedative effects. Harmane increased plasma ACTH and corticosterone concentrations, and serotonin (in hypothalamus, amygdaloid cortex, prefrontal cortex and hippocampus) and noradrenaline (prefrontal cortex) content, irrespective of fear-conditioning. Furthermore, harmane reduced dopamine and serotonin turnover in the PFC and hypothalamus, and serotonin turnover in the amygdaloid cortex in both fear-conditioned and non-fear-conditioned rats. In contrast, harmane increased dopamine and noradrenaline content and reduced dopamine turnover in the amygdala of fear-conditioned rats only, suggesting differential effects on catecholaminergic transmission in the presence and absence of fear. The precise mechanism(s) mediating these effects of harmane remain to be determined but may involve its inhibitory action on monoamine oxidases. These findings support a role for harmane as a neuromodulator, altering behaviour, brain neurochemistry and neuroendocrine function.

  19. Effects of chronic stress in adolescence on learned fear, anxiety, and synaptic transmission in the rat prelimbic cortex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Negrón-Oyarzo, Ignacio; Pérez, Miguel Ángel; Terreros, Gonzalo; Muñoz, Pablo; Dagnino-Subiabre, Alexies

    2014-02-01

    The prelimbic cortex and amygdala regulate the extinction of conditioned fear and anxiety, respectively. In adult rats, chronic stress affects the dendritic morphology of these brain areas, slowing extinction of learned fear and enhancing anxiety. The aim of this study was to determine whether rats subjected to chronic stress in adolescence show changes in learned fear, anxiety, and synaptic transmission in the prelimbic cortex during adulthood. Male Sprague Dawley rats were subjected to seven days of restraint stress on postnatal day forty-two (PND 42, adolescence). Afterward, the fear-conditioning paradigm was used to study conditioned fear extinction. Anxiety-like behavior was measured one day (PND 50) and twenty-one days (PND 70, adulthood) after stress using the elevated-plus maze and dark-light box tests, respectively. With another set of rats, excitatory synaptic transmission was analyzed with slices of the prelimbic cortex. Rats that had been stressed during adolescence and adulthood had higher anxiety-like behavior levels than did controls, while stress-induced slowing of learned fear extinction in adolescence was reversed during adulthood. As well, the field excitatory postsynaptic potentials of stressed adolescent rats had significantly lower amplitudes than those of controls, although the amplitudes were higher in adulthood. Our results demonstrate that short-term stress in adolescence induces strong effects on excitatory synaptic transmission in the prelimbic cortex and extinction of learned fear, where the effect of stress on anxiety is more persistent than on the extinction of learned fear. These data contribute to the understanding of stress neurobiology. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  20. The amygdala, top-down effects, and selective attention to features

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Jacobs, Richard H. A. H.; Renken, Remco; Aleman, Andre; Cornelissen, Frans W.

    2012-01-01

    While the amygdalar role in fear conditioning is well established, it also appears to be involved in a wide spectrum of other functions concerning emotional information. For example, the amygdala is thought to be involved in guiding spatial attention to emotionally relevant information such as the

  1. The roles of the actin cytoskeleton in fear memory formation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Raphael eLamprecht

    2011-07-01

    Full Text Available The formation and storage of fear memory is needed to adapt behavior and avoid danger during subsequent fearful events. However, fear memory may also play a significant role in stress and anxiety disorders. When fear becomes disproportionate to that necessary to cope with a given stimulus, or begins to occur in inappropriate situations, a fear or anxiety disorder exists. Thus, the study of cellular and molecular mechanisms underpinning fear memory may shed light on the formation of memory and on anxiety and stress related disorders. Evidence indicates that fear learning leads to changes in neuronal synaptic transmission and morphology in brain areas underlying fear memory formation including the amygdala and hippocampus. The actin cytoskeleton has been shown to participate in these key neuronal processes. Recent findings show that the actin cytoskeleton is needed for fear memory formation and extinction. Moreover, the actin cytoskeleton is involved in synaptic plasticity and in neuronal morphogenesis in brain areas that mediate fear memory. The actin cytoskeleton may therefore mediate between synaptic transmission during fear learning and long-term cellular alterations mandatory for fear memory formation.

  2. Sex differences in the functional connectivity of the amygdalae in association with cortisol.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kogler, Lydia; Müller, Veronika I; Seidel, Eva-Maria; Boubela, Roland; Kalcher, Klaudius; Moser, Ewald; Habel, Ute; Gur, Ruben C; Eickhoff, Simon B; Derntl, Birgit

    2016-07-01

    Human amygdalae are involved in various behavioral functions such as affective and stress processing. For these behavioral functions, as well as for psychophysiological arousal including cortisol release, sex differences are reported. Here, we assessed cortisol levels and resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) of left and right amygdalae in 81 healthy participants (42 women) to investigate potential modulation of amygdala rsFC by sex and cortisol concentration. Our analyses revealed that rsFC of the left amygdala significantly differed between women and men: Women showed stronger rsFC than men between the left amygdala and left middle temporal gyrus, inferior frontal gyrus, postcentral gyrus and hippocampus, regions involved in face processing, inner-speech, fear and pain processing. No stronger connections were detected for men and no sex difference emerged for right amygdala rsFC. Also, an interaction of sex and cortisol appeared: In women, cortisol was negatively associated with rsFC of the amygdalae with striatal regions, mid-orbital frontal gyrus, anterior cingulate gyrus, middle and superior frontal gyri, supplementary motor area and the parietal-occipital sulcus. Contrarily in men, positive associations of cortisol with rsFC of the left amygdala and these structures were observed. Functional decoding analyses revealed an association of the amygdalae and these regions with emotion, reward and memory processing, as well as action execution. Our results suggest that functional connectivity of the amygdalae as well as the regulatory effect of cortisol on brain networks differs between women and men. These sex-differences and the mediating and sex-dependent effect of cortisol on brain communication systems should be taken into account in affective and stress-related neuroimaging research. Thus, more studies including both sexes are required. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  3. Threat appeals in health communication: messages that elicit fear and enhance perceived efficacy positively impact on young male drivers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carey, Rachel N; Sarma, Kiran M

    2016-07-27

    Health communications often present graphic, threat-based representations of the potential consequences of health-risk behaviours. These 'threat appeals' feature prominently in public health campaigns, but their use is controversial, with studies investigating their efficacy reporting inconsistent, and often negative, findings. This research examined the impact of a threat-based road safety advertisement on the driving behaviour of young male drivers. To address limitations of previous research, we first identified a road safety advertisement that objectively and subjectively elicited fear using physiological and subjective measures. Study 1 (n = 62) examined the effect of this advertisement, combined with a manipulation designed to increase perceived efficacy, on speed choice. Study 2 (n = 81) investigated whether a state emotion, anger, impacts on the effectiveness of the advertisement in changing four distinct driving behaviours. Both studies examined short-term effects only. Study 1 findings indicated that a high threat message, when combined with high perceived efficacy, can lead to a decrease in speed choice. Study 2 results suggested that increased levels of state anger may counteract the potential value of combining fear-arousing threats and efficacy-building messages. Findings suggest that threat-based road safety communications that target affective (fear) and cognitive (perceived efficacy) mechanisms can positively affect driving behaviours. State emotions, such as anger, may negatively impact on the effectiveness of the message. Taken together, these findings provide additional support for the use of efficacy-building messages in threat-based communications, but highlight the need for further research into the complex array of affective influences on driving.

  4. Threat appeals in health communication: messages that elicit fear and enhance perceived efficacy positively impact on young male drivers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rachel N. Carey

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Health communications often present graphic, threat-based representations of the potential consequences of health-risk behaviours. These ‘threat appeals’ feature prominently in public health campaigns, but their use is controversial, with studies investigating their efficacy reporting inconsistent, and often negative, findings. This research examined the impact of a threat-based road safety advertisement on the driving behaviour of young male drivers. Methods To address limitations of previous research, we first identified a road safety advertisement that objectively and subjectively elicited fear using physiological and subjective measures. Study 1 (n = 62 examined the effect of this advertisement, combined with a manipulation designed to increase perceived efficacy, on speed choice. Study 2 (n = 81 investigated whether a state emotion, anger, impacts on the effectiveness of the advertisement in changing four distinct driving behaviours. Both studies examined short-term effects only. Results Study 1 findings indicated that a high threat message, when combined with high perceived efficacy, can lead to a decrease in speed choice. Study 2 results suggested that increased levels of state anger may counteract the potential value of combining fear-arousing threats and efficacy-building messages. Conclusions Findings suggest that threat-based road safety communications that target affective (fear and cognitive (perceived efficacy mechanisms can positively affect driving behaviours. State emotions, such as anger, may negatively impact on the effectiveness of the message. Taken together, these findings provide additional support for the use of efficacy-building messages in threat-based communications, but highlight the need for further research into the complex array of affective influences on driving.

  5. Association of poor childhood fear conditioning and adult crime.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gao, Yu; Raine, Adrian; Venables, Peter H; Dawson, Michael E; Mednick, Sarnoff A

    2010-01-01

    Amygdala dysfunction is theorized to give rise to poor fear conditioning, which in turn predisposes to crime, but it is not known whether poor conditioning precedes criminal offending. This study prospectively assessed whether poor fear conditioning early in life predisposes to adult crime in a large cohort. Electrodermal fear conditioning was assessed in a cohort of 1,795 children at age 3, and registration for criminal offending was ascertained at age 23. In a case-control design, 137 cohort members with a criminal record were matched on gender, ethnicity, and social adversity with 274 noncriminal comparison members. Statistical analyses compared childhood fear conditioning for the two groups. Criminal offenders showed significantly reduced electrodermal fear conditioning at age 3 compared to matched comparison subjects. Poor fear conditioning at age 3 predisposes to crime at age 23. Poor fear conditioning early in life implicates amygdala and ventral prefrontal cortex dysfunction and a lack of fear of socializing punishments in children who grow up to become criminals. These findings are consistent with a neurodevelopmental contribution to crime causation.

  6. MOLECULAR MECHANISMS OF FEAR LEARNING AND MEMORY

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johansen, Joshua P.; Cain, Christopher K.; Ostroff, Linnaea E.; LeDoux, Joseph E.

    2011-01-01

    Pavlovian fear conditioning is a useful behavioral paradigm for exploring the molecular mechanisms of learning and memory because a well-defined response to a specific environmental stimulus is produced through associative learning processes. Synaptic plasticity in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA) underlies this form of associative learning. Here we summarize the molecular mechanisms that contribute to this synaptic plasticity in the context of auditory fear conditioning, the form of fear conditioning best understood at the molecular level. We discuss the neurotransmitter systems and signaling cascades that contribute to three phases of auditory fear conditioning: acquisition, consolidation, and reconsolidation. These studies suggest that multiple intracellular signaling pathways, including those triggered by activation of Hebbian processes and neuromodulatory receptors, interact to produce neural plasticity in the LA and behavioral fear conditioning. Together, this research illustrates the power of fear conditioning as a model system for characterizing the mechanisms of learning and memory in mammals, and potentially for understanding fear related disorders, such as PTSD and phobias. PMID:22036561

  7. Molecular mechanisms of fear learning and memory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johansen, Joshua P; Cain, Christopher K; Ostroff, Linnaea E; LeDoux, Joseph E

    2011-10-28

    Pavlovian fear conditioning is a particularly useful behavioral paradigm for exploring the molecular mechanisms of learning and memory because a well-defined response to a specific environmental stimulus is produced through associative learning processes. Synaptic plasticity in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA) underlies this form of associative learning. Here, we summarize the molecular mechanisms that contribute to this synaptic plasticity in the context of auditory fear conditioning, the form of fear conditioning best understood at the molecular level. We discuss the neurotransmitter systems and signaling cascades that contribute to three phases of auditory fear conditioning: acquisition, consolidation, and reconsolidation. These studies suggest that multiple intracellular signaling pathways, including those triggered by activation of Hebbian processes and neuromodulatory receptors, interact to produce neural plasticity in the LA and behavioral fear conditioning. Collectively, this body of research illustrates the power of fear conditioning as a model system for characterizing the mechanisms of learning and memory in mammals and potentially for understanding fear-related disorders, such as PTSD and phobias. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  8. Role of the hippocampus in contextual modulation of fear extinction

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Lingzhi Kong; Xihong Wu; Liang Li

    2008-01-01

    Fear extinction is an important form of emotional learning, and affects neural plasticity. Cue fear extinction is a classical form of inhibitory learning that can be used as an exposure-based treatment for phobia, because the long-term extinction memory produced during cue fear extinction can limit the over-expression of fear. The expression of this inhibitory memory partly depends on the context in which the extinction learning occurs. Studies such as transient inhibition, electrophysiology and brain imaging have proved that the hippocampus - an important structure in the limbic system - facilitates memory retrieval by contextual cues.Mediation of the hippocampus-medial prefrontal lobe circuit may be the neurobiological basis of this process.This article has reviewed the role of the hippocampus in the learning and retrieval of fear extinction.Contextual modulation of fear extinction may rely on a neural network consisting of the hippocampus, the medial prefrontal cortex and the amygdala.

  9. Serotonin transporter genotype modulates subgenual response to fearful faces using an incidental task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Nions, Elizabeth J P; Dolan, Raymond J; Roiser, Jonathan P

    2011-11-01

    This study assessed the impact of serotonin transporter genotype (5-HTTLPR) on regional responses to emotional faces in the amygdala and subgenual cingulate cortex (sgACC), while subjects performed a gender discrimination task. Although we found no evidence for greater amygdala reactivity or reduced amygdala-sgACC coupling in short variant 5-HTTLPR homozygotes (s/s), we observed an interaction between genotype and emotion in sgACC. Only long variant homozygotes (la/la) exhibited subgenual deactivation to fearful versus neutral faces, whereas the effect in s/s subjects was in the other direction. This absence of subgenual deactivation in s/s subjects parallels a recent finding in depressed subjects [Grimm, S., Boesiger, P., Beck, J., Schuepbach, D., Bermpohl, F., Walter, M., et al. Altered negative BOLD responses in the default-mode network during emotion processing in depressed subjects. Neuropsychopharmacology, 34, 932-943, 2009]. Taken together, the findings suggest that subgenual cingulate activity may play an important role in regulating the impact of aversive stimuli, potentially conferring greater resilience to the effects of aversive stimuli in la/la subjects. Using dynamic causal modeling of functional magnetic resonance imaging data, we explored the effects of genotype on effective connectivity and emotion-specific changes in coupling across a network of regions implicated in social processing. Viewing fearful faces enhanced bidirectional excitatory coupling between the amygdala and the fusiform gyrus, and increased the inhibitory influence of the amygdala over the sgACC, although this modulation of coupling did not differ between the genotype groups. The findings are discussed in relation to the role of sgACC and serotonin in moderating responses to aversive stimuli [Dayan, P., & Huys, Q. J., Serotonin, inhibition, and negative mood. PLoS Comput Biol, 4, e4, 2008; Mayberg, H. S., Liotti, M., Brannan, S. K., McGinnis, S., Mahurin, R. K., Jerabek, P. A., et

  10. Amygdala hyperactivation during symptom provocation in obsessive–compulsive disorder and its modulation by distraction

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniela Simon

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Anxiety disorders have been linked to a hyperactivated cortico-amygdalar circuitry. Recent findings highlight the amygdala's role in mediating elevated anxiety in obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD. However, modulation of amygdala hyperactivation by attentional distraction – an effective emotion regulation strategy in healthy individuals – has not yet been examined. While undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging twenty-one unmedicated OCD patients and 21 controls performed an evaluation and a distraction task during symptom provocation with individually tailored OCD-relevant pictures. To test the specificity of responses, additional aversive and neutral stimuli were included. Significant group-by-picture type interactions were observed within fronto–striato–limbic circuits including the amygdala. In these regions patients showed increased BOLD responses during processing of OCD triggers relative to healthy controls. Amygdala hyperactivation was present across OCD symptom dimensions indicating that it represents a common neural correlate. During distraction, we observed dampening of patients' amygdala hyperactivity to OCD-relevant stimuli. Augmented amygdala involvement in patients during symptom provocation, present across OCD symptom dimensions, might constitute a correlate of fear expression in OCD linking it to other anxiety disorders. Attentional distraction seemed to dampen emotional processing of disorder-relevant stimuli via amygdala downregulation. The clinical impact of this strategy to manage anxiety in OCD should be further elucidated.

  11. Neuroimaging study of the human amygdala. Toward an understanding of emotional and stress responses

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Iidaka, Tetsuya

    2007-01-01

    The amygdala plays a critical role in the neural system involved in emotional responses and conditioned fear. The dysfunction of this system is thought to be a cause of several neuropsychiatric disorders. A neuroimaging study provides a unique opportunity for noninvasive investigation of the human amygdala. We studied the activity of this structure in normal subjects and patients with schizophrenia by using the face recognition task. Our results showed that the amygdala was activated by presentation of face stimuli, and negative face activated the amygdala to a greater extent than a neutral face. Under the happy face condition, the activation of the amygdala was higher in the schizophrenic patients than in control subjects. A single nucleotide polymorphism in the regulatory region of the serotonin type 3 receptor gene had modulatory effects on the amygdaloid activity. The emotion regulation had a significant impact on neural interaction between the amygdala and prefrontal cortices. Thus, studies on the human amygdala would greatly contribute to the elucidation of the neural system that determines emotional and stress responses. To clarify the relevance of the neural dysfunction and neuropsychiatric disorders, further studies using physiological, genetic, and hormonal approaches are essential. (author)

  12. Neuroimaging Study of the Human Amygdala - Toward an Understanding of Emotional and Stress Responses -

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iidaka, Tetsuya

    The amygdala plays a critical role in the neural system involved in emotional responses and conditioned fear. The dysfunction of this system is thought to be a cause of several neuropsychiatric disorders. A neuroimaging study provides a unique opportunity for noninvasive investigation of the human amygdala. We studied the activity of this structure in normal subjects and patients with schizophrenia by using the face recognition task. Our results showed that the amygdala was activated by presentation of face stimuli, and negative face activated the amygdala to a greater extent than a neutral face. Under the happy face condition, the activation of the amygdala was higher in the schizophrenic patients than in control subjects. A single nucleotide polymorphism in the regulatory region of the serotonin type 3 receptor gene had modulatory effects on the amygdaloid activity. The emotion regulation had a significant impact on neural interaction between the amygdala and prefrontal cortices. Thus, studies on the human amygdala would greatly contribute to the elucidation of the neural system that determines emotional and stress responses. To clarify the relevance of the neural dysfunction and neuropsychiatric disorders, further studies using physiological, genetic, and hormonal approaches are essential.

  13. Increased anxiety and fear memory in adult mice lacking type 2 deiodinase.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bárez-López, Soledad; Montero-Pedrazuela, Ana; Bosch-García, Daniel; Venero, César; Guadaño-Ferraz, Ana

    2017-10-01

    A euthyroid state in the brain is crucial for its adequate development and function. Impairments in thyroid hormones (THs; T3 or 3,5,3'-triiodothyronine and T4 or thyroxine) levels and availability in brain can lead to neurological alterations and to psychiatric disorders, particularly mood disorders. The thyroid gland synthetizes mainly T4, which is secreted to circulating blood, however, most actions of THs are mediated by T3, the transcriptionally active form. In the brain, intracellular concentrations of T3 are modulated by the activity of type 2 (D2) and type 3 (D3) deiodinases. In the present work, we evaluated learning and memory capabilities and anxiety-like behavior at adult stages in mice lacking D2 (D2KO) and we analyzed the impact of D2-deficiency on TH content and on the expression of T3-dependent genes in the amygdala and the hippocampus. We found that D2KO mice do not present impairments in spatial learning and memory, but they display emotional alterations with increased anxiety-like behavior as well as enhanced auditory-cued fear memory and spontaneous recovery of fear memory following extinction. D2KO mice also presented reduced T3 content in the hippocampus and decreased expression of the T3-dependent gene Dio3 in the amygdala suggesting a hypothyroid status in this structure. We propose that the emotional dysfunctions found in D2KO mice can arise from the reduced T3 content in their brain, which consequently leads to alterations in gene expression with functional consequences. We found a downregulation in the gene encoding for the calcium-binding protein calretinin (Calb2) in the amygdala of D2KO mice that could affect the GABAergic transmission. The current findings in D2KO mice can provide insight into emotional disorders present in humans with DIO2 polymorphisms. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Human Amygdala Tracks a Feature-Based Valence Signal Embedded within the Facial Expression of Surprise.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, M Justin; Mattek, Alison M; Bennett, Randi H; Solomon, Kimberly M; Shin, Jin; Whalen, Paul J

    2017-09-27

    Human amygdala function has been traditionally associated with processing the affective valence (negative vs positive) of an emotionally charged event, especially those that signal fear or threat. However, this account of human amygdala function can be explained by alternative views, which posit that the amygdala might be tuned to either (1) general emotional arousal (activation vs deactivation) or (2) specific emotion categories (fear vs happy). Delineating the pure effects of valence independent of arousal or emotion category is a challenging task, given that these variables naturally covary under many circumstances. To circumvent this issue and test the sensitivity of the human amygdala to valence values specifically, we measured the dimension of valence within the single facial expression category of surprise. Given the inherent valence ambiguity of this category, we show that surprised expression exemplars are attributed valence and arousal values that are uniquely and naturally uncorrelated. We then present fMRI data from both sexes, showing that the amygdala tracks these consensus valence values. Finally, we provide evidence that these valence values are linked to specific visual features of the mouth region, isolating the signal by which the amygdala detects this valence information. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT There is an open question as to whether human amygdala function tracks the valence value of cues in the environment, as opposed to either a more general emotional arousal value or a more specific emotion category distinction. Here, we demonstrate the utility of surprised facial expressions because exemplars within this emotion category take on valence values spanning the dimension of bipolar valence (positive to negative) at a consistent level of emotional arousal. Functional neuroimaging data showed that amygdala responses tracked the valence of surprised facial expressions, unconfounded by arousal. Furthermore, a machine learning classifier identified

  15. Updating appetitive memory during reconsolidation window: critical role of cue-directed behavior and amygdala central nucleus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olshavsky, Megan E; Song, Bryan J; Powell, Daniel J; Jones, Carolyn E; Monfils, Marie-H; Lee, Hongjoo J

    2013-01-01

    When presented with a light cue followed by food, some rats simply approach the foodcup (Nonorienters), while others first orient to the light in addition to displaying the food-cup approach behavior (Orienters). Cue-directed orienting may reflect enhanced attentional and/or emotional processing of the cue, suggesting divergent natures of cue-information processing in Orienters and Nonorienters. The current studies investigate how differences in cue processing might manifest in appetitive memory retrieval and updating using a paradigm developed to persistently attenuate fear responses (Retrieval-extinction paradigm; Monfils et al., 2009). First, we examined whether the retrieval-extinction paradigm could attenuate appetitive responses in Orienters and Nonorienters. Next, we investigated if the appetitive memory could be updated using reversal learning (fear conditioning) during the reconsolidation window (as opposed to repeated unreinforced trials, i.e., extinction). Both extinction and new fear learning given within the reconsolidation window were effective at persistently updating the initial appetitive memory in the Orienters, but not the Nonorienters. Since conditioned orienting is mediated by the amygdala central nucleus (CeA), our final experiment examined the CeA's role in the retrieval-extinction process. Bilateral CeA lesions interfered with the retrieval-extinction paradigm-did not prevent spontaneous recovery of food-cup approach. Together, our studies demonstrate the critical role of conditioned orienting behavior and the CeA in updating appetitive memory during the reconsolidation window.

  16. Stress, memory and the amygdala.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roozendaal, Benno; McEwen, Bruce S; Chattarji, Sumantra

    2009-06-01

    Emotionally significant experiences tend to be well remembered, and the amygdala has a pivotal role in this process. But the efficient encoding of emotional memories can become maladaptive - severe stress often turns them into a source of chronic anxiety. Here, we review studies that have identified neural correlates of stress-induced modulation of amygdala structure and function - from cellular mechanisms to their behavioural consequences. The unique features of stress-induced plasticity in the amygdala, in association with changes in other brain regions, could have long-term consequences for cognitive performance and pathological anxiety exhibited in people with affective disorders.

  17. Smaller amygdala volume and reduced anterior cingulate gray matter density associated with history of post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Mark A; Yamasue, Hidenori; Abe, Osamu; Yamada, Haruyasu; Ohtani, Toshiyuki; Iwanami, Akira; Aoki, Shigeki; Kato, Nobumasa; Kasai, Kiyoto

    2009-12-30

    Although post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may be seen to represent a failure to extinguish learned fear, significant aspects of the pathophysiology relevant to this hypothesis remain unknown. Both the amygdala and hippocampus are necessary for fear extinction occur, and thus both regions may be abnormal in PTSD. Twenty-five people who experienced the Tokyo subway sarin attack in 1995, nine who later developed PTSD and 16 who did not, underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with manual tracing to determine bilateral amygdala and hippocampus volumes. At the time of scanning, one had PTSD and eight had a history of PTSD. Results indicated that the group with a history of PTSD had significantly smaller mean bilateral amygdala volume than did the group that did not develop PTSD. Furthermore, left amygdala volume showed a significant negative correlation with severity of PTSD symptomatology as well as reduced gray matter density in the left anterior cingulate cortex. To our knowledge, this is the first observation of an association between PTSD and amygdala volume. Furthermore the apparent interplay between amygdala and anterior cingulate cortex represents support at the level of gross brain morphology for the theory of PTSD as a failure of fear extinction.

  18. Amygdala Reactivity and Anterior Cingulate Habituation Predict Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Maintenance After Acute Civilian Trauma.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stevens, Jennifer S; Kim, Ye Ji; Galatzer-Levy, Isaac R; Reddy, Renuka; Ely, Timothy D; Nemeroff, Charles B; Hudak, Lauren A; Jovanovic, Tanja; Rothbaum, Barbara O; Ressler, Kerry J

    2017-06-15

    Studies suggest that exaggerated amygdala reactivity is a vulnerability factor for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); however, our understanding is limited by a paucity of prospective, longitudinal studies. Recent studies in healthy samples indicate that, relative to reactivity, habituation is a more reliable biomarker of individual differences in amygdala function. We investigated reactivity of the amygdala and cortical areas to repeated threat presentations in a prospective study of PTSD. Participants were recruited from the emergency department of a large level I trauma center within 24 hours of trauma. PTSD symptoms were assessed at baseline and approximately 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after trauma. Growth curve modeling was used to estimate symptom recovery trajectories. Thirty-one individuals participated in functional magnetic resonance imaging around the 1-month assessment, passively viewing fearful and neutral face stimuli. Reactivity (fearful > neutral) and habituation to fearful faces was examined. Amygdala reactivity, but not habituation, 5 to 12 weeks after trauma was positively associated with the PTSD symptom intercept and predicted symptoms at 12 months after trauma. Habituation in the ventral anterior cingulate cortex was positively associated with the slope of PTSD symptoms, such that decreases in ventral anterior cingulate cortex activation over repeated presentations of fearful stimuli predicted increasing symptoms. Findings point to neural signatures of risk for maintaining PTSD symptoms after trauma exposure. Specifically, chronic symptoms were predicted by amygdala hyperreactivity, and poor recovery was predicted by a failure to maintain ventral anterior cingulate cortex activation in response to fearful stimuli. The importance of identifying patients at risk after trauma exposure is discussed. Copyright © 2017 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  19. Infralimbic Neurotrophin-3 Infusion Rescues Fear Extinction Impairment in a Mouse Model of Pathological Fear.

    Science.gov (United States)

    D'Amico, Davide; Gener, Thomas; de Lagrán, Maria Martínez; Sanchez-Vives, Maria V; Santos, Mónica; Dierssen, Mara

    2017-01-01

    The inability to properly extinguish fear memories constitutes the foundation of several anxiety disorders, including panic disorder. Recent findings show that boosting prefrontal cortex synaptic plasticity potentiates fear extinction, suggesting that therapies that augment synaptic plasticity could prove useful in rescue of fear extinction impairments in this group of disorders. Previously, we reported that mice with selective deregulation of neurotrophic tyrosine kinase receptor, type 3 expression (TgNTRK3) exhibit increased fear memories accompanied by impaired extinction, congruent with an altered activation pattern of the amygdala-hippocampus-medial prefrontal cortex fear circuit. Here we explore the specific role of neurotrophin 3 and its cognate receptor in the medial prefrontal cortex, and its involvement in fear extinction in a pathological context. In this study we combined molecular, behavioral, in vivo pharmacology and ex vivo electrophysiological recordings in TgNTRK3 animals during contextual fear extinction processes. We show that neurotrophin 3 protein levels are increased upon contextual fear extinction in wild-type animals but not in TgNTRK3 mice, which present deficits in infralimbic long-term potentiation. Importantly, infusion of neurotrophin 3 to the medial prefrontal cortex of TgNTRK3 mice rescues contextual fear extinction and ex vivo local application improves medial prefrontal cortex synaptic plasticity. This effect is blocked by inhibition of extracellular signal-regulated kinase phosphorylation through peripheral administration of SL327, suggesting that rescue occurs via this pathway. Our results suggest that stimulating neurotrophin 3-dependent medial prefrontal cortex plasticity could restore contextual fear extinction deficit in pathological fear and could constitute an effective treatment for fear-related disorders.

  20. Impaired Auditory and Contextual Fear Conditioning in Soman-Exposed Rats

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-01-01

    Hymowitz et al., 1985, 1990; Modrow and Jaax, 1989). Pavlovian fear conditioning is a useful procedure often used to elucidate the neural substrates...Stitcher DL, Lennox WJ. Protection against both lethal and behavioral effects of soman. Drug Chem Toxicol 1984;7:605–24. Hasselmo ME. The role of...Rethinking the fear circuit: the central nucleus of the amygdala is required for the acquisition, consolidation, and expression of Pavlovian fear

  1. Food fears

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rumney, R.

    1988-01-01

    Radurisation can give a new lease of shelf life to food and cut down contamination, but it is bound to cause problems - even among comparatively tame South African consumers. In this article the facts about radurization are discussed: the labelling of irradiated products, the problem of making a bad product good by using irradiation, consumer pressure, attitudes, fears and resistance. The economics of radurised foodstuffs are also discussed

  2. Memory-enhancing intra-basolateral amygdala infusions of clenbuterol increase Arc and CaMKII-alpha protein expression in the rostral anterior cingulate cortex

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Crystal M Holloway-Erickson

    2012-04-01

    Full Text Available Activation of β-adrenoceptors in the basolateral complex of the amygdala (BLA modulates memory through interactions with multiple memory systems. The cellular mechanisms for this interaction remain unresolved. Memory-modulating BLA manipulations influence expression of the protein product of the immediate early gene activity-regulated cytoskeletal-associated protein (Arc in the dorsal hippocampus, and hippocampal expression of Arc protein is critically involved in memory consolidation and long-term potentiation. The present studies examined whether this influence of the BLA is specific to the hippocampus and to Arc protein. Like the hippocampus, the rostral portion of the anterior cingulate cortex (rACC is involved in the consolidation of inhibitory avoidance (IA memory, and IA training increases Arc protein in the rACC. Because the BLA interacts with the rACC in the consolidation of IA memory, the rACC is a potential candidate for further studies of BLA modulation of synaptic plasticity. The alpha isoform of the Calcium/Calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKIIα and the immediate early gene c-Fos are involved in long-term potentiation and memory. Both Arc and CaMKIIα proteins can be translated in isolated synapses, where the mRNA is localized, but c-Fos protein remains in the soma. To examine the influence of memory-modulating manipulations of the BLA on expression of these memory and plasticity-associated proteins in the rACC, male Sprague-Dawley rats were trained on an IA task and given intra-BLA infusions of either clenbuterol or lidocaine immediately after training. Findings suggest that noradrenergic stimulation of the BLA may modulate memory consolidation through effects on both synaptic proteins Arc and CaMKIIα, but not the somatic protein c-Fos. Furthermore, protein changes observed in the rACC following BLA manipulations suggest that the influence of the BLA on synaptic proteins is not limited to those in the dorsal

  3. Overexpression of Protein Kinase Mζ in the Hippocampus Enhances Long-Term Potentiation and Long-Term Contextual But Not Cued Fear Memory in Rats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schuette, Sven R M; Fernández-Fernández, Diego; Lamla, Thorsten; Rosenbrock, Holger; Hobson, Scott

    2016-04-13

    The persistently active protein kinase Mζ (PKMζ) has been found to be involved in the formation and maintenance of long-term memory. Most of the studies investigating PKMζ, however, have used either putatively unselective inhibitors or conventional knock-out animal models in which compensatory mechanisms may occur. Here, we overexpressed an active form of PKMζ in rat hippocampus, a structure highly involved in memory formation, and embedded in several neural networks. We investigated PKMζ's influence on synaptic plasticity using electrophysiological recordings of basal transmission, paired pulse facilitation, and LTP and combined this with behavioral cognitive experiments addressing formation and retention of both contextual memory during aversive conditioning and spatial memory during spontaneous exploration. We demonstrate that hippocampal slices overexpressing PKMζ show enhanced basal transmission, suggesting a potential role of PKMζ in postsynaptic AMPAR trafficking. Moreover, the PKMζ-overexpressing slices augmented LTP and this effect was not abolished by protein-synthesis blockers, indicating that PKMζ induces enhanced LTP formation in a protein-synthesis-independent manner. In addition, we found selectively enhanced long-term memory for contextual but not cued fear memory, underlining the theory of the hippocampus' involvement in the contextual aspect of aversive reinforced tasks. Memory for spatial orientation during spontaneous exploration remained unaltered, suggesting that PKMζ may not affect the neural circuits underlying spontaneous tasks that are different from aversive tasks. In this study, using an overexpression strategy as opposed to an inhibitor-based approach, we demonstrate an important modulatory role of PKMζ in synaptic plasticity and selective memory processing. Most of the literature investigating protein kinase Mζ (PKMζ) used inhibitors with selectivity that has been called into question or conventional knock-out animal

  4. Genetic mapping of canine fear and aggression.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zapata, Isain; Serpell, James A; Alvarez, Carlos E

    2016-08-08

    aggression traits to single haplotypes at the GNAT3-CD36 and IGSF1 loci. CD36 is widely expressed, but areas of the amygdala and hypothalamus are among the brain regions with highest enrichment; and CD36-knockout mice are known to have significantly increased anxiety and aggression. Both of the other genes have very high tissue-specificity and are very abundantly expressed in brain regions that comprise the core anatomy of fear and aggression - the amygdala to hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. We propose that reduced-fear variants at these loci may have been involved in the domestication process.

  5. Amygdala reactivity predicts adolescent antisocial behavior but not callous-unemotional traits

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hailey L. Dotterer

    2017-04-01

    Full Text Available Recent neuroimaging studies have suggested divergent relationships between antisocial behavior (AB and callous-unemotional (CU traits and amygdala reactivity to fearful and angry facial expressions in adolescents. However, little work has examined if these findings extend to dimensional measures of behavior in ethnically diverse, non-clinical samples, or if participant sex, ethnicity, pubertal stage, and age moderate associations. We examined links between amygdala reactivity and dimensions of AB and CU traits in 220 Hispanic and non-Hispanic Caucasian adolescents (age 11–15; 49.5% female; 38.2% Hispanic, half of whom had a family history for depression and thus were at relatively elevated risk for late starting, emotionally dysregulated AB. We found that AB was significantly related to increased right amygdala reactivity to angry facial expressions independent of sex, ethnicity, pubertal stage, age, and familial risk status for depression. CU traits were not related to fear- or anger-related amygdala reactivity. The present study further demonstrates that AB is related to increased amygdala reactivity to interpersonal threat cues in adolescents, and that this relationship generalizes across sex, ethnicity, pubertal stage, age, and familial risk status for depression.

  6. Amygdala reactivity predicts adolescent antisocial behavior but not callous-unemotional traits.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dotterer, Hailey L; Hyde, Luke W; Swartz, Johnna R; Hariri, Ahmad R; Williamson, Douglas E

    2017-04-01

    Recent neuroimaging studies have suggested divergent relationships between antisocial behavior (AB) and callous-unemotional (CU) traits and amygdala reactivity to fearful and angry facial expressions in adolescents. However, little work has examined if these findings extend to dimensional measures of behavior in ethnically diverse, non-clinical samples, or if participant sex, ethnicity, pubertal stage, and age moderate associations. We examined links between amygdala reactivity and dimensions of AB and CU traits in 220 Hispanic and non-Hispanic Caucasian adolescents (age 11-15; 49.5% female; 38.2% Hispanic), half of whom had a family history for depression and thus were at relatively elevated risk for late starting, emotionally dysregulated AB. We found that AB was significantly related to increased right amygdala reactivity to angry facial expressions independent of sex, ethnicity, pubertal stage, age, and familial risk status for depression. CU traits were not related to fear- or anger-related amygdala reactivity. The present study further demonstrates that AB is related to increased amygdala reactivity to interpersonal threat cues in adolescents, and that this relationship generalizes across sex, ethnicity, pubertal stage, age, and familial risk status for depression. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  7. Human amygdala response to dynamic facial expressions of positive and negative surprise.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vrticka, Pascal; Lordier, Lara; Bediou, Benoît; Sander, David

    2014-02-01

    Although brain imaging evidence accumulates to suggest that the amygdala plays a key role in the processing of novel stimuli, only little is known about its role in processing expressed novelty conveyed by surprised faces, and even less about possible interactive encoding of novelty and valence. Those investigations that have already probed human amygdala involvement in the processing of surprised facial expressions either used static pictures displaying negative surprise (as contained in fear) or "neutral" surprise, and manipulated valence by contextually priming or subjectively associating static surprise with either negative or positive information. Therefore, it still remains unresolved how the human amygdala differentially processes dynamic surprised facial expressions displaying either positive or negative surprise. Here, we created new artificial dynamic 3-dimensional facial expressions conveying surprise with an intrinsic positive (wonderment) or negative (fear) connotation, but also intrinsic positive (joy) or negative (anxiety) emotions not containing any surprise, in addition to neutral facial displays either containing ("typical surprise" expression) or not containing ("neutral") surprise. Results showed heightened amygdala activity to faces containing positive (vs. negative) surprise, which may either correspond to a specific wonderment effect as such, or to the computation of a negative expected value prediction error. Findings are discussed in the light of data obtained from a closely matched nonsocial lottery task, which revealed overlapping activity within the left amygdala to unexpected positive outcomes. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved.

  8. Maladaptive social information processing in childhood predicts young men's atypical amygdala reactivity to threat.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Choe, Daniel Ewon; Shaw, Daniel S; Forbes, Erika E

    2015-05-01

    Maladaptive social information processing, such as hostile attributional bias and aggressive response generation, is associated with childhood maladjustment. Although social information processing problems are correlated with heightened physiological responses to social threat, few studies have examined their associations with neural threat circuitry, specifically amygdala activation to social threat. A cohort of 310 boys participated in an ongoing longitudinal study and completed questionnaires and laboratory tasks assessing their social and cognitive characteristics the boys were between 10 and 12 years of age. At age 20, 178 of these young men underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging and a social threat task. At age 22, adult criminal arrest records and self-reports of impulsiveness were obtained. Path models indicated that maladaptive social information-processing at ages 10 and 11 predicted increased left amygdala reactivity to fear faces, an ambiguous threat, at age 20 while accounting for childhood antisocial behavior, empathy, IQ, and socioeconomic status. Exploratory analyses indicated that aggressive response generation - the tendency to respond to threat with reactive aggression - predicted left amygdala reactivity to fear faces and was concurrently associated with empathy, antisocial behavior, and hostile attributional bias, whereas hostile attributional bias correlated with IQ. Although unrelated to social information-processing problems, bilateral amygdala reactivity to anger faces at age 20 was unexpectedly predicted by low IQ at age 11. Amygdala activation did not mediate associations between social information processing and number of criminal arrests, but both impulsiveness at age 22 and arrests were correlated with right amygdala reactivity to anger facial expressions at age 20. Childhood social information processing and IQ predicted young men's amygdala response to threat a decade later, which suggests that childhood social

  9. The role of sleep and sleep deprivation in consolidating fear memories.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Menz, M M; Rihm, J S; Salari, N; Born, J; Kalisch, R; Pape, H C; Marshall, L; Büchel, C

    2013-07-15

    Sleep, in particular REM sleep, has been shown to improve the consolidation of emotional memories. Here, we investigated the role of sleep and sleep deprivation on the consolidation of fear memories and underlying neuronal mechanisms. We employed a Pavlovian fear conditioning paradigm either followed by a night of polysomnographically monitored sleep, or wakefulness in forty healthy participants. Recall of learned fear was better after sleep, as indicated by stronger explicitly perceived anxiety and autonomous nervous responses. These effects were positively correlated with the preceding time spent in REM sleep and paralleled by activation of the basolateral amygdala. These findings suggest REM sleep-associated consolidation of fear memory in the human amygdala. In view of the critical participation of fear learning mechanisms in the etiology of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, deprivation of REM sleep after exposure to distressing events is an interesting target for further investigation. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  10. Neural correlates of fear-induced sympathetic response associated with the peripheral temperature change rate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yoshihara, Kazufumi; Tanabe, Hiroki C; Kawamichi, Hiroaki; Koike, Takahiko; Yamazaki, Mika; Sudo, Nobuyuki; Sadato, Norihiro

    2016-07-01

    Activation of the sympathetic nervous system is essential for coping with environmental stressors such as fearful stimuli. Recent human imaging studies demonstrated that activity in some cortical regions, such as the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and anterior insula cortex (aIC), is related to sympathetic activity. However, little is known about the functional brain connectivity related to sympathetic response to fearful stimuli. The participants were 32 healthy, right-handed volunteers. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to examine brain activity when watching horror and control movies. Fingertip temperature was taken during the scanning as a measure of sympathetic response. The movies were watched a second time, and the degree of fear (9-point Likert-type scale) was evaluated every three seconds. The brain activity of the ACC, bilateral aIC, and bilateral anterior prefrontal cortex (aPFC) was correlated with the change rate of fingertip temperature, with or without fearful stimuli. Functional connectivity analysis revealed significantly greater positive functional connectivity between the amygdala and the ACC and between the amygdala and the aIC when watching the horror movie than when watching the control movie. Whole-brain psycho-physiological interaction (PPI) analysis revealed that the functional connectivity between the left amygdala and the ACC was modulated according to the fear rating. Our results indicate that the increased functional connectivity between the left amygdala and the ACC represents a sympathetic response to fearful stimuli. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  11. Fear but not fright: re-evaluating traumatic experience attenuates anxiety-like behaviors after fear conditioning

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marco eCostanzi

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available Fear allows organisms to cope with dangerous situations and remembering these situations has an adaptive role preserving individuals from injury and death. However, recalling traumatic memories can induce re-experiencing the trauma, thus resulting in a maladaptive fear. A failure to properly regulate fear responses has been associated with anxiety disorders, like Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD. Thus, re-establishing the capability to regulate fear has an important role for its adaptive and clinical relevance. Strategies aimed at erasing fear memories have been proposed, although there are limits about their efficiency in treating anxiety disorders. To re-establish fear regulation, here we propose a new approach, based on the re-evaluation of the aversive value of traumatic experience. Mice were submitted to a contextual-fear-conditioning paradigm in which a neutral context was paired with an intense electric footshock. Three weeks after acquisition, conditioned mice were treated with a less intense footshock (pain threshold. The effectiveness of this procedure in reducing fear expression was assessed in terms of behavioral outcomes related to PTSD (e.g. hyper-reactivity to a neutral tone, anxiety levels in a plus maze task, social avoidance, and learning deficits in a spatial water maze and of amygdala activity by evaluating c-fos expression. Furthermore, a possible role of lateral orbitofrontal cortex (lOFC in mediating the behavioral effects induced by the re-evaluation procedure was investigated. We observed that this treatment (i significantly mitigates the abnormal behavioral outcomes induced by trauma, (ii persistently attenuates fear expression without erasing contextual memory, (iii prevents fear reinstatement, (iv reduces amygdala activity and (v requires an intact lOFC to be effective.The results suggest that an effective strategy to treat pathological anxiety should address cognitive re-evaluation of traumatic experiences

  12. Tet1 overexpression leads to anxiety-like behavior and enhanced fear memories via the activation of calcium-dependent cascade through Egr1 expression in mice.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kwon, Wookbong; Kim, Hyeng-Soo; Jeong, Jain; Sung, Yonghun; Choi, Minjee; Park, Song; Lee, Jinhee; Jang, Soyoung; Kim, Sung Hyun; Lee, Sanggyu; Kim, Myoung Ok; Ryoo, Zae Young

    2018-01-01

    Ten-eleven translocation methylcytosine dioxygenase 1 ( Tet1 ) initiates DNA demethylation by converting 5-methylcytosine (5-mC) to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmC) at CpG-rich regions of genes, which have key roles in adult neurogenesis and memory. In addition, the overexpression of Tet1 with 5-hmC alteration in patients with psychosis has also been reported, for instance in schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. The mechanism underlying Tet1 overexpression in the brain; however, is still elusive. In the present study, we found that Tet1-transgenic (Tet1-TG) mice displayed abnormal behaviors involving elevated anxiety and enhanced fear memories. We confirmed that Tet1 overexpression affected adult neurogenesis with oligodendrocyte differentiation in the hippocampal dentate gyrus of Tet1-TG mice. In addition, Tet1 overexpression induced the elevated expression of immediate early genes, such as Egr1 , c-fos , Arc , and Bdnf , followed by the activation of intracellular calcium signals ( i.e. , CamKII, ERK, and CREB) in prefrontal and hippocampal neurons. The expression of GABA receptor subunits ( Gabra2 and Gabra4 ) fluctuated in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. We evaluated the effects of Tet1 overexpression on intracellular calcium-dependent cascades by activating the Egr1 promoter in vitro Tet1 enhanced Egr1 expression, which may have led to alterations in Gabra2 and Gabra4 expression in neurons. Taken together, we suggest that the Tet1 overexpression in our Tet1-TG mice can be applied as an effective model for studying various stress-related diseases that show hyperactivation of intracellular calcium-dependent cascades in the brain.-Kwon, W., Kim, H.-S., Jeong, J., Sung, Y., Choi, M., Park, S., Lee, J., Jang, S., Kim, S. H., Lee, S., Kim, M. O., Ryoo, Z. Y. Tet1 overexpression leads to anxiety-like behavior and enhanced fear memories via the activation of calcium-dependent cascade through Egr1 expression in mice. © FASEB.

  13. Olfactory systems and neural circuits that modulate predator odor fear

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lorey K. Takahashi

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available When prey animals detect the odor of a predator a constellation of fear-related autonomic, endocrine, and behavioral responses rapidly occur to facilitate survival. How olfactory sensory systems process predator odor and channel that information to specific brain circuits is a fundamental issue that is not clearly understood. However, research in the last 15 years has begun to identify some of the essential features of the sensory detection systems and brain structures that underlie predator odor fear. For instance, the main (MOS and accessory olfactory systems (AOS detect predator odors and different types of predator odors are sensed by specific receptors located in either the MOS or AOS. However, complex predator chemosignals may be processed by both the MOS and AOS, which complicate our understanding of the specific neural circuits connected directly and indirectly from the MOS and AOS to activate the physiological and behavioral components of unconditioned and conditioned fear. Studies indicate that brain structures including the dorsal periaqueductal gray, paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, and the medial amygdala appear to be broadly involved in predator odor induced autonomic activity and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal stress hormone secretion. The medial amygdala also plays a key role in predator odor unconditioned fear behavior and retrieval of contextual fear memory associated with prior predator odor experiences. Other neural structures including the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and the ventral hippocampus appear prominently involve in predator odor fear behavior. The basolateral amygdala, medial hypothalamic nuclei, and medial prefrontal cortex are also activated by some but not all predator odors. Future research that characterizes how distinct predator odors are uniquely processed in olfactory systems and neural circuits will provide significant insights into the differences of how diverse predator odors activate

  14. Amygdala hypersensitivity in response to emotional faces in Tourette's patients.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neuner, Irene; Kellermann, Thilo; Stöcker, Tony; Kircher, Tilo; Habel, Ute; Shah, Jon N; Schneider, Frank

    2010-10-01

    Tourette's syndrome is characterised by motor and vocal tics as well as a high level of impulsivity and emotional dysregulation. Neuroimaging studies point to structural changes of the basal ganglia, prefrontal cortex and parts of the limbic system. However, there is no link between behavioural symptoms and the structural changes in the amygdala. One aspect of daily social interaction is the perception of emotional facial expressions, closely linked to amgydala function. We therefore investigated via fMRI the implicit discrimination of six emotional facial expressions in 19 adult Tourette's patients. In comparison to healthy control group, Tourette's patients showed significantly higher amygdala activation, especially pronounced for fearful, angry and neutral expressions. The BOLD-activity of the left amygdala correlated negatively with the personality trait extraversion. We will discuss these findings as a result of either deficient frontal inhibition due to structural changes or a desynchronization in the interaction of the cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical network within structures of the limbic system. Our data show an altered pattern of implicit emotion discrimination and emphasize the need to consider motor and non-motor symptoms in Tourette's syndrome in the choice of both behavioural and pharmacological treatment.

  15. Visual Attention to Suffering After Compassion Training Is Associated With Decreased Amygdala Responses

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Helen Y. Weng

    2018-05-01

    Full Text Available Compassion meditation training is hypothesized to increase the motivational salience of cues of suffering, while also enhancing equanimous attention and decreasing emotional reactivity to suffering. However, it is currently unknown how compassion meditation impacts visual attention to suffering, and how this impacts neural activation in regions associated with motivational salience as well as aversive responses, such as the amygdala. Healthy adults were randomized to 2 weeks of compassion or reappraisal training. We measured BOLD fMRI responses before and after training while participants actively engaged in their assigned training to images depicting human suffering or non-suffering. Eye-tracking data were recorded concurrently, and we computed looking time for socially and emotionally evocative areas of the images, and calculated visual preference for suffering vs. non-suffering. Increases in visual preference for suffering due to compassion training were associated with decreases in the amygdala, a brain region involved in negative valence, arousal, and physiological responses typical of fear and anxiety states. This pattern was specifically in the compassion group, and was not found in the reappraisal group. In addition, compassion training-related increases in visual preference for suffering were also associated with decreases in regions sensitive to valence and empathic distress, spanning the anterior insula and orbitofrontal cortex (while the reappraisal group showed the opposite effect. Examining visual attention alone demonstrated that engaging in compassion in general (across both time points resulted in visual attention preference for suffering compared to engaging in reappraisal. Collectively, these findings suggest that compassion meditation may cultivate visual preference for suffering while attenuating neural responses in regions typically associated with aversive processing of negative stimuli, which may cultivate a more

  16. Instructed fear learning, extinction, and recall: additive effects of cognitive information on emotional learning of fear.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Javanbakht, Arash; Duval, Elizabeth R; Cisneros, Maria E; Taylor, Stephan F; Kessler, Daniel; Liberzon, Israel

    2017-08-01

    The effects of instruction on learning of fear and safety are rarely studied. We aimed to examine the effects of cognitive information and experience on fear learning. Fourty healthy participants, randomly assigned to three groups, went through fear conditioning, extinction learning, and extinction recall with two conditioned stimuli (CS+). Information was presented about the presence or absence of conditioned stimulus-unconditioned stimulus (CS-US) contingency at different stages of the experiment. Information about the CS-US contingency prior to fear conditioning enhanced fear response and reduced extinction recall. Information about the absence of CS-US contingency promoted extinction learning and recall, while omission of this information prior to recall resulted in fear renewal. These findings indicate that contingency information can facilitate fear expression during fear learning, and can facilitate extinction learning and recall. Information seems to function as an element of the larger context in which conditioning occurs.

  17. Using c-Jun to identify fear extinction learning-specific patterns of neural activity that are affected by single prolonged stress.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knox, Dayan; Stanfield, Briana R; Staib, Jennifer M; David, Nina P; DePietro, Thomas; Chamness, Marisa; Schneider, Elizabeth K; Keller, Samantha M; Lawless, Caroline

    2018-04-02

    Neural circuits via which stress leads to disruptions in fear extinction is often explored in animal stress models. Using the single prolonged stress (SPS) model of post traumatic stress disorder and the immediate early gene (IEG) c-Fos as a measure of neural activity, we previously identified patterns of neural activity through which SPS disrupts extinction retention. However, none of these stress effects were specific to fear or extinction learning and memory. C-Jun is another IEG that is sometimes regulated in a different manner to c-Fos and could be used to identify emotional learning/memory specific patterns of neural activity that are sensitive to SPS. Animals were either fear conditioned (CS-fear) or presented with CSs only (CS-only) then subjected to extinction training and testing. C-Jun was then assayed within neural substrates critical for extinction memory. Inhibited c-Jun levels in the hippocampus (Hipp) and enhanced functional connectivity between the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and basolateral amygdala (BLA) during extinction training was disrupted by SPS in the CS-fear group only. As a result, these effects were specific to emotional learning/memory. SPS also disrupted inhibited Hipp c-Jun levels, enhanced BLA c-Jun levels, and altered functional connectivity among the vmPFC, BLA, and Hipp during extinction testing in SPS rats in the CS-fear and CS-only groups. As a result, these effects were not specific to emotional learning/memory. Our findings suggest that SPS disrupts neural activity specific to extinction memory, but may also disrupt the retention of fear extinction by mechanisms that do not involve emotional learning/memory. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  18. Cellular and oscillatory substrates of fear extinction learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davis, Patrick; Zaki, Yosif; Maguire, Jamie; Reijmers, Leon G

    2017-11-01

    The mammalian brain contains dedicated circuits for both the learned expression and suppression of fear. These circuits require precise coordination to facilitate the appropriate expression of fear behavior, but the mechanisms underlying this coordination remain unclear. Using a combination of chemogenetics, activity-based neuronal-ensemble labeling and in vivo electrophysiology, we found that fear extinction learning confers on parvalbumin-expressing (PV) interneurons in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) a dedicated role in the selective suppression of a previously encoded fear memory and BLA fear-encoding neurons. In addition, following extinction learning, PV interneurons enable a competing interaction between a 6-12 Hz oscillation and a fear-associated 3-6 Hz oscillation within the BLA. Loss of this competition increases a 3-6 Hz oscillatory signature, with BLA→medial prefrontal cortex directionality signaling the recurrence of fear expression. The discovery of cellular and oscillatory substrates of fear extinction learning that critically depend on BLA PV interneurons could inform therapies aimed at preventing the pathological recurrence of fear following extinction learning.

  19. Hypobaric hypoxia impairs cued and contextual fear memory in rats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kumari, Punita; Kauser, Hina; Wadhwa, Meetu; Roy, Koustav; Alam, Shahnawaz; Sahu, Surajit; Kishore, Krishna; Ray, Koushik; Panjwani, Usha

    2018-04-26

    Fear memory is essential for survival, and its dysregulation leads to disorders. High altitude hypobaric hypoxia (HH) is known to induce cognitive decline. However, its effect on fear memory is still an enigma. We aimed to investigate the temporal effect of HH on fear conditioning and the underlying mechanism. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were trained for fear conditioning and exposed to simulated HH equivalent to 25,000 ft for different durations (1, 3, 7, 14 and 21 days). Subsequently, rats were tested for cued and contextual fear conditioning. Neuronal morphology, apoptosis and DNA fragmentation were studied in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), hippocampus and basolateral amygdala (BLA). We observed significant deficit in cued and contextual fear acquisition (at 1, 3 and 7 days) and consolidation (cued at 1 and 3 days and contextual fear at 1, 3 and 7 days) under HH. HH exposure with retraining showed the earlier restoration of contextual fear memory. Further, we found a gradual increase in the number of pyknotic and apoptotic neurons together with the increase in DNA fragmentation in mPFC, hippocampus, and BLA up to 7 days of HH exposure. The present study concludes that HH exposure equivalent to 25000 ft induced cued and contextual fear memory deficit (acquisition and consolidation) which is found to be correlated with the neurodegenerative changes in the limbic brain regions. Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  20. Inhibiting corticosterone synthesis during fear memory formation exacerbates cued fear extinction memory deficits within the single prolonged stress model.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keller, Samantha M; Schreiber, William B; Stanfield, Briana R; Knox, Dayan

    2015-01-01

    Using the single prolonged stress (SPS) animal model of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), previous studies suggest that enhanced glucocorticoid receptor (GR) expression leads to cued fear extinction retention deficits. However, it is unknown how the endogenous ligand of GRs, corticosterone (CORT), may contribute to extinction retention deficits in the SPS model. Given that CORT synthesis during fear learning is critical for fear memory consolidation and SPS enhances GR expression, CORT synthesis during fear memory formation could strengthen fear memory in SPS rats by enhancing GR activation during fear learning. In turn, this could lead to cued fear extinction retention deficits. We tested the hypothesis that CORT synthesis during fear learning leads to cued fear extinction retention deficits in SPS rats by administering the CORT synthesis inhibitor metyrapone to SPS and control rats prior to fear conditioning, and observed the effect this had on extinction memory. Inhibiting CORT synthesis during fear memory formation in control rats tended to decrease cued freezing, though this effect never reached statistical significance. Contrary to our hypothesis, inhibiting CORT synthesis during fear memory formation disrupted extinction retention in SPS rats. This finding suggests that even though SPS exposure leads to cued fear extinction memory deficits, CORT synthesis during fear memory formation enhances extinction retention in SPS rats. This suggests that stress-induced CORT synthesis in previously stressed rats can be beneficial. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  1. Amygdala activity associated with social choice in mice.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mihara, Takuma; Mensah-Brown, Kobina; Sobota, Rosanna; Lin, Robert; Featherstone, Robert; Siegel, Steven J

    2017-08-14

    Studies suggest that the amygdala is a key region for regulation of anxiety, fear and social function. Therefore, dysfunction of the amygdala has been proposed as a potential mechanism for negative symptoms in schizophrenia. This may be due to NMDA receptor-mediated hypofunction, which is thought to be related to the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. In this study, electroencephalographic amygdala activity was assessed in mice during the three-chamber social test. This activity was also evaluated following exposure to the NMDA receptor antagonist ketamine. Vehicle-treated mice spent significantly more time in the social than the non-social chamber. This social preference was eliminated by ketamine. However, ketamine-treated mice spent significantly less time in the social chamber and significantly more time in the nonsocial chamber than vehicle-treated mice. There were no significant differences in induced powers between social and non-social chamber entries in vehicle-treated mice, except for theta frequencies, which featured greater induced theta power during non-social chamber entry. Ketamine eliminated differences in induced theta power between social and non-social chamber entries. Moreover, ketamine increased the induced gamma power during social chamber entry compared to that of vehicle-treated mice. All other frequency ranges were not significantly influenced by zone or drug condition. All significant findings were upon entry to chambers not during interaction. Results suggest that impaired function of NMDA receptor-mediated glutamate transmission can induce social impairments and amygdala dysfunction, similar to the pattern in schizophrenia. Future studies will utilize this method to evaluate mechanisms of social dysfunction and development of treatments of social impairments in schizophrenia. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  2. Stress, memory and the amygdala

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Roozendaal, Benno; McEwen, Bruce S.; Chattarji, Sumantra

    Emotionally significant experiences tend to be well remembered, and the amygdala has a pivotal role in this process. But the efficient encoding of emotional memories can become maladaptive - severe stress often turns them into a source of chronic anxiety. Here, we review studies that have identified

  3. Central amygdala, stress and adaption

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Roozendaal, Benno

    1992-01-01

    In this thesis the results were presented of studies that were designed to provide more insight in the role of the central nucleus of the amygdala (CEA) in the adaptation to environmental demands. The experiments were performed in several situations, in which rats react either directly to aversive

  4. Amygdala activation as a marker for selective attention toward neutral faces in a chronic traumatic brain injury population.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Young, Leanne R; Yu, Weikei; Holloway, Michael; Rodgers, Barry N; Chapman, Sandra B; Krawczyk, Daniel C

    2017-09-01

    There has been great interest in characterizing the response of the amygdala to emotional faces, especially in the context of social cognition. Although amygdala activation is most often associated with fearful or angry stimuli, there is considerable evidence that the response of the amygdala to neutral faces is both robust and reliable. This characteristic of amygdala function is of particular interest in the context of assessing populations with executive function deficits, such as traumatic brain injuries, which can be evaluated using fMRI attention modulation tasks that evaluate prefrontal control over representations, notably faces. The current study tested the hypothesis that the amygdala may serve as a marker of selective attention to neutral faces. Using fMRI, we gathered data within a chronic traumatic brain injury population. Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent (BOLD) signal change within the left and right amygdalae and fusiform face areas was measured while participants viewed neutral faces and scenes, under conditions requiring participants to (1) categorize pictures of faces and scenes, (2) selectively attend to either faces or scenes, or (3) attend to both faces and scenes. Findings revealed that the amygdala is an effective marker for selective attention to neutral faces and, furthermore, it was more face-specific than the fusiform face area. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Bilateral neurotoxic amygdala lesions in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta): Consistent pattern of behavior across different social contexts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Machado, Christopher J.; Emery, Nathan J.; Capitanio, John P.; Mason, William A.; Mendoza, Sally P.; Amaral, David G.

    2010-01-01

    Although the amygdala has been repeatedly implicated in normal primate social behavior, great variability exists in the specific social and nonsocial behavioral changes observed after bilateral amygdala lesions in nonhuman primates. One plausible explanation pertains to differences in social context. To investigate this idea, we measured the social behavior of amygdala-lesioned and unoperated rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) in two contexts. Animals interacted in four-member social groups over 32 test days. These animals were previously assessed in pairs (Emery et al., 2001), and were, therefore, familiar with each other at the beginning of this study. Across the two contexts, amygdala lesions produced a highly consistent pattern of social behavior. Operated animals engaged in more affiliative social interactions with control group partners than did control animals. In the course of their interactions, amygdala-lesioned animals also displayed an earlier decrease in nervous and fearful personality qualities than controls. The increased exploration and sexual behavior recorded for amygdala-lesioned animals in pairs was not found in the four-member groups. We conclude that the amygdala contributes to social inhibition and this function transcends various social contexts. PMID:18410164

  6. Preschool anxiety disorders predict different patterns of amygdala-prefrontal connectivity at school-age.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kimberly L H Carpenter

    Full Text Available In this prospective, longitudinal study of young children, we examined whether a history of preschool generalized anxiety, separation anxiety, and/or social phobia is associated with amygdala-prefrontal dysregulation at school-age. As an exploratory analysis, we investigated whether distinct anxiety disorders differ in the patterns of this amygdala-prefrontal dysregulation.Participants were children taking part in a 5-year study of early childhood brain development and anxiety disorders. Preschool symptoms of generalized anxiety, separation anxiety, and social phobia were assessed with the Preschool Age Psychiatric Assessment (PAPA in the first wave of the study when the children were between 2 and 5 years old. The PAPA was repeated at age 6. We conducted functional MRIs when the children were 5.5 to 9.5 year old to assess neural responses to viewing of angry and fearful faces.A history of preschool social phobia predicted less school-age functional connectivity between the amygdala and the ventral prefrontal cortices to angry faces. Preschool generalized anxiety predicted less functional connectivity between the amygdala and dorsal prefrontal cortices in response to fearful faces. Finally, a history of preschool separation anxiety predicted less school-age functional connectivity between the amygdala and the ventral prefrontal cortices to angry faces and greater school-age functional connectivity between the amygdala and dorsal prefrontal cortices to angry faces.Our results suggest that there are enduring neurobiological effects associated with a history of preschool anxiety, which occur over-and-above the effect of subsequent emotional symptoms. Our results also provide preliminary evidence for the neurobiological differentiation of specific preschool anxiety disorders.

  7. Impact of Sleep Quality on Amygdala Reactivity, Negative Affect, and Perceived Stress

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prather, Aric A.; Bogdan, Ryan; Ahmad R. Hariri, PhD

    2013-01-01

    Objective Research demonstrates a negative impact of sleep disturbance on mood and affect; however, the biological mechanisms mediating these links are poorly understood. Amygdala reactivity to negative stimuli has emerged as one potential pathway. Here, we investigate the influence of self-reported sleep quality on associations between threat-related amygdala reactivity and measures of negative affect and perceived stress. Methods Analyses on data from 299 participants (125 men, 50.5% white, mean [standard deviation] age = 19.6 [1.3] years) who completed the Duke Neurogenetics Study were conducted. Participants completed several self-report measures of negative affect and perceived stress. Threat-related (i.e., angry and fearful facial expressions) amygdala reactivity was assayed using blood oxygen level–dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging. Global sleep quality was assessed using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Results Amygdala reactivity to fearful facial expressions predicted greater depressive symptoms and higher perceived stress in poor (β values = 0.18–1.86, p values .05). In sex-specific analyses, men reporting poorer global sleep quality showed a significant association between amygdala reactivity and levels of depression and perceived stress (β values = 0.29–0.44, p values < .05). In contrast, no significant associations were observed in men reporting good global sleep quality or in women, irrespective of sleep quality. Conclusions This study provides novel evidence that self-reported sleep quality moderates the relationships between amygdala reactivity, negative affect, and perceived stress, particularly among men. PMID:23592753

  8. Amygdala lesions disrupt modulation of functional MRI activity evoked by facial expression in the monkey inferior temporal cortex

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hadj-Bouziane, Fadila; Liu, Ning; Bell, Andrew H.; Gothard, Katalin M.; Luh, Wen-Ming; Tootell, Roger B. H.; Murray, Elisabeth A.; Ungerleider, Leslie G.

    2012-01-01

    We previously showed that facial expressions modulate functional MRI activity in the face-processing regions of the macaque monkey’s amygdala and inferior temporal (IT) cortex. Specifically, we showed that faces expressing emotion yield greater activation than neutral faces; we term this difference the “valence effect.” We hypothesized that amygdala lesions would disrupt the valence effect by eliminating the modulatory feedback from the amygdala to the IT cortex. We compared the valence effects within the IT cortex in monkeys with excitotoxic amygdala lesions (n = 3) with those in intact control animals (n = 3) using contrast agent-based functional MRI at 3 T. Images of four distinct monkey facial expressions—neutral, aggressive (open mouth threat), fearful (fear grin), and appeasing (lip smack)—were presented to the subjects in a blocked design. Our results showed that in monkeys with amygdala lesions the valence effects were strongly disrupted within the IT cortex, whereas face responsivity (neutral faces > scrambled faces) and face selectivity (neutral faces > non-face objects) were unaffected. Furthermore, sparing of the anterior amygdala led to intact valence effects in the anterior IT cortex (which included the anterior face-selective regions), whereas sparing of the posterior amygdala led to intact valence effects in the posterior IT cortex (which included the posterior face-selective regions). Overall, our data demonstrate that the feedback projections from the amygdala to the IT cortex mediate the valence effect found there. Moreover, these modulatory effects are consistent with an anterior-to-posterior gradient of projections, as suggested by classical tracer studies. PMID:23184972

  9. Glutamate Receptor GluA1 Subunit Is Implicated in Capsaicin Induced Modulation of Amygdala LTP but Not LTD

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gebhardt, Christine; Albrecht, Doris

    2018-01-01

    Capsaicin has been shown to modulate synaptic plasticity in various brain regions including the amygdala. Whereas in the lateral amygdala the modulatory effect of capsaicin on long-term potentiation (LA-LTP) is mediated by TRPV1 channels, we have recently shown that capsaicin-induced enhancement of long term depression (LA-LTD) is mediated by…

  10. Blocking miRNA Biogenesis in Adult Forebrain Neurons Enhances Seizure Susceptibility, Fear Memory, and Food Intake by Increasing Neuronal Responsiveness.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fiorenza, Anna; Lopez-Atalaya, Jose P; Rovira, Victor; Scandaglia, Marilyn; Geijo-Barrientos, Emilio; Barco, Angel

    2016-04-01

    The RNase Dicer is essential for the maturation of most microRNAs, a molecular system that plays an essential role in fine-tuning gene expression. To gain molecular insight into the role of Dicer and the microRNA system in brain function, we conducted 2 complementary RNA-seq screens in the hippocampus of inducible forebrain-restricted Dicer1 mutants aimed at identifying the microRNAs primarily affected by Dicer loss and their targets, respectively. Functional genomics analyses predicted the main biological processes and phenotypes associated with impaired microRNA maturation, including categories related to microRNA biology, signal transduction, seizures, and synaptic transmission and plasticity. Consistent with these predictions, we found that, soon after recombination, Dicer-deficient mice exhibited an exaggerated seizure response, enhanced induction of immediate early genes in response to different stimuli, stronger and more stable fear memory, hyperphagia, and increased excitability of CA1 pyramidal neurons. In the long term, we also observed slow and progressive excitotoxic neurodegeneration. Overall, our results indicate that interfering with microRNA biogenesis causes an increase in neuronal responsiveness and disrupts homeostatic mechanisms that protect the neuron against overactivation, which may explain both the initial and late phenotypes associated with the loss of Dicer in excitatory neurons. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  11. Orexin/hypocretin system modulates amygdala-dependent threat learning through the locus coeruleus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sears, Robert M.; Fink, Ann E.; Wigestrand, Mattis B.; Farb, Claudia R.; de Lecea, Luis; LeDoux, Joseph E.

    2013-01-01

    Survival in a dangerous environment requires learning about stimuli that predict harm. Although recent work has focused on the amygdala as the locus of aversive memory formation, the hypothalamus has long been implicated in emotional regulation, and the hypothalamic neuropeptide orexin (hypocretin) is involved in anxiety states and arousal. Nevertheless, little is known about the role of orexin in aversive memory formation. Using a combination of behavioral pharmacology, slice physiology, and optogenetic techniques, we show that orexin acts upstream of the amygdala via the noradrenergic locus coeruleus to enable threat (fear) learning, specifically during the aversive event. Our results are consistent with clinical studies linking orexin levels to aversive learning and anxiety in humans and dysregulation of the orexin system may contribute to the etiology of fear and anxiety disorders. PMID:24277819

  12. Fear extinction causes target-specific remodeling of perisomatic inhibitory synapses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trouche, Stéphanie; Sasaki, Jennifer M.; Tu, Tiffany; Reijmers, Leon G.

    2013-01-01

    SUMMARY A more complete understanding of how fear extinction alters neuronal activity and connectivity within fear circuits may aid in the development of strategies to treat human fear disorders. Using a c-fos based transgenic mouse, we found that contextual fear extinction silenced basal amygdala (BA) excitatory neurons that had been previously activated during fear conditioning. We hypothesized that the silencing of BA fear neurons was caused by an action of extinction on BA inhibitory synapses. In support of this hypothesis, we found extinction-induced target-specific remodeling of BA perisomatic inhibitory synapses originating from parvalbumin and cholecystokinin-positive interneurons. Interestingly, the predicted changes in the balance of perisomatic inhibition matched the silent and active states of the target BA fear neurons. These observations suggest that target-specific changes in perisomatic inhibitory synapses represent a mechanism through which experience can sculpt the activation patterns within a neural circuit. PMID:24183705

  13. Fear extinction causes target-specific remodeling of perisomatic inhibitory synapses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trouche, Stéphanie; Sasaki, Jennifer M; Tu, Tiffany; Reijmers, Leon G

    2013-11-20

    A more complete understanding of how fear extinction alters neuronal activity and connectivity within fear circuits may aid in the development of strategies to treat human fear disorders. Using a c-fos-based transgenic mouse, we found that contextual fear extinction silenced basal amygdala (BA) excitatory neurons that had been previously activated during fear conditioning. We hypothesized that the silencing of BA fear neurons was caused by an action of extinction on BA inhibitory synapses. In support of this hypothesis, we found extinction-induced target-specific remodeling of BA perisomatic inhibitory synapses originating from parvalbumin and cholecystokinin-positive interneurons. Interestingly, the predicted changes in the balance of perisomatic inhibition matched the silent and active states of the target BA fear neurons. These observations suggest that target-specific changes in perisomatic inhibitory synapses represent a mechanism through which experience can sculpt the activation patterns within a neural circuit. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  14. Memory suppression trades prolonged fear and sleep-dependent fear plasticity for the avoidance of current fear

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuriyama, Kenichi; Honma, Motoyasu; Yoshiike, Takuya; Kim, Yoshiharu

    2013-07-01

    Sleep deprivation immediately following an aversive event reduces fear by preventing memory consolidation during homeostatic sleep. This suggests that acute insomnia might act prophylactically against the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) even though it is also a possible risk factor for PTSD. We examined total sleep deprivation and memory suppression to evaluate the effects of these interventions on subsequent aversive memory formation and fear conditioning. Active suppression of aversive memory impaired retention of event memory. However, although the remembered fear was more reduced in sleep-deprived than sleep-control subjects, suppressed fear increased, and seemed to abandon the sleep-dependent plasticity of fear. Active memory suppression, which provides a psychological model for Freud's ego defense mechanism, enhances fear and casts doubt on the potential of acute insomnia as a prophylactic measure against PTSD. Our findings bring into question the role of sleep in aversive-memory consolidation in clinical PTSD pathophysiology.

  15. Remembering the object you fear: brain potentials during recognition of spiders in spider-fearful individuals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michalowski, Jaroslaw M; Weymar, Mathias; Hamm, Alfons O

    2014-01-01

    In the present study we investigated long-term memory for unpleasant, neutral and spider pictures in 15 spider-fearful and 15 non-fearful control individuals using behavioral and electrophysiological measures. During the initial (incidental) encoding, pictures were passively viewed in three separate blocks and were subsequently rated for valence and arousal. A recognition memory task was performed one week later in which old and new unpleasant, neutral and spider pictures were presented. Replicating previous results, we found enhanced memory performance and higher confidence ratings for unpleasant when compared to neutral materials in both animal fearful individuals and controls. When compared to controls high animal fearful individuals also showed a tendency towards better memory accuracy and significantly higher confidence during recognition of spider pictures, suggesting that memory of objects prompting specific fear is also facilitated in fearful individuals. In line, spider-fearful but not control participants responded with larger ERP positivity for correctly recognized old when compared to correctly rejected new spider pictures, thus showing the same effects in the neural signature of emotional memory for feared objects that were already discovered for other emotional materials. The increased fear memory for phobic materials observed in the present study in spider-fearful individuals might result in an enhanced fear response and reinforce negative beliefs aggravating anxiety symptomatology and hindering recovery.

  16. Left or right? Lateralizing temporal lobe epilepsy by dynamic amygdala fMRI.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ives-Deliperi, Victoria; Butler, James Thomas; Jokeit, Hennric

    2017-05-01

    In this case series, the findings of 85 functional MRI studies employing a dynamic fearful face paradigm are reported. Previous findings have shown the paradigm to generate bilateral amygdala activations in healthy subjects and unilateral activations in patients with MTLE, in the contralateral hemisphere to seizure origin. Such findings suggest ipsilateral limbic pathology and offer collateral evidence in lateralizing MTLE. The series includes 60 patients with TLE, 12 patients with extra-temporal lobe epilepsy, and 13 healthy controls. Functional MRI studies using a 1.5T scanner were conducted over a three-year period at a single epilepsy center and individual results were compared with EEG findings. In the cohort of unilateral TLE patients, lateralized activations of the amygdala were concordant with EEG findings in 76% of patients (77% lTLE, 74% rTLE). The differences in the mean lateralized indices of the lTLE, rTLE, and healthy control groups were all statistically significant. Lateralized amygdala activations were concordant with EEG findings in only 31% of the 12 patients with extra-temporal lobe epilepsy and bilateral amygdala activations were generated in all but one of the healthy control subjects. This case series further endorses the utility of the dynamic fearful face functional MRI paradigm using the widely available 1.5T as an adjunctive investigation to lateralize TLE. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  17. Distinct molecular components for thalamic- and cortical-dependent plasticity in the lateral amygdala

    OpenAIRE

    Osvaldo eMirante; Osvaldo eMirante; Federico eBrandalise; Johannes eBohacek; Johannes eBohacek; Isabelle M Mansuy; Isabelle M Mansuy

    2014-01-01

    N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR)-dependent long-term depression (LTD) in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA) is a form of synaptic plasticity thought to be a cellular substrate for the extinction of fear memory. The LA receives converging inputs from the sensory thalamus and neocortex that are weakened following fear extinction. Combining field and patch-clamp electrophysiological recordings in mice, we show that a paired-pulse low-frequency stimulation can induce a robust LTD at th...

  18. Distinct molecular components for thalamic- and cortical-dependent plasticity in the lateral amygdala

    OpenAIRE

    Mirante, Osvaldo; Brandalise, Federico; Bohacek, Johannes; Mansuy, Isabelle M

    2014-01-01

    N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR)-dependent long-term depression (LTD) in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA) is a form of synaptic plasticity thought to be a cellular substrate for the extinction of fear memory. The LA receives converging inputs from the sensory thalamus and neocortex that are weakened following fear extinction. Combining field and patch-clamp electrophysiological recordings in mice, we show that paired-pulse low-frequency stimulation can induce a robust LTD at thal...

  19. Occipital lobe epilepsy with fear as leading ictal symptom.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oehl, Bernhard; Schulze-Bonhage, Andreas; Lanz, Michael; Brandt, Armin; Altenmüller, Dirk-Matthias

    2012-03-01

    Ictal fear is a semiological feature which is commonly associated with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy. Here, we describe fear as a leading symptom in cryptogenic occipital lobe epilepsy. In a patient with negative MRI findings, intracranial EEG recordings documented a strict correlation between habitual ictal anxiety attacks and both spontaneous and stimulation-induced epileptic activity in a right occipital epileptogenic area with subsequent spreading to the symptomatogenic zone in the amygdala. Circumscribed occipital topectomy led to seizure freedom. Episodes of non-epileptic fear ceased shortly afterwards. This report provides insight into pathways of propagation of epileptic activity, illustrates different etiologies of pathologic fear and underlines the importance of ictal EEG recordings. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  20. Amygdala, Pulvinar & Inferior Parietal Cortex Contribute to Early Processing of Faces without Awareness

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vanessa eTroiani

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available The goals of the present study were twofold. First, we wished to investigate the neural correlates of stimulus-driven processing of stimuli strongly suppressed from awareness and in the absence of top-down influences. We accomplished this using a novel approach in which participants performed an orthogonal task atop a flash suppression noise image to prevent top-down search. Second, we wished to investigate the extent to which amygdala responses differentiate between suppressed stimuli (fearful faces and houses based on their motivational relevance. Using continuous flash suppression in conjunction with fMRI, we presented fearful faces, houses, and a no stimulus control to one eye while participants performed an orthogonal task that appeared atop the flashing Mondrian image presented to the opposite eye. In 29 adolescents, we show activation in subcortical regions, including the superior colliculus, amygdala, thalamus, and hippocampus for suppressed objects (fearful faces and houses compared to a no stimulus control. Suppressed stimuli showed less activation compared to a no stimulus control in early visual cortex, indicating that object information was being suppressed from this region. Additionally, we find no activation in regions associated with conscious processing of these percepts (fusiform gyrus and/or parahippocampal cortex as assessed by mean activations and multi-voxel patterns. A psychophysiological interaction analysis that seeded the amygdala showed task-specific (fearful faces greater than houses modulation of right pulvinar and left inferior parietal cortex. Taken together, our results support a role for the amygdala in stimulus-driven attentional guidance towards objects of relevance and a potential mechanism for successful suppression of rivalrous stimuli.

  1. Stimulus fear-relevance and the vicarious learning pathway to childhood fears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Askew, Chris; Dunne, Güler; Özdil, Zehra; Reynolds, Gemma; Field, Andy P

    2013-10-01

    Enhanced fear learning for fear-relevant stimuli has been demonstrated in procedures with adults in the laboratory. Three experiments investigated the effect of stimulus fear-relevance on vicarious fear learning in children (aged 6-11 years). Pictures of stimuli with different levels of fear-relevance (flowers, caterpillars, snakes, worms, and Australian marsupials) were presented alone or together with scared faces. In line with previous studies, children's fear beliefs and avoidance preferences increased for stimuli they had seen with scared faces. However, in contrast to evidence with adults, learning was mostly similar for all stimulus types irrespective of fear-relevance. The results support a proposal that stimulus preparedness is bypassed when children observationally learn threat-related information from adults.

  2. Altered time course of amygdala activation during speech anticipation in social anxiety disorder.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davies, Carolyn D; Young, Katherine; Torre, Jared B; Burklund, Lisa J; Goldin, Philippe R; Brown, Lily A; Niles, Andrea N; Lieberman, Matthew D; Craske, Michelle G

    2017-02-01

    Exaggerated anticipatory anxiety is common in social anxiety disorder (SAD). Neuroimaging studies have revealed altered neural activity in response to social stimuli in SAD, but fewer studies have examined neural activity during anticipation of feared social stimuli in SAD. The current study examined the time course and magnitude of activity in threat processing brain regions during speech anticipation in socially anxious individuals and healthy controls (HC). Participants (SAD n=58; HC n=16) underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during which they completed a 90s control anticipation task and 90s speech anticipation task. Repeated measures multi-level modeling analyses were used to examine group differences in time course activity during speech vs. control anticipation for regions of interest, including bilateral amygdala, insula, ventral striatum, and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex. The time course of amygdala activity was more prolonged and less variable throughout speech anticipation in SAD participants compared to HCs, whereas the overall magnitude of amygdala response did not differ between groups. Magnitude and time course of activity was largely similar between groups across other regions of interest. Analyses were restricted to regions of interest and task order was the same across participants due to the nature of deception instructions. Sustained amygdala time course during anticipation may uniquely reflect heightened detection of threat or deficits in emotion regulation in socially anxious individuals. Findings highlight the importance of examining temporal dynamics of amygdala responding. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  3. Amygdala activation in response to facial expressions in pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder

    Science.gov (United States)

    Britton, Jennifer C.; Stewart, S. Evelyn; Killgore, William D.S.; Rosso, Isabelle M.; Price, Lauren M.; Gold, Andrea L.; Pine, Daniel S.; Wilhelm, Sabine; Jenike, Michael A.; Rauch, Scott L.

    2010-01-01

    Background Exaggerated amygdala activation to threatening faces has been detected in adults and children with anxiety disorders, compared to healthy comparison subjects. However, the profile of amygdala activation in response to facial expressions in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may be a distinguishing feature; a prior study found that compared with healthy adults, adults with OCD exhibited less amygdala activation to emotional and neutral faces, relative to fixation (Cannistraro et al., 2004). Methods In the current event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, a pediatric OCD sample (N=12) and a healthy comparison sample (HC, N=17) performed a gender discrimination task while viewing emotional faces (happy, fear, disgust) and neutral faces. Results Compared to the HC group, the OCD group showed less amygdala/hippocampus activation in all emotion and neutral conditions relative to fixation. Conclusions Like previous reports in adult OCD, pediatric OCD may have a distinct neural profile from other anxiety disorders, with respect to amygdala activation in response to emotional stimuli that are not disorder-specific. PMID:20602430

  4. An earlier time of scan is associated with greater threat-related amygdala reactivity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baranger, David A A; Margolis, Seth; Hariri, Ahmad R; Bogdan, Ryan

    2017-08-01

    Time-dependent variability in mood and anxiety suggest that related neural phenotypes, such as threat-related amygdala reactivity, may also follow a diurnal pattern. Here, using data from 1,043 young adult volunteers, we found that threat-related amygdala reactivity was negatively coupled with time of day, an effect which was stronger in the left hemisphere (β = -0.1083, p-fdr = 0.0012). This effect was moderated by subjective sleep quality (β = -0.0715, p-fdr = 0.0387); participants who reported average and poor sleep quality had relatively increased left amygdala reactivity in the morning. Bootstrapped simulations suggest that similar cross-sectional samples with at least 300 participants would be able to detect associations between amygdala reactivity and time of scan. In control analyses, we found no associations between time and V1 activation. Our results provide initial evidence that threat-related amygdala reactivity may vary diurnally, and that this effect is potentiated among individuals with average to low sleep quality. More broadly, our results suggest that considering time of scan in study design or modeling time of scan in analyses, as well as collecting additional measures of circadian variation, may be useful for understanding threat-related neural phenotypes and their associations with behavior, such as fear conditioning, mood and anxiety symptoms, and related phenotypes. © The Author (2017). Published by Oxford University Press.

  5. Panic Anxiety in Humans with Bilateral Amygdala Lesions: Pharmacological Induction via Cardiorespiratory Interoceptive Pathways.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khalsa, Sahib S; Feinstein, Justin S; Li, Wei; Feusner, Jamie D; Adolphs, Ralph; Hurlemann, Rene

    2016-03-23

    We previously demonstrated that carbon dioxide inhalation could induce panic anxiety in a group of rare lesion patients with focal bilateral amygdala damage. To further elucidate the amygdala-independent mechanisms leading to aversive emotional experiences, we retested two of these patients (B.G. and A.M.) to examine whether triggering palpitations and dyspnea via stimulation of non-chemosensory interoceptive channels would be sufficient to elicit panic anxiety. Participants rated their affective and sensory experiences following bolus infusions of either isoproterenol, a rapidly acting peripheral β-adrenergic agonist akin to adrenaline, or saline. Infusions were administered during two separate conditions: a panic induction and an assessment of cardiorespiratory interoception. Isoproterenol infusions induced anxiety in both patients, and full-blown panic in one (patient B.G.). Although both patients demonstrated signs of diminished awareness for cardiac sensation, patient A.M., who did not panic, reported a complete lack of awareness for dyspnea, suggestive of impaired respiratory interoception. These findings indicate that the amygdala may play a role in dynamically detecting changes in cardiorespiratory sensation. The induction of panic anxiety provides further evidence that the amygdala is not required for the conscious experience of fear induced via interoceptive sensory channels. We found that monozygotic twins with focal bilateral amygdala lesions report panic anxiety in response to intravenous infusions of isoproterenol, a β-adrenergic agonist similar to adrenaline. Heightened anxiety was evident in both twins, with one twin experiencing a panic attack. The twin who did not panic displayed signs of impaired cardiorespiratory interoception, including a complete absence of dyspnea sensation. These findings highlight that the amygdala is not strictly required for the experience of panic anxiety, and suggest that neural systems beyond the amygdala are also

  6. Fear extinction and BDNF: Translating animal models of PTSD to the clinic

    OpenAIRE

    Andero, Raül; Ressler, Kerry J

    2012-01-01

    Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is the most studied neurotrophin involved in synaptic plasticity processes that are required for long-term learning and memory. Specifically, BDNF gene expression and activation of its high-affinity TrkB receptor are necessary in the amygdala, hippocampus and prefrontal cortex for the formation of emotional memories, including fear memories. Among the psychiatric disorders with altered fear processing there is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) whic...

  7. Stimulus fear relevance and the speed, magnitude, and robustness of vicariously learned fear.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dunne, Güler; Reynolds, Gemma; Askew, Chris

    2017-08-01

    Superior learning for fear-relevant stimuli is typically indicated in the laboratory by faster acquisition of fear responses, greater learned fear, and enhanced resistance to extinction. Three experiments investigated the speed, magnitude, and robustness of UK children's (6-10 years; N = 290; 122 boys, 168 girls) vicariously learned fear responses for three types of stimuli. In two experiments, children were presented with pictures of novel animals (Australian marsupials) and flowers (fear-irrelevant stimuli) alone (control) or together with faces expressing fear or happiness. To determine learning speed the number of stimulus-face pairings seen by children was varied (1, 10, or 30 trials). Robustness of learning was examined via repeated extinction procedures over 3 weeks. A third experiment compared the magnitude and robustness of vicarious fear learning for snakes and marsupials. Significant increases in fear responses were found for snakes, marsupials and flowers. There was no indication that vicarious learning for marsupials was faster than for flowers. Moreover, vicariously learned fear was neither greater nor more robust for snakes compared to marsupials, or for marsupials compared to flowers. These findings suggest that for this age group stimulus fear relevance may have little influence on vicarious fear learning. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Meta-analysis reveals a lack of sexual dimorphism in human