Functional anatomy of neural circuits regulating fear and extinction | Expertpatient |

The memory of fear extinction is context dependent: fear that is suppressed in one context readily renews in another. Understanding of the underlying neuronal circuits is, therefore, of considerable clinical relevance for anxiety disorders. Prefrontal cortical and hippocampal inputs to the amygdala have recently been shown to regulate the retrieval of fear memories, but the cellular organization of these projections remains unclear. By using anterograde tracing in a transgenic rat in which neurons express a dendritically-targeted PSD-95:Venus fusion protein under the control of a c-fos promoter, we found that, during the retrieval of extinction memory, the dominant input to active neurons in the lateral amygdala was from the infralimbic cortex, whereas the retrieval of fear memory was associated with greater hippocampal and prelimbic inputs. This pattern of retrieval-related afferent input was absent in the central nucleus of the amygdala. Our data show functional anatomy of neural circuits regulating fear and extinction, providing a framework for therapeutic manipulations of these circuits. (...) - by Knapska E et al., PNAS October 16, 2012 vol. 109 no. 42 17093-17098

Via Julien Hering, PhD