Giustino, Thomas F; Maren, Stephen
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.
Thomas F. Giustino
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.
Pace-Schott, Edward F.; Germain, Anne; Milad, Mohammed R.
Learning and memory for extinction of conditioned fear is a basic mammalian mechanism for regulating negative emotion. Sleep promotes both the consolidation of memory and the regulation of emotion. Sleep can influence consolidation and modification of memories associated with both fear and its extinction. After brief overviews of the behavior and neural circuitry associated with fear conditioning, extinction learning and extinction memory in the rodent and human, interactions of sleep with th...
Pace-Schott, Edward F.; Germain, Anne; Milad, Mohammed R.
Learning and memory for extinction of conditioned fear is a basic mammalian mechanism for regulating negative emotion. Sleep promotes both the consolidation of memory and the regulation of emotion. Sleep can influence consolidation and modification of memories associated with both fear and its extinction. After brief overviews of the behavior and neural circuitry associated with fear conditioning, extinction learning and extinction memory in the rodent and human, interactions of sleep with these processes will be examined. Animal and human studies suggest that sleep can serve to consolidate both fear and extinction memory. In humans, sleep also promotes generalization of extinction memory. Time-of-day effects on extinction learning and generalization are also seen. REM may be a sleep stage of particular importance for the consolidation of both fear and extinction memory as evidenced by selective REM deprivation experiments. REM sleep is accompanied by selective activation of the same limbic structures implicated in the learning and memory of fear and extinction. Preliminary evidence also suggests extinction learning can take place during slow wave sleep. Study of low-level processes such as conditioning, extinction and habituation may allow sleep effects on emotional memory to be identified and inform study of sleep’s effects on more complex, emotionally salient declarative memories. Anxiety disorders are marked by impairments of both sleep and extinction memory. Improving sleep quality may ameliorate anxiety disorders by strengthening naturally acquired extinction. Strategically timed sleep may be used to enhance treatment of anxiety by strengthening therapeutic extinction learned via exposure therapy. PMID:25894546
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
Pace-Schott, Edward F; Germain, Anne; Milad, Mohammed R
Learning and memory for extinction of conditioned fear is a basic mammalian mechanism for regulating negative emotion. Sleep promotes both the consolidation of memory and the regulation of emotion. Sleep can influence consolidation and modification of memories associated with both fear and its extinction. After brief overviews of the behavior and neural circuitry associated with fear conditioning, extinction learning, and extinction memory in the rodent and human, interactions of sleep with these processes will be examined. Animal and human studies suggest that sleep can serve to consolidate both fear and extinction memory. In humans, sleep also promotes generalization of extinction memory. Time-of-day effects on extinction learning and generalization are also seen. Rapid eye movement (REM) may be a sleep stage of particular importance for the consolidation of both fear and extinction memory as evidenced by selective REM deprivation experiments. REM sleep is accompanied by selective activation of the same limbic structures implicated in the learning and memory of fear and extinction. Preliminary evidence also suggests extinction learning can take place during slow wave sleep. Study of low-level processes such as conditioning, extinction, and habituation may allow sleep effects on emotional memory to be identified and inform study of sleep's effects on more complex, emotionally salient declarative memories. Anxiety disorders are marked by impairments of both sleep and extinction memory. Improving sleep quality may ameliorate anxiety disorders by strengthening naturally acquired extinction. Strategically timed sleep may be used to enhance treatment of anxiety by strengthening therapeutic extinction learned via exposure therapy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
Lai, Cora Sau Wan; Franke, Thomas F; Gan, Wen-Biao
It is generally believed that fear extinction is a form of new learning that inhibits rather than erases previously acquired fear memories. Although this view has gained much support from behavioural and electrophysiological studies, the hypothesis that extinction causes the partial erasure of fear memories remains viable. Using transcranial two-photon microscopy, we investigated how neural circuits are modified by fear learning and extinction by examining the formation and elimination of postsynaptic dendritic spines of layer-V pyramidal neurons in the mouse frontal association cortex. Here we show that fear conditioning by pairing an auditory cue with a footshock increases the rate of spine elimination. By contrast, fear extinction by repeated presentation of the same auditory cue without a footshock increases the rate of spine formation. The degrees of spine remodelling induced by fear conditioning and extinction strongly correlate with the expression and extinction of conditioned fear responses, respectively. Notably, spine elimination and formation induced by fear conditioning and extinction occur on the same dendritic branches in a cue- and location-specific manner: cue-specific extinction causes formation of dendritic spines within a distance of two micrometres from spines that were eliminated after fear conditioning. Furthermore, reconditioning preferentially induces elimination of dendritic spines that were formed after extinction. Thus, within vastly complex neuronal networks, fear conditioning, extinction and reconditioning lead to opposing changes at the level of individual synapses. These findings also suggest that fear memory traces are partially erased after extinction.
Woods, Amanda M.; Bouton, Mark E.
Five experiments with rat subjects compared the effects of immediate and delayed extinction on the durability of extinction learning. Three experiments examined extinction of fear conditioning (using the conditioned emotional response method), and two experiments examined extinction of appetitive conditioning (using the food-cup entry method). In all experiments, conditioning and extinction were accomplished in single sessions, and retention testing took place 24 h after extinction. In both f...
Woods, Amanda M.; Bouton, Mark E.
Five experiments with rat subjects compared the effects of immediate and delayed extinction on the durability of extinction learning. Three experiments examined extinction of fear conditioning (using the conditioned emotional response method), and two experiments examined extinction of appetitive conditioning (using the food-cup entry method). In…
Anastasio, Thomas J.
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...
Leung, Hiu T.; Holmes, Nathan M.; Westbrook, R. Frederick
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…
Ponnusamy, Ravikumar; Nissim, Helen A.; Barad, Mark
Extinction of conditioned fear in animals is the explicit model of behavior therapy for human anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Based on previous data indicating that fear extinction in rats is blocked by quinpirole, an agonist of dopamine D2 receptors, we hypothesized that blockade of D2 receptors might facilitate extinction in mice, while agonists should block extinction, as they do in rats. One day after fear con...
Chang, Chun-hui; Maren, Stephen
Extinction of Pavlovian fear conditioning in rats is a useful model for therapeutic interventions in humans with anxiety disorders. Recently, we found that delivering extinction trials soon (15 min) after fear conditioning yields a short-term suppression of fear, but little long-term extinction. Here, we explored the possible mechanisms underlying…
mechanism underlying the most successful treatment for PTSD, Prolonged Exposure. In animal models, sleep deprivation has been shown to impair extinction ...2. 3. 9 +Sleep and Extinction Learning Animal models show fear conditioning: Disrupts sleep Disrupted sleep, in turn Impairs extinction ...Award Number: W81XWH-11-2-0001 TITLE: “Role of Sleep Deprivation in Fear Conditioning and Extinction : Implications for Treatment of PTSD
Rodriguez-Romaguera, Jose; Sotres-Bayon, Francisco; Mueller, Devin; Quirk, Gregory J
Previous work has implicated noradrenergic beta-receptors in the consolidation and reconsolidation of conditioned fear. Less is known, however, about their role in fear expression and extinction. The beta-receptor blocker propranolol has been used clinically to reduce anxiety. With an auditory fear conditioning task in rats, we assessed the effects of systemic propranolol on the expression and extinction of two measures of conditioned fear: freezing and suppression of bar-pressing. One day after receiving auditory fear conditioning, rats were injected with saline, propranolol, or peripheral beta-receptor blocker sotalol (both 10 mg/kg, IP). Twenty minutes after injection, rats were given either 6 or 12 extinction trials and were tested for extinction retention the following day. The effect of propranolol on the firing rate of neurons in prelimbic (PL) prefrontal cortex was also assessed. Propranolol reduced freezing by more than 50%, an effect that was evident from the first extinction trial. Suppression was also significantly reduced. Despite this, propranolol had no effect on the acquisition or retention of extinction. Unlike propranolol, sotalol did not affect fear expression, although both drugs significantly reduced heart rate. This suggests that propranolol acts centrally to reduce fear. Consistent with this, propranolol reduced the firing rate of PL neurons. Propranolol reduced the expression of conditioned fear, without interfering with extinction learning. Reduced fear with intact extinction suggests a possible use for propranolol in reducing anxiety during extinction-based exposure therapies, without interfering with long-term clinical response.
Full Text Available This study aimed to investigate whether interindividual differences in autonomic inhibitory control predict safety learning and fear extinction in an interoceptive fear conditioning paradigm. Data from a previously reported study (N = 40 were extended (N = 17 and re-analyzed to test whether healthy participants' resting heart rate variability (HRV - a proxy of cardiac vagal tone - predicts learning performance. The conditioned stimulus (CS was a slight sensation of breathlessness induced by a flow resistor, the unconditioned stimulus (US was an aversive short-lasting suffocation experience induced by a complete occlusion of the breathing circuitry. During acquisition, the paired group received 6 paired CS-US presentations; the control group received 6 explicitly unpaired CS-US presentations. In the extinction phase, both groups were exposed to 6 CS-only presentations. Measures included startle blink EMG, skin conductance responses (SCR and US-expectancy ratings. Resting HRV significantly predicted the startle blink EMG learning curves both during acquisition and extinction. In the unpaired group, higher levels of HRV at rest predicted safety learning to the CS during acquisition. In the paired group, higher levels of HRV were associated with better extinction. Our findings suggest that the strength or integrity of prefrontal inhibitory mechanisms involved in safety- and extinction learning can be indexed by HRV at rest.
This review addresses the effects of the cognitive enhancer D-cycloserine (DCS) on the memory processes that occur in conditioned fear extinction, which is the experimental model for exposure techniques to reduce clinical anxiety. All reported rat studies show an enhanced fear extinction effect when
Pace-Schott, Edward F.; Spencer, Rebecca M.C.; Vijayakumar, Shilpa; Ahmed, Nafis; Verga, Patrick W.; Orr, Scott P.; Pitman, Roger K.; Milad, Mohammed R.
Sleep helps emotional memories consolidate and may promote generalization of fear extinction memory. We examined whether extinction learning and memory might differ in the morning and evening due, potentially, to circadian and/or sleep-homeostatic factors. Healthy men (N=109) in 6 groups completed a 2-session protocol. In Session 1, fear conditioning was followed by extinction learning. Partial reinforcement with mild electric shock produced conditioned skin conductance responses (SCR) to 2 d...
Tronson, Natalie C; Schrick, Christina; Guzman, Yomayra F; Huh, Kyu Hwan; Srivastava, Deepak P; Penzes, Peter; Guedea, Anita L; Gao, Can; Radulovic, Jelena
Learning processes mediating conditioning and extinction of contextual fear require activation of several key signaling pathways in the hippocampus. Principal hippocampal CA1 neurons respond to fear conditioning by a coordinated activation of multiple protein kinases and immediate early genes, such as cFos, enabling rapid and lasting consolidation of contextual fear memory. The extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk) additionally acts as a central mediator of fear extinction. It is not known however, whether these molecular events take place in overlapping or nonoverlapping neuronal populations. By using mouse models of conditioning and extinction of fear, we set out to determine the time course of cFos and Erk activity, their cellular overlap, and regulation by afferent cholinergic input from the medial septum. Analyses of cFos(+) and pErk(+) cells by immunofluorescence revealed predominant nuclear activation of either protein during conditioning and extinction of fear, respectively. Transgenic cFos-LacZ mice were further used to label in vivo Fos(+) hippocampal cells during conditioning followed by pErk immunostaining after extinction. The results showed that these signaling molecules were activated in segregated populations of hippocampal principal neurons. Furthermore, immunotoxin-induced lesions of medial septal neurons, providing cholinergic input into the hippocampus, selectively abolished Erk activation and extinction of fear without affecting cFos responses and conditioning. These results demonstrate that extinction mechanisms based on Erk signaling involve a specific population of CA1 principal neurons distinctively regulated by afferent cholinergic input from the medial septum.
Pace-Schott, Edward F; Spencer, Rebecca M C; Vijayakumar, Shilpa; Ahmed, Nafis A K; Verga, Patrick W; Orr, Scott P; Pitman, Roger K; Milad, Mohammed R
Sleep helps emotional memories consolidate and may promote generalization of fear extinction memory. We examined whether extinction learning and memory might differ in the morning and evening due, potentially, to circadian and/or sleep-homeostatic factors. Healthy men (N = 109) in 6 groups completed a 2-session protocol. In Session 1, fear conditioning was followed by extinction learning. Partial reinforcement with mild electric shock produced conditioned skin conductance responses (SCRs) to 2 differently colored lamps (CS+), but not a third color (CS-), within the computer image of a room (conditioning context). One CS+ (CS + E) but not the other (CS + U) was immediately extinguished by un-reinforced presentations in a different room (extinction context). Delay durations of 3 h (within AM or PM), 12 h (morning-to-evening or evening-to-morning) or 24 h (morning-to-morning or evening-to-evening) followed. In Session 2, extinction recall and contextual fear renewal were tested. We observed no significant effects of the delay interval on extinction memory but did observe an effect of time-of-day. Fear extinction was significantly better if learned in the morning (p = .002). Collapsing across CS + type, there was smaller morning differential SCR at both extinction recall (p = .003) and fear renewal (p = .005). Morning extinction recall showed better generalization from the CS + E to CS + U with the response to the CS + U significantly larger than to the CS + E only in the evening (p = .028). Thus, extinction is learned faster and its memory is better generalized in the morning. Cortisol and testosterone showed the expected greater salivary levels in the morning when higher testosterone/cortisol ratio also predicted better extinction learning. Circadian factors may promote morning extinction. Alternatively, evening homeostatic sleep pressure may impede extinction and favor recall of conditioned fear. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
and thus PTSD, is fear condition - ing. Fear conditioning is a Pavlovian response whereby a neutral stimulus is paired with an aversive stimulus until...for drug use, sleep disorders, and psychiatric and medical conditions via structured interview and laboratory tests. Inclu- sion criteria included the...Annual 3. DATES COVERED (From - To) 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE Role of Sleep Deprivation in Fear Conditioning and Extinction: Implications for
Zoicas, Iulia; Slattery, David A; Neumann, Inga D
Central oxytocin (OXT) has anxiolytic and pro-social properties both in humans and rodents, and has been proposed as a therapeutic option for anxiety and social dysfunctions. Here, we utilized a mouse model of social fear conditioning (SFC) to study the effects of OXT on social fear, and to determine whether SFC causes alterations in central OXT receptor (OXTR) binding and local OXT release. Central infusion of OXT, but not arginine vasopressin, prior to social fear extinction training completely abolished social fear expression in an OXTR-mediated fashion without affecting general anxiety or locomotion. SFC caused increased OXTR binding in the dorso-lateral septum (DLS), central amygdala, dentate gyrus, and cornu ammunis 1, which normalized after social fear extinction, suggesting that these areas form part of a brain network involved in the development and neural support of social fear. Microdialysis revealed that the increase in OXT release observed in unconditioned mice within the DLS during social fear extinction training was attenuated in conditioned mice. Consequently, increasing the availability of local OXT by infusion of OXT into the DLS reversed social fear. Thus, alterations in the brain OXT system, including altered OXTR binding and OXT release within the DLS, play an important role in SFC and social fear extinction. Thus, we suggest that the OXT system is adversely affected in disorders associated with social fear, such as social anxiety disorder and reinstalling an appropriate balance of the OXT system may alleviate some of the symptoms.
1 Award Number: W81XWH-11-2-0001 TITLE: Role of Sleep Deprivation in Fear Conditioning and Extinction: Implications for Treatment of PTSD...REPORT TYPE Final 3. DATES COVERED (From - To) 1 Oct 2010 – 30 Sep 2015 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE Role of Sleep Deprivation in Fear Conditioning and...especially adequate REM during exposure therapy may enhance efficacy and reduce remission after treatment. 15. SUBJECT TERMS PTSD, sleep deprivation , fear
Holtzman-Assif, Orit; Laurent, Vincent; Westbrook, R. Frederick
Three experiments used rats to investigate the role of dopamine activity in learning to inhibit conditioned fear responses (freezing) in extinction. In Experiment 1, rats systemically injected with the D2 dopamine antagonist, haloperidol, froze more across multiple extinction sessions and on a drug-free retention test than control rats. In…
Thomas Francis Giustino
Full Text Available Once acquired, a fearful memory can persist for a lifetime. Although learned fear can be extinguished, extinction memories are fragile. The resilience of fear memories to extinction may contribute to the maintenance of disorders of fear and anxiety, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD. As such, considerable effort has been placed on understanding the neural circuitry underlying the acquisition, expression, and extinction of emotional memories in rodent models as well as in humans. A triad of brain regions, including the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and amygdala, form an essential brain circuit involved in fear conditioning and extinction. Within this circuit, the prefrontal cortex is thought to exert top-down control over subcortical structures to regulate appropriate behavioral responses. Importantly, a division of labor has been proposed in which the prelimbic (PL and infralimbic (IL subdivisions of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC regulate the expression and suppression of fear in rodents, respectively. Here we critically review the anatomical and physiological evidence that has led to this proposed dichotomy of function within mPFC. We propose that under some conditions, the PL and IL act in concert, exhibiting similar patterns of neural activity in response to aversive conditioned stimuli and during the expression or inhibition of conditioned fear. This may stem from common synaptic inputs, parallel downstream outputs, or cortico-cortical interactions. Despite this functional covariation, these mPFC subdivisions may still be coding for largely opposing behavioral outcomes, with PL biased towards fear expression and IL towards suppression.
Ji, Jinzhao; Maren, Stephen
There is a growing body of evidence that the hippocampus is critical for context-dependent memory retrieval. In the present study, we used Pavlovian fear conditioning in rats to examine the role of the dorsal hippocampus (DH) in the context-specific expression of fear memory after extinction (i.e., renewal). Pre-training electrolytic lesions of…
Hart, Genevra; Harris, Justin A.; Westbrook, R. Frederick
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…
Sjouwerman, Rachel; Niehaus, Johanna; Lonsdorf, Tina B
Context plays a central role in retrieving (fear) memories. Accordingly, context manipulations are inherent to most return of fear (ROF) paradigms (in particular renewal), involving contextual changes after fear extinction. Context changes are, however, also often embedded during earlier stages of ROF experiments such as context changes between fear acquisition and extinction (e.g., in ABC and ABA renewal). Previous studies using these paradigms have however focused exclusively on the context switch after extinction (i.e., renewal). Thus, the possibility of a general effect of context switch on conditioned responding that may not be conditional to preceding extinction learning remains unstudied. Hence, the current study investigated the impact of a context switch between fear acquisition and extinction on immediate conditioned responding and on the time-course of extinction learning by using a multimodal approach. A group that underwent contextual change after fear conditioning (AB; n = 36) was compared with a group without a contextual change from acquisition to extinction (AA; n = 149), while measuring physiological (skin conductance and fear potentiated startle) measures and subjective fear ratings. Contextual change between fear acquisition and extinction had a pronounced effect on both immediate conditioned responding and on the time course of extinction learning in skin conductance responses and subjective fear ratings. This may have important implications for the mechanisms underlying and the interpretation of the renewal effect (i.e., contextual switch after extinction). Consequently, future studies should incorporate designs and statistical tests that disentangle general effects of contextual change from genuine ROF effects.
Busquet, Perrine; Hetzenauer, Alfred; Sinnegger-Brauns, Martina J; Striessnig, Jörg; Singewald, Nicolas
Dihydropyridine (DHP) L-type Ca(2+) channel (LTCC) antagonists, such as nifedipine, have been reported to impair the extinction of conditioned fear without interfering with its acquisition. Identification of the LTCC isoforms mediating this DHP effect is an essential basis to reveal their role as potential drug targets for the treatment of specific anxiety disorders. Ca(V)1.2 and Ca(V)1.3 are the predominant LTCCs in the mammalian brain. However, since no isoform-selective DHP blockers are available, their individual contribution to fear memory extinction is unknown. We used a novel mouse model expressing DHP-insensitive Ca(V)1.2 LTCCs (Ca(V)1.2DHP(-/-) mice) to address this question. In line with previous studies, wild-type (WT) mice treated with systemic nifedipine displayed markedly impaired fear extinction. This DHP effect was completely abolished in Ca(V)1.2DHP(-/-) mice, indicating that it is mediated by Ca(V)1.2, but not by Ca(V)1.3 LTCCs. Supporting this conclusion, Ca(V)1.3-deficient mice (Ca(V)1.3(-/-)) showed extinction identical to the respective WT mice. The inhibition of fear extinction was not observed after intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) application of different doses of nifedipine, suggesting that this effect is secondary to inhibition of peripheral Ca(V)1.2 channels. The LTCC activator BayK, which lacks neurotoxic effects in Ca(V)1.2DHP(-/-) mice, did not influence the extinction time course. In summary, we demonstrate that LTCC signaling through the Ca(V)1.2 isoform of LTCCs interferes with fear memory extinction, presumably via a peripherally mediated mechanism. Activation of other LTCC isoforms (predominantly Ca(V)1.3) is not sufficient to accelerate extinction of conditioned fear in mice.
Catlow, Briony J; Song, Shijie; Paredes, Daniel A; Kirstein, Cheryl L; Sanchez-Ramos, Juan
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.
VanElzakker, Michael B.; Dahlgren, M. Kathryn; Davis, F. Caroline; Dubois, Stacey; Shin, Lisa M.
Nearly 100 years ago, Ivan Pavlov demonstrated that dogs could learn to use a neutral cue to predict a biologically relevant event: after repeated predictive pairings, Pavlov's dogs were conditioned to anticipate food at the sound of a bell, which caused them to salivate. Like sustenance, danger is biologically relevant, and neutral cues can take on great salience when they predict a threat to survival. In anxiety disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this type of conditioned fear fails to extinguish, and reminders of traumatic events can cause pathological conditioned fear responses for decades after danger has passed. In this review, we use fear conditioning and extinction studies to draw a direct line from Pavlov to PTSD and other anxiety disorders. We explain how rodent studies have informed neuroimaging studies of healthy humans and humans with PTSD. We describe several genes that have been linked to both PTSD and fear conditioning and extinction and explain how abnormalities in fear conditioning or extinction may reflect a general biomarker of anxiety disorders. Finally, we explore drug and neuromodulation treatments that may enhance therapeutic extinction in anxiety disorders. PMID:24321650
VanElzakker, Michael B; Dahlgren, M Kathryn; Davis, F Caroline; Dubois, Stacey; Shin, Lisa M
Nearly 100 years ago, Ivan Pavlov demonstrated that dogs could learn to use a neutral cue to predict a biologically relevant event: after repeated predictive pairings, Pavlov's dogs were conditioned to anticipate food at the sound of a bell, which caused them to salivate. Like sustenance, danger is biologically relevant, and neutral cues can take on great salience when they predict a threat to survival. In anxiety disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this type of conditioned fear fails to extinguish, and reminders of traumatic events can cause pathological conditioned fear responses for decades after danger has passed. In this review, we use fear conditioning and extinction studies to draw a direct line from Pavlov to PTSD and other anxiety disorders. We explain how rodent studies have informed neuroimaging studies of healthy humans and humans with PTSD. We describe several genes that have been linked to both PTSD and fear conditioning and extinction and explain how abnormalities in fear conditioning or extinction may reflect a general biomarker of anxiety disorders. Finally, we explore drug and neuromodulation treatments that may enhance therapeutic extinction in anxiety disorders. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Thomas, Brian L.; Vurbic, Drina; Novak, Cheryl
Two studies examined whether nonreinforcement of a stimulus in multiple contexts, instead of a single context, would decrease renewal of conditioned fear in rats (as assessed by conditioned suppression of lever pressing). In Experiment 1, renewal was measured after 36 nonreinforced CS trials delivered during six extinction sessions in a single…
Klumpers, Floris; Denys, Damiaan; Kenemans, J. Leon; Grillon, Christian; van der Aart, Jasper; Baas, Johanna M. P.
Preclinical evidence implicates several neurotransmitter systems in the extinction of conditioned fear. These results are of great interest, because the reduction of acquired fear associations is critical in therapies for anxiety disorders. We tested whether findings with respect to the
Klumpers, F.; Denys, D.; Kenemans, J.L.; Grillon, C.; van der Aart, J.; Baas, J.M.
Preclinical evidence implicates several neurotransmitter systems in the extinction of conditioned fear. These results are of great interest, because the reduction of acquired fear associations is critical in therapies for anxiety disorders. We tested whether findings with respect to the
Barrett, Douglas W; Gonzalez-Lima, F
This study is a new analysis to obtain novel metabolic data on the functional connectivity of prefrontal-limbic regions in Pavlovian fear acquisition and extinction of tone-footshock conditioning. Mice were analyzed with the fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) autoradiographic method to metabolically map regional brain activity. New FDG data were sampled from the nuclei of the habenula and other regions implicated in aversive conditioning, such as infralimbic cortex, amygdala and periaqueductal gray regions. The activity patterns among these regions were inter-correlated during acquisition, extinction or pseudorandom training to develop a functional connectivity model. Two subdivisions of the habenular complex showed increased activity after acquisition relative to extinction, with the pseudorandom group intermediate between the other two groups. Significant acquisition activation effects were also found in centromedial amygdala, dorsomedial and ventrolateral periaqueductal gray. FDG uptake increases during extinction were found only in dorsal and ventral infralimbic cortex. The overall pattern of activity correlations between these regions revealed extensive but differential functional connectivity during acquisition and extinction training, with less functional connectivity found after pseudorandom training. Interestingly, habenula nuclei showed a distinct pattern of inter-correlations with amygdala nuclei during extinction. The functional connectivity model revealed changing interactions among infralimbic cortex, amygdala, habenula and periaqueductal gray regions through the stages of Pavlovian fear acquisition and extinction. This study provided new data on the contributions of the habenula to fear conditioning, and revealed previously unreported infralimbic-amygdala-habenula-periaqueductal gray interactions implicated in acquisition and extinction of conditioned fear. Copyright © 2018 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Newall, Carol; Watson, Tiffany; Grant, Kerry-Ann; Richardson, Rick
Two behavioural strategies for reducing learned fear are extinction and counter-conditioning, and in this study we compared the relative effectiveness of the two procedures at diminishing fear in children. Seventy-three children aged 7-12 years old (M = 9.30, SD = 1.62) were exposed to pictures of two novel animals on a computer screen during the fear acquisition phase. One of these animals was paired with a picture of a scared human face (CS+) while the other was not (CS-). The children were then randomly assigned to one of three conditions: counter-conditioning (animal paired with a happy face), extinction (animal without scared face), or control (no fear reduction procedure). Changes in fear beliefs and behavioural avoidance of the animal were measured. Counter-conditioning was more effective at reducing fear to the CS + than extinction. The findings are discussed in terms of implications for behavioural treatments of childhood anxiety disorders. Crown Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Full Text Available Traditionally , the analysis of extinction data in fear conditioning experiments has involved the use of standard linear models, mostly ANOVA of between-group differences of subjects that have undergone different extinction protocols, pharmacological manipulations or some other treatment. Although some studies report individual differences in quantities such as suppression rates or freezing percentages, these differences are not included in the statistical modeling. Withinsubject response patterns are then averaged using coarse-grain time windows which can overlook these individual performance dynamics. Here we illustrate an alternative analytical procedure consisting of 2 steps: the estimation of a trend for within-session data and analysis of group differences in trend as main outcome. This procedure is tested on real fear-conditioning extinction data, comparing trend estimates via Ordinary Least Squares (OLS and robust Least Median of Squares (LMS regression estimates, as well as comparing between-group differences and analyzing mean freezing percentage versus LMS slopes as outcomes
Arico, Carolyn; Bagley, Elena E; Carrive, Pascal; Assareh, Neda; McNally, Gavan P
The midbrain periaqueductal gray (PAG) has been implicated in the generation and transmission of a prediction error signal that instructs amygdala-based fear and extinction learning. However, the PAG also plays a key role in the expression of conditioned fear responses. The evidence for a role of the PAG in fear learning and extinction learning has been obtained almost exclusively using PAG-dependent fear responses. It is less clear whether the PAG regulates fear learning when other measures of learned fear are used. Here we combined a chemogenetic approach, permitting excitation or inhibition of neurons in the ventrolateral PAG (VLPAG), with conditioned suppression as the measure of learned fear to assess the role of VLPAG in the acquisition and extinction of fear learning. We show that chemogenetic excitation of VLPAG (with some encroachment on lateral PAG [LPAG]) impairs acquisition of fear and, conversely, chemogenetic inhibition impairs extinction of fear. These effects on fear and extinction learning were specific to the combination of DREADD expression and injection of CNO because they were observed relative to both eYFP controls injected with CNO as well as DREADD expressing controls injected with vehicle. Taken together, these results show that activity of L/VLPAG neurons regulates both the acquisition and extinction of Pavlovian fear learning. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Moustafa, Ahmed A.; Gilbertson, Mark W.; Orr, Scott P.; Herzallah, Mohammad M.; Servatius, Richard. J.; Myers, Catherine E.
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
Kaag, A.M.; Levar, N.; Woutersen, K.; Homberg, J.R.; Brink, W. van den; Reneman, L.; Wingen, G. van
OBJECTIVE: The authors investigated whether cocaine use disorder is associated with abnormalities in the neural underpinnings of aversive conditioning and extinction learning, as these processes may play an important role in the development and persistence of drug abuse. METHOD: Forty male regular
Hwang, Moon Jung; Zsido, Rachel G; Song, Huijin; Pace-Schott, Edward F; Miller, Karen Klahr; Lebron-Milad, Kelimer; Marin, Marie-France; Milad, Mohammed R
Findings about sex differences in the field of fear conditioning and fear extinction have been mixed. At the psychophysiological level, sex differences emerge only when taking estradiol levels of women into consideration. This suggests that this hormone may also influence sex differences with regards to activations of brain regions involved in fear conditioning and its extinction. Importantly, the neurobiological correlates associated with the use of hormonal oral contraceptives in women have not been fully contrasted against men and against naturally cycling women with different levels of estradiol. In this study, we begin to fill these scientific gaps. We recruited 37 healthy men and 48 healthy women. Of these women, 16 were using oral contraceptives (OC) and 32 were naturally cycling. For these naturally cycling women, a median split was performed on their serum estradiol levels to create a high estradiol (HE) group (n = 16) and a low estradiol (LE) group (n = 16). All participants underwent a 2-day fear conditioning and extinction paradigm in a 3 T MR scanner. Using the 4 groups (men, HE women, LE women, and OC users) and controlling for age and coil type, one-way ANCOVAs were performed to look at significant activations within the nodes of the fear circuit. Using post-hoc analyses, beta-weights were extracted in brain regions showing significant effects in order to unveil the differences based on hormonal status (men, HE, LE, OC). Significant main effect of hormonal status group was found across the different phases of the experiment and in different sub-regions of the insular and cingulate cortices, amygdala, hippocampus, and hypothalamus. During conditioning, extinction and recall, most of the observed differences suggested higher activations among HE women relative to men. During the unconditioned response, however, a different pattern was observed with men showing significantly higher brain activations. Our data further support the important contribution
Biggs, Emma E; Meulders, Ann; Kaas, Amanda L; Goebel, R.; Vlaeyen, Johan W S
Fear of touch, due to allodynia and spontaneous pain, is not well-understood. Experimental methods to advance this topic are lacking, and therefore we propose a novel tactile conditioning paradigm. Seventy-six pain-free participants underwent acquisition in both a predictable and unpredictable pain
Full Text Available Context plays a central role in retrieving (fear memories. Accordingly, context manipulations are inherent to most return of fear (ROF paradigms (in particular renewal, involving contextual changes after fear extinction. Context changes are, however, also often embedded during earlier stages of ROF experiments such as context changes between fear acquisition and extinction (e.g. in ABC and ABA renewal. Previous studies using these paradigms have however focused exclusively on the context switch after extinction (i.e. renewal. Thus, the possibility of a general effect of a context switch on conditioned responding that may not be conditional to preceding extinction learning remains unstudied.Hence, the current study investigated the impact of a context switch between fear acquisition and extinction on immediate conditioned responding and on the time-course of extinction learning by using a multimodal approach. A group that underwent contextual change after fear conditioning (AB; n = 36 was compared with a group without a contextual change from acquisition to extinction (AA; n = 149, while measuring autonomic (skin conductance and fear potentiated startle measures and subjective fear ratings. Contextual change between fear acquisition and extinction had a pronounced effect on both immediate conditioned responding and on the time course of extinction learning in skin conductance responses and subjective fear ratings. This may have important implications for the mechanisms underlying and the interpretation of the renewal effect (i.e. contextual switch after extinction. Consequently, future studies should incorporate designs and statistical tests that disentangle general effects of contextual change from genuine ROF effects.
Marin, Marie-France; Zsido, Rachel G; Song, Huijin; Lasko, Natasha B; Killgore, William D S; Rauch, Scott L; Simon, Naomi M; Milad, Mohammed R
The fear conditioning and extinction neurocircuitry has been extensively studied in healthy and clinical populations, with a particular focus on posttraumatic stress disorder. Despite significant overlap of symptoms between posttraumatic stress disorder and anxiety disorders, the latter has received less attention. Given that dysregulated fear levels characterize anxiety disorders, examining the neural correlates of fear and extinction learning may shed light on the pathogenesis of underlying anxiety disorders. To investigate the psychophysiological and neural correlates of fear conditioning and extinction recall in anxiety disorders and to document how these features differ as a function of multiple diagnoses or anxiety severity. This investigation was a cross-sectional, case-control, functional magnetic resonance imaging study at an academic medical center. Participants were healthy controls and individuals with at least 1 of the following anxiety disorders: generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobia, and panic disorder. The study dates were between March 2013 and May 2015. Two-day fear conditioning and extinction paradigm. Skin conductance responses, blood oxygenation level-dependent responses, trait anxiety scores from the State Trait Anxiety Inventory-Trait Form, and functional connectivity. This study included 21 healthy controls (10 women) and 61 individuals with anxiety disorders (36 women). P values reported for the neuroimaging results are all familywise error corrected. Skin conductance responses during extinction recall did not differ between individuals with anxiety disorders and healthy controls (ηp2 = 0.001, P = .79), where ηp2 is partial eta squared. The anxiety group had lower activation of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) during extinction recall (ηp2 = 0.178, P = .02). A similar hypoactive pattern was found during early conditioning (ηp2 = 0.106, P = .009). The vmPFC hypoactivation
Full Text Available BACKGROUND: In auditory fear conditioning, repeated presentation of the tone in the absence of shock leads to extinction of the acquired fear responses. The glutamate N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR is thought to be involved in the extinction of the conditioned fear responses, but its detailed role in initiating and consolidating or maintaining the fear extinction memory is unclear. Here we investigated this issue by using a NMDAR antagonist, MK-801. METHODS/MAIN FINDINGS: The effects of immediate (beginning at 10 min after the conditioning and delayed (beginning at 24 h after conditioning extinctions were first compared with the finding that delayed extinction caused a better and long-lasting (still significant on the 20(th day after extinction depression on the conditioned fear responses. In a second experiment, MK-801 was intraperitoneally (i.p. injected at 40 min before, 4 h or 12 h after the delayed extinction, corresponding to critical time points for initiating, consolidating or maintaining the fear extinction memory. i.p. injection of MK-801 at either 40 min before or 4 h after delayed extinction resulted in an impairment of initiating and consolidating fear extinction memory, which caused a long lasting increased freezing score that was still significant on the 7th day after extinction, compared with extinction group. However, MK-801 administered at 12 h after the delayed extinction, when robust consolidation has been occurred and stabilized, did not affect the established extinction memory. Furthermore, the changed freezing behaviors was not due to an alteration in general anxiety levels, since MK-801 treatment had no effect on the percentage of open-arm time or open-arm entries in an Elevated Plus Maze (EPM task. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our data suggested that the activation of NMDARs plays important role in initiation and consolidation but not maintenance of fear extinction memory. Together with the fact that NMDA receptor is
Knapska, Ewelina; Maren, Stephen
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.…
Sun, Wei; Li, Xiaoliang; An, Lei
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been investigated for its positive role in regulation of fear acquisition and memory. The precursor of BDNF, proBDNF, has been identified as different protein from its mature form. The prelimbic (PL) and infralimbic (IL) sub-regions of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) are functionally distinct in fear behavior. However, the role of PL and IL proBDNF in fear memory is unclear. Here, through the infusion of cleavage-resistant proBDNF and its antibody, we identified the dissociable roles of PL and IL proBDNF in fear expression and extinction memory as well as explored proBDNF's potential mechanism of action. The results suggest that the infusion of proBDNF in the IL facilitates induction of fear extinction, while infusion in the PL depresses fear expression. Blocking proBDNF by using its antibody disrupted the acquisition of fear extinction in the IL, but not the PL. Furthermore, proBDNF-induced extinction was sufficient for extinguishing new and older memories, and required NR2B, but not NR2A, -containing NMDA receptors. We also observed extinction-related proBDNF expression increased in the PL and IL during successful fear expression and extinction, respectively. Importantly, enhanced proBDNF was required for maintaining an extinguished behavior. The extinction effects of proBDNF did not involve degrading the original fear memory. Therefore, proBDNF in the IL and PL differentially contribute to the inhibitory control of fear extinction behavior. Our findings provide a strong link between proBDNF activity and deficits in fear extinction, a hallmark of several psychiatric disorders. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Maren, Stephen; Holmes, Andrew
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
Boukezzi, Sarah; Silva, Catarina; Nazarian, Bruno; Rousseau, Pierre-François; Guedj, Eric; Valenzuela-Moguillansky, Camila; Khalfa, Stéphanie
Disruption of fear conditioning, its extinction and its retrieval are at the core of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Such deficits, especially fear extinction delay, disappear after alternating bilateral stimulations (BLS) during eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. An animal model of fear recovery, based on auditory cued fear conditioning and extinction learning, recently showed that BLS facilitate fear extinction and fear extinction retrieval. Our goal was to ...
Noble, L J; Gonzalez, I J; Meruva, V B; Callahan, K A; Belfort, B D; Ramanathan, K R; Meyers, E; Kilgard, M P; Rennaker, R L; McIntyre, C K
Exposure-based therapies help patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to extinguish conditioned fear of trauma reminders. However, controlled laboratory studies indicate that PTSD patients do not extinguish conditioned fear as well as healthy controls, and exposure therapy has high failure and dropout rates. The present study examined whether vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) augments extinction of conditioned fear and attenuates PTSD-like symptoms in an animal model of PTSD. To model PTSD, rats were subjected to a single prolonged stress (SPS) protocol, which consisted of restraint, forced swim, loss of consciousness, and 1 week of social isolation. Like PTSD patients, rats subjected to SPS show impaired extinction of conditioned fear. The SPS procedure was followed, 1 week later, by auditory fear conditioning (AFC) and extinction. VNS or sham stimulation was administered during half of the extinction days, and was paired with presentations of the conditioned stimulus. One week after completion of extinction training, rats were given a battery of behavioral tests to assess anxiety, arousal and avoidance. Results indicated that rats given SPS 1 week prior to AFC (PTSD model) failed to extinguish the freezing response after eleven consecutive days of extinction. Administration of VNS reversed the extinction impairment and attenuated reinstatement of the conditioned fear response. Delivery of VNS during extinction also eliminated the PTSD-like symptoms, such as anxiety, hyperarousal and social avoidance for more than 1 week after VNS treatment. These results provide evidence that extinction paired with VNS treatment can lead to remission of fear and improvements in PTSD-like symptoms. Taken together, these findings suggest that VNS may be an effective adjunct to exposure therapy for the treatment of PTSD.
Bredy, Timothy W.; Wu, Hao; Crego, Cortney; Zellhoefer, Jessica; Sun, Yi E.; Barad, Mark
Extinction of conditioned fear is an important model both of inhibitory learning and of behavior therapy for human anxiety disorders. Like other forms of learning, extinction learning is long-lasting and depends on regulated gene expression. Epigenetic mechanisms make an important contribution to persistent changes in gene expression; therefore,…
Lai, Shuhua; Wu, Gangwei; Jiang, Zhixian
Impaired fear memory extinction is widely considered a key mechanism of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Recent studies have suggested that neuroinflammation after a single prolonged stress (SPS) exposure may play a critical role in the impaired fear memory extinction. Studies have shown that high mobility group box chromosomal protein 1 (HMGB-1) is critically involved in neuroinflammation. However, the role of HMGB-1 underlying the development of impairment of fear memory extinction is still not known. Thus, we examined the levels of HMGB-1 in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) following SPS using Western blot and evaluated the levels of microglia and astrocytes activation in the BLA after SPS using immunohistochemical staining. We then examined the effects of pre-SPS intra-BLA administration of glycyrrhizin, an HMGB1 inhibitor, or LPS-RS, a competitive TLR4 antagonist, on subsequent post-SPS fear extinction. We found that SPS treatment prolonged the extinction of contextual fear memory after the SPS. The impairment of SPS-induced extinction of contextual fear memory was associated with increased HMGB1 and Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) levels in the BLA. Additionally, the impairment of SPS-induced extinction of contextual fear memory was associated with increased activation of microglia and astrocyte in the BLA. Intra-BLA administrations of glycyrrhizin (HMGB-1 inhibitor) or LPS-RS (TLR4 antagonist) can prevent the development of SPS-induced fear extinction impairment. Taken together, these results suggested that SPS treatment may not only produce short term effects on the HMGB1/TLR4-mediated pro-inflammation, but alter the response of microglia and astrocytes to the exposure to fear associated contextual stimuli. © 2018 The Author(s). Published by S. Karger AG, Basel.
Full Text Available Background/Aims: Impaired fear memory extinction is widely considered a key mechanism of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD. Recent studies have suggested that neuroinflammation after a single prolonged stress (SPS exposure may play a critical role in the impaired fear memory extinction. Studies have shown that high mobility group box chromosomal protein 1 (HMGB-1 is critically involved in neuroinflammation. However, the role of HMGB-1 underlying the development of impairment of fear memory extinction is still not known. Methods: Thus, we examined the levels of HMGB-1 in the basolateral amygdala (BLA following SPS using Western blot and evaluated the levels of microglia and astrocytes activation in the BLA after SPS using immunohistochemical staining. We then examined the effects of pre-SPS intra-BLA administration of glycyrrhizin, an HMGB1 inhibitor, or LPS-RS, a competitive TLR4 antagonist, on subsequent post-SPS fear extinction. Results: We found that SPS treatment prolonged the extinction of contextual fear memory after the SPS. The impairment of SPS-induced extinction of contextual fear memory was associated with increased HMGB1 and Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4 levels in the BLA. Additionally, the impairment of SPS-induced extinction of contextual fear memory was associated with increased activation of microglia and astrocyte in the BLA. Intra-BLA administrations of glycyrrhizin (HMGB-1 inhibitor or LPS-RS (TLR4 antagonist can prevent the development of SPS-induced fear extinction impairment. Conclusion: Taken together, these results suggested that SPS treatment may not only produce short term effects on the HMGB1/TLR4-mediated pro-inflammation, but alter the response of microglia and astrocytes to the exposure to fear associated contextual stimuli.
Lanzetta, J T; Orr, S P
In a recent study, Orr and Lanzetta (1984) showed that the excitatory properties of fear facial expressions previously described (Lanzetta & Orr, 1981; Orr & Lanzetta, 1980) do not depend on associative mechanisms; even in the absence of reinforcement, fear faces intensify the emotional reaction to a previously conditioned stimulus and disrupt extinction of an acquired fear response. In conjunction with the findings on acquisition, the failure to obtain extinction suggests that fear faces have some of the functional properties of "prepared" (fear-relevant) stimuli. In the present study we compared the magnitude of conditioned fear responses to happy and fear faces when a potent danger signal, the shock electrodes, are attached or unattached. If fear faces are functionally analogous to prepared stimuli, then, even in the absence of veridical support for an expectation of shock, they should retain excitatory strength, whereas happy faces should not. The results are consistent with this view of fear expressions. In the absence of reinforcement, and with shock electrodes removed, conditioned fear responses and basal levels of arousal were of greater magnitude for the fear-face condition than for the happy-face condition.
Merz, Christian J; Hamacher-Dang, Tanja C; Wolf, Oliver T
Accumulating evidence indicates that immediate extinction is less effective than delayed extinction in attenuating the return of fear. This line of fear conditioning research impacts the proposed onset of psychological interventions after threatening situations. In the present study, forty healthy men were investigated in a differential fear conditioning paradigm with fear acquisition in context A, extinction in context B, followed by retrieval testing in both contexts 24h later to test fear renewal. Differently coloured lights served as conditioned stimuli (CS): two CS (CS+) were paired with an electrical stimulation that served as unconditioned stimulus, the third CS was never paired (CS-). Extinction took place immediately after fear acquisition or 24h later. One CS+ was extinguished whereas the second CS+ remained unextinguished to control for different time intervals between fear acquisition and retrieval testing. Immediate extinction led to larger skin conductance responses during fear retrieval to both the extinguished and unextinguished CS relative to the CS-, indicating a stronger return of fear compared to delayed extinction. Taken together, immediate extinction is less potent than delayed extinction and is associated with a stronger renewal effect. Thus, the time-point of psychological interventions relative to the offset of threatening situations needs to be carefully considered to prevent relapses. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Baker, Kathryn D.; McNally, Gavan P.; Richardson, Rick
The NMDA receptor partial agonist d-cycloserine (DCS) enhances the extinction of learned fear in rats and exposure therapy in humans with anxiety disorders. Despite these benefits, little is known about the mechanisms by which DCS promotes the loss of fear. The present study examined whether DCS augments extinction retention (1) through reductions…
Luyten, Laura; Beckers, Tom
In 2009, Monfils and colleagues proposed a behavioral procedure that was said to result in a permanent attenuation of a previously established fear memory, thereby precluding a possible return of fear after extinction (Monfils, Cowansage, Klann, & LeDoux, 2009). By presenting a single retrieval trial one hour before standard extinction training, they found an enduring reduction of fear. The retrieval-extinction procedure holds great clinical potential, particularly for anxiety patients, but the findings are not undisputed, and several conceptual replications have failed to reproduce the effect. These failures have largely been attributed to small procedural differences. This preregistered study is the first endeavor to exactly replicate three key experiments of the original report by Monfils et al. (2009), thereby gauging the robustness of their seminal findings. Despite adhering to the original procedures as closely as possible, we did not find any evidence for reduced return of fear with the retrieval-extinction procedure relative to regular extinction training, as assessed through spontaneous recovery, reinstatement and renewal. Behavior of animals in the control condition (extinction only) was comparable to that in the original studies and provided an adequate baseline to reveal differences with the retrieval-extinction condition. Our null findings indicate that the effect sizes in the original paper may have been inflated and question the legitimacy of previously proposed moderators of the retrieval-extinction effect. We argue that direct experimental evaluation of purported moderators of the retrieval-extinction effect will be key to shed more light on its nature and prerequisites. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Bernier, Brian E; Lacagnina, Anthony F; Ayoub, Adam; Shue, Francis; Zemelman, Boris V; Krasne, Franklin B; Drew, Michael R
Dentate gyrus (DG) is widely thought to provide a teaching signal that enables hippocampal encoding of memories, but its role during retrieval is poorly understood. Some data and models suggest that DG plays no role in retrieval; others encourage the opposite conclusion. To resolve this controversy, we evaluated the effects of optogenetic inhibition of dorsal DG during context fear conditioning, recall, generalization, and extinction in male mice. We found that (1) inhibition during training impaired context fear acquisition; (2) inhibition during recall did not impair fear expression in the training context, unless mice had to distinguish between similar feared and neutral contexts; (3) inhibition increased generalization of fear to an unfamiliar context that was similar to a feared one and impaired fear expression in the conditioned context when it was similar to a neutral one; and (4) inhibition impaired fear extinction. These effects, as well as several seemingly contradictory published findings, could be reproduced by BACON (Bayesian Context Fear Algorithm), a physiologically realistic hippocampal model positing that acquisition and retrieval both involve coordinated activity in DG and CA3. Our findings thus suggest that DG contributes to retrieval and extinction, as well as to the initial establishment of context fear. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Despite abundant evidence that the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) plays a critical role in memory, it remains unclear whether the role of DG relates to memory acquisition or retrieval. Using contextual fear conditioning and optogenetic inhibition, we show that DG contributes to both of these processes. Using computational simulations, we identify specific mechanisms through which the suppression of DG affects memory performance. Finally, we show that DG contributes to fear extinction learning, a process in which learned fear is attenuated through exposures to a fearful context in the absence of threat. Our data resolve a
Busquet, Perrine; Hetzenauer, Alfred; Sinnegger-Brauns, Martina J.; Striessnig, Jorg; Singewald, Nicolas
Dihydropyridine (DHP) L-type Ca[superscript 2+] channel (LTCC) antagonists, such as nifedipine, have been reported to impair the extinction of conditioned fear without interfering with its acquisition. Identification of the LTCC isoforms mediating this DHP effect is an essential basis to reveal their role as potential drug targets for the…
Norrholm, S.D.; Vervliet, B.; Jovanovic, T.; Boshoven, W.; Myers, K.M.; Davis, M.; Rothbaum, B.O.; Duncan, E.J.
Fear extinction is a reduction in conditioned fear following repeated exposure to the feared cue in the absence of any aversive event. Extinguished fear often reappears after extinction through spontaneous recovery. Animal studies suggest that spontaneous recovery can be abolished if extinction
Lonsdorf, Tina B; Menz, Mareike M; Andreatta, Marta; Fullana, Miguel A; Golkar, Armita; Haaker, Jan; Heitland, Ivo; Hermann, Andrea; Kuhn, Manuel; Kruse, Onno; Meir Drexler, Shira; Meulders, Ann; Nees, Frauke; Pittig, Andre; Richter, Jan; Römer, Sonja; Shiban, Youssef; Schmitz, Anja; Straube, Benjamin; Vervliet, Bram; Wendt, Julia; Baas, Johanna M P; Merz, Christian J
The so-called 'replicability crisis' has sparked methodological discussions in many areas of science in general, and in psychology in particular. This has led to recent endeavours to promote the transparency, rigour, and ultimately, replicability of research. Originating from this zeitgeist, the challenge to discuss critical issues on terminology, design, methods, and analysis considerations in fear conditioning research is taken up by this work, which involved representatives from fourteen of the major human fear conditioning laboratories in Europe. This compendium is intended to provide a basis for the development of a common procedural and terminology framework for the field of human fear conditioning. Whenever possible, we give general recommendations. When this is not feasible, we provide evidence-based guidance for methodological decisions on study design, outcome measures, and analyses. Importantly, this work is also intended to raise awareness and initiate discussions on crucial questions with respect to data collection, processing, statistical analyses, the impact of subtle procedural changes, and data reporting specifically tailored to the research on fear conditioning. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.
Hartley, Catherine A.; Gorun, Alyson; Reddan, Marianne C.; Ramirez, Franchesca; Phelps, Elizabeth A.
Traumatic events are proposed to play a role in the development of anxiety disorders, however not all individuals exposed to extreme stress experience a pathological increase in fear. Recent studies in animal models suggest that the degree to which one is able to control an aversive experience is a critical factor determining its behavioral consequences. In this study, we examined whether stressor controllability modulates subsequent conditioned fear expression in humans. Participants were randomly assigned to an escapable stressor condition, a yoked inescapable stressor condition, or a control condition involving no stress exposure. One week later, all participants underwent fear conditioning, fear extinction, and a test of extinction retrieval the following day. Participants exposed to inescapable stress showed impaired fear extinction learning and increased fear expression the following day. In contrast, escapable stress improved fear extinction and prevented the spontaneous recovery of fear. Consistent with the bidirectional controllability effects previously reported in animal models, these results suggest that one's degree of control over aversive experiences may be an important factor influencing the development of psychological resilience or vulnerability in humans. PMID:24333646
Park, Chun Hui J; Ganella, Despina E; Kim, Jee Hyun
Anxiety disorders emerge early, and girls are significantly more likely to develop anxiety compared to boys. However, sex differences in fear during development are poorly understood. Therefore, we investigated juvenile male and female rats in the relapse behaviors following extinction of conditioned fear. In all experiments, 18-d-old rats first received three white-noise-footshock pairings on day 1. On day 2, extinction involved 60 white-noise alone trials. In experiment 1, we examined renewal by testing the rats in either the same or different context as extinction on day 3. Male rats did not show renewal, however, female rats showed renewal. Experiment 2 investigated reinstatement by giving rats either a mild reminder footshock or context exposure on day 3. When tested the next day, male rats did not show reinstatement, whereas female rats showed reinstatement. Experiment 3 investigated spontaneous recovery by testing the rats either 1 or 5 d following extinction. Male rats did not show any spontaneous recovery whereas female rats did. Taken together, fear regulation appear to be different in males versus females from early in development, which may explain why girls are more prone to suffer from anxiety disorders compared to boys. © 2017 Park et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
Baker, Kathryn D.; Richardson, Rick
Fear inhibition is markedly impaired in adolescent rodents and humans. The present experiments investigated whether this impairment is critically determined by the animal's age at the time of fear learning or their age at fear extinction. Male rats (n = 170) were tested for extinction retention after conditioning and extinction at different ages.…
David Frausto Peña
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.
Moustafa, Ahmed A.; Gilbertson, Mark W.; Orr, Scott P.; Herzallah, Mohammad M.; Servatius, Richard J.; Myers, Catherine E.
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…
Full Text Available Disruption of fear conditioning, its extinction and its retrieval are at the core of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD. Such deficits, especially fear extinction delay, disappear after alternating bilateral stimulations (BLS during eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR therapy. An animal model of fear recovery, based on auditory cued fear conditioning and extinction learning, recently showed that BLS facilitate fear extinction and fear extinction retrieval. Our goal was to determine if these previous results found in animals can be reproduced in humans. Twenty-two healthy participants took part in a classical fear conditioning, extinction, and extinction recall paradigm. Behavioral responses (fear expectations as well as psychophysiological measures (skin conductance responses, SCRs were recorded. The results showed a significant fear expectation decrease during fear extinction with BLS. Additionally, SCR for fear extinction retrieval were significantly lower with BLS. Our results demonstrate the importance of BLS to reduce negative emotions, and provide a successful model to further explore the neural mechanisms underlying the sole BLS effect in the EMDR.
Broadwater, Margaret A.
Some evidence suggests that adolescents are more vulnerable than adults to alcohol-induced cognitive deficits and that these deficits may persist into adulthood. Five experiments were conducted to assess long-term consequences of ethanol exposure on tone and context Pavlovian fear conditioning in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Experiment 1 examined age-related differences in sensitivity to ethanol-induced disruptions of fear conditioning to a pre-conditioning ethanol challenge. Experiments 2 examined fear conditioning 22 days after early-mid adolescent (P28-48) or adult (P70-90) exposure to 4 g/kg i.g. ethanol or water given every other day (total of 11 exposures). In Experiment 3, mid-late adolescents (P35-55) were exposed in the same manner to assess whether timing of ethanol exposure within the adolescent period would differentially affect later fear conditioning. Experiment 4 assessed the influence of prior adolescent or adult ethanol exposure on the disrupting effects of a pre-conditioning ethanol challenge. In Experiment 5, neurogenesis (doublecortin---DCX) and cholinergic (choline acetyltransferase---ChAT) markers were measured to assess potential long-term ethanol-induced changes in neural mechanisms important for learning and memory. Results indicated that the long-lasting behavioral effects of ethanol exposure varied depending on exposure age, with early-mid adolescent exposed animals showing attenuated context fear retention (a relatively hippocampal-dependent task), whereas mid-late adolescent and adult exposed animals showed slower context extinction (thought to be reliant on the mPFC). Early-mid adolescent ethanol-exposed animals also had significantly less DCX and ChAT expression than their water-exposed counterparts, possibly contributing to deficits in context fear. Tone fear was not influenced by prior ethanol exposure at any age. In terms of age differences in ethanol sensitivity, adolescents were less sensitive than adults to ethanol
Javanbakht, Arash; Duval, Elizabeth R; Cisneros, Maria E; Taylor, Stephan F; Kessler, Daniel; Liberzon, Israel
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.
Campbell-Smith, Emma J.; Holmes, Nathan M.; Lingawi, Nura W.; Panayi, Marios C.; Westbrook, R. Frederick
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…
Full Text Available As a fundamental learning process, fear conditioning promotes the formation of associations between predictive cues and biologically-significant signals. In its application to pain, conditioning may provide important insight into mechanisms underlying pain-related fear, although knowledge especially in interoceptive pain paradigms remains scarce. Furthermore, while the influence of contingency awareness on excitatory learning is subject of ongoing debate, its role in pain-related acquisition is poorly understood and essentially unknown regarding extinction as inhibitory learning. Therefore, we addressed the impact of contingency awareness on learned emotional responses to pain- and safety-predictive cues in a combined dataset of two pain-related conditioning studies.In total, 75 healthy participants underwent differential fear acquisition, during which rectal distensions as interoceptive unconditioned stimuli (US were repeatedly paired with a predictive visual cue (conditioned stimulus; CS+ while another cue (CS- was presented unpaired. During extinction, both CS were presented without US. CS valence, indicating learned emotional responses, and CS-US contingencies were assessed on visual analogue scales. Based on an integrative measure of contingency accuracy, a median-split was performed to compare groups with low versus high contingency accuracy regarding learned emotional responses. To investigate predictive value of contingency accuracy, regression analyses were conducted. Highly accurate individuals revealed more pronounced negative emotional responses to CS+ and increased positive responses to CS- when compared to participants with low contingency accuracy. Following extinction, highly accurate individuals had fully extinguished pain-predictive cue properties, while exhibiting persistent positive emotional responses to safety signals. In contrast, individuals with low accuracy revealed equally positive emotional responses to both, CS+ and
Labrenz, Franziska; Icenhour, Adriane; Benson, Sven; Elsenbruch, Sigrid
As a fundamental learning process, fear conditioning promotes the formation of associations between predictive cues and biologically significant signals. In its application to pain, conditioning may provide important insight into mechanisms underlying pain-related fear, although knowledge especially in interoceptive pain paradigms remains scarce. Furthermore, while the influence of contingency awareness on excitatory learning is subject of ongoing debate, its role in pain-related acquisition is poorly understood and essentially unknown regarding extinction as inhibitory learning. Therefore, we addressed the impact of contingency awareness on learned emotional responses to pain- and safety-predictive cues in a combined dataset of two pain-related conditioning studies. In total, 75 healthy participants underwent differential fear acquisition, during which rectal distensions as interoceptive unconditioned stimuli (US) were repeatedly paired with a predictive visual cue (conditioned stimulus; CS(+)) while another cue (CS(-)) was presented unpaired. During extinction, both CS were presented without US. CS valence, indicating learned emotional responses, and CS-US contingencies were assessed on visual analog scales (VAS). Based on an integrative measure of contingency accuracy, a median-split was performed to compare groups with low vs. high contingency accuracy regarding learned emotional responses. To investigate predictive value of contingency accuracy, regression analyses were conducted. Highly accurate individuals revealed more pronounced negative emotional responses to CS(+) and increased positive responses to CS(-) when compared to participants with low contingency accuracy. Following extinction, highly accurate individuals had fully extinguished pain-predictive cue properties, while exhibiting persistent positive emotional responses to safety signals. In contrast, individuals with low accuracy revealed equally positive emotional responses to both, CS(+) and CS
Baker, Kathryn D.; Richardson, Rick
Fear inhibition is markedly impaired in adolescent rodents and humans. The present experiments investigated whether this impairment is critically determined by the animal's age at the time of fear learning or their age at fear extinction. Male rats (n = 170) were tested for extinction retention after conditioning and extinction at different ages. We examined neural correlates of impaired extinction retention by detection of phosphorylated mitogen-activated protein kinase immunoreactivity (pMA...
Tanner, Margaret K; Hake, Holly S; Bouchet, Courtney A; Greenwood, Benjamin N
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.
Hermann, Andrea; Stark, Rudolf; Wolf, Oliver Tobias
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
Judith R. Homberg
Full Text Available Conditioned fear plays a key role in anxiety disorders as well as depression and other neuropsychiatric conditions. Understanding how neuromodulators drive the associated learning and memory processes, including memory consolidation, retrieval/expression, and extinction (recall, is essential in the understanding of (individual differences in vulnerability to these disorders and their treatment. The human and rodent studies I review here together reveal, amongst others, that acute selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI treatment facilitates fear conditioning, reduces contextual fear, and increases cued fear, chronic SSRI treatment reduces both contextual and cued fear, 5-HT1A receptors inhibit the acquisition and expression of contextual fear, 5-HT2A receptors facilitates the consolidation of cued and contextual fear, inactivation of 5-HT2C receptors facilitate the retrieval of cued fear memory, the 5-HT3 receptor mediates contextual fear, genetically induced increases in serotonin levels are associated with increased fear conditioning, impaired cued fear extinction, or impaired extinction recall, and that genetically induced 5-HT depletion increases fear conditioning and contextual fear. Several explanations are presented to reconcile seemingly paradoxical relationships between serotonin levels and conditioned fear.
Full Text Available Learning to predict danger via associative learning processes is critical for adaptive behaviour. After successful extinction, persisting fear memories often emerge as returning fear. Investigation of return of fear phenomena, e.g. reinstatement, have only recently began and to date, many critical questions with respect to reinstatement in human populations remain unresolved. Few studies have separated experimental phases in time even though increasing evidence shows that allowing for passage of time (and consolidation between experimental phases has a major impact on the results. In addition, studies have relied on a single psychophysiological dimension only (SCRs/SCL or FPS which hampers comparability between different studies that showed both differential or generalized return of fear following a reinstatement manipulation. In 93 participants, we used a multimodal approach (fear-potentiated startle, skin conductance responses, fear ratings to asses fear conditioning (day 1, extinction (day 2 as well as delayed memory recall and reinstatement (day 8 in a paradigm that probed contextual and cued fear intra-individually. Our findings show persistence of conditioning and extinction memory over time and demonstrate that reinstated fear responses were qualitatively different between dependent variables (subjective fear ratings, FPS, SCRs as well as between cued and contextual CSs. While only the arousal-related measurement (SCRs showed increasing reactions following reinstatement to the cued CSs, no evidence of reinstatement was observed for the subjective ratings and fear-related measurement (FPS. In contrast, for contextual CSs, reinstatement was evident as differential and generalized reinstatement in fear ratings as well as generally elevated physiological fear (FPS and arousal (SCRs related measurements to all contextual CSs (generalized non-differential reinstatement. Returning fear after reinstatement likely depends on a variety of variables
Wang, Melissa E.; Yuan, Robin K.; Keinath, Alexander T.; Ramos Álvarez, Manuel M.
The extinction of learned fear is a hippocampus-dependent process thought to embody new learning rather than erasure of the original fear memory, although it is unknown how these competing contextual memories are represented in the hippocampus. We previously demonstrated that contextual fear conditioning results in hippocampal place cell remapping and long-term stabilization of novel representations. Here we report that extinction learning also induces place cell remapping in C57BL/6 mice. Specifically, we observed cells that preferentially remapped during different stages of learning. While some cells remapped in both fear conditioning and extinction, others responded predominantly during extinction, which may serve to modify previous representations as well as encode new safe associations. Additionally, we found cells that remapped primarily during fear conditioning, which could facilitate reacquisition of the original fear association. Moreover, we also observed cells that were stable throughout learning, which may serve to encode the static aspects of the environment. The short-term remapping observed during extinction was not found in animals that did not undergo fear conditioning, or when extinction was conducted outside of the conditioning context. Finally, conditioning and extinction produced an increase in spike phase locking to the theta and gamma frequencies. However, the degree of remapping seen during conditioning and extinction only correlated with gamma synchronization. Our results suggest that the extinction learning is a complex process that involves both modification of pre-existing memories and formation of new ones, and these traces coexist within the same hippocampal representation. PMID:26085635
Toth, Iulia; Dietz, Monika; Peterlik, Daniel; Huber, Sabine E; Fendt, Markus; Neumann, Inga D; Flor, Peter J; Slattery, David A
Fear extinction is defined as the attenuation of a conditioned-fear memory by re-exposing animals to the conditioned stimulus without the aversive stimulus. This process is known to be effectively enhanced via administration of D-cycloserine (DCS), a partial NMDA-receptor agonist. However, other glutamatergic mechanisms, such as interference with metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) subtypes 5 and 7 in the extinction of aversive memories are insufficiently understood. Using the allosteric mGluR5 receptor antagonist 2-methyl-6-(phenylethynyl)-pyridine (MPEP), the mGluR7 allosteric agonist N,N'-dibenzyhydryl-ethane-1,2-diamine dihydrochloride (AMN082), and DCS for comparison, we aimed to study how pharmacological blockade of mGluR5 and activation of mGluR7 influenced within- and between-session conditioned-fear extinction training and extinction retention in rats. We show that when injected before extinction training, mGluR7 activation with AMN082 enhanced freezing and thereby attenuated within-session fear extinction, whereas both DCS and the mGluR5 receptor antagonist MPEP had no effect on this process. However, these differential drug effects were not long lasting, as no difference in extinction retention were observed 24 h later. Therefore, we assessed whether the compounds affect 24 h consolidation of extinction training following incomplete extinction training (between-session extinction). Similar to DCS, AMN082- but not MPEP-treated rats showed facilitated extinction retention, as exhibited by decreased freezing. Finally, using fluoxetine, we provide evidence that the effect of AMN082 on between-session extinction retention is most likely not via increasing 5-HT transmission. These findings demonstrate that mGluR7 activation differentially modulates conditioned-fear extinction, in dependence on the protocol employed, and suggests drugs with AMN082-like mechanisms as potential add-on drugs following exposure-based psychotherapy for fear-related human
Fernandez Espejo, Emilio
Prefrontal dopamine loss delays extinction of cued fear conditioning responses, but its role in contextual fear conditioning has not been explored. Medial prefrontal lesions also enhance social interaction in rats, but the role of prefrontal dopamine loss on social interaction memory is not known. Besides, a role for subcortical accumbal dopamine on mnesic changes after prefrontal dopamine manipulation has been proposed but not explored. The objective was to study the involvement of dopaminergic neurotransmission in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and nucleus accumbens in two mnesic tasks: contextual fear conditioning and social interaction memory. For contextual fear conditioning, short- and long-term freezing responses after an electric shock were studied, as well as extinction retention. Regarding social interaction memory, the recognition of a juvenile, a very sensitive short-term memory test, was used. Dopamine loss was carried out by injection of 6-hydroxydopamine, and postmortem catecholamine levels were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography. Prefrontocortical dopamine loss (>76%) led to a reactive enhancement of accumbal dopamine content (ploss. In lesioned rats, long-term extinction of contextual fear conditioning was significantly delayed and extinction retention was impaired without changes in acquisition and short-term contextual fear conditioning and, on the other hand, acquisition and short-term social interaction memory were not affected, although time spent on social interaction was significantly reduced. Added dopamine loss in the nucleus accumbens (>76%) did not alter these behavioral changes. In summary, the results of the present study indicate that the dopaminergic network in the mPFC (but not in the nucleus accumbens) coordinates the normal long-term extinction of contextual fear conditioning responses without affecting their acquisition, and it is involved in time spent on social interaction, but not acquisition and short
Abraham, Antony D.; Cunningham, Christopher L.; Lattal, K. Matthew
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 ...
Sotres-Bayon, Francisco; Bush, David E. A.; LeDoux, Joseph E.
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…
MacPherson, Kathryn; Whittle, Nigel; Camp, Marguerite; Gunduz-Cinar, Ozge; Singewald, Nicolas; Holmes, Andrew
Various neuropsychiatric conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are characterized by deficient fear extinction, but individuals differ greatly in risk for these. While there is growing evidence that fear extinction is influenced by certain procedural variables, it is unclear how these influences might vary across individuals and subpopulations. To model individual differences in fear extinction, prior studies identified a strain of inbred mouse, 129S1/SvImJ (S1), which exhibits a profound deficit in fear extinction, as compared to other inbred strains, such as C57BL/6J (B6). Here, we assessed the effects of procedural variables on the impaired extinction phenotype of the S1 strain and, by comparison, the extinction-intact B6 strain. The variables studied were 1) the interval between conditioning and extinction, 2) the interval between cues during extinction training, 3) single-cue exposure before extinction training, and 4) extinction of a second-order conditioned cue. Conducting extinction training soon after ('immediately') conditioning attenuated fear retrieval in S1 mice and impaired extinction in B6 mice. Spacing cue presentations with long inter-trial intervals during extinction training augmented fear in S1 and B6 mice. The effect of spacing was lost with one-trial fear conditioning in B6, but not S1 mice. A single exposure to a conditioned cue before extinction training did not alter extinction retrieval, either in B6 or S1 mice. Both the S1 and B6 strains exhibited robust second-order fear conditioning, in which a cue associated with footshock was sufficient to serve as a conditioned exciter to condition a fear association to a second cue. B6 mice extinguished the fear response to the second-order conditioned cue, but S1 mice failed to do so. These data provide further evidence that fear extinction is strongly influenced by multiple procedural variables and is so in a highly strain-dependent manner. This suggests that the efficacy of
Full Text Available Attentional control (AC and fear extinction learning are known to be involved in pathological anxiety. In this study we explored whether individual differences in non-emotional AC were associated with individual differences in the magnitude and gradient of fear extinction (learning and recall. In 50 individuals with fear of spiders, we collected measures of non-emotional AC by means of self-report and by assessing the functioning of the major attention networks (executive control, orienting, and alerting. The participants then underwent a paradigm assessing fear extinction learning and extinction recall. The two components of the orienting network functioning (costs and benefits were significantly associated with fear extinction gradient over and above the effects of trait anxiety. Specifically, participants with enhanced orienting costs (i.e., difficulties in disengaging attention from cues not relevant for the task showed faster extinction learning, while those with enhanced orienting benefits (i.e., attention facilitated by valid cues exhibited faster extinction recall as measured by fear-potentiated startle and Unconditioned Stimulus expectancies, respectively. Our findings suggest that, in non-emotional conditions, the orienting component of attention may be predictive of fear extinction. They also show that the use of fear extinction gradients and the exploration of individual differences in non-emotional AC (using performance-based measures of attentional network functioning can provide a better understanding of individual differences in fear learning. Our findings also may help to understand differences in exposure therapy outcomes.
Steinfurth, Elisa C. K.; Kanen, Jonathan W.; Raio, Candace M.; Clem, Roger L.; Huganir, Richard L.; Phelps, Elizabeth A.
Extinction training during reconsolidation has been shown to persistently diminish conditioned fear responses across species. We investigated in humans if older fear memories can benefit similarly. Using a Pavlovian fear conditioning paradigm we compared standard extinction and extinction after memory reactivation 1 d or 7 d following acquisition.…
Leer, Arne; Haesen, Kim; Vervliet, Bram
Extinction treatments decrease fear via repeated exposures to the conditioned stimulus (CS) and are associated with a return of fear. Alternatively, fear can be reduced via reductions in the perceived intensity of the unconditioned stimulus (US), e.g., through repeated exposures to the US. Promisingly, the few available studies show that repeated US exposures outperform standard extinction. US exposure treatments can decrease fear via two routes: (1) by weakening the CS-US association (extinction-like mechanism), and/or (2) by weakening the subjective US aversiveness (habituation-like mechanism). The current study further investigated the conditions under which US exposure treatment may reduce renewal, by adding a group in which CS-US pairings continued following fear acquisition. During acquisition, participants learned that one of two visual stimuli (CS+/CS-) predicted the occurrence of an aversive electrocutaneous stimulus (US). Next, the background context changed and participants received one of three interventions: repeated CS exposures, (2) repeated US exposures, or (3) continued CS-US pairings. Following repeated CS exposures, test presentations of the CSs in the original conditioning context revealed intact CS+/CS- differentiation in the fear-potentiated startle reflex, while the differentiation was abolished in the other two groups. Differential US expectancy ratings, on the other hand, were intact in all groups. Skin conductance data were inconclusive because standard context renewal following CS exposures did not occur. Unexpectedly, there was no evidence for a habituation-like process having taken place during US exposures or continued CS-US pairings. The results provide further evidence that US exposures outperform the standard extinction treatment and show that effects are similar when US exposures are part of CS-US pairings.
Quiñones, María M; Maldonado, Lizette; Velazquez, Bethzaly; Porter, James T
Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) tend to show signs of a relatively increased inflammatory state suggesting that activation of the immune system may contribute to the development of PTSD. In the present study, we tested whether activation of the innate immune system can disrupt acquisition or recall of auditory fear extinction using an animal model of PTSD. Male adolescent rats received auditory fear conditioning in context A. The next day, an intraperitoneal injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 100 μg/kg) prior to auditory fear extinction in context B impaired acquisition and recall of extinction. LPS (100 μg/kg) given after extinction training did not impair extinction recall suggesting that LPS did not affect consolidation of extinction. In contrast to cued fear extinction, contextual fear extinction was not affected by prior injection of LPS (100 μg/kg). Although LPS also reduced locomotion, we could dissociate the effects of LPS on extinction and locomotion by using a lower dose of LPS (50 μg/kg) which impaired locomotion without affecting extinction. In addition, 15 h after an injection of 250 μg/kg LPS in adult rats, extinction learning and recall were impaired without affecting locomotion. A sub-chronic treatment with candesartan, an angiotensin II type 1 receptor blocker, prevented the LPS-induced impairment of extinction in adult rats. Our results demonstrate that activation of the innate immune system can disrupt auditory fear extinction in adolescent and adult animals. These findings also provide direction for clinical studies of novel treatments that modulate the innate immune system for stress-related disorders like PTSD. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Chang, Chun-hui; Maren, Stephen
It has been suggested that reduced infralimbic (IL) cortical activity contributes to impairments of fear extinction. We therefore explored whether pharmacological activation of the IL would facilitate extinction under conditions it normally fails (i.e., immediate extinction). Rats received auditory fear conditioning 1 h before extinction training.…
Bloodgood, Daniel W; Sugam, Jonathan A; Holmes, Andrew; Kash, Thomas L
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.
Abraham, Antony D.; Cunningham, Christopher L.; Lattal, K. Matthew
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…
Keller, Samantha M; Schreiber, William B; Stanfield, Briana R; Knox, Dayan
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.
Lingawi, Nura W; Westbrook, R Frederick; Laurent, Vincent
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.
Hefner, Kathryn; Whittle, Nigel; Juhasz, Jaynann; Norcross, Maxine; Karlsson, Rose-Marie; Saksida, Lisa M.; Bussey, Timothy J.; Singewald, Nicolas; Holmes, Andrew
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...
Schiller, Daniela; Raio, Candace M; Phelps, Elizabeth A
Fear is maladaptive when it persists long after circumstances have become safe. It is therefore crucial to develop an approach that persistently prevents the return of fear. Pavlovian fear-conditioning paradigms are commonly employed to create a controlled, novel fear association in the laboratory. After pairing an innocuous stimulus (conditioned stimulus, CS) with an aversive outcome (unconditioned stimulus, US) we can elicit a fear response (conditioned response, or CR) by presenting just the stimulus alone. Once fear is acquired, it can be diminished using extinction training, whereby the conditioned stimulus is repeatedly presented without the aversive outcome until fear is no longer expressed. This inhibitory learning creates a new, safe representation for the CS, which competes for expression with the original fear memory. Although extinction is effective at inhibiting fear, it is not permanent. Fear can spontaneously recover with the passage of time. Exposure to stress or returning to the context of initial learning can also cause fear to resurface. Our protocol addresses the transient nature of extinction by targeting the reconsolidation window to modify emotional memory in a more permanent manner. Ample evidence suggests that reactivating a consolidated memory returns it to a labile state, during which the memory is again susceptible to interference. This window of opportunity appears to open shortly after reactivation and close approximately 6 hrs later, although this may vary depending on the strength and age of the memory. By allowing new information to incorporate into the original memory trace, this memory may be updated as it reconsolidates. Studies involving non-human animals have successfully blocked the expression of fear memory by introducing pharmacological manipulations within the reconsolidation window, however, most agents used are either toxic to humans or show equivocal effects when used in human studies. Our protocol addresses these
Chang, Chun-hui; Maren, Stephen
It has been suggested that reduced infralimbic (IL) cortical activity contributes to impairments of fear extinction. We therefore explored whether pharmacological activation of the IL would facilitate extinction under conditions it normally fails (i.e., immediate extinction). Rats received auditory fear conditioning 1 h before extinction training. Immediately prior to extinction, rats received microinfusions into the IL of the GABAA receptor antagonist, picrotoxin, or the NMDA receptor partia...
Young, M B; Andero, R; Ressler, K J; Howell, L L
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.
Golkar, Armita; Tjaden, Cathelijn; Kindt, Merel
Previous studies have suggested that fear memories can be updated when recalled, a process referred to as reconsolidation. Given the beneficial effects of model-based safety learning (i.e. vicarious extinction) in preventing the recovery of short-term fear memory, we examined whether consolidated long-term fear memories could be updated with safety learning accomplished through vicarious extinction learning initiated within the reconsolidation time-window. We assessed this in a final sample of 19 participants that underwent a three-day within-subject fear-conditioning design, using fear-potentiated startle as our primary index of fear learning. On day 1, two fear-relevant stimuli (reinforced CSs) were paired with shock (US) and a third stimulus served as a control (CS). On day 2, one of the two previously reinforced stimuli (the reminded CS) was presented once in order to reactivate the fear memory 10 min before vicarious extinction training was initiated for all CSs. The recovery of the fear memory was tested 24 h later. Vicarious extinction training conducted within the reconsolidation time window specifically prevented the recovery of the reactivated fear memory (p = 0.03), while leaving fear-potentiated startle responses to the non-reactivated cue intact (p = 0.62). These findings are relevant to both basic and clinical research, suggesting that a safe, non-invasive model-based exposure technique has the potential to enhance the efficiency and durability of anxiolytic therapies. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Lach, Gilliard; de Lima, Thereza Christina Monteiro
Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is the most abundant peptide in the central nervous system (CNS) and is densely localized in the brain regions involved in stress, memory, fear and anxiety. Although previous research supports a role for NPY in the mediation of rodent and human emotional behavior, there is currently a lack of information on the effects of low doses of NPY that could have a potential therapeutic advantage, minimizing side-effects such as cognition impairment or sedation. Herein, we assessed the effects of intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) administration of low doses of NPY, and of the Y1-agonist Leu31Pro34-NPY (LP-NPY) on contextual fear conditioning (CFC), as they have no effect on unconditioned anxiety-like, locomotor activity and non-emotional memory. NPY (3 pmol) and LP-NPY (1 pmol) inhibited freezing behavior when administered in the acquisition or consolidation stages, indicating a reduction of fear. When injected in the extinction phase, only NPY inhibited freezing behavior on CFC. Pre-treatment with the Y1-antagonist BIBO3304 before NPY and LP-NPY was able to prevent the inhibition of fear responses induced by both NPY agonists. Taken together, our results demonstrate robust fear-inhibiting effects of i.c.v. injection of NPY on contextual fear conditioning in rats, a response that is mediated, at least in part, by the Y1 receptor. Moreover, these treatments were unable to change locomotor activity or to show an anxiolytic-like effect, as evaluated in an open-field and an elevated plus-maze. This specific fear reduction effect may underlie resilience systems in the CNS and has potential therapeutic relevance in PTSD. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Laurent, Vincent; Westbrook, R. Frederick
Rats were subjected to one or two cycles of context fear conditioning and extinction to study the roles of the prelimbic cortex (PL) and infralimbic cortex (IL) in learning and relearning to inhibit fear responses. Inactivation of the PL depressed fear responses across the first or second extinction but did not impair learning or relearning fear…
Langton, Julia M.; Richardson, Rick
We compared the effect of D-cycloserine (DCS) on immediate (10 min after conditioning) and delayed (24 h after conditioning) extinction of learned fear in rats. DCS facilitated both immediate and delayed extinction when the drug was administered after extinction training. However, DCS did not facilitate immediate extinction when administered prior…
Feng, Pan; Zheng, Yong
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
Schneider, Brandy L; Ghoddoussi, Farhad; Charlton, Jennifer L; Kohler, Robert J; Galloway, Matthew P; Perrine, Shane A; Conti, Alana C
Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) contributes to development of affective disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Psychiatric symptoms typically emerge in a tardive fashion post-TBI, with negative effects on recovery. Patients with PTSD, as well as rodent models of PTSD, demonstrate structural and functional changes in brain regions mediating fear learning, including prefrontal cortex (PFC), amygdala (AMYG), and hippocampus (HC). These changes may reflect loss of top-down control by which PFC normally exhibits inhibitory influence over AMYG reactivity to fearful stimuli, with HC contribution. Considering the susceptibility of these regions to injury, we examined fear conditioning (FC) in the delayed post-injury period, using a mouse model of mTBI. Mice with mTBI displayed enhanced acquisition and delayed extinction of FC. Using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy ex vivo, we examined PFC, AMYG, and HC levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate as surrogate measures of inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmission, respectively. Eight days post-injury, GABA was increased in PFC, with no significant changes in AMYG. In animals receiving FC and mTBI, glutamate trended toward an increase and the GABA/glutamate ratio decreased in ventral HC at 25 days post-injury, whereas GABA decreased and GABA/glutamate decreased in dorsal HC. These neurochemical changes are consistent with early TBI-induced PFC hypoactivation facilitating the fear learning circuit and exacerbating behavioral fear responses. The latent emergence of overall increased excitatory tone in the HC, despite distinct plasticity in dorsal and ventral HC fields, may be associated with disordered memory function, manifested as incomplete extinction and enhanced FC recall.
Full Text Available Fear is an emotion that is well studied due to its importance for animal survival. Experimental animals, such as rats and mice, have been widely used to model fear. However, higher animals such as nonhuman primates have rarely been used to study fear due to ethical issues and high costs. Tree shrews are small mammals that are closely related to primates; they have been used to model human-related psychosocial conditions such as stress and alcohol tolerance. Here, we describe an experimental paradigm to study the formation and extinction of fear memory in tree shrews. We designed an experimental apparatus of a light/dark box with a voltage foot shock. We found that tree shrews preferred staying in the dark box in the daytime without stimulation and showed avoidance to voltage shocks applied to the footplate in a voltage-dependent manner. Foot shocks applied to the dark box for 5 days (10 minutes per day effectively reversed the light–dark preference of the tree shrews, and this memory lasted for more than 50 days without any sign of memory decay (extinction in the absence of further stimulation. However, this fear memory was reversed with 4 days of reverse training by applying the same stimulus to the light box. When reducing the stimulus intensity during the training period, a memory extinction and subsequently reinstatement effects were observed. Thus, our results describe an efficient method of monitoring fear memory formation and extinction in tree shrews.
Kwapis, Janine L.; Jarome, Timothy J.
The extinction of delay fear conditioning relies on a neural circuit that has received much attention and is relatively well defined. Whether this established circuit also supports the extinction of more complex associations, however, is unclear. Trace fear conditioning is a better model of complex relational learning, yet the circuit that supports extinction of this memory has received very little attention. Recent research has indicated that trace fear extinction requires a different neural circuit than delay extinction; trace extinction requires the participation of the retrosplenial cortex, but not the amygdala, as noted in a previous study. Here, we tested the roles of the prelimbic and infralimbic regions of the medial prefrontal cortex in trace and delay fear extinction by blocking NMDA receptors during extinction learning. We found that the prelimbic cortex is necessary for trace, but not for delay fear extinction, whereas the infralimbic cortex is involved in both types of extinction. These results are consistent with the idea that trace fear associations require plasticity in multiple cortical areas for successful extinction. Further, the infralimbic cortex appears to play a role in extinction regardless of whether the animal was initially trained in trace or delay conditioning. Together, our results provide new information about how the neural circuits supporting trace and delay fear extinction differ. PMID:25512576
Goode, Travis D; Holloway-Erickson, Crystal M; Maren, Stephen
Retrieving fear memories just prior to extinction has been reported to effectively erase fear memories and prevent fear relapse. The current study examined whether the type of retrieval procedure influences the ability of extinction to impair fear renewal, a form of relapse in which responding to a conditional stimulus (CS) returns outside of the extinction context. Rats first underwent Pavlovian fear conditioning with an auditory CS and footshock unconditional stimulus (US); freezing behavior served as the index of conditioned fear. Twenty-four hours later, the rats underwent a retrieval-extinction procedure. Specifically, 1h prior to extinction (45 CS-alone trials; 44 for rats receiving a CS reminder), fear memory was retrieved by either a single exposure to the CS alone, the US alone, a CS paired with the US, or exposure to the conditioning context itself. Over the next few days, conditional freezing to the extinguished CS was tested in the extinction and conditioning context in that order (i.e., an ABBA design). In the extinction context, rats that received a CS+US trial before extinction exhibited higher levels of conditional freezing than animals in all other groups, which did not differ from one another. In the renewal context, all groups showed renewal, and none of the reactivation procedures reduced renewal relative to a control group that did not receive a reactivation procedure prior to extinction. These data suggest retrieval-extinction procedures may have limited efficacy in preventing fear renewal. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Brown, Lily A; LeBeau, Richard T; Chat, Ka Yi; Craske, Michelle G
Violation of unconditioned stimulus (US) expectancy during extinction training may enhance associative learning and result in improved long-term extinction retention compared to within-session habituation. This experiment examines variation in US expectancy (i.e., expectancy violation) as a predictor of long-term extinction retention. It also examines within-session habituation of fear-potentiated startle (electromyography, EMG) and fear of conditioned stimuli (CS) throughout extinction training as predictors of extinction retention. Participants (n = 63) underwent fear conditioning, extinction and retention and provided continuous ratings of US expectancy and EMG, as well as CS fear ratings before and after each phase. Variation in US expectancy throughout extinction and habituation of EMG and fear was entered into a regression as predictors of retention and reinstatement of levels of expectancy and fear. Greater variation in US expectancy throughout extinction training was significantly predictive of enhanced extinction performance measured at retention test, although not after reinstatement test. Slope of EMG and CS fear during extinction did not predict retention of extinction. Within-session habituation of EMG and self-reported fear is not sufficient for long-term retention of extinction learning, and models emphasizing expectation violation may result in enhanced outcomes.
Slouzkey, Ilana; Maroun, Mouna
The basolateral amygdala (BLA), medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) circuit, plays a crucial role in acquisition and extinction of fear memory. Extinction of aversive memories is mediated, at least in part, by the phosphoinositide-3 kinase (P[subscript 3]K)/Akt pathway in adult rats. There is recent interest in the neural mechanisms that mediate fear…
Gunduz-Cinar, Ozge; Flynn, Shaun; Brockway, Emma; Kaugars, Katherine; Baldi, Rita; Ramikie, Teniel S; Cinar, Resat; Kunos, George; Patel, Sachin; Holmes, Andrew
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
Vetere, Gisella; Restivo, Leonardo; Novembre, Giovanni
Structural synaptic changes occur in medial prefrontal cortex circuits during remote memory formation. Whether extinction reverts or further reshapes these circuits is, however, unknown. Here we show that the number and the size of spines were enhanced in anterior cingulate (aCC) and infralimbic...... (ILC) cortices 36 d following contextual fear conditioning. Upon extinction, aCC spine density returned to baseline, but the enhanced proportion of large spines did not. Differently, ILC spine density remained elevated, but the size of spines decreased dramatically. Thus, extinction partially erases...
Vetere, Gisella; Restivo, Leonardo; Novembre, Giovanni
Structural synaptic changes occur in medial prefrontal cortex circuits during remote memory formation. Whether extinction reverts or further reshapes these circuits is, however, unknown. Here we show that the number and the size of spines were enhanced in anterior cingulate (aCC) and infralimbic...... the remote memory network, suggesting that the preserved network properties might sustain reactivation of extinguished conditioned fear....
Kim, Jee Hyun; Richardson, Rick
Several recent studies report that neurotransmitters that are critically involved in extinction in adult rats are not important for extinction in young rats. Specifically, pretest injection of the [gamma]-aminobutryic acid (GABA) receptor inverse agonist FG7142 has no effect on extinction in postnatal day (P)17 rats, although it reverses…
Culver, Najwa C; Stevens, Stephan; Fanselow, Michael S; Craske, Michelle G
Although exposure therapy is an effective treatment for anxiety disorders, fear sometimes returns following successful therapy. Recent literature in animal models indicates that incorporating some aversive events into extinction training may offset these return of fear effects. The effect of occasional reinforced extinction trials was investigated in a sample of thirty-nine participants using a fear conditioning and extinction paradigm. Participants either underwent traditional extinction procedures during which the conditional stimulus which had been paired with the unconditional stimulus (US) during acquisition training (CS+) was presented alone with no presentations of the US or partially reinforced extinction during which there were several unpredicted CS+/US pairings. As measured by skin conductance responses, physiological fear responding remained elevated during extinction for participants who experienced partially reinforced extinction; however, these participants demonstrated protection from rapid reacquisition effects. Results from the subjective US-expectancy ratings did not provide evidence of protection against rapid reacquisition in the partially reinforced extinction group; however, there was evidence of protection from spontaneous recovery effects. Lastly, as measured by valence ratings, it was unclear whether partially reinforced extinction provided protection from fear recovery effects. Although participants who experienced partially reinforced extinction demonstrated protection from rapid reacquisition as measured by skin conductance responses, they also demonstrated significantly higher levels of physiological fear responding during extinction which made the results of the spontaneous recovery test more difficult to interpret. Occasional CS-US pairings during extinction may protect against return of fear effects. Clinical implications are discussed. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Wicking, Manon; Steiger, Frauke; Nees, Frauke; Diener, Slawomira J; Grimm, Oliver; Ruttorf, Michaela; Schad, Lothar R; Winkelmann, Tobias; Wirtz, Gustav; Flor, Herta
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) might be maintained by deficient extinction memory. We used a cued fear conditioning design with extinction and a post-extinction phase to provoke the return of fear and examined the role of the interplay of amygdala, hippocampus and prefrontal regions. We compared 18 PTSD patients with two healthy control groups: 18 trauma-exposed subjects without PTSD (nonPTSD) and 18 healthy controls (HC) without trauma experience. They underwent a three-day ABC-conditioning procedure in a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner. Two geometric shapes that served as conditioned stimuli (CS) were presented in the context of virtual reality scenes. Electric painful stimuli were delivered after one of the two shapes (CS+) during acquisition (in context A), while the other (CS-) was never paired with pain. Extinction was performed in context B and extinction memory was tested in a novel context C. The PTSD patients showed significantly higher differential skin conductance responses than the non-PTSD and HC and higher differential amygdala and hippocampus activity than the HC in context C. In addition, elevated arousal to the CS+ during extinction and to the CS- throughout the experiment was present in the PTSD patients but self-reported differential valence or contingency were not different. During extinction recall, differential amygdala activity correlated positively with the intensity of numbing and ventromedial prefrontal cortex activity correlated positively with behavioral avoidance. PTSD patients show heightened return of fear in neural and peripheral measures. In addition, self-reported arousal was high to both danger (CS+) and safety (CS-) cues. These results suggest that a deficient maintenance of extinction and a failure to identify safety signals might contribute to PTSD symptoms, whereas non-PTSD subjects seem to show normal responses. Copyright Â© 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Stout, Daniel M; Acheson, Dean T; Moore, Tyler M; Gur, Ruben C; Baker, Dewleen G; Geyer, Mark A; Risbrough, Victoria B
PTSD has been associated consistently with abnormalities in fear acquisition and extinction learning and retention. Fear acquisition refers to learning to discriminate between threat and safety cues. Extinction learning reflects the formation of a new inhibitory-memory that competes with a previously learned threat-related memory. Adjudicating the competition between threat memory and the new inhibitory memory during extinction may rely, in part, on cognitive processes such as working memory (WM). Despite significant shared neural circuits and signaling pathways the relationship between WM, fear acquisition, and extinction is poorly understood. Here, we analyzed data from a large sample of healthy Marines who underwent an assessment battery including tests of fear acquisition, extinction learning, and WM (N-back). Fear potentiated startle (FPS), fear expectancy ratings, and self-reported anxiety served as the primary dependent variables. High WM ability (N = 192) was associated with greater CS + fear inhibition during the late block of extinction and greater US expectancy change during extinction learning compared to individuals with low WM ability (N = 204). WM ability was not associated with magnitude of fear conditioning/expression. Attention ability was unrelated to fear acquisition or extinction supporting specificity of WM associations with extinction. These results support the conclusion that individual differences in WM may contribute to regulating fear responses. Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Golkar, Armita; Bellander, Martin; Öhman, Arne
Fear extinction can be defined as the weakening of the expression of a conditioned response (CR) by extended experience of nonreinforcement. Conceptually, two distinct models have been invoked to account for extinction. R. A. Rescorla and A. R. Wagner (1972, A theory of Pavlovian conditioning: Variations in the effectiveness of reinforcement and nonreinforcement, in A. H. B. W. F. Prokasy (Ed.), Classical conditioning: II. Current research and theory, pp. 64-99, New York, NY, Appleton-Century-Crofts) postulated that the number of exposure trials is the primary determinant of CR decrement, whereas C. R. Gallistel and J. Gibbon (2000, Time, rate, and conditioning, Psychological Review, Vol. 107, pp. 289-344) proposed that the decisive event is the cumulated exposure time to the nonreinforced conditioned stimulus (CS) elapsed after the last CS reinforcement. We evaluated these two accounts in a human differential fear conditioning study in which CR was measured with the fear-potentiated startle response. Cumulated duration of nonreinforcement fails to explain our findings, whereas the number of trials appeared critical. In fact, many CS trials with a duration shorter than the acquisition CS duration facilitated within-session extinction, but this effect did not predict the recovery of fear. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
Baran, Sarah E.; Armstrong, Charles E.; Niren, Danielle C.; Conrad, Cheryl D.
Electrolytic lesions of the medial prefrontal cortex (PFCX) were examined using fear conditioning to assess the recall of fear extinction and performance in the Y-maze, open field, and object location/recognition in male and female Sprague-Dawley rats. Rats were conditioned to seven tone/footshocks, followed by extinction after 1-h and 24-h…
Kwapis, Janine L.; Jarome, Timothy J.; Helmstetter, Fred J.
The extinction of delay fear conditioning relies on a neural circuit that has received much attention and is relatively well defined. Whether this established circuit also supports the extinction of more complex associations, however, is unclear. Trace fear conditioning is a better model of complex relational learning, yet the circuit that…
Lingzhi Kong; Xihong Wu; Liang Li
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.
Thompson, Brittany M.; Baratta, Michael V.; Biedenkapp, Joseph C.; Rudy, Jerry W.; Watkins, Linda R.; Maier, Steven F.
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…
Graham, Bronwyn M.; Milad, Mohammed R.
Emerging research has demonstrated that the sex hormone estradiol regulates fear extinction in female rodents and women. Estradiol may also regulate fear extinction in males, given its role in synaptic plasticity in both sexes. Here we report that inhibition of estradiol synthesis during extinction training, via the aromatase inhibitor fadrozole,…
Verma, Dilip; Tasan, Ramon; Sperk, Guenther; Pape, Hans-Christian
The anterior bed nucleus of stria terminalis (BNST) is involved in reinstatement of extinguished fear, and neuropeptide Y2 receptors influence local synaptic signaling. Therefore, we hypothesized that Y2 receptors in anteroventral BNST (BNSTav) interfere with remote fear memory and that previous fear extinction is an important variable. C57BL/6NCrl mice were fear-conditioned, and a Y2 receptor-specific agonist (NPY 3-36 ) or antagonist (JNJ-5207787) was applied in BNSTav before fear retrieval at the following day. Remote fear memory was tested on day 16 in two groups of mice, which had (experiment 1) or had not (experiment 2) undergone extinction training after conditioning. In the group with extinction training, tests of remote fear memory revealed partial retrieval of extinction, which was prevented after blockade of Y2 receptors in BNSTav. No such effect was observed in the group with no extinction training, but stimulation of Y2 receptors in BNSTav mimicked the influence of extinction during tests of remote fear memory. Pharmacological manipulation of Y2 receptors in BNSTav before fear acquisition (experiment 3) had no effect on fear memory retrieval, extinction or remote fear memory. Furthermore, partial retrieval of extinction during tests of remote fear memory was associated with changes in number of c-Fos expressing neurons in BNSTav, which was prevented or mimicked upon Y2 blockade or stimulation in BNSTav. These results indicate that Y2 receptor manipulation in BNSTav interferes with fear memory and extinction retrieval at remote stages, likely through controlling neuronal activity in BNSTav during extinction training. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Meir Drexler, Shira; Merz, Christian J; Hamacher-Dang, Tanja C; Marquardt, Veronica; Fritsch, Nathalie; Otto, Tobias; Wolf, Oliver T
Reactivation of an already consolidated memory makes it labile for a period of several hrs, which are required for its reconsolidation. Evidence suggests that the return of conditioned fear through spontaneous recovery, reinstatement, or renewal can be prevented by blockading this reconsolidation process using pharmacological or behavioral interventions. Postretrieval-extinction learning has been shown to prevent the return of cued fear in humans using fear-irrelevant stimuli, as well as cued and contextual fear in rodents. The effects of postretrieval extinction on human contextually controlled cued fear to fear-relevant stimuli remain unknown, and are the focus of the present study. The experimental design was based on 3 consecutive days: acquisition, reactivation and extinction, and re-extinction. For the fear conditioning, 2 zoo frames served as different contexts, 5 fear-relevant stimuli (aversive animal pictures) served as conditioned stimuli (CS), electric shocks served as unconditioned stimuli (UCS). Expectancy ratings and skin-conductance response (SCR) were used as measures of fear responses; spontaneous recovery and renewal were used as indicators of the return of fear. The expectancy ratings and SCR results indicated spontaneous recovery on the third day, regardless of retrieval prior to extinction. No robust renewal effect was seen. It is suggested that the use of fear-relevant stimuli, the context salience, or reactivation context may explain the lack of reconsolidation effect. Our study indicates that the beneficial effects of postretrieval-extinction learning are sensitive to subtle methodological changes.
Zhang, Bo; Li, Chuan-Yu; Wang, Xiu-Song
Extinction of conditioned fear has been suggested to be a new form of learning instead of erasure of what was originally learned, and the process is NMDA (N-methyl d-aspartate) receptor (NMDAR) dependent. Most of studies have so far revealed the important roles of NMDARs in the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) in cued fear extinction. Although the ventral hippocampus has intimately reciprocal connections with the amygdala and mPFC, the role of its NMDARs in cued fear extinction remains unclear. The present experiment explored the issue by bilateral pre-extinction microinjection of the noncompetitive NMDAR antagonist MK-801 into the ventral hippocampus. Four groups of rats were given habituation, tone cued fear conditioning, fear extinction training and extinction test. Prior to extinction training, rats received bilateral infusions of either MK-801 (1.5, 3, or 6μg/0.5μl) or saline. Our results showed that MK-801 reduced freezing on the first trial of extinction training with no impact on within-session acquisition of extinction, and that the lower doses of MK-801 resulted in increased freezing on the extinction retrieval test. These findings suggest that ventral hippocampal NMDARs are necessary for the consolidation of tone cued fear extinction. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Long, Virginia A.; Fanselow, Michael S.
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
Brill-Maoz, Naama; Maroun, Mouna
This study addressed the question of whether extinction in pairs would have a beneficial effect on extinction of fear conditioning. To that end, we established an experimental setting for extinction in which we trained animals to extinguish contextual fear memory in pairs. Taking advantage of the role of oxytocin (OT) in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) in the mediation of memory extinction and social interaction, we also sought to study its role in social interaction-induced effects on extinction. Our results clearly show that the social presence of another animal in the extinction context facilitates extinction, and that this facilitation is mediated through mPFC-OT. Our results suggest that social interaction may be a positive regulator of fear inhibition, implying that social interaction may be an easy, accessible therapeutic tool for the treatment of fear-associated disorders. Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Full Text Available Freezing has become the predominant measure used in rodent studies of conditioned fear, but conditioned suppression of reward-seeking behavior may provide a measure that is more relevant to human anxiety disorders; that is, a measure of how fear interferes with the enjoyment of pleasurable activities. Previous work has found that an isolated presentation of a fear conditioned stimulus prior to extinction training (retrieval + extinction results in a more robust and longer-lasting reduction in fear. The objective of this study was to assess whether the retrieval + extinction effect is evident using conditioned suppression of reward seeking, operationalized as a reduction in baseline licking (without prior water deprivation for a 10% sucrose solution. We found that, compared to freezing, conditioned suppression of reward seeking was much more sensitive to fear conditioning and far less responsive to extinction training. As in previous work, we found that retrieval + extinction reduced post-extinction fear reinstatement when measured as freezing, but it did not reduce fear reinstatement when measured as conditioned suppression. This suggests that there is still residual fear following retrieval + extinction, or that this procedure only modifies memory traces in neural circuits relevant to the expression of freezing, but not to the suppression of reward seeking.
Xu, Liang; Su, Hongyu; Xie, Xiaoyuan; Yan, Pei; Li, Junjiao; Zheng, Xifu
Fear generalization is an etiologically significant indicator of anxiety disorders, and understanding how to inhibit it is important in their treatment. Prior studies have found that reducing fear generalization using a generalization stimulus (GS) is ineffective in removing a conditioned fear that incorporates local features, and that topological properties appear to play a comparatively more significant role in the processes of perception and categorization. Our study utilized a conditioned-fear generalization design to examine whether the topological properties of stimuli influence the generalization and return of fear. Fear was indexed using online expectancy ratings and skin conductance responses (SCRs). The study's 52 participants were divided into three groups: Group 1, conditioned danger cue (CS+) extinction; Group 2, extinction of one GS; Group 3, extinction of three GSs. We found that the three groups acquired conditioned fear at the same level. In the generalization and extinction phase, fear was transferred to the GS with the same topological properties as CS+, and gradual decreases in both shock expectancy and SCRs over non-reinforced extinction trials were observed. In the test phase, participants' online expectancy ratings indicated that fear did not return in Group 1, but did return in Groups 2 and 3. All three groups demonstrated successful GS fear extinction, but only Group 1 did not show a return of fear for CS+. Regarding SCRs results, none of the groups demonstrated a return of fear, suggesting that utilization of topological properties successfully reduced the return of conditioned fear. Our results indicate that, in clinical settings, using GS with topological equivalence to CS+ might offer a potential method with which to extinct conditioned fear.
Full Text Available Fear generalization is an etiologically significant indicator of anxiety disorders, and understanding how to inhibit it is important in their treatment. Prior studies have found that reducing fear generalization using a generalization stimulus (GS is ineffective in removing a conditioned fear that incorporates local features, and that topological properties appear to play a comparatively more significant role in the processes of perception and categorization. Our study utilized a conditioned-fear generalization design to examine whether the topological properties of stimuli influence the generalization and return of fear. Fear was indexed using online expectancy ratings and skin conductance responses (SCRs. The study’s 52 participants were divided into three groups: Group 1, conditioned danger cue (CS+ extinction; Group 2, extinction of one GS; Group 3, extinction of three GSs. We found that the three groups acquired conditioned fear at the same level. In the generalization and extinction phase, fear was transferred to the GS with the same topological properties as CS+, and gradual decreases in both shock expectancy and SCRs over non-reinforced extinction trials were observed. In the test phase, participants’ online expectancy ratings indicated that fear did not return in Group 1, but did return in Groups 2 and 3. All three groups demonstrated successful GS fear extinction, but only Group 1 did not show a return of fear for CS+. Regarding SCRs results, none of the groups demonstrated a return of fear, suggesting that utilization of topological properties successfully reduced the return of conditioned fear. Our results indicate that, in clinical settings, using GS with topological equivalence to CS+ might offer a potential method with which to extinct conditioned fear.
Trouche, Stéphanie; Sasaki, Jennifer M.; Tu, Tiffany; Reijmers, Leon G.
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
Trouche, Stéphanie; Sasaki, Jennifer M; Tu, Tiffany; Reijmers, Leon G
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.
Baker, Kathryn D.; McNally, Gavan P.; Richardson, Rick
Adolescent rats exhibit impaired extinction retention compared to pre-adolescent and adult rats. A single nonreinforced exposure to the conditioned stimulus (CS; a retrieval trial) given shortly before extinction has been shown in some circumstances to reduce the recovery of fear after extinction in adult animals. This study investigated whether a…
Milad, Mohammed R.; Quirk, Gregory J.
The psychology of extinction has been studied for decades. Approximately 10 years ago, however, there began a concerted effort to understand the neural circuits of extinction of fear conditioning, in both animals and humans. Progress during this period has been facilitated by an unusual degree of coordination between rodent and human researchers examining fear extinction. This successful research program could serve as a model for translational research in other areas of behavioral neuroscience. Here we review the major advances and highlight new approaches to understanding and exploiting fear extinction. PMID:22129456
Orsini, Caitlin A.; Maren, Stephen
Over the course of natural history, countless animal species have evolved adaptive behavioral systems to cope with dangerous situations and promote survival. Emotional memories are central to these defense systems because they are rapidly acquired and prepare organisms for future threat. Unfortunately, the persistence and intrusion of memories of fearful experiences are quite common and can lead to pathogenic conditions, such as anxiety and phobias. Over the course of the last thirty years, neuroscientists and psychologists alike have attempted to understand the mechanisms by which the brain encodes and maintains these aversive memories. Of equal interest, though, is the neurobiology of extinction memory formation as this may shape current therapeutic techniques. Here we review the extant literature on the neurobiology of fear and extinction memory formation, with a strong focus on the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying these processes. PMID:22230704
Full Text Available Although impaired fear extinction has repeatedly been demonstrated in patients with anxiety disorders, little is known about whether these impairments persist after treatment. The current comparative exploratory study investigated fear extinction in 26 patients treated for their anxiety disorder in the years preceding the study as compared to 17 healthy control subjects. Fear-potentiated startle and subjective fear were measured in a cue and context fear conditioning paradigm within a virtual reality environment. Results indicated no differences in fear extinction between treated anxiety patients and control subjects. However, scores on the Beck Anxiety Inventory across all participants revealed impaired extinction of fear potentiated startle in subjects with high compared to low anxiety symptoms over the past week. Taken together, this exploratory study found no support for impaired fear extinction in treated anxiety patients, and implies that current anxiety symptoms rather than previous patient status determine the success of extinction.
Duits, Puck; Cath, Danielle C.; Heitland, Ivo; Baas, Johanna M. P.
Although impaired fear extinction has repeatedly been demonstrated in patients with anxiety disorders, little is known about whether these impairments persist after treatment. The current comparative exploratory study investigated fear extinction in 26 patients treated for their anxiety disorder in the years preceding the study as compared to 17 healthy control subjects. Fear-potentiated startle and subjective fear were measured in a cue and context fear conditioning paradigm within a virtual reality environment. Results indicated no differences in fear extinction between treated anxiety patients and control subjects. However, scores on the Beck Anxiety Inventory across all participants revealed impaired extinction of fear potentiated startle in subjects with high compared to low anxiety symptoms over the past week. Taken together, this exploratory study found no support for impaired fear extinction in treated anxiety patients, and implies that current anxiety symptoms rather than previous patient status determine the success of extinction. PMID:26955364
Maroun, Mouna; Ioannides, Pericles J.; Bergman, Krista L.; Kavushansky, Alexandra; Holmes, Andrew; Wellman, Cara L.
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...
Laborda, Mario A; Schofield, Casey A; Johnson, Emily M; Schubert, Jessica R; George-Denn, Daniel; Coles, Meredith E; Miller, Ralph R
Prior studies indicate extinguished fear often partially returns when participants are later tested outside the extinction context. Cues carried from the extinction context to the test context sometimes reduce return of fear, but it is unclear whether such extinction cues (ECs) reduce return of fear of public speaking. Here we assessed return of fear of public speaking, and whether either of two types of ECs can attenuate it. Participants gave speeches of increasing difficulty during an exposure practice session and were tested 2 days later in a different context. Testing occurred in the presence of physical ECs, after mentally rehearsing the exposure session, or without either reminder. Practice reduced fear of public speaking, but fear partially returned at test. Neither physical nor mental ECs reduced partial return of fear of public speaking. The return of extinguished fear of public speaking, although small, was reliable, but not appreciably sensitive to presence of ECs. © The Author(s) 2016.
Li, Yuzhe; Nakae, Ken; Ishii, Shin; Naoki, Honda
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
Li, Yuzhe; Nakae, Ken; Ishii, Shin; Naoki, Honda
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.
Malan-Müller, Stefanie; Fairbairn, Lorren; Daniels, Willie M U; Dashti, Mahjoubeh Jalali Sefid; Oakeley, Edward J; Altorfer, Marc; Kidd, Martin; Seedat, Soraya; Gamieldien, Junaid; Hemmings, Sîan Megan Joanna
D-cycloserine (DCS) has been shown to be effective in facilitating fear extinction in animal and human studies, however the precise mechanisms whereby the co-administration of DCS and behavioural fear extinction reduce fear are still unclear. This study investigated the molecular mechanisms of intrahippocampally administered D-cycloserine in facilitating fear extinction in a contextual fear conditioning animal model. Male Sprague Dawley rats (n = 120) were grouped into four experimental groups (n = 30) based on fear conditioning and intrahippocampal administration of either DCS or saline. The light/dark avoidance test was used to differentiate maladapted (MA) (anxious) from well-adapted (WA) (not anxious) subgroups. RNA extracted from the left dorsal hippocampus was used for RNA sequencing and gene expression data was compared between six fear-conditioned + saline MA (FEAR + SALINE MA) and six fear-conditioned + DCS WA (FEAR + DCS WA) animals. Of the 424 significantly downregulated and 25 significantly upregulated genes identified in the FEAR + DCS WA group compared to the FEAR + SALINE MA group, 121 downregulated and nine upregulated genes were predicted to be relevant to fear conditioning and anxiety and stress-related disorders. The majority of downregulated genes transcribed immune, proinflammatory and oxidative stress systems molecules. These molecules mediate neuroinflammation and cause neuronal damage. DCS also regulated genes involved in learning and memory processes, and genes associated with anxiety, stress-related disorders and co-occurring diseases (e.g., cardiovascular diseases, digestive system diseases and nervous system diseases). Identifying the molecular underpinnings of DCS-mediated fear extinction brings us closer to understanding the process of fear extinction.
An, Bobae; Kim, Jihye; Park, Kyungjoon; Lee, Sukwon; Song, Sukwoon; Choi, Sukwoo
There has been a longstanding debate on whether original fear memory is inhibited or erased after extinction. One possibility that reconciles this uncertainty is that the inhibition and erasure mechanisms are engaged in different phases (early or late) of extinction. In this study, using single-session extinction training and its repetition (multiple-session extinction training), we investigated the inhibition and erasure mechanisms in the prefrontal cortex and amygdala of rats, where neural circuits underlying extinction reside. The inhibition mechanism was prevalent with single-session extinction training but faded when single-session extinction training was repeated. In contrast, the erasure mechanism became prevalent when single-session extinction training was repeated. Moreover, ablating the intercalated neurons of amygdala, which are responsible for maintaining extinction-induced inhibition, was no longer effective in multiple-session extinction training. We propose that the inhibition mechanism operates primarily in the early phase of extinction training, and the erasure mechanism takes over after that.
Wu, Zhong-Min; Yang, Li-Hua; Cui, Rong; Ni, Gui-Lian; Wu, Feng-Tian; Liang, Yong
One of the hypotheses about the pathogenesis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the dysfunction of serotonin (5-HT) neurotransmission. While certain 5-HT receptor subtypes are likely critical for the symptoms of PTSD, few studies have examined the role of 5-HT 3 receptor in the development of PTSD, even though 5-HT 3 receptor is critical for contextual fear extinction and anxiety-like behavior. Therefore, we hypothesized that stimulation of 5-HT 3 receptor in the dorsal hippocampus (DH) could prevent hippocampal autophagy and the development of PTSD-like behavior in animals. To this end, we infused SR57227, selective 5-HT 3 agonist, into the DH after a single prolonged stress (SPS) treatment in rats. Three weeks later, we evaluated the effects of this pharmacological treatment on anxiety-related behaviors and extinction of contextual fear memory. We also accessed hippocampal autophagy and the expression of 5-HT 3A subunit, Beclin-1, LC3-I, and LC3-II in the DH. We found that SPS treatment did not alter anxiety-related behaviors but prolonged the extinction of contextual fear memory, and such a behavioral phenomenon was correlated with increased hippocampal autophagy, decreased 5-HT 3A expression, and increased expression of Beclin-1 and LC3-II/LC3-I ratio in the DH. Furthermore, intraDH infusions of SR57227 dose-dependently promoted the extinction of contextual fear memory, prevented hippocampal autophagy, and decreased expression of Beclin-1 and LC3-II/LC3-I ratio in the DH. These results indicated that 5-HT 3 receptor in the hippocampus may play a critical role in the pathogenesis of hippocampal autophagy, and is likely involved in the pathophysiology of PTSD.
Flores, África; Valls-Comamala, Victòria; Costa, Giulia; Saravia, Rocío; Maldonado, Rafael; Berrendero, Fernando
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.
Flores, África; Valls-Comamala, Victòria; Costa, Giulia; Saravia, Rocío; Maldonado, Rafael; Berrendero, Fernando
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
Hollis, Fiona; Sevelinges, Yannick; Grosse, Jocelyn; Zanoletti, Olivia; Sandi, Carmen
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.
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
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
Datta, Subimal; O'Malley, Matthew W .
Sleep plays an important role in memory consolidation within multiple memory systems including contextual fear extinction memory, but little is known about the mechanisms that underlie this process. Here, we show that fear extinction training in rats, which extinguished conditioned fear, increased both slow-wave sleep and rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep. Surprisingly, 24 h later, during memory testing, only 57% of the fear-extinguished animals retained fear extinction memory. We found that these animals exhibited an increase in phasic pontine-wave (P-wave) activity during post-training REM sleep, which was absent in the 43% of animals that failed to retain fear extinction memory. The results of this study provide evidence that brainstem activation, specifically potentiation of phasic P-wave activity, during post-training REM sleep is critical for consolidation of fear extinction memory. The results of this study also suggest that, contrary to the popular hypothesis of sleep and memory, increased sleep after training alone does not guarantee consolidation and/or retention of fear extinction memory. Rather, the potentiation of specific sleep-dependent physiological events may be a more accurate predictor for successful consolidation of fear extinction memory. Identification of this unique mechanism will significantly improve our present understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie the sleep-dependent regulation of emotional memory. Additionally, this discovery may also initiate development of a new, more targeted treatment method for clinical disorders of fear and anxiety in humans that is more efficacious than existing methods such as exposure therapy that incorporate only fear extinction. PMID:23467372
Zuj, Daniel V; Palmer, Matthew A; Gray, Kate E; Hsu, Chia-Ming K; Nicholson, Emma L; Malhi, Gin S; Bryant, Richard A; Felmingham, Kim L
Considerable research has revealed impaired fear extinction to be a significant predictor of PTSD. Fear extinction is also considered the primary mechanism of exposure therapy, and a critical factor in PTSD recovery. The cognitive theory of PTSD proposes that symptoms persist due to excessive negative appraisals about the trauma and its sequelae. Research has not yet examined the relationship between fear extinction and negative appraisals in PTSD. A cross-sectional sample of participants with PTSD (n =21), and trauma-exposed controls (n =33) underwent a standardized differential fear conditioning and extinction paradigm, with skin conductance response (SCR) amplitude serving as the index of conditioned responses. The Posttraumatic Cognitions Inventory (PTCI) was used to index catastrophic negative appraisals. Participants with PTSD demonstrated a slower decrease in overall SCR responses during extinction and greater negative appraisals compared to the group. A moderation analysis revealed that both negative trauma-relevant appraisals and fear extinction learning were independently associated with PTSD symptoms, but there was no moderation interaction. The current study was limited by a modest sample size, leading to the inclusion of participants with subclinical PTSD symptoms. Further, the current study only assessed fear extinction learning; including a second day extinction recall task may show alternative effects. These findings indicate that negative appraisals and fear extinction did not interact, but had independent relationships with PTSD symptoms. Here we show for the first time in an experimental framework that negative appraisals and fear extinction play separate roles in PTSD symptoms. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Duits, Puck; Richter, Jan; Baas, Johanna M P; Engelhard, Iris M; Limberg-Thiesen, Anke; Heitland, Ivo; Hamm, Alfons O; Cath, Danielle C
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
Baker, Kathryn D; Den, Miriam L; Graham, Bronwyn M; Richardson, Rick
There have been significant advances made towards understanding the processes mediating extinction of learned fear. However, despite being of clear theoretical and clinical significance, very few studies have examined fear extinction in adolescence, which is often described as a developmental window of vulnerability to psychological disorders. This paper reviews the relatively small body of research examining fear extinction in adolescence. A prominent finding of this work is that adolescents, both humans and rodents, exhibit a marked impairment in extinction relative to both younger (e.g., juvenile) and older (e.g., adult) groups. We then review some potential mechanisms that could produce the striking extinction deficit observed in adolescence. For example, one neurobiological candidate mechanism for impaired extinction in adolescence involves changes in the functional connectivity within the fear extinction circuit, particularly between prefrontal cortical regions and the amygdala. In addition, we review research on emotion regulation and attention processes that suggests that developmental changes in attention bias to threatening cues may be a cognitive mechanism that mediates age-related differences in extinction learning. We also examine how a differential reaction to chronic stress in adolescence impacts upon extinction retention during adolescence as well as in later life. Finally, we consider the findings of several studies illustrating promising approaches that overcome the typically-observed extinction impairments in adolescent rodents and that could be translated to human adolescents. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Baker, Kathryn D; Bisby, Madelyne A; Richardson, Rick
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.
Lonsdorf, Tina B; Golkar, Armita; Lindström, Kara M; Haaker, Jan; Öhman, Arne; Schalling, Martin; Ingvar, Martin
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Davis, Patrick; Zaki, Yosif; Maguire, Jamie; Reijmers, Leon G
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.
Raes, A.K.; de Houwer, J.; Verschuere, B.; de Raedt, R.
We examined whether the effect of an extinction phase can be influenced retrospectively by information about the cause of the absence of the unconditioned stimulus (US) during that phase. Participants were subjected to a differential fear conditioning procedure, followed by an extinction procedure.
D'Amico, Davide; Gener, Thomas; de Lagrán, Maria Martínez; Sanchez-Vives, Maria V; Santos, Mónica; Dierssen, Mara
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.
Full Text Available Fear behavior is vital for survival and involves learning contingent associations of non-threatening cues with aversive stimuli. In contrast, excessive levels of fear can be maladaptive and lead to anxiety disorders. Generally, extensive sessions of extinction training correlates with reduced spontaneous recovery. The molecular mechanisms underlying the long-term inhibition of fear recovery following repeated extinction training are not fully understood. Here we show that in rats, prolonged extinction training causes greater reduction in both fear-potentiated startle and spontaneous recovery. This effect was specifically blocked by metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5, but not by mGluR1 antagonists and by a protein synthesis inhibitor. Similar inhibition of memory recovery following prolonged extinction training was also observed in mice. In agreement with the instrumental role of mGluR5 in the prolonged inhibition of fear recovery, we found that FMR1-/- mice which exhibit enhanced mGluR5-mediated signaling exhibit lower spontaneous recovery of fear after extinction training than wild-type littermates. At the molecular level, we discovered that prolonged extinction training reversed the fear conditioning-induced increase in surface expression of GluR1, AMPA/NMDA ratio, postsynaptic density-95 (PSD-95 and synapse-associated protein-97 (SAP97. Accordingly, delivery of Tat-GluR2(3Y, a synthetic peptide that blocks AMPA receptor endocytosis, inhibited prolonged extinction training-induced inhibition of fear recovery. Together, our results demonstrate that prolonged extinction training results in the mGluR5-dependent long-term inhibition of fear recovery. This effect may involve the degradation of original memory and may explain the beneficial effects of prolonged exposure therapy for the treatment of phobias.
Mao, Sheng-Chun; Chang, Chih-Hua; Wu, Chia-Chen; Orejarena, M Juliana; Orejanera, Maria Juliana; Manzoni, Olivier J; Gean, Po-Wu
Fear behavior is vital for survival and involves learning contingent associations of non-threatening cues with aversive stimuli. In contrast, excessive levels of fear can be maladaptive and lead to anxiety disorders. Generally, extensive sessions of extinction training correlates with reduced spontaneous recovery. The molecular mechanisms underlying the long-term inhibition of fear recovery following repeated extinction training are not fully understood. Here we show that in rats, prolonged extinction training causes greater reduction in both fear-potentiated startle and spontaneous recovery. This effect was specifically blocked by metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5), but not by mGluR1 antagonists and by a protein synthesis inhibitor. Similar inhibition of memory recovery following prolonged extinction training was also observed in mice. In agreement with the instrumental role of mGluR5 in the prolonged inhibition of fear recovery, we found that FMR1-/- mice which exhibit enhanced mGluR5-mediated signaling exhibit lower spontaneous recovery of fear after extinction training than wild-type littermates. At the molecular level, we discovered that prolonged extinction training reversed the fear conditioning-induced increase in surface expression of GluR1, AMPA/NMDA ratio, postsynaptic density-95 (PSD-95) and synapse-associated protein-97 (SAP97). Accordingly, delivery of Tat-GluR2(3Y), a synthetic peptide that blocks AMPA receptor endocytosis, inhibited prolonged extinction training-induced inhibition of fear recovery. Together, our results demonstrate that prolonged extinction training results in the mGluR5-dependent long-term inhibition of fear recovery. This effect may involve the degradation of original memory and may explain the beneficial effects of prolonged exposure therapy for the treatment of phobias.
Golkar, Armita; Selbing, Ida; Flygare, Oskar; Ohman, Arne; Olsson, Andreas
Information about what is dangerous and safe in the environment is often transferred from other individuals through social forms of learning, such as observation. Past research has focused on the observational, or vicarious, acquisition of fears, but little is known about how social information can promote safety learning. To address this issue, we studied the effects of vicarious-extinction learning on the recovery of conditioned fear. Compared with a standard extinction procedure, vicarious extinction promoted better extinction and effectively blocked the return of previously learned fear. We confirmed that these effects could not be attributed to the presence of a learning model per se but were specifically driven by the model's experience of safety. Our results confirm that vicarious and direct emotional learning share important characteristics but that social-safety information promotes superior down-regulation of learned fear. These findings have implications for emotional learning, social-affective processes, and clinical practice.
Cole, Sindy; Richardson, Rick; McNally, Gavan P.
Six experiments used a within-subjects renewal design to examine the involvement of kappa opioid receptors (KORs) in regulating the expression and recovery of extinguished fear. Rats were trained to fear a tone conditioned stimulus (CS) via pairings with foot shock in a distinctive context (A). This was followed by extinction training of the CS in…
Treur, J.; Lu et al., B.L.
In this paper a computational model is presented that models how dreaming is used to learn fear extinction. The approach addresses dreaming as internal simulation incorporating memory elements in the form of sensory representations and their associated fear. During dream episodes regulation of fear
Chauveau, Frédéric; Lange, Maren Denise; Jüngling, Kay; Lesting, Jörg; Seidenbecher, Thomas; Pape, Hans-Christian
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.
Whittle, Nigel; Schmuckermair, Claudia; Gunduz Cinar, Ozge; Hauschild, Markus; Ferraguti, Francesco; Holmes, Andrew; Singewald, Nicolas
Anxiety disorders are characterized by persistent, excessive fear. Therapeutic interventions that reverse deficits in fear extinction represent a tractable approach to treating these disorders. We previously reported that 129S1/SvImJ (S1) mice show no extinction learning following normal fear conditioning. We now demonstrate that weak fear conditioning does permit fear reduction during massed extinction training in S1 mice, but reveals specific deficiency in extinction memory consolidation/retrieval. Rescue of this impaired extinction consolidation/retrieval was achieved with d-cycloserine (N-methly-d-aspartate partial agonist) or MS-275 (histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor), applied after extinction training. We next examined the ability of different drugs and non-pharmacological manipulations to rescue the extreme fear extinction deficit in S1 following normal fear conditioning with the ultimate aim to produce low fear levels in extinction retrieval tests. Results showed that deep brain stimulation (DBS) by applying high frequency stimulation to the nucleus accumbens (ventral striatum) during extinction training, indeed significantly reduced fear during extinction retrieval compared to sham stimulation controls. Rescue of both impaired extinction acquisition and deficient extinction consolidation/retrieval was achieved with prior extinction training administration of valproic acid (a GABAergic enhancer and HDAC inhibitor) or AMN082 [metabotropic glutamate receptor 7 (mGlu7) agonist], while MS-275 or PEPA (AMPA receptor potentiator) failed to affect extinction acquisition in S1 mice. Collectively, these data identify potential beneficial effects of DBS and various drug treatments, including those with HDAC inhibiting or mGlu7 agonism properties, as adjuncts to overcome treatment resistance in exposure-based therapies. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled ‘Cognitive Enhancers’. PMID:22722028
Sharko, Amanda C; Fadel, Jim R; Kaigler, Kris F; Wilson, Marlene A
Identifying the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie differential sensitivity to stress is critical for understanding the development and expression of stress-induced disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Preclinical studies have suggested that rodents display different phenotypes associated with extinction of Pavlovian conditioned fear responses, with some rodent populations being resistant to extinction. An emerging literature also suggests a role for orexins in the consolidation processes associated with fear learning and extinction. To examine the possibility that the orexin system might be involved in individual differences in fear extinction, we used a Pavlovian conditioning paradigm in outbred Long-Evans rats. Rats showed significant variability in the extinction of cue-conditioned freezing and extinction recall, and animals were divided into groups based on their extinction profiles based on a median split of percent freezing behavior during repeated exposure to the conditioned cue. Animals resistant to extinction (high freezers) showed more freezing during repeated cue presentations during the within trial and between trial extinction sessions compared with the group showing significant extinction (low freezers), although there were no differences between these groups in freezing upon return to the conditioned context or during the conditioning session. Following the extinction recall session, activation of orexin neurons was determined using dual label immunohistochemistry for cFos in orexin positive neurons in the hypothalamus. Individual differences in the extinction of cue conditioned fear were associated with differential activation of hypothalamic orexin neurons. Animals showing poor extinction of cue-induced freezing (high freezers) had significantly greater percentage of orexin neurons with Fos in the medial hypothalamus than animals displaying significant extinction and good extinction recall (low freezers). Further, the
Golkar, A.; Tjaden, C.; Kindt, M.
Background: Previous studies have suggested that fear memories can be updated when recalled, a process referred to as reconsolidation. Given the beneficial effects of model-based safety learning (i.e. vicarious extinction) in preventing the recovery of short-term fear memory, we examined whether
Byrne, Simon P; Rapee, Ronald M; Richardson, Rick; Malhi, Gin S; Jones, Michael; Hudson, Jennifer L
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.
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.
Bosman, Renske C.; Borg, Charmaine; de Jong, Peter J.
Maladaptive disgust responses are tenacious and resistant to exposure-based interventions. In a similar vein, laboratory studies have shown that conditioned disgust is relatively insensitive to Conditioned Stimulus (CS)-only extinction procedures. The relatively strong resistance to extinction might
Marin, Marie-France; Camprodon, Joan A; Dougherty, Darin D; Milad, Mohammed R
Conditioned fear acquisition and extinction paradigms have been widely used both in animals and humans to examine the neurobiology of emotional memory. Studies have also shown that patients suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) exhibit deficient extinction recall along with dysfunctional activation of the fear extinction network, including the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus. A great deal of overlap exists between this fear extinction network and brain regions associated with symptom severity in PTSD. This suggests that the neural nodes of fear extinction could be targeted to reduce behavioral deficits that may subsequently translate into symptom improvement. In this article, we discuss potential applications of brain stimulation and neuromodulation methods, which, combined with a mechanistic understanding of the neurobiology of fear extinction, could be used to further our understanding of the pathophysiology of anxiety disorders and develop novel therapeutic tools. To this end, we discuss the following stimulation approaches: deep-brain stimulation, vagus nerve stimulation, transcranial direct current stimulation, and transcranial magnetic stimulation. We propose new translational research avenues that, from a systems neuroscience perspective, aim to expand our understanding of circuit dynamics and fear processing toward the practical development of clinical tools, to be used alone or in combination with behavioral therapies. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Doenni, V M; Song, C M; Hill, M N; Pittman, Q J
A large body of evidence has been brought forward connecting developmental immune activation to abnormal fear and anxiety levels. Anxiety disorders have extremely high lifetime prevalence, yet susceptibility factors that contribute to their emergence are poorly understood. In this research we investigated whether an inflammatory insult early in life can alter the response to fear conditioning in adulthood. Fear learning and extinction are important and adaptive behaviors, mediated largely by the amygdala and its interconnectivity with cortico-limbic circuits. Male and female rat pups were given LPS (100μg/kg i.p.) or saline at postnatal day 14; LPS activated cFos expression in the central amygdala 2.5h after exposure, but not the basal or lateral nuclei. When tested in adulthood, acquisition of an auditory cued or contextual learned fear memory was largely unaffected as was the extinction of fear to a conditioned context. However, we detected a deficit in auditory fear extinction in male and female rats that experienced early-life inflammation, such that there is a significant delay in fear extinction processes resulting in more sustained fear behaviors in response to a conditioned cue. This response was specific to extinction training and did not persist into extinction recall. The effect could not be explained by differences in pain threshold (unaltered) or in baseline anxiety, which was elevated in adolescent females only and unaltered in adolescent males and adult males and females. This research provides further evidence for the involvement of the immune system during development in the shaping of fear and anxiety related behaviors. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Talukdar, Gourango; Inoue, Ran; Yoshida, Tomoyuki; Mori, Hisashi
Syntenin-1 is a PDZ domain-containing intracellular scaffold protein involved in exosome production, synapse formation, and synaptic plasticity. We tested whether syntenin-1 can regulate learning and memory through its effects on synaptic plasticity. Specifically, we investigated the role of syntenin-1 in contextual and cued fear conditioning and extinction of conditioned fear using syntenin-1 knockout (KO) mice. Genetic disruption of syntenin-1 had little effect on contextual and cued fear memory. However, syntenin-1 KO mice exhibited selective impairment in cued fear extinction retention. This extinction retention deficit in syntenin-1 KO mice was associated with reduced c-Fos-positive neurons in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and infralimbic cortex (IL) after extinction training and increased c-Fos-positive neurons in the BLA after an extinction retention test. Our results suggest that syntenin-1 plays an important role in extinction of cued fear memory by modulating neuronal activity in the BLA and IL. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Schipper, Pieter; Henckens, Marloes J A G; Lopresto, Dora; Kozicz, Tamas; Homberg, Judith R
Life stress increases risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more prominently so in short-allele carriers of the serotonin transporter linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR). Serotonin transporter knockout (5-HTT -/- ) rats show compromised extinction (recall) of conditioned fear, which might mediate the increased risk for PTSD and reduce the therapeutic efficacy of exposure therapy. Here, we assessed whether acute inescapable stress (IS) differentially affects fear extinction and extinction recall in 5-HTT -/- rats and wildtype controls. Surprisingly, IS experience improved fear extinction recall in 5-HTT -/- rats to the level of wildtype animals, while wildtypes were unaffected by this IS. Thus, whereas 5-HTT -/- rats evidently were more responsive to the stressor, the behavioral consequences presented themselves as adaptive. Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Kelly M. Moench
Full Text Available Dysfunction in corticolimbic circuits that mediate the extinction of learned fear responses is thought to underlie the perseveration of fear in stress-related psychopathologies, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Chronic stress produces dendritic hypertrophy in basolateral amygdala (BLA and dendritic hypotrophy in medial prefrontal cortex, whereas acute stress leads to hypotrophy in both BLA and prelimbic cortex. Additionally, both chronic and acute stress impair extinction retrieval. Here, we examined the effects of a single elevated platform stress on extinction learning and dendritic morphology in infralimbic cortex, a region considered to be critical for extinction. Acute stress produced resistance to extinction, as well as dendritic retraction in infralimbic cortex. Spine density on apical and basilar terminal branches was unaffected by stress. However, animals that underwent conditioning and extinction had decreased spine density on apical terminal branches. Thus, whereas dendritic morphology in infralimbic cortex appears to be particularly sensitive to stress, changes in spines may more sensitively reflect learning. Further, in stressed rats that underwent conditioning and extinction, the level of extinction learning was correlated with spine densities, in that rats with poorer extinction retrieval had more immature spines and fewer thin spines than rats with better extinction retrieval, suggesting that stress may have impaired learning-related spine plasticity. These results may have implications for understanding the role of medial prefrontal cortex in learning deficits associated with stress-related pathologies.
Hamacher-Dang, Tanja C; Merz, Christian J; Wolf, Oliver T
It has been suggested that extinction-based therapy benefits from administration of the stress hormone cortisol. However, it is unclear whether similar effects can be obtained by inducing stress instead of administering cortisol, and whether the effects also persist if memory is tested in a different context (renewal test) or after exposure to an aversive stimulus (reinstatement). The present study therefore applied a fear conditioning (context A, day 1) and extinction (context B, day 2) paradigm in healthy men. After fear extinction, participants were exposed to a stress or control procedure (n = 20 each). Fear retrieval was tested in contexts A and B on day 3. Postextinction stress increased skin conductance responses to the extinguished stimulus in the retrieval and reinstatement test especially in the acquisition context. The context-dependent return of fear may reflect enhancing effects of stress on the consolidation of contextual cues. Copyright © 2014 Society for Psychophysiological Research.
Full Text Available Self-efficacy has been proposed as an important element of a successful cognitive behavioral treatment. Positive changes in perceived self-efficacy have been linked to an improved adaptive emotional and behavioral responding in the context of anxiety-provoking situations. Furthermore, a positive influence of self-efficacy on cognitive functions has been confirmed. The present study examined the effect of verbal persuasion on perceived self-efficacy and fear extinction. Healthy participants were subjected to a standardized differential fear conditioning paradigm. After fear acquisition, half of the participants received a verbal persuasion aimed at increasing perceived self-efficacy. The extinction of fear was assessed immediately thereafter on both the implicit and explicit level. Our results suggest that an increased perceived self-efficacy was associated with enhanced extinction, evidenced on the psychophysiological level and accompanied by more pronounced decrements in conditioned negative valence. Changes in extinction were not due to a decrease in overall emotional reactivity to conditioned stimuli. In addition, debriefing participants about the false positive feedback did not affect the processing of already extinguished conditioned responses during a subsequent continued extinction phase. Our results suggest that positive changes in perceived self-efficacy can be beneficial for emotional learning. Findings are discussed with respect to strategies aimed at increasing extinction learning in the course of exposure-based treatments.
Kutlu, Munir Gunes; Holliday, Erica; Gould, Thomas J
Previously, studies from our lab have shown that while acute nicotine administered prior to training and testing enhances contextual fear conditioning, acute nicotine injections prior to extinction sessions impair extinction of contextual fear. Although there is also strong evidence showing that the acute nicotine's enhancing effects on contextual fear conditioning require high-affinity α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), it is unknown which nAChR subtypes are involved in the acute nicotine-induced impairment of contextual fear extinction. In this study, we investigated the effects of acute nicotine administration on contextual fear extinction in knock-out (KO) mice lacking α4, β2 or α7 subtypes of nAChRs and their wild-type (WT) littermates. Both KO and WT mice were first trained and tested for contextual fear conditioning and received a daily contextual extinction session for 4 days. Subjects received intraperitoneal injections of nicotine (0.18 mg/kg) or saline 2-4 min prior to each extinction session. Our results showed that the mice that lack α4 and β2 subtypes of nAChRs showed normal contextual fear extinction but not the acute nicotine-induced impairment while the mice that lack the α7 subtype showed both normal contextual extinction and nicotine-induced impairment of contextual extinction. In addition, control experiments showed that acute nicotine-induced impairment of contextual fear extinction persisted when nicotine administration was ceased and repeated acute nicotine administrations alone did not induce freezing behavior in the absence of context-shock learning. These results clearly demonstrate that high-affinity α4β2 nAChRs are necessary for the effects of acute nicotine on contextual fear extinction. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Felmingham, Kim L; Zuj, Daniel V; Hsu, Ken Chia Ming; Nicholson, Emma; Palmer, Matthew A; Stuart, Kimberley; Vickers, James C; Malhi, Gin S; Bryant, Richard A
The low expression Met allele of the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism is associated with impaired fear extinction in healthy controls, and poorer response to exposure therapy in patients with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Given that fear extinction underlies exposure therapy, this raises the question of the impact of BDNFVal66Met polymorphism on fear extinction in PTSD, yet this question has not yet been examined. One hundred and six participants (22 PTSD, 46 trauma-exposed controls (TC) and 38 non-trauma exposed controls (NTC)) completed a fear conditioning and extinction task and saliva samples were taken for DNA extraction and genotyped for the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism. Moderation analyses using PROCESS examined whether BDNF genotype (Val-Val vs Met carriers) moderated the relationship between PTSD symptom severity (and diagnostic status) and skin conductance response (SCR) amplitude during fear extinction. The PTSD group displayed significantly slower fear extinction learning compared to TC and NTC in the early extinction phase. The BDNF Val66Met polymorphism moderated the relationship between PTSD and fear extinction learning, such that poorer fear extinction learning was associated with greater PTSD symptom severity (and PTSD diagnostic status) in individuals with the low-expression Met allele, but no relationship was demonstrated in individuals with the Val-Val allele. This study reveals that impaired fear extinction learning is particularly evident in individuals with PTSD who carry the low-expression BDNF Met allele and importantly not in those with the Val-Val allele. This provides novel evidence of a link between BDNF and impaired fear extinction learning in PTSD, which may contribute to poorer response to exposure therapy. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Findings from animal and human experimental studies highlight the importance of fear conditioning processes in the development and treatment of anxiety disorders. The work reported in this thesis was focused on potential abnormalities in the acquisition and extinction of fear in patients with
Lin, Hui-Ching; Mao, Sheng-Chun; Su, Chun-Lin; Gean, Po-Wu
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.
Zuj, Daniel V; Palmer, Matthew A; Malhi, Gin S; Bryant, Richard A; Felmingham, Kim L
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is associated with elevated noradrenergic signaling, which has an impact on emotional learning and memory. Fear extinction is thought to underlie the processes of exposure therapy, however the relationship between noradrenaline and extinction in PTSD is unclear. Participants with PTSD (n = 21), trauma-exposure without PTSD (TC; n = 36), and non-trauma-exposed controls (NTC; n = 27) completed a fear conditioning and extinction paradigm, and conditioned fear was indexed by skin conductance response (SCR). Salivary α-amylase (sAA) collected at baseline and immediately post-fear acquisition was used as an index of noradrenaline, and we examined whether sAA in response to fear acquisition was a moderator between fear extinction and PTSD symptoms. While there was a significant increase in sAA from baseline to post-fear acquisition, this was not modulated by group. Compared to TC and NTC, the PTSD group displayed a slower decline in SCRs during early extinction, which generalized across stimulus type, and was not moderated by sAA. These findings suggest that the relationship between fear extinction and PTSD symptoms does not change as a function of sAA levels; however previous research suggests other processes of fear learning may be associated with noradrenergic activity in PTSD. Crown Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Jones, Carolyn E.; Monfils, Marie-H.
Traumatic experiences early in life can contribute to the development of mood and anxiety disorders that manifest during adolescence and young adulthood. In young rats exposed to acute fear or stress, alterations in neural development can lead to enduring behavioral abnormalities. Here, we used a modified extinction intervention…
Temme, Stephanie J.; Murphy, Geoffrey G.
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…
Bisby, Madelyne A; Baker, Kathryn D; Richardson, Rick
NMDA receptors (NMDARs) are considered critical for the consolidation of extinction but recent work challenges this assumption. Namely, NMDARs are not required for extinction retention in infant rats as well as when extinction training occurs for a second time (i.e., reextinction) in adult rats. In this study, a possible third instance of NMDAR-independent extinction was tested. Although adolescents typically exhibit impaired extinction retention, rats that are conditioned as juveniles and then given extinction training as adolescents (JuvCond-AdolesExt) have good extinction retention. Unexpectedly, this good extinction retention is not associated with an up-regulation of a synaptic plasticity marker in the medial prefrontal cortex, a region implicated in extinction consolidation. In the current study, rats received either the noncompetitive NMDAR antagonist MK801 (0.1 mg/kg, s.c.) or saline before extinction training. In several experiments, rats conditioned and extinguished as juveniles, adolescents, or adults exhibited impaired extinction retention after MK801 compared to saline, but this effect was not observed in JuvCond-AdolesExt rats. Further experiments ruled out several alternative explanations for why NMDAR antagonism did not affect extinction retention in adolescents extinguishing fear learned as a juvenile. These results illustrate yet another circumstance in which NMDARs are not required for successful extinction retention and highlight the complexity of fear inhibition across development. © 2018 Bisby et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
Rattel, Julina A; Miedl, Stephan F; Blechert, Jens; Wilhelm, Frank H
Theoretical models specifying the underlying mechanisms of the development and maintenance of anxiety and related disorders state that fear responses acquired through classical Pavlovian conditioning are maintained by repeated avoidance behaviour; thus, it is assumed that avoidance prevents fear extinction. The present study investigated behavioural avoidance decisions as a function of avoidance costs in a naturalistic fear conditioning paradigm. Ecologically valid avoidance costs - manipulated between participant groups - were represented via time-delays during a detour in a gamified computer task. After differential acquisitions of shock-expectancy to a predictive conditioned stimulus (CS+), participants underwent extinction where they could either take a risky shortcut, while anticipating shock signaled by the CS+, or choose a costly avoidance option (lengthy detour); thus, they were faced with an approach-avoidance conflict. Groups with higher avoidance costs (longer detours) showed lower proportions of avoiders. Avoiders gave heightened shock-expectancy ratings post-extinction, demonstrating 'protecting from extinction', i.e. failure to extinguish. Moreover, there was an indirect effect of avoidance costs on protection from extinction through avoidance behaviour. No moderating role of trait-anxiety was found. Theoretical implications of avoidance behaviour are discussed, considering the involvement of instrumental learning in the maintenance of fear responses. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Lazaroni, Thiago Luiz do Nascimento; Bastos, Cristiane Perácio; Moraes, Márcio Flávio Dutra; Santos, Robson Souza; Pereira, Grace Schenatto
Inappropriate defense-alerting reaction to fear is a common feature of neuropsychiatric diseases. Therefore, impairments in brain circuits, as well as in molecular pathways underlying the neurovegetative adjustments to fear may play an essential role on developing neuropsychiatric disorders. Here we tested the hypothesis that interfering with angiotensin-(1-7) [Ang-(1-7)]/Mas receptor axis homeostasis, which appears to be essential to arterial pressure control, would affect fear memory and extinction. Mas knockout (MasKO) mice, in FVB/N background, showed normal cued fear memory and extinction, but increased freezing in response to context. Next, as FVB/N has poor performance in contextual fear memory, we tested MasKO in mixed 129xC57BL/6 background. MasKO mice behaved similarly to wild-type (WT), but memory extinction was slower in contextual fear conditioning to a weak protocol (1CS/US). In addition, delayed extinction in MasKO mice was even more pronounced after a stronger protocol (3CS/US). We showed previously that Angiotensin II receptor AT1 antagonist, losantan, rescued object recognition memory deficit in MasKO mice. Here, losartan was also effective. Memory extinction was accelerated in MasKO mice after treatment with losartan. In conclusion, we showed for the first time that Ang-(1-7)/Mas axis may modulate fear memory extinction. Furthermore, we suggest MasKO mice as an animal model to study post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kredlow, M Alexandra; Unger, Leslie D; Otto, Michael W
A new understanding of the mechanisms of memory retrieval and reconsolidation holds the potential for improving exposure-based treatments. Basic research indicates that following fear extinction, safety and fear memories may compete, raising the possibility of return of fear. One possible solution is to modify original fear memories through reconsolidation interference, reducing the likelihood of return of fear. Postretrieval extinction is a behavioral method of reconsolidation interference that has been explored in the context of conditioned fear and appetitive memory paradigms. This meta-analysis examines the magnitude of postretrieval extinction effects and potential moderators of these effects. A PubMed and PsycINFO search was conducted through June 2014. Sixty-three comparisons examining postretrieval extinction for preventing the return of fear or appetitive responses in animals or humans met inclusion criteria. Postretrieval extinction demonstrated a significant, small-to-moderate effect (g = .40) for further reducing the return of fear in humans and a significant, large effect (g = 0.89) for preventing the return of appetitive responses in animals relative to standard extinction. For fear outcomes in animals, effects were small (g = 0.21) and nonsignificant, but moderated by the number of animals housed together and the duration of time between postretrieval extinction/extinction and test. Across paradigms, these findings support the efficacy of this preclinical strategy for preventing the return of conditioned fear and appetitive responses. Overall, findings to date support the continued translation of postretrieval extinction research to human and clinical applications, with particular application to the treatment of anxiety, traumatic stress, and substance use disorders. (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved).
Kredlow, M. Alexandra; Unger, Leslie D.; Otto, Michael W.
A new understanding of the mechanisms of memory retrieval and reconsolidation holds the potential for improving exposure-based treatments. Basic research indicates that following fear extinction, safety and fear memories may compete, raising the possibility of return of fear. One possible solution is to modify original fear memories through reconsolidation interference, reducing the likelihood of return of fear. Post-retrieval extinction is a behavioral method of reconsolidation interference that has been explored in the context of conditioned fear and appetitive memory paradigms. This meta-analysis examines the magnitude of post-retrieval extinction effects and potential moderators of these effects. A PubMed and PsycINFO search was conducted through June 2014. Sixty-three comparisons examining post-retrieval extinction for preventing the return of fear or appetitive responses in animals or humans met inclusion criteria. Post-retrieval extinction demonstrated a significant, small-to-moderate effect (g = .40) for further reducing the return of fear in humans and a significant, large effect (g = 0.89) for preventing the return of appetitive responses in animals relative to standard extinction. For fear outcomes in animals, effects were small (g = 0.21) and non-significant, but moderated by the number of animals housed together and the duration of time between post-retrieval extinction/extinction and test. Across paradigms, these findings support the efficacy of this pre-clinical strategy for preventing the return of conditioned fear and appetitive responses. Overall, findings to date support the continued translation of post-retrieval extinction research to human and clinical applications, with particular application to the treatment of anxiety, traumatic stress, and substance use disorders. PMID:26689086
Forcadell, Eduard; Torrents-Rodas, David; Vervliet, Bram; Leiva, David; Tortella-Feliu, Miquel; Fullana, Miquel A
Fear extinction models have a key role in our understanding of anxiety disorders and their treatment with exposure therapy. Here, we tested whether individual differences in fear extinction learning and fear extinction recall in the laboratory were associated with the outcomes of an exposure therapy analog (ETA). Fifty adults with fear of spiders participated in a two-day fear-learning paradigm assessing fear extinction learning and fear extinction recall, and then underwent a brief ETA. Correlational analyses indicated that enhanced extinction learning was associated with better ETA outcome. Our results partially support the idea that individual differences in fear extinction learning may be associated with exposure therapy outcome, but suggest that further research in this area is needed. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Zhang, D; Wang, X; Wang, B; Garza, J C; Fang, X; Wang, J; Scherer, P E; Brenner, R; Zhang, W; Lu, X-Y
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by exaggerated fear expression and impaired fear extinction. The underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms of PTSD are largely unknown. The current pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for PTSD are either ineffective or temporary with high relapse rates. Here we report that adiponectin-deficient mice exhibited normal contextual fear conditioning but displayed slower extinction learning. Infusions of adiponectin into the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus in fear-conditioned mice facilitated extinction of contextual fear. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings in brain slices revealed that intrinsic excitability of DG granule neurons was enhanced by adiponectin deficiency and suppressed after treatment with the adiponectin mimetic AdipoRon, which were associated with increased input resistance and hyperpolarized resting membrane potential, respectively. Moreover, deletion of AdipoR2, but not AdipoR1 in the DG, resulted in augmented fear expression and reduced extinction, accompanied by intrinsic hyperexcitability of DG granule neurons. Adiponectin and AdipoRon failed to induce facilitation of fear extinction and elicit inhibition of intrinsic excitability of DG neurons in AdipoR2 knockout mice. These results indicated that adiponectin action via AdipoR2 was both necessary and sufficient for extinction of contextual fear and intrinsic excitability of DG granule neurons, implying that enhancing or dampening DG neuronal excitability may cause resistance to or facilitation of extinction. Therefore, our findings provide a functional link between adiponectin/AdipoR2 activation, DG neuronal excitability and contextual fear extinction, and suggest that targeting adiponectin/AdipoR2 may be used to strengthen extinction-based exposure therapies for PTSD.
Alvarez-Ricartes, Nathalie; Oliveros-Matus, Patricia; Mendoza, Cristhian; Perez-Urrutia, Nelson; Echeverria, Florencia; Iarkov, Alexandre; Barreto, George E; Echeverria, Valentina
Failure in fear extinction is one of the more troublesome characteristics of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Cotinine facilitates fear memory extinction and reduces depressive-like behavior when administered 24 h after fear conditioning in mice. In this study, it was investigated the behavioral and molecular effects of cotinine, and other antidepressant preparations infused intranasally. Intranasal (IN) cotinine, IN krill oil, IN cotinine plus krill oil, and oral sertraline were evaluated on depressive-like behavior and fear retention and extinction after fear conditioning in C57BL/6 mice. Since calcineurin A has been involved in facilitating fear extinction in rodents, we also investigated changes of calcineurin in the hippocampus, a region key on contextual fear extinction. Short-term treatment with cotinine formulations was superior to krill oil and oral sertraline in reducing depressive-like behavior and fear consolidation and enhancing contextual fear memory extinction in mice. IN krill oil slowed the extinction of fear. IN cotinine preparations increased the levels of calcineurin A in the hippocampus of conditioned mice. In the light of the results, the future investigation of the use of IN cotinine preparations for the extinction of contextual fear memory and treatment of treatment-resistant depression (TRD) in PTSD is discussed.
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.
Fujita, Yosuke; Yamamoto, Shigeto; Morinobu, Shigeru
Pharmacological agents enhancing fear extinction may be promising tools for the treatment of PTSD. Histone acetylation is involved in memory formation, and histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors increase histone acetylation and subsequently enhance fear extinction. In this study, we examined whether vorinostat, an HDAC inhibitor, facilitated fear extinction, using a contextual fear conditioning (FC) paradigm. We found that vorinostat facilitated fear extinction. Next, the levels of global acetylated histone 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). The levels of acetylated histone and NR2B mRNA, but not NR1 or NR2A mRNA, were elevated in the hippocampus 2 h after administration of vorinostat. 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 levels of acetylated histone and the binding of p-CREB to its binding site at the promoter of the NR2B gene were increased. These findings suggest that vorinostat in conjunction with exposure therapy can be a promising new avenue for the treatment of PTSD.
Sartori, Simone B; Maurer, Verena; Murphy, Conor; Schmuckermair, Claudia; Muigg, Patrick; Neumann, Inga D; Whittle, Nigel; Singewald, Nicolas
Despite its success in treating specific anxiety disorders, the effect of exposure therapy is limited by problems with tolerability, treatment resistance, and fear relapse after initial response. The identification of novel drug targets facilitating fear extinction in clinically relevant animal models may guide improved treatment strategies for these disorders in terms of efficacy, acceleration of fear extinction, and return of fear. The extinction-facilitating potential of neuropeptide S, D-cycloserine, and a benzodiazepine was investigated in extinction-impaired high anxiety HAB rats and 129S1/SvImJ mice using a classical cued fear conditioning paradigm followed by extinction training and several extinction test sessions to study fear relapse. Administration of D-cycloserine improved fear extinction in extinction-limited, but not in extinction-deficient, rodents compared with controls. Preextinction neuropeptide S caused attenuated fear responses in extinction-deficient 129S1/SvImJ mice at extinction training onset and further reduced freezing during this session. While the positive effects of either D-cycloserine or neuropeptide S were not persistent in 129S1/SvImJ mice after 10 days, the combination of preextinction neuropeptide S with postextinction D-cycloserine rendered the extinction memory persistent and context independent up to 5 weeks after extinction training. This dual pharmacological adjunct to extinction learning also protected against fear reinstatement in 129S1/SvImJ mice. By using the potentially nonsedative anxiolytic neuropeptide S and the cognitive enhancer D-cycloserine to facilitate deficient fear extinction, we provide here the first evidence of a purported efficacy of a dual over a single drug approach. This approach may render exposure sessions less aversive and more efficacious for patients, leading to enhanced protection from fear relapse in the long term. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of CINP.
Scheveneels, Sara; Boddez, Yannick; Bennett, Marc Patrick; Hermans, Dirk
During exposure therapy, patients are encouraged to approach the feared stimulus, so they can experience that this stimulus is not followed by the anticipated aversive outcome. However, patients might treat the absence of the aversive outcome as an 'exception to the rule'. This could hamper the generalization of fear reduction when the patient is confronted with similar stimuli not used in therapy. We examined the effect of providing information about the typicality of the extinction stimulus on the generalization of extinction to a new but similar stimulus. In a differential fear conditioning procedure, an animal-like figure was paired with a brief electric shock to the wrist. In a subsequent extinction phase, a different but perceptually similar animal-like figure was presented without the shock. Before testing the generalization of extinction with a third animal-like figure, participants were either instructed that the extinction stimulus was a typical or an atypical member of the animal family. The typicality instruction effectively impacted the generalization of extinction; the third animal-like figure elicited lower shock expectancies in the typical relative to the atypical group. Skin conductance data mirrored these results, but did not reach significance. These findings suggest that verbal information about stimulus typicality can be a promising adjunctive to standard exposure treatments. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Jiang, Lizhu; Mao, Rongrong; Tong, Jianbin; Li, Jinnan; Chai, Anping; Zhou, Qixin; Yang, Yuexiong; Wang, Liping; Li, Lingjiang; Xu, Lin
Promoting extinction of fear memory is the main treatment of fear disorders, especially post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, fear extinction is often incomplete in these patients. Our previous study had shown that Rac1 activity in hippocampus plays a crucial role in the learning of contextual fear memory in rats. Here, we further investigated whether Rac1 activity also modulated the extinction of contextual fear memory. We found that massed extinction obviously upregulated hippocampal Rac1 activity and induced long-term extinction of contextual fear in rats. Intrahippocampal injection of the Rac1 inhibitor NSC23766 prevents extinction of contextual fear in massed extinction training rats. In contrast, long-spaced extinction downregulated Rac1 activity and caused less extinction. And Rac1 activator CN04-A promotes extinction of contextual fear in long-spaced extinction rats. Our study demonstrates that inhibition of Rac1 activity in the hippocampus impaired extinction of contextual fear, suggesting that modulating Rac1 activity of the hippocampus may be promising therapy of fear disorders. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Young, M B; Andero, R; Ressler, K J; Howell, L L
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 ...
Michopoulos, Vasiliki; Norrholm, Seth D; Stevens, Jennifer S; Glover, Ebony M; Rothbaum, Barbara O; Gillespie, Charles F; Schwartz, Ann C; Ressler, Kerry J; Jovanovic, Tanja
Psychophysiological hallmarks of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) include exaggerated fear responses, impaired inhibition and extinction of conditioned fear, and decreased discrimination between safety and fear cues. This increased fear load associated with PTSD can be a barrier to effective therapy thus indicating the need for new treatments to reduce fear expression in people with PTSD. One potential biological target for reducing fear expression in PTSD is the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is dysregulated in PTSD. Recent translational rodent studies and cross-sectional clinical studies have shown that dexamethasone administration and the resulting suppression of cortisol in individuals with PTSD leads to a decrease in the fear responses characteristic of PTSD. These data, taken together, suggest that dexamethasone may serve as a novel pharmacologic intervention for heightened fear responses in PTSD. We conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to test our hypothesis that dexamethasone administration and the concomitant suppression of HPA axis hyperactivity would attenuate fear expression and enhance fear extinction in individuals with PTSD. Study participants (n=62) were recruited from Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, GA. Participants were randomized to receive dexamethasone or placebo prior to fear conditioning and extinction, in a counterbalanced design (treatments separated by a week). Both PTSD- (n=37) and PTSD+ (n=25) participants showed significant startle increases in the presence of the danger signal during placebo and dexamethasone treatments (all pextinction blocks during both conditions (p's≤0.001), with PTSD+ participants showing deficits in fear extinction and safety discrimination in the placebo condition. Notably, extinction and discrimination deficits in PTSD+ subjects were markedly reversed with dexamethasone (pextinction and discrimination in individuals with PTSD. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights
Burger, A M; Verkuil, B; Fenlon, H; Thijs, L; Cools, L; Miller, H C; Vervliet, B; Van Diest, I
Extinction memories are fragile and their formation has been proposed to partially rely on vagus nerve activity. We tested whether stimulating the auricular branch of the vagus (transcutaneous VNS; tVNS) accelerates extinction and reduces spontaneous recovery of fear. Forty-two healthy students participated in a 3-day fear conditioning study, where we tested fear acquisition (day 1), fear extinction (day 2) and the retention of the extinction memory (day 3). During extinction, participants were randomly allocated to receive tVNS or sham stimulation concurrently with each CS presentation. During the acquisition and retention phases, all participants received sham stimulation. Indexes of fear included US-expectancy, startle blink EMG and skin conductance responses. Results showed successful acquisition and extinction of fear in all measures. tVNS facilitated the extinction of declarative fear (US expectancy ratings), but did not promote a stronger retention of the declarative extinction memory. No clear effects of tVNS on extinction and retention of extinction were found for the psychophysiological indexes. The present findings provide tentative indications that tVNS could be a promising tool to improve fear extinction and call for larger scale studies to replicate these effects. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Maroun, Mouna; Ioannides, Pericles J; Bergman, Krista L; Kavushansky, Alexandra; Holmes, Andrew; Wellman, Cara L
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.
Maroun, Mouna; Ioannides, Pericles J.; Bergman, Krista L.; Kavushansky, Alexandra; Holmes, Andrew; Wellman, Cara L.
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
Full Text Available The extinction of conditioned fear is dependent on an efficient interplay between the amygdala and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC. In rats, high-frequency electrical mPFC stimulation was shown to improve extinction by a reduction of amygdala activity. However, so far it is unclear whether stimulation of homologues regions in humans might have similar beneficial effects.Healthy volunteers received one-session of either active or sham repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS covering the mPFC while undergoing a two-day fear conditioning and extinction paradigm. rTMS was applied offline after fear acquisition in which one of two faces (CS+ but not CS- was associated with an aversive scream (UCS. Immediate extinction learning (day 1 and extinction recall (day 2 were conducted without UCS delivery. Conditioned responses were assessed in a multimodal approach using fear-potentiated startle (FPS, skin conductance responses (SCR, functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS and self-report scales. Consistent with the hypothesis of a modulated processing of conditioned fear after high-frequency rTMS, the active group showed a reduced CS+/CS- discrimination during extinction learning as evident in FPS as well as in SCR and arousal ratings. FPS responses to CS+ further showed a linear decrement throughout both extinction sessions. This study describes the first experimental approach of influencing conditioned fear by using rTMS which can be a basis for future studies investigating a complementation of mPFC stimulation to cognitive behavioral therapy.
Haaker, Jan; Lonsdorf, Tina B; Schümann, Dirk; Bunzeck, Nico; Peters, Jan; Sommer, Tobias; Kalisch, Raffael
The odds-ratio of smoking is elevated in populations with neuropsychiatric diseases, in particular in the highly prevalent diagnoses of post-traumatic stress and anxiety disorders. Yet, the association between smoking and a key dimensional phenotype of these disorders-maladaptive deficits in fear learning and fear inhibition-is unclear. We therefore investigated acquisition and memory of fear and fear inhibition in healthy smoking and non-smoking participants (N=349, 22% smokers). We employed a well validated paradigm of context-dependent fear and safety learning (day 1) including a memory retrieval on day 2. During fear learning, a geometrical shape was associated with an aversive electrical stimulation (classical fear conditioning, in danger context) and fear responses were extinguished within another context (extinction learning, in safe context). On day 2, the conditioned stimuli were presented again in both contexts, without any aversive stimulation. Autonomic physiological measurements of skin conductance responses as well as subjective evaluations of fear and expectancy of the aversive stimulation were acquired. We found that impairment of fear inhibition (extinction) in the safe context during learning (day 1) was associated with the amount of pack-years in smokers. During retrieval of fear memories (day 2), smokers showed an impairment of contextual (safety context-related) fear inhibition as compared with non-smokers. These effects were found in physiological as well as subjective measures of fear. We provide initial evidence that smokers as compared with non-smokers show an impairment of fear inhibition. We propose that smokers have a deficit in integrating contextual signs of safety, which is a hallmark of post-traumatic stress and anxiety disorders.
Stafford, James M.; Maughan, DeeAnna K.; Ilioi, Elena C.; Lattal, K. Matthew
An issue of increasing theoretical and translational importance is to understand the conditions under which learned fear can be suppressed, or even eliminated. Basic research has pointed to extinction, in which an organism is exposed to a fearful stimulus (such as a context) in the absence of an expected aversive outcome (such as a shock). This…
Waters, Allison M; Pine, Daniel S
Extinction is a key theoretical model of exposure-based treatments, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This study examined whether individual differences in physiological responses and subjective stimulus evaluations as indices of fear extinction predicted response to CBT. Thirty-two nonanxious comparisons and 44 anxious, 7-to-13-year-old children completed a Pavlovian conditioning and extinction task. Anxious children then completed group-based CBT. Skin conductance responses (SCRs) as well as subjective arousal and valence evaluations were measured in response to a conditioned stimulus paired with an aversive tone (CS+) and another conditioned stimulus presented alone (CS-). Both stimuli were presented alone during extinction. Diagnostic and symptom measures were completed before and after treatment. Like nonanxious comparisons, treatment responders did not acquire conditioned negative stimulus evaluations and displayed elevated SCRs that declined significantly across extinction trials. Nonresponders, by contrast, showed elevated negative stimulus evaluations of both CSs that were sensitive to extinction trials but showed no change in SCRs during extinction. Change in physiological but not evaluative indices of fear extinction predicted better treatment outcomes. Individual differences in evaluative and physiological indices of fear extinction might moderate response to CBT. © 2016 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
Saha, Rinki; Knapp, Stephanie; Chakraborty, Darpan; Horovitz, Omer; Albrecht, Anne; Kriebel, Martin; Kaphzan, Hanoch; Ehrlich, Ingrid; Volkmer, Hansjürgen; Richter-Levin, Gal
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.
Li, Susan Shi Yuan; McNally, Gavan P
A key insight of associative learning theory is that learning depends on the actions of prediction error: a discrepancy between the actual and expected outcomes of a conditioning trial. When positive, such error causes increments in associative strength and, when negative, such error causes decrements in associative strength. Prediction error can act directly on fear learning by determining the effectiveness of the aversive unconditioned stimulus or indirectly by determining the effectiveness, or associability, of the conditioned stimulus. Evidence from a variety of experimental preparations in human and non-human animals suggest that discrete neural circuits code for these actions of prediction error during fear learning. Here we review the circuits and brain regions contributing to the neural coding of prediction error during fear learning and highlight areas of research (safety learning, extinction, and reconsolidation) that may profit from this approach to understanding learning. Crown Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Tan, Ji-Wei; Duan, Ting-Ting; Zhou, Qi-Xin; Ding, Ze-Yang; Jing, Liang; Cao, Jun; Wang, Li-Ping; Mao, Rong-Rong; Xu, Lin
Prenatal opiate exposure causes a series of neurobehavioral disturbances by affecting brain development. However, the question of whether prenatal opiate exposure increases vulnerability to memory-related neuropsychiatric disorders in adult offspring remains largely unknown. Here, we found that rats prenatally exposed to morphine (PM) showed impaired acquisition but enhanced maintenance of contextual fear memory compared with control animals that were prenatally exposed to saline (PS). The impairment of acquisition was rescued by increasing the intensity of footshocks (1.2 mA rather than 0.8 mA). Meanwhile, we also found that PM rats exhibited impaired extinction of contextual fear, which is associated with enhanced maintenance of fear memory. The impaired extinction lasted for 1 week following extinction training. Furthermore, PM rats exhibited reduced anxiety-like behavior in the elevated plus-maze and light/dark box test without differences in locomotor activity. These alterations in PM rats were mirrored by abnormalities in synaptic plasticity in the Schaffer collateral-CA1 synapses of the hippocampus in vivo. PS rats showed blocked long-term potentiation and enabled long-term depression in CA1 synapses following contextual fear conditioning, while prenatal morphine exposure restricted synaptic plasticity in CA1 synapses. The smaller long-term potentiation in PM rats was not further blocked by contextual fear conditioning, and the long-term depression enabled by contextual fear conditioning was abolished. Taken together, our results provide the first evidence suggesting that prenatal morphine exposure may increase vulnerability to fear memory-related neuropsychiatric disorders in adulthood. © 2014 Society for the Study of Addiction.
Bosman, Renske C; Borg, Charmaine; de Jong, Peter J
Maladaptive disgust responses are tenacious and resistant to exposure-based interventions. In a similar vein, laboratory studies have shown that conditioned disgust is relatively insensitive to Conditioned Stimulus (CS)-only extinction procedures. The relatively strong resistance to extinction might be explained by disgust's adaptive function to motivate avoidance from contamination threats (pathogens) that cannot be readily detected and are invisible to the naked eye. Therefore, the mere visual presentation of unreinforced disgust eliciting stimuli might not be sufficient to correct a previously acquired threat value of the CS+. Following this, the current study tested whether the efficacy of CS-only exposure can be improved by providing additional safety information about the CS+. For the CSs we included two neutral items a pea soup and a sausage roll, whereas for the Unconditioned Stimulus (US) we used one video clip of a woman vomiting and a neutral one about glass blowing. The additional safety information was conveyed by allowing actual contact with the CS+ or by observing an actress eating the food items representing the CS+. When additional safety information was provided via allowing direct contact with the CS+, there was a relatively strong post-extinction increase in participants' willingness-to-eat the CS+. This beneficial effect was still evident at one-week follow up. Also self-reported disgust was lower at one-week follow up when additional safety information was provided. The current findings help explain why disgust is relatively insensitive to CS-only extinction procedures, and provide helpful starting points to improve interventions that are aimed to reduce distress in disgust-related psychopathology.
Renske C Bosman
Full Text Available Maladaptive disgust responses are tenacious and resistant to exposure-based interventions. In a similar vein, laboratory studies have shown that conditioned disgust is relatively insensitive to Conditioned Stimulus (CS-only extinction procedures. The relatively strong resistance to extinction might be explained by disgust's adaptive function to motivate avoidance from contamination threats (pathogens that cannot be readily detected and are invisible to the naked eye. Therefore, the mere visual presentation of unreinforced disgust eliciting stimuli might not be sufficient to correct a previously acquired threat value of the CS+. Following this, the current study tested whether the efficacy of CS-only exposure can be improved by providing additional safety information about the CS+. For the CSs we included two neutral items a pea soup and a sausage roll, whereas for the Unconditioned Stimulus (US we used one video clip of a woman vomiting and a neutral one about glass blowing. The additional safety information was conveyed by allowing actual contact with the CS+ or by observing an actress eating the food items representing the CS+. When additional safety information was provided via allowing direct contact with the CS+, there was a relatively strong post-extinction increase in participants' willingness-to-eat the CS+. This beneficial effect was still evident at one-week follow up. Also self-reported disgust was lower at one-week follow up when additional safety information was provided. The current findings help explain why disgust is relatively insensitive to CS-only extinction procedures, and provide helpful starting points to improve interventions that are aimed to reduce distress in disgust-related psychopathology.
Liu, Jianfeng; Zhao, Liyan; Xue, Yanxue; Shi, Jie; Suo, Lin; Luo, Yixiao; Chai, Baisheng; Yang, Chang; Fang, Qin; Zhang, Yan; Bao, Yanping; Pickens, Charles L; Lu, Lin
Conditioned fear memories can be updated by extinction during reconsolidation, and this effect is specific to the reactivated conditioned stimulus (CS). However, a traumatic event can be associated with several cues, and each cue can potentially trigger recollection of the event. We introduced a technique to target all diverse cues associated with an aversive event that causes fear. In human experiments, 161 subjects underwent modified fear conditioning, in which they were exposed to an unconditioned stimulus (US) or unreinforced CS to reactivate the memory and then underwent extinction, spontaneous recovery, and reinstatement. In animal experiments, 343 rats underwent contextual fear conditioning under a similar protocol as that used in the human experiments. We also explored the molecular alterations after US reactivation in rats. Presentation of a lower intensity US before extinction disrupted the associations between the different CS and reactivated US in both humans and rats. This effect persisted for at least 6 months in humans and was selective to the reactivated US. This procedure was also effective for remote memories in both humans and rats. Compared with the CS, the US induced stronger endocytosis of alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid glutamate receptors 1 and 2 and stronger activation of protein kinase A, p70S6 kinase, and cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element binding protein in the dorsal hippocampus in rats. These findings demonstrate that a modified US retrieval extinction strategy may have a potential impact on therapeutic approaches to prevent the return of fear. Copyright © 2014 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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
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.
Sugiyama, Azusa; Yamada, Misa; Saitoh, Akiyoshi; Oka, Jun-Ichiro; Yamada, Mitsuhiko
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.
Dadkhah, Masoumeh; Abdullahi, Payman Raise; Rashidy-Pour, Ali; Sameni, Hamid Reza; Vafaei, Abbas Ali
The infralimbic (IL) cortex of the medial prefrontal cortex plays an important role in the extinction of fear memory. Also, it has been showed that both brain glucocorticoid and dopamine receptors are involved in many processes such as fear extinction that drive learning and memory; however, the interaction of these receptors in the IL cortex remains unclear. We examined a putative interaction between the effects of glucocorticoid and dopamine receptors stimulation in the IL cortex on fear memory extinction in an auditory fear conditioning paradigm in male rats. Corticosterone (the endogenous glucocorticoid receptor ligand), or RU38486 (the synthetic glucocorticoid receptor antagonist) microinfusion into the IL cortex 10 min before test 1 attenuated auditory fear expression at tests 1-3, suggesting as an enhancement of fear extinction. The effect of corticosterone, but not RU38486 was counteracted by the dopamine D2 receptor antagonist sulpiride pre-treatment administered into the IL (at a dose that failed to alter freezing behavior on its own). In contrast, intra-IL infusion of the dopamine D1 receptor antagonist SCH23390 pre-treatment failed to alter freezing behavior. These findings provide evidence for the involvement of the IL cortex D2 receptors in CORT-induced facilitation of fear memory extinction. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Jacquart, Jolene; Roquet, Rheall F; Papini, Santiago; Powers, Mark B; Rosenfield, David; Smits, Jasper A J; Monfils, Marie-H
Exposure therapy is an established learning-based intervention for the treatment of anxiety disorders with an average response rate of nearly 50%, leaving room for improvement. Emerging strategies to enhance exposure therapy in humans and fear extinction retention in animal models are primarily pharmacological. These approaches are limited as many patients report preferring non-pharmacological approaches in therapy. With general cognitive enhancement effects, exercise has emerged as a plausible non-pharmacological augmentation strategy. The present study tested the hypothesis that fear extinction and exposure therapy would be enhanced by a pre-training bout of exercise. We conducted four experiments with rats that involved a standardized conditioning and extinction paradigm and a manipulation of exercise. In a fifth experiment, we manipulated vigorous-intensity exercise prior to a standardized virtual reality exposure therapy session among adults with fear of heights. In experiments 1-4, exercise did not facilitate fear extinction, long-term memory, or fear relapse tests. In experiment 5, human participants showed an overall reduction in fear of heights but exercise did not enhance symptom improvement. Although acute exercise prior to fear extinction or exposure therapy, as operationalized in the present 5 studies, did not enhance outcomes, these results must be interpreted within the context of a broader literature that includes positive findings. Taken all together, this suggests that more research is necessary to identify optimal parameters and key individual differences so that exercise can be implemented successfully to treat anxiety disorders. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Samuel Joseph Gershman
Full Text Available Fear memories are notoriously difficult to erase, often recovering over time. The longstanding explanation for this finding is that, in extinction training, a new memory is formed that competes with the old one for expression but does not otherwise modify it. This explanation is at odds with traditional models of learning such as Rescorla-Wagner and reinforcement learning. A possible reconciliation that was recently suggested is that extinction training leads to the inference of a new state that is different from the state that was in effect in the original training. This solution, however, raises a new question: under what conditions are new states, or new memories formed? Theoretical accounts implicate persistent large prediction errors in this process. As a test of this idea, we reasoned that careful design of the reinforcement schedule during extinction training could reduce these prediction errors enough to prevent the formation of a new memory, while still decreasing reinforcement sufficiently to drive modification of the old fear memory. In two Pavlovian fear-conditioning experiments, we show that gradually reducing the frequency of aversive stimuli, rather than eliminating them abruptly, prevents the recovery of fear. This finding has important implications for theories of state discovery in reinforcement learning.
Beckers, T.; Krypotos, A.M.; Boddez, Y.; Effting, M.; Kindt, M.
Fear conditioning is one of the prime paradigms of behavioural neuroscience and a source of tremendous insight in the fundamentals of learning and memory and the psychology and neurobiology of emotion. It is also widely regarded as a model for the pathogenesis of anxiety disorders in a
Zuj, Daniel V; Palmer, Matthew A; Lommen, Miriam; Felmingham, Kim L
Recent prospective studies in emergency services have identified impaired fear extinction learning and memory to be a significant predictor of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), complementing a wealth of cross-sectional evidence of extinction deficits associated with the disorder. Additional
Jovanovic, Tanja; Nylocks, Karin Maria; Gamwell, Kaitlyn L; Smith, Ami; Davis, Telsie A; Norrholm, Seth Davin; Bradley, Bekh
Development of anxiety disorders is associated with neurobiological changes in areas that are a critical part of the fear neurocircuitry. Fear conditioning paradigms can offer insight into the mechanisms underlying the neurobiological ontogeny of anxiety. A small number of studies have focused on the effects of age and anxiety separately in school age children. The present study aimed to investigate these effects in 8-13 year old children with higher and lower trait anxiety. We examined differential fear conditioning and extinction using skin conductance responses and fear-potentiated startle in 60 children recruited from a low-income urban population. The results indicated that children under 10 years of age show poor discrimination of conditioned stimuli, and that anxiety increases fear responses during fear acquisition. After controlling for age and trauma exposure, fear-potentiated startle to the safety cue predicted child anxiety levels suggesting that impaired safety signal learning may be a risk factor for anxiety disorders in adulthood. Identifying risk phenotypes in children may provide opportunities for early intervention and prevention of illness. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Reid HJ Olsen
Full Text Available Because of the use of radiation in cancer therapy, the risk of nuclear contamination from power plants, military conflicts, and terrorism, there is a compelling scientific and public health interest in the effects of environmental radiation exposure on brain function, in particular hippocampal function and learning and memory. Previous studies have emphasized changes in learning and memory following radiation exposure. These approaches have ignored the question of how radiation exposure might impact recently acquired memories, which might be acquired under traumatic circumstances (cancer treatment, nuclear disaster, etc.. To address the question of how radiation exposure might affect the processing and recall of recently acquired memories, we employed a fear-conditioning paradigm wherein animals were trained, and subsequently irradiated (whole-body X-ray irradiation 24 hours later. Animals were given two weeks to recover, and were tested for retention and extinction of hippocampus-dependent contextual fear conditioning. Exposure to irradiation following training was associated with reduced daily increases in body weights over the 22 days of the study and resulted in greater freezing levels and aberrant extinction 2 weeks later. This was also observed when the intensity of the training protocol was increased. Cued freezing levels and measures of anxiety 2 weeks after training were also higher in irradiated than sham-irradiated mice. In contrast to contextual freezing levels, cued freezing levels were even higher in irradiated mice receiving 5 shocks during training than sham-irradiated mice receiving 10 shocks during training. In addition, the effects of radiation on extinction of contextual fear were more profound than those on the extinction of cued fear. Thus, whole body irradiation elevates contextual and cued fear memory recall.
Reimer, Adriano Edgar; de Oliveira, Amanda Ribeiro; Diniz, Juliana Belo; Hoexter, Marcelo Queiroz; Miguel, Euripedes Constantino; Milad, Mohammed Ragib; Brandão, Marcus Lira
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a neuropsychiatric condition that affects men and women equally, but with a sexually dimorphic pattern of development. Reproductive cycle events can influence symptom severity of OCD in females, indicating that ovarian hormones or their interaction with distinct neurotransmitter systems may play a role in OCD pathophysiology. Clinical studies and animal models have confirmed the importance of the serotonergic (5-HT) system in the neurobiology and treatment of OCD. Accordingly, the non-selective 5-HT2c agonist, meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (mCPP), exacerbates symptoms in untreated OCD patients. In rodents, it evokes repetitive behaviors that engage brain areas that are homologous with those found to be dysfunctional in OCD patients. These regions, including the medial prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices, are also involved in fear inhibition, which is impaired in OCD. Here, we treated rats with mCPP (0.5 and 3.0 mg/kg) to evaluate its influence on self-grooming behavior and assess potential fear extinction retention deficits, taking into account sex differences and females' estrous cycle. We found that mCPP exacerbated grooming in male and female rats, irrespective of the estrous cycle phase. Fear extinction retention, however, was impaired only in females. Moreover, females undergoing fear extinction training during the metestrus/diestrus phases of the estrous cycle were more sensitive to the impairments induced by mCPP. Our results indicate that mCPP can induce OCD-like symptoms, exacerbating self-grooming and impairing fear extinction. It suggests that changes in 5-HT signaling through 5-HT2c receptors may have an important role in the OCD pathophysiology and that the influence of gonadal hormones in OCD should be further investigated. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Abiri, Dina; Douglas, Christina E.; Calakos, Katina C.; Barbayannis, Georgia; Roberts, Andrea; Bauer, Elizabeth P.
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...
Carpenter, Russ E.; Summers, Cliff H.
This paper describes a model of fear learning, in which subjects have an option of behavioral responses to impending social defeat. The model generates two types of learning: social avoidance and classical conditioning, dependent upon 1) escape from or 2) social subordination to an aggressor. We hypothesized that social stress provides the impetus as well as the necessary information to stimulate dichotomous goal-oriented learning. Specialized tanks were constructed to subject rainbow trout t...
Martel, Guillaume; Hevi, Charles; Friebely, Olivia; Baybutt, Trevor; Shumyatsky, Gleb P.
Synaptically released Zn[superscript 2+] is a potential modulator of neurotransmission and synaptic plasticity in fear-conditioning pathways. Zinc transporter 3 (ZnT3) knock-out (KO) mice are well suited to test the role of zinc in learned fear, because ZnT3 is colocalized with synaptic zinc, responsible for its transport to synaptic vesicles,…
Huang, Chiung-Chun; Chou, Dylan; Yeh, Che-Ming; Hsu, Kuei-Sen
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.
Full Text Available Consolidation of remote memory enhances immediate early genes induction (IEGs, augments the expression of the presynaptic growth associated protein 43 (GAP-43, and increases the density and size of dendritic spines in anterior cingulate (aCC and infra-limbic (ILC cortices. Remote memory extinction, however, does not uniformly alter consolidation-induced structural changes. In the aCC, the density, but not the size, of spines is reset to pseudo-conditioning levels while novel thin spines are formed in the ILC. Whether IEGs and GAP-43 also undergo region-specific changes upon remote memory extinction is undetermined. Here we confirm in the same batch of mice that c-Fos induction and GAP-43 expression are increased in both the aCC and the ILC 36 days after contextual fear conditioning. We then show that, in both regions, remote memory extinction is associated with decrease of c-Fos induction but no change in GAP-43 expression thus revealing similar, although protein-specific, pre-synaptic adaptations in aCC and ILC neurons. These observations, in addition to our previous report of region-specific post-synaptic structural changes, disclose a complex pattern of extinction-driven neocortical alterations suitable to support erasure or reinstatement of fear according to the environment demand.
Waters, Allison M; Kershaw, Rachel
Anxious children show attention biases towards and away from threat stimuli. Moreover, threat avoidance compared to vigilance predicts a poorer outcome from exposure-based treatments, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), yet the mechanisms underlying this differential response are unclear. Pavlovian fear conditioning is a widely accepted theory to explain the acquisition and extinction of fear, including exposure-based treatments, such as CBT. In typical fear conditioning experiments, anxious children have shown larger physiological responses to an aversive unconditional stimulus (i.e., US on CS+ trials) and to non-reinforced stimuli (CS-) during fear acquisition and to both CSs during fear extinction compared to non-anxious peers. This study examined whether threat avoidance compared to threat vigilance was related to differences in fear acquisition and extinction in anxious children. Thirty-four clinically-anxious children completed a visual probe task including angry-neutral face pairs to determine the direction of threat attention bias as well as a discriminant conditioning and extinction task in which a geometric shape CS+ was paired with an aversive tone US, while the CS- geometric shape was always presented alone during acquisition trials. Both CSs were presented alone during extinction trials. Fear acquisition and extinction were indexed by skin conductance responses (SCR) and subjective measures. Children were classified as threat vigilant (N = 18) and threat avoidant (n = 16) based on the direction of threat attention bias on the visual probe task. During acquisition, threat avoidant relative to threat vigilant anxious children displayed larger orienting SCRs to both CSs during the first block of trials and larger third interval SCRs to the US on CS+ trials as well as on CS- trials. During extinction, threat avoidant anxious children showed delayed extinction of SCRs to both the CS+ and CS- and reported higher subjective anxiety ratings after
Slattery, David A; Neumann, Inga D; Flor, Peter J; Zoicas, Iulia
Pharmacological modulation of metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 (mGluR5) and 7 (mGluR7) was shown to attenuate the acquisition and to facilitate the extinction of cued and contextual, non-social, fear. Using the allosteric mGluR5 antagonist 2-methyl-6-(phenylethynyl)-pyridine (MPEP) and the allosteric mGluR7 agonist N,N'-dibenzyhydryl-ethane-1,2-diamine dihydrochloride (AMN082), we aimed to study how pharmacological blockade of mGluR5 and activation of mGluR7 influence acquisition and extinction of social fear in mice. We could show that when administered before social fear conditioning, neither MPEP nor AMN082 affected acquisition and extinction of social fear, suggesting that mGluR5 inactivation and mGluR7 activation do not alter social fear. However, when administered before social fear extinction, both MPEP and AMN082 impaired social fear extinction and extinction recall. These findings suggest that mGluR5 inactivation and mGluR7 activation are unlikely to prevent the formation of traumatic social memories. Furthermore, medication strategies aimed at augmenting exposure-based therapies for psychiatric disorders associated with social deficits via modulation of mGluR5 and mGluR7 must be pursued cautiously because of their potential to delay social fear extinction processes. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Full Text Available OBJECTIVE: Through association, a large variety of stimuli acquire the property of signaling pleasant or aversive events. Pictures of a wedding or of a plane disaster may serve as cues to recall these events and/or others of a similar nature or emotional tone. Presentation of the cues unassociated with the events, particularly if repeated, reduces the tendency to retrieve the original learning based on that association. This attenuation of the expression of a learned response was discovered by Pavlov 100 years ago, who called it extinction. In this article we review some of the most recent findings about the behavioral and biochemical properties of extinction. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: It has been shown that extinction is a new learning based on a new link formed by the cues and the absence of the original event(s which originated the first association. Extinction does not consist of the erasure of the original memory, but of an inhibition of its retrieval: the original response reappears readily if the former association is reiterated, or if enough time is allowed to pass (spontaneous recovery. Extinction requires neural activity, signaling pathways, gene expression and protein synthesis in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and/or basolateral amygdala, hippocampus, entorhinal cortex and eventually other areas. The site or sites of extinction vary with the task. CONCLUSIONS: Extinction was advocated by Freud in the 1920's for the treatment of phobias, and is used in cognitive therapy to treat diseases that rely on conditioned fear (phobias, panic, and particularly posttraumatic stress disorder. The treatment of learned fear disorders with medications is still unsatisfactory although some have been shown useful when used as adjuncts to behavioral therapy.OBJETIVO: Muitos estímulos podem adquirir características prazerosas ou aversivas por meio da formação de associações. Fotografias de um casamento ou de um acidente aeronáutico podem servir
Abraham, Antony D; Neve, Kim A; Lattal, K Matthew
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.
Matsumoto, Yasutaka; Morinobu, Shigeru; Yamamoto, Shigeto; Matsumoto, Tomoya; Takei, Shiro; Fujita, Yosuke; Yamawaki, Shigeto
Given that impairment of fear extinction plays a pivotal role in the pathophysiology of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), drugs that facilitate fear extinction may be useful as novel treatments for PTSD. Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors have recently been shown to enhance fear extinction in animal studies. Using a single prolonged stress (SPS) paradigm, an animal model of PTSD, we examined whether the HDAC inhibitor vorinostat can facilitate fear extinction in rats, and elucidated the mechanism by which vorinostat enhanced fear extinction, focusing on the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor signals in the hippocampus. Seven days after SPS, rats received contextual fear conditioning, followed by 2-day extinction training. Vorinostat was intraperitoneally injected immediately after second extinction training session. Contextual fear response was assessed 24 h after vorinostat injection. Hippocampal tissues were dissected 2 h after vorinostat injection. The levels of mRNA and protein tested were measured by RT-PCR or western blotting, respectively. Systemic administration of vorinostat with extinction training significantly enhanced fear extinction in SPS rats as compared with the controls. Furthermore, vorinostat enhanced the hippocampal levels of NR2B and calcium/calmodulin kinase II (CaMKII) α and β proteins, accompanied by increases in the levels of acetylated histone H3 and H4. These findings suggest that vorinostat ameliorated the impaired fear extinction in SPS rats, and this effect was associated with an increase in histone acetylation and thereby enhancement of NR2B and CaMKII in the hippocampus. Our results may provide new insight into the molecular and therapeutic mechanisms of PTSD.
Nickerson, Angela; Bryant, Richard A; Brooks, Robert; Steel, Zachary; Silove, Derrick
The Mandaeans are a small religious community originating from Iraq and Iran who are facing the possibility of cultural extinction within the next few generations. This study aimed to examine the relationships between life experiences, psychopathology and fear of cultural extinction in Mandaean refugees. A survey was conducted of 315 adult Iraqi Mandaean refugees living in Australia. Past traumatic experiences and current resettlement difficulties were assessed. Mental health outcomes were also examined, including measures of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. Fear of cultural extinction was measured by items developed in consultation with the Mandaean community. A path analysis was employed to investigate the relationship between trauma, living difficulties, PTSD, depression, and fear of cultural extinction. Results indicated that trauma and living difficulties impacted indirectly on fear of cultural extinction, while PTSD (and not depression) directly predicted levels of anxiety about the Mandaean culture ceasing to exist. The current findings indicate that past trauma and symptoms of posttraumatic stress contribute to fear of cultural extinction. Exposure to human rights violations enacted on the basis of religion has significant mental health consequences that extend beyond PTSD. The relationship between perception of threat, PTSD, and fear of cultural extinction is considered in the context of cognitive models of traumatic stress. Government immigration policy must prioritize the reunification of small, endangered groups to sustain cultural traditions. Treatment interventions implemented with cultural groups facing extinction should take into consideration anxiety about loss of culture.
Blundell, Jacqueline; Blaiss, Cory A; Lagace, Diane C; Eisch, Amelia J; Powell, Craig M
The pharmacology of traumatic memory extinction has not been fully characterized despite its potential as a therapeutic target for established, acquired anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Here we examine the role of endogenous glucocorticoids in traumatic memory extinction. Male C57BL/6J mice were injected with corticosterone (10 mg/kg, i.p.) or metyrapone (50 mg/kg, s.c.) during re-activation of a contextual fear memory, and compared to vehicle groups (N=10-12 per group). To ensure that metyrapone was blocking corticosterone synthesis, we measured corticosterone levels following re-activation of a fear memory in metyrapone- and vehicle-treated animals. Corticosterone administration following extinction trials caused a long-lasting inhibition of the original fear memory trace. In contrast, blockade of corticosteroid synthesis with metyrapone prior to extinction trials enhanced retrieval and prevented extinction of context-dependent fear responses in mice. Further behavioral analysis suggested that the metyrapone enhancement of retrieval and prevention of extinction were not due to non-specific alterations in locomotor or anxiety-like behavior. In addition, the inhibition of extinction by metyrapone was rescued by exogenous administration of corticosterone following extinction trials. Finally, we confirmed that the rise in corticosterone during re-activation of a contextual fear memory was blocked by metyrapone. We demonstrate that extinction of a classical contextual fear memory is dependent on endogenous glucocorticoid synthesis during re-activation of a fear memory. Our data suggest that decreased glucocorticoids during fear memory re-activation may contribute to the inability to extinguish a fear memory, thus contributing to one of the core symptoms of PTSD. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Waters, Allison M; Peters, Rosie-Mae; Forrest, Kylee E; Zimmer-Gembeck, Melanie
Maternal anxiety and depression are significant risk factors for the development of these disorders in offspring. The pathways through which risk is conferred remain unclear. This study examined fear acquisition and extinction in 26 children at high risk for emotional disorders by virtue of maternal psychopathology (n=14 with a mother with a principal anxiety disorder and n=12 with a mother with a principal unipolar depressive disorder) and 31 low risk controls using a discriminative Pavlovian conditioning procedure. Participants, aged between 7 and 14 years, completed 16 trials of discriminative conditioning of two geometric figures, with (CS+) and without (CS-) an aversive tone (US), followed by 8 extinction trials (4×CS+, 4×CS-). In the context of comparable discriminative conditioning, children of anxious mothers showed larger skin conductance responses during extinction to the CS+ compared to the CS-, and to both CSs from the first to the second block of extinction trials, in comparison with low risk controls. Compared to low risk controls, children of depressed mothers showed smaller skin conductance responses to the CS+ than the CS- during acquisition. These findings suggest distinct psychophysiological premorbid risk markers in offspring of anxious and depressed mothers. Copyright © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.
Lin, Chen-Cheng; Tung, Che-Se; Lin, Pin-Hsuan; Huang, Chuen-Lin; Liu, Yia-Ping
Central catecholamines regulate fear memory across the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), amygdala (AMYG), and hippocampus (HPC). However, inadequate evidence exists to address the relationships among these fear circuit areas in terms of the fear symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). By examining the behavioral profile in a Pavlovian fear conditioning paradigm together with tissue/efflux levels of dopamine (DA) and norepinephrine (NE) and their reuptake abilities across the fear circuit areas in rats that experienced single prolonged stress (SPS, a rodent model of PTSD), we demonstrated that SPS-impaired extinction retrieval was concomitant with the changes of central DA/NE in a dissociable manner. For tissue levels, diminished DA and increased NE were both observed in the mPFC and AMYG. DA efflux and synaptosomal DA transporter were consistently reduced in the AMYG/vHPC, whereas SPS reduced NE efflux in the infralimbic cortex and synaptosomal NE transporter in the mPFC. Furthermore, a lower expression of synaptosomal VMAT2 was observed in the mPFC, AMYG, and vHPC after SPS. Finally, negative correlations were observed between retrieval freezing and DA in the mPFC/AMYG; nevertheless, the phenomena became invalid after SPS. Our results suggest that central catecholamines are crucially involved in the retrieval of fear extinction in which DA and NE play distinctive roles across the fear circuit areas. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. and ECNP. All rights reserved.
Karina Soares de Oliveira
Full Text Available ABSTRACT Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive related disorders are highly prevalent and disabling disorders for which there are still treatment gaps to be explored. Fear is a core symptom of these disorders and its learning is highly dependent on the activity of the neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF. Should BDNF-mediated fear learning be considered a target for the development of novel treatments for anxiety and obsessive-compulsive related disorders? We review the evidence that suggests that BDNF expression is necessary for the acquisition of conditioned fear, as well as for the recall of its extinction. We describe the findings related to fear learning and genetic/epigenetic manipulation of Bdnf expression in animals and BDNF allelic variants in humans. Later, we discuss how manipulation of BDNF levels represents a promising potential treatment target that may increase the benefits of therapies that extinguish previously conditioned fear.
Vlachos, Ioannis; Herry, Cyril; Lüthi, Andreas; Aertsen, Ad; Kumar, Arvind
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.
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.
Full Text Available Although posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; DSM-V 309.82 and anxiety disorders (DSM-V 300.xx are widely spread mental disorders, the effectiveness of their therapy is still unsatisfying. Non-invasive brain-stimulation techniques like transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS might be an option to improve extinction learning, which is a main functional factor of exposure-based therapy for anxiety disorders. To examine this hypothesis, we used a fear conditioning paradigm with female faces as conditioned stimuli (CS and a 95-dB female scream as unconditioned stimulus (UCS. We aimed to perform a tDCS of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC, which is mainly involved in the control of extinction-processes. Therefore, we applied two 4 × 4 cm electrodes approximately at the EEG-positions F7 and F8 and used a direct current of 1.5 mA. The 20-min stimulation was started during a 10-min break between acquisition and extinction and went on overall extinction-trials. The healthy participants were randomly assigned in two double-blinded process into two sham stimulation and two verum stimulation groups with opposite current flow directions. To measure the fear reactions, we used skin conductance responses (SCR and subjective ratings. We performed a generalized estimating equations model for the SCR to assess the impact of tDCS and current flow direction on extinction processes for all subjects that showed a successful conditioning (N = 84. The results indicate that tDCS accelerates early extinction processes with a significantly faster loss of CS+/CS– discrimination. The discrimination loss was driven by a significant decrease in reaction toward the CS+ as well as an increase in reaction toward the CS– in the tDCS verum groups, whereas the sham groups showed no significant reaction changes during this period. Therefore, we assume that tDCS of the vmPFC can be used to enhance early extinction processes successfully. But before it should be
Melo, Irene; Ehrlich, Ingrid
Sleep promotes memory, particularly for declarative learning. However, its role in non-declarative, emotional memories is less well understood. Some studies suggest that sleep may influence fear-related memories, and thus may be an important factor determining the outcome of treatments for emotional disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Here, we investigated the effect of sleep deprivation and time of day on fear extinction memory consolidation. Mice were subjected to a cued Pavlovian fear and extinction paradigm at the beginning of their resting or active phase. Immediate post-extinction learning sleep deprivation for 5h compromised extinction memory when tested 24h after learning. Context-dependent extinction memory recall was completely prevented by sleep-manipulation during the resting phase, while impairment was milder during the active phase and extinction memory retained its context-specificity. Importantly, control experiments excluded confounding factors such as differences in baseline locomotion, fear generalization and stress hormone levels. Together, our findings indicate that post-learning sleep supports cued fear extinction memory consolidation in both circadian phases. The lack of correlation between memory efficacy and sleep time suggests that extinction memory may be influenced by specific sleep events in the early consolidation period. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kuhn, Cynthia M.; LaBar, Kevin S.; Zorawski, Michael; Blanding, Nineequa Q.
We examined the relationship between stress hormone (cortisol) release and acquisition and consolidation of conditioned fear learning in healthy adults. Participants underwent acquisition of differential fear conditioning, and consolidation was assessed in a 24-h delayed extinction test. The acquisition phase was immediately followed by an 11-min…
Brinks, V; de Kloet, E R; Oitzl, M S
Corticosterone, the naturally occurring glucocorticoid of rodents is secreted in response to stressors and is known for its facilitating and detrimental effects on emotional learning and memory. The large variability in the action of corticosterone on processing of emotional memories is postulated to depend on genetic background and the spatio-temporal domain in which the hormone operates. To address this hypothesis, mice of two strains with distinct corticosterone secretory patterns and behavioural phenotype (BALB/c and C57BL/6J) were treated with corticosterone (250 microg/kg, i.p.), either 5 min before or directly after acquisition in a fear conditioning task. As the paradigm allowed assessing in one experimental procedure both context- and cue-related fear behaviour, we were able to detect generalization and specificity of fear. BALB/c showed generalized strong fear memory, while C57BL/6J mice discriminated between freezing during context- and cue episodes. Corticosterone had opposite effects on fear memory depending on the strain and time of injection. Corticosterone after acquisition did not affect C57BL/6J mice, but destabilized consolidation and facilitated extinction in BALB/c. Corticosterone 5 min before acquisition strengthened stress-associated signals: BALB/c no longer showed lower fear memory, while C57BL/6J mice displayed increased fear memory and impaired extinction in cue episodes. We propose that corticosterone-induced facilitation of fear memory in C57BL/6J mice can be used to study the development of fear memories, corticosterone administration in BALB/c mice presents a model to examine treatment. We conclude that genetic background and time of corticosterone action are modifiers of fear memory with interesting translational implications for anxiety-related diseases.
Sepulveda-Orengo, Marian T; Lopez, Ana V; Soler-Cedeño, Omar; Porter, James T
Studies suggest that plasticity in the infralimbic prefrontal cortex (IL) in rodents and its homolog in humans is necessary for inhibition of fear during the recall of fear extinction. The recall of extinction is impaired by locally blocking metabotropic glutamate receptor type 5 (mGluR5) activation in IL during extinction training. This finding suggests that mGluR5 stimulation may lead to IL plasticity needed for fear extinction. To test this hypothesis, we recorded AMPA and NMDA currents, AMPA receptor (AMPAR) rectification, and intrinsic excitability in IL pyramidal neurons in slices from trained rats using whole-cell patch-clamp recording. We observed that fear extinction increases the AMPA/NMDA ratio, consistent with insertion of AMPARs into IL synapses. In addition, extinction training increased inward rectification, suggesting that extinction induces the insertion of calcium-permeable (GluA2-lacking) AMPARs into IL synapses. Consistent with this, selectively blocking calcium-permeable AMPARs with Naspm reduced the AMPA EPSCs in IL neurons to a larger degree after extinction. Extinction-induced changes in AMPA/NMDA ratio, rectification, and intrinsic excitability were blocked with an mGluR5 antagonist. These findings suggest that mGluR5 activation leads to consolidation of fear extinction by regulating the intrinsic excitability of IL neurons and modifying the composition of AMPARs in IL synapses. Therefore, impaired mGluR5 activity in IL synapses could be one factor that causes inappropriate modulation of fear expression leading to anxiety disorders.
Lonsdorf, Tina B; Merz, Christian J
Why do only some individuals develop pathological anxiety following adverse events? Fear acquisition, extinction and return of fear paradigms serve as experimental learning models for the development, treatment and relapse of anxiety. Individual differences in experimental performance were however mostly regarded as 'noise' by researchers interested in basic associative learning principles. Our work for the first time presents a comprehensive literature overview and methodological discussion on inter-individual differences in fear acquisition, extinction and return of fear. We tell a story from noise that steadily develops into a meaningful tune and converges to a model of mechanisms contributing to individual risk/resilience with respect to fear and anxiety-related behavior. Furthermore, in light of the present 'replicability crisis' we identify methodological pitfalls and provide suggestions for study design and analyses tailored to individual difference research in fear conditioning. Ultimately, synergistic transdisciplinary and collaborative efforts hold promise to not only improve our mechanistic understanding but can also be expected to contribute to the development of specifically tailored ('individualized') intervention and targeted prevention programs in the future. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Tada, Mitsuhiro; Uchida, Hiroyuki; Maeda, Takaki; Konishi, Mika; Umeda, Satoshi; Terasawa, Yuri; Nakajima, Shinichiro; Mimura, Masaru; Miyazaki, Tomoyuki; Takahashi, Takuya
Psychophysiological markers have been focused to investigate the psychopathology of psychiatric disorders and personality subtypes. In order to understand neurobiological mechanisms underlying these conditions, fear-conditioning model has been widely used. However, simple aversive stimuli are too simplistic to understand mechanisms because most patients with psychiatric disorders are affected by social stressors. The objective of this study was to test the feasibility of a newly-designed conditioning experiment using a stimulus to cause interpersonal conflicts and examine associations between personality traits and response to that stimulus. Twenty-nine healthy individuals underwent the fear conditioning and extinction experiments in response to three types of stimuli: a simple aversive sound, disgusting pictures, and pictures of an actors' face with unpleasant verbal messages that were designed to cause interpersonal conflicts. Conditioned response was quantified by the skin conductance response (SCR). Correlations between the SCR changes, and personality traits measured by the Zanarini Rating Scale for Borderline Personality Disorder (ZAN-BPD) and Revised NEO Personality Inventory were explored. The interpersonal conflict stimulus resulted in successful conditioning, which was subsequently extinguished, in a similar manner as the other two stimuli. Moreover, a greater degree of conditioned response to the interpersonal conflict stimulus correlated with a higher ZAN-BPD total score. Fear conditioning and extinction can be successfully achieved, using interpersonal conflicts as a stimulus. Given that conditioned fear caused by the interpersonal conflicts is likely associated with borderline personality traits, this paradigm could contribute to further understanding of underlying mechanisms of interpersonal fear implicated in borderline personality disorder.
Tada, Mitsuhiro; Uchida, Hiroyuki; Maeda, Takaki; Konishi, Mika; Umeda, Satoshi; Terasawa, Yuri; Nakajima, Shinichiro; Mimura, Masaru; Miyazaki, Tomoyuki; Takahashi, Takuya
Psychophysiological markers have been focused to investigate the psychopathology of psychiatric disorders and personality subtypes. In order to understand neurobiological mechanisms underlying these conditions, fear-conditioning model has been widely used. However, simple aversive stimuli are too simplistic to understand mechanisms because most patients with psychiatric disorders are affected by social stressors. The objective of this study was to test the feasibility of a newly-designed conditioning experiment using a stimulus to cause interpersonal conflicts and examine associations between personality traits and response to that stimulus. Twenty-nine healthy individuals underwent the fear conditioning and extinction experiments in response to three types of stimuli: a simple aversive sound, disgusting pictures, and pictures of an actors’ face with unpleasant verbal messages that were designed to cause interpersonal conflicts. Conditioned response was quantified by the skin conductance response (SCR). Correlations between the SCR changes, and personality traits measured by the Zanarini Rating Scale for Borderline Personality Disorder (ZAN-BPD) and Revised NEO Personality Inventory were explored. The interpersonal conflict stimulus resulted in successful conditioning, which was subsequently extinguished, in a similar manner as the other two stimuli. Moreover, a greater degree of conditioned response to the interpersonal conflict stimulus correlated with a higher ZAN-BPD total score. Fear conditioning and extinction can be successfully achieved, using interpersonal conflicts as a stimulus. Given that conditioned fear caused by the interpersonal conflicts is likely associated with borderline personality traits, this paradigm could contribute to further understanding of underlying mechanisms of interpersonal fear implicated in borderline personality disorder. PMID:25978817
Kutlu, Munir Gunes; Garrett, Brendan; Gadiwalla, Sana; Tumolo, Jessica M; Gould, Thomas J
Previous research has shown that acute nicotine, an agonist of nAChRs, impaired fear extinction. However, the effects of acute nicotine on consolidation of contextual fear extinction memories and associated cell signaling cascades are unknown. Therefore, we examined the effects of acute nicotine injections before (pre-extinction) and after (post-extinction) contextual fear extinction on behavior and the phosphorylation of dorsal and ventral hippocampal ERK1/2 and JNK1 and protein levels on the 1st and 3rd day of extinction. Our results showed that acute nicotine administered prior to extinction sessions downregulated the phosphorylated forms of ERK1/2 in the ventral hippocampus, but not dorsal hippocampus, and JNK1 in both dorsal and ventral hippocampus on the 3rd extinction day. These effects were absent on the 1st day of extinction. We also showed that acute nicotine administered immediately and 30 min, but not 6 h, following extinction impaired contextual fear extinction suggesting that acute nicotine disrupts consolidation of contextual fear extinction memories. Finally, acute nicotine injections immediately after extinction sessions upregulated the phosphorylated forms of ERK1/2 in the ventral hippocampus, but did not affect JNK1. These results show that acute nicotine impairs contextual fear extinction potentially by altering molecular processes responsible for the consolidation of extinction memories. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Tronson, Natalie C.; Wiseman, Shari L.; Neve, Rachael L.; Nestler, Eric J.; Olausson, Peter; Taylor, Jane R.
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…
Andrew T Massey
Full Text Available Early life seizures are often associated with cognitive and psychiatric comorbidities that are detrimental to quality of life. In a rat model of early life seizures (ELS, we explored long-term cognitive outcomes in adult rats. Using ACTH, an endogeneous HPA-axis hormone given to children with severe epilepsy, we sought to prevent cognitive deficits. Through comparisons with dexamethasone, we sought to dissociate the corticosteroid effects of ACTH from other potential mechanisms of action. We found that while rats with a history of ELS were able to acquire a conditioned fear learning paradigm as well as controls, these rats had significant deficits in their ability to extinguish fearful memories. ACTH treatment did not alter any seizure parameters but nevertheless was able to significantly improve this fear extinction, while dexamethasone treatment during the same period did not. This ACTH effect was specific for fear extinction deficits and not for spatial learning deficits in a water maze. Additionally, ACTH did not alter seizure latency or duration suggesting that cognitive and seizure outcomes may be dissociable. Expression levels of melanocortin receptors, which bind ACTH, were found to be significantly lower in animals that had experienced ELS than in control animals, potentially implicating central melanocortin receptor dysregulation in the effects of ELS and suggesting a mechanism of action for ACTH. Taken together, these data suggest that early treatment with ACTH can have significant long-term consequences for cognition in animals with a history of ELS independently of seizure cessation, and may act in part through a CNS melanocortin receptor pathway.
Andero, Raül; Ressler, Kerry J
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
Abraham, Antony D; Neve, Kim A; Lattal, K Matthew
Research on dopamine lies at the intersection of sophisticated theoretical and neurobiological approaches to learning and memory. Dopamine has been shown to be 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 reward-related tasks. A parallel and growing literature indicates that dopamine is involved in fear conditioning and extinction. These studies are consistent with long-standing ideas about appetitive-aversive interactions in learning theory and they speak to the general nature of cellular and molecular processes that underlie behavior. We review the behavioral and neurobiological literature showing a role for dopamine in fear conditioning and extinction. At a cellular level, we review dopamine signaling and receptor pharmacology, cellular and molecular events that follow dopamine receptor activation, and brain systems in which dopamine functions. At a behavioral level, we describe theories of learning and dopamine function that could describe the fundamental rules underlying how dopamine modulates different aspects of learning and memory processes. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Abraham, Antony D.; Neve, Kim A.; Lattal, K. Matthew
Research on dopamine lies at the intersection of sophisticated theoretical and neurobiological approaches to learning and memory. Dopamine has been shown to be 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 reward-related tasks. A parallel and growing literature indicates that dopamine is involved in fear conditioning and extinction. These studies are consistent with long-standing ideas about appetitive-aversive interactions in learning theory and they speak to the general nature of cellular and molecular processes that underlie behavior. We review the behavioral and neurobiological literature showing a role for dopamine in fear conditioning and extinction. At a cellular level, we review dopamine signaling and receptor pharmacology, cellular and molecular events that follow dopamine receptor activation, and brain systems in which dopamine functions. At a behavioral level, we describe theories of learning and dopamine function that could describe the fundamental rules underlying how dopamine modulates different aspects of learning and memory processes. PMID:24269353
Voulo, Meagan E.; Parsons, Ryan G.
Fear conditioning studies in rodents allow us to assess vulnerability factors which might underlie fear-based psychopathology such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Despite PTSD being more prevalent in females than males, very few fear conditioning studies in rodents have tested females. Our study assessed fear conditioning and extinction…
Knox, Dayan; Stanfield, Briana R; Staib, Jennifer M; David, Nina P; DePietro, Thomas; Chamness, Marisa; Schneider, Elizabeth K; Keller, Samantha M; Lawless, Caroline
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.
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.
Laurent, Vincent; Chieng, Billy; Balleine, Bernard W
Extinction involves altering a previously established predictive relationship between a cue and its outcome by repeatedly presenting that cue alone. Although it is widely accepted that extinction generates some form of inhibitory learning [1-4], direct evidence for this claim has been lacking, and the nature of the associative changes induced by extinction have, therefore, remained a matter of debate [5-8]. In the current experiments, we used a novel behavioral approach that we recently developed and that provides a direct measure of conditioned inhibition  to compare the influence of extinguished and non-extinguished cues on choice between goal-directed actions. Using this approach, we provide direct evidence that extinction generates outcome-specific conditioned inhibition. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this inhibitory learning is controlled by the infralimbic cortex (IL); inactivation of the IL using M4 DREADDs abolished outcome-specific inhibition and rendered the cue excitatory. Importantly, we found that context modulated this inhibition. Outside its extinction context, the cue was excitatory and functioned as a specific predictor of its previously associated outcome, biasing choice toward actions earning the same outcome. In its extinction context, however, the cue acted as a specific inhibitor and biased choice toward actions earning different outcomes. Context modulation of these excitatory and inhibitory memories was mediated by the dorsal hippocampus (HPC), suggesting that the HPC and IL act in concert to control the influence of conditioned inhibitors on choice. These findings demonstrate for the first time that extinction turns a cue into a net inhibitor that can influence choice via counterfactual action-outcome associations. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Powers, M.B.; Smits, J.A.J.; Otto, M.W.; Sanders, C.; Emmelkamp, P.M.G.
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
Hung, Hui-Chi; Hsiao, Ya-Hsin; Gean, Po-Wu
It is now recognized that neurogenesis occurs throughout life predominantly in the subgranular zone (SGZ) of the hippocampus and the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the lateral ventricle. In the present study, we investigated the relationship between neurogenesis in the amygdala and extinction of fear memory. Mice received 15 tone-footshock pairings. Twenty-four hours after training, the mice were given 15 tone-alone trials (extinction training) once per day for 7 days. Two hours before extinction training, the mice were injected intraperitoneally with 5-bromo-3-deoxyuridine (BrdU). BrdU-positive and NeuN-positive cells were analyzed 52 days after the training. A group of mice that received tone-footshock pairings but no extinction training served as controls (FC+No-Ext). The number of BrdU(+)/NeuN(+) cells was significantly higher in the extinction (FC+Ext) than in the FC+No-Ext mice. Proliferation inhibitor methylazoxymethanol acetate (MAM) or DNA synthesis inhibitor cytosine arabinoside (Ara-C) reduced neurogenesis and retarded extinction. Silencing Sonic hedgehog (Shh) gene with short hairpin interfering RNA (shRNA) by means of a retrovirus expression system to knockdown Shh specifically in the mitotic neurons reduced neurogenesis and retarded extinction. By contrast, over-expression of Shh increased neurogenesis and facilitated extinction. These results suggest that amygdala neurogenesis and Shh signaling are involved in the extinction of fear memory. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. and ECNP. All rights reserved.
Jones, Carolyn E.
Traumatic experiences early in life can contribute to the development of mood and anxiety disorders that manifest during adolescence and young adulthood. In young rats exposed to acute fear or stress, alterations in neural development can lead to enduring behavioral abnormalities. Here, we used a modified extinction intervention (retrieval+extinction) during late adolescence (post-natal day 45 [p45]), in rats, to target auditory Pavlovian fear associations acquired as juveniles (p17 and p25). The effects of adolescent intervention were examined by assessing freezing as adults during both fear reacquisition and social transmission of fear from a cagemate. Rats underwent testing or training at three time points across development: juvenile (p17 or p25), adolescent (p45), and adult (p100). Retrieval+extinction during late adolescence prevented social reinstatement and recovery over time of fears initially acquired as juveniles (p17 and p25, respectively). Adolescence was the only time point tested here where retrieval+extinction prevented fear recall of associations acquired 20+ days earlier. PMID:27634147
Koseki, Hiroyo; Matsumoto, Machiko; Togashi, Hiroko; Miura, Yoshihide; Fukushima, Kazuaki; Yoshioka, Mitsuhiro
The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) has been proposed to be essential for extinction of fear memory, but its neural mechanism has been poorly understood. The present study examined whether synaptic transmission in the hippocampal-mPFC pathway is related to extinction of context-dependent fear memory in freely moving rats using electrophysiological approaches combined with behavioral analysis. Population spike amplitude in the mPFC was decreased during the first extinction trial by exposure to contextual fear conditioning. This synaptic inhibition was reversed by repeated extinction trials, accompanied by decreases in fear-related freezing behavior. These results suggest that alteration of synaptic transmission in the hippocampal-mPFC pathway is associated with the extinction processes of context-dependent fear memory. Further experiments were performed to elucidate whether early postnatal stress alters the synaptic response in the mPFC during extinction trials using a juvenile stress model, based on our previous findings that early postnatal stress affects the behavioral response to emotional stress. Adult rats that previously were exposed to five footshocks (FS) (shock intensity, 0.5 mA; intershock interval, 28 seconds; shock duration, 2 seconds) at postnatal day 21 to 25 (week 3; 3W-FS) exhibited impaired reversal of both inhibitory synaptic transmission and freezing behavior induced by repeated extinction trials. The neuronal and behavioral deficits observed in the 3W-FS group were prevented by pretreatment with the serotonin(1A) receptor agonist tandospirone (1 mg/kg, i.p.). These results indicate the possiblity that aversive stress exposure during the third postnatal week impaired extinction processes of context-dependent fear memory. The deficits in extinction observed in the 3W-FS group might be attributable to dysfunction of hippocampal-mPFC neural circuits involving 5-HT(1A) receptor mechanisms. 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Sawamura, Takehito; Klengel, Torsten; Armario, Antonio; Jovanovic, Tanja; Norrholm, Seth D; Ressler, Kerry J; Andero, Raül
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.
Hoffman, Ann N; Lorson, Nickolaus G; Sanabria, Federico; Foster Olive, M; Conrad, Cheryl D
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.
Bentz, Dorothée; Michael, Tanja; Wilhelm, Frank H; Hartmann, Francina R; Kunz, Sabrina; von Rohr, Isabelle R Rudolf; de Quervain, Dominique J-F
It is widely assumed that learning and memory processes play an important role in the pathogenesis, expression, maintenance and therapy of anxiety disorders, such as phobias or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Memory retrieval is involved in symptom expression and maintenance of these disorders, while memory extinction is believed to be the underlying mechanism of behavioral exposure therapy of anxiety disorders. There is abundant evidence that stress and stress hormones can reduce memory retrieval of emotional information, whereas they enhance memory consolidation of extinction training. In this study we aimed at investigating if stress affects these memory processes in a fear conditioning paradigm in healthy human subjects. On day 1, fear memory was acquired through a standard differential fear conditioning procedure. On day 2 (24h after fear acquisition), participants either underwent a stressful cold pressor test (CPT) or a control condition, 20 min before memory retrieval testing and extinction training. Possible prolonged effects of the stress manipulation were investigated on day 3 (48 h after fear acquisition), when memory retrieval and extinction were tested again. On day 2, men in the stress group showed a robust cortisol response to stress and showed lower unconditioned stimulus (US) expectancy ratings than men in the control group. This reduction in fear memory retrieval was maintained on day 3. In women, who showed a significantly smaller cortisol response to stress than men, no stress effects on fear memory retrieval were observed. No group differences were observed with respect to extinction. In conclusion, the present study provides evidence that stress can reduce memory retrieval of conditioned fear in men. Our findings may contribute to the understanding of the effects of stress and glucocorticoids on fear symptoms in anxiety disorders and suggest that such effects may be sex-specific. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Kutlu, Munir Gunes; Cole, Robert D; Connor, David A; Natwora, Brendan; Gould, Thomas J
Anxiety and stress disorders have been linked to deficits in fear extinction. Our laboratory and others have demonstrated that acute nicotine impairs contextual fear extinction, suggesting that nicotine exposure may have negative effects on anxiety and stress disorder symptomatology. However, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the acute nicotine-induced impairment of contextual fear extinction are unknown. Therefore, based on the previous studies showing that brain-derived neurotrophic factor is central for fear extinction learning and acute nicotine dysregulates brain-derived neurotrophic factor signaling, we hypothesized that the nicotine-induced impairment of contextual fear extinction may involve changes in tyrosine receptor kinase B signaling. To test this hypothesis, we systemically, intraperitoneally, injected C57BL/6J mice sub-threshold doses (2.5 and 4.0 mg/kg) of 7,8-dihydroxyflavone, a small-molecule tyrosine receptor kinase B agonist that fully mimics the effects of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or vehicle an hour before each contextual fear extinction session. Mice also received injections, intraperitoneally, of acute nicotine (0.18 mg/kg) or saline 2-4 min before extinction sessions. While the animals that received only 7,8-dihydroxyflavone did not show any changes in contextual fear extinction, 4.0 mg/kg of 7,8-dihydroxyflavone ameliorated the extinction deficits in mice administered acute nicotine. Overall, these results suggest that acute nicotine-induced impairment of context extinction may be related to a disrupted brain-derived neurotrophic factor signaling.
Costanzi, Marco; Cannas, Sara; Saraulli, Daniele; Rossi-Arnaud, Clelia; Cestari, Vincenzo
Long-lasting memories of adverse experiences are essential for individuals' survival but are also involved, in the form of recurrent recollections of the traumatic experience, in the aetiology of anxiety diseases (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]). Extinction-based erasure of fear memories has long been pursued as a behavioral way to treat anxiety disorders; yet, such a procedure turns out to be transient, context-dependent, and ineffective unless it is applied immediately after trauma. Recent evidence indicates that, in both rats and humans, extinction training can prevent the return of fear if administered within the reconsolidation window, when memories become temporarily labile and susceptible of being updated. Here, we show that the reconsolidation-extinction procedure fails to prevent the spontaneous recovery of a remote contextual fear memory in a mouse model of PTSD, as well as the long-lasting behavioral abnormalities induced by traumatic experience on anxiety and in both social and cognitive domains (i.e., social withdrawal and spatial learning deficits). Such a failure appears to be related to the ineffectiveness of the reconsolidation-extinction procedure in targeting the pathogenic process of fear sensitization, a nonassociative component of traumatic memory that causes animals to react aberrantly to harmless stimuli. This indicates fear sensitization as a major target for treatments aimed at mitigating anxiety and the behavioral outcomes of traumatic experiences.
Despina E. Ganella
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.
Flores, África; Valls-Comamala, Victòria; Costa, Giulia; Saravia, Rocío; Maldonado, Rafael; Berrendero, Fernando
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 condi...
Vetere, Gisella; Restivo, Leonardo; Novembre, Giovanni; Aceti, Massimiliano; Lumaca, Massimo; Ammassari-Teule, Martine
Structural synaptic changes occur in medial prefrontal cortex circuits during remote memory formation. Whether extinction reverts or further reshapes these circuits is, however, unknown. Here we show that the number and the size of spines were enhanced in anterior cingulate (aCC) and infralimbic (ILC) cortices 36 d following contextual fear…
Shumake, Jason; Jones, Carolyn; Auchter, Allison; Monfils, Marie-Hélène
Fear conditioning is widely employed to examine the mechanisms that underlie dysregulations of the fear system. Various manipulations are often used following fear acquisition to attenuate fear memories. In rodent studies, freezing is often the main output measure to quantify 'fear'. Here, we developed data-driven criteria for defining a standard benchmark that indicates remission from conditioned fear and for identifying subgroups with differential treatment responses. These analyses will enable a better understanding of individual differences in treatment responding.This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'Of mice and mental health: facilitating dialogue between basic and clinical neuroscientists'. © 2018 The Author(s).
Almeida-Corrêa, Suellen; Moulin, Thiago C.; Carneiro, Clarissa F. D.; Gonçalves, Marina M. C.; Junqueira, Lara S.; Amaral, Olavo B.
Memory extinction involves the formation of a new associative memory that inhibits a previously conditioned association. Nonetheless, it could also depend on weakening of the original memory trace if extinction is assumed to have multiple components. The phosphatase calcineurin (CaN) has been described as being involved in extinction but not in…
Bowers, Mallory E.; Xia, Bing; Carreiro, Samantha; Ressler, Kerry J.
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…
Sethna, Ferzin; Wang, Hongbing
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…
Knox, Dayan; Stanfield, Briana R.; Staib, Jennifer M.; David, Nina P.; Keller, Samantha M.; DePietro, Thomas
Single prolonged stress (SPS) has been used to examine mechanisms via which stress exposure leads to post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. SPS induces fear extinction retention deficits, but neural circuits critical for mediating these deficits are unknown. To address this gap, we examined the effect of SPS on neural activity in brain regions…
Fitzgerald, Paul J.; Seemann, Jocelyn R.; Maren, Stephen
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
Hart, Genevra; Harris, Justin A.; Westbrook, R. Frederick
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…
Whittle, Nigel; Hauschild, Markus; Lubec, Gert; Holmes, Andrew; Singewald, Nicolas
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...
Deschaux, Olivier; Spennato, Guillaume; Moreau, Jean-Luc; Garcia, René
We have recently shown that post-extinction exposure of rats to a sub-threshold reminder shock can reactivate extinguished context-related freezing and found that chronic treatment with fluoxetine before fear extinction prevents this phenomenon. In the present study, we examined whether these findings would be confirmed with auditory fear conditioning. Rats were initially submitted to a session of five tone-shock pairings with either a 0.7- or 0.1-mA shock and underwent, 3 days later, a session of 20 tone-alone trials. At the beginning of this latter session, we observed cue-conditioned freezing in rats that received the strong, but not the weak, shock. At the end, both groups (strong and weak shocks) displayed similar low levels of freezing, indicating fear extinction in rats exposed to the strong shock. These rats exhibited again high levels of cue-evoked freezing when exposed to three tone-shock pairings with 0.1-mA shock. This reemergence of cue-conditioned fear was completely abolished by chronic (over a 21-day period) fluoxetine treatment which spared, when administered before the initial fear conditioning, the original tone-shock association. These data extend our previous findings and suggest that chronic fluoxetine treatment favor extinction memory by dampening the reactivation of the original tone-shock association.
Kindt, M.; Soeter, M.; Vervliet, B.
Animal studies have shown that fear memories can change when recalled, a process referred to as reconsolidation. We found that oral administration of the beta-adrenergic receptor antagonist propranolol before memory reactivation in humans erased the behavioral expression of the fear memory 24 h
Coelho, Cesar A. O.; Dunsmoor, Joseph E.; Phelps, Elizabeth A.
Fear-related behaviors are prone to relapse following extinction. We tested in humans a compound extinction design ("deepened extinction") shown in animal studies to reduce post-extinction fear recovery. Adult subjects underwent fear conditioning to a visual and an auditory conditioned stimulus (CSA and CSB, respectively) separately…
Mertens, Gaëtan; De Houwer, Jan
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Repeated exposure to a conditioned stimulus can lead to a reduction of conditioned fear responses towards this stimulus (i.e., extinction). However, this reduction is often fragile and sensitive to contextual changes. In the current study, we investigated whether
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
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
Todd, Travis P; Jiang, Matthew Y; DeAngeli, Nicole E; Bucci, David J
Extinction of fear to a Pavlovian conditioned stimulus (CS) is known to be context-specific. When the CS is tested outside the context of extinction, fear returns, or renews. Several studies have demonstrated that renewal depends upon the hippocampus, although there are also studies where renewal was not impacted by hippocampal damage, suggesting that under some conditions context encoding and/or retrieval of extinction depends upon other regions. One candidate region is the retrosplenial cortex (RSC), which is known to contribute to contextual and spatial learning and memory. Using a conditioned-suppression paradigm, Experiment 1 tested the impact of pre-training RSC lesions on renewal of extinguished fear. Consistent with previous studies, lesions of the RSC did not impact acquisition or extinction of conditioned fear to the CS. Further, there was no evidence that RSC lesions impaired renewal, indicating that contextual encoding and/or retrieval of extinction does not depend upon the RSC. In Experiment 2, post-extinction lesions of either the RSC or dorsal hippocampus (DH) also had no impact on renewal. However, in Experiment 3, both RSC and DH lesions did impair performance in an object-in-place procedure, an index of place memory. RSC and DH contributions to extinction and renewal are discussed. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
The dominant metabolic system within urban environments often involves deep socio-economic inequalities, exploitative productive practices and a persistent sense of alienation among the vast majority of the population. The city itself spawns the conditions both for the development of actual criminality and, more perniciously, for the emergence of an acute perception of fear within the polis. Over the years, this perception has affected a whole array of societal elements including, quite signi...
Gamwell, Kaitlyn; Nylocks, Maria; Cross, Dorthie; Bradley, Bekh; Norrholm, Seth D; Jovanovic, Tanja
Fear conditioning studies in adults have found that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with heightened fear responses and impaired discrimination. The objective of the current study was to examine the association between PTSD symptoms and fear conditioned responses in children from a highly traumatized urban population. Children between 8 and 13 years old participated in a fear conditioning study in addition to providing information about their trauma history and PTSD symptoms. Results showed that females showed less discrimination between danger and safety signals during conditioning compared to age-matched males. In boys, intrusive symptoms were predictive of fear responses, even after controlling for trauma exposure. However, in girls, conditioned fear to the danger cue was predictive of self-blame and fear of repeated trauma. This study suggests there are early sex differences in the patterns of fear conditioning and that these sex differences may translate to differential risk for trauma-related psychopathology. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Full Text Available The therapeutic goal for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD is to promote extinction and to prevent the relapse of fearful memories. Research has identified pharmacological treatments that may regulate the formation and extinction of fear memories, but not many reagents that block the relapse of extinguished fear are known. Radix Polygalae (RP is an Asian herb used for sedation, and its ingredients have anxiolytic and antidepressant properties. As various neurological effects have been identified, we tested whether RP affects the relapse of fear. Freezing in response to a conditioned context and cues was used to measure the effects of RP in mice. In cohort 1 (n = 30, consolidation, extinction, and reinstatement were tested during the course of 18 days of treatment. In cohort 2 (n = 30, consolidation, extinction, and renewal were tested during 10 days of treatment. The consolidation, extinction, reinstatement, and possibly the renewal of context-induced freezing were inhibited due to the administration of RP in animal subjects. However, the effects of RP on the freezing responses of subjects elicited by conditioned auditory cues were less obvious. Because it effectively suppresses the consolidation of fear memories, RP may be used for primary and secondary prevention of symptoms in PTSD patients. Additionally, because it effectively suppresses the reinstatement and renewal of fear memories, RP may be applied for the prevention of fear relapse in PTSD patients who have undergone exposure therapy.
Candace M. Raio
Full Text Available Fear learning and regulation is a prominent model for describing the pathogenesis of anxiety disorders and stress-related psychopathology. Fear expression can be modulated using a number of regulatory strategies, including extinction, cognitive emotion regulation, avoidance strategies and reconsolidation. In this review, we examine research investigating the effects of acute stress and stress hormones on these regulatory techniques. We focus on what is known about the impact of stress on the ability to flexibly regulate fear responses that are acquired through Pavlovian fear conditioning. Our primary aim is to explore the impact of stress on fear regulation in humans. Given this, we focus on techniques where stress has been linked to alterations of fear regulation in humans (extinction and emotion regulation, and briefly discuss other techniques (avoidance and reconsolidation where the impact of stress or stress hormones have been mainly explored in animal models. These investigations reveal that acute stress may impair the persistent inhibition of fear, presumably by altering prefrontal cortex function. Characterizing the effects of stress on fear regulation is critical for understanding the boundaries within which existing regulation strategies are viable in everyday life and can better inform treatment options for those who suffer from anxiety and stress-related psychopathology.
Nasehi, Mohammad; Farrahizadeh, Maryam; Ebrahimi-Ghiri, Mohaddeseh; Zarrindast, Mohammad-Reza
Behavioral studies have suggested a key role for the cannabinoid system in the modulation of conditioned fear memory. Likewise, much of the literature has revealed that the serotonergic system affects Pavlovian fear conditioning and extinction. A high level of functional overlap between the serotonin and cannabinoid systems has also been reported. To clarify the interaction between the hippocampal serotonin (5-HT4) receptor and the cannabinoid CB1 receptor in the acquisition of fear memory, the effects of 5-HT4 agents, arachidonylcyclopropylamide (ACPA; CB1 receptor agonist), and the combined use of these drugs on fear learning were studied in a fear conditioning task in adult male NMRI mice. Pre-training intraperitoneal administration of ACPA (0.1 mg/kg) decreased the percentage of freezing time in both context- and tone-dependent fear conditions, suggesting impairment of the acquisition of fear memory. Pre-training, intra-hippocampal (CA1) microinjection of RS67333, a 5-HT4 receptor agonist, at doses of 0.1 and 0.2 or 0.2 µg/mouse impaired contextual and tone fear memory, respectively. A subthreshold dose of RS67333 (0.005 µg/mouse) did not alter the ACPA response in either condition. Moreover, intra-CA1 microinjection of RS23597 as a 5-HT4 receptor antagonist did not alter context-dependent fear memory acquisition, but it did impair tone-dependent fear memory acquisition. However, a subthreshold dose of the RS23597 (0.01 µg/mouse) potentiated ACPA-induced fear memory impairment in both conditions. Therefore, we suggest that the blockade of hippocampal 5-HT4 serotonergic system modulates cannabinoid signaling induced by the activation of CB1 receptors in conditioned fear. © The Author(s) 2016.
Full Text Available The extinction of conditioned fear is known to be context specific, and often referred to as more robustly contextually bound than the fear memory itself (Bouton, 2004. Yet, recent findings in rodents have challenged the notion that contextual fear retention is initially generalized. The context specificity of a cued-fear memory to the learning context has not been addressed in the human literature largely due to limitations in methodology. Here we adapt a novel technology to test the context specificity of cued fear conditioning using full immersion 3-dimensional virtual reality (VR. During acquisition training, healthy participants navigated through virtual environments containing dynamic snake and spider conditioned stimuli (CSs, one of which was paired with electrical wrist stimulation. During a 24-hour delayed retention test, one group returned to the same context as acquisition training whereas another group experienced the CSs in a novel context. Unconditioned stimulus (US expectancy ratings were assayed on-line during fear acquisition as an index of contingency awareness. Skin conductance responses (SCR time-locked to CS onset were the dependent measure of cued fear, and skin conductance levels during the interstimulus interval were an index of context fear. Findings indicate that early in acquisition training, participants express contingency awareness as well as differential contextual fear, whereas differential cued fear emerged later in acquisition. During the retention test, differential cued fear retention was enhanced in the group who returned to the same context as acquisition training relative to the context shift group. The results extend recent rodent work to illustrate differences in cued and context fear acquisition and the contextual specificity of recent fear memories. Findings support the use of full immersion VR as a novel tool in cognitive neuroscience to bridge rodent models of contextual phenomena underlying human
Full Text Available In human beings, experiments investigating fear conditioning with social stimuli are rare. The current study aims at translating an animal model for social fear conditioning (SFC to a human sample using an operant SFC paradigm in virtual reality (VR. Forty participants actively (using a joystick approached virtual male agents that served as conditioned stimuli (CS. During the acquisition phase, unconditioned stimuli (US, a combination of an air blast (5 bar, 10 ms and a female scream (95 dB, 40 ms, were presented when participants reached a defined proximity to the agent with a contingency of 75% for CS+ agents and never for CS- agents. During the extinction and the test phases, no US was delivered. Outcome variables were pleasantness ratings and physiological reactions in heart rate and fear-potentiated startle. Additionally, the influence of social anxiety, which was measured with the Social Phobia Inventory scale, was evaluated. As expected after the acquisition phase the CS+ was rated clearly less pleasant than the CS-. This difference vanished during extinction. Furthermore, the HR remained high for the CS+, while the HR for the CS- was clearly lower after than before the acquisition. Furthermore, a clear difference between CS+ and CS- after the acquisition indicated successful conditioning on this translational measure. Contrariwise extinction was not observed on the physiological variables. Importantly, at the generalization test, higher socially fearful participants rated pleasantness of all agents as low whereas the lower socially fearful participants rated pleasantness as low only for the CS+. SFC was successfully induced and extinguished confirming operant conditioning in this SFC paradigm. These findings suggest that the paradigm is suitable to expand the knowledge about the learning and unlearning of social fears. Further studies should investigate the operant mechanisms of development and treatment of social anxiety disorder.
Shiban, Youssef; Reichenberger, Jonas; Neumann, Inga D; Mühlberger, Andreas
In human beings, experiments investigating fear conditioning with social stimuli are rare. The current study aims at translating an animal model for social fear conditioning (SFC) to a human sample using an operant SFC paradigm in virtual reality. Forty participants actively (using a joystick) approached virtual male agents that served as conditioned stimuli (CS). During the acquisition phase, unconditioned stimuli (US), a combination of an air blast (5 bar, 10 ms) and a female scream (95 dB, 40 ms), were presented when participants reached a defined proximity to the agent with a contingency of 75% for CS+ agents and never for CS- agents. During the extinction and the test phases, no US was delivered. Outcome variables were pleasantness ratings and physiological reactions in heart rate (HR) and fear-potentiated startle. Additionally, the influence of social anxiety, which was measured with the Social Phobia Inventory scale, was evaluated. As expected after the acquisition phase the CS+ was rated clearly less pleasant than the CS-. This difference vanished during extinction. Furthermore, the HR remained high for the CS+, while the HR for the CS- was clearly lower after than before the acquisition. Furthermore, a clear difference between CS+ and CS- after the acquisition indicated successful conditioning on this translational measure. Contrariwise no CS+/CS- differences were observed in the physiological variables during extinction. Importantly, at the generalization test, higher socially fearful participants rated pleasantness of all agents as low whereas the lower socially fearful participants rated pleasantness as low only for the CS+. SFC was successfully induced and extinguished confirming operant conditioning in this SFC paradigm. These findings suggest that the paradigm is suitable to expand the knowledge about the learning and unlearning of social fears. Further studies should investigate the operant mechanisms of development and treatment of social anxiety
Huff, Nicole C; Zeilinski, David J; Fecteau, Matthew E; Brady, Rachael; LaBar, Kevin S
conditioning and extinction parameters to yield empirical data that can suggest better treatment options and/or analyze mechanistic hypotheses. In order to test the hypothesis that fear conditioning may be richly encoded and context specific when conducted in a fully immersive environment, we developed distinct virtual reality 3-D contexts in which participants experienced fear conditioning to virtual snakes or spiders. Auditory cues co-occurred with the CS in order to further evoke orienting responses and a feeling of "presence" in subjects. Skin conductance response served as the dependent measure of fear acquisition, memory retention and extinction.
Kritman, Milly; Lahoud, Nisrine; Maroun, Mouna
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.
Dunsmoor, Joseph E.; Mitroff, Stephen R.; LaBar, Kevin S.
The present study investigated the extent to which fear generalization in humans is determined by the amount of fear intensity in nonconditioned stimuli relative to a perceptually similar conditioned stimulus. Stimuli consisted of graded emotionally expressive faces of the same identity morphed between neutral and fearful endpoints. Two…
Giachero, Marcelo; Calfa, Gaston D.; Molina, Victor A.
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…
Fullana, Miquel A; Albajes-Eizagirre, Anton; Soriano-Mas, Carles; Vervliet, Bram; Cardoner, Narcís; Benet, Olívia; Radua, Joaquim; Harrison, Ben J
The study of fear extinction represents an important example of translational neuroscience in psychiatry and promises to improve the understanding and treatment of anxiety and fear-related disorders. We present the results of a set of meta-analyses of human fear extinction studies in healthy participants, conducted with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and reporting whole-brain results. Meta-analyses of fear extinction learning primarily implicate consistent activation of brain regions linked to threat appraisal and experience, including the dorsal anterior cingulate and anterior insular cortices. An overlapping anatomical result was obtained from the meta-analysis of extinction recall studies, except when studies directly compared an extinguished threat stimulus to an unextinguished threat stimulus (instead of a safety stimulus). In this latter instance, more consistent activation was observed in dorsolateral and ventromedial prefrontal cortex regions, together with other areas including the hippocampus. While our results partially support the notion of a shared neuroanatomy between human and rodent models of extinction processes, they also encourage an expanded account of the neural basis of human fear extinction. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Schiele, Miriam A; Reinhard, Julia; Reif, Andreas; Domschke, Katharina; Romanos, Marcel; Deckert, Jürgen; Pauli, Paul
Most research on human fear conditioning and its generalization has focused on adults whereas only little is known about these processes in children. Direct comparisons between child and adult populations are needed to determine developmental risk markers of fear and anxiety. We compared 267 children and 285 adults in a differential fear conditioning paradigm and generalization test. Skin conductance responses (SCR) and ratings of valence and arousal were obtained to indicate fear learning. Both groups displayed robust and similar differential conditioning on subjective and physiological levels. However, children showed heightened fear generalization compared to adults as indexed by higher arousal ratings and SCR to the generalization stimuli. Results indicate overgeneralization of conditioned fear as a developmental correlate of fear learning. The developmental change from a shallow to a steeper generalization gradient is likely related to the maturation of brain structures that modulate efficient discrimination between danger and (ambiguous) safety cues. © 2016 The Authors. Developmental Psychobiology Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Claassen, J; Mazilescu, L; Thieme, A; Bracha, V; Timmann, D
Context dependency of extinction is well known and has extensively been studied in fear conditioning, but has rarely been assessed in eyeblink conditioning. One way to demonstrate context dependency of extinction is the renewal effect. ABA paradigms are most commonly used to show the renewal effect of extinguished learned fear: if acquisition takes place in context A, and extinction takes place in context B (extinction phase), learned responses will recover in subsequent extinction trials presented in context A (renewal phase). The renewal effect of the visual threat eyeblink response (VTER), a conditioned eyeblink response, which is naturally acquired in early infancy, was examined in a total of 48 young and healthy participants with two experiments using an ABA paradigm. Twenty paired trials were performed in context A (baseline trials), followed by 50 extinction trials in context B (extinction phase) and 50 extinction trials in context A (renewal phase). In 24 participants, contexts A and B were two different rooms, and in the other 24 participants, two different background colors (orange and blue) and noises were used. To rule out spontaneous recovery, an AAA design was used for comparison. There were significant effects of extinction in both experiments. No significant renewal effects were observed. In experiment 2, however, extinction was significantly less using orange background during extinction compared to the blue background. The present findings suggest that extinction of conditioned eyeblinks depends on the physical context. Findings add to the animal literature that context can play a role in the acquisition of classically conditioned eyeblink responses. Future studies, however, need to be performed to confirm the present findings. Lack of renewal effect may be explained by the highly overlearned character of the VTER.
Michael Lukas Meier
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.
Baker, Kathryn D; Richardson, Rick
Adolescents, both humans and rodents, exhibit a marked impairment in extinction of fear relative to younger and older groups which could be caused by a failure to efficiently recruit NMDA receptors (NMDARs) in adolescence. It is well-established that systemic administration of NMDAR antagonists (e.g., MK801) before extinction training impairs the retention of extinction in adult and juvenile rodents, but it is unknown whether this is also the case for adolescents. Therefore, in the present study we investigated the effect of pharmacologically manipulating the NMDAR on extinction retention in adolescent rats. When extinction retention is typically impaired (i.e., after one session of extinction training) adolescent male rats given d-cycloserine (a partial NMDAR agonist) showed enhanced extinction retention relative to saline-treated animals while animals given MK801 (a non-competitive antagonist) did not exhibit any further impairment of extinction retention relative to the controls. In a further two experiments we demonstrated that when two sessions of extinction training separated by either 4 or 24h intervals were given to adolescent rats, saline-treated animals exhibited good extinction retention and the animals given MK801 before the second session exhibited impaired extinction retention. These findings suggest that extinction in adolescence does not initially involve NMDARs and this is a likely mechanism that contributes to the impaired fear inhibition observed at this age. However, NMDARs appear to be recruited with extended extinction training or after administration of a partial agonist, both of which lead to effective extinction retention. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Giachero, Marcelo; Calfa, Gaston D; Molina, Victor A
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.
Bukalo, Olena; Pinard, Courtney R; Holmes, Andrew
The burden of anxiety disorders is growing, but the efficacy of available anxiolytic treatments remains inadequate. Cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety disorders focuses on identifying and modifying maladaptive patterns of thinking and behaving, and has a testable analogue in rodents in the form of fear extinction. A large preclinical literature has amassed in recent years describing the neural and molecular basis of fear extinction in rodents. In this review, we discuss how this work is being harnessed to foster translational research on anxiety disorders and facilitate the search for new anxiolytic treatments. We begin by summarizing the anatomical and functional connectivity of a medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC)–amygdala circuit that subserves fear extinction, including new insights from optogenetics. We then cover some of the approaches that have been taken to model impaired fear extinction and associated impairments with mPFC–amygdala dysfunction. The principal goal of the review is to evaluate evidence that various neurotransmitter and neuromodulator systems mediate fear extinction by modulating the mPFC–amygdala circuitry. To that end, we describe studies that have tested how fear extinction is impaired or facilitated by pharmacological manipulations of dopamine, noradrenaline, 5-HT, GABA, glutamate, neuropeptides, endocannabinoids and various other systems, which either directly target the mPFC–amygdala circuit, or produce behavioural effects that are coincident with functional changes in the circuit. We conclude that there are good grounds to be optimistic that the progress in defining the molecular substrates of mPFC–amygdala circuit function can be effectively leveraged to identify plausible candidates for extinction-promoting therapies for anxiety disorders. Linked Articles This article is part of a themed section on Animal Models in Psychiatry Research. To view the other articles in this section visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bph.2014
Bukalo, Olena; Pinard, Courtney R; Holmes, Andrew
The burden of anxiety disorders is growing, but the efficacy of available anxiolytic treatments remains inadequate. Cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety disorders focuses on identifying and modifying maladaptive patterns of thinking and behaving, and has a testable analogue in rodents in the form of fear extinction. A large preclinical literature has amassed in recent years describing the neural and molecular basis of fear extinction in rodents. In this review, we discuss how this work is being harnessed to foster translational research on anxiety disorders and facilitate the search for new anxiolytic treatments. We begin by summarizing the anatomical and functional connectivity of a medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC)-amygdala circuit that subserves fear extinction, including new insights from optogenetics. We then cover some of the approaches that have been taken to model impaired fear extinction and associated impairments with mPFC-amygdala dysfunction. The principal goal of the review is to evaluate evidence that various neurotransmitter and neuromodulator systems mediate fear extinction by modulating the mPFC-amygdala circuitry. To that end, we describe studies that have tested how fear extinction is impaired or facilitated by pharmacological manipulations of dopamine, noradrenaline, 5-HT, GABA, glutamate, neuropeptides, endocannabinoids and various other systems, which either directly target the mPFC-amygdala circuit, or produce behavioural effects that are coincident with functional changes in the circuit. We conclude that there are good grounds to be optimistic that the progress in defining the molecular substrates of mPFC-amygdala circuit function can be effectively leveraged to identify plausible candidates for extinction-promoting therapies for anxiety disorders. © 2014 The British Pharmacological Society.
McDermott, Carmel M; Liu, Dan; Ade, Catherine; Schrader, Laura A
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.
Brom, Mirte; Laan, Ellen; Everaerd, Walter; Spinhoven, Philip; Both, Stephanie
Research has shown that acquired subjective likes and dislikes are quite resistant to extinction. Moreover, studies on female sexual response demonstrated that diminished genital arousal and positive affect toward erotic stimuli due to aversive classical conditioning did not extinguish during an extinction phase. Possible resistance to extinction of aversive conditioned sexual responses may have important clinical implications. However, resistance to extinction of aversive conditioned human sexual response has not been studied using extensive extinction trials. This article aims to study resistance to extinction of aversive conditioned sexual responses in sexually functional men and women. A differential conditioning experiment was conducted, with two erotic pictures as conditioned stimulus (CSs) and a painful stimulus as unconditioned stimuli (USs). Only one CS (the CS+) was followed by the US during the acquisition phase. Conditioned responses were assessed during the extinction phase. Penile circumference and vaginal pulse amplitude were assessed, and ratings of affective value and subjective sexual arousal were obtained. Also, a stimulus response compatibility task was included to assess automatic approach and avoidance tendencies. Men and women rated the CS+ more negative as compared with the CS-. During the first trials of the extinction phase, vaginal pulse amplitude was lower in response to the CS+ than in response to the CS-, and on the first extinction trial women rated the CS+ as less sexually arousing. Intriguingly, men did not demonstrate attenuated genital and subjective sexual response. Aversive conditioning, by means of painful stimuli, only affects sexual responses in women, whereas it does not in men. Although conditioned sexual likes and dislikes are relatively persistent, conditioned affect eventually does extinguish. © 2014 International Society for Sexual Medicine.
Fujita, Yosuke; Morinobu, Shigeru; Takei, Shiro; Fuchikami, Manabu; Matsumoto, Tomoya; Yamamoto, Shigeto; Yamawaki, Shigeto
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.
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
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.
Feduccia, Allison A; Mithoefer, Michael C
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.
Scholz, Birger; Doidge, Amie N.; Barnes, Philip; Hall, Jeremy; Wilkinson, Lawrence S.; Thomas, Kerrie L.
We investigated the distinctiveness of gene regulatory networks in CA1 associated with the extinction of contextual fear memory (CFM) after recall using Affymetrix GeneChip Rat Genome 230 2.0 Arrays. These data were compared to previously published retrieval and reconsolidation-attributed, and consolidation datasets. A stringent dual normalization and pareto-scaled orthogonal partial least-square discriminant multivariate analysis together with a jack-knifing-based cross-validation approach was used on all datasets to reduce false positives. Consolidation, retrieval and extinction were correlated with distinct patterns of gene expression 2 hours later. Extinction-related gene expression was most distinct from the profile accompanying consolidation. A highly specific feature was the discrete regulation of neuroimmunological gene expression associated with retrieval and extinction. Immunity–associated genes of the tyrosine kinase receptor TGFβ and PDGF, and TNF families’ characterized extinction. Cytokines and proinflammatory interleukins of the IL-1 and IL-6 families were enriched with the no-extinction retrieval condition. We used comparative genomics to predict transcription factor binding sites in proximal promoter regions of the retrieval-regulated genes. Retrieval that does not lead to extinction was associated with NF-κB-mediated gene expression. We confirmed differential NF-κBp65 expression, and activity in all of a representative sample of our candidate genes in the no-extinction condition. The differential regulation of cytokine networks after the acquisition and retrieval of CFM identifies the important contribution that neuroimmune signalling plays in normal hippocampal function. Further, targeting cytokine signalling upon retrieval offers a therapeutic strategy to promote extinction mechanisms in human disorders characterised by dysregulation of associative memory. PMID:27224427
van Uijen, S.L.; Leer, A.; Engelhard, I.M.
Safety behavior is involved in the maintenance of anxiety disorders, presumably because it prevents the violation of negative expectancies. Recent research showed that safety behavior is resistant to fear extinction. This fear conditioning study investigated whether safety behavior after fear
Flores, África; Herry, Cyril; Maldonado, Rafael; Berrendero, Fernando
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.
Brom, M.; Laan, E.; Everaerd, W.; Spinhoven, P.; Both, S.
INTRODUCTION: Research has shown that acquired subjective likes and dislikes are quite resistant to extinction. Moreover, studies on female sexual response demonstrated that diminished genital arousal and positive affect toward erotic stimuli due to aversive classical conditioning did not extinguish
Full Text Available The serotonin (5-HT and neuropeptide S (NPS systems are discussed as important genetic modulators of fear and sustained anxiety contributing to the etiology of anxiety disorders. Sustained anxiety is a crucial characteristic of most anxiety disorders which likely develops through context conditioning. This study investigated if and how genetic alterations of the 5-HT and the NPS systems as well as their interaction modulate contextual fear conditioning; specifically, function polymorphic variants in the genes coding for the 5-HT transporter (5HTT and the NPS receptor (NPSR1 were studied. A large group of healthy volunteers was therefore stratified for 5HTTLPR (S+ vs. LL carriers and NPSR1 rs324981 (T+ vs. AA carriers polymorphisms resulting in four genotype groups (S+/T+, S+/AA, LL/T+, LL/AA of 20 participants each. All participants underwent contextual fear conditioning and extinction using a virtual reality paradigm. During acquisition, one virtual office room (anxiety context, CXT+ was paired with an unpredictable electric stimulus (unconditioned stimulus, US, whereas another virtual office room was not paired with any US (safety context, CXT-. During extinction no US was administered. Anxiety responses were quantified by fear-potentiated startle and ratings. Most importantly, we found a gene × gene interaction on fear-potentiated startle. Only carriers of both risk alleles (S+/T+ exhibited higher startle responses in CXT+ compared to CXT-. In contrast, anxiety ratings were only influenced by the NPSR1 polymorphism with AA carriers showing higher anxiety ratings in CXT+ as compared to CXT-. Our results speak in favor of a two level account of fear conditioning with diverging effects on implicit vs. explicit fear responses. Contextual fear reflected in potentiated startle responses may be an endophenotype for anxiety disorders.
Silva, R. C. B.; Cruz, A. P. M.; Avanzi, V.; Landeira-Fernandez, J.; Brandão, M. L.
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
Gao, Yu; Raine, Adrian; Venables, Peter H; Dawson, Michael E; Mednick, Sarnoff A
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.
Nair, Satish S.; Paré, Denis; Vicentic, Aleksandra
The neuronal systems that promote protective defensive behaviours have been studied extensively using Pavlovian conditioning. In this paradigm, an initially neutral-conditioned stimulus is paired with an aversive unconditioned stimulus leading the subjects to display behavioural signs of fear. Decades of research into the neural bases of this simple behavioural paradigm uncovered that the amygdala, a complex structure comprised of several interconnected nuclei, is an essential part of the neural circuits required for the acquisition, consolidation and expression of fear memory. However, emerging evidence from the confluence of electrophysiological, tract tracing, imaging, molecular, optogenetic and chemogenetic methodologies, reveals that fear learning is mediated by multiple connections between several amygdala nuclei and their distributed targets, dynamical changes in plasticity in local circuit elements as well as neuromodulatory mechanisms that promote synaptic plasticity. To uncover these complex relations and analyse multi-modal data sets acquired from these studies, we argue that biologically realistic computational modelling, in conjunction with experiments, offers an opportunity to advance our understanding of the neural circuit mechanisms of fear learning and to address how their dysfunction may lead to maladaptive fear responses in mental disorders.
Vervliet, B.; Vansteenwegen, D.; Hermans, D.
Extinction is generally more fragile than conditioning, as illustrated by the contextual renewal effect. The traditional extinction procedure entails isolated presentations of the conditioned stimulus. Extinction may be boosted by adding isolated presentations of the unconditioned stimulus, as this
Dulaney, Alana E; Bell, Matthew C
This study investigated generalization decrement during an extinction resistance-to-change test for pigeon key pecking using a two-component multiple schedule with equal variable-interval 3-min schedules and different reinforcer amounts (one component presented 2-s access to reinforcement and the other 8s). After establishing baseline responding, subjects were assigned to one of the two extinction conditions: hopper stimuli (hopper and hopper light were activated but no food was available) or Control (inactive hopper and hopper light). Responding in the 8-s component was more resistant to extinction than responding in the 2-s component, the hopper stimuli group was more resistant to extinction compared to the Control group, and an interaction between amount of reinforcement, extinction condition, and session block was present. This finding supports generalization decrement as a factor that influences resistance to extinction. Hopper-time data (the amount of time subjects spent with their heads in the hopper) were compared to resistance-to-change data in an investigation of the role of conditioned reinforcement on resistance to change.
Toledo-Rodriguez, Maria; Pitiot, Alain; Paus, Tomáš; Sandi, Carmen
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.
Nelson, James Byron; Fabiano, Andrew M; Lamoureux, Jeffrey A
Two experiments assessed the effects of extinguishing a conditioned cue on subsequent context conditioning. Each experiment used a different video-game method where sensors predicted attacking spaceships and participants responded to the sensor in a way that prepared them for the upcoming attack. In Experiment 1 extinction of a cue which signaled a spaceship-attack outcome facilitated subsequent learning when the attack occurred unsignaled. In Experiment 2 extinction of a cue facilitated subsequent learning, regardless of whether the spaceship outcome was the same or different as used in the earlier training. In neither experiment did the extinction context become inhibitory. Results are discussed in terms of current associative theories of attention and conditioning. © 2018 Nelson et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
Cecchi-Pestellini, Cesare [INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo, P.zza Parlamento 1, I-90134 Palermo (Italy); Viti, Serena; Williams, David A., E-mail: email@example.com, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, E-mail: email@example.com [Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT (United Kingdom)
Normalized interstellar extinction curves (ISECs) in the Milky Way and other galaxies show a variety of shapes. This variety is attributed to differences along different sight lines in the abundances of the several dust and gas components contributing to extinction. In this paper we propose that these abundance differences are not arbitrary but are a specific consequence of the physical conditions on those sight lines. If this proposal is correct, then it implies that ISECs contain information about physical conditions in the regions generating extinction. This may be particularly important for high redshift galaxies where information on the conditions may be difficult to obtain. We adopt a model of extinction carriers in which the solid and gaseous components are not immutable but respond time-dependently to the local physics. We validate this model by fitting extinction curves measured on sight lines in the Magellanic Clouds and obtained for the gamma-ray burst afterglow GRB 080605. We present results for this model as follows: (1) we show that computed ISECs are controlled by a small number of physical parameters, (2) we demonstrate the sensitivity of computed ISECs to these parameters, (3) we compute as examples ISECs for particular galaxy types, and (4) we note that different galaxy types have different shapes of ISEC.
Jones, Carolyn E; Riha, Penny D; Gore, Andrea C; Monfils, Marie-H
Pairing a previously neutral conditioned stimulus (CS; e.g., a tone) to an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US; e.g., a foot-shock) leads to associative learning such that the tone alone will elicit a conditioned response (e.g., freezing). Individuals can also acquire fear from a social context, such as through observing the fear expression of a conspecific. In the current study, we examined the influence of kinship/familiarity on social transmission of fear in female rats. Rats were housed in triads with either sisters or non-related females. One rat from each cage was fear conditioned to a tone CS+ shock US. On day two, the conditioned rat was returned to the chamber accompanied by one of her cage mates. Both rats were allowed to behave freely, while the tone was played in the absence of the foot-shock. The previously untrained rat is referred to as the fear-conditioned by-proxy (FCbP) animal, as she would freeze based on observations of her cage-mate's response rather than due to direct personal experience with the foot-shock. The third rat served as a cage-mate control. The third day, long-term memory tests to the CS were performed. Consistent with our previous application of this paradigm in male rats (Bruchey et al. in Behav Brain Res 214(1):80-84, 2010), our results revealed that social interactions between the fear conditioned and FCbP rats on day two contribute to freezing displayed by the FCbP rats on day three. In this experiment, prosocial behavior occurring at the termination of the cue on day two was significantly greater between sisters than their non-sister counterparts, and this behavior resulted in increased freezing on day three. Our results suggest that familiarity and/or kinship influences the social transmission of fear in female rats.
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.
Daviu, Núria; Andero, Raül; Armario, Antonio; Nadal, Roser
In recent years, special attention is being paid to sex differences in susceptibility to disease. In this regard, there is evidence that male rats present higher levels of both cued and contextual fear conditioning than females. However, little is known about the concomitant hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis response to those situations which are critical in emotional memories. Here, we studied the behavioural and HPA responses of male and female Wistar rats to context fear conditioning using electric footshock as the aversive stimulus. Fear-conditioned rats showed a much greater ACTH and corticosterone response than those merely exposed to the fear conditioning chamber without receiving shocks. Moreover, males presented higher levels of freezing whereas HPA axis response was greater in females. Accordingly, during the fear extinction tests, female rats consistently showed less freezing and higher extinction rate, but greater HPA activation than males. Exposure to an open-field resulted in lower activity/exploration in fear-conditioned males, but not in females, suggesting greater conditioned cognitive generalization in males than females. It can be concluded that important sex differences in fear conditioning are observed in both freezing and HPA activation, but the two sets of variables are affected in the opposite direction: enhanced behavioural impact in males, but enhanced HPA responsiveness in females. Thus, the role of sex differences on fear-related stimuli may depend on the variables chosen to evaluate it, the greater responsiveness of the HPA axis in females perhaps being an important factor to be further explored. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
motivational responses and self-administration behaviors (Robbins et al., 2008). Pavlovian conditioning mechanisms link unconditioned drug responses...model. Induction of fear conditioning is followed by measurement of sensitivity to drug reward using a conditioned place preference (CPP) model to...morphine. Conditioned drug reward is a relevant model in addiction because environmental cues (e.g. a barroom) induce craving and persistent
Skelly, M J; Chappell, A E; Carter, E; Weiner, J L
Alcohol use disorder, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are highly comorbid, and exposure to chronic stress during adolescence may increase the incidence of these conditions in adulthood. Efforts to identify the common stress-related mechanisms driving these disorders have been hampered, in part, by a lack of reliable preclinical models that replicate their comorbid symptomatology. Prior work by us, and others, has shown that adolescent social isolation increases anxiety-like behaviors and voluntary ethanol consumption in adult male Long-Evans rats. Here we examined whether social isolation also produces deficiencies in extinction of conditioned fear, a hallmark symptom of PTSD. Additionally, as disrupted noradrenergic signaling may contribute to alcoholism, we examined the effect of anxiolytic medications that target noradrenergic signaling on ethanol intake following adolescent social isolation. Our results confirm and extend previous findings that adolescent social isolation increases anxiety-like behavior and enhances ethanol intake and preference in adulthood. Additionally, social isolation is associated with a significant deficit in the extinction of conditioned fear and a marked increase in the ability of noradrenergic therapeutics to decrease ethanol intake. These results suggest that adolescent social isolation not only leads to persistent increases in anxiety-like behaviors and ethanol consumption, but also disrupts fear extinction, and as such may be a useful preclinical model of stress-related psychopathology. Our data also suggest that disrupted noradrenergic signaling may contribute to escalated ethanol drinking following social isolation, thus further highlighting the potential utility of noradrenergic therapeutics in treating the deleterious behavioral sequelae associated with early life stress. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Brom, Mirte; Laan, Ellen; Everaerd, Walter; Spinhoven, Philip; Both, Stephanie
Research has shown that acquired subjective likes and dislikes are quite resistant to extinction. Moreover, studies on female sexual response demonstrated that diminished genital arousal and positive affect toward erotic stimuli due to aversive classical conditioning did not extinguish during an
Recent data in both rodents and humans suggests that the timing of extinction trials after conditioning influences the magnitude and duration of extinction. For example, administering extinction trials soon after Pavlovian fear conditioning in rats, mice, and humans results in minimal fear suppression--the so-called immediate extinction deficit. Here I review recent work examining the behavioral and neural substrates of the immediate extinction deficit. I suggest that extinction is most effec...
Schipper, Pieter; Henckens, Marloes J A G; Borghans, Bart; Hiemstra, Marlies; Kozicz, Tamas; Homberg, Judith R
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
Klucken, Tim; Tabbert, Katharina; Schweckendiek, Jan; Merz, Christian Josef; Kagerer, Sabine; Vaitl, Dieter; Stark, Rudolf
The ability to detect and learn contingencies between fearful stimuli and their predictive cues is an important capacity to cope with the environment. Contingency awareness refers to the ability to verbalize the relationships between conditioned and unconditioned stimuli. Although there is a heated debate about the influence of contingency awareness on conditioned fear responses, neural correlates behind the formation process of contingency awareness have gained only little attention in human fear conditioning. Recent animal studies indicate that the ventral striatum (VS) could be involved in this process, but in human studies the VS is mostly associated with positive emotions. To examine this question, we reanalyzed four recently published classical fear conditioning studies (n = 117) with respect to the VS at three distinct levels of contingency awareness: subjects, who did not learn the contingencies (unaware), subjects, who learned the contingencies during the experiment (learned aware) and subjects, who were informed about the contingencies in advance (instructed aware). The results showed significantly increased activations in the left and right VS in learned aware compared to unaware subjects. Interestingly, this activation pattern was only found in learned but not in instructed aware subjects. We assume that the VS is not involved when contingency awareness does not develop during conditioning or when contingency awareness is unambiguously induced already prior to conditioning. VS involvement seems to be important for the transition from a contingency unaware to a contingency aware state. Implications for fear conditioning models as well as for the contingency awareness debate are discussed.
Kutlu, Munir Gunes; Tumolo, Jessica M; Cann, Courtney; Gould, Thomas J
Numerous studies have attributed the psychopathology of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to maladaptive behavioral responses such as an inability to extinguish fear. While exposure therapies are mostly effective in treating these disorders by enhancing extinction learning, relapse of PTSD symptoms is common. Although several studies indicated a role for cholinergic transmission and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in anxiety and stress disorder symptomatology, very little is known about the specific contribution of nAChRs to fear extinction OBJECTIVES: In the present study, we examined the effects of inhibition and desensitization of α4β2 nAChRs via a full antagonist (Dihydro-beta-erythroidine (DhβE)) and two α4β2 nAChR partial-agonists (varenicline and sazetidine-A) on contextual fear extinction, locomotor activity, and spontaneous recovery of contextual fear in mice. We trained and tested the subjects in a contextual fear extinction as well as an open field paradigm and spontaneous recovery following injections of DhβE, varenicline, and sazetidine-A. Our results demonstrated that lower doses of DhβE (1 mg/kg) and sazetidine-A (0.01 mg/kg) enhanced contextual fear extinction whereas higher doses of varenicline (0.1 mg/kg) and sazetidine-A (0.1 mg/kg) resulted in impaired contextual fear extinction. However, the higher dose of sazetidine-A (0.1 mg/kg) decreased locomotor activity, which may contribute to increased freezing response observed during fear extinction. Finally, we found that the low dose of DhβE, but not sazetidine-A, also decreased spontaneous recovery of contextual fear following fear extinction. Overall, these results suggest that inhibition and desensitization of α4β2 nAChRs enhance extinction of contextual fear memories. This suggests that modulation of α4β2 nAChRs may be employed as an alternative pharmacological strategy to aid exposure therapies associated with PTSD by augmenting contextual fear extinction
Revillo, Damian A.; Trebucq, Gastón; Paglini, Maria G.; Arias, Carlos
Although it is currently accepted that the extinction effect reflects new context-dependent learning, this is not so clear during infancy, because some studies did not find recovery of the extinguished conditioned response (CR) in rodents during this ontogenetic stage. However, recent studies have shown the return of an extinguished CR in infant…
Coelho, Cesar A.O.; Dunsmoor, Joseph E.; Phelps, Elizabeth A.
Fear-related behaviors are prone to relapse following extinction. We tested in humans a compound extinction design (“deepened extinction”) shown in animal studies to reduce post-extinction fear recovery. Adult subjects underwent fear conditioning to a visual and an auditory conditioned stimulus (CSA and CSB, respectively) separately paired with an electric shock. The target CS (CSA) was extinguished alone followed by compound presentations of the extinguished CSA and nonextinguished CSB. Reco...
Uwaya, Akemi; Lee, Hyunjin; Park, Jonghyuk; Lee, Hosung; Muto, Junko; Nakajima, Sanae; Ohta, Shigeo; Mikami, Toshio
Histone acetylation is regulated in response to stress and plays an important role in learning and memory. Chronic stress is known to deteriorate cognition, whereas acute stress facilitates memory formation. However, whether acute stress facilitates memory formation when it is applied after fear stimulation is not yet known. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the effect of acute stress applied after fear training on memory formation, mRNA expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), epigenetic regulation of BDNF expression, and corticosterone level in mice in vivo. Mice were subjected to acute immobilization stress for 30 min at 60 or 90 min after contextual fear conditioning training, and acetylation of histone 3 at lysine 14 (H3K14) and level of corticosterone were measured using western blot analysis and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), respectively. A freezing behavior test was performed 24 h after training, and mRNA expression of BDNF was measured using real-time polymerase chain reactions. Different groups of mice were used for each test. Freezing behavior significantly decreased with the down-regulation of BDNF mRNA expression caused by acute immobilization stress at 60 min after fear conditioning training owing to the reduction of H3K14 acetylation. However, BDNF mRNA expression and H3K14 acetylation were not reduced in animals subjected to immobilization stress at 90 min after the training. Further, the corticosterone level was significantly high in mice subjected to immobilization stress at 60 min after the training. Acute immobilization stress for 30 min at 60 min after fear conditioning training impaired memory formation and reduced BDNF mRNA expression and H3K14 acetylation in the hippocampus of mice owing to the high level of corticosterone.
Liao, Zhaohui; Tao, Yezheng; Guo, Xiaomu; Cheng, Deqin; Wang, Feifei; Liu, Xing; Ma, Lan
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.
Bredy, Timothy W.; Barad, Mark
Mice communicate through visual, vocal, and olfactory cues that influence innate, nonassociative behavior. We here report that exposure to a recently fear-conditioned familiar mouse impairs acquisition of conditioned fear and facilitates fear extinction, effects mimicked by both an olfactory chemosignal emitted by a recently fear-conditioned…
Vervliet, Bram; Vansteenwegen, Deb; Hermans, Dirk
Extinction is generally more fragile than conditioning, as illustrated by the contextual renewal effect. The traditional extinction procedure entails isolated presentations of the conditioned stimulus. Extinction may be boosted by adding isolated presentations of the unconditioned stimulus, as this should augment breaking the contingency between…
Kochli, Daniel E; Campbell, Tiffany L; Hollingsworth, Ethan W; Lab, Rain S; Postle, Abagail F; Perry, Megan M; Mordzinski, Victoria M; Quinn, Jennifer J
Mixed evidence exists regarding the role of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in memory reconsolidation. We provide no evidence that NMDA receptors are involved with memory reconsolidation, but instead demonstrate that prereactivation systemic MK-801 injection, combined with postreactivation intrabasolateral amygdala (BLA) cycloheximide infusion, produces a delayed potentiation of extinction learning. These data suggest that an interaction between NMDA antagonism and protein synthesis inhibition may enhance extinction by exerting effects outside of the intended reconsolidation manipulation window. The present work demonstrates a novel pharmacological enhancement of extinction, and underscores the importance of employing proper control procedures in reconsolidation research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).
Gershman, Samuel J; Hartley, Catherine A
Using a laboratory analogue of learned fear (Pavlovian fear conditioning), we show that there is substantial heterogeneity across individuals in spontaneous recovery of fear following extinction training. We propose that this heterogeneity might stem from qualitative individual differences in the nature of extinction learning. Whereas some individuals tend to form a new memory during extinction, leaving their fear memory intact, others update the original threat association with new safety information, effectively unlearning the fear memory. We formalize this account in a computational model of fear learning and show that individuals who, according to the model, are more likely to form new extinction memories tend to show greater spontaneous recovery compared to individuals who appear to only update a single memory. This qualitative variation in fear and extinction learning may have important implications for understanding vulnerability and resilience to fear-related psychiatric disorders.
Park, Junchol; Choi, June-Seek
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…
Andero, Raül; Ressler, Kerry J
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...
Blouin, Ashley M.; Han, Sungho; Pearce, Anne M.; Cheng, KaiLun; Lee, JongAh J.; Johnson, Alexander W.; Wang, Chuansong; During, Matthew J.; Holland, Peter C.; Shaham, Yavin; Baraban, Jay M.; Reti, Irving M.
Narp knockout (KO) mice demonstrate an impaired extinction of morphine conditioned place preference (CPP). Because the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) has been implicated in extinction learning, we tested whether Narp cells in this region play a role in the extinction of morphine CPP. We found that intracranial injections of adenoassociated virus…
Urcelay, Gonzalo P.; Lipatova, Olga; Miller, Ralph R.
Three Pavlovian fear conditioning experiments with rats as subjects explored the effect of extinction in the presence of a concurrent excitor. Our aim was to explore this particular treatment, documented in previous studies to deepen extinction, with novel control groups to shed light on the processes involved in extinction. Relative to subjects…
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.
Baysinger, Amber N; Kent, Brianne A; Brown, Thomas H
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.
Song, Chenghui; Ehlers, Vanessa L; Moyer, James R
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
Wood, Suzanne C; Fay, Jonathan; Sage, Jennifer R; Anagnostaras, Stephan G
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.
Misane, I.; Tovote, P.; Meyer, M.; Spiess, J.; Ögren, S.O.; Stiedl, O.
Hippocampal and amygdaloid neuroplasticity are important substrates for Pavlovian fear conditioning. The hippocampus has been implicated in trace fear conditioning. However, a systematic investigation of the significance of the trace interval has not yet been performed. Therefore, this study
Qi, Chu-Chu; Wang, Qing-Jun; Ma, Xue-Zhu; Chen, Hai-Chao; Gao, Li-Ping; Yin, Jie; Jing, Yu-Hong
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.
Leer, Arne|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/381059650; Engelhard, Iris|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/239681533
After treatment of anxiety disorders, fear often returns. Analogue studies show that outside the extinction context the conditional stimulus (CS) activates the acquisition memory (CS predicts unconditional stimulus; UCS), rather than the extinction memory (CS does not predict UCS). Conditioning
Hermann, Andrea; Stark, Rudolf; Blecker, Carlo R; Milad, Mohammed R; Merz, Christian J
Extinction of conditioned fear represents an important mechanism in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Return of fear after successful extinction or exposure therapy in patients with anxiety disorders might be linked to poor temporal or contextual generalization of extinction due to individual differences in brain structural connectivity. The goal of this magnetic resonance imaging study was therefore to investigate the association of context-dependent extinction recall with brain structural connectivity. Diffusion-tensor imaging was used to determine the fractional anisotropy as a measure of white matter structural integrity of fiber tracts connecting central brain regions of the fear and extinction circuit (uncinate fasciculus, cingulum). Forty-five healthy men participated in a two-day fear conditioning experiment with fear acquisition in context A and extinction learning in context B on the first day. Extinction recall in the extinction context as well as renewal in the acquisition context and a novel context C took place one day later. Renewal of conditioned fear (skin conductance responses) in the acquisition context was associated with higher structural integrity of the hippocampal part of the cingulum. Enhanced structural integrity of the cingulum might be related to stronger hippocampal modulation of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, a region important for modulating conditioned fear output by excitatory projections to the amygdala. This finding underpins the crucial role of individual differences in the structural integrity of relevant fiber tracts for context-dependent extinction recall and return of fear after exposure therapy in anxiety disorders. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Korte, S M; Bohus, B; de Boer, Sietse
The purpose of the study was to determine which stressor qualities (escapable vs. inescapable stress and unconditioned vs. conditioned stress) can potentiate fear in the elevated plus-maze. While inescapable stress potentiated fear, escapable stress did not, but escapable stress increased the
Learning to contend with threats in the environment is essential to survival, but dysregulation of memories for traumatic events can lead to disabling psychopathology. Recent years have witnessed an impressive growth in our understanding of the neural systems and synaptic mechanisms underlying emotional memory formation. As a consequence, interest has emerged in developing strategies for suppressing, if not eliminating, fear memories. Here I review recent work employing sophisticated behavioral, pharmacological, and molecular tools to target fear memories, placing these memories firmly behind the crosshairs of neurobiologically informed interventions. PMID:21658578
Piñeyro, Marcelo E.; Monti, Roque I. Ferrer; Alfei, Joaquín M.; Bueno, Adrián M.; Urcelay, Gonzalo P.
It has been suggested that, unlike pure extinction which typically results in the return of the fear response under a variety of circumstances, memory reactivation followed by extinction can attenuate the reemergence of conditioned fear. The reactivation-extinction procedure has attracted the attention of basic and clinical researchers due to its…
Full Text Available The theory of memory reconsolidation argues that consolidated memory is not unchangeable. Once a memory is reactivated it may go back into an unstable state and need new protein synthesis to be consolidated again, which is called “memory reconsolidation”. Boundary studies have shown that interfering with reconsolidation through pharmacologic or behavioral intervention can lead to the updating of the initial memory, for example, erasing undesired memories. Behavioral procedures based on memory reconsolidation interference have been shown to be an effective way to inhibit fear memory relapse after extinction. However, the effectiveness of retrieval–extinction differs by subtle differences in the protocol of the reactivation session. This represents a challenge with regard to finding an optimal operational model to facilitate its clinical use for patients suffering from pathogenic memories such as those associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. Most of the laboratory models for fear learning have used a single conditioned stimulus (CS paired with an unconditioned stimulus (US. This has simplified the real situation of traumatic events to an excessive degree, and thus, limits the clinical application of the findings based on these models. Here, we used a basic visual compound CS model as the CS to ascertain whether partial repetition of the compound CSs in conditioning can reactivate memory into reconsolidation. The results showed that the no retrieval group or the 1/3 ratio retrieval group failed to open the memory reconsolidation time window. The 2/3 repetition retrieval group and the whole repetition retrieval group were able to prevent fear reinstatement, whereas only a 2/3 ratio repetition of the initial compound CS as a reminder could inhibit spontaneous recovery. We inferred that a retrieval–extinction paradigm was also effective in a more complex model of fear if a sufficient prediction error (PE could be generated in the
Li, Junjiao; Chen, Wei; Caoyang, Jingwen; Wu, Wenli; Jie, Jing; Xu, Liang; Zheng, Xifu
The theory of memory reconsolidation argues that consolidated memory is not unchangeable. Once a memory is reactivated it may go back into an unstable state and need new protein synthesis to be consolidated again, which is called “memory reconsolidation”. Boundary studies have shown that interfering with reconsolidation through pharmacologic or behavioral intervention can lead to the updating of the initial memory, for example, erasing undesired memories. Behavioral procedures based on memory reconsolidation interference have been shown to be an effective way to inhibit fear memory relapse after extinction. However, the effectiveness of retrieval–extinction differs by subtle differences in the protocol of the reactivation session. This represents a challenge with regard to finding an optimal operational model to facilitate its clinical use for patients suffering from pathogenic memories such as those associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. Most of the laboratory models for fear learning have used a single conditioned stimulus (CS) paired with an unconditioned stimulus (US). This has simplified the real situation of traumatic events to an excessive degree, and thus, limits the clinical application of the findings based on these models. Here, we used a basic visual compound CS model as the CS to ascertain whether partial repetition of the compound CSs in conditioning can reactivate memory into reconsolidation. The results showed that the no retrieval group or the 1/3 ratio retrieval group failed to open the memory reconsolidation time window. The 2/3 repetition retrieval group and the whole repetition retrieval group were able to prevent fear reinstatement, whereas only a 2/3 ratio repetition of the initial compound CS as a reminder could inhibit spontaneous recovery. We inferred that a retrieval–extinction paradigm was also effective in a more complex model of fear if a sufficient prediction error (PE) could be generated in the reactivation period
Recent data in both rodents and humans suggests that the timing of extinction trials after conditioning influences the magnitude and duration of extinction. For example, administering extinction trials soon after Pavlovian fear conditioning in rats, mice, and humans results in minimal fear suppression - the so-called immediate extinction deficit. Here I review recent work examining the behavioral and neural substrates of the immediate extinction deficit. I suggest that extinction is most effective at some delay after conditioning, because brain systems involved in encoding and retrieving extinction memories function sub-optimally under stress. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Wood, Suzanne C.; Fay, Jonathon; Sage, Jennifer R.; Anagnostaras, Stephan G.
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 – 15 mg/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 (15 mg/kg) displayed significantly less cont...
Nijholt, Ingrid M.; Ostroveanu, Anghelus; Scheper, Wouter A.; Penke, Botond; Luiten, Paul G. M.; Van der Zee, Eddy A.; Eisel, Ulrich L. M.
Both genetic and pharmacological studies demonstrated that contextual fear conditioning is critically regulated by cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA). Since PKA is a broad range protein kinase, a mechanism for confining its activity is required. It has been shown that intracellular spatial
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
De la Casa, Luís Gonzalo; Mena, Auxiliadora; Ruiz-Salas, Juán Carlos; Quintero, Esperanza; Papini, Mauricio R
Three experiments explored the link between reward shifts and latent inhibition (LI). Using consummatory procedures, rewards were either downshifted from 32% to 4% sucrose (Experiments 1-2), or upshifted from 4% to 32% sucrose (Experiment 3). In both cases, appropriate unshifted controls were also included. LI was implemented in terms of fear conditioning involving a single tone-shock pairing after extensive tone-only preexposure. Nonpreexposed controls were also included. Experiment 1 demonstrated a typical LI effect (i.e., disruption of fear conditioning after preexposure to the tone) in animals previously exposed only to 4% sucrose. However, the LI effect was eliminated by preexposure to a 32%-to-4% sucrose devaluation. Experiment 2 replicated this effect when the LI protocol was administered immediately after the reward devaluation event. However, LI was restored when preexposure was administered after a 60-min retention interval. Finally, Experiment 3 showed that a reward upshift did not affect LI. These results point to a significant role of negative emotion related to reward devaluation in the enhancement of stimulus processing despite extensive nonreinforced preexposure experience.
Kalisch, Raffael; Korenfeld, Elian; Stephan, Klaas E.; Weiskopf, Nikolaus; Seymour, Ben; Dolan, Raymond J.
In fear extinction, an animal learns that a conditioned stimulus (CS) no longer predicts a noxious stimulus [unconditioned stimulus (UCS)] to which it had previously been associated, leading to inhibition of the conditioned response (CR). Extinction creates a new CS-noUCS memory trace, competing with the initial fear (CS-UCS) memory. Recall of extinction memory and, hence, CR inhibition at later CS encounters is facilitated by contextual stimuli present during extinction training. In line wit...
Brown, Kevin L.; Freeman, John H.
Eyeblink conditioning is a well-established model for studying the developmental neurobiology of associative learning and memory. However, age differences in extinction and subsequent reacquisition have yet to be studied using this model. The present study examined extinction and reacquisition of eyeblink conditioning in developing rats. In…
Fuentes, Sílvia; Daviu, Núria; Gagliano, Humberto; Belda, Xavier; Armario, Antonio; Nadal, Roser
Exposure to electric foot-shocks can induce in rodents contextual fear conditioning, generalization of fear to other contexts and sensitization of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis to further stressors. All these aspects are relevant for the study of post-traumatic stress disorder. In the present work we evaluated in rats the sex differences and the role of early life stress (ELS) in fear memories, generalization and sensitization. During the first postnatal days subjects were exposed to restriction of nesting material along with exposure to a "substitute" mother. In the adulthood they were exposed to (i) a contextual fear conditioning to evaluate long-term memory and extinction and (ii) to a novel environment to study cognitive fear generalization and HPA axis heterotypic sensitization. ELS did not alter acquisition, expression or extinction of context fear conditioned behavior (freezing) in either sex, but reduced activity in novel environments only in males. Fear conditioning associated hypoactivity in novel environments (cognitive generalization) was greater in males than females but was not specifically affected by ELS. Although overall females showed greater basal and stress-induced levels of ACTH and corticosterone, an interaction between ELS, shock exposure and sex was found regarding HPA hormones. In males, ELS did not affect ACTH response in any situation, whereas in females, ELS reduced both shock-induced sensitization of ACTH and its conditioned response to the shock context. Also, shock-induced sensitization of corticosterone was only observed in males and ELS specifically reduced corticosterone response to stressors in males but not females. In conclusion, ELS seems to have only a minor impact on shock-induced behavioral conditioning, while affecting the unconditioned and conditioned responses of HPA hormones in a sex-dependent manner. Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Graham, Bronwyn M.; Richardson, Rick
These experiments examined the effects of the NMDA-receptor (NMDAr) antagonist MK801 on reacquisition and re-extinction of a conditioned fear that had been previously extinguished before injection of fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF2) or vehicle. Recent findings have shown that relearning and re-extinction, unlike initial learning and extinction,…
Wilensky, Ann E; Schafe, Glenn E; Kristensen, Morten Pilgaard
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....
Fu, Juan; Xing, Xiaoli; Han, Mengfi; Xu, Na; Piao, Chengji; Zhang, Yue; Zheng, Xigeng
The return of learned fear is an important issue in anxiety disorder research since an analogous process may contribute to long-term fear maintenance or clinical relapse. A number of studies demonstrate that mPFC and hippocampus are important in the modulation of post-extinction re-expression of fear memory. However, the region-specific role of these structures in the fear return evoked by a sub-threshold conditioning (SC) is not known. In the present experiments, we first examined specific roles of the prelimbic cortex (PL), the dorsal hippocampus (DH, the dorsal CA1 area in particular), the ventral hippocampus (the ventral dentate gyrus (vDG) and the ventral CA1 area in particular) in this fear return process. Then we examined the role of connections between PL and vCA1 with this behavioral approach. Rats were subjected to five tone-shock pairings (1.0-mA shock) to induce conditioned fear (freezing), followed by three fear extinction sessions (25 tone-alone trials each session). After a post-test for extinction memory, some rats were retrained with the SC procedure to reinstate tone-evoked freezing. Rat groups were injected with low doses of the GABAA agonist muscimol to selectively inactivate PL, DH, vDG, or vCA1 120 min before the fear return test. A disconnection paradigm with ipsilateral or contralateral muscimol injection of the PL and the vCA1 was used to examine the role of this pathway in the fear return. We found that transient inactivation of these areas significantly impaired fear return (freezing): inactivation of the prelimbic cortex blocked SC-evoked fear return in particular but did not influence fear expression in general; inactivation of the DH area impaired fear return, but had no effect on the extinction retrieval process; both ventral DG and ventral CA1 are required for the return of extinguished fear whereas only ventral DG is required for the extinction retrieval. These findings suggest that PL, DH, vDG, and vCA1 all contribute to the fear
Lauren S Hopkins
Full Text Available The role of contingency awareness in simple associative learning experiments with human participants is currently debated. Since prior work suggests that eye movements can index mnemonic processes that occur without awareness, we used eye tracking to better understand the role of awareness in learning aversive Pavlovian conditioning. A complex real-world scene containing four embedded household items was presented to participants while skin conductance, eye movements, and pupil size were recorded. One item embedded in the scene served as the conditional stimulus (CS. One exemplar of that item (e.g. a white pot was paired with shock 100 percent of the time (CS+ while a second exemplar (e.g. a gray pot was never paired with shock (CS-. The remaining items were paired with shock on half of the trials. Participants rated their expectation of receiving a shock during each trial, and these expectancy ratings were used to identify when (i.e. on what trial each participant became aware of the programmed contingencies. Disproportionate viewing of the CS was found both before and after explicit contingency awareness, and patterns of viewing distinguished the CS+ from the CS-. These observations are consistent with "dual process" models of fear conditioning, as they indicate that learning can be expressed in patterns of viewing prior to explicit contingency awareness.
Cavallo, Joel S; Ruiz, Nicholas A; de Wit, Harriet
Contextual stimuli present during drug experiences become associated with the drug through Pavlovian conditioning and are thought to sustain drug-seeking behavior. Thus, extinction of conditioned responses is an important target for treatment. To date, acquisition and extinction to drug-paired cues have been studied in animal models or drug-dependent individuals, but rarely in non-drug users. We have recently developed a procedure to study acquisition of conditioned responses after single doses of methamphetamine (MA) in healthy volunteers. Here, we examined extinction of these responses and their persistence after conditioning. Healthy adults (18-35 years; N = 20) received two pairings of audio-visual stimuli with MA (20 mg oral) or placebo. Responses to stimuli were assessed before and after conditioning, using three tasks: behavioral preference, attentional bias, and subjective "liking." Subjects exhibited behavioral preference for the drug-paired stimuli at the first post-conditioning test, but this declined rapidly on subsequent extinction tests. They also exhibited a bias to initially look towards the drug-paired stimuli at the first post-test session, but not thereafter. Subjects who experienced more positive subjective drug effects during conditioning exhibited a smaller decline in preference during the extinction phase. Further, longer inter-session intervals during the extinction phase were associated with less extinction of the behavioral preference measure. Conditioned responses after two pairings with MA extinguish quickly, and are influenced by both subjective drug effects and the extinction interval. Characterizing and refining this conditioning procedure will aid in understanding the acquisition and extinction processes of drug-related conditioned responses in humans.
Sandoz, Jean-Christophe; Pham-Delègue, Minh-Hà
In honeybees, the proboscis extension response (PER) can be conditioned by associating an odor stimulus (CS) to a sucrose reward (US). Conditioned responses to the CS, which are acquired by most bees after a single CS-US pairing, disappear after repeated unrewarded presentations of the CS, a process called extinction. Extinction is usually thought to be based either on (1) the disruption of the stored CS-US association, or (2) the formation of an inhibitory “CS-no US” association that is better retrieved than the initial CS-US association. The observation of spontaneous recovery, i.e., the reappearance of responses to the CS after time passes following extinction, is traditionally interpreted as a proof for the formation of a transient inhibitory association. To provide a better understanding of extinction in honeybees, we examined whether time intervals during training and extinction or the number of conditioning and extinction trials have an effect on the occurrence of spontaneous recovery. We found that spontaneous recovery mostly occurs when conditioning and testing took place in a massed fashion (1-min intertrial intervals). Moreover, spontaneous recovery depended on the time elapsed since extinction, 1 h being an optimum. Increasing the number of conditioning trials improved the spontaneous recovery level, whereas increasing the number of extinction trials reduced it. Lastly, we show that after single-trial conditioning, spontaneous recovery appears only once after extinction. These elements suggest that in honeybees extinction of the PER actually reflects the impairment of the CS-US association, but that depending on training parameters different memory substrates are affected. PMID:15466313
Messaoudi, Belkacem; Granjon, Lionel; Mouly, Anne-Marie; Sevelinges, Yannick; Gervais, Remi
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…
Mickley, G Andrew; Remus, Jennifer L; Ramos, Linnet; Wilson, Gina N; Biesan, Orion R; Ketchesin, Kyle D
D-cycloserine, the glutamate N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor partial agonist, has been reported to facilitate the extinction of learned fears acquired in both naturalistic and laboratory settings. The current study extended this literature by evaluating the ability of either chronic or acute administrations of DCS to modulate the extinction and spontaneous recovery of a conditioned taste aversion (CTA). Twenty-three hour fluid-deprived Sprague-Dawley rats acquired a strong CTA following 3 pairings of a conditioned stimulus (CS; 0.3% oral saccharin)+unconditioned stimulus [US; 81 mg/kg (i.p.) lithium chloride (LiCl)]. In separate groups of rats, we then employed 2 different extinction paradigms: (1) CS-only (CSO-EXT) in which saccharin was presented every-other day, or (2) Explicitly Unpaired (EU-EXT) in which both saccharin and LiCl were presented but on alternate days. Previous studies have indicated that the EU-EXT procedure speeds up the extinction process. Further, spontaneous recovery of a CTA emerges following CSO-EXT but the EU-EXT paradigm causes a suppression of spontaneous recovery. DCS (15 mg/kg, i.p.) was administered immediately after daily liquid presentations (saccharin or water, alternate days) during the extinction period. In an acute drug manipulation, DCS (15 mg/kg, i.p.) or saline control injections were administered for 4 days only. This was done during one of 3 different phases of extinction [i.e., static (2-5%), early dynamic (8-16%), or middle dynamic (20-40%) saccharin reacceptance]. Other animals assigned to the chronic DCS condition received daily DCS (15 mg/kg, i.p.) throughout extinction. Changes in saccharin drinking in these animals were compared to the data from rats that received no drug (saline controls). Once rats met our criterion for asymptotic extinction (90% reacceptance of the CS) they entered a 30-day latency period during which they received water for 1 h/day. The day after the completion of the latency period, a final
Smith, Noelle B; Doran, Jennifer M; Sippel, Lauren M; Harpaz-Rotem, Ilan
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with alterations in critical brain regions such as the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex. This brief review has two objectives: (1) to discuss research examining extinction and reconsolidation processes as mechanisms in PTSD psychotherapy, and (2) present possibilities for augmenting extinction and reconsolidation within treatment through alterations to therapeutic interventions and novel approaches. A key component of many effective PTSD therapies is exposure, which involves intentional confrontation and processing of the traumatic memory. Our review suggests that extinction and reconsolidation processes underlie effective exposure-based treatment, but the neurobiological mechanisms of these processes in behavioral treatments for PTSD remains unclear. We argue that enhancing extinction and/or disrupting reconsolidation of a feared memory may improve the efficacy of existing treatments (e.g., increased change for limited/non-responders, faster/greater changes for responders), which can be done through multiple channels. Potential avenues for augmentation of the processes of extinction and reconsolidation in PTSD psychotherapies are reviewed, including behavioral modifications, pharmacotherapy agents, and the use of devices during therapy. We further suggest that investigations towards understanding the extent to which extinction and reconsolidation processes are necessary in effective PTSD psychotherapy is an important future direction for enhancing clinical care among PTSD populations. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Rosa, Jessica; Myskiw, Jociane C; Furini, Cristiane R G; Sapiras, Gerson G; Izquierdo, Ivan
We investigate whether the extinction of inhibitory avoidance (IA) learning can be subjected to endogenous state-dependence with systemic injections of epinephrine (E), and whether endogenous norepinephrine (NE) and the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS)→locus coeruleus→hippocampus/amygdala (HIPP/BLA) pathway participate in this. Rats trained in IA were submitted to two sessions of extinction 24 h apart: In the first, the animals were submitted to a training session of extinction, and in the second they were tested for the retention of extinction. Saline or E were given i.p. immediately after the extinction training (post-extinction training injections) and/or 6 min before the extinction test (pre-extinction test). Post-extinction training E (50 or 100 μg/kg) induced a poor retrieval of extinction in the test session of this task unless an additional E injection (50 μg/kg) was given prior to the extinction test. This suggested state-dependence. Muscimol (0.01 μg/side) microinfused into the NTS prior to the extinction test session blocked E-induced state-dependence. Norepinephrine (NE, 1 μg/side) infused bilaterally into NTS restores the extinction impairment caused by post-extinction training i.p. E. In animals with bilateral NTS blockade induced by muscimol, NE (1 μg/side) given prior to the extinction test into the CA1 region of the dorsal hippocampus or into the basolateral amygdala restored the normal extinction levels that had been impaired by muscimol. These results suggest a role for the NTS→locus coeruleus→HIPP/BLA pathway in the retrieval of extinction, as it has been shown to have in the consolidation of inhibitory avoidance and of object recognition learning. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Chan, C K J; Harris, Justin A
Pavlovian conditioning is sensitive to the temporal relationship between the conditioned stimulus (CS) and the unconditioned stimulus (US). This has motivated models that describe learning as a process that continuously updates associative strength during the trial or specifically encodes the CS-US interval. These models predict that extinction of responding is also continuous, such that response loss is proportional to the cumulative duration of exposure to the CS without the US. We review evidence showing that this prediction is incorrect, and that extinction is trial-based rather than time-based. We also present two experiments that test the importance of trials versus time on the Partial Reinforcement Extinction Effect (PREE), in which responding extinguishes more slowly for a CS that was inconsistently reinforced with the US than for a consistently reinforced one. We show that increasing the number of extinction trials of the partially reinforced CS, relative to the consistently reinforced CS, overcomes the PREE. However, increasing the duration of extinction trials by the same amount does not overcome the PREE. We conclude that animals learn about the likelihood of the US per trial during conditioning, and learn trial-by-trial about the absence of the US during extinction. Moreover, what they learn about the likelihood of the US during conditioning affects how sensitive they are to the absence of the US during extinction. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
benzodiazepine drug midazolam (Uvnas-Moberg et al, 1994). A high-stress strain of Sprague-Dawley rats that typically perform poorly on conditioned avoidance...2010). The accurate measurement of fear memory in Pavlovian conditioning : resolving the baseline issue. f Neurosci Methods 190: 235-239. Joordens RJ...stress disorder. Psychiatry Res 48: 107-117. Rescorla RA, Wagner AR (1972). A theory of Pavlovian conditioning : variations in the effectiveness of
Alina Beatrice Chesca
Full Text Available This paper approaches Otto Rank’s theory according to which the main cause of anxiety is the individual’s separation from the loved beings and objects. Along one’s life, anxiety takes two forms: the fear of life and the fear of death. The fear of life is the anxiety which appears when the person becomes aware of his creative abilities which could separate him from the existing relationships. Writers like Emil Cioran, Mihail Sebastian, Octavian Paler, Yukio Mishima, Ernest Hemingway suffered from the fear of life, they were haunted by a tragic that brought about theloneliness of death. It is what Kierkegaard called: ”the fatal disease”, the sin of the artist’s existence. The artistic process implies an oscillation between acceptance and rejection, satisfaction and negation, life and death, loneliness and happiness.
Waters, Allison M; Theresiana, Cindy; Neumann, David L; Craske, Michelle G
This study investigated developmental differences in aversive conditioning, extinction, and reinstatement (i.e., the recovery of conditioned aversive associations following reexposure to the unconditioned stimulus [US] post-extinction). This study examined these mechanisms in children (M age =8.8years), adolescents (M age =16.1years), and adults (M age =32.3years) using differential aversive conditioning with a geometric shape conditional stimulus (CS+) paired with an aversive sound US and another shape (CS-) presented alone. Following an extinction phase in which both CSs were presented alone, half of the participants in each age group received three US exposures (reinstatement condition) and the other half did not (control condition), followed by all participants completing an extinction retest phase on the same day. Findings indicated (a) significant differences in generalizing aversive expectancies to safe stimuli during conditioning and extinction that persisted during retest in children relative to adults and adolescents, (b) significantly less positive CS reevaluations during extinction that persisted during retest in adolescents relative to adults and children, and (c) reinstatement of US expectancies to the CS+ relative to the CS- in all age groups. Results suggest important differences in stimulus safety learning in children and stimulus valence reevaluation in adolescents relative to adults. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Lazzaro, Stephanie C.; Hou, Mian; Cunha, Catarina; LeDoux, Joseph E.; Cain, Christopher K.
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…
Coppens, Evelien; van Paesschen, Wim; Vandenbulcke, Mathieu; Vansteenwegen, Debora
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.
Kochli, Daniel E.; Thompson, Elaine C.; Fricke, Elizabeth A.; Postle, Abagail F.; Quinn, Jennifer J.
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…
Wilson, Yvette M.; Murphy, Mark
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…
Baas, J. M. P.; van Ooijen, L.; Goudriaan, A.; Kenemans, J. L.
The acquisition of a conditioned fear response is adaptive, as it enables the organism to appropriately respond to predictors of aversive events. Consequently, the absence of predictive cues can be used as a signal for safety. We aimed to study whether deficient fear conditioning might lead to
Duvarci, Sevil; Pare, Denis
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
Keefer, Sara E; Cole, Sindy; Petrovich, Gorica D
Learned food cues can drive feeding in the absence of hunger, and orexin/hypocretin signaling is necessary for this type of overeating. The current study examined whether orexin also mediates cue-food learning during the acquisition and extinction of these associations. In Experiment 1, rats underwent two sessions of Pavlovian appetitive conditioning, consisting of tone-food presentations. Prior to each session, rats received either the orexin 1 receptor antagonist SB-334867 (SB) or vehicle systemically. SB treatment did not affect conditioned responses during the first conditioning session, measured as food cup behavior during the tone and latency to approach the food cup after the tone onset, compared to the vehicle group. During the second conditioning session, SB treatment attenuated learning. All groups that received SB, prior to either the first or second conditioning session, displayed significantly less food cup behavior and had longer latencies to approach the food cup after tone onset compared to the vehicle group. These findings suggest orexin signaling at the 1 receptor mediates the consolidation and recall of cue-food acquisition. In Experiment 2, another group of rats underwent tone-food conditioning sessions (drug free), followed by two extinction sessions under either SB or vehicle treatment. Similar to Experiment 1, SB did not affect conditioned responses during the first session. During the second extinction session, the group that received SB prior to the first extinction session, but vehicle prior to the second, expressed conditioned food cup responses longer after tone offset, when the pellets were previously delivered during conditioning, and maintained shorter latencies to approach the food cup compared to the other groups. The persistence of these conditioned behaviors indicates impairment in extinction consolidation due to SB treatment during the first extinction session. Together, these results demonstrate an important role for orexin
Keefer, Sara E.; Cole, Sindy; Petrovich, Gorica D.
Learned food cues can drive feeding in the absence of hunger, and orexin/hypocretin signaling is necessary for this type of overeating. The current study examined whether orexin also mediates cue-food learning during the acquisition and extinction of these associations. In Experiment 1, rats underwent two sessions of Pavlovian appetitive conditioning, consisting of tone-food presentations. Prior to each session, rats received either the orexin 1 receptor antagonist SB-334867 (SB) or vehicle systemically. SB treatment did not affect conditioned responses during the first conditioning session, measured as food cup behavior during the tone and latency to approach the food cup after the tone onset, compared to the vehicle group. During the second conditioning session, SB treatment attenuated learning. All groups that received SB, prior to either the first or second conditioning session, displayed significantly less food cup behavior and had longer latencies to approach the food cup after tone onset compared to the vehicle group. These findings suggest orexin signaling at the 1 receptor mediates the consolidation and recall of cue-food acquisition. In Experiment 2, another group of rats underwent tone-food conditioning sessions (drug free), followed by two extinction sessions under either SB or vehicle treatment. Similar to Experiment 1, SB did not affect conditioned responses during the first session. During the second extinction session, the group that received SB prior to the first extinction session, but vehicle prior to the second, expressed conditioned food cup responses longer after tone offset, when the pellets were previously delivered during conditioning, and maintained shorter latencies to approach the food cup compared to the other groups. The persistence of these conditioned behaviors indicates impairment in extinction consolidation due to SB treatment during the first extinction session. Together, these results demonstrate an important role for orexin
Two experiments were conducted to study overshadowing of extinction in a conditioned taste aversion preparation. In both experiments, aversive conditioning with sucrose was followed by extinction treatment with either sucrose alone or in compound with another taste, citric acid. Experiment 1 employed a simultaneous compound extinction treatment…
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
Schwager, Monika; Johst, Karin; Jeltsch, Florian
Recent theoretical studies have shown contrasting effects of temporal correlation of environmental fluctuations (red noise) on the risk of population extinction. It is still debated whether and under which conditions red noise increases or decreases extinction risk compared with uncorrelated (white) noise. Here, we explain the opposing effects by introducing two features of red noise time series. On the one hand, positive autocorrelation increases the probability of series of poor environmental conditions, implying increasing extinction risk. On the other hand, for a given time period, the probability of at least one extremely bad year ("catastrophe") is reduced compared with white noise, implying decreasing extinction risk. Which of these two features determines extinction risk depends on the strength of environmental fluctuations and the sensitivity of population dynamics to these fluctuations. If extreme (catastrophic) events can occur (strong noise) or sensitivity is high (overcompensatory density dependence), then temporal correlation decreases extinction risk; otherwise, it increases it. Thus, our results provide a simple explanation for the contrasting previous findings and are a crucial step toward a general understanding of the effect of noise color on extinction risk.
Smit, A E; van der Geest, J N; Vellema, M
with FRAXA. In the present behavioral study, long-term effects of deficiency of FMRP were investigated by examining the acquisition, savings and extinction of delay eyeblink conditioning in male individuals with FRAXA. In the acquisition experiment, subjects with FRAXA displayed a significantly poor...... of the FMRP affects cerebellar motor learning. The normal performance in the savings experiment and aberrant performance in the acquisition and extinction experiments of individuals with FRAXA suggest that different mechanisms underlie acquisition, savings and extinction of cerebellar motor learning....
Arnaudova, I.; Krypotos, A.M.; Effting, M.; Boddez, Y.; Kindt, M.; Beckers, T.
Complex fear learning procedures might be better suited than the common differential fear-conditioning paradigm for detecting individual differences related to vulnerability for anxiety disorders. Two such procedures are the blocking procedure and the protection-from-overshadowing procedure. Their
Graham, Bronwyn M.; Richardson, Rick
These experiments examined the relationship between the neurotrophic factor fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) and individual differences in the expression of conditioned fear. Experiments 1 and 2 demonstrated that rats naturally expressing low levels of contextual or cued fear have higher levels of hippocampal FGF2 relative to rats that express…
Kwon, Jeong-Tae; Jhang, Jinho; Kim, Hyung-Su; Lee, Sujin; Han, Jin-Hee
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…
Sabiha K Barot
Full Text Available Associative conditioning is a ubiquitous form of learning throughout the animal kingdom and fear conditioning is one of the most widely researched models for studying its neurobiological basis. Fear conditioning is also considered a model system for understanding phobias and anxiety disorders. A fundamental issue in fear conditioning regards the existence and location of neurons in the brain that receive convergent information about the conditioned stimulus (CS and unconditioned stimulus (US during the acquisition of conditioned fear memory. Convergent activation of neurons is generally viewed as a key event for fear learning, yet there has been almost no direct evidence of this critical event in the mammalian brain.Here, we used Arc cellular compartmental analysis of temporal gene transcription by fluorescence in situ hybridization (catFISH to identify neurons activated during single trial contextual fear conditioning in rats. To conform to temporal requirements of catFISH analysis we used a novel delayed contextual fear conditioning protocol which yields significant single- trial fear conditioning with temporal parameters amenable to catFISH analysis. Analysis yielded clear evidence that a population of BLA neurons receives convergent CS and US information at the time of the learning, that this only occurs when the CS-US arrangement is supportive of the learning, and that this process requires N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor activation. In contrast, CS-US convergence was not observed in dorsal hippocampus.Based on the pattern of Arc activation seen in conditioning and control groups, we propose that a key requirement for CS-US convergence onto BLA neurons is the potentiation of US responding by prior exposure to a novel CS. Our results also support the view that contextual fear memories are encoded in the amygdala and that the role of dorsal hippocampus is to process and transmit contextual CS information.
Dines, Monica; Grinberg, Svetlana; Vassiliev, Maria; Ram, Alon; Tamir, Tal; Lamprecht, Raphael
Eph receptors regulate glutamate receptors functions, neuronal morphology and synaptic plasticity, cellular events believed to be involved in memory formation. In this study we aim to explore the roles of Eph receptors in learning and memory. Toward that end, we examined the roles of EphB2 and EphA4 receptors, key regulators of synaptic functions, in fear conditioning memory formation. We show that mice lacking EphB2 (EphB2(-/-)) are impaired in short- and long-term contextual fear conditioning memory. Mice that express a carboxy-terminally truncated form of EphB2 that lacks forward signaling, instead of the full EphB2, are impaired in long-term, but not short-term, contextual fear conditioning memory. Long-term contextual fear conditioning memory is attenuated in CaMKII-cre;EphA4(lx/-) mice where EphA4 is removed from all pyramidal neurons of the forebrain. Mutant mice with targeted kinase-dead EphA4 (EphA4(KD)) exhibit intact long-term contextual fear conditioning memory showing that EphA4 kinase-mediated forward signaling is not needed for contextual fear memory formation. The ability to form long-term conditioned taste aversion (CTA) memory is not impaired in the EphB2(-/-) and CaMKII-cre;EphA4(lx/-) mice. We conclude that EphB2 forward signaling is required for long-term contextual fear conditioning memory formation. In contrast, EphB2 mediates short-term contextual fear conditioning memory formation in a forward signaling-independent manner. EphA4 mediates long-term contextual fear conditioning memory formation in a kinase-independent manner. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kumar, Tankesh; Jha, Sushil K
Many studies suggest that fear conditioning influences sleep. It is, however, not known if the changes in sleep architecture after fear conditioning are essentially associated with the consolidation of fearful memory or with fear itself. Here, we have observed that within sleep, NREM sleep consistently remained augmented after the consolidation of cued fear-conditioned memory. But a similar change did not occur after impairing memory consolidation by blocking new protein synthesis and glutamate transmission between glial-neuronal loop in the lateral amygdala (LA). Anisomycin (a protein synthesis inhibitor) and DL-α-amino-adipic acid (DL- α -AA) (a glial glutamine synthetase enzyme inhibitor) were microinjected into the LA soon after cued fear-conditioning to induce memory impairment. On the post-conditioning day, animals in both the groups exhibited significantly less freezing. In memory-consolidated groups (vehicle groups), NREM sleep significantly increased during 2nd to 5th hours after training compared to their baseline days. However, in memory impaired groups (anisomycin and DL- α -AA microinjected groups), similar changes were not observed. Our results thus suggest that changes in sleep architecture after cued fear-conditioning are indeed a consolidation dependent event. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Bergstrom, Hadley C; Johnson, Luke R
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.
Champagnat, Nicolas; Villemonais, Denis
This article studies the quasi-stationary behaviour of population processes with unbounded absorption rate, including one-dimensional birth and death processes with catastrophes and multi-dimensional birth and death processes, modeling biological populations in interaction. To handle this situation, we develop original non-linear Lyapunov criteria. We obtain the exponential convergence in total variation of the conditional distributions to a unique quasi-stationary distribution, uniformly wit...
Orsini, Caitlin A.; Yan, Chen; Maren, Stephen
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...
Full Text Available Abstract Background Fear conditioning-induced changes in cerebellar Purkinje cell responses to a conditioned stimulus have been reported in rabbits. It has been suggested that synaptic long-term potentiation and the resulting increases in firing rates of Purkinje cells are related to the acquisition of conditioned fear in mammals. However, Purkinje cell activities during acquisition of conditioned fear have not been analysed, and changes in Purkinje cell activities throughout the development of conditioned fear have not yet been investigated. In the present study, we tracked Purkinje cell activities throughout a fear conditioning procedure and aimed to elucidate further how cerebellar circuits function during the acquisition and expression of conditioned fear. Methods Activities of single Purkinje cells in the corpus cerebelli were tracked throughout a classical fear conditioning procedure in goldfish. A delayed conditioning paradigm was used with cardiac deceleration as the conditioned response. Conditioning-related changes of Purkinje cell responses to a conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus were examined. Results The majority of Purkinje cells sampled responded to the conditioned stimulus by either increasing or decreasing their firing rates before training. Although there were various types of conditioning-related changes in Purkinje cells, more than half of the cells showed suppressed activities in response to the conditioned stimulus after acquisition of conditioned fear. Purkinje cells that showed unconditioned stimulus-coupled complex-spike firings also exhibited conditioning-related suppression of simple-spike responses to the conditioned stimulus. A small number of Purkinje cells showed increased excitatory responses in the acquisition sessions. We found that the magnitudes of changes in the firing frequencies of some Purkinje cells in response to the conditioned stimulus correlated with the magnitudes of the conditioned
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.
Sui, Li; Huang, SiJia; Peng, BinBin; Ren, Jie; Tian, FuYing; Wang, Yan
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.
Steinmetz, Adam B.; Freeman, John H.
Rats administered the cannabinoid agonist WIN55,212-2 or the antagonist SR141716A exhibit marked deficits during acquisition of delay eyeblink conditioning, as noted by Steinmetz and Freeman in an earlier study. However, the effects of these drugs on retention and extinction of eyeblink conditioning have not been assessed. The present study…
Gomes, Felipe V.; Silva, Andréia L.; Uliana, Daniela L.; Camargo, Laura H. A.; Guimarães, Francisco S.; Cunha, Fernando Q.; Joca, Sâmia R. L.; Resstel, Leonardo B. M.
Background: Inducible or neuronal nitric oxide synthase gene deletion increases or decreases anxiety-like behavior in mice, respectively. Since nitric oxide and endocannabinoids interact to modulate defensive behavior, the former effect could involve a compensatory increase in basal brain nitric oxide synthase activity and/or changes in the endocannabinoid system. Thus, we investigated the expression and extinction of contextual fear conditioning of inducible nitric oxide knockout mice and possible involvement of endocannabinoids in these responses. Methods: We evaluated the effects of a preferential neuronal nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, 7-nitroindazol, nitric oxide synthase activity, and mRNA changes of nitrergic and endocannabinoid systems components in the medial prefrontal cortex and hippocampus of wild-type and knockout mice. The effects of URB597, an inhibitor of the fatty acid amide hydrolase enzyme, which metabolizes the endocannabinoid anandamide, WIN55,212-2, a nonselective cannabinoid agonist, and AM281, a selective CB1 antagonist, on contextual fear conditioning were also evaluated. Results: Contextual fear conditioning expression was similar in wild-type and knockout mice, but the latter presented extinction deficits and increased basal nitric oxide synthase activity in the medial prefrontal cortex. 7-Nitroindazol decreased fear expression and facilitated extinction in wild-type and knockout mice. URB597 decreased fear expression in wild-type and facilitated extinction in knockout mice, whereas WIN55,212-2 and AM281 increased it in wild-type mice. Nonconditioned knockout mice showed changes in the mRNA expression of nitrergic and endocannabinoid system components in the medial prefrontal cortex and hippocampus that were modified by fear conditioning. Conclusion: These data reinforce the involvement of the nitric oxide and endocannabinoids (anandamide) in stress-related disorders and point to a deregulation of the endocannabinoid system in
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.
Yen, Yi-Chun; Mauch, Christoph P; Dahlhoff, Maik; Micale, Vincenzo; Bunck, Mirjam; Sartori, Simone B; Singewald, Nicolas; Landgraf, Rainer; Wotjak, Carsten T
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.
Poplawski, Shane G.; Schoch, Hannah; Wimmer, Mathieu; Hawk, Joshua D.; Walsh, Jennifer L.; Giese, Karl P.; Abel, Ted
Hippocampus-dependent learning is known to induce changes in gene expression, but information on gene expression differences between different learning paradigms that require the hippocampus is limited. The bulk of studies investigating RNA expression after learning use the contextual fear conditioning task, which couples a novel environment with a footshock. Although contextual fear conditioning has been useful in discovering gene targets, gene expression after spatial memory tasks has recei...
Johnston, Matthew D; Anderson, David F; Craciun, Gheorghe; Brijder, Robert
We study chemical reaction networks with discrete state spaces and present sufficient conditions on the structure of the network that guarantee the system exhibits an extinction event. The conditions we derive involve creating a modified chemical reaction network called a domination-expanded reaction network and then checking properties of this network. Unlike previous results, our analysis allows algorithmic implementation via systems of equalities and inequalities and suggests sequences of reactions which may lead to extinction events. We apply the results to several networks including an EnvZ-OmpR signaling pathway in Escherichia coli.
Holmes, Nathan M.; Leung, Hiu T.; Westbrook, R. Frederick
This series of experiments used rats to compare counterconditioning and extinction of conditioned fear responses (freezing) with respect to the effects of a context shift. In each experiment, a stimulus was paired with shock in context A, extinguished or counterconditioned through pairings with sucrose in context B, and then tested for renewal…
Bradfield, Laura A.; McNally, Gavan P.
We studied the role of nucleus accumbens shell (AcbSh) in Pavlovian fear conditioning. Rats were trained to fear conditioned stimulus A (CSA) in Stage I, which was then presented in compound with a neutral stimulus and paired with shock in Stage II. AcbSh lesions had no effect on fear-learning to CSA in Stage I, but selectively prevented learning…
Giorgi, Gabriele; Montani, Francesco; Fiz-Perez, Javier; Arcangeli, Giulio; Mucci, Nicola
Companies’ internationalization appears to be fundamental in the current globalized and competitive environment and seems important not only for organizational success, but also for societal development and sustainability. On one hand, global business increases the demand for managers for international assignment. On the other hand, emergent fears, such as terrorism, seem to be developing around the world, enhancing the risk of expatriates’ potential health problems. The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationships between the emergent concept of fear of expatriation with further workplace fears (economic crisis and dangerous working conditions) and with mental health problems. The study uses a quantitative design. Self-reported data were collected from 265 Italian expatriate workers assigned to both Italian and worldwide projects. Structural equation model analyses showed that fear of expatriation mediates the relationship of mental health with fear of economic crisis and with perceived dangerous working conditions. As expected, in addition to fear, worries of expatriation are also related to further fears. Although, the study is based on self-reports and the cross-sectional study design limits the possibility of making causal inferences, the new constructs introduced add to previous research. PMID:27790173
Giorgi, Gabriele; Montani, Francesco; Fiz-Perez, Javier; Arcangeli, Giulio; Mucci, Nicola
Companies' internationalization appears to be fundamental in the current globalized and competitive environment and seems important not only for organizational success, but also for societal development and sustainability. On one hand, global business increases the demand for managers for international assignment. On the other hand, emergent fears, such as terrorism, seem to be developing around the world, enhancing the risk of expatriates' potential health problems. The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationships between the emergent concept of fear of expatriation with further workplace fears (economic crisis and dangerous working conditions) and with mental health problems. The study uses a quantitative design. Self-reported data were collected from 265 Italian expatriate workers assigned to both Italian and worldwide projects. Structural equation model analyses showed that fear of expatriation mediates the relationship of mental health with fear of economic crisis and with perceived dangerous working conditions. As expected, in addition to fear, worries of expatriation are also related to further fears. Although, the study is based on self-reports and the cross-sectional study design limits the possibility of making causal inferences, the new constructs introduced add to previous research.
Full Text Available Companies’ internationalization appears to be fundamental in the current globalized and competitive environment and seems important not only for organizational success, but also for societal development and sustainability. On one hand, global business increases the demand for managers for international assignment. On the other hand, emergent fears, such as terrorism, seem to be developing around the world, enhancing the risk of expatriates’ potential health problems. The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationships between the emergent concept of fear of expatriation with further workplace fears (economic crisis and dangerous working conditions and with mental health problems. The study uses a quantitative design. Self-reported data were collected from 265 Italian expatriate workers assigned to both Italian and worldwide projects. Structural equation model analyses showed that fear of expatriation mediates the relationship of mental health with fear of economic crisis and with perceived dangerous working conditions. As expected, in addition to fear, worries of expatriation are also related to further fears. Although the study is based on self-reports and the cross-sectional study design limits the possibility of making causal inferences, the new constructs introduced add to previous research.
Full Text Available Complex fear learning procedures might be better suited than the common differential fear conditioning paradigm for detecting individual differences related to vulnerability for anxiety disorders. Two such procedures are the blocking procedure and the protection-from-overshadowing procedure. Their comparison allows for the examination of discriminatory fear learning under conditions of ambiguity. The present study examined the role of individual differences in such discriminatory fear learning. We hypothesized that heightened trait anxiety would be related to a deficit in discriminatory fear learning. Participants gave US-expectancy ratings as an index for the threat value of individual CSs following blocking and protection-from-overshadowing training. The difference in threat value at test between the protected-from-overshadowing CS and the blocked CS was negatively correlated with scores on a self-report tension-stress scale that approximates facets of generalized anxiety disorder (DASS-S, but not with other individual difference variables. In addition, a behavioral test showed that only participants scoring high on the DASS-S avoided the protected-from-overshadowing CS. This observed deficit in discriminatory fear learning for participants with high levels of tension-stress might be an underlying mechanism for fear overgeneralization in diffuse anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder.
Kalisch, Raffael; Korenfeld, Elian; Stephan, Klaas E; Weiskopf, Nikolaus; Seymour, Ben; Dolan, Raymond J
In fear extinction, an animal learns that a conditioned stimulus (CS) no longer predicts a noxious stimulus [unconditioned stimulus (UCS)] to which it had previously been associated, leading to inhibition of the conditioned response (CR). Extinction creates a new CS-noUCS memory trace, competing with the initial fear (CS-UCS) memory. Recall of extinction memory and, hence, CR inhibition at later CS encounters is facilitated by contextual stimuli present during extinction training. In line with theoretical predictions derived from animal studies, we show that, after extinction, a CS-evoked engagement of human ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) and hippocampus is context dependent, being expressed in an extinction, but not a conditioning, context. Likewise, a positive correlation between VMPFC and hippocampal activity is extinction context dependent. Thus, a VMPFC-hippocampal network provides for context-dependent recall of human extinction memory, consistent with a view that hippocampus confers context dependence on VMPFC.
van Vooren, P.R.; Franssen, M.; Beckers, T.; Hermans, D.; Baeyens, F.
The aim of this study was to delineate the minimal conditions for extinction of Pavlovian modulation in humans. Previous experiments at our lab showed that, after X-- A+/A- acquisition training, X- trials did not extinguish differential X-- A+/A- responding, while X-- A- trials did. Additionally,
Emanuele C. Latagliata
Full Text Available Exposure to drug-associated cues to induce extinction is a useful strategy to contrast cue-induced drug seeking. Norepinephrine (NE transmission in medial prefrontal cortex has a role in the acquisition and extinction of conditioned place preference induced by amphetamine. We have reported recently that NE in prelimbic cortex delays extinction of amphetamine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP. A potential involvement of α1-adrenergic receptors in the extinction of appetitive conditioned response has been also suggested, although their role in prelimbic cortex has not been yet fully investigated. Here, we investigated the effects of the α1-adrenergic receptor antagonist prazosin infusion in the prelimbic cortex of C57BL/6J mice on expression and extinction of amphetamine-induced CPP. Acute prelimbic prazosin did not affect expression of amphetamine-induced CPP on the day of infusion, while in subsequent days it produced a clear-cut advance of extinction of preference for the compartment previously paired with amphetamine (Conditioned stimulus, CS. Moreover, prazosin-treated mice that had extinguished CS preference showed increased mRNA expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF and post-synaptic density 95 (PSD-95 in the nucleus accumbens shell or core, respectively, thus suggesting that prelimbic α1-adrenergic receptor blockade triggers neural adaptations in subcortical areas that could contribute to the extinction of cue-induced drug-seeking behavior. These results show that the pharmacological blockade of α1-adrenergic receptors in prelimbic cortex by a single infusion is able to induce extinction of amphetamine-induced CPP long before control (vehicle animals, an effect depending on contingent exposure to retrieval, since if infused far from or after reactivation it did not affect preference. Moreover, they suggest strongly that the behavioral effects depend on post-treatment neuroplasticity changes in corticolimbic
Nasehi, Mohammad; Zamanparvar, Majid; Ebrahimi-Ghiri, Mohaddeseh; Zarrindast, Mohammad-Reza
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.
Gao, Yu; Raine, Adrian; Venables, Peter H.; Dawson, Michael E.; Mednick, Sarnoff A.
Although fear conditioning is an important psychological construct implicated in behavioral and emotional problems, little is known about how it develops in early childhood. Using a differential, partial reinforcement conditioning paradigm, this longitudinal study assessed skin conductance conditioned responses in 200 children at ages 3, 4, 5, 6,…
Santos, Thays Brenner; Kramer-Soares, Juliana Carlota; Favaro, Vanessa Manchim; Oliveira, Maria Gabriela Menezes
Time plays an important role in conditioning, it is not only possible to associate stimuli with events that overlap, as in delay fear conditioning, but it is also possible to associate stimuli that are discontinuous in time, as shown in trace conditioning for a discrete stimuli. The environment itself can be a powerful conditioned stimulus (CS) and be associated to unconditioned stimulus (US). Thus, the aim of the present study was to determine the parameters in which contextual fear conditioning occurs by the maintenance of a contextual representation over short and long time intervals. The results showed that a contextual representation can be maintained and associated after 5s, even in the absence of a 15s re-exposure to the training context before US delivery. The same effect was not observed with a 24h interval of discontinuity. Furthermore, optimal conditioned response with a 5s interval is produced only when the contexts (of pre-exposure and shock) match. As the pre-limbic cortex (PL) is necessary for the maintenance of a continuous representation of a stimulus, the involvement of the PL in this temporal and contextual processing was investigated. The reversible inactivation of the PL by muscimol infusion impaired the acquisition of contextual fear conditioning with a 5s interval, but not with a 24h interval, and did not impair delay fear conditioning. The data provided evidence that short and long intervals of discontinuity have different mechanisms, thus contributing to a better understanding of PL involvement in contextual fear conditioning and providing a model that considers both temporal and contextual factors in fear conditioning. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Leslie, Julian C; Norwood, Kelly
The aim was to compare operant extinction with re-extinction following re-acquisition and to investigate neuropharmacological mechanisms through administration of drugs potentiating GABAergic or glutamatergic systems. Groups of C57Bl/6 mice were trained to lever press for food on a fixed ratio schedule, then extinguished with or without pre-session chlordiazepoxide or post-session d-cycloserine administration (15mg/kg in each case), then retrained to lever press for food, then re-extinguished with or without pre-session chlordiazepoxide or post-session d-cycloserine. Under vehicle injections, extinction and re-extinction curves were indistinguishable, but drug treatments showed that there was less resistance to extinction in the re-extinction phase. Chlordiazepoxide facilitated extinction and re-extinction, with an earlier effect during re-extinction. d-Cycloserine also facilitated extinction and re-extinction, with some evidence of an earlier effect during re-extinction. These results replicate and extend earlier findings with operant extinction, but differ from some previous reports of d-cycloserine on re-extinction of Pavlovian conditioned fear. Implications for accounts of the similarities and differences between neural mechanisms of extinction following either Pavlovian or operant conditioning, and applications of these findings, are discussed. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Munazah F. Qureshi
Full Text Available The conditioning tasks have been widely used to model fear and anxiety and to study their association with sleep. Many reports suggest that sleep plays a vital role in the consolidation of fear memory. Studies have also demonstrated that fear-conditioning influences sleep differently in mice strains having a low or high anxiety level. It is, therefore, necessary to know, how sleep influences fear-conditioning and how fear-conditioning induces changes in sleep architecture in moderate anxious strains. We have used Swiss mice, a moderate anxious strain, to study the effects of: (i sleep deprivation on contextual fear conditioned memory, and also (ii contextual fear conditioning on sleep architecture. Animals were divided into three groups: (a non-sleep deprived (NSD; (b stress control (SC; and (c sleep-deprived (SD groups. The SD animals were SD for 5 h soon after training. We found that the NSD and SC animals showed 60.57% and 58.12% freezing on the testing day, while SD animals showed significantly less freezing (17.13% only; p < 0.001 on the testing day. Further, we observed that contextual fear-conditioning did not alter the total amount of wakefulness and non-rapid eye movement (NREM sleep. REM sleep, however, significantly decreased in NSD and SC animals on the training and testing days. Interestingly, REM sleep did not decrease in the SD animals on the testing day. Our results suggest that short-term sleep deprivation impairs fear memory in moderate anxious mice. It also suggests that NREM sleep, but not REM sleep, may have an obligatory role in memory consolidation.
Davis, Jennifer A.; James, John R.; Siegel, Steven J.; Gould, Thomas J.
The effects of acute nicotine administration (0.09 mg/kg nicotine), chronic nicotine administration (6.3 mg/kg/d nicotine for 14 d), and withdrawal from chronic nicotine administration on fear conditioning in C57BL/6 mice were examined. Mice were trained using two coterminating conditioned stimulus (30 s; 85 dB white noise)– unconditioned stimulus (2 s; 0.57 mA foot shock) pairings and tested 24 h later for contextual and cued fear conditioning. Acute nicotine administration enhanced contextu...
Yu, Hui; Wang, Yue; Pattwell, Siobhan; Jing, Deqiang; Liu, Ting; Zhang, Yun; Bath, Kevin G; Lee, Francis S; Chen, Zhe-Yu
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays important roles in activity-dependent plasticity processes, such as long-term potentiation, learning, and memory. The recently reported human BDNF Val66Met (BDNF(Met)) polymorphism has been shown to lead to altered hippocampal volume and impaired hippocampal-dependent memory and is associated with a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders. There are few studies, however, that investigate the effect of the BDNF(Met) polymorphism on hippocampal-independent memory processes. A conditioned taste aversion (CTA) task was used for studying the mechanisms of long-term, hippocampal-independent, nondeclarative memory in the mammalian brain. Using the CTA paradigm, we found a novel impairment in extinction learning, but not acquisition or retention, of aversive memories resulting from the variant BDNF(Met). BDNF(Met) mice were slower to extinguish an aversive CTA memory compared with wild-type counterparts. Moreover, the BDNF(Met) was associated with smaller volume and decreased neuronal dendritic complexity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), which plays a significant role in extinction of CTA. Finally, this delay in extinction learning could be rescued pharmacologically with a cognitive enhancer, d-cycloserine (DCS). To our knowledge, this is the first evidence that the BDNF(Met) polymorphism contributes to abnormalities in memory extinction. This abnormality in extinction learning may be explained by alterations in neuronal morphology, as well as decreased neural activity in the vmPFC. Importantly, DCS was effective in rescuing this delay in extinction, suggesting that when coupled with behavior therapy, DCS may be an effective treatment option for anxiety disorders in humans with this genetic variant BDNF.
Effects of standardized Ginkgo biloba extract on the acquisition, retrieval and extinction of conditioned suppression: Evidence that short-term memory and long-term memory are differentially modulated.
Zamberlam, C R; Vendrasco, N C; Oliveira, D R; Gaiardo, R B; Cerutti, S M
Studies in our laboratory have characterized the putative neuromodulatory effects of a standardized extract of the green leaves of Ginkgo biloba (EGb), which comprises a formulation of 24% ginkgo-flavoglycosides and 6% ginkgo-terpenoid lactones, on conditioned suppression. This model comprises a suitable animal model for investigating the behavioral changes and pharmacological mechanisms that underlie fear memory and anxiety. The characterization of the effects on distinct stages of fear memory or fear extinction will help illustrate both the beneficial and harmful effects. Three hundred adult male Wistar rats were randomly assigned to 30 groups according to the treatment as follows: i-ii) control groups (CS-US and CSno-US); iii) vehicle group (12% Tween®80); and iv-vi) EGb groups (250, 500 and 1000mgkg(-1)); or experimental procedures designed to assess the effects of EGb treatment prior to the acquisition (n=20 per group) and retrieval of conditioned fear (n=10 per group) or prior to the extinction training (n=10 per group) and extinction retention test (n=10 per group). Furthermore, to better understand the effects of acute EGb treatment on fear memory, we conducted two additional analyses: the acquisition of within- and between-session extinction of fear memory (short- and long-term memory, respectively). No difference was identified between the control and treatment groups during the retention test (P>0.05), with the exception of the CSno-US group in relation to all groups (Pmemory, which was verified by the suppression ration in the first trial of extinction training (SR=0.39) and the extinction retention test session (SR=0.53, Pmemory acquisition, which were evaluated during the retention test (SR=0.79). Moreover, EGb administered at 1000mgkg(-1) prior to conditioning did not enhance the long-term extinction memory, i.e., it did not prevent the return of extinguished fear memory in the extinction retention test, in which the spontaneous recovery of fear was
Piantadosi, Patrick T; Floresco, Stan B
Inhibitory gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) transmission within the prefrontal cortex (PFC) regulates numerous functions, and perturbations in GABAergic transmission within this region have been proposed to contribute to some of the cognitive and behavioral abnormalities associated with disorders such as schizophrenia. These abnormalities include deficits in emotional regulation and aberrant attributions of affective salience. Yet, how PFC GABA regulates these types of emotional processes are unclear. To address this issue, we investigated the contribution of PFC GABA transmission to different aspects of Pavlovian emotional learning in rats using translational discriminative fear conditioning and latent inhibition (LI) assays. Reducing prelimbic PFC GABAA transmission via infusions of the antagonist bicuculline before the acquisition or expression of fear conditioning eliminated the ability to discriminate between an aversive conditioned stimulus (CS+) paired with footshock vs a neutral CS-, resembling similar deficits observed in schizophrenic patients. In a separate experiment, blockade of PFC GABAA receptors before CS preexposure (PE) and conditioning did not affect subsequent expression of LI, but did enhance fear in rats that were not preexposed to the CS. In contrast, PFC GABA-blockade before a fear expression test disrupted the recall of learned irrelevance and abolished LI. These data suggest that normal PFC GABA transmission is critical for regulating and mitigating multiple aspects of aversive learning, including discrimination between fear vs safety signals and recall of information about the irrelevance of stimuli. Furthermore, they suggest that similar deficits in emotional regulation observed in schizophrenia may be driven in part by deficient PFC GABA activity.
Dutton, Robert C; Maurer, Anya J; Sonner, James M; Fanselow, Michael S; Laster, Michael J; Eger, Edmond I
Production of retrograde amnesia by anesthetics would indicate that these drugs can disrupt mechanisms that stabilize memory. Such disruption would allow suppression of memory of previous untoward events. The authors examined whether isoflurane provides retrograde amnesia for classic (Pavlovian) fear conditioning. Rats were trained to fear tone by applying three (three-trial) or one (one-trial) tone-shock pairs while breathing various constant concentrations of isoflurane. Immediately after training, isoflurane administration was either discontinued, maintained unchanged, or rapidly increased to 1.0 minimum alveolar concentration for 1 h longer. Groups of rats were similarly trained to fear context while breathing isoflurane by applying shocks (without tones) in a distinctive environment. The next day, memory for the conditioned stimuli was determined by presenting the tone or context (without shock) and measuring the proportion of time each rat froze (appeared immobile). For each conditioning procedure, the effects of the three posttraining isoflurane treatments were compared. Rapid increases in posttraining isoflurane administration did not suppress conditioned fear for any of the training procedures. In contrast, isoflurane administration during conditioning dose-dependently suppressed conditioning (P conditioning. Isoflurane appears to disrupt memory processes that occur at or within a few minutes of the conditioning procedure.
Roy, Michael J; Costanzo, Michelle E; Jovanovic, Tanja; Leaman, Suzanne; Taylor, Patricia; Norrholm, Seth D; Rizzo, Albert A
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a significant health concern for U.S. military service members (SMs) returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. Early intervention to prevent chronic disability requires greater understanding of subthreshold PTSD symptoms, which are associated with impaired physical health, mental health, and risk for delayed onset PTSD. We report a comparison of physiologic responses for recently deployed SMs with high and low subthreshold PTSD symptoms, respectively, to a fear conditioning task and novel virtual reality paradigm (Virtual Iraq). The high symptom group demonstrated elevated heart rate (HR) response during fear conditioning. Virtual reality sequences evoked significant HR responses which predicted variance of the PTSD Checklist-Military Version self-report. Our results support the value of physiologic assessment during fear conditioning and combat-related virtual reality exposure as complementary tools in detecting subthreshold PTSD symptoms in Veterans.
de Carvalho Myskiw, Jociane; Furini, Cristiane Regina Guerino; Schmidt, Bianca; Ferreira, Flávia; Izquierdo, Ivan
In the present study we test the hypothesis that extinction is not a consequence of retrieval in unreinforced conditioned stimulus (CS) presentation but the mere perception of the CS in the absence of a conditioned response. Animals with cannulae implanted in the CA1 region of hippocampus were subjected to extinction of contextual fear conditioning. Muscimol infused intra-CA1 before an extinction training session of contextual fear conditioning (CFC) blocks retrieval but not consolidation of extinction measured 24 h later. Additionally, this inhibition of retrieval does not affect early persistence of extinction when tested 7 d later or its spontaneous recovery after 2 wk. Furthermore, both anisomycin, an inhibitor of ribosomal protein synthesis, and rapamycin, an inhibitor of extraribosomal protein synthesis, given into the CA1, impair extinction of CFC regardless of whether its retrieval was blocked by muscimol. Therefore, retrieval performance in the first unreinforced session is not necessary for the installation, maintenance, or spontaneous recovery of extinction of CFC.
de Oliveira, Amanda Ribeiro; Reimer, Adriano Edgar; Brandão, Marcus Lira
The increased startle reflex in the presence of a stimulus that has been previously paired with footshock has been termed fear-potentiated startle (FPS) and is considered a reliable index of anxiety. Some studies have suggested an association between stressful situations and alterations in dopaminergic (DA) transmission. Many studies converge on the hypothesis that the mesocorticolimbic pathway, originating from DA neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), is particularly sensitive to fear-arousing stimuli. The present study explored the involvement of VTA DA receptors in the acquisition and expression of conditioned fear to a light conditioned stimulus (CS). We evaluated the effects of intra-VTA administration of SKF 38393 (D(1) agonist), SCH 23390 (D(1) antagonist), quinpirole (D(2) agonist), and sulpiride (D(2) antagonist) on FPS. All drugs were administered bilaterally into the VTA (1.0 microg/0.2 microl/site). Locomotor activity/exploration and motor coordination were evaluated in the open-field and rotarod tests. None of the drugs produced significant effects on FPS when injected before conditioning, indicating that VTA DA receptors are not involved in the acquisition of conditioned fear to a light-CS. In contrast, when injected before the test session, quinpirole significantly reduced FPS, whereas the other drugs had no effect. Quinpirole's ability to decrease FPS may be the result of an action on VTA D(2) presynaptic autoreceptors that decrease dopamine levels in terminal fields of the mesocorticolimbic pathway. Altogether, the present results suggest the importance of VTA DA neurons in the fear-activating effects of Pavlovian conditioning. In addition to demonstrating the importance of dopaminergic mechanisms in the motivational consequences of footshock, the present findings also indicate that these neural circuits are mainly involved in the expression, rather than acquisition, of conditioned fear.
Edwards, Cole T.; Fike, David A.; Saltzman, Matthew R.; Lu, Wanyi; Lu, Zunli
Profound changes in environmental conditions, particularly atmospheric oxygen levels, are thought to be important drivers of several major biotic events (e.g. mass extinctions and diversifications). The early Paleozoic represents a key interval in the oxygenation of the ocean-atmosphere system and evolution of the biosphere. Global proxies (e.g. carbon (δ13C) and sulfur (δ34S) isotopes) are used to diagnose potential changes in oxygenation and infer causes of environmental change and biotic turnover. The Cambrian-Ordovician contains several trilobite extinctions (some are apparently local, but others are globally correlative) that are attributed to anoxia based on coeval positive δ13C and δ34S excursions. These extinction and excursion events have yet to be coupled with more recently developed proxies thought to be more reflective of local redox conditions in the water column (e.g. I/Ca) to confirm whether these extinctions were associated with oxygen crises over a regional or global scale. Here we examine an Early Ordovician (Tremadocian Stage) extinction event previously interpreted to reflect a continuation of recurrent early Paleozoic anoxic events that expanded into nearshore environments. δ13C, δ34S, and I/Ca trends were measured from three sections in the Great Basin region to test whether I/Ca trends support the notion that anoxia was locally present in the water column along the Laurentian margin. Evidence for anoxia is based on coincident, but not always synchronous, positive δ13C and δ34S excursions (mainly from carbonate-associated sulfate and less so from pyrite data), a 30% extinction of standing generic diversity, and near-zero I/Ca values. Although evidence for local water column anoxia from the I/Ca proxy broadly agrees with intervals of global anoxia inferred from δ13C and δ34S trends, a more complex picture is evident where spatially and temporally variable local trends are superimposed on time-averaged global trends. Stratigraphic
Wilson, Yvette M.; Gunnersen, Jenny M.; Murphy, Mark
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
Madsen, Heather B; Zbukvic, Isabel C; Luikinga, Sophia J; Lawrence, Andrew J; Kim, Jee Hyun
Relapse to drug use is often precipitated by exposure to drug associated cues that evoke craving. Cue-induced drug craving has been observed in both animals and humans to increase over the first few weeks of abstinence and remain high over extended periods, a phenomenon known as 'incubation of craving'. As adolescence represents a period of vulnerability to developing drug addiction, potentially due to persistent reactivity to drug associated cues, we first compared incubation of cocaine craving in adolescent and adult rats. Adolescent (P35) and adult (P70) rats were trained to lever press to obtain intravenous cocaine, with each drug delivery accompanied by a light cue that served as the conditioned stimulus (CS). Following acquisition of stable responding, rats were tested for cue-induced cocaine-seeking after either 1 or 30days of abstinence. Additional groups of rats were also tested after 30days of abstinence, however these rats were subjected to a cue extinction session 1week into the abstinence period. Rats were injected with aripiprazole, a dopamine 2 receptor (D2R)-like partial agonist, or vehicle, 30min prior to cue extinction. We found that adolescent and adult rats acquired and maintained a similar level of cocaine self-administration, and rats of both ages exhibited a higher level of cue-induced cocaine-seeking if they were tested after 30days of abstinence compared to 1day. Incubation of cocaine craving was significantly reduced to 1day levels in both adults and adolescents that received cue extinction training. Administration of aripiprazole prior to cue extinction did not further reduce cue-induced drug-seeking. These results indicate that cue extinction training during abstinence may effectively reduce cue-induced relapse at a time when cue-induced drug craving is usually high. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Archbold, Georgina E.; Dobbek, Nick; Nader, Karim
Evidence suggests that extinction is new learning. Memory acquisition involves both short-term memory (STM) and long-term memory (LTM) components; however, few studies have examined early phases of extinction retention. Retention of auditory fear extinction was examined at various time points. Shortly (1-4 h) after extinction acquisition…
Golkar, Armita; Haaker, Jan; Selbing, Ida; Olsson, Andreas
Social transmission of both threat and safety is ubiquitous, but little is known about the neural circuitry underlying vicarious safety learning. This is surprising given that these processes are critical to flexibly adapt to a changeable environment. To address how the expression of previously learned fears can be modified by the transmission of social information, two conditioned stimuli (CS + s) were paired with shock and the third was not. During extinction, we held constant the amount of direct, non-reinforced, exposure to the CSs (i.e. direct extinction), and critically varied whether another individual-acting as a demonstrator-experienced safety (CS + vic safety) or aversive reinforcement (CS + vic reinf). During extinction, ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) responses to the CS + vic reinf increased but decreased to the CS + vic safety This pattern of vmPFC activity was reversed during a subsequent fear reinstatement test, suggesting a temporal shift in the involvement of the vmPFC. Moreover, only the CS + vic reinf association recovered. Our data suggest that vicarious extinction prevents the return of conditioned fear responses, and that this efficacy is reflected by diminished vmPFC involvement during extinction learning. The present findings may have important implications for understanding how social information influences the persistence of fear memories in individuals suffering from emotional disorders. © The Author (2016). Published by Oxford University Press. For Permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gafford, Georgette M.; Parsons, Ryan G.; Helmstetter, Fred J.
Benzodiazepines have been useful tools for investigating mechanisms underlying learning and memory. The present set of experiments investigates the role of hippocampal GABA[subscript A]/benzodiazepine receptors in memory consolidation using Pavlovian fear conditioning. Rats were prepared with cannulae aimed at the dorsal hippocampus and trained…
Inda, Mari Carmen; Delgado-García, José María; Carrión, Angel Manuel
Memory, as measured by changes in an animal's behavior some time after learning, is a reflection of many processes. Here, using a trace paradigm, in mice we show that de novo protein synthesis is required for acquisition, consolidation, reconsolidation, and extinction of classically conditioned eyelid responses. Two critical periods of protein synthesis have been found: the first, during training, the blocking of which impaired acquisition; and the second, lasting the first 4 h after training, the blocking of which impaired consolidation. The process of reconsolidation was sensitive to protein synthesis inhibition if anisomycin was injected before or just after the reactivation session. Furthermore, extinction was also dependent on protein synthesis, following the same temporal course as that followed during acquisition and consolidation. This last fact reinforces the idea that extinction is an active learning process rather than a passive event of forgetting. Together, these findings demonstrate that all of the different stages of memory formation involved in the classical conditioning of eyelid responses are dependent on protein synthesis.
Full Text Available The conditioned place preference (CPP model has been widely used to evaluate the rewarding effects of abused drugs, and recently, the extinction and reinstatement phases of this paradigm have been used to assess relapse to drug seeking. The vast majority of studies have focused on CPP induced by illicit drugs, such as psychostimulants and opioids. Although legal psychoactive drugs, such as ethanol, nicotine, and caffeine, are more widely used than illegal drugs, the establishment, extinction, and reinstatement of CPP produced by these licit drugs are less well understood. The present review discusses the extant research on CPP induced by legal drugs. We first describe the CPP model and discuss the behavioral procedures used to induce CPP for ethanol, nicotine, and caffeine. We then summarize the neuronal substrates that underlie CPP induced by these drugs from a genetic perspective. Finally, we draw on findings from pharmacological studies and discuss the neurotransmitters and neurohormones underlying CPP produced by ethanol, nicotine, and caffeine.
Urcelay, Gonzalo P; Miller, Ralph R
At both empirical and theoretical levels, multiple functional roles of contextual information upon memory performance have been proposed without a clear dissociation of these roles. Some theories have assumed that contexts are functionally similar to cues, whereas other views emphasize the retrieval facilitating properties of contextual information. In Experiment 1, we observed that one critical parameter, the spacing of trials, could determine whether the context would function as a conditioned stimulus or as a retrieval cue for memories trained in different phases. Experiments 2 and 3 doubly dissociated these functions by selectively disrupting one role but not the other, and vice versa. Overall, these observations identify one determinant of different functions of contextual information and pose a major challenge to theories of learning that assume exclusively one or the other function of the context. Moreover, these data emphasize the importance of parametric variations on behavioral control, which has critical implications for studies designed to understand the role of the hippocampus in processing of contextual attributes.
van Vooren, Priya R; Franssen, Mathijs; Beckers, Tom; Hermans, Dirk; Baeyens, Frank
The aim of this study was to delineate the minimal conditions for extinction of Pavlovian modulation in humans. Previous experiments at our lab showed that, after X-- A+/A- acquisition training, X- trials did not extinguish differential X-- A+/A- responding, while X-- A- trials did. Additionally, X-- A- extinction training seemed only to extinguish differential X-- A+/A- responding, while leaving differential responding on a concurrently trained Y [Symbol: see text] B+/B- discrimination intact. It thus seemed that the X-- A+/A- discrimination can only be extinguished by X-- A- extinction trials. (Rescorla, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes 12, 16-24, 1986), on the other hand, found that the minimal conditions for extinction were broader in pigeons: Namely, he found that an acquired X-- A+/A- discrimination could be extinguished by presenting the original feature X in combination with a different target (B) that was minimally trained as an exciter. We thus wanted to examine whether this was also the case in humans. We found that nonreinforced X-- B- presentations did not abolish discriminative X-- A/A responding when target B was a nonreinforced stimulus. Nonreinforced X-- B- trials did extinguish the X-- A+/A- discrimination when target B had previously been trained as a target for modulation (X-- B+/B- or Y [Symbol: see text] B+/B- training) or as a reinforced exciter (B+). Our results thusf parallel and extend those in nonhuman animals (Rescorla, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes 12, 16-24, 1986).
Full Text Available The diminished fear reactivity is one of the most valid physiological findings in psychopathy research. In a fear conditioning paradigm, with faces as conditioned stimulus (CS and electric shock as unconditioned stimulus (US, we investigated a sample of 14 high psychopathic violent offenders. Event related potentials, skin conductance responses (SCR as well as subjective ratings of the CSs were collected. This study assessed to which extent the different facets of the psychopathy construct contribute to the fear conditioning deficits observed in psychopaths. Participants with high scores on the affective facet subscale of the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R showed weaker conditioned fear responses and lower N100 amplitudes compared to low scorers. In contrast, high scorers on the affective facet rated the CS+ (paired more negatively than low scorers regarding the CS- (unpaired. Regarding the P300, high scores on the interpersonal facet were associated with increased amplitudes to the CS+ compared to the CS-, while the opposed pattern was found with the antisocial facet. Both, the initial and terminal contingent negative variation indicated a divergent pattern: participants with pronounced interpersonal deficits, showed increased cortical negativity to the CS+ compared to the CS-, whereas a reversed CS+/CS- differentiation was found in offenders scoring high on the antisocial facet. The present study revealed that deficient fear conditioning in psychopathy was most pronounced in offenders with high scores on the affective facet. Event related potentials suggest that participants with distinct interpersonal deficits showed increased information processing, whereas the antisocial facet was linked to decreased attention and interest to the CS+. These data indicate that an approach to the facets of psychopathy can help to resolve ambiguous findings in psychopathy research and enables a more precise and useful description of this disorder.
Nasehi, Mohammad; Soltanpour, Reyhaneh; Ebrahimi-Ghiri, Mohaddeseh; Zarrabian, Shahram; Zarrindast, Mohammad-Reza
The effects of pharmacological interventions on fear memory have widely been studied, but there are very few studies about the effects of brain electrical stimulation on fear memory function. Therefore, our aim was to determine whether anodal/cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the right frontal cortex would modify propranolol-induced contextual and auditory fear memory deficits, before or after training. The adult NMRI male mice were randomly assigned into three groups: the sham group, the anodal tDCS group, and the cathodal tDCS group. Fear memories were evaluated using a classical fear conditioning apparatus. While the anodal stimulation did not affect fear retrieval, post-training cathodal stimulation improved fear memory retrieval. Regardless of when propranolol (0.1 mg/kg) was administered, it impaired fear memory retrieval. However, when anodal stimulation and propranolol were applied prior to the training, contextual fear memory retrieval was increased and auditory fear memory was reversed. An enhanced contextual retrieval was also observed when propranolol was administered prior to the training and stimulation occurred after the training. Only when the stimulation occurred prior to the training and propranolol was administered after the training was there a selective improvement in contextual fear memory retrieval, leaving the auditory fear memory retrieval impaired. Interestingly, cathodal stimulation improved the effects of propranolol on auditory fear memory only when it occurred prior to the training. The results highlight possible improving effects for anodal/cathodal tDCS on propranolol-induced deficits on fear memories. The timing of the interventions related to the specific phases of memory formation is important in modulating fear behaviors.
Full Text Available Maternal immune activation during pregnancy is an environmental risk factor for psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia and autism in the offspring. Hence, changes in an array of behaviors, including behavioral flexibility, consistent with altered functioning of cortico-limbic circuits have been reported in rodent models of maternal immune activation. Surprisingly, previous studies have not examined the effect of maternal immune activation on the extinction of fear conditioning which depends on cortico-limbic circuits. Thus, we tested the effects of treating pregnant Long Evans rats with the viral mimetic polyI:C (gestational day 15; 4 mg/kg; i.v. on fear conditioning and extinction in the male offspring using two different tasks. In the first experiment, we observed no effect of polyI:C treatment on the acquisition or extinction of a classically conditioned fear memory in a non-discriminative auditory cue paradigm. However, polyI:C-treated offspring did increase contextual freezing during the recall of fear extinction in this non-discriminative paradigm. The second experiment utilized a recently developed task to explicitly test the ability of rats to discriminate among cues signifying fear, reward, and safety; a task that requires behavioral flexibility. To our surprise, polyI:C-treated rats acquired the task in a manner similar to saline-treated rats. However, upon subsequent extinction training, they showed significantly faster extinction of the freezing response to the fear cue. In contrast, during the extinction recall test, polyI:C-treated offspring showed enhanced freezing behavior before and after presentation of the fear cue, suggesting an impairment in their ability to regulate fear behavior. These behavioral results are integrated into the literature suggesting impairments in cortico-limbic brain function in the offspring of rats treated with polyI:C during pregnancy.
Hoffmann, Andreas; Grassl, Kerstin; Gommert, Janine; Schlesak, Christian; Bepperling, Alexander
The accurate determination of protein concentration is an important though non-trivial task during the development of a biopharmaceutical. The fundamental prerequisite for this is the availability of an accurate extinction coefficient. Common approaches for the determination of an extinction coefficient for a given protein are either based on the theoretical prediction utilizing the amino acid sequence or the photometric determination combined with a measurement of absolute protein concentration. Here, we report on an improved SV-AUC based method utilizing an analytical ultracentrifuge equipped with absorbance and Rayleigh interference optics. Global fitting of datasets helped to overcome some of the obstacles encountered with the traditional method employing synthetic boundary cells. Careful calculation of dn/dc values taking glycosylation and solvent composition into account allowed the determination of the extinction coefficients of monoclonal antibodies and an Fc-fusion protein under native as well as under denaturing conditions. An intra-assay precision of 0.9% and an accuracy of 1.8% compared to the theoretical value was achieved for monoclonal antibodies. Due to the large number of data points of a single dataset, no meaningful difference between the ProteomeLab XL-I and the new Optima AUC platform could be observed. Thus, the AUC-based approach offers a precise, convenient and versatile alternative to conventional methods like total amino acid analysis (AAA).
Lonsdorf, Tina B; Haaker, Jan; Schümann, Dirk; Sommer, Tobias; Bayer, Janine; Brassen, Stefanie; Bunzeck, Nico; Gamer, Matthias; Kalisch, Raffael
Anxiety disorders are more prevalent in women than in men. Despite this sexual dimorphism, most experimental studies are conducted in male participants and studies focusing on sex differences are sparse. In addition, the role of hormonal contraceptives and menstrual cycle phase in fear conditioning and extinction processes remain largely unknown. We investigated sex differences in context-dependent fear acquisition and extinction (day 1) and their retrieval/expression (day 2). Skin conductance responses (SCRs), fear and unconditioned stimulus expectancy ratings were obtained. We included 377 individuals (261 women) in our study. Robust sex differences were observed in all dependent measures. Women generally displayed higher subjective ratings but smaller SCRs than men and showed reduced excitatory/inhibitory conditioned stimulus (CS+/CS-) discrimination in all dependent measures. Furthermore, women using hormonal contraceptives showed reduced SCR CS discrimination on day 2 than men and free-cycling women, while menstrual cycle phase had no effect. Possible limitations include the simultaneous testing of up to 4 participants in cubicles, which might have introduced a social component, and not assessing postexperimental contingency awareness. The response pattern in women shows striking similarity to previously reported sex differences in patients with anxiety. Our results suggest that pronounced deficits in associative discrimination learning and subjective expression of safety information (CS- responses) might underlie higher prevalence and higher symptom rates seen in women with anxiety disorders. The data call for consideration of biological sex and hormonal contraceptive use in future studies and may suggest that targeting inhibitory learning during therapy might aid precision medicine.
Merlo, Emiliano; Milton, Amy L; Goozée, Zara Y; Theobald, David E; Everitt, Barry J
Memory persistence is critically influenced by retrieval. In rats, a single presentation of a conditioned fear stimulus induces memory reconsolidation and fear memory persistence, while repeated fear cue presentations result in loss of fear through extinction. These two opposite behavioral outcomes are operationally linked by the number of cue presentations at memory retrieval. However, the behavioral properties and mechanistic determinants of the transition have not yet been explored; in particular, whether reconsolidation and extinction processes coexist or are mutually exclusive, depending on the exposure to non-reinforced retrieval events. We characterized both behaviorally and molecularly the transition from reconsolidation to extinction of conditioned fear and showed that an increase in calcineurin (CaN) in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) supports the shift from fear maintenance to fear inhibition. Gradually increasing the extent of retrieval induces a gradual decrease in freezing responses to the conditioned stimulus and a gradual increase in amygdala CaN level. This newly synthesized CaN is required for the extinction, but not the reconsolidation, of conditioned fear. During the transition from reconsolidation to extinction, we have revealed an insensitive state of the fear memory where NMDA-type glutamate receptor agonist and antagonist drugs are unable either to modulate CaN levels in the BLA or alter the reconsolidation or extinction processes. Together, our data indicate both that reconsolidation and extinction are mutually exclusive processes and also reveal the presence of a transitional, or "limbo," state of the original memory between these two alternative outcomes of fear memory retrieval, when neither process is engaged.
Full Text Available A single electroconvulsive shock (ECS or a sham ECS was administered to male 3-4-month-old Wistar rats 1, 2, and 4 h before training in an inhibitory avoidance test and in cued classical fear conditioning (measured by means of freezing time in a new environment. ECS impaired inhibitory avoidance at all times and, at 1 or 2 h before training, reduced freezing time before and after re-presentation of the ECS. These results are interpreted as a transient conditioned stimulus (CS-induced anxiolyt