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Sample records for human fear conditioning

  1. Modeling fear-conditioned bradycardia in humans.

    PubMed

    Castegnetti, Giuseppe; Tzovara, Athina; Staib, Matthias; Paulus, Philipp C; Hofer, Nicolas; Bach, Dominik R

    2016-06-01

    Across species, cued fear conditioning is a common experimental paradigm to investigate aversive Pavlovian learning. While fear-conditioned stimuli (CS+) elicit overt behavior in many mammals, this is not the case in humans. Typically, autonomic nervous system activity is used to quantify fear memory in humans, measured by skin conductance responses (SCR). Here, we investigate whether heart period responses (HPR) evoked by the CS, often observed in humans and small mammals, are suitable to complement SCR as an index of fear memory in humans. We analyze four datasets involving delay and trace conditioning, in which heart beats are identified via electrocardiogram or pulse oximetry, to show that fear-conditioned heart rate deceleration (bradycardia) is elicited and robustly distinguishes CS+ from CS-. We then develop a psychophysiological model (PsPM) of fear-conditioned HPR. This PsPM is inverted to yield estimates of autonomic input into the heart. We show that the sensitivity to distinguish CS+ and CS- (predictive validity) is higher for model-based estimates than peak-scoring analysis, and compare this with SCR. Our work provides a novel tool to investigate fear memory in humans that allows direct comparison between species. PMID:26950648

  2. Conditioned Fear Extinction and Reinstatement in a Human Fear-Potentiated Startle Paradigm

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Norrholm, Seth D.; Jovanovic, Tanja; Vervliet, Bram; Myers, Karyn M.; Davis, Michael; Rothbaum, Barbara O.; Duncan, Erica J.

    2006-01-01

    The purpose of this study was to analyze fear extinction and reinstatement in humans using fear-potentiated startle. Participants were fear conditioned using a simple discrimination procedure with colored lights as the conditioned stimuli (CSs) and an airblast to the throat as the unconditioned stimulus (US). Participants were extinguished 24 h…

  3. Extending animal models of fear conditioning to humans.

    PubMed

    Delgado, M R; Olsson, A; Phelps, E A

    2006-07-01

    A goal of fear and anxiety research is to understand how to treat the potentially devastating effects of anxiety disorders in humans. Much of this research utilizes classical fear conditioning, a simple paradigm that has been extensively investigated in animals, helping outline a brain circuitry thought to be responsible for the acquisition, expression and extinction of fear. The findings from non-human animal research have more recently been substantiated and extended in humans, using neuropsychological and neuroimaging methodologies. Research across species concur that the neural correlates of fear conditioning include involvement of the amygdala during all stages of fear learning, and prefrontal areas during the extinction phase. This manuscript reviews how animal models of fear are translated to human behavior, and how some fears are more easily acquired in humans (i.e., social-cultural). Finally, using the knowledge provided by a rich animal literature, we attempt to extend these findings to human models targeted to helping facilitate extinction or abolishment of fears, a trademark of anxiety disorders, by discussing efficacy in modulating the brain circuitry involved in fear conditioning via pharmacological treatments or emotion regulation cognitive strategies. PMID:16472906

  4. Thalamocortical interactions underlying visual fear conditioning in humans.

    PubMed

    Lithari, Chrysa; Moratti, Stephan; Weisz, Nathan

    2015-11-01

    Despite a strong focus on the role of the amygdala in fear conditioning, recent works point to a more distributed network supporting fear conditioning. We aimed to elucidate interactions between subcortical and cortical regions in fear conditioning in humans. To do this, we used two fearful faces as conditioned stimuli (CS) and an electrical stimulation at the left hand, paired with one of the CS, as unconditioned stimulus (US). The luminance of the CS was rhythmically modulated leading to "entrainment" of brain oscillations at a predefined modulation frequency. Steady-state responses (SSR) were recorded by MEG. In addition to occipital regions, spectral analysis of SSR revealed increased power during fear conditioning particularly for thalamus and cerebellum contralateral to the upcoming US. Using thalamus and amygdala as seed-regions, directed functional connectivity was calculated to capture the modulation of interactions that underlie fear conditioning. Importantly, this analysis showed that the thalamus drives the fusiform area during fear conditioning, while amygdala captures the more general effect of fearful faces perception. This study confirms ideas from the animal literature, and demonstrates for the first time the central role of the thalamus in fear conditioning in humans. PMID:26287369

  5. Categories, Concepts, and Conditioning: How Humans Generalize Fear

    PubMed Central

    Dunsmoor, Joseph E.; Murphy, Gregory L.

    2015-01-01

    During the past century, Pavlovian conditioning has served as the predominant experimental paradigm and theoretical framework to understand how humans learn to fear and avoid real or perceived dangers. Animal models for translational research offer insight into basic behavioral and neurophysiological factors mediating the acquisition, expression, inhibition, and generalization of fear. However, it is important to consider the limits of traditional animal models when applied to humans. Here, we focus on the question of how humans generalize fear. We propose that to understand fear generalization in humans requires taking into account research on higher-level cognition such as category-based induction, inferential reasoning, and representation of conceptual knowledge. Doing so will open the door for productive avenues of new research. PMID:25577706

  6. Generalization of Extinguished Skin Conductance Responding in Human Fear Conditioning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Vervliet, Bram; Vansteenwegen, Debora; Eelen, Paul

    2004-01-01

    In a human fear conditioning paradigm using the skin conductance response (SCR), participants were assigned to two groups. Following identical acquisition, group ABA (n = 16) was extinguished to a generalization stimulus (GS), whereas group AAB (n = 20) was extinguished to the conditioned stimulus (CS). At test, presenting the CS in group ABA…

  7. Unconditioned responses and functional fear networks in human classical conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Linnman, Clas; Rougemont-Bücking, Ansgar; Beucke, Jan Carl; Zeffiro, Thomas A; Milad, Mohammed R

    2011-01-01

    Human imaging studies examining fear conditioning have mainly focused on the neural responses to conditioned cues. In contrast, the neural basis of the unconditioned response and the mechanisms by which fear modulates inter-regional functional coupling have received limited attention. We examined the neural responses to an unconditioned stimulus using a partial-reinforcement fear conditioning paradigm and functional MRI. The analysis focused on: (1) the effects of an unconditioned stimulus (an electric shock) that was either expected and actually delivered, or expected but not delivered, and (2) on how related brain activity changed across conditioning trials, and (3) how shock expectation influenced inter-regional coupling within the fear network. We found that: (1) the delivery of the shock engaged the red nucleus, amygdale, dorsal striatum, insula, somatosensory and cingulate cortices, (2) when the shock was expected but not delivered, only the red nucleus, the anterior insular and dorsal anterior cingulate cortices showed activity increases that were sustained across trials, and (3) psycho-physiological interaction analysis demonstrated that fear led to increased red nucleus coupling to insula but decreased hippocampus coupling to the red nucleus, thalamus and cerebellum. The hippocampus and the anterior insula may serve as hubs facilitating the switch between engagement of a defensive immediate fear network and a resting network. PMID:21377494

  8. Unconditioned responses and functional fear networks in human classical conditioning.

    PubMed

    Linnman, Clas; Rougemont-Bücking, Ansgar; Beucke, Jan Carl; Zeffiro, Thomas A; Milad, Mohammed R

    2011-08-01

    Human imaging studies examining fear conditioning have mainly focused on the neural responses to conditioned cues. In contrast, the neural basis of the unconditioned response and the mechanisms by which fear modulates inter-regional functional coupling have received limited attention. We examined the neural responses to an unconditioned stimulus using a partial-reinforcement fear conditioning paradigm and functional MRI. The analysis focused on: (1) the effects of an unconditioned stimulus (an electric shock) that was either expected and actually delivered, or expected but not delivered, and (2) on how related brain activity changed across conditioning trials, and (3) how shock expectation influenced inter-regional coupling within the fear network. We found that: (1) the delivery of the shock engaged the red nucleus, amygdale, dorsal striatum, insula, somatosensory and cingulate cortices, (2) when the shock was expected but not delivered, only the red nucleus, the anterior insular and dorsal anterior cingulate cortices showed activity increases that were sustained across trials, and (3) psycho-physiological interaction analysis demonstrated that fear led to increased red nucleus coupling to insula but decreased hippocampus coupling to the red nucleus, thalamus and cerebellum. The hippocampus and the anterior insula may serve as hubs facilitating the switch between engagement of a defensive immediate fear network and a resting network. PMID:21377494

  9. Generalization of Conditioned Fear-Potentiated Startle in Humans

    PubMed Central

    Lissek, Shmuel; Biggs, Arter L.; Rabin, Stephanie J.; Cornwell, Brian R.; Alvarez, Ruben P.; Pine, Daniel S.; Grillon, Christian

    2008-01-01

    Though generalization of conditioned fear has been implicated as a central feature of pathological anxiety, surprisingly little is known about the psychobiology of this learning phenomenon in humans. Whereas animal work has frequently applied methods to examine generalization gradients to study the gradual weakening of the conditioned-fear response as the test stimulus increasingly differs from the conditioned stimulus (CS), to our knowledge no psychobiological studies of such gradients have been conducted in humans over the last 40 years. The current effort validates an updated generalization paradigm incorporating more recent methods for the objective measurement of anxiety (fear-potentiated startle). The paradigm employs 10, quasi-randomly presented, rings of gradually-increasing size with extremes serving as CS+ and CS-. The eight rings of intermediary size serve as generalization stimuli (GS’s) and create a continuum-of-similarity from CS+ to CS-. Both startle data and online self-report ratings demonstrate continuous decreases in generalization as the presented stimulus becomes less similar to the CS+. The current paradigm represents an updated and efficacious tool with which to study fear generalization—a central, yet understudied conditioning-correlate of pathologic anxiety. PMID:18394587

  10. The effects of transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation on conditioned fear extinction in humans.

    PubMed

    Burger, Andreas M; Verkuil, Bart; Van Diest, Ilse; Van der Does, Willem; Thayer, Julian F; Brosschot, Jos F

    2016-07-01

    A critical component of the treatment for anxiety disorders is the extinction of fear via repeated exposure to the feared stimulus. This process is strongly dependent on successful memory formation and consolidation. Stimulation of the vagus nerve enhances memory formation in both animals and humans. The objective of this study was to assess whether transcutaneous stimulation of the vagus nerve (tVNS) can accelerate extinction memory formation and retention in fear conditioned humans. To assess fear conditioning and subsequent fear extinction, we assessed US expectancy ratings, fear potentiated startle responses and phasic heart rate responses. We conducted a randomized controlled trial in thirty-one healthy participants. After fear conditioning participants were randomly assigned to receive tVNS or sham stimulation during the extinction phase. Retention of extinction memory was tested 24h later. tVNS accelerated explicit fear extinction learning (US expectancy ratings), but did not lead to better retention of extinction memory 24h later. We did not find a differential physiological conditioning response during the acquisition of fear and thus were unable to assess potential effects of tVNS on the extinction of physiological indices of fear. These findings complement recent studies that suggest vagus nerve stimulation could be a promising tool to improve memory consolidation and fear extinction. PMID:27222436

  11. Fear conditioning and extinction across development: Evidence from human studies and animal models☆

    PubMed Central

    Shechner, Tomer; Hong, Melanie; Britton, Jennifer C.; Pine, Daniel S.; Fox, Nathan A.

    2015-01-01

    The ability to differentiate danger and safety through associative processes emerges early in life. Understanding the mechanisms underlying associative learning of threat and safety can clarify the processes that shape development of normative fears and pathological anxiety. Considerable research has used fear conditioning and extinction paradigms to delineate underlying mechanisms in animals and human adults; however, little is known about these mechanisms in children and adolescents. The current paper summarizes the empirical data on the development of fear conditioning and extinction. It reviews methodological considerations and future directions for research on fear conditioning and extinction in pediatric populations. PMID:24746848

  12. Fear conditioning and extinction across development: evidence from human studies and animal models.

    PubMed

    Shechner, Tomer; Hong, Melanie; Britton, Jennifer C; Pine, Daniel S; Fox, Nathan A

    2014-07-01

    The ability to differentiate danger and safety through associative processes emerges early in life. Understanding the mechanisms underlying associative learning of threat and safety can clarify the processes that shape development of normative fears and pathological anxiety. Considerable research has used fear conditioning and extinction paradigms to delineate underlying mechanisms in animals and human adults; however, little is known about these mechanisms in children and adolescents. The current paper summarizes the empirical data on the development of fear conditioning and extinction. It reviews methodological considerations and future directions for research on fear conditioning and extinction in pediatric populations. PMID:24746848

  13. Human fear conditioning conducted in full immersion 3-dimensional virtual reality.

    PubMed

    Huff, Nicole C; Zeilinski, David J; Fecteau, Matthew E; Brady, Rachael; LaBar, Kevin S

    2010-01-01

    Fear conditioning is a widely used paradigm in non-human animal research to investigate the neural mechanisms underlying fear and anxiety. A major challenge in conducting conditioning studies in humans is the ability to strongly manipulate or simulate the environmental contexts that are associated with conditioned emotional behaviors. In this regard, virtual reality (VR) technology is a promising tool. Yet, adapting this technology to meet experimental constraints requires special accommodations. Here we address the methodological issues involved when conducting fear conditioning in a fully immersive 6-sided VR environment and present fear conditioning data. In the real world, traumatic events occur in complex environments that are made up of many cues, engaging all of our sensory modalities. For example, cues that form the environmental configuration include not only visual elements, but aural, olfactory, and even tactile. In rodent studies of fear conditioning animals are fully immersed in a context that is rich with novel visual, tactile and olfactory cues. However, standard laboratory tests of fear conditioning in humans are typically conducted in a nondescript room in front of a flat or 2D computer screen and do not replicate the complexity of real world experiences. On the other hand, a major limitation of clinical studies aimed at reducing (extinguishing) fear and preventing relapse in anxiety disorders is that treatment occurs after participants have acquired a fear in an uncontrolled and largely unknown context. Thus the experimenters are left without information about the duration of exposure, the true nature of the stimulus, and associated background cues in the environment. In the absence of this information it can be difficult to truly extinguish a fear that is both cue and context-dependent. Virtual reality environments address these issues by providing the complexity of the real world, and at the same time allowing experimenters to constrain fear

  14. Fear generalization in humans: impact of feature learning on conditioning and extinction.

    PubMed

    Vervliet, Bram; Geens, Maarten

    2014-09-01

    Little is known about the role of discrete stimulus features in the regulation of fear. This study examined the effects of feature learning on the acquisition and extinction of fear conditioning. Human participants were fear conditioned to a yellow triangle (CS+) using an electrical shock. We manipulated feature learning through differential conditioning. The nonconditioned control stimulus (CS-) was a red triangle in one group (Color-Relevant), but a yellow circle in the other group (Shape-Relevant). Next, two generalization stimuli were tested that shared the shape- or color-feature with the CS+ (a blue triangle and a yellow square). Online shock-expectancy ratings and skin conductance responding showed that the CS- determined the pattern of fear generalization: the same-color stimulus elicited more fear in Group Color-Relevant, versus the same-shape stimulus in group Shape-Relevant. Furthermore, extinguishing these two generalization stimuli had no detectable effect on fear of the CS+. These results show that fear generalization is influenced by feature learning through differential conditioning, and that exposures to different features of a stimulus are not sufficient to extinguish fear of that stimulus as a whole. PMID:24120427

  15. Acquired fears reflected in cortical sensory processing: A review of electrophysiological studies of human classical conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Miskovic, Vladimir; Keil, Andreas

    2012-01-01

    The capacity to associate neutral stimuli with affective value is an important survival strategy that can be accomplished by cell assemblies obeying Hebbian learning principles. In the neuroscience laboratory, classical fear conditioning has been extensively used as a model to study learning related changes in neural structure and function. Here, we review the effects of classical fear conditioning on electromagnetic brain activity in humans, focusing on how sensory systems adapt to changing fear-related contingencies. By considering spatio-temporal patterns of mass neuronal activity we illustrate a range of cortical changes related to a retuning of neuronal sensitivity to amplify signals consistent with fear-associated stimuli at the cost of other sensory information. Putative mechanisms that may underlie fear-associated plasticity at the level of the sensory cortices are briefly considered and several avenues for future work are outlined. PMID:22891639

  16. The Impact of Instructions on Generalization of Conditioned Fear in Humans.

    PubMed

    Ahmed, Ola; Lovibond, Peter F

    2015-09-01

    Generalization of conditioned fear has been implicated in the maintenance and proliferation of fear in anxiety disorders. The role of cognitive processes in generalization of conditioning is an important yet understudied issue. Vervliet et al. (2010) tested generalization of fear to a visual stimulus of a particular color and shape paired with electric shock. Test stimuli shared either the color or shape of the CS+. Prior to conditioning, participants were instructed that either color or shape would be predictive of shock. Generalization was stronger to the stimulus containing the instructed feature, suggesting that instructions impacted generalization of fear. However, the result may also reflect the impact of instructions on attention and learning during the conditioning phase. In the present study, the instructional manipulation was given after the conditioning phase to control for any impact of instructions on learning. A similar result to that reported by Vervliet et al. was observed. On self-reported expectancy of shock, generalization was greater to the test stimulus that included the instructed stimulus feature. The same pattern was observed on skin conductance, although it did not reach statistical significance. The findings indicate that explicitly instructed information affected generalization of conditioned fear independently of any impact on learning, pointing to the role of cognitive processes in human fear generalization. They also support the utility of cognitive therapy approaches, which are employed after fear has already developed, in addressing clinical overgeneralization. PMID:26459840

  17. Reconsolidation in a human fear conditioning study: a test of extinction as updating mechanism.

    PubMed

    Kindt, Merel; Soeter, Marieke

    2013-01-01

    Disrupting reconsolidation seems to be a promising approach to dampen the expression of fear memory. Recently, we demonstrated that disrupting reconsolidation by a pharmacological manipulation specifically targeted the emotional expression of memory (i.e., startle response). Here we test in a human differential fear-conditioning paradigm with fear-relevant stimuli whether the spacing of a single unreinforced retrieval trial relative to extinction learning allows for "rewriting" the original fear association, thereby preventing the return of fear. In contrast to previous findings reported by Schiller et al. (2010), who used a single-method for indexing fear (skin conductance response) and fear-irrelevant stimuli, we found that extinction learning within the reconsolidation window did not prevent the recovery of fear on multiple indices of conditioned responding (startle response, skin conductance response and US-expectancy). These conflicting results ask for further critical testing given the potential impact on the field of emotional memory and its application to clinical practice. PMID:21986472

  18. Right-sided human prefrontal brain activation during acquisition of conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Fischer, Håkan; Andersson, Jesper L R; Furmark, Tomas; Wik, Gustav; Fredrikson, Mats

    2002-09-01

    This H2(15)O positron emission tomography (PET) study reports on relative regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) alterations during fear conditioning in humans. In the PET scanner, subjects viewed a TV screen with either visual white noise or snake videotapes displayed alone, then with electric shocks, followed by final presentations of white noise and snakes. Autonomic nervous system responses confirmed fear conditioning only to snakes. To reveal neural activation during acquisition, while equating sensory stimulation, scans during snakes with shocks and white noise alone were contrasted against white noise with shocks and snakes alone. During acquisition, rCBF increased in the right medial frontal gyrus, supporting a role for the prefrontal cortex in fear conditioning to unmasked evolutionary fear-relevant stimuli. PMID:12899356

  19. Influence of stress on fear memory processes in an aversive differential conditioning paradigm in humans.

    PubMed

    Bentz, Dorothée; Michael, Tanja; Wilhelm, Frank H; Hartmann, Francina R; Kunz, Sabrina; von Rohr, Isabelle R Rudolf; de Quervain, Dominique J-F

    2013-07-01

    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. PMID:23333200

  20. From Pavlov to PTSD: The extinction of conditioned fear in rodents, humans, and in anxiety disorders

    PubMed Central

    VanElzakker, Michael B.; Dahlgren, M. Kathryn; Davis, F. Caroline; Dubois, Stacey; Shin, Lisa M.

    2014-01-01

    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

  1. From Pavlov to PTSD: the extinction of conditioned fear in rodents, humans, and anxiety disorders.

    PubMed

    VanElzakker, Michael B; Dahlgren, M Kathryn; Davis, F Caroline; Dubois, Stacey; Shin, Lisa M

    2014-09-01

    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

  2. Blockade of endogenous opioid neurotransmission enhances acquisition of conditioned fear in humans.

    PubMed

    Eippert, Falk; Bingel, Ulrike; Schoell, Eszter; Yacubian, Juliana; Büchel, Christian

    2008-05-21

    The endogenous opioid system is involved in fear learning in rodents, as opioid agonists attenuate and opioid antagonists facilitate the acquisition of conditioned fear. It has been suggested that an opioidergic signal, which is engaged through conditioning and acts inhibitory on unconditioned stimulus input, is the source of these effects. To clarify whether blockade of endogenous opioid neurotransmission enhances acquisition of conditioned fear in humans, and to elucidate the neural underpinnings of such an effect, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging in combination with behavioral recordings and a double-blind pharmacological intervention. All subjects underwent the same classical fear-conditioning paradigm, but subjects in the experimental group received the opioid antagonist naloxone before and during the experiment, in contrast to subjects in the control group, who received saline. Blocking endogenous opioid neurotransmission with naloxone led to more sustained responses to the unconditioned stimulus across trials, evident in both behavioral and blood oxygen level-dependent responses in pain responsive cortical regions. This effect was likely caused by naloxone blocking conditioned responses in a pain-inhibitory circuit involving opioid-rich areas such as the rostral anterior cingulate cortex, amygdala, and periaqueductal gray. Most importantly, naloxone enhanced the acquisition of fear on the behavioral level and changed the activation profile of the amygdala: whereas the control group showed rapidly decaying conditioned responses across trials, the naloxone group showed sustained conditioned responses in the amygdala. Together, these results demonstrate that in humans the endogenous opioid system has an inhibitory role in the acquisition of fear. PMID:18495880

  3. The influence of gonadal hormones on conditioned fear extinction in healthy humans.

    PubMed

    Milad, M R; Zeidan, M A; Contero, A; Pitman, R K; Klibanski, A; Rauch, S L; Goldstein, J M

    2010-07-14

    Recent rodent studies suggest that gonadal hormones influence extinction of conditioned fear. Here we investigated sex differences in, and the influence of estradiol and progesterone on, fear extinction in healthy humans. Men and women underwent a two-day paradigm in which fear conditioning and extinction learning took place on day 1 and extinction recall was tested on day 2. Visual cues were used as the conditioned stimuli and a mild electric shock was used as the unconditioned stimulus. Skin conductance was recorded throughout the experiment and used to measure conditioned responses (CRs). Blood samples were obtained from all women to measure estradiol and progesterone levels. We found that higher estradiol during extinction learning enhanced subsequent extinction recall but had no effects on fear acquisition or extinction learning itself. Sex differences were only observed during acquisition, with men exhibiting significantly higher CRs. After dividing women into low- and high-estradiol groups, men showed comparable extinction recall to high-estradiol women, and both of these groups showed higher extinction recall than low-estradiol women. Therefore, sex differences in extinction memory emerged only after taking into account women's estradiol levels. Lower estradiol may impair extinction consolidation in women. These findings could have practical applications in the treatment of anxiety disorders through cognitive and behavioral therapies. PMID:20412837

  4. The influence of gonadal hormones on conditioned fear extinction in healthy humans

    PubMed Central

    Milad, Mohammed R; Zeidan, Mohamed A.; Contero, Angelica; Pitman, Roger K.; Klibanski, Anne; Rauch, Scott L.; Goldstein, Jill M.

    2010-01-01

    Recent rodent studies suggest that gonadal hormones influence extinction of conditioned fear. Here we investigated sex differences in, and the influence of estradiol and progesterone on, fear extinction in healthy humans. Men and women underwent a two-day paradigm in which fear conditioning and extinction learning took place on day 1 and extinction recall was tested on day 2. Visual cues were used as the conditioned stimuli and a mild electric shock was used as the unconditioned stimulus. Skin conductance was recorded throughout the experiment and used to measure conditioned responses (CRs). Blood samples were obtained from all women to measure estradiol and progesterone levels. We found that higher estradiol during extinction learning enhanced subsequent extinction recall but had no effects on fear acquisition or extinction learning itself. Sex differences were only observed during acquisition, with men exhibiting significantly higher CRs. After dividing women into low- and high-estradiol groups, men showed comparable extinction recall to high-estradiol women, and both of these groups showed higher extinction recall than low-estradiol women. Therefore, sex differences in extinction memory emerged only after taking into account women's estradiol levels. Lower estradiol may impair extinction consolidation in women. These findings could have practical applications in the treatment of anxiety disorders through cognitive and behavioral therapies. PMID:20412837

  5. Fear conditioning to subliminal fear relevant and non fear relevant stimuli.

    PubMed

    Lipp, Ottmar V; Kempnich, Clare; Jee, Sang Hoon; Arnold, Derek H

    2014-01-01

    A growing body of evidence suggests that conscious visual awareness is not a prerequisite for human fear learning. For instance, humans can learn to be fearful of subliminal fear relevant images--images depicting stimuli thought to have been fear relevant in our evolutionary context, such as snakes, spiders, and angry human faces. Such stimuli could have a privileged status in relation to manipulations used to suppress usually salient images from awareness, possibly due to the existence of a designated sub-cortical 'fear module'. Here we assess this proposition, and find it wanting. We use binocular masking to suppress awareness of images of snakes and wallabies (particularly cute, non-threatening marsupials). We find that subliminal presentations of both classes of image can induce differential fear conditioning. These data show that learning, as indexed by fear conditioning, is neither contingent on conscious visual awareness nor on subliminal conditional stimuli being fear relevant. PMID:25198514

  6. Effects of Stress and Sex on Acquisition and Consolidation of Human Fear Conditioning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kuhn, Cynthia M.; LaBar, Kevin S.; Zorawski, Michael; Blanding, Nineequa Q.

    2006-01-01

    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…

  7. An Overview of Translationally Informed Treatments for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Animal Models of Pavlovian Fear Conditioning to Human Clinical Trials.

    PubMed

    Bowers, Mallory E; Ressler, Kerry J

    2015-09-01

    Posttraumatic stress disorder manifests after exposure to a traumatic event and is characterized by avoidance/numbing, intrusive symptoms and flashbacks, mood and cognitive disruptions, and hyperarousal/reactivity symptoms. These symptoms reflect dysregulation of the fear system likely caused by poor fear inhibition/extinction, increased generalization, and/or enhanced consolidation or acquisition of fear. These phenotypes can be modeled in animal subjects using Pavlovian fear conditioning, allowing investigation of the underlying neurobiology of normative and pathological fear. Preclinical studies reveal a number of neurotransmitter systems and circuits critical for aversive learning and memory that have informed the development of therapies used in human clinical trials. In this review, we discuss the evidence for a number of established and emerging pharmacotherapies and device-based treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder that have been developed via a bench to bedside translational model. PMID:26238379

  8. An overview of translationally informed treatments for PTSD: animal models of Pavlovian fear conditioning to human clinical trials

    PubMed Central

    Bowers, Mallory E.; Ressler, Kerry J.

    2015-01-01

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) manifests after exposure to a traumatic event and is characterized by avoidance/numbing, intrusive symptoms and flashbacks, mood and cognitive disruptions, and hyperarousal/reactivity symptoms. These symptoms reflect dysregulation of the fear system likely caused by poor fear inhibition/extinction, increased generalization, and/or enhanced consolidation or acquisition of fear. These phenotypes can be modeled in animal subjects using Pavlovian fear conditioning, allowing investigation of the underlying neurobiology of normative and pathological fear. Pre-clinical studies reveal a number of neurotransmitter systems and circuits critical for aversive learning and memory, which have informed the development of therapies used in human clinical trials. In this review, we discuss the evidence for a number of established and emerging pharmacotherapies and device-based treatments for PTSD that have been developed via a bench to bedside translational model. PMID:26238379

  9. Thwarting the Renewal (Relapse) of Conditioned Fear with the Explicitly Unpaired Procedure: Possible Interpretations and Implications for Treating Human Fears and Phobias

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Thomas, Brian L.; Longo, Craig L.; Ayres, John J. B.

    2005-01-01

    In three experiments using the barpress conditioned suppression task with albino rats, we studied the renewal (relapse) of conditioned fear in an ABA fear-renewal paradigm. We found that explicitly unpaired (EU) deliveries of conditioned stimuli (CSs) and unconditioned stimuli (USs) in Context B thwarted fear renewal in Context A. Evidence…

  10. Dynamic competition between large-scale functional networks differentiates fear conditioning and extinction in humans.

    PubMed

    Marstaller, Lars; Burianová, Hana; Reutens, David C

    2016-07-01

    The high evolutionary value of learning when to respond to threats or when to inhibit previously learned associations after changing threat contingencies is reflected in dedicated networks in the animal and human brain. Recent evidence further suggests that adaptive learning may be dependent on the dynamic interaction of meta-stable functional brain networks. However, it is still unclear which functional brain networks compete with each other to facilitate associative learning and how changes in threat contingencies affect this competition. The aim of this study was to assess the dynamic competition between large-scale networks related to associative learning in the human brain by combining a repeated differential conditioning and extinction paradigm with independent component analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging data. The results (i) identify three task-related networks involved in initial and sustained conditioning as well as extinction, and demonstrate that (ii) the two main networks that underlie sustained conditioning and extinction are anti-correlated with each other and (iii) the dynamic competition between these two networks is modulated in response to changes in associative contingencies. These findings provide novel evidence for the view that dynamic competition between large-scale functional networks differentiates fear conditioning from extinction learning in the healthy brain and suggest that dysfunctional network dynamics might contribute to learning-related neuropsychiatric disorders. PMID:27079532

  11. Prefrontal neuronal circuits of contextual fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Rozeske, R R; Valerio, S; Chaudun, F; Herry, C

    2015-01-01

    Over the past years, numerous studies have provided a clear understanding of the neuronal circuits and mechanisms involved in the formation, expression and extinction phases of conditioned cued fear memories. Yet, despite a strong clinical interest, a detailed understanding of these memory phases for contextual fear memories is still missing. Besides the well-known role of the hippocampus in encoding contextual fear behavior, growing evidence indicates that specific regions of the medial prefrontal cortex differentially regulate contextual fear acquisition and storage in both animals and humans that ultimately leads to expression of contextual fear memories. In this review, we provide a detailed description of the recent literature on the role of distinct prefrontal subregions in contextual fear behavior and provide a working model of the neuronal circuits involved in the acquisition, expression and generalization of contextual fear memories. PMID:25287656

  12. The neural correlates of negative prediction error signaling in human fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Spoormaker, V I; Andrade, K C; Schröter, M S; Sturm, A; Goya-Maldonado, R; Sämann, P G; Czisch, M

    2011-02-01

    In a temporal difference (TD) learning approach to classical conditioning, a prediction error (PE) signal shifts from outcome deliverance to the onset of the conditioned stimulus. Omission of an expected outcome results in a negative PE signal, which is the initial step towards successful extinction. In order to visualize negative PE signaling during fear conditioning, we employed combined functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) and skin conductance response (SCR) measurements in a conditioning task with visual stimuli and mild electrical shocks. Positive PE signaling was associated with increased activation in the bilateral insula, supplementary motor area, brainstem, and visual cortices. Negative PE signaling was associated with increased activation in the ventromedial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices, the left lateral orbital gyrus, the middle temporal gyri, angular gyri, and visual cortices. The involvement of the ventromedial prefrontal and orbitofrontal cortex in extinction learning has been well documented, and this study provides evidence for the notion that these regions are already involved in negative PE signaling during fear conditioning. PMID:20869454

  13. Generalization of Conditioned Fear along a Dimension of Increasing Fear Intensity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dunsmoor, Joseph E.; Mitroff, Stephen R.; LaBar, Kevin S.

    2009-01-01

    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…

  14. [Mechanisms for regulation of fear conditioning and memory].

    PubMed

    Kida, Satoshi

    2014-11-01

    Pavlovian fear conditioning is a model of fear learning and memory. The mechanisms regulating fear conditioning and memory have been investigated in humans and rodents. In this paradigm, animals learn and memorize an association between a conditioned stimulus (CS), such as context, and an unconditioned stimulus (US), such as an electrical footshock that induces fear. Fear memory generated though fear conditioning is stabilized via a memory consolidation process. Moreover, recent studies have shown the existence of memory processes that control fear memory following the retrieval of consolidated memory. Indeed, when fear memory is retrieved by re-exposure to the CS, the retrieved memory is re-stabilized via the reconsolidation process. On the other hand, the retrieval of fear memory by prolonged re-exposure to the CS also leads to fear memory extinction, new inhibitory learning against the fear memory, in which animals learn that they do not need to respond to the CS. Importantly, the reinforcement of fear memory after retrieval (i.e., re-experience such as flashbacks or nightmares) has been thought to be associated with the development of emotional disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In this review, I summarize recent progress in studies on the mechanism of fear conditioning and memory consolidation, reconsolidation and extinction, and furthermore, introduce our recent establishment of a mouse PTSD model that shows enhancement of fear memory after retrieval. PMID:25536762

  15. Equal pain—Unequal fear response: enhanced susceptibility of tooth pain to fear conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Meier, Michael L.; de Matos, Nuno M. P.; Brügger, Mike; Ettlin, Dominik A.; Lukic, Nenad; Cheetham, Marcus; Jäncke, Lutz; Lutz, Kai

    2014-01-01

    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) vs. 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 toward 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. PMID:25100974

  16. Frozen with fear: Conditioned suppression in a virtual reality model of human anxiety.

    PubMed

    Allcoat, Devon; Greville, W James; Newton, Philip M; Dymond, Simon

    2015-09-01

    Freezing-like topographies of behavior are elicited in conditioned suppression tasks whereby appetitive behavior is reduced by presentations of an aversively conditioned threat cue relative to a safety cue. Conditioned suppression of operant behavior by a Pavlovian threat cue is an established laboratory model of quantifying the response impairment seen in anxiety disorders. Little is known however about how different response topographies indicative of conditioned suppression are elicited in humans. Here, we refined a novel virtual reality (VR) paradigm in which presentations of a threat cue of unpredictable duration occurred while participants performed an operant response of shooting and destroying boxes searching for hidden gold. The VR paradigm detected significant suppression of response topographies (shots, hits and breaks) for a Pavlovian threat cue relative to a safety cue and novel cue presentations. Implications of the present findings for translational research on appetitive and aversive conflict in anxiety disorders are discussed. PMID:26115568

  17. Conditioned fear modulates visual selection.

    PubMed

    Mulckhuyse, Manon; Crombez, Geert; Van der Stigchel, Stefan

    2013-06-01

    Eye movements reflect the dynamic interplay between top-down- and bottom-up-driven processes. For example, when we voluntarily move our eyes across the visual field, salient visual stimuli in the environment may capture our attention, our eyes, or modulate the trajectory of an eye movement. Previous research has shown that the behavioral relevance of a salient stimulus modulates these processes. This study investigated whether a stimulus signaling an aversive event modulates saccadic behavior. Using a differential fear-conditioning procedure, we presented a threatening (conditional stimulus: CS+) and a nonthreatening stimulus distractor (CS-) during an oculomotor selection task. The results show that short-latency saccades deviated more strongly toward the CS+ than toward the CS- distractor, whereas long-latency saccades deviated more strongly away from the CS+ than from the CS- distractor. Moreover, the CS+ distractor captured the eyes more often than the CS- distractor. Together, these results demonstrate that conditioned fear has a direct and immediate influence on visual selection. The findings are interpreted in terms of a neurobiological model of emotional visual processing. PMID:23356561

  18. Limbic areas are functionally decoupled and visual cortex takes a more central role during fear conditioning in humans.

    PubMed

    Lithari, Chrysa; Moratti, Stephan; Weisz, Nathan

    2016-01-01

    Going beyond the focus on isolated brain regions (e.g. amygdala), recent neuroimaging studies on fear conditioning point to the relevance of a network of mutually interacting brain regions. In the present MEG study we used Graph Theory to uncover changes in the architecture of the brain functional network shaped by fear conditioning. Firstly, induced power analysis revealed differences in local cortical excitability (lower alpha and beta power) between CS+ and CS- localized to somatosensory cortex and insula. What is more striking however is that the graph theoretical measures unveiled a re-organization of brain functional connections, not evident using conventional power analysis. Subcortical fear-related structures exhibited reduced connectivity with temporal and frontal areas rendering the overall brain functional network more sparse during fear conditioning. At the same time, the calcarine took on a more central role in the network. Interestingly, the more the connectivity of limbic areas is reduced, the more central the role of the occipital cortex becomes. We speculated that both, the reduced coupling in some regions and the emerging centrality of others, contribute to the efficient processing of fear-relevant information during fear learning. PMID:27381479

  19. Limbic areas are functionally decoupled and visual cortex takes a more central role during fear conditioning in humans

    PubMed Central

    Lithari, Chrysa; Moratti, Stephan; Weisz, Nathan

    2016-01-01

    Going beyond the focus on isolated brain regions (e.g. amygdala), recent neuroimaging studies on fear conditioning point to the relevance of a network of mutually interacting brain regions. In the present MEG study we used Graph Theory to uncover changes in the architecture of the brain functional network shaped by fear conditioning. Firstly, induced power analysis revealed differences in local cortical excitability (lower alpha and beta power) between CS+ and CS− localized to somatosensory cortex and insula. What is more striking however is that the graph theoretical measures unveiled a re-organization of brain functional connections, not evident using conventional power analysis. Subcortical fear-related structures exhibited reduced connectivity with temporal and frontal areas rendering the overall brain functional network more sparse during fear conditioning. At the same time, the calcarine took on a more central role in the network. Interestingly, the more the connectivity of limbic areas is reduced, the more central the role of the occipital cortex becomes. We speculated that both, the reduced coupling in some regions and the emerging centrality of others, contribute to the efficient processing of fear-relevant information during fear learning. PMID:27381479

  20. Sex differences in fear conditioning in posttraumatic stress disorder

    PubMed Central

    Inslicht, Sabra S.; Metzler, Thomas J.; Garcia, Natalia M.; Pineles, Suzanne L.; Milad, Mohammed R.; Orr, Scott P.; Marmar, Charles R.; Neylan, Thomas C.

    2013-01-01

    Background Women are twice as likely as men to develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Abnormal acquisition of conditioned fear has been suggested as a mechanism for the development of PTSD. While some studies of healthy humans suggest that women are either no different or express less conditioned fear responses during conditioning relative to men, differences in the acquisition of conditioned fear between men and women diagnosed with PTSD has not been examined. Methods Thirty-one participants (18 men; 13 women) with full or subsyndromal PTSD completed a fear conditioning task. Participants were shown computer-generated colored circles that were paired (CS+) or unpaired (CS−) with an aversive electrical stimulus and skin conductance levels were assessed throughout the task. Results Repeated measures ANOVA indicated a significant sex by stimulus interaction during acquisition. Women had greater differential conditioned skin conductance responses (CS + trials compared to CS− trials) than did men, suggesting greater acquisition of conditioned fear in women with PTSD. Conclusions In contrast to studies of healthy individuals, we found enhanced acquisition of conditioned fear in women with PTSD. Greater fear conditioning in women may either be a pre-existing vulnerability trait or an acquired phenomenon that emerges in a sex-dependent manner after the development of PTSD. Characterizing the underlying mechanisms of these differences is needed to clarify sex-related differences in the pathophysiology of PTSD. PMID:23107307

  1. Developmental aspects of fear: Comparing the acquisition and generalization of conditioned fear in children and adults.

    PubMed

    Schiele, Miriam A; Reinhard, Julia; Reif, Andreas; Domschke, Katharina; Romanos, Marcel; Deckert, Jürgen; Pauli, Paul

    2016-05-01

    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. Dev Psychobiol 58: 471-481, 2016. PMID:26798984

  2. Effects of sleep on memory for conditioned fear and fear extinction

    PubMed Central

    Pace-Schott, Edward F.; Germain, Anne; Milad, Mohammed R.

    2015-01-01

    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

  3. BDNFval66met affects neural activation pattern during fear conditioning and 24 h delayed fear recall

    PubMed Central

    Golkar, Armita; Lindström, Kara M.; Haaker, Jan; Öhman, Arne; Schalling, Martin; Ingvar, Martin

    2015-01-01

    Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), the most abundant neutrophin in the mammalian central nervous system, is critically involved in synaptic plasticity. In both rodents and humans, BDNF has been implicated in hippocampus- and amygdala-dependent learning and memory and has more recently been linked to fear extinction processes. Fifty-nine healthy participants, genotyped for the functional BDNFval66met polymorphism, underwent a fear conditioning and 24h-delayed extinction protocol while skin conductance and blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) responses (functional magnetic resonance imaging) were acquired. We present the first report of neural activation pattern during fear acquisition ‘and’ extinction for the BDNFval66met polymorphism using a differential conditioned stimulus (CS)+ > CS− comparison. During conditioning, we observed heightened allele dose-dependent responses in the amygdala and reduced responses in the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex in BDNFval66met met-carriers. During early extinction, 24h later, we again observed heightened responses in several regions ascribed to the fear network in met-carriers as opposed to val-carriers (insula, amygdala, hippocampus), which likely reflects fear memory recall. No differences were observed during late extinction, which likely reflects learned extinction. Our data thus support previous associations of the BDNFval66met polymorphism with neural activation in the fear and extinction network, but speak against a specific association with fear extinction processes. PMID:25103087

  4. Contextual fear conditioning depresses infralimbic excitability.

    PubMed

    Soler-Cedeño, Omar; Cruz, Emmanuel; Criado-Marrero, Marangelie; Porter, James T

    2016-04-01

    Patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) show hypo-active ventromedial prefrontal cortices (vmPFC) that correlate with their impaired ability to discriminate between safe and dangerous contexts and cues. Previously, we found that auditory fear conditioning depresses the excitability of neurons populating the homologous structure in rodents, the infralimbic cortex (IL). However, it is undetermined if IL depression was mediated by the cued or contextual information. The objective of this study was to examine whether contextual information was sufficient to depress IL neuronal excitability. After exposing rats to context-alone, pseudoconditioning, or contextual fear conditioning, we used whole-cell current-clamp recordings to examine the excitability of IL neurons in prefrontal brain slices. We found that contextual fear conditioning reduced IL neuronal firing in response to depolarizing current steps. In addition, neurons from contextual fear conditioned animals showed increased slow afterhyperpolarization potentials (sAHPs). Moreover, the observed changes in IL excitability correlated with contextual fear expression, suggesting that IL depression may contribute to the encoding of contextual fear. PMID:26860438

  5. Demographic factors predict magnitude of conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Rosenbaum, Blake L; Bui, Eric; Marin, Marie-France; Holt, Daphne J; Lasko, Natasha B; Pitman, Roger K; Orr, Scott P; Milad, Mohammed R

    2015-10-01

    There is substantial variability across individuals in the magnitudes of their skin conductance (SC) responses during the acquisition and extinction of conditioned fear. To manage this variability, subjects may be matched for demographic variables, such as age, gender and education. However, limited data exist addressing how much variability in conditioned SC responses is actually explained by these variables. The present study assessed the influence of age, gender and education on the SC responses of 222 subjects who underwent the same differential conditioning paradigm. The demographic variables were found to predict a small but significant amount of variability in conditioned responding during fear acquisition, but not fear extinction learning or extinction recall. A larger differential change in SC during acquisition was associated with more education. Older participants and women showed smaller differential SC during acquisition. Our findings support the need to consider age, gender and education when studying fear acquisition but not necessarily when examining fear extinction learning and recall. Variability in demographic factors across studies may partially explain the difficulty in reproducing some SC findings. PMID:26151498

  6. Enhanced Generalization of Auditory Conditioned Fear in Juvenile Mice

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ito, Wataru; Pan, Bing-Xing; Yang, Chao; Thakur, Siddarth; Morozov, Alexei

    2009-01-01

    Increased emotionality is a characteristic of human adolescence, but its animal models are limited. Here we report that generalization of auditory conditioned fear between a conditional stimulus (CS+) and a novel auditory stimulus is stronger in 4-5-wk-old mice (juveniles) than in their 9-10-wk-old counterparts (adults), whereas nonassociative…

  7. Voluntary exercise improves both learning and consolidation of cued conditioned fear in C57 mice.

    PubMed

    Falls, William A; Fox, James H; MacAulay, Christina M

    2010-03-01

    Exercise is associated with improved cognitive function in humans as well as improved learning across a range of tasks in rodents. Although these studies provide a strong link between exercise and learning, to date studies have largely focused on tasks that principally involve the hippocampus. However, exercise has been shown to produce alterations in other brain areas suggesting that the cognitive enhancing effects of exercise may be more general. Therefore we set out to examine the effects of voluntary exercise on cued Pavlovian fear conditioning, a form of learning that is critically dependent on the amygdala. In Experiment 1 we showed that mice given 2 weeks of access to a running wheel prior to tone and foot shock fear conditioning showed enhanced conditioned fear as measured by fear-potentiated startle. This effect was not the result of altered shock reactivity nor was it to due to reduced baseline startle amplitude in exercising mice. In subsequent experiments we sought to examine whether the enhanced cued conditioned fear was the result of an improvement in learning, consolidation or retrieval of conditioned fear. In separate groups of mice, two weeks of access to a running wheel was begun either prior to fear conditioning, immediately after fear conditioning (consolidation period) or 2 weeks after fear conditioning. Compared to sedentary mice, mice that exercised either prior to fear conditioning, or immediately after fear conditioning, showed enhanced cued conditioned fear. Fear conditioning was not enhanced in mice that began exercising 2 weeks after fear conditioning. Taken together these results suggest that voluntary exercise improves the learning and consolidation of cued conditioned fear but does not improve the retrieval or performance of conditioned fear. Because a great deal is known about the neural circuit for cued conditioned fear, it is now possible to examine the cellular, molecular and pharmacological changes associated with exercise in

  8. Early Extinction after Fear Conditioning Yields a Context-Independent and Short-Term Suppression of Conditional Freezing in Rats

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Chang, Chun-hui; Maren, Stephen

    2009-01-01

    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…

  9. Effects of sleep on memory for conditioned fear and fear extinction.

    PubMed

    Pace-Schott, Edward F; Germain, Anne; Milad, Mohammed R

    2015-07-01

    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 PMID:25894546

  10. Improvement of memory recall by quercetin in rodent contextual fear conditioning and human early-stage Alzheimer's disease patients.

    PubMed

    Nakagawa, Toshiyuki; Itoh, Masanori; Ohta, Kazunori; Hayashi, Yuichi; Hayakawa, Miki; Yamada, Yasushi; Akanabe, Hiroshi; Chikaishi, Tokio; Nakagawa, Kiyomi; Itoh, Yoshinori; Muro, Takato; Yanagida, Daisuke; Nakabayashi, Ryo; Mori, Tetsuya; Saito, Kazuki; Ohzawa, Kaori; Suzuki, Chihiro; Li, Shimo; Ueda, Masashi; Wang, Miao-Xing; Nishida, Emika; Islam, Saiful; Tana; Kobori, Masuko; Inuzuka, Takashi

    2016-06-15

    Patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) experience a wide array of cognitive deficits, which typically include the impairment of explicit memory. In previous studies, the authors reported that a flavonoid, quercetin, reduces the expression of ATF4 and delays memory deterioration in an early-stage AD mouse model. In the present study, the effects of long-term quercetin intake on memory recall were assessed using contextual fear conditioning in aged wild-type mice. In addition, the present study examined whether memory recall was affected by the intake of quercetin-rich onion (a new cultivar of hybrid onion 'Quergold') powder in early-stage AD patients. In-vivo analysis indicated that memory recall was enhanced in aged mice fed a quercetin-containing diet. Memory recall in early-stage AD patients, determined using the Revised Hasegawa Dementia Scale, was significantly improved by the intake of quercetin-rich onion (Quergold) powder for 4 weeks compared with the intake of control onion ('Mashiro' white onion) powder. These results indicate that quercetin might influence memory recall. PMID:27145228

  11. Prior fear conditioning and reward learning interact in fear and reward networks

    PubMed Central

    Bulganin, Lisa; Bach, Dominik R.; Wittmann, Bianca C.

    2014-01-01

    The ability to flexibly adapt responses to changes in the environment is important for survival. Previous research in humans separately examined the mechanisms underlying acquisition and extinction of aversive and appetitive conditioned responses. It is yet unclear how aversive and appetitive learning interact on a neural level during counterconditioning in humans. This functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study investigated the interaction of fear conditioning and subsequent reward learning. In the first phase (fear acquisition), images predicted aversive electric shocks or no aversive outcome. In the second phase (counterconditioning), half of the CS+ and CS− were associated with monetary reward in the absence of electric stimulation. The third phase initiated reinstatement of fear through presentation of electric shocks, followed by CS presentation in the absence of shock or reward. Results indicate that participants were impaired at learning the reward contingencies for stimuli previously associated with shock. In the counterconditioning phase, prior fear association interacted with reward representation in the amygdala, where activation was decreased for rewarded compared to unrewarded CS− trials, while there was no reward-related difference in CS+ trials. In the reinstatement phase, an interaction of previous fear association and previous reward status was observed in a reward network consisting of substantia nigra/ventral tegmental area (SN/VTA), striatum and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), where activation was increased by previous reward association only for CS− but not for CS+ trials. These findings suggest that during counterconditioning, prior fear conditioning interferes with reward learning, subsequently leading to lower activation of the reward network. PMID:24624068

  12. Fear Conditioned Responses and PTSD Symptoms in Children: Sex Differences in Fear-Related Symptoms

    PubMed Central

    Gamwell, Kaitlyn; Nylocks, Maria; Cross, Dorthie; Bradley, Bekh; Norrholm, Seth D.

    2016-01-01

    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. PMID:26011240

  13. Fear conditioned responses and PTSD symptoms in children: Sex differences in fear-related symptoms.

    PubMed

    Gamwell, Kaitlyn; Nylocks, Maria; Cross, Dorthie; Bradley, Bekh; Norrholm, Seth D; Jovanovic, Tanja

    2015-11-01

    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. PMID:26011240

  14. Conditioned Fear Acquisition and Generalization in Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

    PubMed

    Tinoco-González, Daniella; Fullana, Miquel Angel; Torrents-Rodas, David; Bonillo, Albert; Vervliet, Bram; Blasco, María Jesús; Farré, Magí; Torrubia, Rafael

    2015-09-01

    Abnormal fear conditioning processes (including fear acquisition and conditioned fear-generalization) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of anxiety disorders. Previous research has shown that individuals with panic disorder present enhanced conditioned fear-generalization in comparison to healthy controls. Enhanced conditioned fear-generalization could also characterize generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), but research so far is inconclusive. An important confounding factor in previous research is comorbidity. The present study examined conditioned fear-acquisition and fear-generalization in 28 patients with GAD and 30 healthy controls using a recently developed fear acquisition and generalization paradigm assessing fear-potentiated startle and online expectancies of the unconditioned stimulus. Analyses focused on GAD patients without comorbidity but included also patients with comorbid anxiety disorders. Patients and controls did not differ as regards fear acquisition. However, contrary to our hypothesis, both groups did not differ either in most indexes of conditioned fear-generalization. Moreover, dimensional measures of GAD symptoms were not correlated with conditioned fear-generalization indexes. Comorbidity did not have a significant impact on the results. Our data suggest that conditioned fear-generalization is not enhanced in GAD. Results are discussed with special attention to the possible effects of comorbidity on fear learning abnormalities. PMID:26459843

  15. Medial prefrontal cortex stimulation modulates the processing of conditioned fear

    PubMed Central

    Guhn, Anne; Dresler, Thomas; Andreatta, Marta; Müller, Laura D.; Hahn, Tim; Tupak, Sara V.; Polak, Thomas; Deckert, Jürgen; Herrmann, Martin J.

    2014-01-01

    The extinction of conditioned fear depends on an efficient interplay between the amygdala and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). In rats, high-frequency electrical mPFC stimulation has been shown to improve extinction by means of 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 2-day fear conditioning and extinction paradigm. Repetitive TMS 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 (CR) 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 and can thus be a basis for future studies investigating a complementation of mPFC stimulation to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). PMID:24600362

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2013-01-01

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

  17. Predator odor fear conditioning: Current perspectives and new directions

    PubMed Central

    Takahashi, Lorey K.; Chan, Megan M.; Pilar, Mark L.

    2008-01-01

    Predator odor fear conditioning involves the use of a natural unconditioned stimulus, as opposed to aversive electric foot-shock, to obtain novel information on the neural circuitry associated with emotional learning and memory. Researchers are beginning to identify brain sites associated with conditioned contextual fear such as the ventral anterior olfactory nucleus, dorsal premammillary nucleus, ventrolateral periaqueductal gray, cuneiform nucleus, and locus coeruleus. In addition, a few studies have reported an involvement of the basolateral and medial nucleus of the amygdala and hippocampus in fear conditioning. However, several important issues concerning the effectiveness of different predator odor unconditioned stimuli to produce fear conditioning, the precise role of brain nuclei in fear conditioning, and the general relation between the current predator odor and the traditional electric foot-shock fear conditioning procedures remain to be satisfactorily addressed. This review discusses the major behavioral results in the current predator odor fear conditioning literature and introduces two novel contextual and auditory fear conditioning models using cat odor. The new models provide critical information on the acquisition of conditioned fear behavior during training and the expression of conditioned responses in the retention test. Future studies adopting fear conditioning procedures that incorporate measures of both unconditioned and conditioned responses during training may lead to broad insights into predator odor fear conditioning and identify specific brain nuclei mediating conditioned stimulus – predator odor unconditioned stimulus associations. PMID:18577397

  18. Role of conceptual knowledge in learning and retention of conditioned fear

    PubMed Central

    Dunsmoor, Joseph E.; Martin, Alex; LaBar, Kevin S.

    2011-01-01

    Associating sensory cues with aversive outcomes is a relatively basic process shared across species. Yet higher-order cognitive processes likely contribute to associative fear learning in many circumstances, especially in humans. Here we ask whether fears can be acquired based on conceptual knowledge of object categories, and whether such concept-based fear conditioning leads to enhanced memory representations for conditioned objects. Participants were presented with a heterogeneous collection of images of animals and tools. Objects from one category were reinforced by an electrical shock, whereas the other category was never reinforced. Results confirmed concept-based fear learning through subjective report of shock expectancy, heightened skin conductance responses, and enhanced 24 hour recognition memory for items from the conditioned category. These results provide novel evidence that conditioned fear can generalize through knowledge of object concepts, and sheds light on the persistent nature of fear memories and category-based fear responses symptomatic of some anxiety disorders. PMID:22118937

  19. Increased stathmin expression strengthens fear conditioning in epileptic rats.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Linna; Feng, Danni; Tao, Hong; DE, Xiangyan; Chang, Qing; Hu, Qikuan

    2015-01-01

    Patients with temporal lobe epilepsy have inexplicable fear attack as the aura. However, the underlying neural mechanisms of seizure-modulated fear are not clarified. Recent studies identified stathmin as one of the key controlling molecules in learning and innate fear. Stathmin binds to tubulin, inhibits microtubule assembly and promotes microtubule catastrophes. Therefore, stathmin is predicted to play a crucial role in the association of epilepsy seizures with fear conditioning. Firstly, a pilocarpine model of epilepsy in rats was established, and subsequently the fear condition training was performed. The epileptic rats with fear conditioning (epilepsy + fear) had a much longer freezing time compared to each single stimulus. The increased freezing levels revealed a significantly strengthened effect of the epileptic seizures on the learned fear of the tone-shock contextual. Subsequently, the stathmin expression was compared in the hippocampus, the amygdale, the insular cortex and the temporal lobe. The significant change of stathmin expression occurred in the insular and the hippocampus, but not in the amygdale. Stathmin expression and dendritic microtubule stability were compared between fear and epilepsy in rats. Epilepsy was found to strengthen the fear conditioning with increased expression of stathmin and a decrease in microtubule stability. Fear conditioning slightly increased the expression of stathmin, whereas epilepsy with fear conditioning increased it significantly in the hippocampus, insular cortex and hypothalamus. The phosphorylated stathmin slightly increased in the epilepsy with fear conditioning. The increased expression of stathmin was contrary to the decrease of the stathmin microtubule-associated protein (MAP2) and α-tubulin in the epileptic rats with fear conditioning in all three areas of the brain. The most significant change of the ratio of MAP2 and α-tubulin/stathmin occurred in the insular cortex and hippocampus. In conclusion

  20. Young and Old Pavlovian Fear Memories Can Be Modified with Extinction Training during Reconsolidation in Humans

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Steinfurth, Elisa C. K.; Kanen, Jonathan W.; Raio, Candace M.; Clem, Roger L.; Huganir, Richard L.; Phelps, Elizabeth A.

    2014-01-01

    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.…

  1. Perceiving Threat In the Face of Safety: Excitation and Inhibition of Conditioned Fear in Human Visual Cortex

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Previous findings have established that cortical sensory systems exhibit experience-dependent biases toward stimuli consistently associated with threat. It remains unclear whether safety cues also facilitate perceptual engagement or how competition between learned threat and safety cues is resolved within visual cortex. Here, we used classical discrimination conditioning with simple luminance modulated visual stimuli that predicted the presence or absence of an aversive sound to examine visuocortical competition between features signaling threat versus safety. We tracked steady-state visual evoked potentials to label distinct visual cortical responses in humans to conditioned and control stimuli. Trial-by-trial expectancy ratings collected online confirmed that participants discriminated between threat and safety cues. Conditioning was associated with heightened activation of the extended visual cortex in response to the threat, but not the safety, stimulus. Cortical facilitation for the threatening stimulus was selective and not decreased by simultaneously presenting safe and associatively novel cues. Our findings shed light on the sensory brain dynamics associated with experience-dependent acquisition of perceptual biases for danger and safety signals. PMID:23283323

  2. Human fear extinction and return of fear using reconsolidation update mechanisms: The contribution of on-line expectancy ratings

    PubMed Central

    Warren, Victor Taylor; Anderson, Kemp M.; Kwon, Cliffe; Bosshardt, Lauren; Jovanovic, Tanja; Bradley, Bekh; Norrholm, Seth Davin

    2015-01-01

    Disruption of the reconsolidation of conditioned fear memories has been suggested as a non-pharmacological means of preventing the return of learned fear in human populations. A reconsolidation update paradigm was developed in which a reconsolidation window is opened by a single isolated retrieval trial of a previously reinforced CS+ which is then followed by Extinction Training within that window. However, follow-up studies in humans using multi-methods fear conditioning indices (e.g., fear-potentiated startle, skin conductance, US-expectancy) have failed to replicate the retrieval + extinction effects. In the present study, we further investigated the retrieval + extinction reconsolidation update paradigm by directly comparing the acquisition, extinction, and return of fear-potentiated startle in the absence or presence of US-expectancy measures (using a trial-by-trial response keypad) with and without retrieval of a previously acquired CS-US association. Participants were fear conditioned to two visual cue CS+'s, one of which was presented as a single, isolated retrieval trial before Extinction Training and one that was extinguished as usual. The results show that the inclusion of US-expectancy measures strengthens the CS–US association to provide enhanced fear conditioning and maintenance of fear memories over the experimental sessions. In addition, in the groups that used on-line US-expectancy measures, the retrieval + extinction procedure reduced reinstatement of fear-potentiated startle to both previously reinforced CS+'s, as compared to the extinction as usual group. PMID:24183839

  3. Asymmetrical Stimulus Generalization following Differential Fear Conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Bang, Sun Jung; Allen, Timothy A.; Jones, Lauren K.; Boguszewski, Pawel; Brown, Thomas H.

    2008-01-01

    Rodent ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) are ethologically critical social signals. Rats emit 22 kHz USVs and 50 kHz USVs, respectively, in conjunction with negative and positive affective states. Little is known about what controls emotional reactivity to these social signals. Using male Sprague-Dawley rats, we examined unconditional and conditional freezing behavior in response to the following auditory stimuli: three 22 kHz USVs, a discontinuous tone whose frequency and on-off pattern matched one of the USVs, a continuous tone with the same or lower frequencies, a 4 kHz discontinuous tone with an on-off pattern matched to one of the USVs, and a 50 kHz USV. There were no differences among these stimuli in terms of the unconditional elicitation of freezing behavior. Thus, the stimuli were equally neutral before conditioning. During differential fear conditioning, one of these stimuli (the CS+) always co-terminated with a footshock unconditional stimulus (US) and another stimulus (the CS−) was explicitly unpaired with the US. There were no significant differences among these cues in CS+-elicited freezing behavior. Thus, the stimuli were equally salient or effective as cues in supporting fear conditioning. When the CS+ was a 22 kHz USV or a similar stimulus, rats discriminated based on the principal frequency and/or the temporal pattern of the stimulus. However, when these same stimuli served as the CS−, discrimination failed due to generalization from the CS+. Thus, the stimuli differed markedly in the specificity of conditioning. This strikingly asymmetrical stimulus generalization is a novel bias in discrimination. PMID:18434217

  4. Predicting aversive events and terminating fear in the mouse anterior cingulate cortex during trace fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Steenland, Hendrik W; Li, Xiang-Yao; Zhuo, Min

    2012-01-18

    A variety of studies have implicated the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in fear, including permanent storage of fear memory. Recent pharmacological and genetic studies indicate that early synaptic plasticity in the ACC may also contribute to certain forms of fear memory at early time points. However, no study has directly examined the possible changes in neuronal activity of ACC neurons in freely behaving mice during early learning. In the present study, we examined the neural responses of the ACC during trace fear conditioning. We found that ACC putative pyramidal and nonpyramidal neurons were involved in the termination of fear behavior ("un-freezing"), and the spike activity of these neurons was reduced during freezing. Some of the neurons were also found to acquire un-freezing locked activity and change their tuning. The results implicate the ACC neurons in fear learning and controlling the abolition of fear behavior. We also show that the ACC is important for making cue-related fear memory associations in the trace fear paradigm as measured with tone-evoked potentials and single-unit activity. Collectively, our findings indicate that the ACC is involved in predicting future aversive events and terminating fear during trace fear. PMID:22262906

  5. Cannabinoid facilitation of fear extinction memory recall in humans

    PubMed Central

    Rabinak, Christine A.; Angstadt, Mike; Sripada, Chandra S.; Abelson, James L.; Liberzon, Israel; Milad, Mohammed R.; Phan, K. Luan

    2012-01-01

    A first-line approach to treat anxiety disorders is exposure-based therapy, which relies on extinction processes such as repeatedly exposing the patient to stimuli (conditioned stimuli; CS) associated with the traumatic, fear-related memory. However, a significant number of patients fail to maintain their gains, partly attributed to the fact that this inhibitory learning and its maintenance is temporary and conditioned fear responses can return. Animal studies have shown that activation of the cannabinoid system during extinction learning enhances fear extinction and its retention. Specifically, CB1 receptor agonists, such as Δ9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC), can facilitate extinction recall by preventing recovery of extinguished fear in rats. However, this phenomenon has not been investigated in humans. We conducted a study using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, between-subjects design, coupling a standard Pavlovian fear extinction paradigm and simultaneous skin conductance response (SCR) recording with an acute pharmacological challenge with oral dronabinol (synthetic THC) or placebo (PBO) 2 hours prior to extinction learning in 29 healthy adult volunteers (THC = 14; PBO = 15) and tested extinction retention 24 hours after extinction learning. Compared to subjects that received PBO, subjects that received THC showed low SCR to a previously extinguished CS when extinction memory recall was tested 24 hours after extinction learning, suggesting that THC prevented the recovery of fear. These results provide the first evidence that pharmacological enhancement of extinction learning is feasible in humans using cannabinoid system modulators, which may thus warrant further development and clinical testing. PMID:22796109

  6. Memory consolidation of fear conditioning: bi-stable amygdala connectivity with dorsal anterior cingulate and medial prefrontal cortex.

    PubMed

    Feng, Pan; Feng, Tingyong; Chen, Zhencai; Lei, Xu

    2014-11-01

    Investigations of fear conditioning in rodents and humans have illuminated the neural mechanisms of fear acquisition and extinction. However, the neural mechanism of memory consolidation of fear conditioning is not well understood. To address this question, we measured brain activity and the changes in functional connectivity following fear acquisition using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. The amygdala-dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and hippocampus-insula functional connectivity were enhanced, whereas the amygdala-medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) functional coupling was decreased during fear memory consolidation. Furthermore, the amygdala-mPFC functional connectivity was negatively correlated with the subjective fear ratings. These findings suggest the amygdala functional connectivity with dACC and mPFC may play an important role in memory consolidation of fear conditioning. The change of amygdala-mPFC functional connectivity could predict the subjective fear. Accordingly, this study provides a new perspective for understanding fear memory consolidation. PMID:24194579

  7. Memory consolidation of fear conditioning: Bi-stable amygdala connectivity with dorsal anterior cingulate and medial prefrontal cortex

    PubMed Central

    Feng, Pan; Chen, Zhencai; Lei, Xu

    2014-01-01

    Investigations of fear conditioning in rodents and humans have illuminated the neural mechanisms of fear acquisition and extinction. However, the neural mechanism of memory consolidation of fear conditioning is not well understood. To address this question, we measured brain activity and the changes in functional connectivity following fear acquisition using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. The amygdala–dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and hippocampus–insula functional connectivity were enhanced, whereas the amygdala–medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) functional coupling was decreased during fear memory consolidation. Furthermore, the amygdala–mPFC functional connectivity was negatively correlated with the subjective fear ratings. These findings suggest the amygdala functional connectivity with dACC and mPFC may play an important role in memory consolidation of fear conditioning. The change of amygdala-mPFC functional connectivity could predict the subjective fear. Accordingly, this study provides a new perspective for understanding fear memory consolidation. PMID:24194579

  8. Systemic Blockade of D2-Like Dopamine Receptors Facilitates Extinction of Conditioned Fear in Mice

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ponnusamy, Ravikumar; Nissim, Helen A.; Barad, Mark

    2005-01-01

    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…

  9. Revealing Context-Specific Conditioned Fear Memories with Full Immersion Virtual Reality

    PubMed Central

    Huff, Nicole C.; Hernandez, Jose Alba; Fecteau, Matthew E.; Zielinski, David J.; Brady, Rachael; LaBar, Kevin S.

    2011-01-01

    The extinction of conditioned fear is known to be context-specific and is often considered more 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-D 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-h 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 expectancy ratings were assayed on-line during fear acquisition as an index of contingency awareness. Skin conductance responses 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 clinical disorders. PMID:22069384

  10. Altered resting-state brain activity at functional MRI during automatic memory consolidation of fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Feng, Tingyong; Feng, Pan; Chen, Zhencai

    2013-07-26

    Investigations of fear conditioning in rodents and humans have illuminated the neural mechanisms of fear acquisition and extinction. However, the neural mechanism of automatic memory consolidation of fear conditioning is still unclear. To address this question, we measured brain activity following fear acquisition using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI). In the current study, we used a marker of fMRI, amplitude of low-frequency (0.01-0.08Hz) fluctuation (ALFF) to quantify the spontaneous brain activity. Brain activity correlated to fear memory consolidation was observed in parahippocampus, insula, and thalamus in resting-state. Furthermore, after acquired fear conditioning, compared with control group some brain areas showed ALFF increased in ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in the experimental group, whereas some brain areas showed decreased ALFF in striatal regions (caudate, putamen). Moreover, the change of ALFF in vmPFC was positively correlated with the subjective fear ratings. These findings suggest that the parahippocampus, insula, and thalamus are the neural substrates of fear memory consolidation. The difference in activity could be attributed to a homeostatic process in which the vmPFC and ACC were involved in the fear recovery process, and change of ALFF in vmPFC predicts subjective fear ratings. PMID:23726994

  11. Fears lessen for human BSE.

    PubMed

    Gross, Michael

    2005-02-01

    Alarm bells rang eight years ago with the evidence that mad cow disease could pass from cows to humans via the food chain. But new research suggests that the disease, although still a problem in a number of countries, will have a limited effect on the human population. PMID:15694288

  12. Cotinine enhances the extinction of contextual fear memory and reduces anxiety after fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Zeitlin, Ross; Patel, Sagar; Solomon, Rosalynn; Tran, John; Weeber, Edwin J; Echeverria, Valentina

    2012-03-17

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder triggered by traumatic events. Symptoms include anxiety, depression and deficits in fear memory extinction (FE). PTSD patients show a higher prevalence of cigarette smoking than the general population. The present study investigated the effects of cotinine, a tobacco-derived compound, over anxiety and contextual fear memory after fear conditioning (FC) in mice, a model for inducing PTSD-like symptoms. Two-month-old C57BL/6J mice were separated into three experimental groups. These groups were used to investigate the effect of pretreatment with cotinine on contextual fear memory and posttreatment on extinction and stability or retrievability of the fear memory. Also, changes induced by cotinine on the expression of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 were assessed after extinction in the hippocampus. An increase in anxiety and corticosterone levels were found after fear conditioning. Cotinine did not affect corticosterone levels but enhanced the extinction of contextual fear, decreased anxiety and the stability and/or retrievability of contextual fear memory. Cotinine-treated mice showed higher levels of the active forms of ERK1/2 than vehicle-treated mice after FC. This evidence suggests that cotinine is a potential new pharmacological treatment to reduce symptoms in individuals with PTSD. PMID:22137886

  13. Specific phobia: a disorder of fear conditioning and extinction.

    PubMed

    Stein, Dan J; Matsunaga, Hisato

    2006-04-01

    Specific phobia is the most prevalent of the anxiety disorders. Although there have been relatively few studies of its psychobiology and pharmacotherapy, there is a rich laboratory of literature on fear conditioning and extinction and a clear evolutionary perspective. Advances in the cognitive-affective neuroscience of fear processing may ultimately lead to new approaches to the clinical management of phobias. PMID:16641829

  14. Cannabinoid facilitation of fear extinction memory recall in humans.

    PubMed

    Rabinak, Christine A; Angstadt, Mike; Sripada, Chandra S; Abelson, James L; Liberzon, Israel; Milad, Mohammed R; Phan, K Luan

    2013-01-01

    A first-line approach to treat anxiety disorders is exposure-based therapy, which relies on extinction processes such as repeatedly exposing the patient to stimuli (conditioned stimuli; CS) associated with the traumatic, fear-related memory. However, a significant number of patients fail to maintain their gains, partly attributed to the fact that this inhibitory learning and its maintenance is temporary and conditioned fear responses can return. Animal studies have shown that activation of the cannabinoid system during extinction learning enhances fear extinction and its retention. Specifically, CB1 receptor agonists, such as Δ9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC), can facilitate extinction recall by preventing recovery of extinguished fear in rats. However, this phenomenon has not been investigated in humans. We conducted a study using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, between-subjects design, coupling a standard Pavlovian fear extinction paradigm and simultaneous skin conductance response (SCR) recording with an acute pharmacological challenge with oral dronabinol (synthetic THC) or placebo (PBO) 2 h prior to extinction learning in 29 healthy adult volunteers (THC = 14; PBO = 15) and tested extinction retention 24 h after extinction learning. Compared to subjects that received PBO, subjects that received THC showed low SCR to a previously extinguished CS when extinction memory recall was tested 24 h after extinction learning, suggesting that THC prevented the recovery of fear. These results provide the first evidence that pharmacological enhancement of extinction learning is feasible in humans using cannabinoid system modulators, which may thus warrant further development and clinical testing. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Cognitive Enhancers'. PMID:22796109

  15. Sleep Promotes Generalization of Extinction of Conditioned Fear

    PubMed Central

    Pace-Schott, Edward F.; Milad, Mohammed R.; Orr, Scott P.; Rauch, Scott L.; Stickgold, Robert; Pitman, Roger K.

    2009-01-01

    Study Objective: To examine the effects of sleep on fear conditioning, extinction, extinction recall, and generalization of extinction recall in healthy humans. Design: During the Conditioning phase, a mild, 0.5-sec shock followed conditioned stimuli (CS+s), which consisted of 2 differently colored lamps. A third lamp color was interspersed but never reinforced (CS-). Immediately after Conditioning, one CS+ was extinguished (CS+E) by presentation without shocks (Extinction phase). The other CS+ went unextinguished (CS+U). Twelve hours later, following continuous normal daytime waking (Wake group, N = 27) or an equal interval containing a normal night's sleep (Sleep group, N = 26), conditioned responses (CRs) to all CSs were measured (Extinction Recall phase). It was hypothesized that the Sleep versus Wake group would show greater extinction recall and/or generalization of extinction recall from the CS+E to the CS+U. Setting: Academic medical center. Subjects: Paid normal volunteers. Measurements and Results: Square-root transformed skin conductance response (SCR) measured conditioned responding. During Extinction Recall, the Group (Wake or Sleep) × CS+ Type (CS+E or CS+U) interaction was significant (P = 0.04). SCRs to the CS+E did not differ between groups, whereas SCRs to the CS+U were significantly smaller in the Sleep group. Additionally, SCRs were significantly larger to the CS+U than CS+E in the Wake but not the Sleep group. Conclusions: After sleep, extinction memory generalized from an extinguished conditioned stimulus to a similarly conditioned but unextinguished stimulus. Clinically, adequate sleep may promote generalization of extinction memory from specific stimuli treated during exposure therapy to similar stimuli later encountered in vivo. Citation: Pace-Schott EF; Milad MR; Orr SP; Rauch SL; Stickgold R; Pitman RK. Sleep promotes generalization of extinction of conditioned fear. SLEEP 2009;32(1):19-26. PMID:19189775

  16. The Role of the Medial Prefrontal Cortex in the Conditioning and Extinction of Fear

    PubMed Central

    Giustino, Thomas F.; Maren, Stephen

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26617500

  17. The Role of the Medial Prefrontal Cortex in the Conditioning and Extinction of Fear.

    PubMed

    Giustino, Thomas F; Maren, Stephen

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26617500

  18. Controlled cortical impact before or after fear conditioning does not affect fear extinction in mice.

    PubMed

    Sierra-Mercado, Demetrio; McAllister, Lauren M; Lee, Christopher C H; Milad, Mohammed R; Eskandar, Emad N; Whalen, Michael J

    2015-05-01

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized in part by impaired extinction of conditioned fear. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is thought to be a risk factor for development of PTSD. We tested the hypothesis that controlled cortical impact (CCI) would impair extinction of fear learned by Pavlovian conditioning, in mice. To mimic the scenarios in which TBI occurs prior to or after exposure to an aversive event, severe CCI was delivered to the left parietal cortex at one of two time points: (1) Prior to fear conditioning, or (2) after conditioning. Delay auditory conditioning was achieved by pairing a tone with a foot shock in "context A". Extinction training involved the presentation of tones in a different context (context B) in the absence of foot shock. Test for extinction memory was achieved by presentation of additional tones alone in context B over the following two days. In pre- or post-injury paradigms, CCI did not influence fear learning and extinction. Furthermore, CCI did not affect locomotor activity or elevated plus maze testing. Our results demonstrate that, within the time frame studied, CCI does not impair the acquisition and expression of conditioned fear or extinction memory. PMID:25721797

  19. Controlled cortical impact before or after fear conditioning does not affect fear extinction in mice

    PubMed Central

    Sierra-Mercado, Demetrio; McAllister, Lauren M.; Lee, Christopher C.H.; Milad, Mohammed R.; Eskandar, Emad N.; Whalen, Michael J.

    2015-01-01

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized in part by impaired extinction of conditioned fear. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is thought to be a risk factor for development of PTSD. We tested the hypothesis that controlled cortical impact (CCI) would impair extinction of fear learned by Pavlovian conditioning, in mice. To mimic the scenarios in which TBI occurs prior to or after exposure to an aversive event, severe CCI was delivered to the left parietal cortex at one of two time points: (1) Prior to fear conditioning, or (2) after conditioning. Delay auditory conditioning was achieved by pairing a tone with a foot shock in “context A”. Extinction training involved the presentation of tones in a different context (context B) in the absence of foot shock. Test for extinction memory was achieved by presentation of additional tones alone in context B over the following two days. In pre- or post-injury paradigms, CCI did not influence fear learning and extinction. Furthermore, CCI did not affect locomotor activity or elevated plus maze testing. Our results demonstrate that, within the time frame studied, CCI does not impair the acquisition and expression of conditioned fear or extinction memory. PMID:25721797

  20. Sex differences in conditioned stimulus discrimination during context-dependent fear learning and its retrieval in humans: the role of biological sex, contraceptives and menstrual cycle phases

    PubMed Central

    Lonsdorf, Tina B.; Haaker, Jan; Schümann, Dirk; Sommer, Tobias; Bayer, Janine; Brassen, Stefanie; Bunzeck, Nico; Gamer, Matthias; Kalisch, Raffael

    2015-01-01

    Background 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. Methods 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. Results 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. Limitations 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. Conclusion 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. PMID:26107163

  1. Passive Avoidance Is Linked to Impaired Fear Extinction in Humans

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cornwell, Brian R.; Overstreet, Cassie; Krimsky, Marissa; Grillon, Christian

    2013-01-01

    Conventional wisdom dictates we must face our fears to conquer them. This idea is embodied in exposure-based treatments for anxiety disorders, where the intent of exposure is to reverse a history of avoidant behavior that is thought to fuel a patient's irrational fears. We tested in humans the relationship between fear and avoidance by combining…

  2. Psychopaths Show Enhanced Amygdala Activation during Fear Conditioning

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by emotional deficits and a failure to inhibit impulsive behavior and is often subdivided into “primary” and “secondary” psychopathic subtypes. The maladaptive behavior related to primary psychopathy is thought to reflect constitutional “fearlessness,” while the problematic behavior related to secondary psychopathy is motivated by other factors. The fearlessness observed in psychopathy has often been interpreted as reflecting a fundamental 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. PMID:27014154

  3. Adrenal-dependent diurnal modulation of conditioned fear extinction learning

    PubMed Central

    Woodruff, Elizabeth R.; Greenwood, Benjamin N.; Chun, Lauren E.; Fardi, Sara; Hinds, Laura R.; Spencer, Robert L.

    2015-01-01

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is associated with altered conditioned fear extinction expression and impaired circadian function including dysregulation of glucocorticoid hormone secretion. We examined in adult male rats the relationship between conditioned fear extinction learning, circadian phase, and endogenous glucocorticoids (CORT). Rats maintained on a 12 hr light:dark cycle were trained and tested across 3 separate daily sessions (conditioned fear acquisition and 2 extinction sessions) that were administered during either the rats’ active or inactive circadian phase. In an initial experiment we found that rats at both circadian phases acquired and extinguished auditory cue conditioned fear to a similar degree in the first extinction session. However, rats trained and tested at zeitgeber time-16 (ZT16) (active phase) showed enhanced extinction memory expression during the second extinction session compared to rats trained and tested at ZT4 (inactive phase). In a follow-up experiment, adrenalectomized (ADX) or sham surgery rats were similarly trained and tested across 3 separate daily sessions at either ZT4 or ZT16. ADX had no effect on conditioned fear acquisition or conditioned fear memory. Sham ADX rats trained and tested at ZT16 exhibited better extinction learning across the two extinction sessions compared to all other groups of rats. These results indicate that conditioned fear extinction learning is modulated by time of day, and this diurnal modulation requires the presence of adrenal hormones. These results support an important role of CORT-dependent circadian processes in regulating conditioned fear extinction learning, which may be capitalized upon to optimize effective treatment of PTSD. PMID:25746455

  4. Noradrenergic Blockade of Memory Reconsolidation: A Failure to Reduce Conditioned Fear Responding

    PubMed Central

    Bos, Marieke Geerte Nynke; Beckers, Tom; Kindt, Merel

    2014-01-01

    Upon recall, a memory can enter a labile state in which it requires new protein synthesis to restabilize. This two-phased reconsolidation process raises the prospect to directly target excessive fear memory as opposed to the formation of inhibitory memory following extinction training. In our previous studies, we convincingly demonstrated that 40 mg propranolol HCl administration before or after memory reactivation eliminated the emotional expression of fear memory indexed by the fear potentiated startle reflex. To apply this procedure in clinical practice it is important to understand the optimal and boundary conditions of this procedure. As part of a large project aimed at unraveling putative boundary conditions of disrupting reconsolidation of associative fear memory with propranolol HCl, we again tested our memory reconsolidation procedure. Participants (N = 44) underwent a three-day differential fear conditioning procedure. Twenty-four hours after fear acquisition, participants received 40 mg propranolol HCl prior to memory reactivation. The next day, participants were subjected to extinction training and reinstatement testing. In sharp contrast to our previous findings, propranolol HCl before memory reactivation did not attenuate the startle fear response. Remarkably, the startle fear response even persisted during extinction training and did not show the usually observed gradual decline in conditioned physiological responding (startle potentiation and skin conductance) upon repeated unreinforced trials. We discuss these unexpected findings and propose some potential explanations. It remains, however, unclear why we observed a resistance to reduce conditioned fear responding by either disrupting reconsolidation or extinction training. The present results underscore that the success of human fear conditioning research may depend on subtle manipulations and instructions. PMID:25506319

  5. Social buffering ameliorates conditioned fear responses in female rats.

    PubMed

    Ishii, Akiko; Kiyokawa, Yasushi; Takeuchi, Yukari; Mori, Yuji

    2016-05-01

    The stress experienced by an animal is ameliorated when the animal is exposed to distressing stimuli along with a conspecific animal(s). This is known as social buffering. Previously, we found that the presence of an unfamiliar male rat induced social buffering and ameliorated conditioned fear responses of a male rat subjected to an auditory conditioned stimulus (CS). However, because our knowledge of social buffering is highly biased towards findings in male subjects, analyses using female subjects are crucial for comprehensively understanding the social buffering phenomenon. In the present studies, we assessed social buffering of conditioned fear responses in female rats. We found that the estrus cycle did not affect the intensity of the rats' fear responses to the CS or their degree of vigilance due to the presence of a conspecific animal. Based on these findings, we then assessed whether social buffering ameliorated conditioned fear responses in female rats without taking into account their estrus cycles. When fear conditioned female rats were exposed to the CS without the presence of a conspecific, they exhibited behavioral responses, including freezing, and elevated corticosterone levels. By contrast, the presence of an unfamiliar female rat suppressed these responses. Based on these findings, we conclude that social buffering can ameliorate conditioned fear responses in female rats. PMID:27060333

  6. Failure to extinguish fear and genetic variability in the human cannabinoid receptor 1.

    PubMed

    Heitland, I; Klumpers, F; Oosting, R S; Evers, D J J; Leon Kenemans, J; Baas, J M P

    2012-01-01

    Failure to extinguish fear can lead to persevering anxiety and has been postulated as an important mechanism in the pathogenesis of human anxiety disorders. In animals, it is well documented that the endogenous cannabinoid system has a pivotal role in the successful extinction of fear, most importantly through the cannabinoid receptor 1. However, no human studies have reported a translation of this preclinical evidence yet. Healthy medication-free human subjects (N=150) underwent a fear conditioning and extinction procedure in a virtual reality environment. Fear potentiation of the eyeblink startle reflex was measured to assess fear-conditioned responding, and subjective fear ratings were collected. Participants were genotyped for two polymorphisms located within the promoter region (rs2180619) and the coding region (rs1049353) of cannabinoid receptor 1. As predicted from the preclinical literature, acquisition and expression of conditioned fear did not differ between genotypes. Crucially, whereas both homozygote (G/G, N=23) and heterozygote (A/G, N=68) G-allele carriers of rs2180619 displayed robust extinction of fear, extinction of fear-potentiated startle was absent in A/A homozygotes (N=51). Additionally, this resistance to extinguish fear left A/A carriers of rs2180619 with significantly higher levels of fear-potentiated startle at the end of the extinction training. No effects of rs1049353 genotype were observed regarding fear acquisition and extinction. These results suggest for the first time involvement of the human endocannabinoid system in fear extinction. Implications are that genetic variability in this system may underlie individual differences in anxiety, rendering cannabinoid receptor 1 a potential target for novel pharmacological treatments of anxiety disorders. PMID:23010766

  7. Extract of Ginkgo biloba EGb 761 facilitates fear conditioning measured by fear-potentiated startle.

    PubMed

    Yang, Yi-Ling; Su, Ya-Wen; Ng, Ming-Chong; Chang, Chai-Lun; Lu, Kwok-Tung

    Extract of Ginkgo biloba EGb 761 has been used in the treatment of various common geriatric complaints including vertigo, short-term memory loss, hearing loss, lack of attention, vigilance and cerebral vascular disorder. Recent results suggest that it can serve as a cognitive enhancer and anti-stress buffer. It raises a possibility that EGb 761 may be involved in the fear conditioning. In this study, we used fear-potentiated startle (FPS) to evaluate the possible effects of EGb 761 on the acquisition stage of fear conditioning. Our results showed that administration of EGb 761 30 min prior to the conditioning facilitated acquisition of conditioned fear in a dose dependent manner. No significant differences had been observed in either basal startle response or shock activity. These results indicated that the facilitation effect of EGb 761 was not the result of impaired basal startle response or enhanced pain perception. Subsequent control experiment results indicated that the facilitation effect of EGb 761 on the acquisition was not due to anxiogenic effect or non-specific effect. Our data present the first evidence that EGb 761 can enhance fear memory formation rather than serve as an anti-stress buffer. PMID:15936528

  8. The influence of acute stress on the regulation of conditioned fear

    PubMed Central

    Raio, Candace M.; Phelps, Elizabeth A.

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:25530986

  9. Sound tuning of amygdala plasticity in auditory fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Park, Sungmo; Lee, Junuk; Park, Kyungjoon; Kim, Jeongyeon; Song, Beomjong; Hong, Ingie; Kim, Jieun; Lee, Sukwon; Choi, Sukwoo

    2016-01-01

    Various auditory tones have been used as conditioned stimuli (CS) for fear conditioning, but researchers have largely neglected the effect that different types of auditory tones may have on fear memory processing. Here, we report that at lateral amygdala (LA) synapses (a storage site for fear memory), conditioning with different types of auditory CSs (2.8 kHz tone, white noise, FM tone) recruits distinct forms of long-term potentiation (LTP) and inserts calcium permeable AMPA receptor (CP-AMPAR) for variable periods. White noise or FM tone conditioning produced brief insertion (<6 hr after conditioning) of CP-AMPARs, whereas 2.8 kHz tone conditioning induced more persistent insertion (≥6 hr). Consistently, conditioned fear to 2.8 kHz tone but not to white noise or FM tones was erased by reconsolidation-update (which depends on the insertion of CP-AMPARs at LA synapses) when it was performed 6 hr after conditioning. Our data suggest that conditioning with different auditory CSs recruits distinct forms of LA synaptic plasticity, resulting in more malleable fear memory to some tones than to others. PMID:27488731

  10. Sound tuning of amygdala plasticity in auditory fear conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Park, Sungmo; Lee, Junuk; Park, Kyungjoon; Kim, Jeongyeon; Song, Beomjong; Hong, Ingie; Kim, Jieun; Lee, Sukwon; Choi, Sukwoo

    2016-01-01

    Various auditory tones have been used as conditioned stimuli (CS) for fear conditioning, but researchers have largely neglected the effect that different types of auditory tones may have on fear memory processing. Here, we report that at lateral amygdala (LA) synapses (a storage site for fear memory), conditioning with different types of auditory CSs (2.8 kHz tone, white noise, FM tone) recruits distinct forms of long-term potentiation (LTP) and inserts calcium permeable AMPA receptor (CP-AMPAR) for variable periods. White noise or FM tone conditioning produced brief insertion (<6 hr after conditioning) of CP-AMPARs, whereas 2.8 kHz tone conditioning induced more persistent insertion (≥6 hr). Consistently, conditioned fear to 2.8 kHz tone but not to white noise or FM tones was erased by reconsolidation-update (which depends on the insertion of CP-AMPARs at LA synapses) when it was performed 6 hr after conditioning. Our data suggest that conditioning with different auditory CSs recruits distinct forms of LA synaptic plasticity, resulting in more malleable fear memory to some tones than to others. PMID:27488731

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2016-01-01

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

  12. Incubation of conditioned fear in the conditioned suppression model in rats: role of food-restriction conditions, length of conditioned stimulus, and generality to conditioned freezing

    PubMed Central

    Pickens, Charles L.; Navarre, Brittany M.; Nair, Sunila G.

    2010-01-01

    We recently adapted the conditioned suppression of operant responding method to study fear incubation. We found that food-restricted rats show low fear 2 days after extended (10 d; 100 30-sec tone-shock pairings) fear training and high fear after 1–2 months. Here, we studied a potential mechanism of fear incubation: extended food-restriction stress. We also studied whether fear incubation is observed after fear training with a prolonged-duration (6-min) tone conditioned stimulus (CS), and whether conditioned freezing incubates after extended training in rats with or without a concurrent operant task. Conditioned fear was assessed 2 days and 1 month after training. In the conditioned suppression method, fear incubation was reliably observed in rats under moderate food-restriction conditions (18–20 g food/day) that allowed for weight gain, and after extended (10 d), but not limited (1 d), fear training with the 6-min CS. Incubation of conditioned freezing was observed after extended fear training in rats lever-pressing for food and, to a lesser degree, in rats not performing an operant task. Results indicate that prolonged hunger-related stress does not account for fear incubation in the conditioned suppression method, and that fear incubation occurs to a longer-duration (6-min) fear CS. Extended training also leads to robust fear incubation of conditioned freezing in rats performing an operant task and weaker fear incubation in rats not performing an operant task. PMID:20600654

  13. Updating versus Exposure to Prevent Consolidation of Conditioned Fear

    PubMed Central

    Pile, Victoria; Barnhofer, Thorsten; Wild, Jennifer

    2015-01-01

    Targeting the consolidation of fear memories following trauma may offer a promising method for preventing the development of flashbacks and other unwanted re-experiencing symptoms that characterise Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Research has demonstrated that performing visuo-spatial tasks after analogue trauma can block the consolidation of fear memory and reduce the frequency of flashbacks. However, no research has yet used verbal techniques to alter memories during the consolidation window. This is surprising given that the most effective treatments for PTSD are verbally-based with exposure therapy and trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy gaining the most evidence of efficacy. Psychological therapies aim to reduce the conditioned fear response, which is in keeping with the preliminary finding that an increased propensity for fear conditioning may be a vulnerability factor for PTSD. Our research had two aims. We investigated the degree to which individual differences in fear conditioning predict the development of PTSD symptoms. We also compared the preventative effects of two clinically informed psychological techniques administered during the consolidation window: exposure to the trauma memory and updating the meaning of the trauma. 115 healthy participants underwent a fear conditioning paradigm in which traumatic film stimuli (unconditioned stimuli) were paired with neutral stimuli (conditioned stimuli). Participants were randomly allocated to an updating, exposure or control group to compare the effects on the conditioned fear response and on PTSD symptomatology. The results showed that stronger conditioned responses at acquisition significantly predicted the development of PTSD symptoms. The updating group, who verbally devalued the unconditioned stimulus within the consolidation window, experienced significantly lower levels of PTSD symptoms during follow-up than the exposure and control groups. These findings are consistent with clinical

  14. Characterization of fear conditioning and fear extinction by analysis of electrodermal activity.

    PubMed

    Faghih, Rose T; Stokes, Patrick A; Marin, Marie-France; Zsido, Rachel G; Zorowitz, Sam; Rosenbaum, Blake L; Huijin Song; Milad, Mohammed R; Dougherty, Darin D; Eskandar, Emad N; Widge, Alik S; Brown, Emery N; Barbieri, Riccardo

    2015-08-01

    Electrodermal activity (EDA) is a measure of physical arousal, which is frequently measured during psychophysical tasks relevant for anxiety disorders. Recently, specific protocols and procedures have been devised in order to examine the neural mechanisms of fear conditioning and extinction. EDA reflects important responses associated with stimuli specifically administrated during these procedures. Although several previous studies have demonstrated the reproducibility of measures estimated from EDA, a mathematical framework associated with the stimulus-response experiments in question and, at the same time, including the underlying emotional state of the subject during fear conditioning and/or extinction experiments is not well studied. We here propose an ordinary differential equation model based on sudomotor nerve activity, and estimate the fear eliciting stimulus using a compressed sensing algorithm. Our results show that we are able to recover the underlying stimulus (visual cue or mild electrical shock). Moreover, relating the time-delay in the estimated stimulation to the visual cue during extinction period shows that fear level decreases as visual cues are presented without shock, suggesting that this feature might be used to estimate the fear state. These findings indicate that a mathematical model based on electrodermal responses might be critical in defining a low-dimensional representation of essential cognitive features in order to describe dynamic behavioral states. PMID:26738104

  15. Prediction of "Fear" Acquisition in Healthy Control Participants in a De Novo Fear Conditioning Paradigm

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Otto, Michael W.; Leyro, Teresa M.; Christian, Kelly; Deveney, Christen M.; Reese, Hannah; Pollack, Mark H.; Orr, Scott P.

    2007-01-01

    Studies using fear-conditioning paradigms have found that anxiety patients are more conditionable than individuals without these disorders, but these effects have been demonstrated inconsistently. It is unclear whether these findings have etiological significance or whether enhanced conditionability is linked only to certain anxiety…

  16. Topiramate diminishes fear memory consolidation and extinguishes conditioned fear in rats

    PubMed Central

    do Prado-Lima, Pedro Antônio Schmidt; Perrenoud, Myriam Fortes; Kristensen, Christian Haag; Cammarota, Martin; Izquierdo, Ivan

    2011-01-01

    Background Topiramate has been recognized as a drug that can induce memory and cognitive impairment. Using the one-trial inhibitory avoidance task, we sought to verify the effect of topiramate on consolidation and extinction of aversive memory. Our hypothesis was that topiramate inhibits the consolidation and enhances the extinction of this fear memory. Methods In experiment 1, which occured immediately or 3 hours after training, topiramate was administered to rats, and consolidation of memory was verified 18 days after the conditioning session. In experiment 2, which occured 18–22 days after the training session, rats were submitted to the extinction protocol. Rats received topiramate 14 days before or during the extinction protocol. Results Topiramate blocked fear memory retention (p < 0.01) and enhanced fear memory extinction (p < 0.001) only when administered during the extinction protocol. Limitations This experimental design did not allow us to determine whether topiramate also blocked the reconsolidation of fear memory. Conclusion Topiramate diminishes fear memory consolidation and promotes extinction of inhibitory avoidance memory. PMID:21392483

  17. Reprint of: "Demographic factors predict magnitude of conditioned fear".

    PubMed

    Rosenbaum, Blake L; Bui, Eric; Marin, Marie-France; Holt, Daphne J; Lasko, Natasha B; Pitman, Roger K; Orr, Scott P; Milad, Mohammed R

    2015-12-01

    There is substantial variability across individuals in the magnitudes of their skin conductance (SC) responses during the acquisition and extinction of conditioned fear. To manage this variability, subjects may be matched for demographic variables, such as age, gender and education. However, limited data exist addressing how much variability in conditioned SC responses is actually explained by these variables. The present study assessed the influence of age, gender and education on the SC responses of 222 subjects who underwent the same differential conditioning paradigm. The demographic variables were found to predict a small but significant amount of variability in conditioned responding during fear acquisition, but not fear extinction learning or extinction recall. A larger differential change in SC during acquisition was associated with more education. Older participants and women showed smaller differential SC during acquisition. Our findings support the need to consider age, gender and education when studying fear acquisition but not necessarily when examining fear extinction learning and recall. Variability in demographic factors across studies may partially explain the difficulty in reproducing some SC findings. PMID:26608179

  18. The human amygdala and the induction and experience of fear

    PubMed Central

    Feinstein, Justin S.; Adolphs, Ralph; Damasio, Antonio R.; Tranel, Daniel

    2010-01-01

    Summary Although clinical observations suggest that humans with amygdala damage have abnormal fear reactions and a reduced experience of fear [1–3], these impressions have not been systematically investigated. To address this gap, we conducted a new study in a rare human patient, SM, who has focal bilateral amygdala lesions [4]. To provoke fear in SM, we exposed her to live snakes and spiders, took her on a tour of a haunted house, and showed her emotionally evocative films. On no occasion did SM exhibit fear and she never endorsed feeling more than minimal levels of fear. Likewise, across a large battery of self-report questionnaires, three months of real-life experience sampling, and a life history replete with traumatic events, SM repeatedly demonstrated an absence of overt fear manifestations and an overall impoverished experience of fear. Despite her lack of fear, SM is able to exhibit other basic emotions and experience the respective feelings. The findings support the conclusion that the human amygdala plays a pivotal role in triggering a state of fear, and that the absence of such a state precludes the experience of fear itself. PMID:21167712

  19. Sex Differences in Response to an Observational Fear Conditioning Procedure

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kelly, Megan M.; Forsyth, John P.

    2007-01-01

    The present study evaluated sex differences in observational fear conditioning using modeled ''mock'' panic attacks as an unconditioned stimulus (UCS). Fifty-nine carefully prescreened healthy undergraduate participants (30 women) underwent 3 consecutive differential conditioning phases: habituation, acquisition, and extinction. It was expected…

  20. Adrenergic Transmission Facilitates Extinction of Conditional Fear in Mice

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Barad, Mark; Cain, Christopher K.; Blouin, Ashley M.

    2004-01-01

    Extinction of classically conditioned fear, like its acquisition, is active learning, but little is known about its molecular mechanisms. We recently reported that temporal massing of conditional stimulus (CS) presentations improves extinction memory acquisition, and suggested that temporal spacing was less effective because individual CS…

  1. Glucocorticoids reduce phobic fear in humans

    PubMed Central

    Soravia, Leila M.; Heinrichs, Markus; Aerni, Amanda; Maroni, Caroline; Schelling, Gustav; Ehlert, Ulrike; Roozendaal, Benno; de Quervain, Dominique J.-F.

    2006-01-01

    Phobias are characterized by excessive fear, cued by the presence or anticipation of a fearful situation. Whereas it is well established that glucocorticoids are released in fearful situations, it is not known whether these hormones, in turn, modulate perceived fear. As extensive evidence indicates that elevated glucocorticoid levels impair the retrieval of emotionally arousing information, they might also inhibit retrieval of fear memory associated with phobia and, thereby, reduce phobic fear. Here, we investigated whether acutely administrated glucocorticoids reduced phobic fear in two double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in 40 subjects with social phobia and 20 subjects with spider phobia. In the social phobia study, cortisone (25 mg) administered orally 1 h before a socio-evaluative stressor significantly reduced self-reported fear during the anticipation, exposure, and recovery phase of the stressor. Moreover, the stress-induced release of cortisol in placebo-treated subjects correlated negatively with fear ratings, suggesting that endogenously released cortisol in the context of a phobic situation buffers fear symptoms. In the spider phobia study, repeated oral administration of cortisol (10 mg), but not placebo, 1 h before exposure to a spider photograph induced a progressive reduction of stimulus-induced fear. This effect was maintained when subjects were exposed to the stimulus again 2 days after the last cortisol administration, suggesting that cortisol may also have facilitated the extinction of phobic fear. Cortisol treatment did not reduce general, phobia-unrelated anxiety. In conclusion, the present findings in two distinct types of phobias indicate that glucocorticoid administration reduces phobic fear. PMID:16567641

  2. Post-weaning Social Isolation Impairs Observational Fear Conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Yusufishaq, Shabana; Rosenkranz, J. Amiel

    2013-01-01

    Many mammals can utilize social information to learn by observation of conspecifics (social learning). Social learning of fear is expected to be especially advantageous for survival. However, disruption of social development in early life can impair social cognition and might also be expected to disrupt social learning. Social isolation during a critical period of adolescence disrupts social development. The purpose of this study was to determine whether disruption of social development through post-weaning social isolation leads to impairments of social fear learning. Rats were reared in isolation or pair-housed from immediately post-weaning, for 3 weeks. Social fear learning in rats was acquired by observation of tone-footshock pairings administered to a conspecific. Isolation-reared rats displayed less conditioned freezing than pair-housed rats when tested the next day. This reduction of conditioned freezing was correlated with conspecific-oriented behaviors during conditioning, was measured despite similarities in demonstrator behaviors, and occurred despite a manipulation that equalized freezing during conditioning between the pair-housed and isolation-reared rats. The results could not be explained by abnormal sensitization to a repeated tone or deficits in freezing or direct fear conditioning. These results demonstrate that observational fear conditioning is impaired by social isolation, and provide a model to study impaired social affective learning. Impaired social cognition, manifested as inability to recognize or appropriately interpret social cues, is a symptom of several psychiatric disorders. Better understanding of the mechanisms of impaired social fear learning can lead to novel treatments for social cognition symptoms of psychiatric disorders. PMID:23295398

  3. Disrupting Reconsolidation of Fear Memory in Humans by a Noradrenergic β-Blocker

    PubMed Central

    Kindt, Merel; Soeter, Marieke; Sevenster, Dieuwke

    2014-01-01

    The basic design used in our human fear-conditioning studies on disrupting reconsolidation includes testing over different phases across three consecutive days. On day 1 - the fear acquisition phase, healthy participants are exposed to a series of picture presentations. One picture stimulus (CS1+) is repeatedly paired with an aversive electric stimulus (US), resulting in the acquisition of a fear association, whereas another picture stimulus (CS2-) is never followed by an US. On day 2 - the memory reactivation phase, the participants are re-exposed to the conditioned stimulus without the US (CS1-), which typically triggers a conditioned fear response. After the memory reactivation we administer an oral dose of 40 mg of propranolol HCl, a β-adrenergic receptor antagonist that indirectly targets the protein synthesis required for reconsolidation by inhibiting the noradrenaline-stimulated CREB phosphorylation. On day 3 - the test phase, the participants are again exposed to the unreinforced conditioned stimuli (CS1- and CS2-) in order to measure the fear-reducing effect of the manipulation. This retention test is followed by an extinction procedure and the presentation of situational triggers to test for the return of fear. Potentiation of the eye blink startle reflex is measured as an index for conditioned fear responding. Declarative knowledge of the fear association is measured through online US expectancy ratings during each CS presentation. In contrast to extinction learning, disrupting reconsolidation targets the original fear memory thereby preventing the return of fear. Although the clinical applications are still in their infancy, disrupting reconsolidation of fear memory seems to be a promising new technique with the prospect to persistently dampen the expression of fear memory in patients suffering from anxiety disorders and other psychiatric disorders. PMID:25549103

  4. Fear conditioning induced by interpersonal conflicts in healthy individuals.

    PubMed

    Tada, Mitsuhiro; Uchida, Hiroyuki; Maeda, Takaki; Konishi, Mika; Umeda, Satoshi; Terasawa, Yuri; Nakajima, Shinichiro; Mimura, Masaru; Miyazaki, Tomoyuki; Takahashi, Takuya

    2015-01-01

    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

  5. Neurobehavioral mechanisms of human fear generalization

    PubMed Central

    Dunsmoor, Joseph E.; Prince, Steven E.; Murty, Vishnu P.; Kragel, Philip A.; LaBar, Kevin S.

    2011-01-01

    While much research has elucidated the neurobiology of fear learning, the neural systems supporting the generalization of learned fear are unknown. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we show that regions involved in the acquisition of fear support the generalization of fear to stimuli that are similar to a learned threat, but vary in fear intensity value. Behaviorally, subjects retrospectively misidentified a learned threat as a more intense stimulus and expressed greater skin conductance responses (SCR) to generalized stimuli of high intensity. Brain activity related to intensity-based fear generalization was observed in the striatum, insula, thalamus/periacqueductal gray, and subgenual cingulate cortex. The psychophysiological expression of generalized fear correlated with amygdala activity, and connectivity between the amygdala and extrastriate visual cortex was correlated with individual differences in trait anxiety. These findings reveal the brain regions and functional networks involved in flexibly responding to stimuli that resemble a learned threat. These regions may comprise an intensity-based fear generalization circuit that underlies retrospective biases in threat value estimation and overgeneralization of fear in anxiety disorders. PMID:21256233

  6. Ventromedial prefrontal cortex activity and rapid eye movement sleep are associated with subsequent fear expression in human subjects.

    PubMed

    Spoormaker, V I; Gvozdanovic, G A; Sämann, P G; Czisch, M

    2014-05-01

    In humans, activity patterns in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) have been found to be predictive of subsequent fear memory consolidation. Pioneering work in rodents has further shown that vmPFC-amygdala theta synchronization is correlated with fear memory consolidation. We aimed to evaluate whether vmPFC activity during fear conditioning is (1) correlated with fear expression the subsequent day and whether (2) this relationship is mediated by rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. We analyzed data from 17 young healthy subjects undergoing a fear conditioning task, followed by a fear extinction task 24 h later, both recorded with simultaneous skin conductance response (SCR) and functional magnetic resonance imaging measurements, with a polysomnographically recorded night sleep in between. Our results showed a correlation between vmPFC activity during fear conditioning and subsequent REM sleep amount, as well as between REM sleep amount and SCR to the conditioned stimulus 24 h later. Moreover, we observed a significant correlation between vmPFC activity during fear conditioning and SCR responses during extinction, which was no longer significant after controlling for REM sleep amount. vmPFC activity during fear conditioning was further correlated with sleep latency. Interestingly, hippocampus activity during fear conditioning was correlated with stage 2 and stage 4 sleep amount. Our results provide preliminary evidence that the relationship between REM sleep and fear conditioning and extinction observed in rodents can be modeled in healthy human subjects, highlighting an interrelated set of potentially relevant trait markers. PMID:24452776

  7. Delayed extinction fails to reduce skin conductance reactivity to fear-conditioned stimuli.

    PubMed

    Fricchione, Jon; Greenberg, Mark S; Spring, Justin; Wood, Nellie; Mueller-Pfeiffer, Christoph; Milad, Mohammed R; Pitman, Roger K; Orr, Scott P

    2016-09-01

    A brief 10-min time delay between an initial and subsequent exposure to extinction trials has been found to impair memory reconsolidation in fear-conditioned rodents and humans, providing a potential means to reduce fearfulness in anxiety disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The present study used videos of biologically prepared, conditioned stimuli (tarantulas) to test the efficacy of delayed extinction in blocking reconsolidation of conditioned fear in healthy young adults. Strong differential conditioning, measured by skin conductance, was observed among a screened subset of participants during acquisition. However, the delayed-extinction intervention failed to reduce reactivity to the conditioned stimulus paired with the extinction delay. These results are partially consistent with other recent, mixed findings and point to a need for testing other candidate interventions designed to interfere with the reconsolidation process. PMID:27314560

  8. Prereactivation propranolol fails to reduce skin conductance reactivity to prepared fear-conditioned stimuli.

    PubMed

    Spring, Justin D; Wood, Nellie E; Mueller-Pfeiffer, Christoph; Milad, Mohammed R; Pitman, Roger K; Orr, Scott P

    2015-03-01

    Pharmacologic blockade of memory reconsolidation has been demonstrated in fear-conditioned rodents and humans and may provide a means to reduce fearfulness in anxiety disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder. Studying the efficacy of potential interventions in clinical populations is challenging, creating a need for paradigms within which candidate reconsolidation-blocking interventions can be readily tested. We used videos of biologically prepared conditioned stimuli (tarantulas) to test the efficacy of propranolol in blocking reconsolidation of conditioned fear in healthy young adults. Strong differential conditioning, measured by skin conductance, was observed among a screened subset of participants during acquisition. However, subsequent propranolol failed to reduce reactivity to the reactivated conditioned stimulus. These results are consistent with other recent findings and point to a need for testing other candidate drugs. PMID:25224026

  9. Yale University's Institute of Human Relations and the Spanish Civil War: Dollard and Miller's study of fear and courage under battle conditions.

    PubMed

    Gondra, José María; Sánchez de Miguel, Manuel

    2009-11-01

    In the late 1930s, the Institute of Human Relations of Yale University developed a research program on conflict and anxiety as an outcome of Clark Hull's informal seminar on the integration of Freud's and Pavlov's theories. The program was launched at the 1937 Annual Meeting of the APA in a session chaired by Clark L. Hull, and the experiments continued through 1941, when the United States entered the Second World War. In an effort to apply the findings from animal experiments to the war situation, John Dollard and Neal E. Miller decided to study soldiers' fear reactions in combat. As a first step, they arranged interviews with a few veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Taking these interviews as a point of departure, Dollard devised a questionnaire to which 300 former Lincoln brigaders responded. The present paper analyzes the main outcomes of the questionnaire, together with the war experiences reported in the interview transcripts. Our purpose was to evaluate a project which was initially investigated by the FBI because of the communists among the Lincoln ranks, but eventually supported by the American Army, and which exerted great influence on the military psychology of the time. PMID:19899642

  10. Eye Movements Index Implicit Memory Expression in Fear Conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Hopkins, Lauren S.; Schultz, Douglas H.; Hannula, Deborah E.; Helmstetter, Fred J.

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26562298

  11. Eye Movements Index Implicit Memory Expression in Fear Conditioning.

    PubMed

    Hopkins, Lauren S; Schultz, Douglas H; Hannula, Deborah E; Helmstetter, Fred J

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26562298

  12. Ethnic Differences in Physiological Responses to Fear Conditioned Stimuli

    PubMed Central

    Martínez, Karen G.; Franco-Chaves, José A.; Milad, Mohammed R.; Quirk, Gregory J.

    2014-01-01

    The idea that emotional expression varies with ethnicity is based largely on questionnaires and behavioral observations rather than physiological measures. We therefore compared the skin conductance responses (SCR) of Hispanic (Puerto Rican) and White non-Hispanic subjects in a fear conditioning and fear extinction task. Subjects were recruited from two sites: San Juan, Puerto Rico (PR), and Boston, Massachusetts (MA), using identical methods. A total of 78 healthy subjects (39 from PR, 39 from MA) were divided by sex and matched for age and educational level. Females from the two sites did not differ in their SCRs during any experimental phase of fear conditioning (habituation, conditioning, or extinction). In contrast, PR males responded significantly to the conditioned stimulus than MA males or PR females. Subtracting ethnic differences observed during the habituation phase (prior to conditioning) eliminated differences from subsequent phases, suggesting that PR males are elevated in their response to novelty rather than fear learning. Our findings suggest that, in addition to sex differences, there are ethnic differences in physiological responses to novel stimuli at least in males, which could be relevant for the assessment and treatment of anxiety disorders. PMID:25501365

  13. Ethnic differences in physiological responses to fear conditioned stimuli.

    PubMed

    Martínez, Karen G; Franco-Chaves, José A; Milad, Mohammed R; Quirk, Gregory J

    2014-01-01

    The idea that emotional expression varies with ethnicity is based largely on questionnaires and behavioral observations rather than physiological measures. We therefore compared the skin conductance responses (SCR) of Hispanic (Puerto Rican) and White non-Hispanic subjects in a fear conditioning and fear extinction task. Subjects were recruited from two sites: San Juan, Puerto Rico (PR), and Boston, Massachusetts (MA), using identical methods. A total of 78 healthy subjects (39 from PR, 39 from MA) were divided by sex and matched for age and educational level. Females from the two sites did not differ in their SCRs during any experimental phase of fear conditioning (habituation, conditioning, or extinction). In contrast, PR males responded significantly to the conditioned stimulus than MA males or PR females. Subtracting ethnic differences observed during the habituation phase (prior to conditioning) eliminated differences from subsequent phases, suggesting that PR males are elevated in their response to novelty rather than fear learning. Our findings suggest that, in addition to sex differences, there are ethnic differences in physiological responses to novel stimuli at least in males, which could be relevant for the assessment and treatment of anxiety disorders. PMID:25501365

  14. Secondary extinction in Pavlovian fear conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Vurbic, Drina; Bouton, Mark E.

    2011-01-01

    Pavlov (1927/1960) reported that following the conditioning of several stimuli, extinction of one conditioned stimulus (CS) attenuated responding to others that had not undergone direct extinction. However, this secondary extinction effect has not been widely replicated in the contemporary literature. In three conditioned suppression experiments with rats, we further explored the phenomenon. In Experiment 1, we asked whether secondary extinction is more likely to occur with target CSs that have themselves undergone some prior extinction. A robust secondary extinction effect was obtained with a nonextinguished target CS. Experiment 2 showed that extinction of one CS was sufficient to reduce renewal of a second CS when it was tested in a neutral (nonextinction) context. In Experiment 3, secondary extinction was observed in groups that initially received intermixed conditioning trials with the target and nontarget CSs, but not in groups that received conditioning of the two CSs in separate sessions. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that CSs must be associated with a common temporal context during conditioning for secondary extinction to occur. PMID:21286897

  15. The role of Neuropeptide Y in fear conditioning and extinction.

    PubMed

    Tasan, R O; Verma, D; Wood, J; Lach, G; Hörmer, B; de Lima, T C M; Herzog, H; Sperk, G

    2016-02-01

    While anxiety disorders are the brain disorders with the highest prevalence and constitute a major burden for society, a considerable number of affected people are still treated insufficiently. Thus, in an attempt to identify potential new anxiolytic drug targets, neuropeptides have gained considerable attention in recent years. Compared to classical neurotransmitters they often have a regionally restricted distribution and may bind to several distinct receptor subtypes. Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a highly conserved neuropeptide that is specifically concentrated in limbic brain areas and signals via at least 5 different G-protein-coupled receptors. It is involved in a variety of physiological processes including the modulation of emotional-affective behaviors. An anxiolytic and stress-reducing property of NPY is supported by many preclinical studies. Whether NPY may also interact with processing of learned fear and fear extinction is comparatively unknown. However, this has considerable relevance since pathological, inappropriate and generalized fear expression and impaired fear extinction are hallmarks of human post-traumatic stress disorder and a major reason for its treatment-resistance. Recent evidence from different laboratories emphasizes a fear-reducing role of NPY, predominantly mediated by exogenous NPY acting on Y1 receptors. Since a reduction of fear expression was also observed in Y1 receptor knockout mice, other Y receptors may be equally important. By acting on Y2 receptors, NPY promotes fear extinction and generates a long-term suppression of fear, two important preconditions that could support cognitive behavioral therapies in human patients. A similar effect has been demonstrated for the closely related pancreatic polypeptide (PP) when acting on Y4 receptors. Preliminary evidence suggests that NPY modulates fear in particular by activation of Y1 and Y2 receptors in the basolateral and central amygdala, respectively. In the basolateral amygdala, NPY

  16. Prediction of "fear" acquisition in healthy control participants in a de novo fear-conditioning paradigm.

    PubMed

    Otto, Michael W; Leyro, Teresa M; Christian, Kelly; Deveney, Christen M; Reese, Hannah; Pollack, Mark H; Orr, Scott P

    2007-01-01

    Studies using fear-conditioning paradigms have found that anxiety patients are more conditionable than individuals without these disorders, but these effects have been demonstrated inconsistently. It is unclear whether these findings have etiological significance or whether enhanced conditionability is linked only to certain anxiety characteristics. To further examine these issues, the authors assessed the predictive significance of relevant subsyndromal characteristics in 72 healthy adults, including measures of worry, avoidance, anxious mood, depressed mood, and fears of anxiety symptoms (anxiety sensitivity), as well as the dimensions of Neuroticism and Extraversion. Of these variables, the authors found that the combination of higher levels of subsyndromal worry and lower levels of behavioral avoidance predicted heightened conditionability, raising questions about the etiological significance of these variables in the acquisition or maintenance of anxiety disorders. In contrast, the authors found that anxiety sensitivity was more linked to individual differences in orienting response than differences in conditioning per se. PMID:17179530

  17. Effects of inferior olive lesion on fear-conditioned bradycardia

    PubMed Central

    Kotajima, Hiroko; Sakai, Kazuhisa; Hashikawa, Tsutomu

    2014-01-01

    The inferior olive (IO) sends excitatory inputs to the cerebellar cortex and cerebellar nuclei through the climbing fibers. In eyeblink conditioning, a model of motor learning, the inactivation of or a lesion in the IO impairs the acquisition or expression of conditioned eyeblink responses. Additionally, climbing fibers originating from the IO are believed to transmit the unconditioned stimulus to the cerebellum in eyeblink conditioning. Studies using fear-conditioned bradycardia showed that the cerebellum is associated with adaptive control of heart rate. However, the role of inputs from the IO to the cerebellum in fear-conditioned bradycardia has not yet been investigated. To examine this possible role, we tested fear-conditioned bradycardia in mice by selective disruption of the IO using 3-acetylpyridine. In a rotarod test, mice with an IO lesion were unable to remain on the rod. The number of neurons of IO nuclei in these mice was decreased to ∼40% compared with control mice. Mice with an IO lesion did not show changes in the mean heart rate or in heart rate responses to a conditioned stimulus, or in their responses to a painful stimulus in a tail-flick test. However, they did show impairment of the acquisition/expression of conditioned bradycardia and attenuation of heart rate responses to a pain stimulus used as an unconditioned stimulus. These results indicate that the IO inputs to the cerebellum play a key role in the acquisition/expression of conditioned bradycardia. PMID:24784584

  18. Adolescent traumatic stress experience results in less robust conditioned fear and post-extinction fear cue responses in adult rats.

    PubMed

    Moore, Nicole L T; Gauchan, Sangeeta; Genovese, Raymond F

    2014-05-01

    Early exposure to a traumatic event may produce lasting effects throughout the lifespan. Traumatic stress during adolescence may deliver a distinct developmental insult compared with more-often studied neonatal or juvenile traumatic stress paradigms. The present study describes the lasting effects of adolescent traumatic stress upon adulthood fear conditioning. Adolescent rats were exposed to a traumatic stressor (underwater trauma, UWT), then underwent fear conditioning during adulthood. Fear extinction was tested over five conditioned suppression extinction sessions three weeks later. The efficacies of two potential extinction-enhancing compounds, endocannabinoid reuptake inhibitor AM404 (10mg/kg) and M1 muscarinic positive allosteric modulator BQCA (10mg/kg), were also assessed. Finally, post-extinction fear responses were examined using a fear cue (light) as a prepulse stimulus. Rats traumatically stressed during adolescence showed blunted conditioned suppression on day 1 of extinction training, and AM404 reversed this effect. Post-extinction startle testing showed that fear conditioning eliminates prepulse inhibition to the light cue. Startle potentiation was observed only in rats without adolescent UWT exposure. AM404 and BQCA both ameliorated this startle potentiation, while BQCA increased startle in the UWT group. These results suggest that exposure to a traumatic stressor during adolescence alters developmental outcomes related to stress response and fear extinction compared to rats without adolescent traumatic stress exposure, blunting the adulthood fear response and reducing residual post-extinction fear expression. Efficacy of pharmacological interventions may also vary as a factor of developmental traumatic stress exposure. PMID:24491436

  19. Coantagonism of Glutamate Receptors and Nicotinic Acetylcholinergic Receptors Disrupts Fear Conditioning and Latent Inhibition of Fear Conditioning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gould, Thomas J.; Lewis, Michael C.

    2005-01-01

    The present study investigated the hypothesis that both nicotinic acetylcholinergic receptors (nAChRs) and glutamate receptors ([alpha]-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate receptors (AMPARs) and N-methyl-D-aspartate glutamate receptors (NMDARs)) are involved in fear conditioning, and may modulate similar processes. The effects of the…

  20. Estrous cycle phase and gonadal hormones influence conditioned fear extinction

    PubMed Central

    Milad, Mohammed R; Igoe, Sarah A; Lebron-Milad, Kelimer; Novales, Juan E

    2009-01-01

    Gonadal hormones modulate fear acquisition, but less is known about the influence of gonadal hormones on fear extinction. We assessed sex differences and the influence of gonadal hormone fluctuations and exogenous manipulations of estrogen and progesterone on acquisition, extinction learning and extinction recall in a 3-day auditory fear conditioning and extinction protocol. Experiments were conducted on males and naturally cycling female rats. Regarding female rats, significant differences in fear extinction were observed between subgroups of females, depending on their phase of the estrous cycle. Extinction that took place during the proestrus (high estrogen/progesterone) phase was more fully consolidated, as evidenced by low freezing during a recall test. This suggests that estrogen and/or progesterone facilitate extinction. In support of this, injection of both estrogen and progesterone prior to extinction learning in female rats during the metestrus phase of the cycle (low estrogen/progesterone) facilitated extinction consolidation, and blockade of estrogen and progesterone receptors during the proestrus phase impaired extinction consolidation. When comparing male to female rats without consideration of the estrous cycle phase, no significant sex differences were observed. When accounting for cycle phase in females, sex differences were observed only during extinction recall. Female rats that underwent extinction during the metestrus phase showed significantly higher freezing during the recall test relative to males. Collectively, these data suggest that gonadal hormones influence extinction behavior possibly by influencing the function of brain regions involved in the consolidation of fear extinction. Moreover, the elevated fear observed in female relative to male rats during extinction recall suggests that gonadal hormones may in part play a role in the higher prevalence of anxiety disorders in women. PMID:19761818

  1. CONTROLLABLE VERSUS UNCONTROLLABLE STRESSORS BI-DIRECTIONALLY MODULATE CONDITIONED BUT NOT INNATE FEAR

    PubMed Central

    Baratta, M. V.; Christianson, J. P.; Gomez, D. M.; Zarza, C. M.; Amat, J.; Masini, C.V.; Watkins, L. R.; Maier, S. F.

    2007-01-01

    Fear conditioning and fear extinction play key roles in the development and treatment of anxiety-related disorders, yet there is little information concerning experiential variables that modulate these processes. Here we examined the impact of exposure to a stressor in a different environment on subsequent fear conditioning and extinction, and whether the degree of behavioral control that the subject has over the stressor is of importance. Rats received a session of either escapable (controllable) tailshock (ES), yoked inescapable (uncontrollable) tailshock (IS), or control treatment (HC) 7 days before fear conditioning in which a tone and footshock were paired. Conditioning was measured 24 h later. In a second experiment rats received ES, IS or HC 24 h after contextual fear conditioning. Extinction then occurred every day beginning 7 days later until a criterion was reached. Spontaneous recovery of fear was assessed 14 days after extinction. IS potentiated fear conditioning when given before fear conditioning, and potentiated fear responding during extinction when given after conditioning. Importantly, ES potently interfered with later fear conditioning, decreased fear responding during fear extinction, and prevented spontaneous recovery of fear. Additionally, we examined if the activation of the ventral medial prefrontal cortex (mPFCv) by ES is critical for the protective effects of ES on later fear conditioning. Inactivation of the mPFCv with muscimol at the time of the initial experience with control prevented ES-induced reductions in later contextual and auditory fear conditioning. Finally, we explored if the protective effects of ES extended to an unconditioned fear stimulus, ferret odor. Unlike conditioned fear, prior ES increased the fear response to ferret odor to the same degree as did IS. PMID:17478046

  2. Controllable versus uncontrollable stressors bi-directionally modulate conditioned but not innate fear.

    PubMed

    Baratta, M V; Christianson, J P; Gomez, D M; Zarza, C M; Amat, J; Masini, C V; Watkins, L R; Maier, S F

    2007-06-01

    Fear conditioning and fear extinction play key roles in the development and treatment of anxiety-related disorders, yet there is little information concerning experiential variables that modulate these processes. Here we examined the impact of exposure to a stressor in a different environment on subsequent fear conditioning and extinction, and whether the degree of behavioral control that the subject has over the stressor is of importance. Rats received a session of either escapable (controllable) tail shock (ES), yoked inescapable (uncontrollable) tail shock (IS), or control treatment (home cage, HC) 7 days before fear conditioning in which a tone and foot shock were paired. Conditioning was measured 24 h later. In a second experiment rats received ES, IS or HC 24 h after contextual fear conditioning. Extinction then occurred every day beginning 7 days later until a criterion was reached. Spontaneous recovery of fear was assessed 14 days after extinction. IS potentiated fear conditioning when given before fear conditioning, and potentiated fear responding during extinction when given after conditioning. Importantly, ES potently interfered with later fear conditioning, decreased fear responding during fear extinction, and prevented spontaneous recovery of fear. Additionally, we examined if the activation of the ventral medial prefrontal cortex (mPFCv) by ES is critical for the protective effects of ES on later fear conditioning. Inactivation of the mPFCv with muscimol at the time of the initial experience with control prevented ES-induced reductions in later contextual and auditory fear conditioning. Finally, we explored if the protective effects of ES extended to an unconditioned fear stimulus, ferret odor. Unlike conditioned fear, prior ES increased the fear response to ferret odor to the same degree as did IS. PMID:17478046

  3. Fear conditioning of SCR but not the startle reflex requires conscious discrimination of threat and safety

    PubMed Central

    Sevenster, Dieuwke; Beckers, Tom; Kindt, Merel

    2014-01-01

    There is conflicting evidence as to whether awareness is required for conditioning of the skin conductance response (SCR). Recently, Schultz and Helmstetter (2010) reported SCR conditioning in contingency unaware participants by using difficult to discriminate stimuli. These findings are in stark contrast with other observations in human fear conditioning research, showing that SCR predominantly reflects contingency learning. Therefore, we repeated the study by Schultz and Helmstetter and additionally measured conditioning of the startle response, which seems to be less sensitive to declarative knowledge than SCR. While we solely observed SCR conditioning in participants who reported awareness of the contingencies (n = 16) and not in the unaware participants (n = 18), we observed startle conditioning irrespective of awareness. We conclude that SCR but not startle conditioning depends on conscious discriminative fear learning. PMID:24616672

  4. Angiotensin type 1a receptors on corticotropin-releasing factor neurons contribute to the expression of conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Hurt, R C; Garrett, J C; Keifer, O P; Linares, A; Couling, L; Speth, R C; Ressler, K J; Marvar, P J

    2015-09-01

    Although generally associated with cardiovascular regulation, angiotensin II receptor type 1a (AT1a R) blockade in mouse models and humans has also been associated with enhanced fear extinction and decreased post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity, respectively. The mechanisms mediating these effects remain unknown, but may involve alterations in the activities of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF)-expressing cells, which are known to be involved in fear regulation. To test the hypothesis that AT1a R signaling in CRFergic neurons is involved in conditioned fear expression, we generated and characterized a conditional knockout mouse strain with a deletion of the AT1a R gene from its CRF-releasing cells (CRF-AT1a R((-/-)) ). These mice exhibit normal baseline heart rate, blood pressure, anxiety and locomotion, and freeze at normal levels during acquisition of auditory fear conditioning. However, CRF-AT1a R((-/-)) mice exhibit less freezing than wild-type mice during tests of conditioned fear expression-an effect that may be caused by a decrease in the consolidation of fear memory. These results suggest that central AT1a R activity in CRF-expressing cells plays a role in the expression of conditioned fear, and identify CRFergic cells as a population on which AT1 R antagonists may act to modulate fear extinction. PMID:26257395

  5. Low-Cost Avoidance Behaviors are Resistant to Fear Extinction in Humans

    PubMed Central

    Vervliet, Bram; Indekeu, Ellen

    2015-01-01

    Elevated levels of fear and avoidance are core symptoms across the anxiety disorders. It has long been known that fear serves to motivate avoidance. Consequently, fear extinction has been the primary focus in pre-clinical anxiety research for decades, under the implicit assumption that removing the motivator of avoidance (fear) would automatically mitigate the avoidance behaviors as well. Although this assumption has intuitive appeal, it has received little scientific scrutiny. The scarce evidence from animal studies is mixed, while the assumption remains untested in humans. The current study applied an avoidance conditioning protocol in humans to investigate the effects of fear extinction on the persistence of low-cost avoidance. Online danger-safety ratings and skin conductance responses documented the dynamics of conditioned fear across avoidance and extinction phases. Anxiety- and avoidance-related questionnaires explored individual differences in rates of avoidance. Participants first learned to click a button during a predictive danger signal, in order to cancel an upcoming aversive electrical shock (avoidance conditioning). Next, fear extinction was induced by presenting the signal in the absence of shocks while button-clicks were prevented (by removing the button in Experiment 1, or by instructing not to click the button in Experiment 2). Most importantly, post-extinction availability of the button caused a significant return of avoidant button-clicks. In addition, trait-anxiety levels correlated positively with rates of avoidance during a predictive safety signal, and with the rate of pre- to post-extinction decrease during this signal. Fear measures gradually decreased during avoidance conditioning, as participants learned that button-clicks effectively canceled the shock. Preventing button-clicks elicited a sharp increase in fear, which subsequently extinguished. Fear remained low during avoidance testing, but danger-safety ratings increased again when

  6. Low-Cost Avoidance Behaviors are Resistant to Fear Extinction in Humans.

    PubMed

    Vervliet, Bram; Indekeu, Ellen

    2015-01-01

    Elevated levels of fear and avoidance are core symptoms across the anxiety disorders. It has long been known that fear serves to motivate avoidance. Consequently, fear extinction has been the primary focus in pre-clinical anxiety research for decades, under the implicit assumption that removing the motivator of avoidance (fear) would automatically mitigate the avoidance behaviors as well. Although this assumption has intuitive appeal, it has received little scientific scrutiny. The scarce evidence from animal studies is mixed, while the assumption remains untested in humans. The current study applied an avoidance conditioning protocol in humans to investigate the effects of fear extinction on the persistence of low-cost avoidance. Online danger-safety ratings and skin conductance responses documented the dynamics of conditioned fear across avoidance and extinction phases. Anxiety- and avoidance-related questionnaires explored individual differences in rates of avoidance. Participants first learned to click a button during a predictive danger signal, in order to cancel an upcoming aversive electrical shock (avoidance conditioning). Next, fear extinction was induced by presenting the signal in the absence of shocks while button-clicks were prevented (by removing the button in Experiment 1, or by instructing not to click the button in Experiment 2). Most importantly, post-extinction availability of the button caused a significant return of avoidant button-clicks. In addition, trait-anxiety levels correlated positively with rates of avoidance during a predictive safety signal, and with the rate of pre- to post-extinction decrease during this signal. Fear measures gradually decreased during avoidance conditioning, as participants learned that button-clicks effectively canceled the shock. Preventing button-clicks elicited a sharp increase in fear, which subsequently extinguished. Fear remained low during avoidance testing, but danger-safety ratings increased again when

  7. A role for midline and intralaminar thalamus in the associative blocking of Pavlovian fear conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Sengupta, Auntora; McNally, Gavan P.

    2014-01-01

    Fear learning occurs in response to positive prediction error, when the expected outcome of a conditioning trial exceeds that predicted by the conditioned stimuli present. This role for error in Pavlovian association formation is best exemplified by the phenomenon of associative blocking, whereby prior fear conditioning of conditioned stimulus (CS) A is able to prevent learning to CSB when they are conditioned in compound. The midline and intralaminar thalamic nuclei (MIT) are well-placed to contribute to fear prediction error because they receive extensive projections from the midbrain periaqueductal gray—which has a key role in fear prediction error—and project extensively to prefrontal cortex and amygdala. Here we used an associative blocking design to study the role of MIT in fear learning. In Stage I rats were trained to fear CSA via pairings with shock. In Stage II rats received compound fear conditioning of CSAB paired with shock. On test, rats that received Stage I training expressed less fear to CSB relative to control rats that did not receive this training. Microinjection of bupivacaine into MIT prior to Stage II training had no effect on the expression of fear during Stage II and had no effect on fear learning in controls, but prevented associative blocking and so enabled fear learning to CSB. These results show an important role for MIT in predictive fear learning and are discussed with reference to previous findings implicating the midline and posterior intralaminar thalamus in fear learning and fear responding. PMID:24822042

  8. Delay and trace fear conditioning in a complex virtual learning environment-neural substrates of extinction.

    PubMed

    Ewald, Heike; Glotzbach-Schoon, Evelyn; Gerdes, Antje B M; Andreatta, Marta; Müller, Mathias; Mühlberger, Andreas; Pauli, Paul

    2014-01-01

    Extinction is an important mechanism to inhibit initially acquired fear responses. There is growing evidence that the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) inhibits the amygdala and therefore plays an important role in the extinction of delay fear conditioning. To our knowledge, there is no evidence on the role of the prefrontal cortex in the extinction of trace conditioning up to now. Thus, we compared brain structures involved in the extinction of human delay and trace fear conditioning in a between-subjects-design in an fMRI study. Participants were passively guided through a virtual environment during learning and extinction of conditioned fear. Two different lights served as conditioned stimuli (CS); as unconditioned stimulus (US) a mildly painful electric stimulus was delivered. In the delay conditioning group (DCG) the US was administered with offset of one light (CS+), whereas in the trace conditioning group (TCG) the US was presented 4 s after CS+ offset. Both groups showed insular and striatal activation during early extinction, but differed in their prefrontal activation. The vmPFC was mainly activated in the DCG, whereas the TCG showed activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) during extinction. These results point to different extinction processes in delay and trace conditioning. VmPFC activation during extinction of delay conditioning might reflect the inhibition of the fear response. In contrast, dlPFC activation during extinction of trace conditioning may reflect modulation of working memory processes which are involved in bridging the trace interval and hold information in short term memory. PMID:24904363

  9. Use of the ABA Fear Renewal Paradigm to Assess the Effects of Extinction with Co-Present Fear Inhibitors or Excitors: Implications for Theories of Extinction and for Treating Human Fears and Phobias

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Thomas, Brian L.; Ayres, John J. B.

    2004-01-01

    In four experiments using albino rats in an ABA fear renewal paradigm, we studied conditioned fear in the A test context following extinction in Context B. Conditioned suppression of operant responding was the index of fear. In Experiments 1-3, we found that extinguishing a feared cue in compound with a putative conditioned inhibitor of fear led…

  10. Effects of recent exposure to a conditioned stimulus on extinction of Pavlovian fear conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Chan, Wan Yee Macy; Leung, Hiu T.; Westbrook, R. Frederick; McNally, Gavan P.

    2010-01-01

    In six experiments we studied the effects of a single re-exposure to a conditioned stimulus (CS; “retrieval trial”) prior to extinction training (extinction-reconsolidation boundary) on the development of and recovery from fear extinction. A single retrieval trial prior to extinction training significantly augmented the renewal and reinstatement of extinguished responding. Augmentation of recovery was not observed if the retrieval and extinction training occurred in different contexts. These results contrast with those reported in earlier papers by Monfils and coworkers in rats and by Schiller and coworkers in humans. We suggest that these contrasting results could depend on the contrasting influences of either: (1) occasion-setting contextual associations vs. direct context–CS associations formed as a consequence of the retrieval trial or (2) discrimination vs. generalization between the circumstances of conditioning and extinction. PMID:20884753

  11. Extinction, generalization, and return of fear: a critical review of renewal research in humans.

    PubMed

    Vervliet, Bram; Baeyens, Frank; Van den Bergh, Omer; Hermans, Dirk

    2013-01-01

    The main behavioral signature of fear extinction is its fragility. This is exemplified by the renewal effect, where a change in the background context produces recovery of fear to a conditioned-and-extinguished stimulus. Renewal is the backbone of a widely accepted theory of extinction in animal research, as well as an important experimental model to screen novel treatment techniques. This has led to an explosion of fear renewal research in humans. However, the mere observation of return of fear in a renewal procedure is not sufficient to validate this particular theory of extinction in the tested sample/procedure. Here, we systematically outline a set of experimental tests that aid in evaluating alternative extinction/renewal mechanisms. We examine published renewal studies in human fear conditioning and conclude that the prevailing theory of extinction is often taken for granted, but critical tests are lacking. Including these tests in future research will not only reveal the fear extinction mechanism in humans, but also inspire further developments in extinction treatment research. PMID:22285129

  12. Fear but not fright: re-evaluating traumatic experience attenuates anxiety-like behaviors after fear conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Costanzi, Marco; Saraulli, Daniele; Cannas, Sara; D’Alessandro, Francesca; Florenzano, Fulvio; Rossi-Arnaud, Clelia; Cestari, Vincenzo

    2014-01-01

    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. These results suggest that an effective strategy to treat pathological anxiety should address cognitive re-evaluation of the traumatic experience mediated

  13. Spontaneous brain activity following fear reminder of fear conditioning by using resting-state functional MRI

    PubMed Central

    Feng, Pan; Zheng, Yong; Feng, Tingyong

    2015-01-01

    Although disrupting reconsolidation may be a promising approach to attenuate or erase the expression of fear memory, it is not clear how the neural state following fear reminder contribute to the following fear extinction. To address this question, we used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) to measure spontaneous neuronal activity and functional connectivity (RSFC) following fear reminder. Some brain regions such as dorsal anterior cingulate (dACC) and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) showed increased amplitude of LFF (ALFF) in the fear reminder group than the no reminder group following fear reminder. More importantly, there was much stronger functional connectivity between the amygdala and vmPFC in the fear reminder group than those in the no reminder group. These findings suggest that the strong functional connectivity between vmPFC and amygdala following a fear reminder could serve as a key role in the followed-up fear extinction stages, which may contribute to the erasing of fear memory. PMID:26576733

  14. Acute and chronic effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor treatment on fear conditioning: implications for underlying fear circuits.

    PubMed

    Burghardt, N S; Bauer, E P

    2013-09-01

    Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are widely used for the treatment of a spectrum of anxiety disorders, yet paradoxically they may increase symptoms of anxiety when treatment is first initiated. Despite extensive research over the past 30 years focused on SSRI treatment, the precise mechanisms by which SSRIs exert these opposing acute and chronic effects on anxiety remain unknown. By testing the behavioral effects of SSRI treatment on Pavlovian fear conditioning, a well characterized model of emotional learning, we have the opportunity to identify how SSRIs affect the functioning of specific brain regions, including the amygdala, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) and hippocampus. In this review, we first define different stages of learning involved in cued and context fear conditioning and describe the neural circuits underlying these processes. We examine the results of numerous rodent studies investigating how acute SSRI treatment modulates fear learning and relate these effects to the known functions of serotonin in specific brain regions. With these findings, we propose a model by which acute SSRI administration, by altering neural activity in the extended amygdala and hippocampus, enhances both acquisition and expression of cued fear conditioning, but impairs the expression of contextual fear conditioning. Finally, we review the literature examining the effects of chronic SSRI treatment on fear conditioning in rodents and describe how downregulation of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the amygdala and hippocampus may mediate the impairments in fear learning and memory that are reported. While long-term SSRI treatment effectively reduces symptoms of anxiety, their disruptive effects on fear learning should be kept in mind when combining chronic SSRI treatment and learning-based therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy. PMID:23732229

  15. A fast pathway for fear in human amygdala.

    PubMed

    Méndez-Bértolo, Constantino; Moratti, Stephan; Toledano, Rafael; Lopez-Sosa, Fernando; Martínez-Alvarez, Roberto; Mah, Yee H; Vuilleumier, Patrik; Gil-Nagel, Antonio; Strange, Bryan A

    2016-08-01

    A fast, subcortical pathway to the amygdala is thought to have evolved to enable rapid detection of threat. This pathway's existence is fundamental for understanding nonconscious emotional responses, but has been challenged as a result of a lack of evidence for short-latency fear-related responses in primate amygdala, including humans. We recorded human intracranial electrophysiological data and found fast amygdala responses, beginning 74-ms post-stimulus onset, to fearful, but not neutral or happy, facial expressions. These responses had considerably shorter latency than fear responses that we observed in visual cortex. Notably, fast amygdala responses were limited to low spatial frequency components of fearful faces, as predicted by magnocellular inputs to amygdala. Furthermore, fast amygdala responses were not evoked by photographs of arousing scenes, which is indicative of selective early reactivity to socially relevant visual information conveyed by fearful faces. These data therefore support the existence of a phylogenetically old subcortical pathway providing fast, but coarse, threat-related signals to human amygdala. PMID:27294508

  16. Rapid amygdala responses during trace fear conditioning without awareness.

    PubMed

    Balderston, Nicholas L; Schultz, Douglas H; Baillet, Sylvain; Helmstetter, Fred J

    2014-01-01

    The role of consciousness in learning has been debated for nearly 50 years. Recent studies suggest that conscious awareness is needed to bridge the gap when learning about two events that are separated in time, as is true for trace fear conditioning. This has been repeatedly shown and seems to apply to other forms of classical conditioning as well. In contrast to these findings, we show that individuals can learn to associate a face with the later occurrence of a shock, even if they are unable to perceive the face. We used a novel application of magnetoencephalography (MEG) to non-invasively record neural activity from the amygdala, which is known to be important for fear learning. We demonstrate rapid (∼ 170-200 ms) amygdala responses during the stimulus free period between the face and the shock. These results suggest that unperceived faces can serve as signals for impending threat, and that rapid, automatic activation of the amygdala contributes to this process. In addition, we describe a methodology that can be applied in the future to study neural activity with MEG in other subcortical structures. PMID:24823365

  17. Resting cerebral metabolism correlates with skin conductance and functional brain activation during fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Linnman, Clas; Zeidan, Mohamed A; Pitman, Roger K; Milad, Mohammed R

    2012-02-01

    We investigated whether resting brain metabolism can be used to predict autonomic and neuronal responses during fear conditioning in 20 healthy humans. Regional cerebral metabolic rate for glucose was measured via positron emission tomography at rest. During conditioning, autonomic responses were measured via skin conductance, and blood oxygen level dependent signal was measured via functional magnetic resonance imaging. Resting dorsal anterior cingulate metabolism positively predicted differentially conditioned skin conductance responses. Midbrain and insula resting metabolism negatively predicted midbrain and insula functional reactivity, while dorsal anterior cingulate resting metabolism positively predicted midbrain functional reactivity. We conclude that resting metabolism in limbic areas can predict some aspects of psychophysiological and neuronal reactivity during fear learning. PMID:22207247

  18. Resting cerebral metabolism correlates with skin conductance and functional brain activation during fear conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Linnman, Clas; Zeidan, Mohamed A.; Pitman, Roger K; Milad, Mohammed R.

    2011-01-01

    We investigated whether resting brain metabolism can be used to predict autonomic and neuronal responses during fear conditioning in 20 healthy humans. Regional cerebral metabolic rate for glucose was measured via positron emission tomography at rest. During conditioning, autonomic responses were measured via skin conductance, and blood oxygen level dependent signal was measured via functional magnetic resonance imaging. Resting dorsal anterior cingulate metabolism positively predicted differentially conditioned skin conductance responses. Midbrain and insula resting metabolism negatively predicted midbrain and insula functional reactivity, while dorsal anterior cingulate resting metabolism positively predicted midbrain functional reactivity. We conclude that resting metabolism in limbic areas can predict some aspects of psychophysiological and neuronal reactivity during fear learning. PMID:22207247

  19. Medial prefrontal pathways for the contextual regulation of extinguished fear in humans.

    PubMed

    Åhs, Fredrik; Kragel, Philip A; Zielinski, David J; Brady, Rachael; LaBar, Kevin S

    2015-11-15

    The maintenance of anxiety disorders is thought to depend, in part, on deficits in extinction memory, possibly due to reduced contextual control of extinction that leads to fear renewal. Animal studies suggest that the neural circuitry responsible fear renewal includes the hippocampus, amygdala, and dorsomedial (dmPFC) and ventromedial (vmPFC) prefrontal cortex. However, the neural mechanisms of context-dependent fear renewal in humans remain poorly understood. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), combined with psychophysiology and immersive virtual reality, to elucidate how the hippocampus, amygdala, and dmPFC and vmPFC interact to drive the context-dependent renewal of extinguished fear. Healthy human participants encountered dynamic fear-relevant conditioned stimuli (CSs) while navigating through 3-D virtual reality environments in the MRI scanner. Conditioning and extinction were performed in two different virtual contexts. Twenty-four hours later, participants were exposed to the CSs without reinforcement while navigating through both contexts in the MRI scanner. Participants showed enhanced skin conductance responses (SCRs) to the previously-reinforced CS+ in the acquisition context on Day 2, consistent with fear renewal, and sustained responses in the dmPFC. In contrast, participants showed low SCRs to the CSs in the extinction context on Day 2, consistent with extinction recall, and enhanced vmPFC activation to the non-reinforced CS-. Structural equation modeling revealed that the dmPFC fully mediated the effect of the hippocampus on right amygdala activity during fear renewal, whereas the vmPFC partially mediated the effect of the hippocampus on right amygdala activity during extinction recall. These results indicate dissociable contextual influences of the hippocampus on prefrontal pathways, which, in turn, determine the level of reactivation of fear associations. PMID:26220745

  20. Conditioning- and time-dependent increases in context fear and generalization.

    PubMed

    Poulos, Andrew M; Mehta, Nehali; Lu, Bryan; Amir, Dorsa; Livingston, Briana; Santarelli, Anthony; Zhuravka, Irina; Fanselow, Michael S

    2016-07-01

    A prominent feature of fear memories and anxiety disorders is that they endure across extended periods of time. Here, we examine how the severity of the initial fear experience influences incubation, generalization, and sensitization of contextual fear memories across time. Adult rats were presented with either five, two, one, or zero shocks (1.2 mA, 2 sec) during contextual fear conditioning. Following a recent (1 d) or remote (28 d) retention interval all subjects were returned to the original training context to measure fear memory and/or to a novel context to measure the specificity of fear conditioning. Our results indicate rats that received two or five shocks show an "incubation"-like enhancement of fear between recent and remote retention intervals, while single-shocked animals show stable levels of context fear memory. Moreover, when fear was tested in a novel context, 1 and 2 shocked groups failed to freeze, whereas five shocked rats showed a time-dependent generalization of context memory. Stress enhancement of fear learning to a second round of conditioning was evident in all previously shocked animals. Based on these results, we conclude that the severity or number of foot shocks determines not only the level of fear memory, but also the time-dependent incubation of fear and its generalization across distinct contexts. PMID:27317198

  1. The CRH1 antagonist GSK561679 increases human fear but not anxiety as assessed by startle.

    PubMed

    Grillon, Christian; Hale, Elizabeth; Lieberman, Lynne; Davis, Andrew; Pine, Daniel S; Ernst, Monique

    2015-04-01

    Fear to predictable threat and anxiety to unpredictable threat reflect distinct processes mediated by different brain structures, the central nucleus of the amygdala and the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), respectively. This study tested the hypothesis that the corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF1) antagonist GSK561679 differentially reduces anxiety but increases fear in humans. A total of 31 healthy females received each of four treatments: placebo, 50 mg GSK561679 (low-GSK), 400 mg GSK561679 (high-GSK), and 1 mg alprazolam in a crossover design. Participants were exposed to three conditions during each of the four treatments. The three conditions included one in which predictable aversive shocks were signaled by a cue, a second during which shocks were administered unpredictably, and a third condition without shock. Fear and anxiety were assessed using the acoustic startle reflex. High-GSK had no effect on startle potentiation during unpredictable threat (anxiety) but increased startle potentiation during the predictable condition (fear). Low-GSK did not affect startle potentiation across conditions. Consistent with previous findings, alprazolam reduced startle potentiation during unpredictable threat but not during predictable threat. The increased fear by high-GSK replicates animal findings and suggests a lift of the inhibitory effect of the BNST on the amygdala by the CRF1 antagonist. PMID:25430779

  2. The Narrow Fellow in the Grass: Human Infants Associate Snakes and Fear

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    DeLoache, Judy S.; LoBue, Vanessa

    2009-01-01

    Why are snakes such a common target of fear? One current view is that snake fear is one of several innate fears that emerge spontaneously. Another is that humans have an evolved predisposition to learn to fear snakes. In the first study reported here, 9- to 10-month-old infants showed no differential spontaneous reaction to films of snakes versus…

  3. THE NON-HUMAN PRIMATE AMYGDALA IS NECESSARY FOR THE ACQUISITION BUT NOT THE RETENTION OF FEAR-POTENTIATED STARTLE

    PubMed Central

    Antoniadis, Elena A.; Winslow, James T.; Davis, Michael; Amaral, David G.

    2009-01-01

    Background In a previous study (1), we found that rhesus monkeys prepared with bilateral lesions of the amygdala failed to acquire fear-potentiated startle to a visual cue. However, a second group of monkeys, that received the lesion after training, successfully demonstrated fear-potentiated startle learned prior to the lesion. Methods In the current experiment, the eight monkeys used in the second part of the original study (1), four of whom had bilateral amygdala lesions and their four controls, were trained using an auditory cue and tested in the fear-potentiated startle paradigm. This test was performed to determine whether they could acquire fear-potentiated startle to a new cue. Results Monkeys with essentially complete damage to the amygdala (based on histological analysis), who had retained and expressed fear-potentiated startle to a visual cue learned before the lesion (1), failed to acquire fear-potentiated startle to an auditory cue, when training occurred after the lesion. Conclusions The results suggest that while the non-human primate amygdala is essential for the initial acquisition of fear conditioning, it does not appear to be necessary for the memory and expression of conditioned fear. These findings are discussed in relation to a network of connections between the amygdala and the orbitofrontal cortex that may subserve different component processes of fear conditioning. PMID:18823878

  4. Neuropeptide S reduces fear and avoidance of con-specifics induced by social fear conditioning and social defeat, respectively.

    PubMed

    Zoicas, Iulia; Menon, Rohit; Neumann, Inga D

    2016-09-01

    Neuropeptide S (NPS) has anxiolytic effects and facilitates extinction of cued fear in rodents. Here, we investigated whether NPS reverses social fear and social avoidance induced by social fear conditioning (SFC) and acute social defeat (SD), respectively, in male CD1 mice. Our results revealed that intracerebroventricular NPS (icv; 10 and 50 nmol/2 μl) reversed fear of unknown con-specifics induced by SFC and dose-dependently reduced avoidance of known aggressive con-specifics induced by SD. While 50 nmol of NPS completely reversed social avoidance and reinstated social preference, 10 nmol of NPS reduced social avoidance, but did not completely reinstate social preference in socially-defeated mice. Further, a lower dose (1 nmol/2 μl) of NPS facilitated the within-session extinction of cued fear, while a higher dose (10 nmol/2 μl) reduced the expression of cued fear. We could also confirm the anxiolytic effects of NPS (1, 10 and 50 nmol/2 μl) on the elevated plus-maze (EPM), which were not accompanied by alterations in locomotor activity either on the EPM or in the home cage. Finally, we could show that icv infusion of the NPS receptor 1 antagonist D-Cys((t)Bu)(5)-NPS (10 nmol/2 μl) did not alter SFC-induced social fear, general anxiety and locomotor activity. Taken together, our study extends the potent anxiolytic profile of NPS to a social context by demonstrating the reduction of social fear and social avoidance, thus providing the framework for studies investigating the involvement of the NPS system in the regulation of different types of social behaviour. PMID:27044664

  5. Dendritic structural plasticity in the basolateral amygdala after fear conditioning and its extinction in mice

    PubMed Central

    Heinrichs, Stephen C.; Leite-Morris, Kimberly A.; Guy, Marsha D.; Goldberg, Lisa R.; Young, Angela J.; Kaplan, Gary B.

    2015-01-01

    Previous research suggests that morphology and arborization of dendritic spines change as a result of fear conditioning in cortical and subcortical brain regions. This study uniquely aims to delineate these structural changes in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) after both fear conditioning and fear extinction. C57BL/6 mice acquired robust conditioned fear responses (70–80% cued freezing behavior) after six pairings with a tone cue associated with footshock in comparison to unshocked controls. During fear acquisition, freezing behavior was significantly affected by both shock exposure and trial number. For fear extinction, mice were exposed to the conditioned stimulus tone in the absence of shock administration and behavioral responses significantly varied by shock treatment. In the retention tests over 3 weeks, the percentage time spent freezing varied with the factor of extinction training. In all treatment groups, alterations in dendritic plasticity were analyzed using Golgi–Cox staining of dendrites in the BLA. Spine density differed between the fear conditioned group and both the fear extinction and control groups on third order dendrites. Spine density was significantly increased in the fear conditioned group compared to the fear extinction group and controls. Similarly in Sholl analyses, fear conditioning significantly increased BLA spine numbers and dendritic intersections while subsequent extinction training reversed these effects. In summary, fear extinction produced enduring behavioral plasticity that is associated with a reversal of alterations in BLA dendritic plasticity produced by fear conditioning. These neuroplasticity findings can inform our understanding of structural mechanisms underlying stress-related pathology can inform treatment research into these disorders. PMID:23570859

  6. Effects of Recent Exposure to a Conditioned Stimulus on Extinction of Pavlovian Fear Conditioning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Chan, Wan Yee Macy; Leung, Hiu T.; Westbrook, R. Frederick; McNally, Gavan P.

    2010-01-01

    In six experiments we studied the effects of a single re-exposure to a conditioned stimulus (CS; "retrieval trial") prior to extinction training (extinction-reconsolidation boundary) on the development of and recovery from fear extinction. A single retrieval trial prior to extinction training significantly augmented the renewal and reinstatement…

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2004-01-01

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

  8. Histone acetylation rescues contextual fear conditioning in nNOS KO mice and accelerates extinction of cued fear conditioning in wild type mice.

    PubMed

    Itzhak, Yossef; Anderson, Karen L; Kelley, Jonathan B; Petkov, Martin

    2012-05-01

    Epigenetic regulation of chromatin structure is an essential molecular mechanism that contributes to the formation of synaptic plasticity and long-term memory (LTM). An important regulatory process of chromatin structure is acetylation and deacetylation of histone proteins. Inhibition of histone deacetylase (HDAC) increases acetylation of histone proteins and facilitate learning and memory. Nitric oxide (NO) signaling pathway has a role in synaptic plasticity, LTM and regulation of histone acetylation. We have previously shown that NO signaling pathway is required for contextual fear conditioning. The present study investigated the effects of systemic administration of the HDAC inhibitor sodium butyrate (NaB) on fear conditioning in neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) knockout (KO) and wild type (WT) mice. The effect of single administration of NaB on total H3 and H4 histone acetylation in hippocampus and amygdala was also investigated. A single administration of NaB prior to fear conditioning (a) rescued contextual fear conditioning of nNOS KO mice and (b) had long-term (weeks) facilitatory effect on the extinction of cued fear memory of WT mice. The facilitatory effect of NaB on extinction of cued fear memory of WT mice was confirmed in a study whereupon NaB was administered during extinction. Results suggest that (a) the rescue of contextual fear conditioning in nNOS KO mice is associated with NaB-induced increase in H3 histone acetylation and (b) the accelerated extinction of cued fear memory in WT mice is associated with NaB-induced increase in H4 histone acetylation. Hence, a single administration of HDAC inhibitor may rescue NO-dependent cognitive deficits and afford a long-term accelerating effect on extinction of fear memory of WT mice. PMID:22452925

  9. Adversity-induced relapse of fear: neural mechanisms and implications for relapse prevention from a study on experimentally induced return-of-fear following fear conditioning and extinction.

    PubMed

    Scharfenort, R; Menz, M; Lonsdorf, T B

    2016-01-01

    The efficacy of current treatments for anxiety disorders is limited by high relapse rates. Relapse of anxiety disorders and addiction can be triggered by exposure to life adversity, but the underlying mechanisms remain unexplored. Seventy-six healthy adults were a priori selected for the presence or absence of adverse experiences during childhood (CA) and recent past (RA; that is, past 12 months). Participants underwent fear conditioning (day 1) and fear extinction and experimental return-of-fear (ROF) induction through reinstatement (a model for adversity-induced relapse; day 2). Ratings, autonomic (skin conductance response) and neuronal activation measures (functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)) were acquired. Individuals exposed to RA showed a generalized (that is, not CS- specific) fear recall and ROF, whereas unexposed individuals showed differential (that is, CS+ specific) fear recall and ROF on an autonomic level despite no group differences during fear acquisition and extinction learning. These group differences in ROF were accompanied by corresponding activation differences in brain areas known to be involved in fear processing and differentiability/generalization of ROF (that is, hippocampus). In addition, dimensional measures of RA, CA and lifetime adversity were negatively correlated with differential skin conductance responses (SCRs) during ROF and hippocampal activation. As discriminating signals of danger and safety, as well as a tendency for overgeneralization, are core features in clinically anxious populations, these deficits may specifically contribute to relapse risk following exposure to adversity, in particular to recent adversity. Hence, our results may provide first and novel insights into the possible mechanisms mediating enhanced relapse risk following exposure to (recent) adversity, which may guide the development of effective pre- and intervention programs. PMID:27434492

  10. Conditioned fear associated phenotypes as robust, translational indices of trauma-, stressor-, and anxiety-related behaviors.

    PubMed

    Briscione, Maria Anne; Jovanovic, Tanja; Norrholm, Seth Davin

    2014-01-01

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a heterogeneous disorder that affects individuals exposed to trauma (e.g., combat, interpersonal violence, and natural disasters). It is characterized by hyperarousal, intrusive reminders of the trauma, avoidance of trauma-related cues, and negative cognition and mood. This heterogeneity indicates the presence of multiple neurobiological mechanisms underlying the development and maintenance of PTSD. Fear conditioning is a robust, translational experimental paradigm that can be employed to elucidate these mechanisms by allowing for the study of fear-related dimensions of PTSD (e.g., fear extinction, fear inhibition, and generalization of fear) across multiple units of analysis. Fear conditioning experiments have identified varying trajectories of the dimensions described, highlighting exciting new avenues of targeted, focused study. Additionally, fear conditioning studies provide a translational platform to develop novel interventions. The current review highlights the versatility of fear conditioning paradigms, the implications for pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments, the robustness of these paradigms to span an array of neuroscientific measures (e.g., genetic studies), and finally the need to understand the boundary conditions under which these paradigms are effective. Further understanding these paradigms will ultimately allow for optimization of fear conditioning paradigms, a necessary step towards the advancement of PTSD treatment methods. PMID:25101010

  11. Conditioned Fear Associated Phenotypes as Robust, Translational Indices of Trauma-, Stressor-, and Anxiety-Related Behaviors

    PubMed Central

    Briscione, Maria Anne; Jovanovic, Tanja; Norrholm, Seth Davin

    2014-01-01

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a heterogeneous disorder that affects individuals exposed to trauma (e.g., combat, interpersonal violence, and natural disasters). It is characterized by hyperarousal, intrusive reminders of the trauma, avoidance of trauma-related cues, and negative cognition and mood. This heterogeneity indicates the presence of multiple neurobiological mechanisms underlying the development and maintenance of PTSD. Fear conditioning is a robust, translational experimental paradigm that can be employed to elucidate these mechanisms by allowing for the study of fear-related dimensions of PTSD (e.g., fear extinction, fear inhibition, and generalization of fear) across multiple units of analysis. Fear conditioning experiments have identified varying trajectories of the dimensions described, highlighting exciting new avenues of targeted, focused study. Additionally, fear conditioning studies provide a translational platform to develop novel interventions. The current review highlights the versatility of fear conditioning paradigms, the implications for pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments, the robustness of these paradigms to span an array of neuroscientific measures (e.g., genetic studies), and finally the need to understand the boundary conditions under which these paradigms are effective. Further understanding these paradigms will ultimately allow for optimization of fear conditioning paradigms, a necessary step towards the advancement of PTSD treatment methods. PMID:25101010

  12. Modulation of cannabinoid signaling by hippocampal 5-HT4 serotonergic system in fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Nasehi, Mohammad; Farrahizadeh, Maryam; Ebrahimi-Ghiri, Mohaddeseh; Zarrindast, Mohammad-Reza

    2016-09-01

    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. PMID:27296273

  13. Reinstatement of an extinguished fear conditioned response in infant rats.

    PubMed

    Revillo, Damian A; Trebucq, Gastón; Paglini, Maria G; Arias, Carlos

    2016-01-01

    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 rats. The present study analyzes the possibility of recovering an extinguished CR with a reinstatement procedure in a fear conditioning paradigm, on PD17 (Experiments 1-4) and on PD24 (Experiment 5), while exploring the role of the olfactory content of the context upon the reinstatement effect during the preweanling period. Preweanling rats expressed a previously extinguished CR after a single experience with an unsignaled US. Furthermore, this result was only found when subjects were trained and tested in contexts that included an explicit odor, but not in standard experimental cages. Finally, Experiment 5 demonstrated the reinstatement effect on PD24 in a standard context. These results support the notion that extinction during infancy has the same characteristics as those described for extinction that occurs in adulthood. Instead of postulating a different mechanism for extinction during infancy, we propose that it may be more accurate to view the problem in terms of the variables that may differentially modulate the extinction effect according to the stages of ontogeny. PMID:26670181

  14. Exposure to a novel context after extinction causes a renewal of extinguished conditioned responses: implications for the treatment of fear.

    PubMed

    Neumann, David L; Kitlertsirivatana, Edward

    2010-06-01

    Renewal gives an experimental model for the relapse of fear symptoms following exposure therapy. While renewal of extinguished fear in humans has been observed following a return to the original context in which fear was acquired (ABA design), it has been more difficult to show upon presentation of a novel context (ABC design). The present experiment used a particularly strong context manipulation in a fear conditioning procedure. Context was manipulated by using large photographs of real environments taken from various angles and was present throughout the entire experiment. A renewal of cognitive expectancy was found in both ABA and ABC renewal designs, although it was larger in the former than in the latter. Response times in making the expectancy judgments increased when there was a change to a new context. The results demonstrate consistency in fear renewal effects between human and animal studies and suggest that relapse following exposure therapy via renewal remains a danger when people encounter a previously feared object in a novel context. PMID:20356572

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2015-01-01

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

  16. Dissociated Roles for the Lateral and Medial Septum in Elemental and Contextual Fear Conditioning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Calandreau, Ludovic; Jaffard, Robert; Desmedt, Aline

    2007-01-01

    Extensive evidence indicates that the septum plays a predominant role in fear learning, yet the direction of this control is still a matter of debate. Increasing data suggest that the medial (MS) and lateral septum (LS) would be differentially required in fear conditioning depending on whether a discrete conditional stimulus (CS) predicts, or not,…

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wilson, Yvette M.; Murphy, Mark

    2009-01-01

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

  19. Salient hopes and fears: social marketing to promote human services.

    PubMed

    Plantz, M C

    1980-01-01

    The application of social marketing principles to the promotion of human services programs is illustrated in this paper. As part of a household interview survey, 176 respondents were asked to name their hopes and fears for their lives. Responses generated by these questions are reported briefly. These findings then are interpreted from the perspective of social marketing theory, and resulting implications for the design of strategies to promote human service programs are discussed. Other areas in which social marketing theory may aid the planning and delivery of human services are mentioned. PMID:7471701

  20. A multi-pathway hypothesis for human visual fear signaling

    PubMed Central

    Silverstein, David N.; Ingvar, Martin

    2015-01-01

    A hypothesis is proposed for five visual fear signaling pathways in humans, based on an analysis of anatomical connectivity from primate studies and human functional connectvity and tractography from brain imaging studies. Earlier work has identified possible subcortical and cortical fear pathways known as the “low road” and “high road,” which arrive at the amygdala independently. In addition to a subcortical pathway, we propose four cortical signaling pathways in humans along the visual ventral stream. All four of these traverse through the LGN to the visual cortex (VC) and branching off at the inferior temporal area, with one projection directly to the amygdala; another traversing the orbitofrontal cortex; and two others passing through the parietal and then prefrontal cortex, one excitatory pathway via the ventral-medial area and one regulatory pathway via the ventral-lateral area. These pathways have progressively longer propagation latencies and may have progressively evolved with brain development to take advantage of higher-level processing. Using the anatomical path lengths and latency estimates for each of these five pathways, predictions are made for the relative processing times at selective ROIs and arrival at the amygdala, based on the presentation of a fear-relevant visual stimulus. Partial verification of the temporal dynamics of this hypothesis might be accomplished using experimental MEG analysis. Possible experimental protocols are suggested. PMID:26379513

  1. A role for α1-adrenergic receptors in extinction of conditioned fear and cocaine conditioned preference

    PubMed Central

    Bernardi, Rick E.; Lattal, K. Matthew

    2010-01-01

    Previous work has demonstrated an important role for adrenergic receptors in memory processes in fear and drug conditioning paradigms. Recent studies have also demonstrated alterations in extinction in these paradigms using drug treatments targeting β- and α2-adrenergic receptors, but little is known about the role of α1-adrenergic receptors in extinction. The current study examined whether antagonism of α1-adrenergic receptors would impair the consolidation of extinction in fear and cocaine conditioned place preference (CPP) paradigms. After contextual fear conditioning, injections of prazosin (1.0 or 3.0 mg/kg) following nonreinforced context exposures slowed the loss of conditioned freezing over the course of five extinction sessions (Experiment 1). After cocaine place conditioning, prazosin had no effect on the rate of extinction over eight nonreinforced test sessions. Following post-extinction reconditioning, however, prazosin-treated mice showed a robust place preference, but vehicle-treated mice did not, suggesting that prazosin reduced the persistent effects of extinction (Experiment 2). These results confirm the involvement of the α1-adrenergic receptor in extinction processes in both appetitive and aversive preparations. PMID:20364880

  2. Histone Modifications around Individual BDNF Gene Promoters in Prefrontal Cortex Are Associated with Extinction of Conditioned Fear

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bredy, Timothy W.; Wu, Hao; Crego, Cortney; Zellhoefer, Jessica; Sun, Yi E.; Barad, Mark

    2007-01-01

    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,…

  3. The effects of cannabinoids on contextual conditioned fear in CB1 knockout and CD1 mice.

    PubMed

    Mikics, Eva; Dombi, Timea; Barsvári, Beáta; Varga, Balázs; Ledent, Catherine; Freund, Tamás F; Haller, József

    2006-05-01

    We studied the effects of cannabinoids on contextual conditioned fear responses. CB1 knockout and wild-type (CD1) mice were exposed to a brief session of electric shocks, and their behavior was studied in the same context 24 h later. In wild-type mice, shock exposure increased freezing and resting, and decreased locomotion and exploration. The genetic disruption of the CB1 receptor abolished the conditioned fear response. The CB1 antagonist AM-251 reduced the peak of the conditioned fear response when applied 30 min before behavioral testing (i.e. 24 h after shocks) in CD1 (wild-type) mice. The cannabinoid agonist WIN-55,212-2 markedly increased the conditioned fear response in CD1 mice, the effect of which was potently antagonized by AM-251. Thus, cannabinoid receptor activation appears to strongly promote the expression of contextual conditioned fear. In earlier experiments, cannabinoids did not interfere with the expression of cue-induced conditioned fear but strongly promoted its extinction. Considering the primordial role of the amygdala in simple associative learning (e.g. in cue-induced fear) and the role of the hippocampus in learning more complex stimulus relationships (e.g. in contextual fear), the present and earlier findings are not necessarily contradictory, but suggest that cannabinoid signaling plays different roles in the two structures. Data are interpreted in terms of the potential involvement of cannabinoids in trauma-induced behavioral changes. PMID:16572000

  4. Sexually divergent expression of active and passive conditioned fear responses in rats

    PubMed Central

    Gruene, Tina M; Flick, Katelyn; Stefano, Alexis; Shea, Stephen D; Shansky, Rebecca M

    2015-01-01

    Traditional rodent models of Pavlovian fear conditioning assess the strength of learning by quantifying freezing responses. However, sole reliance on this measure includes the de facto assumption that any locomotor activity reflects an absence of fear. Consequently, alternative expressions of associative learning are rarely considered. Here we identify a novel, active fear response (‘darting’) that occurs primarily in female rats. In females, darting exhibits the characteristics of a learned fear behavior, appearing during the CS period as conditioning proceeds and disappearing from the CS period during extinction. This finding motivates a reinterpretation of rodent fear conditioning studies, particularly in females, and it suggests that conditioned fear behavior is more diverse than previously appreciated. Moreover, rats that darted during initial fear conditioning exhibited lower freezing during the second day of extinction testing, suggesting that females employ distinct and adaptive fear response strategies that improve long-term outcomes. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.11352.001 PMID:26568307

  5. Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus) selected for low fear of humans are larger, more dominant and produce larger offspring.

    PubMed

    Agnvall, B; Ali, A; Olby, S; Jensen, P

    2014-09-01

    Many traits associated with domestication are suggested to have developed as correlated responses to reduced fear of humans. Tameness may have reduced the stress of living in human proximity and improved welfare in captivity. We selected Red Junglefowl (ancestors of all domestic chickens) for four generations on high or low fear towards humans, mimicking an important aspect of the earliest period of domestication, and tested birds from the third and fourth generation in three different social tests. Growth and plumage condition, as well as size of eggs and offspring were also recorded, as indicators of some aspects of welfare. Birds selected for low fear had higher weight, laid larger eggs and generated larger offspring, and had a better plumage condition. In a social dominance test they also performed more aggressive behaviour and received less of the same, regardless of whether the restricted resource was feed or not. Hence, dominance appeared to increase as a consequence of reduced fear of humans. Furthermore, egg size and the weight of the offspring were larger in the less fearful birds, and plumage condition better, which could be interpreted as the less fearful animals being better adapted to the environment in which they were selected. PMID:24910136

  6. D-Cycloserine Does Not Facilitate Fear Extinction by Reducing Conditioned Stimulus Processing or Promoting Conditioned Inhibition to Contextual Cues

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Baker, Kathryn D.; McNally, Gavan P.; Richardson, Rick

    2012-01-01

    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…

  7. Modeling fear‐conditioned bradycardia in humans

    PubMed Central

    Tzovara, Athina; Staib, Matthias; Paulus, Philipp C.; Hofer, Nicolas; Bach, Dominik R.

    2016-01-01

    Abstract Across species, cued fear conditioning is a common experimental paradigm to investigate aversive Pavlovian learning. While fear‐conditioned stimuli (CS+) elicit overt behavior in many mammals, this is not the case in humans. Typically, autonomic nervous system activity is used to quantify fear memory in humans, measured by skin conductance responses (SCR). Here, we investigate whether heart period responses (HPR) evoked by the CS, often observed in humans and small mammals, are suitable to complement SCR as an index of fear memory in humans. We analyze four datasets involving delay and trace conditioning, in which heart beats are identified via electrocardiogram or pulse oximetry, to show that fear‐conditioned heart rate deceleration (bradycardia) is elicited and robustly distinguishes CS+ from CS−. We then develop a psychophysiological model (PsPM) of fear‐conditioned HPR. This PsPM is inverted to yield estimates of autonomic input into the heart. We show that the sensitivity to distinguish CS+ and CS− (predictive validity) is higher for model‐based estimates than peak‐scoring analysis, and compare this with SCR. Our work provides a novel tool to investigate fear memory in humans that allows direct comparison between species. PMID:26950648

  8. An egr-1 (zif268) Antisense Oligodeoxynucleotide Infused Into the Amygdala Disrupts Fear Conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Malkani, Seema; Wallace, Karin J.; Donley, Melanie P.; Rosen, Jeffrey B.

    2004-01-01

    Studies of gene expression following fear conditioning have demonstrated that the inducible transcription factor, egr-1, is increased in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala shortly following fear conditioning. These studies suggest that egr-1 and its protein product Egr-1 in the amygdala are important for learning and memory of fear. To directly test this hypothesis, an egr-1 antisense oligodeoxynucleotide (antisense-ODN) was injected bilaterally into the amygdala prior to contextual fear conditioning. The antisense-ODN reduced Egr-1 protein in the amygdala and interfered with fear conditioning. A 250-pmole dose produced an 11% decrease in Egr-1 protein and reduced long-term memory of fear as measured by freezing in a retention test 24 h after conditioning, but left shock-induced freezing intact. A larger 500-pmole dose produced a 25% reduction in Egr-1 protein and significantly decreased both freezing immediately following conditioning and freezing in the retention test. A nonsense-ODN had no effect on postshock or retention test freezing. In addition, 500 pmole of antisense-ODN infused prior to the retention test in previously trained rats did not reduce freezing, indicating that antisense-ODN did not suppress conditioned fear behavior. Finally, rats infused with 500 pmole of antisense-ODN displayed unconditioned fear to a predator odor, demonstrating that unconditioned freezing was unaffected by the antisense-ODN. The data indicate that the egr-1 antisense-ODN interferes with learning and memory processes of fear without affecting freezing behavior and suggests that the inducible transcription factor Egr-1 within the amygdala plays important functions in long-term learning and memory of fear. PMID:15466317

  9. Factors Regulating the Effects of Hippocampal Inactivation on Renewal of Conditional Fear after Extinction

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Corcoran, Kevin A.; Maren, Stephen

    2004-01-01

    After extinction of fear to a Pavlovian conditional stimulus (CS), contextual stimuli come to regulate the expression of fear to that CS. There is growing evidence that the context dependence of memory retrieval after extinction involves the hippocampus. In the present experiment, we examine whether hippocampal involvement in memory retrieval…

  10. Individual Differences in the Expression of Conditioned Fear Are Associated with Endogenous Fibroblast Growth Factor 2

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Graham, Bronwyn M.; Richardson, Rick

    2016-01-01

    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…

  11. Exposure to Novelty Weakens Conditioned Fear in Long-Evans Rats

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Anderson, Matthew J.; Burpee, Tara E.; Wall, Matthew J.; McGraw, Justin J.

    2013-01-01

    The present study sought to determine whether post-training exposure to a novel or familiar object, encountered in either the location of the original fear conditioning (black compartment of a passive avoidance {PA} chamber) or in a neutral setting (open field where initial object training had occurred) would prove capable of reducing fear at…

  12. Brain Region-Specific Activity Patterns after Recent or Remote Memory Retrieval of Auditory Conditioned Fear

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kwon, Jeong-Tae; Jhang, Jinho; Kim, Hyung-Su; Lee, Sujin; Han, Jin-Hee

    2012-01-01

    Memory is thought to be sparsely encoded throughout multiple brain regions forming unique memory trace. Although evidence has established that the amygdala is a key brain site for memory storage and retrieval of auditory conditioned fear memory, it remains elusive whether the auditory brain regions may be involved in fear memory storage or…

  13. Impairments in Fear Conditioning in Mice Lacking the nNOS Gene

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kelley, Jonathan B.; Balda, Mara A.; Anderson, Karen L.; Itzhak, Yossef

    2009-01-01

    The fear conditioning paradigm is used to investigate the roles of various genes, neurotransmitters, and substrates in the formation of fear learning related to contextual and auditory cues. In the brain, nitric oxide (NO) produced by neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) functions as a retrograde neuronal messenger that facilitates synaptic…

  14. Different brain networks underlying the acquisition and expression of contextual fear conditioning: a metabolic mapping study.

    PubMed

    González-Pardo, H; Conejo, N M; Lana, G; Arias, J L

    2012-01-27

    The specific brain regions and circuits involved in the acquisition and expression of contextual fear conditioning are still a matter of debate. To address this issue, regional changes in brain metabolic capacity were mapped during the acquisition and expression of contextual fear conditioning using cytochrome oxidase (CO) quantitative histochemistry. In comparison with a group briefly exposed to a conditioning chamber, rats that received a series of randomly presented footshocks in the same conditioning chamber (fear acquisition group) showed increased CO activity in anxiety-related brain regions like the ventral periaqueductal gray, the ventral hippocampus, the lateral habenula, the mammillary bodies, and the laterodorsal thalamic nucleus. Another group received randomly presented footshocks, and it was re-exposed to the same conditioning chamber one week later (fear expression group). The conditioned group had significantly higher CO activity as compared with the matched control group in the following brain regions: the ventral periaqueductal gray, the central and lateral nuclei of the amygdala, and the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. In addition, analysis of functional brain networks using interregional CO activity correlations revealed different patterns of functional connectivity between fear acquisition and fear expression groups. In particular, a network comprising the ventral hippocampus and amygdala nuclei was found in the fear acquisition group, whereas a closed reciprocal dorsal hippocampal network was detected in the fear expression group. These results suggest that contextual fear acquisition and expression differ as regards to the brain networks involved, although they share common brain regions involved in fear, anxiety, and defensive behavior. PMID:22173014

  15. Brain Structure Correlates of Individual Differences in the Acquisition and Inhibition of Conditioned Fear

    PubMed Central

    Hartley, Catherine A.; Fischl, Bruce

    2011-01-01

    Research employing aversive conditioning paradigms has elucidated the neurocircuitry involved in acquiring and diminishing fear responses. However, the factors underlying individual differences in fear acquisition and inhibition are not presently well understood. In this study, we explored whether the magnitude of individuals' acquired fear responses and the modulation of these responses via 2 fear reduction methods were correlated with structural differences in brain regions involved in affective processing. Physiological and structural magnetic resonance imaging data were obtained from experiments exploring extinction retention and intentional cognitive regulation. Our results identified 2 regions in which individual variation in brain structure correlated with subjects' fear-related arousal. Confirming previous results, increased thickness in ventromedial prefrontal cortex was correlated with the degree of extinction retention. Additionally, subjects with greater thickness in the posterior insula exhibited larger conditioned responses during acquisition. The data suggest a trend toward a negative correlation between amygdala volume and fear acquisition magnitude. There was no significant correlation between fear reduction via cognitive regulation and thickness in our prefrontal regions of interest. Acquisition and regulation measures were uncorrelated, suggesting that while certain individuals may have a propensity toward increased expression of conditioned fear, these responses can be diminished via both extinction and cognitive regulation. PMID:21263037

  16. Fear and panic in humans with bilateral amygdala damage.

    PubMed

    Feinstein, Justin S; Buzza, Colin; Hurlemann, Rene; Follmer, Robin L; Dahdaleh, Nader S; Coryell, William H; Welsh, Michael J; Tranel, Daniel; Wemmie, John A

    2013-03-01

    Decades of research have highlighted the amygdala's influential role in fear. We found that inhalation of 35% CO(2) evoked not only fear, but also panic attacks, in three rare patients with bilateral amygdala damage. These results indicate that the amygdala is not required for fear and panic, and make an important distinction between fear triggered by external threats from the environment versus fear triggered internally by CO(2). PMID:23377128

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

    PubMed Central

    Shin, Kyungha; Cha, Yeseul; Kim, Kwang Sei; Choi, Ehn-Kyoung; Choi, Youngjin; Guo, Haiyu; Ban, Young-Hwan; Kim, Jong-Choon; Park, Dongsun; Kim, Yun-Bae

    2016-01-01

    Amygdala is involved in the fear memory that recognizes certain environmental cues predicting threatening events. Manipulation of neurotransmission within the amygdala affects the expression of conditioned and unconditioned emotional memories such as fear freezing behaviour. We previously demonstrated that F3.ChAT human neural stem cells (NSCs) overexpressing choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) improve cognitive function of Alzheimer's disease model rats with hippocampal or cholinergic nerve injuries by increasing acetylcholine (ACh) level. In the present study, we examined the effect of F3.ChAT cells on the deficit of unconditioned fear freezing. Rats given N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) in their amygdala 2 weeks prior to cat odor exposure displayed very short resting (freezing) time compared to normal animals. NMDA induced neuronal degeneration in the amygdala, leading to a decreased ACh concentration in cerebrospinal fluid. However, intracerebroventricular transplantation of F3.ChAT cells attenuated amygdala lesions 4 weeks after transplantation. The transplanted cells were found in the NMDA-injury sites and produced ChAT protein. In addition, F3.ChAT-receiving rats recuperated freezing time staying remote from the cat odor source, according to the recovery of brain ACh concentration. The results indicate that human NSCs overexpressing ChAT may facilitate retrieval of unconditioned fear memory by increasing ACh level. PMID:27087745

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

    PubMed

    Shin, Kyungha; Cha, Yeseul; Kim, Kwang Sei; Choi, Ehn-Kyoung; Choi, Youngjin; Guo, Haiyu; Ban, Young-Hwan; Kim, Jong-Choon; Park, Dongsun; Kim, Yun-Bae

    2016-01-01

    Amygdala is involved in the fear memory that recognizes certain environmental cues predicting threatening events. Manipulation of neurotransmission within the amygdala affects the expression of conditioned and unconditioned emotional memories such as fear freezing behaviour. We previously demonstrated that F3.ChAT human neural stem cells (NSCs) overexpressing choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) improve cognitive function of Alzheimer's disease model rats with hippocampal or cholinergic nerve injuries by increasing acetylcholine (ACh) level. In the present study, we examined the effect of F3.ChAT cells on the deficit of unconditioned fear freezing. Rats given N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) in their amygdala 2 weeks prior to cat odor exposure displayed very short resting (freezing) time compared to normal animals. NMDA induced neuronal degeneration in the amygdala, leading to a decreased ACh concentration in cerebrospinal fluid. However, intracerebroventricular transplantation of F3.ChAT cells attenuated amygdala lesions 4 weeks after transplantation. The transplanted cells were found in the NMDA-injury sites and produced ChAT protein. In addition, F3.ChAT-receiving rats recuperated freezing time staying remote from the cat odor source, according to the recovery of brain ACh concentration. The results indicate that human NSCs overexpressing ChAT may facilitate retrieval of unconditioned fear memory by increasing ACh level. PMID:27087745

  19. Repeated Exposure to Conditioned Fear Stress Increases Anxiety and Delays Sleep Recovery Following Exposure to an Acute Traumatic Stressor

    PubMed Central

    Greenwood, Benjamin N.; Thompson, Robert S.; Opp, Mark R.; Fleshner, Monika

    2014-01-01

    Repeated stressor exposure can sensitize physiological responses to novel stressors and facilitate the development of stress-related psychiatric disorders including anxiety. Disruptions in diurnal rhythms of sleep–wake behavior accompany stress-related psychiatric disorders and could contribute to their development. Complex stressors that include fear-eliciting stimuli can be a component of repeated stress experienced by human beings, but whether exposure to repeated fear can prime the development of anxiety and sleep disturbances is unknown. In the current study, adult male F344 rats were exposed to either control conditions or repeated contextual fear conditioning for 22 days followed by exposure to no, mild (10), or severe (100) acute uncontrollable tail shock stress. Exposure to acute stress produced anxiety-like behavior as measured by a reduction in juvenile social exploration and exaggerated shock-elicited freezing in a novel context. Prior exposure to repeated fear enhanced anxiety-like behavior as measured by shock-elicited freezing, but did not alter social exploratory behavior. The potentiation of anxiety produced by prior repeated fear was temporary; exaggerated fear was present 1 day but not 4 days following acute stress. Interestingly, exposure to acute stress reduced rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM (NREM) sleep during the hours immediately following acute stress. This initial reduction in sleep was followed by robust REM rebound and diurnal rhythm flattening of sleep/wake behavior. Prior repeated fear extended the acute stress-induced REM and NREM sleep loss, impaired REM rebound, and prolonged the flattening of the diurnal rhythm of NREM sleep following acute stressor exposure. These data suggest that impaired recovery of sleep/wake behavior following acute stress could contribute to the mechanisms by which a history of prior repeated stress increases vulnerability to subsequent novel stressors and stress-related disorders. PMID

  20. Maltreatment Exposure, Brain Structure, and Fear Conditioning in Children and Adolescents.

    PubMed

    McLaughlin, Katie A; Sheridan, Margaret A; Gold, Andrea L; Duys, Andrea; Lambert, Hilary K; Peverill, Matthew; Heleniak, Charlotte; Shechner, Tomer; Wojcieszak, Zuzanna; Pine, Daniel S

    2016-07-01

    Alterations in learning processes and the neural circuitry that supports fear conditioning and extinction represent mechanisms through which trauma exposure might influence risk for psychopathology. Few studies examine how trauma or neural structure relates to fear conditioning in children. Children (n=94) aged 6-18 years, 40.4% (n=38) with exposure to maltreatment (physical abuse, sexual abuse, or domestic violence), completed a fear conditioning paradigm utilizing blue and yellow bells as conditioned stimuli (CS+/CS-) and an aversive alarm noise as the unconditioned stimulus. Skin conductance responses (SCR) and self-reported fear were acquired. Magnetic resonance imaging data were acquired from 60 children. Children without maltreatment exposure exhibited strong differential conditioning to the CS+ vs CS-, based on SCR and self-reported fear. In contrast, maltreated children exhibited blunted SCR to the CS+ and failed to exhibit differential SCR to the CS+ vs CS- during early conditioning. Amygdala and hippocampal volume were reduced among children with maltreatment exposure and were negatively associated with SCR to the CS+ during early conditioning in the total sample, although these associations were negative only among non-maltreated children and were positive among maltreated children. The association of maltreatment with externalizing psychopathology was mediated by this perturbed pattern of fear conditioning. Child maltreatment is associated with failure to discriminate between threat and safety cues during fear conditioning in children. Poor threat-safety discrimination might reflect either enhanced fear generalization or a deficit in associative learning, which may in turn represent a central mechanism underlying the development of maltreatment-related externalizing psychopathology in children. PMID:26677946

  1. Fear conditioning enhances gamma oscillations and their entrainment of neurons representing the conditioned stimulus

    PubMed Central

    Headley, Drew B.; Weinberger, Norman M.

    2013-01-01

    Learning alters the responses of neurons in the neocortex, typically strengthening their encoding of behaviorally relevant stimuli. These enhancements are extensively studied in the auditory cortex by characterizing changes in firing rates and evoked potentials. However, synchronous activity is also important for the processing of stimuli, especially the relationship between gamma oscillations in the local field potential and spiking. We investigated whether tone/shock fear conditioning in rats, a task known to alter responses in auditory cortex, also modified the relationship between gamma and unit activity. A boost in gamma oscillations developed, especially at sites tuned near the tone, and strengthened across multiple conditioning sessions. Unit activity became increasingly phase-locked to gamma, with sites tuned near the tone developing enhanced phase-locking during the tone, while those tuned away maintained a tendency to decrease their phase-locking. Enhancements in the coordination of spiking between sites tuned near the tone developed within the first conditioning session, and remained throughout the rest of training. Enhanced cross-covariances in unit activity were strongest for subjects that exhibited robust conditioned fear. These results illustrate that changes in sensory cortex during associative learning extend to the coordination of neurons encoding the relevant stimulus, with implications for how it is processed downstream. PMID:23536084

  2. [Suppression of conditioned fear by administration of CCKB receptor antagonist PD135158].

    PubMed

    Tsutsumi, T; Isogawa, K; Kouno, Y; Hikichi, T; Nagayama, H; Akiyoshi, J

    1998-02-01

    The aim of this study is to determine whether or not CCKB receptor antagonist PD135158 suppresses conditioned fear. Rats were individually subjected to 30 min of inescapable electric footshock in a chamber with a grid floor. PD135158 or the vehicle was administered 30 min before placing the rats in the shock chamber again. The rats were observed for 5 min without receiving shock. The administration of PD135158 30 min before conditioned-fear stress significantly reduced freezing behavior. PD135158 blocked the expression of conditioned fear. PD135158 was again administered 30 min before footshock. Then, the rats were individually subjected to 30 min of inescapable electric footshock in the shock chamber. Twenty-four hours after receiving footshock, the rats were again placed in the shock chamber and observed for 5 min without shock administration. The administration of PD135158 30 min before footshock significantly reduced conditioned freezing. PD135158 blocked the anxiety of conditioned fear. PD135158 blocked not only the anxiety, but also the expression of conditioned fear. These results suggest that CCKB receptor might play an important role in conditioned-fear stress. They indicate that CCKB receptor is related to anxiety. PMID:9592807

  3. Social fear conditioning: a novel and specific animal model to study social anxiety disorder.

    PubMed

    Toth, Iulia; Neumann, Inga D; Slattery, David A

    2012-05-01

    Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a major health concern with high lifetime prevalence. The current medication is rather unspecific and, despite considerable efforts, its efficacy is still unsatisfactory. However, there are no appropriate and specific animal models available to study the underlying etiology of the disorder. Therefore, we aimed to establish a model of specific social fear in mice and use this social fear conditioning (SFC) model to assess the therapeutic efficacy of the benzodiazepine diazepam and of the antidepressant paroxetine; treatments currently used for SAD patients. We show that by administering electric foot shocks (2-5, 1 s, 0.7 mA) during the investigation of a con-specific, the investigation of unfamiliar con-specifics was reduced for both the short- and long-term, indicating lasting social fear. The induced fear was specific to social stimuli and did not lead to other behavioral alterations, such as fear of novelty, general anxiety, depression, and impaired locomotion. We show that social fear was dose-dependently reversed by acute diazepam, at doses that were not anxiolytic in a non-social context, such as the elevated plus maze. Finally, we show that chronic paroxetine treatment reversed social fear. All in all, we demonstrated robust social fear after exposure to SFC in mice, which was reversed with both acute benzodiazepine and chronic antidepressant treatment. We propose the SFC model as an appropriate animal model to identify the underlying etiology of SAD and possible novel treatment approaches. PMID:22237310

  4. Corticotropin releasing factor type-1 receptor antagonism in the dorsolateral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis disrupts contextually conditioned fear, but not unconditioned fear to a predator odor.

    PubMed

    Asok, Arun; Schulkin, Jay; Rosen, Jeffrey B

    2016-08-01

    The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) plays a critical role in fear and anxiety. The BNST is important for contextual fear learning, but the mechanisms regulating this function remain unclear. One candidate mechanism is corticotropin-releasing-factor (CRF) acting at CRF type 1 receptors (CRFr1s). Yet, there has been little progress in elucidating if CRFr1s in the BNST are involved in different types of fear (conditioned and/or unconditioned). Therefore, the present study investigated the effect of antalarmin, a potent CRFr1 receptor antagonist, injected intracerebroventricularly (ICV) and into the dorsolateral BNST (LBNST) during single trial contextual fear conditioning or exposure to the predator odor 2,5-dihydro-2,4,5-trimethylthiazoline (TMT). Neither ICV nor LBNST antalarmin disrupted unconditioned freezing to TMT. In contrast, ICV and LBNST antalarmin disrupted the retention of contextual fear when tested 24h later. Neither ICV nor LBNST antalarmin affected baseline or post-shock freezing-indicating antalarmin does not interfere with the early phases of contextual fear acquisition. Antalarmin did not (1) permanently affect the ability to learn and express contextual fear, (2) change responsivity to footshocks, or (3) affect the ability to freeze. Our findings highlight an important role for CRFr1s within the LBNST during contextually conditioned fear, but not unconditioned predator odor fear. PMID:27153520

  5. Interplay between serotonin and cannabinoid function in the amygdala in fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Nasehi, Mohammad; Davoudi, Kamelia; Ebrahimi-Ghiri, Mohaddeseh; Zarrindast, Mohammad-Reza

    2016-04-01

    The possible interactions between the cannabinoid and serotonin systems in the regions of the brain involved in emotional learning and memory formation have been studied by some researchers. In view of the key role of the amygdala in the acquisition and expression of fear memory, we investigated the involvement of basolateral amygdala (BLA) serotonin 5-HT4 receptors in arachidonylcyclopropylamide (ACPA; selective CB1 cannabinoid receptor agonist)-induced fear memory consolidation impairment. In our study, a context and tone fear conditioning apparatus was used for testing fear conditioning in adult male NMRI mice. The results showed that intraperitoneal administration of ACPA 0.5 or 0.05, 0.1 and 0.5mg/kg immediately after training decreased the percentage of freezing time in context or tone fear conditioning respectively, suggesting a context- or tone-dependent fear memory consolidation impairment. Post-training intra-BLA microinjections of RS67333, as 5-HT4 serotonin receptor agonist, at doses of 0.025 and 0.05 µg/mouse also impaired context or tone memory consolidation, while RS23597, as 5-HT4 serotonin receptor antagonist, did not produce a marked difference in both fear memories as compared with the control group. Moreover, a subthreshold dose of RS67333 did not alter ACPA response in both fear conditionings. Interestingly, a subthreshold dose of RS23597 potentiated or reversed ACPA response at the dose of 0.01 or 0.05 respectively. It is concluded that BLA serotonin 5-HT4 receptors are involved in tone-dependent fear memory consolidation impairment induced by CB1 activation using ACPA, suggesting a modulatory role for serotonin 5-HT4 receptor. PMID:26820636

  6. Fear Extinction in Rodents

    PubMed Central

    Chang, Chun-hui; Knapska, Ewelina; Orsini, Caitlin A.; Rabinak, Christine A.; Zimmerman, Joshua M.; Maren, Stephen

    2009-01-01

    Pavlovian conditioning paradigms have become important model systems for understanding the neuroscience of behavior. In particular, studies of the extinction of Pavlovian fear responses are yielding important information about the neural substrates of anxiety disorders in humans. These studies are germane to understanding the neural mechanisms underlying behavioral interventions that suppress fear, including exposure therapy. This chapter described detailed behavioral protocols for examining the nature and properties of fear extinction in laboratory rodents. PMID:19340814

  7. Involvement of the dopaminergic system in the consolidation of fear conditioning in hippocampal CA3 subregion.

    PubMed

    Wen, Jia-Ling; Xue, Li; Wang, Run-Hua; Chen, Zi-Xiang; Shi, Yan-Wei; Zhao, Hu

    2015-02-01

    The hippocampus, the primary brain structure related to learning and memory, receives sparse but comprehensive dopamine innervations and contains dopamine D1 and D2 receptors. Systematic hippocampal dopaminergic dysfunction can cause deficits in spatial working memory and impair consolidation of contextual fear memories. CA3 is involved in the rapid acquisition of new memories and has extensive nerve fibre connections with other brain structures such as CA1, the amygdala, and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). A bidirectional fibrous connection between CA3 and the amygdala reflects the importance of CA3 in fear conditioning. The present study evaluated the effects of a 6-OHDA lesion in CA3 on the acquisition and expression of conditioned fear. The results showed CA3 involvement in the expression but not the acquisition of conditioned fear. Injection of SCH23390 and quinpirole into the bilateral CA3 attenuated a conditioned fear-related freezing response, whereas SKF38393 and sulpiride were not associated with this effect. The present study found that a 6-OHDA lesion in CA3 up-regulated the expression of GluR1 in BLA and down-regulated NR2B in CA1 and the basolateral amygdala (BLA). Our data suggest that dopamine depletion in hippocampal subdivision CA3 may not be necessary for the acquisition of conditioned fear, but the expression of conditioned fear is likely dependent on the integrity of mesohippocampal dopaminergic connections. It is probable that both D1 and D2 dopaminergic receptors modulate the expression of conditioned fear. Changes in the expression of NR2B and GluR1 indicate that CA3 may modulate the activities of other brain structures. PMID:25446753

  8. The Role of Nucleus Accumbens Shell in Learning about Neutral versus Excitatory Stimuli during Pavlovian Fear Conditioning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bradfield, Laura A.; McNally, Gavan P.

    2010-01-01

    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…

  9. Correlations between psychological tests and physiological responses during fear conditioning and renewal

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Anxiety disorders are characterized by specific emotions, thoughts and physiological responses. Little is known, however, about the relationship between psychological/personality indices of anxiety responses to fear stimuli. Methods We studied this relationship in healthy subjects by comparing scores on psychological and personality questionnaires with results of an experimental fear conditioning paradigm using a visual conditioned stimulus (CS). We measured skin conductance response (SCR) during habituation, conditioning, and extinction; subsequently testing for recall and renewal of fear 24 hours later. Results We found that multiple regression models explained 45% of the variance during conditioning to the CS+, and 24% of the variance during renewal of fear to the CS+. Factors that explained conditioning included lower levels of conscientiousness, increased baseline reactivity (SCL), and response to the shock (UCR). Low levels of extraversion correlated with greater renewal. No model could be found to explain extinction learning or extinction recall to the CS+. Conclusions The lack of correlation of fear extinction with personality and neuropsychological indices suggests that extinction may be less determined by trait variables and cognitive state, and may depend more on the subject’s current emotional state. The negative correlation between fear renewal and extraversion suggests that this personality characteristic may protect against post-treatment relapse of symptoms of anxiety disorders. PMID:22985550

  10. Effects of psilocybin on hippocampal neurogenesis and extinction of trace fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Catlow, Briony J; Song, Shijie; Paredes, Daniel A; Kirstein, Cheryl L; Sanchez-Ramos, Juan

    2013-08-01

    Drugs that modulate serotonin (5-HT) synaptic concentrations impact neurogenesis and hippocampal (HPC)-dependent learning. The primary objective is to determine the extent to which psilocybin (PSOP) modulates neurogenesis and thereby affects acquisition and extinction of HPC-dependent trace fear conditioning. PSOP, the 5-HT2A agonist 25I-NBMeO and the 5-HT2A/C antagonist ketanserin were administered via an acute intraperitoneal injection to mice. Trace fear conditioning was measured as the amount of time spent immobile in the presence of the conditioned stimulus (CS, auditory tone), trace (silent interval) and post-trace interval over 10 trials. Extinction was determined by the number of trials required to resume mobility during CS, trace and post-trace when the shock was not delivered. Neurogenesis was determined by unbiased counts of cells in the dentate gyrus of the HPC birth-dated with BrdU co-expressing a neuronal marker. Mice treated with a range of doses of PSOP acquired a robust conditioned fear response. Mice injected with low doses of PSOP extinguished cued fear conditioning significantly more rapidly than high-dose PSOP or saline-treated mice. Injection of PSOP, 25I-NBMeO or ketanserin resulted in significant dose-dependent decreases in number of newborn neurons in hippocampus. At the low doses of PSOP that enhanced extinction, neurogenesis was not decreased, but rather tended toward an increase. Extinction of "fear conditioning" may be mediated by actions of the drugs at sites other than hippocampus such as the amygdala, which is known to mediate the perception of fear. Another caveat is that PSOP is not purely selective for 5-HT2A receptors. PSOP facilitates extinction of the classically conditioned fear response, and this, and similar agents, should be explored as potential treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions. PMID:23727882

  11. Overgeneralization of Conditioned Fear as a Pathogenic Marker of Panic Disorder

    PubMed Central

    Lissek, Shmuel; Rabin, Stephanie; Heller, Randi E.; Lukenbaugh, David; Geraci, Marilla; Pine, Daniel S.; Grillon, Christian

    2009-01-01

    Objective Classical conditioning features prominently in many etiological accounts of panic disorder. According to such accounts, neutral conditioned stimuli present during panic attacks acquire panicogenic properties. Conditioned stimuli triggering panic symptoms are not limited to the original conditioned stimuli but are thought to generalize to stimuli resembling those co-occurring with panic, resulting in the proliferation of panic cues. The authors conducted a laboratory-based assessment of this potential correlate of panic disorder by testing the degree to which panic patients and healthy subjects manifest generalization of conditioned fear. Method Nineteen patients with a DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of panic disorder and 19 healthy comparison subjects were recruited for the study. The fear-generalization paradigm consisted of 10 rings of graded size presented on a computer monitor; one extreme size was a conditioned danger cue, the other extreme a conditioned safety cue, and the eight rings of intermediary size created a continuum of similarity from one extreme to the other. Generalization was assessed by conditioned fear potentiating of the startle blink reflex as measured with electromyography (EMG). Results Panic patients displayed stronger conditioned generalization than comparison subjects, as reflected by startle EMG. Conditioned fear in panic patients generalized to rings with up to three units of dissimilarity to the conditioned danger cue, whereas generalization in comparison subjects was restricted to rings with only one unit of dissimilarity. Conclusions The findings demonstrate a marked proclivity toward fear overgeneralization in panic disorder and provide a methodology for laboratory-based investigations of this central, yet understudied, conditioning correlate of panic. Given the putative molecular basis of fear conditioning, these results may have implications for novel treatments and prevention in panic disorder. PMID:19917595

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

    The noradrenergic system plays a critical role in the modulation of emotional state, primarily related to anxiety, arousal, and stress. Growing evidence suggests that the endocannabinoid system mediates stress responses and emotional homeostasis, in part, by targeting noradrenergic circuits. In addition, there is an interaction between the cannabinoid and noradrenergic system that has significant functional and behavioral implications. Considering the importance of these systems in forming memories for fearful events, we have investigated the involvement of basolateral amygdala (BLA) α2-adrenoceptors on ACPA (as selective cannabinoid CB1 agonist)-induced inhibition of the acquisition of contextual and auditory conditioned fear. A contextual and auditory fear conditioning apparatus for assess fear memory in adult male NMRI mice was used. Pre-training, intraperitoneal administration of ACPA decreased the percentage freezing time in contextual (at doses of 0.05 and 0.1mg/kg) and auditory (at dose of 0.1 mg/kg) in the fear conditioning task, indicating memory acquisition deficit. The same result was observed with intra-BLA microinjection of clonidine (0.001-0.5 μg/mouse, for both memories), as α2-adrenoceptor agonist and yohimbine (at doses of 0.005 and 0.05 for contextual and at dose of 0.05 μg/mouse for auditory fear memory), as α2-adrenoceptor antagonist. In addition, intra-BLA microinjection of clonidine (0.0005 μg/mouse) did not alter ACPA response in both conditions, while the same dose of yohimbine potentiated ACPA response at the lower dose on contextual fear memory. It is concluded that BLA α2-adrenergic receptors may be involved in context- but not tone-dependent fear memory impairment induced by activation of CB1 receptors. PMID:26698395

  13. Extinction in multiple virtual reality contexts diminishes fear reinstatement in humans

    PubMed Central

    Dunsmoor, Joseph E.; Åhs, Fredrik; Zielinski, David J.; LaBar, Kevin S.

    2014-01-01

    Although conditioned fear can be effectively extinguished by unreinforced exposure to a threat cue, fear responses tend to return when the cue is encountered some time after extinction (spontaneous recovery), in a novel environment (renewal), or following presentation of an aversive stimulus (reinstatement). As extinction represents a context-dependent form of new learning, one possible strategy to circumvent the return of fear is to conduct extinction across several environments. Here, we tested the effectiveness of multiple context extinction in a two-day fear conditioning experiment using 3-D virtual reality technology to create immersive, ecologically-valid context changes. Fear-potentiated startle served as the dependent measure. All three experimental groups initially acquired fear in a single context. A multiple extinction group then underwent extinction in three contexts, while a second group underwent extinction in the acquisition context and a third group underwent extinction in a single different context. All groups returned 24 hours later to test for return of fear in the extinction context (spontaneous recovery) and a novel context (renewal and reinstatement/test). Extinction in multiple contexts attenuated reinstatement of fear but did not reduce spontaneous recovery. Results from fear renewal were tendential. Our findings suggest that multi-context extinction can reduce fear relapse following an aversive event – an event that often induces return of fear in real-world settings -- and provides empirical support for conducting exposure-based clinical treatments across a variety of environments. PMID:24583374

  14. Extinction in multiple virtual reality contexts diminishes fear reinstatement in humans.

    PubMed

    Dunsmoor, Joseph E; Ahs, Fredrik; Zielinski, David J; LaBar, Kevin S

    2014-09-01

    Although conditioned fear can be effectively extinguished by unreinforced exposure to a threat cue, fear responses tend to return when the cue is encountered some time after extinction (spontaneous recovery), in a novel environment (renewal), or following presentation of an aversive stimulus (reinstatement). As extinction represents a context-dependent form of new learning, one possible strategy to circumvent the return of fear is to conduct extinction across several environments. Here, we tested the effectiveness of multiple context extinction in a two-day fear conditioning experiment using 3-D virtual reality technology to create immersive, ecologically-valid context changes. Fear-potentiated startle served as the dependent measure. All three experimental groups initially acquired fear in a single context. A multiple extinction group then underwent extinction in three contexts, while a second group underwent extinction in the acquisition context and a third group underwent extinction in a single different context. All groups returned 24h later to test for return of fear in the extinction context (spontaneous recovery) and a novel context (renewal and reinstatement/test). Extinction in multiple contexts attenuated reinstatement of fear but did not reduce spontaneous recovery. Results from fear renewal were tendential. Our findings suggest that multi-context extinction can reduce fear relapse following an aversive event--an event that often induces return of fear in real-world settings--and provides empirical support for conducting exposure-based clinical treatments across a variety of environments. PMID:24583374

  15. Histone modifications around individual BDNF gene promoters in prefrontal cortex are associated with extinction of conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Bredy, Timothy W; Wu, Hao; Crego, Cortney; Zellhoefer, Jessica; Sun, Yi E; Barad, Mark

    2007-04-01

    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, in these studies, we have investigated whether epigenetic regulation of gene expression contributes to fear extinction. Since brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is crucial for synaptic plasticity and for the maintenance of long-term memory, we examined histone modifications around two BDNF gene promoters after extinction of cued fear, as potential targets of learning-induced epigenetic regulation of gene expression. Valproic acid (VPA), used for some time as an anticonvulsant and a mood stabilizer, modulates the expression of BDNF, and is a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor. Here, we report that extinction of conditioned fear is accompanied by a significant increase in histone H4 acetylation around the BDNF P4 gene promoter and increases in BDNF exon I and IV mRNA expression in prefrontal cortex, that VPA enhances long-term memory for extinction because of its HDAC inhibitor effects, and that VPA potentiates the effect of weak extinction training on histone H4 acetylation around both the BDNF P1 and P4 gene promoters and on BDNF exon IV mRNA expression. These results suggest a relationship between histone H4 modification, epigenetic regulation of BDNF gene expression, and long-term memory for extinction of conditioned fear. In addition, they suggest that HDAC inhibitors may become a useful pharmacological adjunct to psychotherapy for human anxiety disorders. PMID:17522015

  16. Trait anxiety and perceptual load as determinants of emotion processing in a fear conditioning paradigm.

    PubMed

    Fox, Elaine; Yates, Alan; Ashwin, Chris

    2012-04-01

    The impact of trait anxiety and perceptual load on selective attention was examined in a fear conditioning paradigm. A fear-conditioned angry face (CS+), an unconditioned angry face (CS-), or an unconditioned face with a neutral or happy expression were used in distractor interference and attentional probe tasks. In Experiments 1 and 2, participants classified centrally presented letters under two conditions of perceptual load. When perceptual load was high, distractors had no effect on selective attention, even with aversive conditioning. However, when perceptual load was low, strong response interference effects for CS+ face distractors were found for low trait-anxious participants. Across both experiments, this enhanced distractor interference reversed to strong facilitation effects for those reporting high trait anxiety. Thus, high trait-anxious participants were faster, rather than slower, when ignoring CS+ distractors. Using an attentional probe task in Experiment 3, it was found that fear conditioning resulted in strong attentional avoidance in a high trait-anxious group, which contrasted with enhanced vigilance in a low trait-anxious group. These results demonstrate that the impact of fear conditioning on attention is modulated by individual variation in trait anxiety when perceptual load is low. Fear conditioning elicits an avoidance of threat-relevant stimuli in high trait-anxious participants. PMID:21875186

  17. Trait Anxiety and Perceptual Load as Determinants of Emotion Processing in a Fear Conditioning Paradigm

    PubMed Central

    Fox, Elaine; Yates, Alan; Ashwin, Chris

    2012-01-01

    The impact of trait anxiety and perceptual load on selective attention was examined in a fear conditioning paradigm. A fear-conditioned angry face (CS+), an unconditioned angry face (CS−), or an unconditioned face with a neutral or happy expression were used in distractor interference and attentional probe tasks. In Experiments 1 and 2, participants classified centrally presented letters under two conditions of perceptual load. When perceptual load was high, distractors had no effect on selective attention, even with aversive conditioning. However, when perceptual load was low, strong response interference effects for CS+ face distractors were found for low trait-anxious participants. Across both experiments, this enhanced distractor interference reversed to strong facilitation effects for those reporting high trait anxiety. Thus, high trait-anxious participants were faster, rather than slower, when ignoring CS+ distractors. Using an attentional probe task in Experiment 3, it was found that fear conditioning resulted in strong attentional avoidance in a high trait-anxious group, which contrasted with enhanced vigilance in a low trait-anxious group. These results demonstrate that the impact of fear conditioning on attention is modulated by individual variation in trait anxiety when perceptual load is low. Fear conditioning elicits an avoidance of threat-relevant stimuli in high trait-anxious participants. PMID:21875186

  18. The Development of Skin Conductance Fear Conditioning in Children from Ages 3 to 8 Years

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gao, Yu; Raine, Adrian; Venables, Peter H.; Dawson, Michael E.; Mednick, Sarnoff A.

    2010-01-01

    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,…

  19. Cannabinoid modulation of prefrontal-limbic activation during fear extinction learning and recall in humans.

    PubMed

    Rabinak, Christine A; Angstadt, Mike; Lyons, Maryssa; Mori, Shoko; Milad, Mohammed R; Liberzon, Israel; Phan, K Luan

    2014-09-01

    Pre-extinction administration of Δ9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC) facilitates recall of extinction in healthy humans, and evidence from animal studies suggest that this likely occurs via enhancement of the cannabinoid system within the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and hippocampus (HIPP), brain structures critical to fear extinction. However, the effect of cannabinoids on the underlying neural circuitry of extinction memory recall in humans has not been demonstrated. We conducted a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, between-subjects design (N=14/group) coupled with a standard Pavlovian fear extinction paradigm and an acute pharmacological challenge with oral dronabinol (synthetic THC) in healthy adult volunteers. We examined the effects of THC on vmPFC and HIPP activation when tested for recall of extinction learning 24 h after extinction learning. Compared to subjects who received placebo, participants who received THC showed increased vmPFC and HIPP activation to a previously extinguished conditioned stimulus (CS+E) during extinction memory recall. This study provides the first evidence that pre-extinction administration of THC modulates prefrontal-limbic circuits during fear extinction in humans and prompts future investigation to test if cannabinoid agonists can rescue or correct the impaired behavioral and neural function during extinction recall in patients with PTSD. Ultimately, the cannabinoid system may serve as a promising target for innovative intervention strategies (e.g. pharmacological enhancement of exposure-based therapy) in PTSD and other fear learning-related disorders. PMID:24055595

  20. Cannabinoid modulation of prefrontal-limbic activation during fear extinction learning and recall in humans

    PubMed Central

    Rabinak, Christine A.; Angstadt, Mike; Lyons, Maryssa; Mori, Shoko; Milad, Mohammed R.; Liberzon, Israel; Phan, K. Luan

    2013-01-01

    Pre-extinction administration of ∆9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC) facilitates recall of extinction in healthy humans, and evidence from animal studies suggest that this likely involves via enhancement of the cannabinoid system within the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and hippocampus (HIPP), brain structures critical to fear extinction. However, the effect of cannabinoids on the underlying neural circuitry of extinction memory recall in humans has not been demonstrated. We conducted a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, between-subjects design (N=14/group) coupled with a standard Pavlovian fear extinction paradigm and an acute pharmacological challenge with oral dronabinol (synthetic THC) in healthy adult volunteers. We examined the effects of THC on vmPFC and HIPP activation when tested for recall of extinction learning 24 hours after extinction learning. Compared to subjects who received placebo, participants who received THC showed increased vmPFC and HIPP activation to a previously extinguished conditioned stimulus (CS+E) during extinction memory recall. This study provides the first evidence that pre-extinction administration of THC modulates prefrontal-limbic circuits during fear extinction in humans and prompts future investigation to test if cannabinoid agonists can rescue or correct the impaired behavioral and neural function during extinction recall in patients with PTSD. Ultimately, the cannabinoid system may serve as a promising target for innovative intervention strategies (e.g. pharmacological enhancement of exposure-based therapy) in PTSD and other fear learning-related disorders. PMID:24055595

  1. Brain region-specific activity patterns after recent or remote memory retrieval of auditory conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Kwon, Jeong-Tae; Jhang, Jinho; Kim, Hyung-Su; Lee, Sujin; Han, Jin-Hee

    2012-01-01

    Memory is thought to be sparsely encoded throughout multiple brain regions forming unique memory trace. Although evidence has established that the amygdala is a key brain site for memory storage and retrieval of auditory conditioned fear memory, it remains elusive whether the auditory brain regions may be involved in fear memory storage or retrieval. To investigate this possibility, we systematically imaged the brain activity patterns in the lateral amygdala, MGm/PIN, and AuV/TeA using activity-dependent induction of immediate early gene zif268 after recent and remote memory retrieval of auditory conditioned fear. Consistent with the critical role of the amygdala in fear memory, the zif268 activity in the lateral amygdala was significantly increased after both recent and remote memory retrieval. Interesting, however, the density of zif268 (+) neurons in both MGm/PIN and AuV/TeA, particularly in layers IV and VI, was increased only after remote but not recent fear memory retrieval compared to control groups. Further analysis of zif268 signals in AuV/TeA revealed that conditioned tone induced stronger zif268 induction compared to familiar tone in each individual zif268 (+) neuron after recent memory retrieval. Taken together, our results support that the lateral amygdala is a key brain site for permanent fear memory storage and suggest that MGm/PIN and AuV/TeA might play a role for remote memory storage or retrieval of auditory conditioned fear, or, alternatively, that these auditory brain regions might have a different way of processing for familiar or conditioned tone information at recent and remote time phases. PMID:22993170

  2. Generalization of Pain-Related Fear Using a Left-Right Hand Judgment Conditioning Task.

    PubMed

    Meulders, Ann; Harvie, Daniel S; Lorimer Moseley, G; Vlaeyen, Johan W S

    2015-09-01

    Recent research suggests that the mere intention to perform a painful movement can elicit pain-related fear. Based on these findings, the present study aimed to determine whether imagining a movement that is associated with pain (CS+) can start to elicit conditioned pain-related fear as well and whether pain-related fear elicited by imagining a painful movement can spread towards novel, similar but distinct imagined movements. We proposed a new experimental paradigm that integrates the left-right hand judgment task (HJT) with a differential fear conditioning procedure. During Acquisition, one hand posture (CS+) was consistently followed by a painful electrocutaneous stimulus (pain-US) and another hand posture (CS-) was not. Participants were instructed to make left-right judgments, which involve mentally rotating their own hand to match the displayed hand postures (i.e., motor imagery). During Generalization, participants were presented with a series of novel hand postures with six grades of perceptual similarity to the CS+ (generalization stimuli; GSs). Finally, during Extinction, the CS+ hand posture was no longer reinforced. The results showed that (1) a painful hand posture triggers fear and increased US-expectancy as compared to a nonpainful hand posture, (2) this pain-related fear spreads to similar but distinct hand postures following a generalization gradient, and subsequently, (3) it can be successfully reduced during extinction. These effects were apparent in the verbal ratings, but not in the startle measures. Because of the lack of effect in the startle measures, we cannot draw firm conclusions about whether the "imagined movements" (i.e., motor imagery of the hand postures) gained associative strength rather than the hand posture pictures itself. From a clinical perspective, basic research into generalization of pain-related fear triggered by covert CSs such as intentions, imagined movements and movement-related cognitions might further our

  3. Relationship between Fear Conditionability and Aversive Memories: Evidence from a Novel Conditioned-Intrusion Paradigm

    PubMed Central

    Wegerer, Melanie; Blechert, Jens; Kerschbaum, Hubert; Wilhelm, Frank H.

    2013-01-01

    Intrusive memories – a hallmark symptom of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – are often triggered by stimuli possessing similarity with cues that predicted or accompanied the traumatic event. According to learning theories, intrusive memories can be seen as a conditioned response to trauma reminders. However, direct laboratory evidence for the link between fear conditionability and intrusive memories is missing. Furthermore, fear conditioning studies have predominantly relied on standardized aversive stimuli (e.g. electric stimulation) that bear little resemblance to typical traumatic events. To investigate the general relationship between fear conditionability and aversive memories, we tested 66 mentally healthy females in a novel conditioned-intrusion paradigm designed to model real-life traumatic experiences. The paradigm included a differential fear conditioning procedure with neutral sounds as conditioned stimuli and short violent film clips as unconditioned stimuli. Subsequent aversive memories were assessed through a memory triggering task (within 30 minutes, in the laboratory) and ambulatory assessment (involuntary aversive memories in the 2 days following the experiment). Skin conductance responses and subjective ratings demonstrated successful differential conditioning indicating that naturalistic aversive film stimuli can be used in a fear conditioning experiment. Furthermore, aversive memories were elicited in response to the conditioned stimuli during the memory triggering task and also occurred in the 2 days following the experiment. Importantly, participants who displayed higher conditionability showed more aversive memories during the memory triggering task and during ambulatory assessment. This suggests that fear conditioning constitutes an important source of persistent aversive memories. Implications for PTSD and its treatment are discussed. PMID:24244407

  4. Knockdown of corticotropin-releasing factor 1 receptors in the ventral tegmental area enhances conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Chen, Nicola A; Ganella, Despina E; Bathgate, Ross A D; Chen, Alon; Lawrence, Andrew J; Kim, Jee Hyun

    2016-09-01

    The neuropeptide corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) coordinates the physiological and behavioural responses to stress. CRF receptors are highly expressed in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), an important region for motivated behaviour. Therefore, we examined the role of CRF receptor type 1 (CRFR1) in the VTA in conditioned fear, using a viral-mediated RNA interference approach. Following stereotaxic injection of a lentivirus that contained either shCRF-R1 or a control sequence, mice received tone-footshock pairings. Intra-VTA shCRF-R1 did not affect tone-elicited freezing during conditioning. Once conditioned fear was acquired, however, shCRF-R1 mice consistently showed stronger freezing to the tone even after extinction and reinstatement. These results implicate a novel role of VTA CRF-R1 in conditioned fear, and suggest how stress may modulate aversive learning and memory. PMID:27397862

  5. Brain c-Fos immunocytochemistry and cytochrome oxidase histochemistry after a fear conditioning task.

    PubMed

    Conejo, Nélida M; González Pardo, Héctor; López, Matías; Cantora, Raúl; Arias, Jorge L

    2007-05-01

    The involvement of the basolateral and the medial amygdala in fear conditioning was evaluated using different markers of neuronal activation. The method described here is a combination of cytochrome oxidase (CO) histochemistry and c-Fos immunocytochemistry on fresh frozen brain sections. Freezing behavior was used as an index of auditory and contextual fear conditioning. As expected, freezing scores were significantly higher in rats exposed to tone-shock pairings in a distinctive environment (conditioned; COND), as compared to rats that did not receive any shocks (UNCD). CO labeling was increased in the basolateral and medial amygdala of the COND group. Conversely, c-Fos expression in the basolateral and medial amygdala was lower in the COND group as compared to the UNCD group. Furthermore, c-Fos expression was particularly high in the medial amygdala of the UNCD group. The data provided by both techniques indicate that these amygdalar nuclei could play different roles on auditory and contextual fear conditioning. PMID:17425902

  6. Contextual fear conditioning in virtual reality is affected by 5HTTLPR and NPSR1 polymorphisms: effects on fear-potentiated startle

    PubMed Central

    Glotzbach-Schoon, Evelyn; Andreatta, Marta; Reif, Andreas; Ewald, Heike; Tröger, Christian; Baumann, Christian; Deckert, Jürgen; Mühlberger, Andreas; Pauli, Paul

    2013-01-01

    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 contextual fear 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 (VR) 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. Enhanced contextual fear conditioning as reflected in potentiated startle responses may be an endophenotype for anxiety disorders. PMID:23630477

  7. Evidence for recovery of fear following immediate extinction in rats and humans

    PubMed Central

    Schiller, Daniela; Cain, Christopher K.; Curley, Nina G.; Schwartz, Jennifer S.; Stern, Sarah A.; LeDoux, Joseph E.; Phelps, Elizabeth A.

    2008-01-01

    Fear responses can be eliminated through extinction, a procedure involving the presentation of fear-eliciting stimuli without aversive outcomes. Extinction is believed to be mediated by new inhibitory learning that acts to suppress fear expression without erasing the original memory trace. This hypothesis is supported mainly by behavioral data demonstrating that fear can recover following extinction. However, a recent report by Myers and coworkers suggests that extinction conducted immediately after fear learning may erase or prevent the consolidation of the fear memory trace. Since extinction is a major component of nearly all behavioral therapies for human fear disorders, this finding supports the notion that therapeutic intervention beginning very soon after a traumatic event will be more efficacious. Given the importance of this issue, and the controversy regarding immediate versus delayed therapeutic interventions, we examined two fear recovery phenomena in both rats and humans: spontaneous recovery (SR) and reinstatement. We found evidence for SR and reinstatement in both rats and humans even when extinction was conducted immediately after fear learning. Thus, our data do not support the hypothesis that immediate extinction erases the original memory trace, nor do they suggest that a close temporal proximity of therapeutic intervention to the traumatic event might be advantageous. PMID:18509113

  8. A cholinergic-dependent role for the entorhinal cortex in trace fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Esclassan, Frederic; Coutureau, Etienne; Di Scala, Georges; Marchand, Alain R

    2009-06-24

    Trace conditioning is considered a model of higher cognitive involvement in simple associative tasks. Studies of trace conditioning have shown that cortical areas and the hippocampal formation are required to associate events that occur at different times. However, the mechanisms that bridge the trace interval during the acquisition of trace conditioning remain unknown. In four experiments with fear conditioning in rats, we explored the involvement of the entorhinal cortex (EC) in the acquisition of fear under a trace-30 s protocol. We first determined that pretraining neurotoxic lesions of the EC selectively impaired trace-, but not delay-conditioned fear as evaluated by freezing behavior. A local cholinergic deafferentation of the EC using 192-IgG-saporin did not replicate this deficit, presumably because cholinergic interneurons were spared by the toxin. However, pretraining local blockade of EC muscarinic receptors with the M1 antagonist pirenzepine yielded a specific and dose-dependent deficit in trace-conditioned responses. The same microinjections performed after conditioning were without effect on trace fear responses. These effects of blocking M1 receptors are consistent with the notion that conditioned stimulus (CS)-elicited, acetylcholine-dependent persistent activities in the EC are needed to maintain a representation of a tone CS across the trace interval during the acquisition of trace conditioning. This function of the EC is consistent with recent views of this region as a short-term stimulus buffer. PMID:19553448

  9. Post-Extinction Conditional Stimulus Valence Predicts Reinstatement Fear: Relevance for Long Term Outcomes of Exposure Therapy

    PubMed Central

    Zbozinek, Tomislav D.; Hermans, Dirk; Prenoveau, Jason M.; Liao, Betty; Craske, Michelle G.

    2014-01-01

    Exposure therapy for anxiety disorders is translated from fear conditioning and extinction. While exposure therapy is effective in treating anxiety, fear sometimes returns after exposure. One pathway for return of fear is reinstatement: unsignaled unconditional stimuli following completion of extinction. The present study investigated the extent to which valence of the conditional stimulus (CS+) after extinction predicts return of CS+ fear after reinstatement. Participants (N = 84) engaged in a differential fear conditioning paradigm and were randomized to reinstatement or non-reinstatement. We hypothesized that more negative post-extinction CS+ valence would predict higher CS+ fear after reinstatement relative to non-reinstatement and relative to extinction retest. Results supported the hypotheses and suggest that strategies designed to decrease negative valence of the CS+ may reduce the return of fear via reinstatement following exposure therapy. PMID:24957680

  10. Ketamine administration diminishes operant responding but does not impair conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Groeber Travis, Caitlin M; Altman, Daniel E; Genovese, Raymond F

    2015-12-01

    While not well understood, the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) antagonist ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic, has been reported to be efficacious in depression and related psychological disorders. Conditioned fear is a normal emotional conditioning process that is known to become dysfunctional in individuals suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and related stress disorders. We examined the effects of ketamine to determine the potential modulation of the acquisition and extinction of a conditioned fear using a conditioned suppression procedure. Rats were trained on a variable interval (VI), food maintained, operant conditioning task to establish a general measure of performance. Rats were exposed to inescapable shock (IES, unconditioned stimulus) paired (×20) with an audio/visual conditioned stimulus (CS) to establish conditioning. Conditioning was quantified by measuring response suppression following CS presentation during subsequent extinction trials where the CS alone was presented. Ketamine or vehicle was administered either after initial conditioning or after each of the subsequent extinction trials. For each regimen, a series of four injections were administered 60 min apart (100, 50, 50, 50 mg/kg, respectively) in order to sustain a ketamine effect for a minimum of 4 h. Ketamine produced a general decrease in responding on the VI, relative to baseline, as response rates were slower on the operant task when tested 24 h later and longer. Ketamine did not affect the acquisition of the conditioned fear when the regimen was administered shortly after the initial pairings of IES and CS. Ketamine did not alter extinction to the conditioned fear when the regimen was administered following each CS only presentation following initial conditioning. Our conclusion from these findings is that while ketamine alters behavior on an appetitively motivated operant task it does not, however, appear to directly modulate learning and memory processes associated

  11. Stress-induced enhancement of fear conditioning and sensitization facilitates extinction-resistant and habituation-resistant fear behaviors in a novel animal model of posttraumatic stress disorder.

    PubMed

    Corley, Michael J; Caruso, Michael J; Takahashi, Lorey K

    2012-01-18

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by stress-induced symptoms including exaggerated fear memories, hypervigilance and hyperarousal. However, we are unaware of an animal model that investigates these hallmarks of PTSD especially in relation to fear extinction and habituation. Therefore, to develop a valid animal model of PTSD, we exposed rats to different intensities of footshock stress to determine their effects on either auditory predator odor fear extinction or habituation of fear sensitization. In Experiment 1, rats were exposed to acute footshock stress (no shock control, 0.4 mA, or 0.8 mA) immediately prior to auditory fear conditioning training involving the pairing of auditory clicks with a cloth containing cat odor. When presented to the conditioned auditory clicks in the next 5 days of extinction testing conducted in a runway apparatus with a hide box, rats in the two shock groups engaged in higher levels of freezing and head out vigilance-like behavior from the hide box than the no shock control group. This increase in fear behavior during extinction testing was likely due to auditory activation of the conditioned fear state because Experiment 2 demonstrated that conditioned fear behavior was not broadly increased in the absence of the conditioned auditory stimulus. Experiment 3 was then conducted to determine whether acute exposure to stress induces a habituation resistant sensitized fear state. We found that rats exposed to 0.8 mA footshock stress and subsequently tested for 5 days in the runway hide box apparatus with presentations of nonassociative auditory clicks exhibited high initial levels of freezing, followed by head out behavior and culminating in the occurrence of locomotor hyperactivity. In addition, Experiment 4 indicated that without delivery of nonassociative auditory clicks, 0.8 mA footshock stressed rats did not exhibit robust increases in sensitized freezing and locomotor hyperactivity, albeit head out vigilance

  12. Heart rate response to fear conditioning and virtual reality in subthreshold PTSD.

    PubMed

    Roy, Michael J; Costanzo, Michelle E; Jovanovic, Tanja; Leaman, Suzanne; Taylor, Patricia; Norrholm, Seth D; Rizzo, Albert A

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:23792855

  13. Cholinergic Modulation of the Hippocampus during Encoding and Retrieval of Tone/Shock-Induced Fear Conditioning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rogers, Jason L.; Kesner, Raymond P.

    2004-01-01

    We investigated the role of acetylcholine (ACh) during encoding and retrieval of tone/shock-induced fear conditioning with the aim of testing Hasselmo's cholinergic modulation model of encoding and retrieval using a task sensitive to hippocampal disruption. Lesions of the hippocampus impair acquisition and retention of contextual conditioning with…

  14. The Role of the Nucleus Basalis Magnocellularis in Fear Conditioning Consolidation in the Rat

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Baldi, Elisabetta; Mariottini, Chiara; Bucherelli, Corrado

    2007-01-01

    The nucleus basalis magnocellularis (NBM) is known to be involved in the memorization of several conditioned responses. To investigate the role of the NBM in fear conditioning memorization, this neural site was subjected to fully reversible tetrodotoxin (TTX) inactivation during consolidation in adult male Wistar rats that had undergone fear…

  15. L-type Voltage-Gated Calcium Channels in Conditioned Fear: A Genetic and Pharmacological Analysis

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    McKinney, Brandon C.; Sze, Wilson; White, Jessica A.; Murphy, Geoffrey G.

    2008-01-01

    Using pharmacological approaches, others have suggested that L-type voltage-gated calcium channels (L-VGCCs) mediate both consolidation and extinction of conditioned fear. In the absence of L-VGCC isoform-specific antagonists, we have begun to investigate the subtype-specific role of LVGCCs in consolidation and extinction of conditioned fear…

  16. Extensive Extinction in Multiple Contexts Eliminates the Renewal of Conditioned Fear in Rats

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Thomas, Brian L.; Vurbic, Drina; Novak, Cheryl

    2009-01-01

    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…

  17. Microstimulation Reveals Opposing Influences of Prelimbic and Infralimbic Cortex on the Expression of Conditioned Fear

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Vidal-Gonzalez, Ivan; Rauch, Scott L.; Quirk, Gregory J.; Vidal-Gonzalez, Benjamin

    2006-01-01

    Recent studies using lesion, infusion, and unit-recording techniques suggest that the infralimbic (IL) subregion of medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is necessary for the inhibition of conditioned fear following extinction. Brief microstimulation of IL paired with conditioned tones, designed to mimic neuronal tone responses, reduces the expression…

  18. Fear conditioning in mouse lines genetically selected for binge-like ethanol drinking.

    PubMed

    Crabbe, John C; Schlumbohm, Jason P; Hack, Wyatt; Barkley-Levenson, Amanda M; Metten, Pamela; Lattal, K Matthew

    2016-05-01

    The comorbidity of substance- and alcohol-use disorders (AUD) with other psychiatric conditions, especially those related to stress such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is well-established. Binge-like intoxication is thought to be a crucial stage in the development of the chronic relapsing nature of the addictions, and self-medication through binge-like drinking is commonly seen in PTSD patients. We have selectively bred two separate High Drinking in the Dark (HDID-1 and HDID-2) mouse lines to reach high blood ethanol concentrations (BECs) after a 4-h period of access to 20% ethanol starting shortly after the onset of circadian dark. As an initial step toward the eventual goal of employing binge-prone HDID mice to study PTSD-like behavior including alcohol binge drinking, we sought first to determine their ability to acquire conditioned fear. We asked whether these mice acquired, generalized, or extinguished conditioned freezing to a greater or lesser extent than unselected control HS/Npt mice. In two experiments, we trained groups of 16 adult male mice in a standard conditioned fear protocol. Mice were tested for context-elicited freezing, and then, in a novel context, for cue-induced freezing. After extinction tests, renewal of conditioned fear was tested in the original context. Mice of all three genotypes showed typical fear responding. Context paired with shock elicited freezing behavior in a control experiment, but cue unpaired with shock did not. These studies indicate that fear learning per se does not appear to be influenced by genes causing predisposition to binge drinking, suggesting distinct neural mechanisms. However, HDID mice are shown to be a suitable model for studying the role of conditioned fear specifically in binge-like drinking. PMID:27139234

  19. Mild Transient Hypercapnia as a Novel Fear Conditioning Stimulus Allowing Re-Exposure during Sleep

    PubMed Central

    Balbir, Alex; Germain, Anne; O’Donnell, Christopher P.

    2013-01-01

    Introduction Studies suggest that sleep plays a role in traumatic memories and that treatment of sleep disorders may help alleviate symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. Fear-conditioning paradigms in rodents are used to investigate causal mechanisms of fear acquisition and the relationship between sleep and posttraumatic behaviors. We developed a novel conditioning stimulus (CS) that evoked fear and was subsequently used to study re-exposure to the CS during sleep. Methods Experiment 1 assessed physiological responses to a conditioned stimulus (mild transient hypercapnia, mtHC; 3.0% CO2; n = 17)+footshock for the purpose of establishing a novel CS in male FVB/J mice. Responses to the novel CS were compared to tone+footshock (n = 18) and control groups of tone alone (n = 17) and mild transient hypercapnia alone (n = 10). A second proof of principle experiment re-exposed animals during sleep to mild transient hypercapnia or air (control) to study sleep processes related to the CS. Results Footshock elicited a response of acute tachycardia (30–40 bpm) and increased plasma epinephrine. When tone predicted footshock it elicited mild hypertension (1–2 mmHg) and a three-fold increase in plasma epinephrine. When mtHC predicted footshock it also induced mild hypertension, but additionally elicited a conditioned bradycardia and a smaller increase in plasma epinephrine. The overall mean 24 hour sleep–wake profile was unaffected immediately after fear conditioning. Discussion Our study demonstrates the efficacy of mtHC as a conditioning stimulus that is perceptible but innocuous (relative to tone) and applicable during sleep. This novel model will allow future studies to explore sleep-dependent mechanisms underlying maladaptive fear responses, as well as elucidate the moderators of the relationship between fear responses and sleep. PMID:23840700

  20. The Role of Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors in the Medial Prefrontal Cortex and Hippocampus in Trace Fear Conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Raybuck, J. D.; Gould, T. J.

    2010-01-01

    Acute nicotine enhances multiple types of learning including trace fear conditioning but the underlying neural substrates of these effects are not well understood. Trace fear conditioning critically involves the medial prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, which both express nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). Therefore, nicotine could act in either or both areas to enhance trace fear conditioning. To identify the underlying neural areas and nAChR subtypes, we examined the effects of infusion of nicotine, or nicotinic antagonists dihydro-beta-erythroidine (DHβE: high-affinity nAChRs) or methyllycaconitine (MLA: low-affinity nAChRs) into the dorsal hippocampus, ventral hippocampus, and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) on trace and contextual fear conditioning. We found that the effects of nicotine on trace and contextual fear conditioning vary by brain region and nAChR subtype. The dorsal hippocampus was involved in the effects of nicotine on both trace and contextual fear conditioning but each task was sensitive to different doses of nicotine. Additionally, dorsal hippocampal infusion of the antagonist DHβE produced deficits in trace but not contextual fear conditioning. Nicotine infusion into the ventral hippocampus produced deficits in both trace and contextual fear conditioning. In the mPFC, nicotine enhanced trace but not contextual fear conditioning. Interestingly, infusion of the antagonists MLA or DHβE in the mPFC also enhanced trace fear conditioning. These findings suggest that nicotine acts on different substrates to enhance trace versus contextual fear conditioning, and that nicotine-induced desensitization of nAChRs in the mPFC may contribute to the effects of nicotine on trace fear conditioning. PMID:20727979

  1. Voluntary exercise during extinction of auditory fear conditioning reduces the relapse of fear associated with potentiated activity of striatal direct pathway neurons.

    PubMed

    Mika, Agnieszka; Bouchet, Courtney A; Bunker, Preston; Hellwinkel, Justin E; Spence, Katie G; Day, Heidi E W; Campeau, Serge; Fleshner, Monika; Greenwood, Benjamin N

    2015-11-01

    Relapse of previously extinguished fear presents a significant, pervasive obstacle to the successful long-term treatment of anxiety and trauma-related disorders. Thus, identification of a novel means to enhance fear extinction to stand the passage of time and generalize across contexts is of the utmost importance. Acute bouts of exercise can be used as inexpensive, noninvasive treatment strategies to reduce anxiety, and have been shown to enhance memory for extinction when performed in close temporal proximity to the extinction session. However, it is unclear whether acute exercise can be used to prevent relapse of fear, and the neural mechanisms underlying this potential effect are unknown. The current study therefore examined whether acute exercise during extinction of auditory fear can protect against the later relapse of fear. Male F344 rats lacking an extended history of wheel running were conditioned to fear a tone CS and subsequently extinguished within either a freely mobile running wheel, a locked wheel, or a control context lacking a wheel. Rats exposed to fear extinction within a freely mobile wheel ran during fear extinction, and demonstrated reduced fear as well as attenuated corticosterone levels during re-exposure to the extinguished CS during the relapse test in a novel context 1week later. Examination of cfos mRNA patterns elicited by re-exposure to the extinguished CS during the relapse test revealed that acute exercise during extinction decreased activation of brain circuits classically involved in driving fear expression and interestingly, increased activity within neurons of the direct striatal pathway involved in reward signaling. These data suggest that exercise during extinction reduces relapse through a mechanism involving the direct pathway of the striatum. It is suggested that a positive affective state could become associated with the CS during exercise during extinction, thus resulting in a relapse-resistant extinction memory. PMID

  2. Short-Term Adaptation of Conditioned Fear Responses Through Endocannabinoid Signaling in the Central Amygdala

    PubMed Central

    Kamprath, Kornelia; Romo-Parra, Hector; Häring, Martin; Gaburro, Stefano; Doengi, Michael; Lutz, Beat; Pape, Hans-Christian

    2011-01-01

    The cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) are both known to have crucial roles in the processing of fear and anxiety, whereby they appear to be especially involved in the control of fear states. However, in contrast to many other brain regions including the cortical subregions of the amygdala, the existence of CB1 in the CeA remains enigmatic. In this study we show that CB1 is expressed in the CeA of mice and that CB1 in the CeA mediates short-term synaptic plasticity, namely depolarization-induced suppression of excitation (DSE) and inhibition (DSI). Moreover, the CB1 antagonist AM251 increased both excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic responses in CeA neurons. Local application of AM251 in the CeA in vivo resulted in an acutely increased fear response in an auditory fear conditioning paradigm. Upon application of AM251 in the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA) in an otherwise identical protocol, no such acute behavioral effects were detected, but CB1 blockade resulted in increased fear responses during tone exposures on the subsequent days. Moreover, we observed that the efficacy of DSE and DSI in the CeA was increased on the day following fear conditioning, indicating that a single tone-shock pairing resulted in changes in endocannabinoid signaling in the CeA. Taken together, our data show the existence of CB1 proteins in the CeA, and their critical role for ensuring short-term adaptation of responses to fearful events, thereby suggesting a potential therapeutic target to accompany habituation-based therapies of post-traumatic symptoms. PMID:20980994

  3. Social buffering enhances extinction of conditioned fear responses in male rats.

    PubMed

    Mikami, Kaori; Kiyokawa, Yasushi; Takeuchi, Yukari; Mori, Yuji

    2016-09-01

    In social species, the phenomenon in which the presence of conspecific animals mitigates stress responses is called social buffering. We previously reported that social buffering in male rats ameliorated behavioral fear responses, as well as hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activation, elicited by an auditory conditioned stimulus (CS). However, after social buffering, it is not clear whether rats exhibit fear responses when they are re-exposed to the same CS in the absence of another rat. In the present study, we addressed this issue using an experimental model of extinction. High stress levels during extinction training impaired extinction, suggesting that extinction is enhanced when stress levels during extinction training are low. Therefore, we hypothesized that rats that had received social buffering during extinction training would not show fear responses to a CS, even in the absence of another rat, because social buffering had enhanced the extinction of conditioned fear responses. To test this, we subjected male fear-conditioned rats to extinction training either alone or with a non-conditioned male rat. The subjects were then individually re-exposed to the CS in a recall test. When the subjects individually underwent extinction training, no responses were suppressed in the recall test. Conversely, when the subjects received social buffering during extinction training, freezing and Fos expression in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus and lateral amygdala were suppressed. Additionally, the effects of social buffering were absent when the recall test was conducted in a different context from the extinction training. The present results suggest that social buffering enhances extinction of conditioned fear responses. PMID:27158024

  4. The Role of Muscarinic and Nicotinic Cholinergic Neurotransmission in Aversive Conditioning: Comparing Pavlovian Fear Conditioning and Inhibitory Avoidance

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tinsley, Matthew R.; Quinn, Jennifer J.; Fanselow, Michael S.

    2004-01-01

    Aversive conditioning is an ideal model for studying cholinergic effects on the processes of learning and memory for several reasons. First, deficits produced by selective lesions of the anatomical structures shown to be critical for Pavlovian fear conditioning and inhibitory avoidance (such as the amygdala and hippocampus) resemble those deficits…

  5. Toward an Account of Clinical Anxiety Predicated on Basic, Neurally-Mapped Mechanisms of Pavlovian Fear-Learning: The Case for Conditioned Overgeneralization

    PubMed Central

    Lissek, Shmuel

    2014-01-01

    The past two decades have brought dramatic progress in the neuroscience of anxiety due, in no small part, to animal findings specifying the neurobiology of Pavlovian fear-conditioning. Fortuitously, this neurally mapped process of fear learning is widely expressed in humans, and has been centrally implicated in the etiology of clinical anxiety. Fear-conditioning experiments in anxiety patients thus represent a unique opportunity to bring recent advances in animal neuroscience to bear on working, brain-based models of clinical anxiety. The current presentation details the neural basis and clinical relevance of fear conditioning, and highlights generalization of conditioned fear to stimuli resembling the conditioned danger cue as one of the more robust conditioning markers of clinical anxiety. Studies testing such generalization across a variety of anxiety disorders (panic, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder) with systematic methods developed in animals will next be presented. Finally, neural accounts of over-generalization deriving from animal and human data will be described with emphasis given to implications for the neurobiology and treatment of clinical anxiety. PMID:22447565

  6. Contextual Change After Fear Acquisition Affects Conditioned Responding and the Time Course of Extinction Learning—Implications for Renewal Research

    PubMed Central

    Sjouwerman, Rachel; Niehaus, Johanna; Lonsdorf, Tina B.

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26696855

  7. Enhanced extinction of contextual fear conditioning in ClockΔ19 mutant mice.

    PubMed

    Bernardi, Rick E; Spanagel, Rainer

    2014-08-01

    Clock genes have been implicated in several disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorders, and drug dependence. However, few studies to date have examined the role of clock genes in fear-related behaviors. The authors used mice with the ClockΔ19 mutation to assess the involvement of this gene in contextual fear conditioning. Male wild-type (WT) and ClockΔ19 mutant mice underwent a single session of contextual fear conditioning (12 min, 4 unsignaled shocks), followed by daily 12-min retention trials. There were no differences between mutant and WT mice in the acquisition of contextual fear, and WT and mutant mice demonstrated similar freezing during the first retention session. However, extinction of contextual fear was accelerated in mutant mice across the remaining retention sessions, as compared to WT mice, suggesting a role for Clock in extinction following aversive learning. Because the ClockΔ19 mutation has previously been demonstrated to result in an increase in dopamine signaling, the authors confirmed the role of dopamine in extinction learning using preretention session administration of a low dose of the dopamine transport reuptake inhibitor modafinil (0.75 mg/kg), which resulted in decreased freezing across retention sessions. These findings are consistent with an emerging portrayal of the importance of Clock genes in noncircadian functions, as well as the important role of dopamine in extinction learning. PMID:24865659

  8. Fear conditioning, persistence of disruptive behavior and psychopathic traits: an fMRI study

    PubMed Central

    Cohn, M D; Popma, A; van den Brink, W; Pape, L E; Kindt, M; van Domburgh, L; Doreleijers, T A H; Veltman, D J

    2013-01-01

    Children diagnosed with Disruptive Behavior Disorders (DBD), especially those with psychopathic traits, are at risk of developing persistent and severe antisocial behavior. Deficient fear conditioning may be a key mechanism underlying persistence, and has been associated with altered regional brain function in adult antisocial populations. In this study, we investigated the associations between the neural correlates of fear conditioning, persistence of childhood-onset DBD during adolescence and psychopathic traits. From a cohort of children arrested before the age of 12 years, participants who were diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder or Conduct Disorder in previous waves (mean age of onset 6.5 years, s.d. 3.2) were reassessed at mean age 17.6 years (s.d. 1.4) and categorized as persistent (n=25) or desistent (n=25) DBD. Using the Youth Psychopathic Traits Inventory and functional magnetic resonance imaging during a fear conditioning task, these subgroups were compared with 26 matched healthy controls from the same cohort. Both persistent and desistent DBD subgroups were found to show higher activation in fear processing-related brain areas during fear conditioning compared with healthy controls. In addition, regression analyses revealed that impulsive-irresponsible and grandiose-manipulative psychopathic traits were associated with higher activation, whereas callous-unemotional psychopathic traits were related to lower activation in fear-related areas. Finally, the association between neural activation and DBD subgroup membership was mediated by impulsive-irresponsible psychopathic traits. These results provide evidence for heterogeneity in the neurobiological mechanisms underlying psychopathic traits and antisocial behavior and, as such, underscore the need to develop personalized interventions. PMID:24169638

  9. Extinction of conditioned fear is better learned and recalled in the morning than in the evening.

    PubMed

    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

    2013-11-01

    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. PMID:23992769

  10. Extinction of Conditioned Fear is Better Learned and Recalled in the Morning than in the Evening

    PubMed Central

    Pace-Schott, Edward F.; Spencer, Rebecca M.C.; Vijayakumar, Shilpa; Ahmed, Nafis; Verga, Patrick W.; Orr, Scott P.; Pitman, Roger K.; Milad, Mohammed R.

    2013-01-01

    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 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 hr (within AM or PM), 12 hr (morning-to-evening or evening-to-morning) or 24 hr (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 predicting better extinction learning. Circadian factors may promote morning extinction. Alternatively, evening homeostatic sleep pressure may impede extinction and favor recall of conditioned fear. PMID:23992769

  11. Conditioned fear and extinction learning performance and its association with psychiatric symptoms in active duty Marines

    PubMed Central

    Acheson, D.T.; Geyer, M.A.; Baker, D.G.; Nievergelt, C.M.; Yurgil, K.; Risbrough, V.B.

    2014-01-01

    Summary Background Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a major public health concern, especially given the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nevertheless, despite a sharp increase in the incidence of psychiatric disorders in returning veterans, empirically based prevention strategies are still lacking. To develop effective prevention and treatment strategies, it is necessary to understand the underlying biological mechanisms contributing to PTSD and other trauma related symptoms. Methods The “Marine Resiliency Study II” (MRS-II; October 2011–October 2013) Neurocognition project is an investigation of neurocognitive performance in Marines about to be deployed to Afghanistan. As part of this investigation, 1195 Marines and Navy corpsmen underwent a fear conditioning and extinction paradigm and psychiatric symptom assessment prior to deployment. The current study assesses (1) the effectiveness of the fear potentiated startle paradigm in producing fear learning and extinction and (2) the association of performance in the paradigm with baseline psychiatric symptom classes (healthy: n = 923, PTSD symptoms: n = 42, anxiety symptoms: n = 37, and depression symptoms: n = 12). Results Results suggest that the task was effective in producing differential fear learning and fear extinction in this cohort. Further, distinct patterns emerged differentiating the PTSD and anxiety symptom classes from both healthy and depression classes. During fear acquisition, the PTSD symptom group was the only group to show deficient discrimination between the conditioned stimulus (CS+) and safety cue (CS−), exhibiting larger startle responses during the safety cue compared to the healthy group. During extinction learning, the PTSD symptom group showed significantly less reduction in their CS+ responding over time compared to the healthy group, as well as reduced extinction of self-reported anxiety to the CS+ by the end of the extinction session. Conversely, the anxiety symptom

  12. Differential Transcriptional Response to Nonassociative and Associative Components of Classical Fear Conditioning in the Amygdala and Hippocampus

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Isiegas, Carolina; Stein, Joel; Hellman, Kevin; Hannenhalli, Sridhar; Abel, Ted; Keeley, Michael B.; Wood, Marcelo A.

    2006-01-01

    Classical fear conditioning requires the recognition of conditioned stimuli (CS) and the association of the CS with an aversive stimulus. We used Affymetrix oligonucleotide microarrays to characterize changes in gene expression compared to naive mice in both the amygdala and the hippocampus 30 min after classical fear conditioning and 30 min after…

  13. Pair exposure with conspecific during fear conditioning induces the link between freezing and passive avoidance behaviors in rats.

    PubMed

    Lee, Hyunchan; Noh, Jihyun

    2016-07-01

    Social factor plays an important role in dealing with posttraumatic stress disorder related to excessive physiological fear response and insufficient fear memory extinction of the brain. However, although social circumstances occurred not only during contextual retrieval but also during fear conditioning, most previous studies focused on the advantageous aspects of social buffering in fear retrieval period. To demonstrate the association between fear responses and fear memory from social stimuli during fear conditioning, pair exposed rats with conspecific as social buffering were subjected to a fear conditioning of passive avoidance test to evaluate memory function and freezing behavior. Whereas single exposed rats showed the significant increase of freezing behaviors and passive avoidance behaviors compared to control rats, pair exposed rats showed significant alleviation of the freezing behaviors and passive avoidance behaviors compared to single exposed rats. Furthermore, we determined a significant correlation between freezing and passive avoidance behavioral alteration in pair exposed rats. Taken together, we suggest that pair exposure with conspecific during fear conditioning helps to cope with both freezing response and fear memory systems and their reciprocal interaction has a crucial potential as a resource for the relief of unreasonable stress responses in posttraumatic stress disorder. PMID:26827818

  14. Elevated Fear Conditioning to Socially Relevant Unconditioned Stimuli in Social Anxiety Disorder

    PubMed Central

    Lissek, Shmuel; Levenson, Jessica; Biggs, Arter L.; Johnson, Linda L.; Ameli, Rezvan; Pine, Daniel S.; Grillon, Christian

    2008-01-01

    Objective Though conditioned fear has long been acknowledged as an important etiologic mechanism in social anxiety disorder, past psychophysiological experiments have found no differences in general conditionability among social anxiety patients using generally aversive but socially nonspecific unconditioned stimuli (e.g., unpleasant odors and painful pressure). The authors applied a novel fear conditioning paradigm consisting of socially relevant unconditioned stimuli of critical facial expressions and verbal feedback. This study represents the first effort to assess the conditioning correlates of social anxiety disorder within an ecologically enhanced paradigm. Method Subjects with social anxiety disorder and age- and gender-matched healthy comparison subjects underwent differential classical conditioning. Conditioned stimuli included images of three neutral facial expressions, each of which was paired with one of three audiovisual unconditioned stimuli: negative insults with critical faces (USneg), positive compliments with happy faces (USpos), or neutral comments with neutral faces (USneu). The conditioned response was measured as the fear-potentiation of the startle-blink reflex elicited during presentation of the conditioned stimuli. Results Only social anxiety subjects demonstrated fear conditioning in response to facial expressions, as the startle-blink reflex was potentiated by the CSneg versus both CSneu and CSpos among those with the disorder, while healthy comparison subjects displayed no evidence of conditioned startle-potentiation. Such group differences in conditioning were independent of levels of anxiety to the unconditioned stimulus, implicating associative processes rather than increased unconditioned stimulus reactivity as the active mechanism underlying enhanced conditioned startle-potentiation among social anxiety subjects. Conclusions Results support a conditioning contribution to social anxiety disorder and underscore the importance of

  15. Potentiation rather than distraction in a trace fear conditioning procedure.

    PubMed

    Pezze, M A; Marshall, H J; Cassaday, H J

    2016-07-01

    Trace conditioning procedures are defined by the introduction of a trace interval between conditioned stimulus (CS, e.g. noise or light) offset and unconditioned stimulus (US, e.g. footshock). The introduction of an additional stimulus as a distractor has been suggested to increase the attentional demands of the task and to extend the usefulness of the behavioural model. In Experiment 1, the CS was noise and the distractor was provided by an intermittent light. In Experiment 2, the CS was light and the distractor was provided by an intermittent noise. In both experiments, the introduction of a 10s trace interval weakened associative learning compared with that seen in a 0s delay conditioned group. However, there was no consistent evidence of distraction. On the contrary, in Experiment 1, associative learning was stronger (in both trace and delay conditioned groups) for rats conditioned also in the presence of the intermittent light. In Experiment 2, there was no such effect when the roles of the stimuli were reversed. The results of Experiment 2 did however confirm the particular salience of the noise stimulus. The finding of increased associative learning dependent on salience is consistent with arousal-mediated effects on associative learning. PMID:27060226

  16. Involvement of the Lateral Septal Area in the Expression of Fear Conditioning to Context

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Reis, Daniel G.; Scopinho, America A.; Guimaraes, Francisco S.; Correa, Fernando M. A.; Resstel, Leonardo B. M.

    2010-01-01

    Considering the evidence that the lateral septal area (LSA) modulates defensive responses, the aim of the present study is to verify if this structure is also involved in contextual fear conditioning responses. Neurotransmission in the LSA was reversibly inhibited by bilateral microinjections of cobalt chloride (CoCl[subscript 2], 1 mM) 10 min…

  17. Suppression of conditioned fear by administration of CCKB receptor antagonist PD135158.

    PubMed

    Tsutsumi, T; Akiyoshi, J; Isogawa, K; Kohno, Y; Hikichi, T; Nagayama, H

    1999-12-01

    In order to examine the involvement of CCK in the formation of anxiety, we have investigated whether CCKB receptor antagonist PD135158 suppressed conditioned fear stress. Rats were individually subjected to 30 min of inescapable electric footshock in a chamber with a grid floor. First, the rats were individually subjected to 30 min of footshock. Twenty-four h after the footshock, the rats were again placed in the chamber and observed for 5 min without shocks. PD135158 was administered 30 min before placing the rats in the chamber again. Secondly, PD135158 was administered 30 min before footshock. Thirdly, PD135158 was administered 5 min after footshock. Administration of PD135158 30 min before conditioned fear stress significantly reduced freezing behavior. Administration of PD135158 30 min before footshock also significantly reduced freezing behavior. But, administration of PD135158 5 min after footshock did not significantly reduce freezing behavior. PD135158 blocked not only the acquisition but also the expression of conditioned fear. These results suggest that the CCKB receptor might play an important role in conditioned fear stress and that it might be related to anxiety. PMID:10657528

  18. Neonatal Odor-Shock Conditioning Alters the Neural Network Involved in Odor Fear Learning at Adulthood

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sevelinges, Yannick; Sullivan, Regina M.; Messaoudi, Belkacem; Mouly, Anne-Marie

    2008-01-01

    Adult learning and memory functions are strongly dependent on neonatal experiences. We recently showed that neonatal odor-shock learning attenuates later life odor fear conditioning and amygdala activity. In the present work we investigated whether changes observed in adults can also be observed in other structures normally involved, namely…

  19. Neural Correlates of Appetitive-Aversive Interactions in Pavlovian Fear Conditioning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Nasser, Helen M.; McNally, Gavan P.

    2013-01-01

    We used Pavlovian counterconditioning in rats to identify the neural mechanisms for appetitive-aversive motivational interactions. In Stage I, rats were trained on conditioned stimulus (CS)-food (unconditioned stimulus [US]) pairings. In Stage II, this appetitive CS was transformed into a fear CS via pairings with footshock. The development of…

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2013-01-01

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

  1. Blockade of Dopamine Activity in the Nucleus Accumbens Impairs Learning Extinction of Conditioned Fear

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Holtzman-Assif, Orit; Laurent, Vincent; Westbrook, R. Frederick

    2010-01-01

    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…

  2. DHPG Activation of Group 1 mGluRs in BLA Enhances Fear Conditioning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rudy, Jerry W.; Matus-Amat, Patricia

    2009-01-01

    Group 1 metabotropic glutamate receptors are known to play an important role in both synaptic plasticity and memory. We show that activating these receptors prior to fear conditioning by infusing the group 1 mGluR agonist, (R.S.)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine (DHPG), into the basolateral region of the amygdala (BLA) of adult Sprague-Dawley rats…

  3. Effects of Post-Training Hippocampal Injections of Midazolam on Fear Conditioning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gafford, Georgette M.; Parsons, Ryan G.; Helmstetter, Fred J.

    2005-01-01

    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…

  4. A Bout of Voluntary Running Enhances Context Conditioned Fear, Its Extinction, and Its Reconsolidation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Siette, Joyce; Reichelt, Amy C.; Westbrook, R. Frederick

    2014-01-01

    Three experiments used rats to examine the effect of a single bout of voluntary activity (wheel running) on the acquisition, extinction, and reconsolidation of context conditioned fear. In Experiment 1, rats provided with access to a wheel for 3 h immediately before or after a shocked exposure to a context froze more when tested in that context…

  5. The Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor Valproic Acid Enhances Acquisition, Extinction, and Reconsolidation of Conditioned Fear

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bredy, Timothy W.; Barad, Mark

    2008-01-01

    Histone modifications contribute to the epigenetic regulation of gene expression, a process now recognized to be important for the consolidation of long-term memory. Valproic acid (VPA), used for many years as an anticonvulsant and a mood stabilizer, has effects on learning and memory and enhances the extinction of conditioned fear through its…

  6. Cholinergic Signaling Controls Conditioned Fear Behaviors and Enhances Plasticity of Cortical-Amygdala Circuits.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Li; Kundu, Srikanya; Lederman, James D; López-Hernández, Gretchen Y; Ballinger, Elizabeth C; Wang, Shaohua; Talmage, David A; Role, Lorna W

    2016-06-01

    We examined the contribution of endogenous cholinergic signaling to the acquisition and extinction of fear- related memory by optogenetic regulation of cholinergic input to the basal lateral amygdala (BLA). Stimulation of cholinergic terminal fields within the BLA in awake-behaving mice during training in a cued fear-conditioning paradigm slowed the extinction of learned fear as assayed by multi-day retention of extinction learning. Inhibition of cholinergic activity during training reduced the acquisition of learned fear behaviors. Circuit mechanisms underlying the behavioral effects of cholinergic signaling in the BLA were assessed by in vivo and ex vivo electrophysiological recording. Photostimulation of endogenous cholinergic input (1) enhances firing of putative BLA principal neurons through activation of acetylcholine receptors (AChRs), (2) enhances glutamatergic synaptic transmission in the BLA, and (3) induces LTP of cortical-amygdala circuits. These studies support an essential role of cholinergic modulation of BLA circuits in the inscription and retention of fear memories. PMID:27161525

  7. Deep brain stimulation of the ventral striatum enhances extinction of conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Rodriguez-Romaguera, Jose; Do Monte, Fabricio H M; Quirk, Gregory J

    2012-05-29

    Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the ventral capsule/ventral striatum (VC/VS) reduces symptoms of intractable obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but the mechanism of action is unknown. OCD is characterized by avoidance behaviors that fail to extinguish, and DBS could act, in part, by facilitating extinction of fear. We investigated this possibility by using auditory fear conditioning in rats, for which the circuits of fear extinction are well characterized. We found that DBS of the VS (the VC/VS homolog in rats) during extinction training reduced fear expression and strengthened extinction memory. Facilitation of extinction was observed for a specific zone of dorsomedial VS, just above the anterior commissure; stimulation of more ventrolateral sites in VS impaired extinction. DBS effects could not be obtained with pharmacological inactivation of either dorsomedial VS or ventrolateral VS, suggesting an extrastriatal mechanism. Accordingly, DBS of dorsomedial VS (but not ventrolateral VS) increased expression of a plasticity marker in the prelimbic and infralimbic prefrontal cortices, the orbitofrontal cortex, the amygdala central nucleus (lateral division), and intercalated cells, areas known to learn and express extinction. Facilitation of fear extinction suggests that, in accord with clinical observations, DBS could augment the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapies for OCD. PMID:22586125

  8. Selectivity of conditioned fear of touch is modulated by somatosensory precision.

    PubMed

    Harvie, Daniel S; Meulders, Ann; Reid, Emily; Camfferman, Danny; Brinkworth, Russell S A; Moseley, G Lorimer

    2016-06-01

    Learning to initiate defenses in response to specific signals of danger is adaptive. Some chronic pain conditions, however, are characterized by widespread anxiety, avoidance, and pain consistent with a loss of defensive response specificity. Response specificity depends on ability to discriminate between safe and threatening stimuli; therefore, specificity might depend on sensory precision. This would help explain the high prevalence of chronic pain in body areas of low tactile acuity, such as the lower back, and clarify why improving sensory precision may reduce chronic pain. We compared the acquisition and generalization of fear of pain-associated vibrotactile stimuli delivered to either the hand (high tactile acuity) or the back (low tactile acuity). During acquisition, tactile stimulation at one location (CS+) predicted the noxious electrocutaneous stimulation (US), while tactile stimulation at another location (CS-) did not. Responses to three stimuli with decreasing spatial proximity to the CS+ (generalizing stimuli; GS1-3) were tested. Differential learning and generalization were compared between groups. The main outcome of fear-potentiated startle responses showed differential learning only in the hand group. Self-reported fear and expectancy confirmed differential learning and limited generalization in the hand group, and suggested undifferentiated fear and expectancy in the back group. Differences in generalization could not be inferred from the startle data. Specificity of fear responses appears to be affected by somatosensory precision. This has implications for our understanding of the role of sensory imprecision in the development of chronic pain. PMID:26950514

  9. Inhibition of prefrontal protein synthesis following recall does not disrupt memory for trace fear conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Blum, Sonja; Runyan, Jason D; Dash, Pramod K

    2006-01-01

    Background The extent of similarity between consolidation and reconsolidation is not yet fully understood. One of the differences noted is that not every brain region involved in consolidation exhibits reconsolidation. In trace fear conditioning, the hippocampus and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) are required for consolidation of long-term memory. We have previously demonstrated that trace fear memory is susceptible to infusion of the protein synthesis inhibitor anisomycin into the hippocampus following recall. In the present study, we examine whether protein synthesis inhibition in the mPFC following recall similarly results in the observation of reconsolidation of trace fear memory. Results Targeted intra-mPFC infusions of anisomycin or vehicle were performed immediately following recall of trace fear memory at 24 hours, or at 30 days, following training in a one-day or a two-day protocol. The present study demonstrates three key findings: 1) trace fear memory does not undergo protein synthesis dependent reconsolidation in the PFC, regardless of the intensity of the training, and 2) regardless of whether the memory is recent or remote, and 3) intra-mPFC inhibition of protein synthesis immediately following training impaired remote (30 days) memory. Conclusion These results suggest that not all structures that participate in memory storage are involved in reconsolidation. Alternatively, certain types of memory-related information may reconsolidate, while other components of memory may not. PMID:17026758

  10. Impaired conditioned fear response and startle reactivity in epinephrine-deficient mice.

    PubMed

    Toth, Mate; Ziegler, Michael; Sun, Ping; Gresack, Jodi; Risbrough, Victoria

    2013-02-01

    Norepinephrine and epinephrine signaling is thought to facilitate cognitive processes related to emotional events and heightened arousal; however, the specific role of epinephrine in these processes is less known. To investigate the selective impact of epinephrine on arousal and fear-related memory retrieval, mice unable to synthesize epinephrine (phenylethanolamine N-methyltransferase knockout, PNMT-KO) were tested for contextual and cued-fear conditioning. To assess the role of epinephrine in other cognitive and arousal-based behaviors these mice were also tested for acoustic startle, prepulse inhibition, novel object recognition, and open-field activity. Our results show that compared with wild-type mice, PNMT-KO mice showed reduced contextual fear but normal cued fear. Mice exhibited normal memory performance in the short-term version of the novel object recognition task, suggesting that PNMT mice exhibit more selective memory effects on highly emotional and/or long-term memories. Similarly, open-field activity was unaffected by epinephrine deficiency, suggesting that differences in freezing are not related to changes in overall anxiety or exploratory drive. Startle reactivity to acoustic pulses was reduced in PNMT-KO mice, whereas prepulse inhibition was increased. These findings provide further evidence for a selective role of epinephrine in contextual-fear learning and support its potential role in acoustic startle. PMID:23268986

  11. Reinstatement of an Extinguished Fear Conditioned Response in Infant Rats

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Revillo, Damian A.; Trebucq, Gastón; Paglini, Maria G.; Arias, Carlos

    2016-01-01

    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…

  12. Protocol for Studying Extinction of Conditioned Fear in Naturally Cycling Female Rats

    PubMed Central

    Maeng, Lisa Y.; Cover, Kara K.; Landau, Aaron J.; Milad, Mohammed R.; Lebron-Milad, Kelimer

    2015-01-01

    Extinction of conditioned fear has been extensively studied in male rodents. Recently, there have been an increasing number of studies indicating that neural mechanisms for certain behavioral tasks and response behaviors are different in females and males. Using females in research studies can represent a challenge because of the variation of gonadal hormones during their estrous cycle. This protocol describes well-established procedures that are useful in investigating the role of estrogen in fear extinction memory consolidation in female rats. Phase of the estrous cycle and exogenous estrogen administration prior to extinction training can influence extinction recall 24 hr later. The vaginal swabbing technique for estrous phase identification described here aids the examination and manipulation of naturally cycling gonadal hormones. The use of this basic rodent model may further delineate the mechanisms by which estrogen can modulate fear extinction memory in females. PMID:25741747

  13. Protocol for studying extinction of conditioned fear in naturally cycling female rats.

    PubMed

    Maeng, Lisa Y; Cover, Kara K; Landau, Aaron J; Milad, Mohammed R; Lebron-Milad, Kelimer

    2015-01-01

    Extinction of conditioned fear has been extensively studied in male rodents. Recently, there have been an increasing number of studies indicating that neural mechanisms for certain behavioral tasks and response behaviors are different in females and males. Using females in research studies can represent a challenge because of the variation of gonadal hormones during their estrous cycle. This protocol describes well-established procedures that are useful in investigating the role of estrogen in fear extinction memory consolidation in female rats. Phase of the estrous cycle and exogenous estrogen administration prior to extinction training can influence extinction recall 24 hr later. The vaginal swabbing technique for estrous phase identification described here aids the examination and manipulation of naturally cycling gonadal hormones. The use of this basic rodent model may further delineate the mechanisms by which estrogen can modulate fear extinction memory in females. PMID:25741747

  14. Role of L-type Ca2+ channel isoforms in the extinction of conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Busquet, Perrine; Hetzenauer, Alfred; Sinnegger-Brauns, Martina J; Striessnig, Jörg; Singewald, Nicolas

    2008-05-01

    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. PMID:18441296

  15. Deficient fear conditioning in psychopathy as a function of interpersonal and affective disturbances

    PubMed Central

    Veit, Ralf; Konicar, Lilian; Klinzing, Jens G.; Barth, Beatrix; Yilmaz, Özge; Birbaumer, Niels

    2013-01-01

    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 for 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. PMID:24298245

  16. Amygdala kindling disrupts trace and delay fear conditioning with parallel changes in Fos protein expression throughout the limbic brain.

    PubMed

    Botterill, J J; Fournier, N M; Guskjolen, A J; Lussier, A L; Marks, W N; Kalynchuk, L E

    2014-04-18

    Amygdala kindling is well known to increase unconditioned fear and anxiety. However, relatively little is known about whether this form of kindling causes functional changes within the neural circuitry that mediates fear learning and the retrieval of fear memories. To address this issue, we examined the effect of short- (i.e., 30 stimulations) and long-term (i.e., 99 stimulations) amygdala kindling in rats on trace and delay fear conditioning, which are aversive learning tasks that rely predominantly on the hippocampus and amygdala, respectively. After memory retrieval, we analyzed the pattern of neural activity with Fos, the protein product of the immediate early gene c-fos. We found that kindling had no effect on acquisition of the trace fear conditioning task but it did selectively impair retrieval of this fear memory. In contrast, kindling disrupted both acquisition and retrieval of fear memory in the delay fear conditioning task. We also found that kindling-induced impairments in memory retrieval were accompanied by decreased Fos expression in several subregions of the hippocampus, parahippocampus, and amygdala. Interestingly, decreased freezing in the trace conditioning task was significantly correlated with dampened Fos expression in hippocampal and parahippocampal regions whereas decreased freezing in the delay conditioning task was significantly correlated with dampened Fos expression in hippocampal, parahippocampal, and amygdaloid circuits. Overall, these results suggest that amygdala kindling promotes functional changes in brain regions involved in specific types of fear learning and memory. PMID:24486965

  17. FAAH inhibitor OL-135 disrupts contextual, but not auditory, fear conditioning in rats.

    PubMed

    Burman, Michael A; Szolusha, Kerribeth; Bind, Rebecca; Kerney, Kristen; Boger, Dale L; Bilsky, Edward J

    2016-07-15

    Anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent psychological disorders, have significant negative impacts on quality of life and the healthcare system, and yet effective treatments remain elusive. Manipulating the endocannabinoid system has demonstrated potential for treating anxiety, although the side effects of direct manipulations of cannabinoid receptors keeps them from widespread clinical use. Disrupting the degradation enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) enhances endogenous signaling and may produce similar efficacy without the side effects. The current experiments examine the effects of low (5.6mg/kg) or moderate (10.0mg/kg) doses of OL-135, a FAAH inhibitor, on the acquisition and consolidation of classical fear conditioning, a common model of trauma-induced anxiety. The acquisition of contextual, but not auditory, fear conditioning was disrupted by both doses of OL-135. Shock reactivity was not affected. Due to the additional neural circuitry required for contextual, but not auditory, fear conditioning, these data suggest that endocannabinoid signaling outside the amygdala may be critical for a subset of fearful memories. PMID:27083303

  18. Extinction and Retrieval + Extinction of Conditioned Fear Differentially Activate Medial Prefrontal Cortex and Amygdala in Rats.

    PubMed

    Lee, Hongjoo J; Haberman, Rebecca P; Roquet, Rheall F; Monfils, Marie-H

    2015-01-01

    Pairing a previously neutral conditioned stimulus (CS; e.g., a tone) to an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US; e.g., a footshock) leads to associative learning such that the tone alone comes to elicit a conditioned response (e.g., freezing). We have previously shown that an extinction session that occurs within the reconsolidation window (termed retrieval + extinction) attenuates fear responding and prevents the return of fear in Pavlovian fear conditioning (Monfils et al., 2009). To date, the mechanisms that explain the different behavioral outcomes between standard extinction and retrieval + extinction remain poorly understood. Here we sought to examine the differential temporal engagement of specific neural systems by these two approaches using Arc catFISH (cellular compartment analysis of temporal activity using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)). Our results demonstrate that extinction and retrieval + extinction lead to differential patterns of expression, suggesting that they engage different networks. These findings provide insight into the neural mechanisms that allow extinction during reconsolidation to prevent the return of fear in rodents. PMID:26834596

  19. Extinction and Retrieval + Extinction of Conditioned Fear Differentially Activate Medial Prefrontal Cortex and Amygdala in Rats

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Hongjoo J.; Haberman, Rebecca P.; Roquet, Rheall F.; Monfils, Marie-H.

    2016-01-01

    Pairing a previously neutral conditioned stimulus (CS; e.g., a tone) to an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US; e.g., a footshock) leads to associative learning such that the tone alone comes to elicit a conditioned response (e.g., freezing). We have previously shown that an extinction session that occurs within the reconsolidation window (termed retrieval + extinction) attenuates fear responding and prevents the return of fear in Pavlovian fear conditioning (Monfils et al., 2009). To date, the mechanisms that explain the different behavioral outcomes between standard extinction and retrieval + extinction remain poorly understood. Here we sought to examine the differential temporal engagement of specific neural systems by these two approaches using Arc catFISH (cellular compartment analysis of temporal activity using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)). Our results demonstrate that extinction and retrieval + extinction lead to differential patterns of expression, suggesting that they engage different networks. These findings provide insight into the neural mechanisms that allow extinction during reconsolidation to prevent the return of fear in rodents. PMID:26834596

  20. Reduced Electrodermal Fear Conditioning from Ages 3 to 8 Years Is Associated with Aggressive Behavior at Age 8 Years

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Yu; Raine, Adrian; Venables, Peter H.; Dawson, Michael E.; Mednick, Sarnoff A.

    2010-01-01

    Background Poor fear conditioning characterizes adult psychopathy and criminality, but it is not known whether it is related to aggressive/antisocial behavior in early childhood. Methods Using a differential, partial reinforcement conditioning paradigm, electrodermal activity was recorded from 200 male and female children at ages 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8 years. Antisocial/aggressive and hyperactive-inattentive measures were collected at age 8, while social adversity was assessed at age 3. Results Poor electrodermal fear conditioning from ages 3 to 8 years was associated with aggressive behavior at age 8 in both males and females. Conclusions Results indicate that the relationship between poor fear conditioning and aggression occurs early in childhood. Enhanced electrodermal fear conditioning may protect children against future aggressive/violent behavior. Abnormal amygdala functioning, as indirectly assessed by fear conditioning, may be one of the factors influencing the development of childhood aggression. PMID:19788551

  1. Resting-state connectivity of the amygdala is altered following Pavlovian fear conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Schultz, Douglas H.; Balderston, Nicholas L.; Helmstetter, Fred J.

    2012-01-01

    Neural plasticity in the amygdala is necessary for the acquisition and storage of memory in Pavlovian fear conditioning, but most neuroimaging studies have focused only on stimulus-evoked responses during the conditioning session. This study examined changes in the resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) of the amygdala before and after Pavlovian fear conditioning, an emotional learning task. Behavioral results from the conditioning session revealed that participants learned normally and fMRI data recorded during learning identified a number of stimulus-evoked changes that were consistent with previous work. A direct comparison between the pre- and post-conditioning amygdala connectivity revealed a region of dorsal prefrontal cortex (PFC) in the superior frontal gyrus that showed a significant increase in connectivity following the conditioning session. A behavioral measure of explicit memory performance was positively correlated with the change in amygdala connectivity within a neighboring region in the superior frontal gyrus. Additionally, an implicit autonomic measure of conditioning was positively correlated with the change in connectivity between the amygdala and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). The resting-state data show that amygdala connectivity is altered following Pavlovian fear conditioning and that these changes are also related to behavioral outcomes. These alterations may reflect the operation of a consolidation process that strengthens neural connections to support memory after the learning event. PMID:22936906

  2. Convergent effects of mouse Pet-1 deletion and human PET-1 variation on amygdala fear and threat processing.

    PubMed

    Wellman, Cara L; Camp, Marguerite; Jones, V Morgan; MacPherson, Kathryn P; Ihne, Jessica; Fitzgerald, Paul; Maroun, Mouna; Drabant, Emily; Bogdan, Ryan; Hariri, Ahmad R; Holmes, Andrew

    2013-12-01

    Serotonin is critical for shaping the development of neural circuits regulating emotion. Pet-1 (FEV-1) is an ETS-domain transcription factor essential for differentiation and forebrain targeting of serotonin neurons. Constitutive Pet-1 knockout (KO) causes major loss of serotonin neurons and forebrain serotonin availability, and behavioral abnormalities. We phenotyped Pet-1 KO mice for fear conditioning and extinction, and on a battery of assays for anxiety- and depression-related behaviors. Morphology of Golgi-stained neurons in basolateral amygdala (BLA) and prelimbic cortex was examined. Using human imaging genetics, a common variant (rs860573) in the PET-1 (FEV) gene was tested for effects on threat-related amygdala reactivity and psychopathology in 88 Asian-ancestry subjects. Pet-1 KO mice exhibited increased acquisition and expression of fear, and elevated fear recovery following extinction, relative to wild-type (WT). BLA dendrites of Pet-1 KO mice were significantly longer than in WT. Human PET-1 variation associated with differences in amygdala threat processing and psychopathology. This novel evidence for the role of Pet-1 in fear processing and dendritic organization of amygdala neurons and in human amygdala threat processing extends a growing literature demonstrating the influence of genetic variation in the serotonin system on emotional regulation via effects on structure and function of underlying corticolimbic circuitry. PMID:24100022

  3. Conditioned fear and inescapable shock modify the release of serotonin in the locus coeruleus.

    PubMed

    Kaehler, S T; Singewald, N; Sinner, C; Thurnher, C; Philippu, A

    2000-03-24

    The aim of the present study was to investigate the importance of the serotonergic transmission in the locus coeruleus (LC) to conditioned fear. Rats were conditioned to fear by exposing them to noise signal (N), light signal (L) and electric foot shock (S) for 4 days. Control rats were exposed to the same events without receiving S. The LC was superfused with artificial cerebrospinal fluid (aCSF) through a push-pull cannula, and the release of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) was determined in the superfusate. Motility, blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) were telemetrically recorded. (1) The process of moving animals from their home cage into the grid-floor chamber transiently increased the release rate of 5-HT and the outflow of 5-HIAA in control and naive rats. In conditioned rats, 5-HT release was similarly increased during transfer but was permanently decreased in the grid-floor chamber. Control rats showed phases of enhanced motility in the chamber, while conditioned animals displayed continuous immobility. In naive rats, enhanced motility persisted in the novel environment. (2) Exposure of rats to N+L+S increased the release of 5-HT and the outflow of 5-HIAA to the same extent in conditioned and naive rats. These changes were associated with elevated motility, rise in BP and tachycardia. (3) In conditioned subjects, exposure to N+L in the fifth day led to a pronounced and sustained decrease in the release rate of 5-HT and to tachycardia, while no effects were observed in control rats or naive rats. The findings suggest that conditioned fear attenuates serotonergic neurotransmission within the LC. Telemetric recording of HR proves to be a valuable index for fear and stress processes. PMID:10719071

  4. The Protein Kinase KIS Impacts Gene Expression during Development and Fear Conditioning in Adult Mice

    PubMed Central

    Manceau, Valérie; Kremmer, Elisabeth; Nabel, Elizabeth G.; Maucuer, Alexandre

    2012-01-01

    The brain-enriched protein kinase KIS (product of the gene UHMK1) has been shown to phosphorylate the human splicing factor SF1 in vitro. This phosphorylation in turn favors the formation of a U2AF65-SF1-RNA complex which occurs at the 3′ end of introns at an early stage of spliceosome assembly. Here, we analyzed the effects of KIS knockout on mouse SF1 phosphorylation, physiology, adult behavior, and gene expression in the neonate brain. We found SF1 isoforms are differently expressed in KIS-ko mouse brains and fibroblasts. Re-expression of KIS in fibroblasts restores a wild type distribution of SF1 isoforms, confirming the link between KIS and SF1. Microarray analysis of transcripts in the neonate brain revealed a subtle down-regulation of brain specific genes including cys-loop ligand-gated ion channels and metabolic enzymes. Q-PCR analyses confirmed these defects and point to an increase of pre-mRNA over mRNA ratios, likely due to changes in splicing efficiency. While performing similarly in prepulse inhibition and most other behavioral tests, KIS-ko mice differ in spontaneous activity and contextual fear conditioning. This difference suggests that disregulation of gene expression due to KIS inactivation affects specific brain functions. PMID:22937132

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

    PubMed

    Markram, Kamila; Rinaldi, Tania; La Mendola, Deborah; Sandi, Carmen; Markram, Henry

    2008-03-01

    A core feature of autism spectrum disorders is the impairment in social interactions. Among other brain regions, a deficit in amygdala processing has been suggested to underlie this impairment, but whether the amygdala is processing fear abnormally in autism, is yet not clear. We used the valproic acid (VPA) rat model of autism to (a) screen for autism-like symptoms in rats, (b) test for alterations in amygdala-dependent fear processing, and (c) evaluate neuronal reactivity and synaptic plasticity in the lateral amygdala by means of in vitro single-cell electrophysiological recordings. VPA-treated animals displayed several symptoms common to autism, among them impaired social interactions and increased repetitive behaviors. Furthermore, VPA-treated rats were more anxious and exhibited abnormally high and longer lasting fear memories, which were overgeneralized and harder to extinguish. On the cellular level, the amygdala was hyperreactive to electrical stimulation and displayed boosted synaptic plasticity as well as a deficit in inhibition. We show for the first time enhanced, overgeneralized and resistant conditioned fear memories in an animal model of autism. Such hyperfear could be caused by the hyperreactivity and hyperplasticity found in the lateral amygdala, which may in turn be due to a deficit in the inhibitory system of the amygdala. We hypothesize an 'aversive world' syndrome that could, even if not a primary cause of the disorder itself, underlie some core symptoms in autism, such as impairments in social interactions and resistance to rehabilitation. PMID:17507914

  6. RNA sequencing from neural ensembles activated during fear conditioning in the mouse temporal association cortex.

    PubMed

    Cho, Jin-Hyung; Huang, Ben S; Gray, Jesse M

    2016-01-01

    The stable formation of remote fear memories is thought to require neuronal gene induction in cortical ensembles that are activated during learning. However, the set of genes expressed specifically in these activated ensembles is not known; knowledge of such transcriptional profiles may offer insights into the molecular program underlying stable memory formation. Here we use RNA-Seq to identify genes whose expression is enriched in activated cortical ensembles labeled during associative fear learning. We first establish that mouse temporal association cortex (TeA) is required for remote recall of auditory fear memories. We then perform RNA-Seq in TeA neurons that are labeled by the activity reporter Arc-dVenus during learning. We identify 944 genes with enriched expression in Arc-dVenus+ neurons. These genes include markers of L2/3, L5b, and L6 excitatory neurons but not glial or inhibitory markers, confirming Arc-dVenus to be an excitatory neuron-specific but non-layer-specific activity reporter. Cross comparisons to other transcriptional profiles show that 125 of the enriched genes are also activity-regulated in vitro or induced by visual stimulus in the visual cortex, suggesting that they may be induced generally in the cortex in an experience-dependent fashion. Prominent among the enriched genes are those encoding potassium channels that down-regulate neuronal activity, suggesting the possibility that part of the molecular program induced by fear conditioning may initiate homeostatic plasticity. PMID:27557751

  7. RNA sequencing from neural ensembles activated during fear conditioning in the mouse temporal association cortex

    PubMed Central

    Cho, Jin-Hyung; Huang, Ben S.; Gray, Jesse M.

    2016-01-01

    The stable formation of remote fear memories is thought to require neuronal gene induction in cortical ensembles that are activated during learning. However, the set of genes expressed specifically in these activated ensembles is not known; knowledge of such transcriptional profiles may offer insights into the molecular program underlying stable memory formation. Here we use RNA-Seq to identify genes whose expression is enriched in activated cortical ensembles labeled during associative fear learning. We first establish that mouse temporal association cortex (TeA) is required for remote recall of auditory fear memories. We then perform RNA-Seq in TeA neurons that are labeled by the activity reporter Arc-dVenus during learning. We identify 944 genes with enriched expression in Arc-dVenus+ neurons. These genes include markers of L2/3, L5b, and L6 excitatory neurons but not glial or inhibitory markers, confirming Arc-dVenus to be an excitatory neuron-specific but non-layer-specific activity reporter. Cross comparisons to other transcriptional profiles show that 125 of the enriched genes are also activity-regulated in vitro or induced by visual stimulus in the visual cortex, suggesting that they may be induced generally in the cortex in an experience-dependent fashion. Prominent among the enriched genes are those encoding potassium channels that down-regulate neuronal activity, suggesting the possibility that part of the molecular program induced by fear conditioning may initiate homeostatic plasticity. PMID:27557751

  8. Early Preferential Responses to Fear Stimuli in Human Right Dorsal Visual Stream - A Meg Study

    PubMed Central

    Meeren, Hanneke K. M.; Hadjikhani, Nouchine; Ahlfors, Seppo P.; Hämäläinen, Matti S.; de Gelder, Beatrice

    2016-01-01

    Emotional expressions of others are salient biological stimuli that automatically capture attention and prepare us for action. We investigated the early cortical dynamics of automatic visual discrimination of fearful body expressions by monitoring cortical activity using magnetoencephalography. We show that right parietal cortex distinguishes between fearful and neutral bodies as early as 80-ms after stimulus onset, providing the first evidence for a fast emotion-attention-action link through human dorsal visual stream. PMID:27095660

  9. Early Preferential Responses to Fear Stimuli in Human Right Dorsal Visual Stream - A Meg Study.

    PubMed

    Meeren, Hanneke K M; Hadjikhani, Nouchine; Ahlfors, Seppo P; Hämäläinen, Matti S; de Gelder, Beatrice

    2016-01-01

    Emotional expressions of others are salient biological stimuli that automatically capture attention and prepare us for action. We investigated the early cortical dynamics of automatic visual discrimination of fearful body expressions by monitoring cortical activity using magnetoencephalography. We show that right parietal cortex distinguishes between fearful and neutral bodies as early as 80-ms after stimulus onset, providing the first evidence for a fast emotion-attention-action link through human dorsal visual stream. PMID:27095660

  10. Voxel-based morphometry predicts shifts in dendritic spine density and morphology with auditory fear conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Keifer Jr, O. P.; Hurt, R. C.; Gutman, D. A.; Keilholz, S. D.; Gourley, S. L.; Ressler, K. J.

    2015-01-01

    Neuroimaging has provided compelling data about the brain. Yet the underlying mechanisms of many neuroimaging techniques have not been elucidated. Here we report a voxel-based morphometry (VBM) study of Thy1-YFP mice following auditory fear conditioning complemented by confocal microscopy analysis of cortical thickness, neuronal morphometric features and nuclei size/density. Significant VBM results included the nuclei of the amygdala, the insula and the auditory cortex. There were no significant VBM changes in a control brain area. Focusing on the auditory cortex, confocal analysis showed that fear conditioning led to a significantly increased density of shorter and wider dendritic spines, while there were no spine differences in the control area. Of all the morphology metrics studied, the spine density was the only one to show significant correlation with the VBM signal. These data demonstrate that learning-induced structural changes detected by VBM may be partially explained by increases in dendritic spine density. PMID:26151911

  11. Genetics of PTSD: Fear Conditioning as a Model for Future Research.

    PubMed

    Amstadter, Ananda B; Nugent, Nicole R; Koenen, Karestan C

    2009-06-01

    In the last decade, the number of publications in psychiatric genetics has nearly tripled but little attention has been paid to the role of genetic factors in the etiology of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The present review summarizes the current state of genetic research on PTSD. First, we outline information regarding genetic influences provided by family investigations and by twin studies. Second, we propose the fear-conditioning model of PTSD as a framework for the nomination of candidate genes that may be related to the disorder. Third, we review lines of evidence from three neurobiological systems involved in fear conditioning, and we summarize published investigations of genetic variants studied in association with PTSD in these three systems. Finally, we review gene-by-environment interaction research, a promising novel approach to genetic research in PTSD. PMID:19779593

  12. Effects of dopamine D1 modulation of the anterior cingulate cortex in a fear conditioning procedure

    PubMed Central

    Pezze, M.A.; Marshall, H.J.; Domonkos, A.; Cassaday, H.J.

    2016-01-01

    The anterior cingulate cortex (AC) component of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) has been implicated in attention and working memory as measured by trace conditioning. Since dopamine (DA) is a key modulator of mPFC function, the present study evaluated the role of DA receptor agents in rat AC, using trace fear conditioning. A conditioned stimulus (CS, noise) was followed by an unconditioned stimulus (US, shock) with or without a 10 s trace interval interposed between these events in a between-subjects design. Conditioned suppression of drinking was assessed in response to presentation of the CS or an experimental background stimulus (flashing lights, previously presented for the duration of the conditioning session). The selective D1 agonist SKF81297 (0.05 μg/side) or D1 antagonist SCH23390 (0.5 μg/side) was administered by intra-cerebral microinfusion directly into AC. It was predicted that either of these manipulations should be sufficient to impair trace (but not delay) conditioning. Counter to expectation, there was no effect of DA D1 modulation on trace conditioning as measured by suppression to the noise CS. However, rats infused with SKF81297 acquired stronger conditioned suppression to the experimental background stimulus than those infused with SCH23390 or saline. Thus, the DA D1 agonist SKF81297 increased conditioned suppression to the contextual background light stimulus but was otherwise without effect on fear conditioning. PMID:26343307

  13. The association between the 5-HTTLPR and neural correlates of fear conditioning and connectivity

    PubMed Central

    Schweckendiek, Jan; Blecker, Carlo; Walter, Bertram; Kuepper, Yvonne; Hennig, Juergen; Stark, Rudolf

    2015-01-01

    Strong evidence links the 5-HTTLPR genotype to the modulation of amygdala reactivity during fear conditioning, which is considered to convey the increased vulnerability for anxiety disorders in s-allele carriers. In addition to amygdala reactivity, the 5-HTTLPR has been shown to be related to alterations in structural and effective connectivity. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of 5-HTTLPR genotype on amygdala reactivity and effective connectivity during fear conditioning, as well as structural connectivity [as measured by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)]. To integrate different classification strategies, we used the bi-allelic (s-allele vs l/l-allele group) as well as the tri-allelic (low-functioning vs high-functioning) classification approach. S-allele carriers showed exaggerated amygdala reactivity and elevated amygdala-insula coupling during fear conditioning (CS + > CS−) compared with the l/l-allele group. In addition, DTI analysis showed increased fractional anisotropy values in s-allele carriers within the uncinate fasciculus. Using the tri-allelic classification approach, increased amygdala reactivity and amygdala insula coupling were observed in the low-functioning compared with the high-functioning group. No significant differences between the two groups were found in structural connectivity. The present results add to the current debate on the influence of the 5-HTTLPR on brain functioning. These differences between s-allele and l/l-allele carriers may contribute to altered vulnerability for psychiatric disorders. PMID:25140050

  14. Object-Location Training Elicits an Overlapping but Temporally Distinct Transcriptional Profile from Contextual Fear Conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Wimmer, Mathieu; Hawk, Joshua D.; Walsh, Jennifer L.; Giese, Karl P.; Abel, Ted

    2014-01-01

    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 received less attention. In this study, we used the object-location memory task and studied gene expression at two time points after learning in a high-throughput manner using a microfluidic qPCR approach. We found that expression of the classic immediate-early genes changes after object-location training in a fashion similar to that observed after contextual fear conditioning. However, the temporal dynamics of gene expression are different between the two tasks, with object-location memory producing gene expression changes that last at least 2 hours. Our findings indicate that different training paradigms may give rise to distinct temporal dynamics of gene expression after learning. PMID:25242102

  15. Long-lasting regulation of hippocampal Bdnf gene transcription after contextual fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Mizuno, K; Dempster, E; Mill, J; Giese, K P

    2012-08-01

    Long-term memory formation requires de novo protein synthesis and gene transcription. During contextual long-term memory formation brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene expression changes in conjunction with alterations of DNA methylation in the Bdnf gene. However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying the maintenance and persistence of contextual long-term memory. Here, we examined the transcription of specific Bdnf exons in the hippocampus for long periods after contextual fear conditioning. We found changes in transcription lasting for at least 24 h after contextual fear conditioning, with some sex-specific effects. In addition, hypomethylation at a CpG site in CpG island 2 located at the end of Bdnf exon III sequence was detected at 0.5 h and maintained for up to 24 h after contextual fear conditioning. The identification of these long-lasting changes in transcription and DNA methylation at the Bdnf gene suggests that BDNF might have a role for storage of contextual long-term memory in the hippocampus. PMID:22574690

  16. Object-location training elicits an overlapping but temporally distinct transcriptional profile from contextual fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Poplawski, Shane G; Schoch, Hannah; Wimmer, Mathieu E; Hawk, Joshua D; Walsh, Jennifer L; Giese, Karl P; Abel, Ted

    2014-12-01

    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 received less attention. In this study, we used the object-location memory task and studied gene expression at two time points after learning in a high-throughput manner using a microfluidic qPCR approach. We found that expression of the classic immediate-early genes changes after object-location training in a fashion similar to that observed after contextual fear conditioning. However, the temporal dynamics of gene expression are different between the two tasks, with object-location memory producing gene expression changes that last at least 2 hours. Our findings indicate that different training paradigms may give rise to distinct temporal dynamics of gene expression after learning. PMID:25242102

  17. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Fear Conditioning, and The Uncinate Fasciculus: A Pilot Study

    PubMed Central

    Hölzel, Britta K.; Brunsch, Vincent; Gard, Tim; Greve, Douglas N.; Koch, Kathrin; Sorg, Christian; Lazar, Sara W.; Milad, Mohammed R.

    2016-01-01

    Mindfulness has been suggested to impact emotional learning, but research on these processes is scarce. The classical fear conditioning/extinction/extinction retention paradigm is a well-known method for assessing emotional learning. The present study tested the impact of mindfulness training on fear conditioning and extinction memory and further investigated whether changes in white matter fiber tracts might support such changes. The uncinate fasciculus (UNC) was of particular interest in the context of emotional learning. In this pilot study, 46 healthy participants were quasi-randomized to a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR, N = 23) or waitlist control (N = 23) group and underwent a two-day fear conditioning, extinction learning, and extinction memory protocol before and after the course or control period. Skin conductance response (SCR) data served to measure the physiological response during conditioning and extinction memory phases. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data were analyzed with probabilistic tractography and analyzed for changes of fractional anisotropy in the UNC. During conditioning, participants were able to maintain a differential response to conditioned vs. not conditioned stimuli following the MBSR course (i.e., higher sensitivity to the conditioned stimuli), while controls dropped the response. Extinction memory results were not interpretable due to baseline differences. MBSR participants showed a significant increase in fractional anisotropy in the UNC, while controls did not (group by time interaction missed significance). Pre-post changes in UNC were correlated with changes in the response to the conditioned stimuli. The findings suggest effects of mindfulness practice on the maintenance of sensitivity of emotional responses and suggest underlying neural plasticity. (ClinicalTrials.gov, Identifier NCT01320969, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01320969). PMID:27378875

  18. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Fear Conditioning, and The Uncinate Fasciculus: A Pilot Study.

    PubMed

    Hölzel, Britta K; Brunsch, Vincent; Gard, Tim; Greve, Douglas N; Koch, Kathrin; Sorg, Christian; Lazar, Sara W; Milad, Mohammed R

    2016-01-01

    Mindfulness has been suggested to impact emotional learning, but research on these processes is scarce. The classical fear conditioning/extinction/extinction retention paradigm is a well-known method for assessing emotional learning. The present study tested the impact of mindfulness training on fear conditioning and extinction memory and further investigated whether changes in white matter fiber tracts might support such changes. The uncinate fasciculus (UNC) was of particular interest in the context of emotional learning. In this pilot study, 46 healthy participants were quasi-randomized to a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR, N = 23) or waitlist control (N = 23) group and underwent a two-day fear conditioning, extinction learning, and extinction memory protocol before and after the course or control period. Skin conductance response (SCR) data served to measure the physiological response during conditioning and extinction memory phases. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data were analyzed with probabilistic tractography and analyzed for changes of fractional anisotropy in the UNC. During conditioning, participants were able to maintain a differential response to conditioned vs. not conditioned stimuli following the MBSR course (i.e., higher sensitivity to the conditioned stimuli), while controls dropped the response. Extinction memory results were not interpretable due to baseline differences. MBSR participants showed a significant increase in fractional anisotropy in the UNC, while controls did not (group by time interaction missed significance). Pre-post changes in UNC were correlated with changes in the response to the conditioned stimuli. The findings suggest effects of mindfulness practice on the maintenance of sensitivity of emotional responses and suggest underlying neural plasticity. (ClinicalTrials.gov, Identifier NCT01320969, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01320969). PMID:27378875

  19. Differential effects of CB1 receptor agonism in behavioural tests of unconditioned and conditioned fear in adult male rats.

    PubMed

    Simone, Jonathan J; Green, Matthew R; Hodges, Travis E; McCormick, Cheryl M

    2015-02-15

    We investigated the effects of the highly selective CB1 receptor agonist ACEA and the CB1 receptor antagonist/inverse agonist AM251 on two behavioural tests of unconditioned fear, the elevated plus maze (EPM) and open field test (OFT), as well as on the recall and extinction of a conditioned auditory fear. Both ACEA and AM251 increased anxiety-like behaviour in the EPM and OFT. There was no effect of either drug on recall of the conditioned fear, and ACEA enhanced and AM251 impaired fear extinction. Further, though both the low (0.1 mg/kg) and high (0.5 mg/kg) dose of ACEA facilitated fear extinction, the low dose attenuated, and the high dose potentiated, fear induced corticosterone release suggesting independent effects of the drug on fear and stress responses. Although the extent to which cannabinoids are anxiogenic or anxiolytic has been proposed to be dose-dependent, these results indicate that the same dose has differential effects across tasks, likely based in differences in sensitivities of CB1 receptors to the agonist in the neural regions subserving unconditioned and conditioned fear. PMID:25446756

  20. Venlafaxine facilitates between-session extinction and prevents reinstatement of auditory-cue conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Yang, Cheng-Hao; Shi, Hai-Shui; Zhu, Wei-Li; Wu, Ping; Sun, Li-Li; Si, Ji-Jian; Liu, Meng-Meng; Zhang, Yan; Suo, Lin; Yang, Jian-Li

    2012-04-21

    Anxiety disorders, characterized by anxiety and fearfulness, are found to be able to cause abnormal emotional responses' associated with memories of negative events, which implicate pressure on society with an increasingly large burden. Better treatment has been of concern to the community. Venlafaxine (VEN), a nonclassical antidepressant agent, is applied in the treatment of social phobia, major depression (MD) and general anxiety disorder (GAD) and, to a certain extent, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which improves working memory and spatial memory as well as ameliorates emotion by affecting specified brain regions. In this study, we committed to seek a new way for using VEN on treatment of anxiety disorders. To investigate the effect of VEN on extinction of auditory-cue conditioned fear, conditioned rats received a treatment with VEN before extinction training and tests for freezing level of within-session and between-session extinction. To investigate the effect of VEN on reinstatement, all conditioned rats received a treatment with VEN over a period for 21 days. After a rest for 7 days, two tests for freezing level were conducted. We found that: (1) VEN (40mg/kg) treatment at 30min prior to extinction training significantly facilitated the between-session extinction, but not the within-session extinction; (2) chronic administration with VEN (40mg/kg) prevented the return of extinguished auditory-cue fear. These data elucidate the critical role of VEN in auditory-cue fear memory, suggesting that VEN may be an ideal choice for the exposure-based drug treatment and maintenance treatment in patients with GAD, SAD and PTSD. PMID:22366271

  1. Forming Competing Fear Learning and Extinction Memories in Adolescence Makes Fear Difficult to Inhibit

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Baker, Kathryn D.; Richardson, Rick

    2015-01-01

    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.…

  2. THE IκB KINASE REGULATES CHROMATIN STRUCTURE DURING RECONSOLIDATION OF CONDITIONED FEAR MEMORIES

    PubMed Central

    Lubin, Farah D.; Sweatt, J. David

    2007-01-01

    Summary Previously formed memories are susceptible to disruption immediately after recall due to a necessity to be reconsolidated after retrieval. Protein translation mechanisms have been widely implicated as being necessary for memory reconsolidation, but gene transcription mechanisms have been much less extensively studied in this context. We found that retrieval of contextual conditioned fear memories activates the NF-κB pathway to regulate histone H3 phosphorylation and acetylation at specific gene promoters in hippocampus, specifically via IKKα and not the NF-κB DNA-binding complex. Behaviorally, we found that inhibition of IKKα regulation of either chromatin structure or NF-κB DNA-binding complex activity leads to impairments in fear memory reconsolidation, and that elevating histone acetylation rescues this memory deficit in the face of IKK blockade. These data provide novel insights into IKK-regulated transcriptional mechanisms in hippocampus that are necessary for memory reconsolidation. PMID:17880897

  3. Fear Conditioning Potentiates Synaptic Transmission onto Long-Range Projection Neurons in the Lateral Subdivision of Central Amygdala

    PubMed Central

    Penzo, Mario A.; Robert, Vincent

    2014-01-01

    Recent studies indicate that the lateral subdivision of the central amygdala (CeL) is essential for fear learning. Specifically, fear conditioning induces cell-type-specific synaptic plasticity in CeL neurons that is required for the storage of fear memories. The CeL also controls fear expression by gating the activity of the medial subdivision of the central amygdala (CeM), the canonical amygdala output to areas that mediate defensive responses. In addition to the connection with CeM, the CeL sends long-range projections to innervate extra-amygdala areas. However, the long-range projection CeL neurons have not been well characterized, and their role in fear regulation is unknown. Here we show in mice that a subset of CeL neurons directly project to the midbrain periaqueductal gray (PAG) and the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus, two brain areas implicated in defensive behavior. These long-range projection CeL neurons are predominantly somatostatin-positive (SOM+) neurons, which can directly inhibit PAG neurons, and some of which innervate both the PAG and paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus. Notably, fear conditioning potentiates excitatory synaptic transmission onto these long-range projection CeL neurons. Thus, our study identifies a subpopulation of SOM+ CeL neurons that may contribute to fear learning and regulate fear expression independent of CeM. PMID:24523533

  4. Is domestication driven by reduced fear of humans? Boldness, metabolism and serotonin levels in divergently selected red junglefowl (Gallus gallus).

    PubMed

    Agnvall, Beatrix; Katajamaa, Rebecca; Altimiras, Jordi; Jensen, Per

    2015-09-01

    Domesticated animals tend to develop a coherent set of phenotypic traits. Tameness could be a central underlying factor driving this, and we therefore selected red junglefowl, ancestors of all domestic chickens, for high or low fear of humans during six generations. We measured basal metabolic rate (BMR), feed efficiency, boldness in a novel object (NO) test, corticosterone reactivity and basal serotonin levels (related to fearfulness) in birds from the fifth and sixth generation of the high- and low-fear lines, respectively (44-48 individuals). Corticosterone response to physical restraint did not differ between selection lines. However, BMR was higher in low-fear birds, as was feed efficiency. Low-fear males had higher plasma levels of serotonin and both low-fear males and females were bolder in an NO test. The results show that many aspects of the domesticated phenotype may have developed as correlated responses to reduced fear of humans, an essential trait for successful domestication. PMID:26382075

  5. Is domestication driven by reduced fear of humans? Boldness, metabolism and serotonin levels in divergently selected red junglefowl (Gallus gallus)

    PubMed Central

    Agnvall, Beatrix; Katajamaa, Rebecca; Altimiras, Jordi; Jensen, Per

    2015-01-01

    Domesticated animals tend to develop a coherent set of phenotypic traits. Tameness could be a central underlying factor driving this, and we therefore selected red junglefowl, ancestors of all domestic chickens, for high or low fear of humans during six generations. We measured basal metabolic rate (BMR), feed efficiency, boldness in a novel object (NO) test, corticosterone reactivity and basal serotonin levels (related to fearfulness) in birds from the fifth and sixth generation of the high- and low-fear lines, respectively (44–48 individuals). Corticosterone response to physical restraint did not differ between selection lines. However, BMR was higher in low-fear birds, as was feed efficiency. Low-fear males had higher plasma levels of serotonin and both low-fear males and females were bolder in an NO test. The results show that many aspects of the domesticated phenotype may have developed as correlated responses to reduced fear of humans, an essential trait for successful domestication. PMID:26382075

  6. Fear Memory.

    PubMed

    Izquierdo, Ivan; Furini, Cristiane R G; Myskiw, Jociane C

    2016-04-01

    Fear memory is the best-studied form of memory. It was thoroughly investigated in the past 60 years mostly using two classical conditioning procedures (contextual fear conditioning and fear conditioning to a tone) and one instrumental procedure (one-trial inhibitory avoidance). Fear memory is formed in the hippocampus (contextual conditioning and inhibitory avoidance), in the basolateral amygdala (inhibitory avoidance), and in the lateral amygdala (conditioning to a tone). The circuitry involves, in addition, the pre- and infralimbic ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the central amygdala subnuclei, and the dentate gyrus. Fear learning models, notably inhibitory avoidance, have also been very useful for the analysis of the biochemical mechanisms of memory consolidation as a whole. These studies have capitalized on in vitro observations on long-term potentiation and other kinds of plasticity. The effect of a very large number of drugs on fear learning has been intensively studied, often as a prelude to the investigation of effects on anxiety. The extinction of fear learning involves to an extent a reversal of the flow of information in the mentioned structures and is used in the therapy of posttraumatic stress disorder and fear memories in general. PMID:26983799

  7. Low levels of estradiol are associated with elevated conditioned responding during fear extinction and with intrusive memories in daily life.

    PubMed

    Wegerer, Melanie; Kerschbaum, Hubert; Blechert, Jens; Wilhelm, Frank H

    2014-12-01

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be conceptualized as a disorder of emotional memory showing strong (conditioned) responses to trauma reminders and intrusive memories among other symptoms. Women are at greater risk of developing PTSD than men. Recent studies have demonstrated an influence of ovarian steroid hormones in both fear conditioning and intrusive memory paradigms. However, although intrusive memories are considered non-extinguished emotional reactions to trauma reminders, none of the previous studies has investigated effects of ovarian hormones on fear conditioning mechanisms and intrusive memories in conjunction. This may have contributed to an overall inconsistent picture of the role of these hormones in emotional learning and memory. To remedy this, we exposed 37 healthy women with a natural menstrual cycle (during early follicular or luteal cycle phase) to a novel conditioned-intrusion paradigm designed to model real-life traumatic experiences. The paradigm included a differential fear conditioning procedure with short violent film clips as unconditioned stimuli. Intrusive memories about the film clips were assessed ambulatorily on subsequent days. Women with lower levels of estradiol displayed elevated differential conditioned skin conductance responding during fear extinction and showed stronger intrusive memories. The inverse relationship between estradiol and intrusive memories was at least partially accounted for by the conditioned responding observed during fear extinction. Progesterone levels were not associated with either fear acquisition/extinction or with intrusive memories. This suggests that lower levels of estradiol might promote stronger symptoms of PTSD through associative processes. PMID:25463649

  8. Low levels of estradiol are associated with elevated conditioned responding during fear extinction and with intrusive memories in daily life

    PubMed Central

    Wegerer, Melanie; Kerschbaum, Hubert; Blechert, Jens; Wilhelm, Frank H.

    2014-01-01

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be conceptualized as a disorder of emotional memory showing strong (conditioned) responses to trauma reminders and intrusive memories among other symptoms. Women are at greater risk of developing PTSD than men. Recent studies have demonstrated an influence of ovarian steroid hormones in both fear conditioning and intrusive memory paradigms. However, although intrusive memories are considered non-extinguished emotional reactions to trauma reminders, none of the previous studies has investigated effects of ovarian hormones on fear conditioning mechanisms and intrusive memories in conjunction. This may have contributed to an overall inconsistent picture of the role of these hormones in emotional learning and memory. To remedy this, we exposed 37 healthy women with a natural menstrual cycle (during early follicular or luteal cycle phase) to a novel conditioned-intrusion paradigm designed to model real-life traumatic experiences. The paradigm included a differential fear conditioning procedure with short violent film clips as unconditioned stimuli. Intrusive memories about the film clips were assessed ambulatorily on subsequent days. Women with lower levels of estradiol displayed elevated differential conditioned skin conductance responding during fear extinction and showed stronger intrusive memories. The inverse relationship between estradiol and intrusive memories was at least partially accounted for by the conditioned responding observed during fear extinction. Progesterone levels were not associated with either fear acquisition/extinction or with intrusive memories. This suggests that lower levels of estradiol might promote stronger symptoms of PTSD through associative processes. PMID:25463649

  9. Differences in Memory Development among C57BL/6NCrl, 129S2/SvPasCrl, and FVB/NCrl Mice after Delay and Trace Fear Conditioning

    PubMed Central

    March, Amelia; Borchelt, David; Golde, Todd; Janus, Christopher

    2014-01-01

    Fear-conditioning testing paradigms have been used to study differences in memory formation between inbred mouse strains, including numerous mouse models of human diseases. In this study, we characterized the conditioned fear memory of 3 inbred strains: C57BL/6NCrl, 129S2/SvPasCrl, and FVB/NCrl, obtained from Charles River Laboratories. We used 2 training paradigms: delay conditioning, in which an unconditional stimulus coterminates with the presentation of a conditional stimulus, and trace conditioning, in which the conditional and unconditional stimuli are separated by a trace interval. In each paradigm, we evaluated the recent (3 d) and remote (25 d) memory of the mice by using a longitudinal design. Our results showed that both C57BL/6NCrl and 129S2/SvPasCrl mice developed strong and long-lasting context and tone memories in both paradigms, but FVB/NCrl mice showed a weaker but nevertheless consistent tone memory after delay training. Tone memory in the FVB strain was stronger in male than female mice. The remote tone memory of 129S2/SvPasCrl mice diminished after delay training but was stable and stronger than that of C57BL/6NCrl mice after trace training. In conclusion, both C57BL/6NCrl and 129S2/SvPasCrl mice showed reliable and long-lasting fear memory after delay or trace training, with 129 mice showing particularly strong tone memory after trace conditioning. The FVB/NCrl strain, especially male mice, showed reliable tone fear memory after delay training. Our findings confirm that both C57BL/6NCrl and 129S2/SvPasCrl mice develop strong context and tone memory in delay and trace fear-conditioning paradigms. PMID:24672832

  10. Differences in memory development among C57BL/6NCrl, 129S2/SvPasCrl, and FVB/NCrl mice after delay and trace fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    March, Amelia; Borchelt, David; Golde, Todd; Janus, Christopher

    2014-02-01

    Fear-conditioning testing paradigms have been used to study differences in memory formation between inbred mouse strains, including numerous mouse models of human diseases. In this study, we characterized the conditioned fear memory of 3 inbred strains: C57BL/6NCrl, 129S2/SvPasCrl, and FVB/NCrl, obtained from Charles River Laboratories. We used 2 training paradigms: delay conditioning, in which an unconditional stimulus coterminates with the presentation of a conditional stimulus, and trace conditioning, in which the conditional and unconditional stimuli are separated by a trace interval. In each paradigm, we evaluated the recent (3 d) and remote (25 d) memory of the mice by using a longitudinal design. Our results showed that both C57BL/6NCrl and 129S2/SvPasCrl mice developed strong and long-lasting context and tone memories in both paradigms, but FVB/NCrl mice showed a weaker but nevertheless consistent tone memory after delay training. Tone memory in the FVB strain was stronger in male than female mice. The remote tone memory of 129S2/SvPasCrl mice diminished after delay training but was stable and stronger than that of C57BL/6NCrl mice after trace training. In conclusion, both C57BL/6NCrl and 129S2/SvPasCrl mice showed reliable and long-lasting fear memory after delay or trace training, with 129 mice showing particularly strong tone memory after trace conditioning. The FVB/NCrl strain, especially male mice, showed reliable tone fear memory after delay training. Our findings confirm that both C57BL/6NCrl and 129S2/SvPasCrl mice develop strong context and tone memory in delay and trace fear-conditioning paradigms. PMID:24672832

  11. Human perception of fear in dogs varies according to experience with dogs.

    PubMed

    Wan, Michele; Bolger, Niall; Champagne, Frances A

    2012-01-01

    To investigate the role of experience in humans' perception of emotion using canine visual signals, we asked adults with various levels of dog experience to interpret the emotions of dogs displayed in videos. The video stimuli had been pre-categorized by an expert panel of dog behavior professionals as showing examples of happy or fearful dog behavior. In a sample of 2,163 participants, the level of dog experience strongly predicted identification of fearful, but not of happy, emotional examples. The probability of selecting the "fearful" category to describe fearful examples increased with experience and ranged from.30 among those who had never lived with a dog to greater than.70 among dog professionals. In contrast, the probability of selecting the "happy" category to describe happy emotional examples varied little by experience, ranging from.90 to.93. In addition, the number of physical features of the dog that participants reported using for emotional interpretations increased with experience, and in particular, more-experienced respondents were more likely to attend to the ears. Lastly, more-experienced respondents provided lower difficulty and higher accuracy self-ratings than less-experienced respondents when interpreting both happy and fearful emotional examples. The human perception of emotion in other humans has previously been shown to be sensitive to individual differences in social experience, and the results of the current study extend the notion of experience-dependent processes from the intraspecific to the interspecific domain. PMID:23284765

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Knapska, Ewelina; Maren, Stephen

    2009-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2009-01-01

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

  14. The Fragrant Power of Collective Fear

    PubMed Central

    Harb, Roa; Taulor, Jane R.

    2015-01-01

    Fear is a well-characterized biological response to threatening or stressful situations in humans and other social animals. Importantly, fearful stimuli in the natural environment are likely to be encountered concurrently by a group of animals. The modulation of fear acquisition and fear memory by a group as opposed to an individual experience, however, remains largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate a robust reduction in fear memory to an aversive event undertaken in a group despite similar fear learning between individually- and group-conditioned rats. This reduction persists outside the group confines, appears to be a direct outcome of group cognizance and is counteracted by loss of olfactory signaling among the group members. These results show that a group experience of fear can be protective and suggest that distinct neural pathways from those classically studied in individuals modulate collective fear memories. PMID:25945800

  15. The fragrant power of collective fear.

    PubMed

    Harb, Roa; Taylor, Jane R; Taulor, Jane R

    2015-01-01

    Fear is a well-characterized biological response to threatening or stressful situations in humans and other social animals. Importantly, fearful stimuli in the natural environment are likely to be encountered concurrently by a group of animals. The modulation of fear acquisition and fear memory by a group as opposed to an individual experience, however, remains largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate a robust reduction in fear memory to an aversive event undertaken in a group despite similar fear learning between individually- and group-conditioned rats. This reduction persists outside the group confines, appears to be a direct outcome of group cognizance and is counteracted by loss of olfactory signaling among the group members. These results show that a group experience of fear can be protective and suggest that distinct neural pathways from those classically studied in individuals modulate collective fear memories. PMID:25945800

  16. Neonatal handling increases cardiovascular reactivity to contextual fear conditioning in borderline hypertensive rats (BHR).

    PubMed

    Sanders, Brian J; Knoepfler, Jonathan

    2008-09-01

    Much research has demonstrated that events occurring in early life can have a profound influence on future biobehavioral responses to stressful and emotion provoking situations. The purpose of these studies was to determine the effects of an early environmental manipulation, handling (HAN) on cardiovascular (CV) reactivity, freezing behavior and corticosterone (CORT) responses to contextual fear conditioning in the borderline hypertensive rat (BHR),which is susceptible to environmental stressors. HAN subjects were separated from the nest for 15 min/day on post-natal days 1-14, while non-handled (NON-HAN) controls remained in the home cage. Adult subjects were exposed to the contextual fear conditioning procedure and returned to the chamber 24 h later for a 10 min test period. HAN subjects displayed significantly more freezing behavior compared to NON-HAN(92%+/-2.2 vs 80.7%+/-5.7, p<.05). Although resting MAP did not differ between groups, HAN subjects had increased MAP reactivity when re-exposed to the chamber. In addition, HAN subjects had significantly lower CORT levels at the end of the 10 min test period (174.2+/-9 ng/ml vs 237.2+/-12.9 ng/ml, p<.05). In the second experiment, CORT responses to 60 min of restraint stress and recovery following return to the home cage were assessed in separate groups of HAN and NON-HAN subjects. HAN subjects showed reduced CORT levels in response to acute restraint stress. These results indicate that neonatal handling can modulate biobehavioral responses to contextual fear conditioning in BHR and may suggest a useful model with which to study emotionality and susceptibility to CV disease. PMID:18538802

  17. Phasic and sustained fear in humans elicits distinct patterns of brain activity

    PubMed Central

    Alvarez, Ruben P.; Chen, Gang; Bodurka, Jerzy; Kaplan, Raphael; Grillon, Christian

    2011-01-01

    Aversive events are typically more debilitating when they occur unpredictably than predictably. Studies in humans and animals indicate that predictable and unpredictable aversive events can induce phasic and sustained fear, respectively. Research in rodents suggests that anatomically related but distinct neural circuits may mediate phasic and sustained fear. We explored this issue in humans by examining threat predictability in three virtual reality contexts, one in which electric shocks were predictably signaled by a cue, a second in which shocks occurred unpredictably but never paired with a cue, and a third in which no shocks were delivered. Evidence of threat-induced phasic and sustained fear was presented using fear ratings and skin conductance. Utilizing recent advances in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we were able to conduct whole-brain fMRI at relatively high spatial resolution and still have enough sensitivity to detect transient and sustained signal changes in the basal forebrain. We found that both predictable and unpredictable threat evoked transient activity in the dorsal amygdala, but that only unpredictable threat produced sustained activity in a forebrain region corresponding to the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis complex. Consistent with animal models hypothesizing a role for the cortex in generating sustained fear, sustained signal increases to unpredictable threat were also found in anterior insula and a frontoparietal cortical network associated with hypervigilance. In addition, unpredictable threat led to transient activity in the ventral amygdala–hippocampal area and pregenual anterior cingulate cortex, as well as transient activation and subsequent deactivation of subgenual anterior cingulate cortex, limbic structures that have been implicated in the regulation of emotional behavior and stress responses. In line with basic findings in rodents, these results provide evidence that phasic and sustained fear in humans may

  18. High individual consistency in fear of humans throughout the adult lifespan of rural and urban burrowing owls

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carrete, Martina; Tella, José L.

    2013-12-01

    Human-induced rapid environmental changes challenge individuals by creating evolutionarily novel scenarios, where species encounter novel enemies, the new species sometimes being humans themselves. However, little is known about how individuals react to human presence, specifically whether they are able to habituate to human presence, as frequently assumed, or are selected based on their fear of humans. We tested whether fear of humans (measured as flight initiation distance in a diurnal owl) is reduced through habituation to human presence (plasticity) or whether it remains unchanged throughout the individuals' life. Results show an unusually high level of individual consistency in fear of humans throughout the adult lifespan of both rural (r = 0.96) and urban (r = 0.90) birds, lending no support to habituation. Further research should assess the role of inter-individual variability in fear of humans in shaping the distribution of individuals and species in an increasingly humanized world.

  19. High individual consistency in fear of humans throughout the adult lifespan of rural and urban burrowing owls.

    PubMed

    Carrete, Martina; Tella, José L

    2013-01-01

    Human-induced rapid environmental changes challenge individuals by creating evolutionarily novel scenarios, where species encounter novel enemies, the new species sometimes being humans themselves. However, little is known about how individuals react to human presence, specifically whether they are able to habituate to human presence, as frequently assumed, or are selected based on their fear of humans. We tested whether fear of humans (measured as flight initiation distance in a diurnal owl) is reduced through habituation to human presence (plasticity) or whether it remains unchanged throughout the individuals' life. Results show an unusually high level of individual consistency in fear of humans throughout the adult lifespan of both rural (r = 0.96) and urban (r = 0.90) birds, lending no support to habituation. Further research should assess the role of inter-individual variability in fear of humans in shaping the distribution of individuals and species in an increasingly humanized world. PMID:24343659

  20. Extinction reverses olfactory fear-conditioned increases in neuron number and glomerular size.

    PubMed

    Morrison, Filomene G; Dias, Brian G; Ressler, Kerry J

    2015-10-13

    Although much work has investigated the contribution of brain regions such as the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex to the processing of fear learning and memory, fewer studies have examined the role of sensory systems, in particular the olfactory system, in the detection and perception of cues involved in learning and memory. The primary sensory receptive field maps of the olfactory system are exquisitely organized and respond dynamically to cues in the environment, remaining plastic from development through adulthood. We have previously demonstrated that olfactory fear conditioning leads to increased odorant-specific receptor representation in the main olfactory epithelium and in glomeruli within the olfactory bulb. We now demonstrate that olfactory extinction training specific to the conditioned odor stimulus reverses the conditioning-associated freezing behavior and odor learning-induced structural changes in the olfactory epithelium and olfactory bulb in an odorant ligand-specific manner. These data suggest that learning-induced freezing behavior, structural alterations, and enhanced neural sensory representation can be reversed in adult mice following extinction training. PMID:26420875

  1. Extinction reverses olfactory fear-conditioned increases in neuron number and glomerular size

    PubMed Central

    Morrison, Filomene G.; Dias, Brian G.; Ressler, Kerry J.

    2015-01-01

    Although much work has investigated the contribution of brain regions such as the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex to the processing of fear learning and memory, fewer studies have examined the role of sensory systems, in particular the olfactory system, in the detection and perception of cues involved in learning and memory. The primary sensory receptive field maps of the olfactory system are exquisitely organized and respond dynamically to cues in the environment, remaining plastic from development through adulthood. We have previously demonstrated that olfactory fear conditioning leads to increased odorant-specific receptor representation in the main olfactory epithelium and in glomeruli within the olfactory bulb. We now demonstrate that olfactory extinction training specific to the conditioned odor stimulus reverses the conditioning-associated freezing behavior and odor learning-induced structural changes in the olfactory epithelium and olfactory bulb in an odorant ligand-specific manner. These data suggest that learning-induced freezing behavior, structural alterations, and enhanced neural sensory representation can be reversed in adult mice following extinction training. PMID:26420875

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

    PubMed Central

    Björkstrand, Johannes; Agren, Thomas; Frick, Andreas; Engman, Jonas; Larsson, Elna-Marie; Furmark, Tomas; Fredrikson, Mats

    2015-01-01

    Fear memories can be attenuated by reactivation followed by disrupted reconsolidation. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging we recently showed that reactivation and reconsolidation of a conditioned fear memory trace in the basolateral amygdala predicts subsequent fear expression over two days, while reactivation followed by disrupted reconsolidation abolishes the memory trace and suppresses fear. In this follow-up study we demonstrate that the behavioral effect persists over 18 months reflected in superior reacquisition after undisrupted, as compared to disrupted reconsolidation, and that neural activity in the basolateral amygdala representing the initial fear memory predicts return of fear. We conclude that disrupting reconsolidation have long lasting behavioral effects and may permanently erase the fear component of an amygdala-dependent memory. PMID:26132145

  3. Cannabinoid modulation of chronic mild stress-induced selective enhancement of trace fear conditioning in adolescent rats.

    PubMed

    Reich, Christian G; Iskander, Anthony N; Weiss, Michael S

    2013-10-01

    History of stress is considered a major risk factor for the development of major depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Elucidating the neurobiological mechanisms of Pavlovian fear conditioning may provide insight into the etiology of PTSD. In the current study, adolescent male Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to 3 weeks of a chronic-mild-unpredictable stress (CMS) protocol. Immediately following the CMS, the animals were subjected to hippocampal-dependent (trace and contextual) and hippocampal-independent (delay) fear conditioning. CMS exposure enhanced trace freezing behavior compared to non-stress controls. This effect was not observed in contextual or delay conditioned animals. Given that the endocannabinoid system is negatively affected by CMS procedures, separate groups of stressed rats were administered the CB1 receptor agonist, ACEA (0.1 mg/kg), prior to trace fear conditioning or a memory-recall test. Regardless of administration time, ACEA significantly reduced freezing behavior in stressed animals. Furthermore, when administered during the first memory recall test, ACEA enhanced long-term extinction in both stress and non-stress groups. The results demonstrate that chronic unpredictable stress selectively enhances hippocampal-dependent episodic fear memories. Pathologies of the episodic memory and fear response may increase the susceptibility of developing PTSD. Reduction in fear responses via exogenous activation of the CB1 receptor suggests that a deficiency in the endocannabinoid system contributes to this pathology. PMID:23926242

  4. Intra-amygdala microinfusion of IL-6 impairs the auditory fear conditioning of rats via JAK/STAT activation.

    PubMed

    Hao, Yongxin; Jing, He; Bi, Qiang; Zhang, Jiaozhen; Qin, Ling; Yang, Pingting

    2014-12-15

    Though accumulating literature implicates that cytokines are involved in the pathophysiology of mental disorders, the role of interleukin-6 (IL-6) in learning and memory functions remains unresolved. The present study was undertaken to investigate the effect of IL-6 on amygdala-dependent fear learning. Adult Wistar rats were used along with the auditory fear conditioning test and pharmacological techniques. The data showed that infusions of IL-6, aimed at the amygdala, dose-dependently impaired the acquisition and extinction of conditioned fear. In addition, the results in the Western blot analysis confirmed that JAK/STAT was temporally activated-phosphorylated by the IL-6 treatment. Moreover, the rats were treated with JSI-124, a JAK/STAT3 inhibitor, prior to the IL-6 treatment showed a significant decrease in the IL-6 induced impairments of fear conditioning. Taken together, our results demonstrate that the learning behavior of rats in the auditory fear conditioning could be modulated by IL-6 via the amygdala. Furthermore, the JAK/STAT3 activation in the amygdala seemed to play a role in the IL-6 mediated behavioral alterations of rats in auditory fear learning. PMID:25193320

  5. Neuropeptide Y input to the rat basolateral amygdala complex and modulation by conditioned fear.

    PubMed

    Leitermann, Randy J; Rostkowski, Amanda B; Urban, Janice H

    2016-08-15

    Within the basolateral amygdaloid complex (BLA), neuropeptide Y (NPY) buffers against protracted anxiety and fear. Although the importance of NPY's actions in the BLA is well documented, little is known about the source(s) of NPY fibers to this region. The current studies identified sources of NPY projections to the BLA by using a combination of anatomical and neurochemical approaches. NPY innervation of the BLA was assessed in rats by examining the degree of NPY coexpression within interneurons or catecholaminergic fibers with somatostatin and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) or dopamine β-hydroxylase (DβH), respectively. Numerous NPY(+) /somatostatin(+) and NPY(+) /somatostatin(-) fibers were observed, suggesting at least two populations of NPY fibers within the BLA. No colocalization was noted between NPY and TH or DβH immunoreactivities. Additionally, Fluorogold (FG) retrograde tracing with immunohistochemistry was used to identify the precise origin of NPY projections to the BLA. FG(+) /NPY(+) cells were identified within the amygdalostriatal transition area (AStr) and stria terminalis and scattered throughout the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. The subpopulation of NPY neurons in the AStr also coexpressed somatostatin. Subjecting animals to a conditioned fear paradigm increased NPY gene expression within the AStr, whereas no changes were observed within the BLA or stria terminalis. Overall, these studies identified limbic regions associated with stress circuits providing NPY input to the BLA and demonstrated that a unique NPY projection from the AStr may participate in the regulation of conditioned fear. J. Comp. Neurol. 524:2418-2439, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:26779765

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-06-01

    The amygdala-dependent molecular mechanisms driving the onset and persistence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are poorly understood. Recent observational studies have suggested that opioid analgesia in the aftermath of trauma may decrease the development of PTSD. Using a mouse model of dysregulated fear, we found altered expression within the amygdala of the Oprl1 gene (opioid receptor-like 1), which encodes the amygdala nociceptin (NOP)/orphanin FQ receptor (NOP-R). Systemic and central amygdala infusion of SR-8993, a new highly selective NOP-R agonist, impaired fear memory consolidation. In humans, a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) within OPRL1 is associated with a self-reported history of childhood trauma and PTSD symptoms (n = 1847) after a traumatic event. This SNP is also associated with physiological startle measures of fear discrimination and magnetic resonance imaging analysis of amygdala-insula functional connectivity. Together, these data suggest that Oprl1 is associated with amygdala function, fear processing, and PTSD symptoms. Further, our data suggest that activation of the Oprl1/NOP receptor may interfere with fear memory consolidation, with implications for prevention of PTSD after a traumatic event. PMID:23740899

  7. Post-Weaning, Forebrain-Specific Perturbation of the Oxytocin System Impairs Fear Conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Pagani, Jerome H.; Lee, Heon-Jin; Young, W. Scott

    2011-01-01

    Oxytocin (Oxt) and vasopressin (Avp) are important for a wide variety of behaviors and the use of transgenic mice lacking the peptides or their receptors, particularly when their loss is spatially and temporally manipulated, offers an opportunity to closely examine their role in a particular behavior. We used a cued fear conditioning paradigm to examine associative learning in three lines of transgenic mice: mice that constitutively lack vasopressin 1a (Avpr1a−/−) or Oxt receptors (Oxtr−/−) and mice that have oxytocin receptor loss restricted to the forebrain that begins post-weaning (OxtrFB/FB). Oxtr−/− and Avpr1a−/− mice have normal conditioned freezing. OxtrFB/FB mice have a reduction in freezing behavior during acquisition, as well as during context and cue retention. In addition to reduction of Oxtr in the central nucleus of the amygdala, in vitro receptor autoradiography revealed that the OxtrFB/FB mice have significantly reduced levels of Avpr1a only in that structure. Our results show that post-weaning alteration of the distribution of Oxtr receptors is critically important for fear behavior, an effect mirrored in the neural structures that mediate it. While constitutive knockouts of Oxtr and Avpr1a are useful for identifying the neural underpinnings of some behaviors, compensatory mechanisms within some circuits may obscure other behavioral roles. PMID:21668734

  8. Conditioning- and Time-Dependent Increases in Context Fear and Generalization

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Poulos, Andrew M.; Mehta, Nehali; Lu, Bryan; Amir, Dorsa; Livingston, Briana; Santarelli, Anthony; Zhuravka, Irina; Fanselow, Michael S.

    2016-01-01

    A prominent feature of fear memories and anxiety disorders is that they endure across extended periods of time. Here, we examine how the severity of the initial fear experience influences incubation, generalization, and sensitization of contextual fear memories across time. Adult rats were presented with either five, two, one, or zero shocks (1.2…

  9. The role of "interoceptive" fear conditioning in the development of panic disorder.

    PubMed

    De Cort, Klara; Griez, Eric; Büchler, Marjolein; Schruers, Koen

    2012-03-01

    More than 20% of the general population experience a panic attack at least once in their lives; however, only a minority goes on to develop panic disorder (PD). Conditioning mechanisms have been proposed to explain this evolution in persons who are susceptible to developing panic disorder upon a "traumatic" panic attack. According to preparedness theory, some cues are more likely to condition than others, namely, those referring to internal, bodily signals of danger. The aim of the present study was to test this theory in a differential conditioning paradigm, making use of scripts referring to different internal, bodily sensations as conditioned stimulus (CS) and inhalation of 35% CO(2) as unconditioned stimulus (UCS). Thirty-three healthy volunteers were assigned to three scripts conditions: "suffocation," "neutral," or "urgency." During acquisition, one of two versions of a particular script was always followed by an inhalation of 35% CO(2) (CS+) and the other by room air (CS-). Acquisition was followed by a test phase, where only inhalations of room air were administered. In line with our hypothesis, only participants in the suffocation condition exhibited a selective conditioning effect. They were more fearful and showed a significantly higher increase in tidal volume than participants in the two control conditions. Results are discussed with relation to interoceptive conditioning, preparedness, and the possible role of tidal volume in PD. PMID:22304891

  10. Immediate Extinction Causes a Less Durable Loss of Performance than Delayed Extinction following Either Fear or Appetitive Conditioning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Woods, Amanda M.; Bouton, Mark E.

    2008-01-01

    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…

  11. A pragmatic comparison of noise burst and electric shock unconditioned stimuli for fear conditioning research with many trials.

    PubMed

    Sperl, Matthias F J; Panitz, Christian; Hermann, Christiane; Mueller, Erik M

    2016-09-01

    Several methods that are promising for studying the neurophysiology of fear conditioning (e.g., EEG, MEG) require a high number of trials to achieve an adequate signal-to-noise ratio. While electric shock and white noise burst are among the most commonly used unconditioned stimuli (US) in conventional fear conditioning studies with few trials, it is unknown whether these stimuli are equally well suited for paradigms with many trials. Here, N = 32 participants underwent a 260-trial differential fear conditioning and extinction paradigm with a 240-trial recall test 24 h later and neutral faces as conditioned stimuli. In a between-subjects design, either white noise bursts (n = 16) or electric shocks (n = 16) served as US, and intensities were determined using the most common procedure for each US (i.e., a fixed 95 dB noise burst and a work-up procedure for electric shocks, respectively). In addition to differing US types, groups also differed in closely linked US-associated characteristics (e.g., calibration methods, stimulus intensities, timing). Subjective ratings (arousal/valence), skin conductance, and evoked heart period changes (i.e., fear bradycardia) indicated more reliable, extinction-resistant, and stable conditioning in the white noise burst versus electric shock group. In fear conditioning experiments where many trials are presented, white noise burst should serve as US. PMID:27286734

  12. MR Diffusion Tensor Imaging Detects Rapid Microstructural Changes in Amygdala and Hippocampus Following Fear Conditioning in Mice

    PubMed Central

    Ding, Abby Y.; Li, Qi; Zhou, Iris Y.; Ma, Samantha J.; Tong, Gehua; McAlonan, Grainne M.; Wu, Ed X.

    2013-01-01

    Background Following fear conditioning (FC), ex vivo evidence suggests that early dynamics of cellular and molecular plasticity in amygdala and hippocampal circuits mediate responses to fear. Such altered dynamics in fear circuits are thought to be etiologically related to anxiety disorders including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Consistent with this, neuroimaging studies of individuals with established PTSD in the months after trauma have revealed changes in brain regions responsible for processing fear. However, whether early changes in fear circuits can be captured in vivo is not known. Methods We hypothesized that in vivo magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) would be sensitive to rapid microstructural changes elicited by FC in an experimental mouse PTSD model. We employed a repeated measures paired design to compare in vivo DTI measurements before, one hour after, and one day after FC-exposed mice (n = 18). Results Using voxel-wise repeated measures analysis, fractional anisotropy (FA) significantly increased then decreased in amygdala, decreased then increased in hippocampus, and was increasing in cingulum and adjacent gray matter one hour and one day post-FC respectively. These findings demonstrate that DTI is sensitive to early changes in brain microstructure following FC, and that FC elicits distinct, rapid in vivo responses in amygdala and hippocampus. Conclusions Our results indicate that DTI can detect rapid microstructural changes in brain regions known to mediate fear conditioning in vivo. DTI indices could be explored as a translational tool to capture potential early biological changes in individuals at risk for developing PTSD. PMID:23382811

  13. Maladaptive Behavioral Consequences of Conditioned Fear-Generalization: A Pronounced, Yet Sparsely Studied, Feature of Anxiety Pathology

    PubMed Central

    van Meurs, Brian; Wiggert, Nicole; Wicker, Isaac; Lissek, Shmuel

    2016-01-01

    Fear-conditioning experiments in the anxiety disorders focus almost exclusively on passive-emotional, Pavlovian conditioning, rather than active-behavioral, instrumental conditioning. Paradigms eliciting both types of conditioning are needed to study maladaptive, instrumental behaviors resulting from Pavlovian abnormalities found in clinical anxiety. One such Pavlovian abnormality is generalization of fear from a conditioned danger-cue (CS+) to resembling stimuli. Though lab-based findings repeatedly link overgeneralized Pavlovian-fear to clinical anxiety, no study assesses the degree to which Pavlovian overgeneralization corresponds with maladaptive, overgeneralized instrumental-avoidance. The current effort fills this gap by validating a novel fear-potentiated startle paradigm including Pavlovian and instrumental components. The paradigm is embedded in a computer game during which shapes appear on the screen. One shape paired with electric-shock serves as CS+, and other resembling shapes, presented in the absence of shock, serve as generalization stimuli (GSs). During the game, participants choose whether to behaviorally avoid shock at the cost of poorer performance. Avoidance during CS+ is considered adaptive because shock is a real possibility. By contrast, avoidance during GSs is considered maladaptive because shock is not a realistic prospect and thus unnecessarily compromises performance. Results indicate significant Pavlovian-instrumental relations, with greater generalization of Pavlovian fear associated with overgeneralization of maladaptive instrumental-avoidance. PMID:24768950

  14. Dissociable Learning Processes Underlie Human Pain Conditioning.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Suyi; Mano, Hiroaki; Ganesh, Gowrishankar; Robbins, Trevor; Seymour, Ben

    2016-01-11

    Pavlovian conditioning underlies many aspects of pain behavior, including fear and threat detection [1], escape and avoidance learning [2], and endogenous analgesia [3]. Although a central role for the amygdala is well established [4], both human and animal studies implicate other brain regions in learning, notably ventral striatum and cerebellum [5]. It remains unclear whether these regions make different contributions to a single aversive learning process or represent independent learning mechanisms that interact to generate the expression of pain-related behavior. We designed a human parallel aversive conditioning paradigm in which different Pavlovian visual cues probabilistically predicted thermal pain primarily to either the left or right arm and studied the acquisition of conditioned Pavlovian responses using combined physiological recordings and fMRI. Using computational modeling based on reinforcement learning theory, we found that conditioning involves two distinct types of learning process. First, a non-specific "preparatory" system learns aversive facial expressions and autonomic responses such as skin conductance. The associated learning signals-the learned associability and prediction error-were correlated with fMRI brain responses in amygdala-striatal regions, corresponding to the classic aversive (fear) learning circuit. Second, a specific lateralized system learns "consummatory" limb-withdrawal responses, detectable with electromyography of the arm to which pain is predicted. Its related learned associability was correlated with responses in ipsilateral cerebellar cortex, suggesting a novel computational role for the cerebellum in pain. In conclusion, our results show that the overall phenotype of conditioned pain behavior depends on two dissociable reinforcement learning circuits. PMID:26711494

  15. Dissociable Learning Processes Underlie Human Pain Conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Suyi; Mano, Hiroaki; Ganesh, Gowrishankar; Robbins, Trevor; Seymour, Ben

    2016-01-01

    Summary Pavlovian conditioning underlies many aspects of pain behavior, including fear and threat detection [1], escape and avoidance learning [2], and endogenous analgesia [3]. Although a central role for the amygdala is well established [4], both human and animal studies implicate other brain regions in learning, notably ventral striatum and cerebellum [5]. It remains unclear whether these regions make different contributions to a single aversive learning process or represent independent learning mechanisms that interact to generate the expression of pain-related behavior. We designed a human parallel aversive conditioning paradigm in which different Pavlovian visual cues probabilistically predicted thermal pain primarily to either the left or right arm and studied the acquisition of conditioned Pavlovian responses using combined physiological recordings and fMRI. Using computational modeling based on reinforcement learning theory, we found that conditioning involves two distinct types of learning process. First, a non-specific “preparatory” system learns aversive facial expressions and autonomic responses such as skin conductance. The associated learning signals—the learned associability and prediction error—were correlated with fMRI brain responses in amygdala-striatal regions, corresponding to the classic aversive (fear) learning circuit. Second, a specific lateralized system learns “consummatory” limb-withdrawal responses, detectable with electromyography of the arm to which pain is predicted. Its related learned associability was correlated with responses in ipsilateral cerebellar cortex, suggesting a novel computational role for the cerebellum in pain. In conclusion, our results show that the overall phenotype of conditioned pain behavior depends on two dissociable reinforcement learning circuits. PMID:26711494

  16. Systemic mifepristone blocks reconsolidation of cue-conditioned fear; propranolol prevents this effect.

    PubMed

    Pitman, Roger K; Milad, Mohammed R; Igoe, Sarah A; Vangel, Mark G; Orr, Scott P; Tsareva, Alina; Gamache, Karine; Nader, Karim

    2011-08-01

    Reducing reconsolidation of reactivated traumatic memories may offer a novel pharmacological treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Preclinical research is needed to identify candidate drugs. We evaluated the ability of postreactivation mifepristone (RU38486, a glucocorticoid antagonist), alone and in combination with propranolol (a beta-adrenergic blocker), both given systemically, to reduce cue-conditioned fear in rats. On Day 1, a 30-s tone conditioned stimulus (CS) was paired with an electric shock unconditioned stimulus (US). On Day 2, the CS was presented without the US (reactivation), and the freezing conditioned response (CR) was measured. This was immediately followed by subcutaneous injection of vehicle, mifepristone 30 mg/kg, propranolol 10 mg/kg, or both. On Day 3, the CR was again measured as a test of postreactivation long-term memory (PR-LTM). On Day 10, the CR was again measured to evaluate spontaneous recovery. On Day 11, the US was presented alone (reinstatement). On Day 12, the CR was again measured. A fifth group received mifepristone without the CS presentation (nonreactivation) on Day 2. A sixth group was tested four hours after the Day 2 mifepristone injection to measure postreactivation short-term memory. Postreactivation, but not nonreactivation, mifepristone produced a decrement in the CR that did not undergo spontaneous recovery and underwent only modest reinstatement. Mifepristone did not exert its effect when administered concurrently with propranolol. Postreactivation mifepristone did not impair short-term memory. Systemic mifepristone blocks the reconsolidation of cue-conditioned fear in rats. Concurrent administration of propranolol prevents this effect. Postreactivation mifepristone may be a promising treatment for PTSD, but not necessarily in combination with propranolol. PMID:21688892

  17. Effects of enhanced zinc and copper in drinking water on spatial memory and fear conditioning

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Chrosniak, L.D.; Smith, L.N.; McDonald, C.G.; Jones, B.F.; Flinn, J.M.

    2006-01-01

    Ingestion of enhanced zinc can cause memory impairments and copper deficiencies. This study examined the effect of zinc supplementation, with and without copper, on two types of memory. Rats raised pre- and post-natally on 10 mg/kg ZnCO3 or ZnSO4 in the drinking water were tested in a fear-conditioning experiment at 11 months of age. Both zinc groups showed a maladaptive retention of fearful memories compared to controls raised on tap water. Rats raised on 10 mg/kg ZnCO3, 10 mg/kg ZnCO3 + 0.25 mg/kg CuCl2, or tap water, were tested for spatial memory ability at 3 months of age. Significant improvements in performance were found in the ZnCO3 + CuCl2 group compared to the ZnCO3 group, suggesting that some of the cognitive deficits associated with zinc supplementation may be remediated by addition of copper. ?? 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  18. Human Perception of Fear in Dogs Varies According to Experience with Dogs

    PubMed Central

    Wan, Michele; Bolger, Niall; Champagne, Frances A.

    2012-01-01

    To investigate the role of experience in humans’ perception of emotion using canine visual signals, we asked adults with various levels of dog experience to interpret the emotions of dogs displayed in videos. The video stimuli had been pre-categorized by an expert panel of dog behavior professionals as showing examples of happy or fearful dog behavior. In a sample of 2,163 participants, the level of dog experience strongly predicted identification of fearful, but not of happy, emotional examples. The probability of selecting the “fearful” category to describe fearful examples increased with experience and ranged from.30 among those who had never lived with a dog to greater than.70 among dog professionals. In contrast, the probability of selecting the “happy” category to describe happy emotional examples varied little by experience, ranging from.90 to.93. In addition, the number of physical features of the dog that participants reported using for emotional interpretations increased with experience, and in particular, more-experienced respondents were more likely to attend to the ears. Lastly, more-experienced respondents provided lower difficulty and higher accuracy self-ratings than less-experienced respondents when interpreting both happy and fearful emotional examples. The human perception of emotion in other humans has previously been shown to be sensitive to individual differences in social experience, and the results of the current study extend the notion of experience-dependent processes from the intraspecific to the interspecific domain. PMID:23284765

  19. Age-related increase in amyloid plaque burden is associated with impairment in conditioned fear memory in CRND8 mouse model of amyloidosis

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Introduction The current pathological confirmation of the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is still based on postmortem identification of parenchymal amyloid beta (Aβ) plaques, intra-neuronal neurofibrillary tangles, and neuronal loss. The memory deficits that are present in the early stages of AD are linked to the dysfunction of structures in the entorhinal cortex and limbic system, especially the hippocampus and amygdala. Using the CRND8 transgenic mouse model of amyloidosis, which over-expresses a mutant human amyloid precursor protein (APP) gene, we evaluated hippocampus-dependent contextual and amygdala-dependent tone fear conditioned (FC) memory, and investigated the relationship between the fear memory indices and Aβ plaque burden. Methods Mice were tested at three, six, and 12 months of age, which corresponds to early, mild, and severe Aβ plaque deposition, following a cross-sectional experimental design. We used a delay version of the fear conditioning paradigm in which tone stimulus was co-terminated with foot-shocks during exploration of the training chamber. The Aβ plaque burden was evaluated at each age after the completion of the behavioral tests. Results CRDN8 mice showed context fear memory comparable to control mice at three and six months, but were significantly impaired at 12 months of age. In contrast, the tone fear memory was significantly impaired in the model at each age of testing. The Aβ plaque burden significantly increased with age, and was correlated with the overall impairment in context and tone fear memory in the CRND8 mice within the studied age. Conclusions Our data extend previous studies showing that other APP mouse models exhibit impairment in fear conditioned memory, by demonstrating that this impairment is progressive and correlates well with an overall increase in Aβ burden. Also, the demonstrated greater sensitivity of the tone conditioning test in the identification of age dependent differences between CRND8 and

  20. Regulation of amygdalar PKA by β-arrestin-2/phosphodiesterase-4 complex is critical for fear conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Li, Yuting; Li, Haohong; Liu, Xing; Bao, Guobin; Tao, Yezheng; Wu, Ziyan; Xia, Peng; Wu, Chunfu; Li, Baoming; Ma, Lan

    2009-01-01

    β-arrestins, key regulators of receptor signaling, are highly expressed in the central nervous system, but their roles in brain physiology are largely unknown. Here we show that β-arrestin-2 is critically involved in the formation of associative fear memory and amygdalar synaptic plasticity. In response to fear conditioning, β-arrestin-2 translocates to amygdalar membrane where it interacts with PDE-4, a cAMP-degrading enzyme, to inhibit PKA activation. Arrb2−/− mice exhibit impaired conditioned fear memory and long-term potentiation at the lateral amygdalar synapses. Moreover, expression of the β-arrestin-2 in the lateral amygdala of Arrb2−/− mice, but not its mutant form that is incapable of binding PDE-4, restores basal PKA activity and rescues conditioned fear memory. Taken together, our data demonstrate that the feedback regulation of amygdalar PKA activation by β-arrestin-2 and PDE-4 complex is critical for the formation of conditioned fear memory. PMID:19955404

  1. Genetic gating of human fear learning and extinction: possible implications for gene-environment interaction in anxiety disorder.

    PubMed

    Lonsdorf, Tina B; Weike, Almut I; Nikamo, Pernilla; Schalling, Martin; Hamm, Alfons O; Ohman, Arne

    2009-02-01

    Pavlovian fear conditioning is a widely used model of the acquisition and extinction of fear. Neural findings suggest that the amygdala is the core structure for fear acquisition, whereas prefrontal cortical areas are given pivotal roles in fear extinction. Forty-eight volunteers participated in a fear-conditioning experiment, which used fear potentiation of the startle reflex as the primary measure to investigate the effect of two genetic polymorphisms (5-HTTLPR and COMTval158met) on conditioning and extinction of fear. The 5-HTTLPR polymorphism, located in the serotonin transporter gene, is associated with amygdala reactivity and neuroticism, whereas the COMTval158met polymorphism, which is located in the gene coding for catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), a dopamine-degrading enzyme, affects prefrontal executive functions. Our results show that only carriers of the 5-HTTLPR s allele exhibited conditioned startle potentiation, whereas carriers of the COMT met/met genotype failed to extinguish conditioned fear. These results may have interesting implications for understanding gene-environment interactions in the development and treatment of anxiety disorders. PMID:19175757

  2. Post-training corticosterone inhibits the return of fear evoked by platform stress and a subthreshold conditioning procedure in Sprague-Dawley rats.

    PubMed

    Xing, Xiaoli; Wang, Hongbo; Zhang, Lili; Bai, Yunjing; Liang, Jing; Liu, Zhengkui; Zheng, Xigeng

    2015-06-01

    The return of fear is an important issue in anxiety disorder research. Each time a fear memory is reactivated, it may further strengthen overactivation of the fear circuit, which may contribute to long-term maintenance of the fear memory. Recent evidence indicates that glucocorticoids may help attenuate pathological fear, but its role in the return of fear is unclear. In the present study, systemic corticosterone (CORT; 25mg/kg) administration 1h after fear conditioning did not impair the consolidation process but significantly suppressed the return of fear evoked by a subthreshold conditioning (SC) procedure and elevated platform (EP) stress. Compared with the SC-induced return of fear, acute stress-induced return was state-dependent. In addition, post-training CORT treatment increased the adrenocorticotropic response after EP stress, which indicates that the drug-induced suppression of the return of fear may possibly derive from its regulation effect of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis reactivity to stress. These results suggest that post-training CORT administration may help inhibit the return of fear evoked by EP or SC stress. The possible mechanisms involved in the high-dose CORT-induced suppression of the SC- and EP-induced return of fear are discussed. PMID:25818040

  3. Fear conditioning and early life vulnerabilities: two distinct pathways of emotional dysregulation and brain dysfunction in PTSD

    PubMed Central

    Lanius, Ruth A.; Frewen, Paul A.; Vermetten, Eric; Yehuda, Rachel

    2010-01-01

    The newly proposed criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V) include dysregulation of a variety of emotional states including fear, anger, guilt, and shame, in addition to dissociation and numbing. Consistent with these revisions, we postulate two models of emotion dysregulation in PTSD in which fear is not the prevailing emotion but is only one of several components implicated in a dysregulated emotional system that also mediates problems regulating anger, guilt, shame, dissociation, and numbing. We discuss whether there is a relationship between fear and other emotion regulation systems that may help further our understanding of PTSD and its underlying neurocircuitry. Two pathways describing the relationship between fear and other emotion regulation systems in PTSD are proposed. The first pathway describes emotion dysregulation as an outcome of fear conditioning through stress sensitization and kindling. The second pathway views emotion dysregulation as a distal vulnerability factor and hypothesizes a further exacerbation of fear and other emotion regulatory problems, including the development of PTSD after exposure to one or several traumatic event(s) later in life. Future research and treatment implications are discussed. PMID:22893793

  4. Consequences of adolescent ethanol exposure in male Sprague-Dawley rats on fear conditioning and extinction in adulthood

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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

  5. Reduced Electrodermal Fear Conditioning from Ages 3 to 8 Years Is Associated with Aggressive Behavior at Age 8 Years

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gao, Yu; Raine, Adrian; Venables, Peter H.; Dawson, Michael E.; Mednick, Sarnoff A.

    2010-01-01

    Background: Poor fear conditioning characterizes adult psychopathy and criminality, but it is not known whether it is related to aggressive/antisocial behavior in early childhood. Methods: Using a differential, partial reinforcement conditioning paradigm, electrodermal activity was recorded from 200 male and female children at ages 3, 4, 5, 6, and…

  6. The GABA(B) receptor positive modulator BHF177 attenuated anxiety, but not conditioned fear, in rats.

    PubMed

    Li, Xia; Kaczanowska, Katarzyna; Finn, M G; Markou, Athina; Risbrough, Victoria B

    2015-10-01

    GABAB (γ-aminobutyric acid B) receptors may be a therapeutic target for anxiety disorders. Here we characterized the effects of the GABAB receptor positive allosteric modulator (PAM) BHF177 on conditioned and unconditioned physiological responses to threat in the light-enhanced startle (LES), stress-induced hyperthermia, and fear-potentiated startle (FPS) procedures in rats. The effects of BHF177 on LES were compared with those of the GABAB receptor agonists baclofen and CGP44532, and the positive control buspirone, a 5-HT1A receptor partial agonist with anxiolytic activity in humans. Baclofen (0.4, 0.9 and 1.25 mg/kg) and CGP44532 (0.065, 0.125 and 0.25 mg/kg) administration had significant sedative, but not anxiolytic, activity reflected in overall decrease in the startle response in the LES tests. BHF177 (10, 20 and 40 mg/kg) had no effect on LES, nor did it produce an overall sedative effect. Interesting, however, when rats were grouped by high and low LES responses, BHF177 had anxiolytic-like effects only on LES in high, but not low, LES responding rats. BHF177 also blocked stress-induced hyperthermia, but had no effect on conditioned fear responses in the FPS test. Buspirone (1 and 3 mg/kg) had an anxiolytic-like profile in both LES and FPS tests. These results indicate that BHF177 may specifically attenuate unconditioned anxiety in individuals that exhibit a high anxiety state, and has fewer sedative effects than direct agonists. Thus, BHF177 or other GABAB receptor PAMs may be promising compounds for alleviating increased anxiety seen in various psychiatric disorders with a superior side-effect profile compared to GABAB receptor agonists. PMID:26002628

  7. Testing conditions in shock-based contextual fear conditioning influence both the behavioral responses and the activation of circuits potentially involved in contextual avoidance.

    PubMed

    Viellard, Juliette; Baldo, Marcus Vinicius C; Canteras, Newton Sabino

    2016-12-15

    Previous studies from our group have shown that risk assessment behaviors are the primary contextual fear responses to predatory and social threats, whereas freezing is the main contextual fear response to physically harmful events. To test contextual fear responses to a predator or aggressive conspecific threat, we developed a model that involves placing the animal in an apparatus where it can avoid the threat-associated environment. Conversely, in studies that use shock-based fear conditioning, the animals are usually confined inside the conditioning chamber during the contextual fear test. In the present study, we tested shock-based contextual fear responses using two different behavioral testing conditions: confining the animal in the conditioning chamber or placing the animal in an apparatus with free access to the conditioning compartment. Our results showed that during the contextual fear test, the animals confined to the shock chamber exhibited significantly more freezing. In contrast, the animals that could avoid the conditioning compartment displayed almost no freezing and exhibited risk assessment responses (i.e., crouch-sniff and stretch postures) and burying behavior. In addition, the animals that were able to avoid the shock chamber had increased Fos expression in the juxtadorsomedial lateral hypothalamic area, the dorsomedial part of the dorsal premammillary nucleus and the lateral and dorsomedial parts of the periaqueductal gray, which are elements of a septo/hippocampal-hypothalamic-brainstem circuit that is putatively involved in mediating contextual avoidance. Overall, the present findings show that testing conditions significantly influence both behavioral responses and the activation of circuits involved in contextual avoidance. PMID:27544875

  8. Integrating science with humanities-loosing the fear of science

    SciTech Connect

    Pinto, W.L.; Raphalides, S.; Edwards, D.

    1994-12-31

    This presentation illustrates the approach and effectiveness of an interactive seminar program for K-12 non-science teachers (funded by the NJ Dept. of Higher Education) aimed at integrating the humanities and science, especially environmental sciences. Teachers become comfortable dealing with the commonality of science, literature, and human culture. In a collaborative format between seminar organizers and K-12 teachers, participants contribute their understanding of literature, history, politics, and culture to develop a new outlook on {open_quotes}environmental awareness{close_quotes} and on pollution`s impact on society. Prehistoric, medieval, 18th century, modern western cultures, Oriental, Native American, and tropical island cultures are explored to shed light upon today`s environmental attitudes. This provides a better understanding of the way science, within a cultural context, approaches environmental problems.

  9. Physiological evidence for a human-induced landscape of fear in brown bears (Ursus arctos).

    PubMed

    Støen, Ole-Gunnar; Ordiz, Andres; Evans, Alina L; Laske, Timothy G; Kindberg, Jonas; Fröbert, Ole; Swenson, Jon E; Arnemo, Jon M

    2015-12-01

    Human persecution is a major cause of mortality for large carnivores. Consequently, large carnivores avoid humans, but may use human-dominated landscapes by being nocturnal and elusive. Behavioral studies indicate that certain ecological systems are "landscapes of fear", driven by antipredator behavior. Because behavior and physiology are closely interrelated, physiological assessments may provide insight into the behavioral response of large carnivores to human activity. To elucidate changes in brown bears' (Ursus arctos) behavior associated with human activity, we evaluated stress as changes in heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) in 12 GPS-collared, free-ranging bears, 7 males and 5 females, 3-11 years old, using cardiac-monitoring devices. We applied generalized linear regression models with HR and HRV as response variables and chest activity, time of day, season, distance traveled, and distance to human settlements from GPS positions recorded every 30 min as potential explanatory variables. Bears exhibited lower HRV, an indication of stress, when they were close to human settlements and especially during the berry season, when humans were more often in the forest, picking berries and hunting. Our findings provide evidence of a human-induced landscape of fear in this hunted population of brown bears. PMID:26476156

  10. Facial expression of fear in the context of human ethology: Recognition advantage in the perception of male faces.

    PubMed

    Trnka, Radek; Tavel, Peter; Tavel, Peter; Hasto, Jozef

    2015-01-01

    Facial expression is one of the core issues in the ethological approach to the study of human behaviour. This study discusses sex-specific aspects of the recognition of the facial expression of fear using results from our previously published experimental study. We conducted an experiment in which 201 participants judged seven different facial expressions: anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise (Trnka et al. 2007). Participants were able to recognize the facial expression of fear significantly better on a male face than on a female face. Females also recognized fear generally better than males. The present study provides a new interpretation of this sex difference in the recognition of fear. We interpret these results within the paradigm of human ethology, taking into account the adaptive function of the facial expression of fear. We argue that better detection of fear might be crucial for females under a situation of serious danger in groups of early hominids. The crucial role of females in nurturing and protecting offspring was fundamental for the reproductive potential of the group. A clear decoding of this alarm signal might thus have enabled the timely preparation of females for escape or defence to protect their health for successful reproduction. Further, it is likely that males played the role of guardians of social groups and that they were responsible for effective warnings of the group under situations of serious danger. This may explain why the facial expression of fear is better recognizable on the male face than on the female face. PMID:26071575

  11. c-Jun-N-terminal kinase 1 is necessary for nicotine-induced enhancement of contextual fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Leach, Prescott T; Kenney, Justin W; Gould, Thomas J

    2016-08-01

    Acute nicotine enhances hippocampus-dependent learning. Identifying how acute nicotine improves learning will aid in understanding how nicotine facilitates the development of maladaptive memories that contribute to drug-seeking behaviors, help development of medications to treat disorders associated with cognitive decline, and advance understanding of the neurobiology of learning and memory. The effects of nicotine on learning may involve recruitment of signaling through the c-Jun N-terminal kinase family (JNK 1-3). Learning in the presence of acute nicotine increases the transcription of mitogen-activated protein kinase 8 (MAPK8, also known as JNK1), likely through a CREB-dependent mechanism. The functional significance of JNK1 in the effects of acute nicotine on learning, however, is unknown. The current studies undertook a backward genetic approach to determine the functional contribution JNK1 protein makes to nicotine-enhanced contextual fear conditioning. JNK1 wildtype (WT) and knockout (KO) mice were administered acute nicotine prior to contextual and cued fear conditioning. 24h later, mice were evaluated for hippocampus-dependent (contextual fear conditioning) and hippocampus-independent (cued fear conditioning) memory. Nicotine selectively enhanced contextual conditioning in WT mice, but not in KO mice. Nicotine had no effect on hippocampus-independent learning in either genotype. JNK1 KO and WT mice given saline showed similar levels of learning. These data suggest that JNK1 may be recruited by nicotine and is functionally necessary for the acute effects of nicotine on learning and memory. PMID:27235579

  12. Cholinergic Modulation during Acquisition of Olfactory Fear Conditioning Alters Learning and Stimulus Generalization in Mice

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pavesi, Eloisa; Gooch, Allison; Lee, Elizabeth; Fletcher, Max L.

    2013-01-01

    We investigated the role of cholinergic neurotransmission in olfactory fear learning. Mice receiving pairings of odor and foot shock displayed fear to the trained odor the following day. Pretraining injections of the nicotinic antagonist mecamylamine had no effect on subsequent freezing, while the muscarinic antagonist scopolamine significantly…

  13. Modulation of Gene Expression in Contextual Fear Conditioning in the Rat

    PubMed Central

    Macchi, Monica; Ciampini, Cristina; Bernardi, Rodolfo; Baldi, Elisabetta; Bucherelli, Corrado; Brunelli, Marcello; Scuri, Rossana

    2013-01-01

    In contextual fear conditioning (CFC) a single training leads to long-term memory of context-aversive electrical foot-shocks association. Mid-temporal regions of the brain of trained and naive rats were obtained 2 days after conditioning and screened by two-directional suppression subtractive hybridization. A pool of differentially expressed genes was identified and some of them were randomly selected and confirmed with qRT-PCR assay. These transcripts showed high homology for rat gene sequences coding for proteins involved in different cellular processes. The expression of the selected transcripts was also tested in rats which had freely explored the experimental apparatus (exploration) and in rats to which the same number of aversive shocks had been administered in the same apparatus, but temporally compressed so as to make the association between painful stimuli and the apparatus difficult (shock-only). Some genes resulted differentially expressed only in the rats subjected to CFC, others only in exploration or shock-only rats, whereas the gene coding for translocase of outer mitochondrial membrane 20 protein and nardilysin were differentially expressed in both CFC and exploration rats. For example, the expression of stathmin 1 whose transcripts resulted up regulated was also tested to evaluate the transduction and protein localization after conditioning. PMID:24278235

  14. Amygdaloid lesions produced similar contextual fear conditioning disruption in the Carioca high- and low-conditioned freezing rats.

    PubMed

    de Castro Gomes, Vitor; Landeira-Fernandez, J

    2008-10-01

    Rats selectively bred for high or low levels of emotionality represent an important and powerful tool to investigate the role of genetic variables in the occurrence of different anxiety disorders. In the present study, albino rats were selectively bred for differences in defensive freezing behavior in response to contextual cues previously associated with footshock, an animal model of general anxiety disorder. The results indicate that these two new lines of rats, which we refer to as Carioca High-Freezing (CHF) and Carioca Low-Freezing (CLF), show a reliable difference in conditioned freezing after three generations of selection. CHF and CLF rats did not present any differences during baseline or post-shock periods. Males from both lines consistently exhibit more conditioned freezing to contextual cues than females. A second experiment used male rats from the fourth generation to investigate the participation of the amygdala during contextual fear conditioning in the CHF and CLF lines. The results indicate that post-training amygdaloid electrolytic lesions lead to similar disruptions in conditioned freezing behavior in both animal lines. PMID:18691560

  15. Hand-Rearing Reduces Fear of Humans in European Starlings, Sturnus vulgaris

    PubMed Central

    Feenders, Gesa; Bateson, Melissa

    2011-01-01

    Pending changes in European legislation ban the use of wild-caught animals in research. This change is partly justified on the assumption that captive-breeding (or hand-rearing) increases welfare of captive animals because these practices result in animals with reduced fear of humans. However, there are few actual data on the long-term behavioural effects of captive-breeding in non-domestic species, and these are urgently needed in order to understand the welfare and scientific consequences of adopting this practice. We compared the response of hand-reared and wild-caught starlings to the presence of a human in the laboratory. During human presence, all birds increased their general locomotor activity but the wild-caught birds moved away from the human and were less active than the hand-reared birds. After the human departed, the wild-caught birds were slower to decrease their activity back towards baseline levels, and showed a dramatic increase in time at the periphery of the cage compared with the hand-reared birds. We interpret these data as showing evidence of a greater fear response in wild-caught birds with initial withdrawal followed by a subsequent rebound of prolonged attempts to escape the cage. We found no effects of environmental enrichment. However, birds in cages on low shelves were less active than birds on upper shelves, and showed a greater increase in the time spent at the periphery of their cages after the human departed, perhaps indicating that the lower cages were more stressful. In demonstrating reduced fear of humans in hand-reared birds, our results support one of the proposed welfare benefits of this practice, but without further data on the possible welfare costs of hand-rearing, it is not yet possible to reach a general conclusion about its net welfare impact. However, our results confirm a clear scientific impact of both hand-rearing and cage position at the behavioural level. PMID:21364770

  16. Trace and Contextual Fear Conditioning Require Neural Activity and NMDA Receptor-Dependent Transmission in the Medial Prefrontal Cortex

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gilmartin, Marieke R.; Helmstetter, Fred J.

    2010-01-01

    The contribution of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) to the formation of memory is a subject of considerable recent interest. Notably, the mechanisms supporting memory acquisition in this structure are poorly understood. The mPFC has been implicated in the acquisition of trace fear conditioning, a task that requires the association of a…

  17. Role of L-Type Ca[superscript 2+] Channel Isoforms in the Extinction of Conditioned Fear

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Busquet, Perrine; Hetzenauer, Alfred; Sinnegger-Brauns, Martina J.; Striessnig, Jorg; Singewald, Nicolas

    2008-01-01

    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…

  18. Distinct Contributions of the Basolateral Amygdala and the Medial Prefrontal Cortex to Learning and Relearning Extinction of Context Conditioned Fear

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Laurent, Vincent; Westbrook, R. Frederick

    2008-01-01

    We studied the roles of the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) in learning and relearning to inhibit context conditioned fear (freezing) in extinction. In Experiment 1, pre-extinction BLA infusion of the NMDA receptor (NMDAr) antagonist, ifenprodil, impaired the development and retention of inhibition but…

  19. Role of the Basolateral Amygdala in the Reinstatement and Extinction of Fear Responses to a Previously Extinguished Conditioned Stimulus

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Laurent, Vincent; Westbrook, R. Frederick

    2010-01-01

    Four experiments used rats to study the role of the basolateral amygdala (BLA) in the reinstatement and extinction of fear responses (freezing) to a previously extinguished conditioned stimulus (CS). In Experiment 1, BLA inactivation before pairing the extinguished CS with the shock unconditioned stimulus (US) or before US-alone exposure impaired…

  20. From Pavlov to pain: How predictability affects the anticipation and processing of visceral pain in a fear conditioning paradigm.

    PubMed

    Labrenz, Franziska; Icenhour, Adriane; Schlamann, Marc; Forsting, Michael; Bingel, Ulrike; Elsenbruch, Sigrid

    2016-04-15

    Conditioned pain-related fear may contribute to hyperalgesia and central sensitization, but this has not been tested for interoceptive, visceral pain. The underlying ability to accurately predict pain is based on predictive cue properties and may alter the sensory processing and cognitive-emotional modulation of pain thus exacerbating the subjective pain experience. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging study using painful rectal distensions as unconditioned stimuli (US), we addressed changes in the neural processing of pain during the acquisition of pain-related fear and subsequently tested if conditioned stimuli (CS) contribute to hyperalgesia and increased neural responses in pain-encoding regions. N=49 healthy volunteers were assigned to one of two groups and underwent 3T fMRI during acquisition of either differential fear conditioning (predictable) or non-contingent presentation of CS and US (unpredictable). During a subsequent test phase, pain stimuli signaled randomly by the CSs were delivered. For the acquisition, results confirmed differential conditioning in the predictable but not the unpredictable group. With regard to activation in response to painful stimuli, the unpredictable compared to the predictable group revealed greater activation in pain-encoding (somatosensory cortex, insula) and pain-modulatory (prefrontal and cingulate cortices, periaqueductal grey, parahippocampus) regions. In the test phase, no evidence of hyperalgesia or central sensitization was found, but the predictable group demonstrated enhanced caudate nucleus activation in response to CS(-)-signaled pain. These findings support that during fear conditioning, the ability to predict pain affects neural processing of visceral pain and alters the associative learning processes underlying the acquisition of predictive properties of cues signaling pain, but conditioned pain-related fear does not result in visceral hyperalgesia or central sensitization. PMID:26854560

  1. The α1 adrenoceptor antagonist prazosin enhances sleep continuity in fear-conditioned Wistar-Kyoto rats

    PubMed Central

    Laitman, Benjamin M.; Gajewski, Nicholas D.; Mann, Graziella L.; Kubin, Leszek; Morrison, Adrian R.; Ross, Richard J.

    2014-01-01

    Fragmentation of rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) is well described in individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and likely has significant functional consequences. Fear-conditioned rodents may offer an attractive model of the changes in sleep that characterize PTSD. Following fear conditioning (FC), Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats, a strain known to be particularly stress-sensitive, have increased REMS fragmentation that can be quantified as a shift in the distribution of REMS episodes towards the more frequent occurrence of sequential REMS (inter-REMS episode interval ≤ 3 min) vs. single REMS (interval > 3 min). The α1 adrenoceptor antagonist prazosin has demonstrated efficacy in normalizing sleep in PTSD. To determine the utility of fear-conditioned WKY rats as a model of sleep disturbances typical of PTSD and as a platform for the development of new treatments, we tested the hypothesis that prazosin would reduce REMS fragmentation in fear-conditioned WKY rats. Sleep parameters and freezing (a standard measure of anxiety in rodents) were quantified at baseline and on days 1, 7, and 14 following FC, with either prazosin (0.01 mg/kg, i.p.) or vehicle injections administered prior to testing in a between-group design. Fear conditioning was achieved by pairing tones with a mild electric foot shock (1.0 mA, 0.5 s). One, 7, and 14 days following FC, prazosin or vehicle was injected, the tone was presented, freezing was measured, and then sleep was recorded from 11 AM to 3 PM. WKY rats given prazosin, compared to those given vehicle, had a lower amount of seq-REMS relative to total REMS time 14 days after FC. They also had a shorter non-REMS latency and fewer non-REMS arousals at baseline and on days 1 and 7 after FC. Thus, in FC rats, prazosin reduced both REMS fragmentation and non-REMS discontinuity. PMID:24246572

  2. Towards understanding sex differences in visceral pain: enhanced reactivation of classically-conditioned fear in healthy women.

    PubMed

    Benson, Sven; Kattoor, Joswin; Kullmann, Jennifer S; Hofmann, Sarah; Engler, Harald; Forsting, Michael; Gizewski, Elke R; Elsenbruch, Sigrid

    2014-03-01

    Sex differences in learned fear regarding aversive gastrointestinal stimuli could play a role in the female preponderance of chronic abdominal pain. In a fear conditioning model with rectal pain as unconditioned stimulus (US), we compared healthy males and females with respect to neural responses during aversive visceral learning, extinction and re-activation of fear memory (i.e., reinstatement). To do so, conditioned visual stimuli (CS(+)) were consistently paired with painful rectal distensions as US, while different visual stimuli (CS(-)) were presented without US. During extinction, both CSs were presented without US, whereas during reinstatement, a single, unpaired US was presented. In region-of-interest analyses, sexes were compared with respect to conditioned anticipatory neural activation (CS(+)>CS(-)). The results revealed that in late acquisition, CS+ presentation induced significantly greater anticipatory activation of the insula in women. During extinction, women demonstrated reduced activation of the posterior cingulate cortex. During reinstatement, the CS(+) led to greater activation of the hippocampus, thalamus and cerebellum in women. These group effects in neural activation during learning and memory processes were not accounted for by sex differences in pain thresholds, pain ratings, or stress parameters. In conclusion, this is the first study to support sex differences in neural processes mediating aversive visceral learning. Our finding of enhanced neural responses during reinstatement in key brain areas relevant for memory suggests enhanced reactivation of old fear memory trace in women. Sex differences in "gut memories" could play a role in the female preponderance of chronic abdominal pain. PMID:24398396

  3. Effects of cannabidiol and diazepam on behavioral and cardiovascular responses induced by contextual conditioned fear in rats.

    PubMed

    Resstel, Leonardo B M; Joca, Sâmia R L; Moreira, Fabrício A; Corrêa, Fernando M A; Guimarães, Francisco S

    2006-09-25

    Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychotomimetic compound from Cannabis sativa that induces anxiolytic-like effects similar to diazepam in animal models of innate aversive behavior. However, the effects of CBD contextual conditioned fear have not been studied. Therefore, the aim of this work was to compare the behavioral and cardiovascular effects of CBD and diazepam, a prototype anxiolytic, in animals submitted to a contextual conditioned fear paradigm. Male Wistar rats were submitted to a 10min conditioning session (six footshocks, 2.5 mA, 3s, delivered at pseudo-random intervals). The behavioral and cardiovascular responses to the context were measured 24h later in a 10 min test session. Diazepam (2.5 mg/kg), FG-7142 (8 mg/kg), a benzodiazepine inverse agonist, or CBD (10 mg/kg) were administered i.p. before the test session. Conditioned rats submitted to the aversive context exhibited more freezing behavior and a larger increase in blood pressure and heart rate as compared to non-conditioned animals. These effects were attenuated by CBD and diazepam in the conditioned animals. These drugs did not have any effect in non-conditioned rats. FG-7142 treatment failed to change the behavioral and cardiovascular responses to the aversive context. In conclusion, the results suggest that CBD has anxiolytic-like properties similar to those of diazepam in a rat model of conditioned fear to context. PMID:16780966

  4. The L-Type Voltage-Gated Calcium Channel Ca[subscript v]1.3 Mediates Consolidation, but Not Extinction, of Contextually Conditioned Fear in Mice

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    McKinney, Brandon C.; Murphy, Geoffrey G.

    2006-01-01

    Using pharmacological techniques, it has been demonstrated that both consolidation and extinction of Pavlovian fear conditioning are dependent to some extent upon L-type voltage-gated calcium channels (LVGCCs). Although these studies have successfully implicated LVGCCs in Pavlovian fear conditioning, they do not provide information about the…

  5. Top carnivores increase their kill rates on prey as a response to human-induced fear.

    PubMed

    Smith, Justine A; Wang, Yiwei; Wilmers, Christopher C

    2015-03-01

    The fear induced by predators on their prey is well known to cause behavioural adjustments by prey that can ripple through food webs. Little is known, however, about the analogous impacts of humans as perceived top predators on the foraging behaviour of carnivores. Here, we investigate the influence of human-induced fear on puma foraging behaviour using location and prey consumption data from 30 tagged individuals living along a gradient of human development. We observed strong behavioural responses by female pumas to human development, whereby their fidelity to kill sites and overall consumption time of prey declined with increasing housing density by 36 and 42%, respectively. Females responded to this decline in prey consumption time by increasing the number of deer they killed in high housing density areas by 36% over what they killed in areas with little residential development. The loss of food from declines in prey consumption time paired with increases in energetic costs associated with killing more prey may have consequences for puma populations, particularly with regard to reproductive success. In addition, greater carcass availability is likely to alter community dynamics by augmenting food resources for scavengers. In light of the extensive and growing impact of habitat modification, our study emphasizes that knowledge of the indirect effects of human activity on animal behaviour is a necessary component in understanding anthropogenic impacts on community dynamics and food web function. PMID:25608884

  6. Top carnivores increase their kill rates on prey as a response to human-induced fear

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Justine A.; Wang, Yiwei; Wilmers, Christopher C.

    2015-01-01

    The fear induced by predators on their prey is well known to cause behavioural adjustments by prey that can ripple through food webs. Little is known, however, about the analogous impacts of humans as perceived top predators on the foraging behaviour of carnivores. Here, we investigate the influence of human-induced fear on puma foraging behaviour using location and prey consumption data from 30 tagged individuals living along a gradient of human development. We observed strong behavioural responses by female pumas to human development, whereby their fidelity to kill sites and overall consumption time of prey declined with increasing housing density by 36 and 42%, respectively. Females responded to this decline in prey consumption time by increasing the number of deer they killed in high housing density areas by 36% over what they killed in areas with little residential development. The loss of food from declines in prey consumption time paired with increases in energetic costs associated with killing more prey may have consequences for puma populations, particularly with regard to reproductive success. In addition, greater carcass availability is likely to alter community dynamics by augmenting food resources for scavengers. In light of the extensive and growing impact of habitat modification, our study emphasizes that knowledge of the indirect effects of human activity on animal behaviour is a necessary component in understanding anthropogenic impacts on community dynamics and food web function. PMID:25608884

  7. Facilitation of contextual fear memory extinction and anti-anxiogenic effects of AM404 and cannabidiol in conditioned rats.

    PubMed

    Bitencourt, Rafael M; Pamplona, Fabrício A; Takahashi, Reinaldo N

    2008-12-01

    The present study investigated the central effects of the eCB uptake/metabolism inhibitor AM404 and the phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) on the extinction of contextual fear memories in rats. Rats were conditioned and 24 h later subjected to three consecutive 9-min non-reinforced exposures to the conditioning context (extinction sessions, 24 h intervals). AM404 or CBD was injected i.c.v. 5 min before each extinction session and a 3-min drug-free test of contextual memory was performed 24 h after the last extinction session. AM404 (1.0 microg/microl, i.c.v.) and CBD (2.0 microg/microl, i.c.v.) facilitated extinction of contextual fear memory, with persistent effects. These responses were antagonized by the CB1-selective antagonist SR141716A (0.2 mg/kg, i.p.), but not by the TRPV1-selective antagonist capsazepine (5.0 microg/microl, i.c.v.). The effect of the anxiolytic drug Diazepam (DZP) on the extinction of contextual fear memory was also investigated. In contrast with the CBD and AM404 results, DZP induced a general reduction in the expression of conditioned freezing. Both AM404 and CBD induced anti-anxiogenic effect in the fear-potentiated plus-maze test, whereas DZP was anxiolytic in conditioned and unconditioned rats. In conclusion, CBD, a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid could be an interesting pharmacological approach to reduce the anxiogenic effects of stress and promote the extinction of fear memories. PMID:18706790

  8. Induction of c-Fos expression in the mammillary bodies, anterior thalamus and dorsal hippocampus after fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Conejo, Nélida M; González-Pardo, Héctor; López, Matías; Cantora, Raúl; Arias, Jorge L

    2007-09-14

    The aim of the present study was to provide further evidence on the role of particular subdivisions of the mammillary bodies, anterior thalamus and dorsal hippocampus to contextual and auditory fear conditioning. We used c-Fos expression as a marker of neuronal activation to compare rats that received tone-footshock pairings in a distinctive context (conditioned group) to rats being exposed to both the context and the auditory CS without receiving footshocks (unconditioned group), and naïve rats that were only handled. Fos immunoreactivity was significantly increased only in the anterodorsal thalamic nucleus and the lateral mammillary nucleus of the conditioned group. However, the dorsal hippocampus showed the highest density of c-Fos positive nuclei in the naïve group as compared to the other groups. Together, our data support previous studies indicating a particular involvement of the mammillary bodies and anterior thalamus in fear conditioning. PMID:17683804

  9. Suppression of conditioned fear by administration of CCKB receptor antisense oligodeoxynucleotide into the lateral ventricle.

    PubMed

    Tsutsumi, T; Akiyoshi, J; Hikichi, T; Kiyota, A; Kohno, Y; Katsuragi, S; Yamamoto, Y; Isogawa, K; Nagayama, H

    2001-11-01

    We investigated the role of CCK in the development of anxiety by determining whether CCKB receptor antisense suppressed intracellular Ca(2+) concentration in vitro or suppressed conditioned fear stress in vivo. First, for the in vitro studies, we used rat pituitary tumor GH3 cells since these cells have CCKB receptors. GH3 cells were stimulated by 10 microM CCK-4; intracellular Ca(2+) concentration was measured. The CCKB receptor antisense at 1 or 10 microM reduced the subsequent response to 10 microM CCK-4 in a time-dependent manner. Second, for the in vivo studies, the CCKB receptor antisense, sense, random sense, or saline was infused at a constant rate for 6 days into rat lateral ventricles via mini-osmotic pumps. Individual rats were then subjected to 30 min of inescapable electric footshock in a chamber with a grid floor. Twenty-four hours later, the rat was again placed in the chamber and observed for 5 min without shocks. This study showed that CCKB receptor antisense significantly suppressed intracellular Ca(2+) concentration in GH3 cells and significantly reduced freezing behavior in rats, indicating that the CCKB receptor plays an important role in anxiety. PMID:11778143

  10. Facial Expression Recognition, Fear Conditioning, and Startle Modulation in Female Subjects with Conduct Disorder

    PubMed Central

    Fairchild, Graeme; Stobbe, Yvette; van Goozen, Stephanie H.M.; Calder, Andrew J.; Goodyer, Ian M.

    2010-01-01

    Background Recent behavioral and psychophysiological studies have provided converging evidence for emotional dysfunction in conduct disorder (CD). Most of these studies focused on male subjects and little is known about emotional processing in female subjects with CD. Our primary aim was to characterize explicit and implicit aspects of emotion function to determine whether deficits in these processes are present in girls with CD. Methods Female adolescents with CD (n = 25) and control subjects with no history of severe antisocial behavior and no current psychiatric disorder (n = 30) completed tasks measuring facial expression and facial identity recognition, differential autonomic conditioning, and affective modulation of the startle reflex by picture valence. Results Compared with control subjects, participants with CD showed impaired recognition of anger and disgust but no differences in facial identity recognition. Impaired sadness recognition was observed in CD participants high in psychopathic traits relative to those lower in psychopathic traits. Participants with CD displayed reduced skin conductance responses to an aversive unconditioned stimulus and impaired autonomic discrimination between the conditioned stimuli, indicating impaired fear conditioning. Participants with CD also showed reduced startle magnitudes across picture valence types, but there were no significant group differences in the pattern of affective modulation. Conclusions Adolescent female subjects with CD exhibited deficits in explicit and implicit tests of emotion function and reduced autonomic responsiveness across different output systems. There were, however, no differences in emotional reactivity. These findings suggest that emotional recognition and learning are impaired in female subjects with CD, consistent with results previously obtained in male subjects with CD. PMID:20447616

  11. Pre-test metyrapone impairs memory recall in fear conditioning tasks: lack of interaction with β-adrenergic activity

    PubMed Central

    Careaga, Mariella B. L.; Tiba, Paula A.; Ota, Simone M.; Suchecki, Deborah

    2015-01-01

    Cognitive processes, such as learning and memory, are essential for our adaptation to environmental changes and consequently for survival. Numerous studies indicate that hormones secreted during stressful situations, such as glucocorticoids (GCs), adrenaline and noradrenaline, regulate memory functions, modulating aversive memory consolidation and retrieval, in an interactive and complementary way. Thus, the facilitatory effects of GCs on memory consolidation as well as their suppressive effects on retrieval are substantially explained by this interaction. On the other hand, low levels of GCs are also associated with negative effects on memory consolidation and retrieval and the mechanisms involved are not well understood. The present study sought to investigate the consequences of blocking the rise of GCs on fear memory retrieval in multiple tests, assessing the participation of β-adrenergic signaling on this effect. Metyrapone (GCs synthesis inhibitor; 75 mg/kg), administered 90 min before the first test of contextual or tone fear conditioning (TFC), negatively affected animals’ performances, but this effect did not persist on a subsequent test, when the conditioned response was again expressed. This result suggested that the treatment impaired fear memory retrieval during the first evaluation. The administration immediately after the first test did not affect the animals’ performances in contextual fear conditioning (CFC), suggesting that the drug did not interfere with processes triggered by memory reactivation. Moreover, metyrapone effects were independent of β-adrenergic signaling, since concurrent administration with propranolol (2 mg/kg), a β-adrenergic antagonist, did not modify the effects induced by metyrapone alone. These results demonstrate that pre-test metyrapone administration led to negative effects on fear memory retrieval and this action was independent of a β-adrenergic signaling. PMID:25784866

  12. The dog nose "KNOWS" fear: Asymmetric nostril use during sniffing at canine and human emotional stimuli.

    PubMed

    Siniscalchi, Marcello; d'Ingeo, Serenella; Quaranta, Angelo

    2016-05-01

    Previous studies have reported striking asymmetries in the nostril use of dogs during sniffing at different emotive stimuli. Here we report, for the first time, that this asymmetry is also manifested during sniffing of both human and canine odours collected during different emotional events. Results showed that during sniffing of conspecific odour collected during a stressful situation (e.g. an "isolation" situation in which a dog was isolated from its owner in an unfamiliar environment) dogs consistently used their right nostril (right hemisphere). On the other hand, dogs consistently used the left nostril to sniff human odours collected during fearful situations (emotion-eliciting movies) and physical stress, suggesting the prevalent activation of the left hemisphere. The opposite bias shown in nostril use during sniffing at canine versus human odours suggests that chemosignals communicate conspecific and heterospecific emotional cues using different sensory pathways. PMID:26876141

  13. Protein profiles associated with context fear conditioning and their modulation by memantine.

    PubMed

    Ahmed, Md Mahiuddin; Dhanasekaran, A Ranjitha; Block, Aaron; Tong, Suhong; Costa, Alberto C S; Gardiner, Katheleen J

    2014-04-01

    Analysis of the molecular basis of learning and memory has revealed details of the roles played by many genes and the proteins they encode. Because most individual studies focus on a small number of proteins, many complexities of the relationships among proteins and their dynamic responses to stimulation are not known. We have used the technique of reverse phase protein arrays (RPPA) to assess the levels of more than 80 proteins/protein modifications in subcellular fractions from hippocampus and cortex of mice trained in Context Fear Conditioning (CFC). Proteins include components of signaling pathways, several encoded by immediate early genes or involved in apoptosis and inflammation, and subunits of glutamate receptors. At one hour after training, levels of more than half the proteins had changed in one or more fractions, among them multiple components of the Mitogen-activated protein kinase, MAPK, and Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin, MTOR, pathways, subunits of glutamate receptors, and the NOTCH pathway modulator, NUMB homolog (Drosophila). Levels of 37 proteins changed in the nuclear fraction of hippocampus alone. Abnormalities in levels of thirteen proteins analyzed have been reported in brains of patients with Alzheimer's Disease. We therefore further investigated the protein profiles of mice treated with memantine, a drug approved for treatment of AD. In hippocampus, memantine alone induced many changes similar to those seen after CFC and altered the levels of seven proteins associated with Alzheimer's Disease abnormalities. Lastly, to further explore the relevance of these datasets, we superimposed responses to CFC and memantine onto components of the long term potentiation pathway, a process subserving learning and memory formation. Fourteen components of the long term potentiation pathway and 26 proteins interacting with components responded to CFC and/or memantine. Together, these datasets provide a novel view of the diversity and complexity in protein

  14. Protein Profiles Associated With Context Fear Conditioning and Their Modulation by Memantine*

    PubMed Central

    Ahmed, Md. Mahiuddin; Dhanasekaran, A. Ranjitha; Block, Aaron; Tong, Suhong; Costa, Alberto C. S.; Gardiner, Katheleen J.

    2014-01-01

    Analysis of the molecular basis of learning and memory has revealed details of the roles played by many genes and the proteins they encode. Because most individual studies focus on a small number of proteins, many complexities of the relationships among proteins and their dynamic responses to stimulation are not known. We have used the technique of reverse phase protein arrays (RPPA) to assess the levels of more than 80 proteins/protein modifications in subcellular fractions from hippocampus and cortex of mice trained in Context Fear Conditioning (CFC). Proteins include components of signaling pathways, several encoded by immediate early genes or involved in apoptosis and inflammation, and subunits of glutamate receptors. At one hour after training, levels of more than half the proteins had changed in one or more fractions, among them multiple components of the Mitogen-activated protein kinase, MAPK, and Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin, MTOR, pathways, subunits of glutamate receptors, and the NOTCH pathway modulator, NUMB homolog (Drosophila). Levels of 37 proteins changed in the nuclear fraction of hippocampus alone. Abnormalities in levels of thirteen proteins analyzed have been reported in brains of patients with Alzheimer's Disease. We therefore further investigated the protein profiles of mice treated with memantine, a drug approved for treatment of AD. In hippocampus, memantine alone induced many changes similar to those seen after CFC and altered the levels of seven proteins associated with Alzheimer's Disease abnormalities. Lastly, to further explore the relevance of these datasets, we superimposed responses to CFC and memantine onto components of the long term potentiation pathway, a process subserving learning and memory formation. Fourteen components of the long term potentiation pathway and 26 proteins interacting with components responded to CFC and/or memantine. Together, these datasets provide a novel view of the diversity and complexity in protein

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2015-01-01

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

  16. Like Extinction, Latent Inhibition of Conditioned Fear in Mice Is Blocked by Systemic Inhibition of L-Type Voltage-Gated Calcium Channels

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Blouin, Ashley M.; Cain, Chris K.; Barad, Mike

    2004-01-01

    Having recently shown that extinction of conditioned fear depends on L-type voltage-gated calcium channels (LVGCCs), we have been seeking other protocols that require this unusual induction mechanism. We tested latent inhibition (LI) of fear, because LI resembles extinction except that cue exposures precede, rather than follow, cue-shock pairing.…

  17. Agoraphobia: Fear of Fear.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Musetto, Andrew P.

    1984-01-01

    Agoraphobia is a complex phobia in which individuals react with intense anxiety to certain stress situations. Basically, agoraphobics live in fear of becoming afraid. Describes the psychotherapeutic treatment that helps agoraphobics to become more self-sufficient and to face their fears by understanding themselves better. (CS)

  18. The usefulness of olfactory fear conditioning for the study of early emotional and cognitive impairment in reserpine model.

    PubMed

    Souza, Rimenez R; França, Sanmara L; Bessa, Marília M; Takahashi, Reinaldo N

    2013-11-01

    Due to the ability for depleting neuronal storages of monoamines, the reserpine model is a suitable approach for the investigation of the neurobiology of neurodegenerative diseases. However, the behavioral effects of low doses of reserpine are not always detected by classic animal tests of cognition, emotion, and sensory ability. In this study, the effects of reserpine (0.5-1.0mg/kg) were evaluated in olfactory fear conditioning, inhibitory avoidance, open-field, elevated plus-maze, and olfactory discrimination. Possible protective effects were also investigated. We found that single administration of reserpine impaired the acquisition of olfactory fear conditioning (in both doses) as well as olfactory discrimination (in the higher dose), while no effects were seen in all other tests. Additionally, we demonstrated that prior exposure to environmental enrichment prevented effects of reserpine in animals tested in olfactory fear conditioning. Altogether, these findings suggest that a combined cognitive, emotional and sensory-dependent task would be more sensitive to the effects of the reserpine model. In addition, the present data support the environmental enrichment as an useful approach for the study of resilience mechanisms in neurodegenerative processes. PMID:23978602

  19. Hyper-reactive human ventral tegmental area and aberrant mesocorticolimbic connectivity in overgeneralization of fear in generalized anxiety disorder.

    PubMed

    Cha, Jiook; Carlson, Joshua M; Dedora, Daniel J; Greenberg, Tsafrir; Proudfit, Greg H; Mujica-Parodi, Lilianne R

    2014-04-23

    The ventral tegmental area (VTA) has been primarily implicated in reward-motivated behavior. Recently, aberrant dopaminergic VTA signaling has also been implicated in anxiety-like behaviors in animal models. These findings, however, have yet to be extended to anxiety in humans. Here we hypothesized that clinical anxiety is linked to dysfunction of the mesocorticolimbic circuit during threat processing in humans; specifically, excessive or dysregulated activity of the mesocorticolimbic aversion circuit may be etiologically related to errors in distinguishing cues of threat versus safety, also known as "overgeneralization of fear." To test this, we recruited 32 females with generalized anxiety disorder and 25 age-matched healthy control females. We measured brain activity using fMRI while participants underwent a fear generalization task consisting of pseudo-randomly presented rectangles with systematically varying widths. A mid-sized rectangle served as a conditioned stimulus (CS; 50% electric shock probability) and rectangles with widths of CS ±20%, ±40%, and ±60% served as generalization stimuli (GS; never paired with electric shock). Healthy controls showed VTA reactivity proportional to the cue's perceptual similarity to CS (threat). In contrast, patients with generalized anxiety disorder showed heightened and less discriminating VTA reactivity to GS, a feature that was positively correlated with trait anxiety, as well as increased mesocortical and decreased mesohippocampal coupling. Our results suggest that the human VTA and the mesocorticolimbic system play a crucial role in threat processing, and that abnormalities in this system are implicated in maladaptive threat processing in clinical anxiety. PMID:24760845

  20. Effects of inescapable shock and conditioned fear on the release of excitatory and inhibitory amino acids in the locus coeruleus.

    PubMed

    Kaehler, S T; Sinner, C; Kouvelas, D; Philippu, A

    2000-02-01

    We investigated the importance of endogenous amino acids in the locus coeruleus in inescapable electric shock and conditioned fear. In naive rats and in rats exposed to noise (N), light (L) and electric shock (S) or to N + L only, the locus coeruleus was superfused with artificial cerebrospinal fluid through a push-pull cannula and the release of GABA, taurine, glutamate, aspartate, serine and glutamine was determined in the superfusate by HPLC after derivatization with o-phthaldialdehyde. Locomotor activity, arterial blood pressure and heart rate were telemetrically monitored. The placement of naive rats or conditioned rats from their home cage to a chamber provided with a grid-floor for shock virtually did not change the release rates of the amino acids in the locus coeruleus. Motility was enhanced in naive and conditioned rats to a similar extent. Blood pressure and heart rate were enhanced in conditioned rats only. Exposure to N + L + S for 5 min greatly enhanced the release rates of all determined amino acids in the locus coeruleus. In conditioned rats the increase in release of most amino acids lasted longer than in naive rats. Electric shock also enhanced motility, blood pressure and heart rate. In conditioned rats, motility and cardiovascular changes were more pronounced and/or lasted longer than in naive rats. Exposure of conditioned rats to the conditioned stimuli N + L for 5 min led to an increased release of taurine and aspartate. The enhanced release of taurine lasted 30 min. Exposure to N + L did not affect the release rates of amino acids in naive rats. N + L did not influence motility but arterial blood pressure and heart rate were elevated in conditioned rats. The findings show that inescapable electric shock enhances the release of several amino acids in the locus coeruleus, while conditioned fear selectively increases the outflow of taurine and aspartate. Moreover, conditioned fear prolongs the response of excitatory and inhibitory amino acids to

  1. Sleep deprivation impairs contextual fear conditioning and attenuates subsequent behavioural, endocrine and neuronal responses.

    PubMed

    Hagewoud, Roelina; Bultsma, Lillian J; Barf, R Paulien; Koolhaas, Jaap M; Meerlo, Peter

    2011-06-01

    Sleep deprivation (SD) affects hippocampus-dependent memory formation. Several studies in rodents have shown that brief SD immediately following a mild foot shock impairs consolidation of contextual fear memory as reflected in a reduced behavioural freezing response during re-exposure to the shock context later. In the first part of this study, we examined whether this reduced freezing response is accompanied by an attenuated fear-induced activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Results show that 6h of SD immediately following the initial shock results in a diminished adrenal corticosterone (CORT) response upon re-exposure to the shock context the next day. In the second part, we established whether the attenuated freezing response in SD animals is associated with reduced activation of relevant brain areas known to be involved in the retrieval and expression of fear memory. Immunohistochemical analysis of brain slices showed that the normal increase in phosphorylation of the transcription factor 3',5'-cyclic AMP response-element binding protein (CREB) upon re-exposure to the shock context was reduced in SD animals in the CA1 region of the hippocampus and in the amygdala. In conclusion, brief SD impairs the consolidation of contextual fear memory. Upon re-exposure to the context, this is reflected in a diminished behavioural freezing response, an attenuated HPA axis response and a reduction of the normal increase of phosphorylated CREB expression in the hippocampus and amygdala. PMID:20946438

  2. Neuronal Correlates of Fear Conditioning in the Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Haufler, Darrell; Nagy, Frank Z.; Pare, Denis

    2013-01-01

    Lesion and inactivation studies indicate that the central amygdala (CeA) participates in the expression of cued and contextual fear, whereas the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) is only involved in the latter. The basis for this functional dissociation is unclear because CeA and BNST form similar connections with the amygdala and…

  3. CB1 Cannabinoid Receptors Modulate Kinase and Phosphatase Activity during Extinction of Conditioned Fear in Mice

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kamprath, Kornelia; Hermann, Heike; Lutz, Beat; Marsicano, Giovanni; Cannich, Astrid; Wotjak, Carsten T.

    2004-01-01

    Cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) play a central role in both short-term and long-term extinction of auditory-cued fear memory. The molecular mechanisms underlying this function remain to be clarified. Several studies indicated extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs), the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase with its downstream effector AKT, and…

  4. Effects of sleep deprivation on different phases of memory in the rat: dissociation between contextual and tone fear conditioning tasks

    PubMed Central

    Rossi, Vanessa Contatto; Tiba, Paula Ayako; Moreira, Karin Di Monteiro; Ferreira, Tatiana Lima; Oliveira, Maria Gabriela Menezes; Suchecki, Deborah

    2014-01-01

    Numerous studies show that sleep deprivation (SD) impacts negatively on cognitive processes, including learning and memory. Memory formation encompasses distinct phases of which acquisition, consolidation and retrieval are better known. Previous studies with pre-training SD induced by the platform method have shown impairment in fear conditioning tasks. Nonetheless, pre-training manipulations do not allow the distinction between effects on acquisition and/or consolidation, interfering, ultimately, on recall of/performance in the task. In the present study, animals were first trained in contextual and tone fear conditioning (TFC) tasks and then submitted to SD with the purpose to evaluate the effect of this manipulation on different stages of the learning process, e.g., in the uptake of (new) information during learning, its encoding and stabilization, and the recall of stored memories. Besides, we also investigated the effect of SD in the extinction of fear memory and a possible state-dependent learning induced by this manipulation. For each task (contextual or TFC), animals were trained and then distributed into control, not sleep-deprived (CTL) and SD groups, the latter being submitted to the modified multiple platform paradigm for 96 h. Subsets of eight rats in each group/experiment were submitted to the test of the tasks, either immediately or at different time intervals after SD. The results indicated that (a) pre- but not post-training SD impaired recall in the contextual and TFC; (b) this impairment was not state-dependent; and (c) in the contextual fear conditioning (CFC), pre-test SD prevented extinction of the learned task. Overall, these results suggest that SD interferes with acquisition, recall and extinction, but not necessarily with consolidation of emotional memory. PMID:25426040

  5. Evidence for Recovery of Fear Following Immediate Extinction in Rats and Humans

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Schiller, Daniela; Cain, Christopher K.; Curley, Nina G.; Schwartz, Jennifer S.; Stern, Sarah A.; LeDoux, Joseph E.; Phelps, Elizabeth A.

    2008-01-01

    Fear responses can be eliminated through extinction, a procedure involving the presentation of fear-eliciting stimuli without aversive outcomes. Extinction is believed to be mediated by new inhibitory learning that acts to suppress fear expression without erasing the original memory trace. This hypothesis is supported mainly by behavioral data…

  6. Limbic system development underlies the emergence of classical fear conditioning during the 3rd and 4th weeks of life in the rat

    PubMed Central

    Deal, Alex L.; Erickson, Kristen J.; Shiers, Stephanie I.; Burman, Michael A.

    2016-01-01

    Classical fear conditioning creates an association between an aversive stimulus and a neutral stimulus. Although the requisite neural circuitry is well understood in mature organisms, the development of these circuits is less well studied. The current experiments examine the ontogeny of fear conditioning and relate it to neuronal activation assessed through immediate early gene (IEG) expression in the amygdala, hippocampus, perirhinal cortex, and hypothalamus of periweanling rats. Rat pups were fear conditioned, or not, during the 3rd or 4th weeks of life. Neuronal activation was assessed by quantifying expression of FBJ osteosarcoma oncogene (FOS) using immunohistochemistry (IHC) in Experiment 1. Fos and early growth response gene-1 (EGR1) expression was assessed using qRT-PCR in Experiment 2. Behavioral data confirm that both auditory and contextual fear continue to emerge between PD 17 and 24. The IEG expression data are highly consistent with these behavioral results. IHC results demonstrate significantly more FOS protein expression in the basal amygdala of fear conditioned PD 23 subjects compared to control subjects, but no significant difference at PD 17. qRT-PCR results suggest specific activation of the amygdala only in older subjects during auditory fear expression. A similar effect of age and conditioning status was also observed in the perirhinal cortex during both contextual and auditory fear expression. Overall, the development of fear conditioning occurring between the 3rd and 4th weeks of life appears to be at least partly attributable to changes in activation of the amygdala and perirhinal cortex during fear conditioning or expression. PMID:26820587

  7. Limbic system development underlies the emergence of classical fear conditioning during the third and fourth weeks of life in the rat.

    PubMed

    Deal, Alex L; Erickson, Kristen J; Shiers, Stephanie I; Burman, Michael A

    2016-04-01

    Classical fear conditioning creates an association between an aversive stimulus and a neutral stimulus. Although the requisite neural circuitry is well understood in mature organisms, the development of these circuits is less well studied. The current experiments examine the ontogeny of fear conditioning and relate it to neuronal activation assessed through immediate early gene (IEG) expression in the amygdala, hippocampus, perirhinal cortex, and hypothalamus of periweanling rats. Rat pups were fear conditioned, or not, during the third or fourth weeks of life. Neuronal activation was assessed by quantifying expression of FBJ osteosarcoma oncogene (FOS) using immunohistochemistry (IHC) in Experiment 1. Fos and early growth response gene-1 (EGR1) expression was assessed using qRT-PCR in Experiment 2. Behavioral data confirm that both auditory and contextual fear continue to emerge between PD 17 and 24. The IEG expression data are highly consistent with these behavioral results. IHC results demonstrate significantly more FOS protein expression in the basal amygdala of fear-conditioned PD 23 subjects compared to control subjects, but no significant difference at PD 17. qRT-PCR results suggest specific activation of the amygdala only in older subjects during auditory fear expression. A similar effect of age and conditioning status was also observed in the perirhinal cortex during both contextual and auditory fear expression. Overall, the development of fear conditioning occurring between the third and fourth weeks of life appears to be at least partly attributable to changes in activation of the amygdala and perirhinal cortex during fear conditioning or expression. (PsycINFO Database Record PMID:26820587

  8. Associations in Human Instrumental Conditioning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gamez, A. Matias; Rosas, Juan M.

    2007-01-01

    Four experiments were conducted to study the contents of human instrumental conditioning. Experiment 1 found positive transfer between a discriminative stimulus (S[superscript D] and an instrumental response (R) that shared the outcome (O) with the response that was originally trained with the S[superscript D], showing the formation of an…

  9. Sex differences in the neurobiology of fear conditioning and extinction: a preliminary fMRI study of shared sex differences with stress-arousal circuitry

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background The amygdala, hippocampus, medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and brain-stem subregions are implicated in fear conditioning and extinction, and are brain regions known to be sexually dimorphic. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate sex differences in brain activity in these regions during fear conditioning and extinction. Methods Subjects were 12 healthy men comparable to 12 healthy women who underwent a 2-day experiment in a 3 T MR scanner. Fear conditioning and extinction learning occurred on day 1 and extinction recall occurred on day 2. The conditioned stimuli were visual cues and the unconditioned stimulus was a mild electric shock. Skin conductance responses (SCR) were recorded throughout the experiment as an index of the conditioned response. fMRI data (blood-oxygen-level-dependent [BOLD] signal changes) were analyzed using SPM8. Results Findings showed no significant sex differences in SCR during any experimental phases. However, during fear conditioning, there were significantly greater BOLD-signal changes in the right amygdala, right rostral anterior cingulate (rACC) and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) in women compared with men. In contrast, men showed significantly greater signal changes in bilateral rACC during extinction recall. Conclusions These results indicate sex differences in brain activation within the fear circuitry of healthy subjects despite similar peripheral autonomic responses. Furthermore, we found that regions where sex differences were previously reported in response to stress, also exhibited sex differences during fear conditioning and extinction. PMID:22738021

  10. Arrest of adult hippocampal neurogenesis in mice impairs single- but not multiple-trial contextual fear conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Drew, Michael R.; Denny, Christine A.; Hen, Rene

    2010-01-01

    The role of adult hippocampal neurogenesis in contextual fear conditioning (CFC) is debated. Several studies demonstrated that blocking adult hippocampal neurogenesis in rodents impairs CFC, while several other studies failed to observe an impairment. We sought to determine whether different CFC methods vary in their sensitivity to the arrest of adult neurogenesis. Adult neurogenesis was arrested in mice using low-dose, targeted x-irradiation, and the effects of irradiation were assayed in conditioning procedures that varied in the use of a discrete conditioned stimulus, the number of trials administered, and the final level of conditioning produced. We demonstrate that irradiation impairs CFC in mice when a single-trial CFC procedure is used but not when multiple-trial procedures are used, regardless of the final level of contextual fear produced. In addition, we show that the irradiation-induced deficit in single-trial CFC can be rescued by providing pre-exposure to the conditioning context. These results indicate that adult hippocampal neurogenesis is required for CFC in mice only when brief training is provided. PMID:20695644

  11. GABAergic regulation of auditory sensory gating in low- and high-anxiety rats submitted to a fear conditioning procedure.

    PubMed

    Nobre, M J; Cabral, A; Brandão, M L

    2010-12-29

    The inferior colliculus (IC) is primarily involved in the processing of acoustic stimuli, being in a position to send auditory information to motor centers that participate in behaviors such as prey catching and predators' avoidance. The role of the central nucleus of the IC (CIC) on fear and anxiety has been suggested on the basis that rats are able to engage in tasks to decrease the aversiveness of CIC stimulation, increased Fos immunolabeling during diverse aversive states and increased CIC auditory evoked potentials (AEP) induced by conditioned fear stimuli. Additionally, it was shown that brainstem AEP, represented by wave V, for which the main generator is the IC, is increased during experimentally-induced anxiety. Rats segregated according to their low or high emotional reactivity have been used as an important tool in the study of fear and anxiety. The IC contains a high density of GABA receptors. Since the efficacy of an anxiolytic compound is a function of the animal's anxiety level, it is possible that GABA-benzodiazepine (Bzp) agents affect LA and HA animals differently. In this study we investigated the GABA-Bzp influence on the modulation of AEP in rats with low- (LA) or high-anxiety (HA) levels, as assessed by the elevated plus-maze test (EPM). GABA-Bzp modulation on the unconditioned AEP response was analyzed by using intra-CIC injections (0.2 μl) of the GABA-Bzp agonists muscimol (121 ng) and diazepam (30 μg), or the GABA inhibitors bicuculline (10 ng) and semicarbazide (7 μg). In a second experiment, we evaluate the effects of contextual aversive conditioning on AEP using foot-shocks as unconditioned stimuli. On the unconditioned fear paradigm GABA inhibition increased AEP in LA rats and decreases this measure in HA counterparts. Muscimol was effective in reducing AEP in both LA and HA rats. Contextual fear stimuli increased the magnitude of AEP. In spite of no effect obtained with diazepam in LA rats the drug inhibited AEP in HA animals. The

  12. Paradoxical mineralocorticoid receptor-mediated effect in fear memory encoding and expression of rats submitted to an olfactory fear conditioning task.

    PubMed

    Souza, Rimenez R; Dal Bó, Silvia; de Kloet, E Ronald; Oitzl, Melly S; Carobrez, Antonio P

    2014-04-01

    There is general agreement that the substantial modification in memory and motivational states exerted by corticosteroids after a traumatic experience is mediated in complementary manner by the mineralocorticoid (MR) and glucocorticoid (GR) receptors. Here we tested the hypothesis that pharmacological manipulation of MR activity would affect behavioral strategy and information storage in an olfactory fear conditioning (OFC) task. Male Wistar rats were submitted to the OFC with different training intensities. We observed that following high intensity OFC acquisition, a set of defensive coping strategies, which includes avoidance and risk assessment behaviors, was elicited when subjects were exposed to the conditioned stimulus (CS) 48 h later. In addition, following either OFC acquisition or retrieval (CS-I test) a profound corticosterone secretion was also detected. Systemic administration of the MR antagonist spironolactone altered the behavioral coping style irrespective the antagonist was administered 60 min prior to the acquisition or before the retrieval session. Surprisingly, the MR agonist fludrocortisone given 60 min prior to acquisition or retrieval of OFC had similar effects as the antagonist. In addition, post-training administration of fludrocortisone, following a weak training procedure, facilitated the consolidation of OFC. Fludrocortisone rather than spironolactone reduced serum corticosterone levels, suggesting that, at least in part, the effects of the MR agonist may derive from additional GR-mediated HPA-axis suppression. In conclusion, the present study suggests the involvement of the MR in the fine-tuning of behavioral adaptation necessary for optimal information storage and expression, as revealed by the marked alterations in the risk assessment behavior. PMID:24296155

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

    PubMed

    Feng, Pan; Zheng, Yong; Feng, Tingyong

    2016-06-01

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

  14. Heritability of fear of humans in urban and rural populations of a bird species.

    PubMed

    Carrete, Martina; Martínez-Padilla, Jesús; Rodríguez-Martínez, Sol; Rebolo-Ifrán, Natalia; Palma, Antonio; Tella, José L

    2016-01-01

    Flight initiation distance (FID), a measure of an animal's tolerance to human disturbance and a descriptor of its fear of humans, is increasingly employed for conservation purposes and to predict the response of species to urbanization. However, most work devoted to understanding variability in FID has been conducted at the population level and little is still known about inter-individual variability in this behaviour. We estimated the heritability of FID, a factor fundamental to understanding the strength and evolutionary consequences of selection of particular phenotypes associated with human disturbances. We used a population of burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) monitored long-term and for which FID was previously shown to be highly consistent across an individual's lifespan. Heritability estimates varied between 0.37 and 0.80, depending on the habitat considered (urban-rural) and method used (parent-offspring regressions or animal models). These values are unusually high compared with those previously reported for other behavioural traits. Although more research is needed to fully understand the underlying causes of this resemblance between relatives, selection pressures acting on this behaviour should be seriously considered as an important evolutionary force in animal populations increasingly exposed to human disturbance worldwide. PMID:27499420

  15. Heritability of fear of humans in urban and rural populations of a bird species

    PubMed Central

    Carrete, Martina; Martínez-Padilla, Jesús; Rodríguez-Martínez, Sol; Rebolo-Ifrán, Natalia; Palma, Antonio; Tella, José L.

    2016-01-01

    Flight initiation distance (FID), a measure of an animal’s tolerance to human disturbance and a descriptor of its fear of humans, is increasingly employed for conservation purposes and to predict the response of species to urbanization. However, most work devoted to understanding variability in FID has been conducted at the population level and little is still known about inter-individual variability in this behaviour. We estimated the heritability of FID, a factor fundamental to understanding the strength and evolutionary consequences of selection of particular phenotypes associated with human disturbances. We used a population of burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) monitored long-term and for which FID was previously shown to be highly consistent across an individual’s lifespan. Heritability estimates varied between 0.37 and 0.80, depending on the habitat considered (urban-rural) and method used (parent-offspring regressions or animal models). These values are unusually high compared with those previously reported for other behavioural traits. Although more research is needed to fully understand the underlying causes of this resemblance between relatives, selection pressures acting on this behaviour should be seriously considered as an important evolutionary force in animal populations increasingly exposed to human disturbance worldwide. PMID:27499420

  16. Rapid Activation of Glucocorticoid Receptors in the Prefrontal Cortex Mediates the Expression of Contextual Conditioned Fear in Rats.

    PubMed

    Reis, Fernando M C V; Almada, Rafael C; Fogaça, Manoela V; Brandão, Marcus L

    2016-06-01

    The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of glucocorticoids in medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) activity and the expression of contextual conditioned fear (freezing). Rats were pretreated with vehicle or metyrapone, a corticosterone synthesis blocker, and exposed to a context previously paired with footshocks. Freezing and Fos-protein expression in different mPFC regions were assessed. Exposure to the aversive context led to increased freezing and Fos expression in the prelimbic (PrL), anterior cingulate areas 1 and 2 (Cg1/Cg2). Pretreatment with metyrapone decreased freezing and Fos expression in these areas. Administration of spironolactone, an MR antagonist, in the PrL before the test decreased freezing. Pretreatment with RU38486, a glucocorticoid receptor (GR) antagonist, reduced this effect of spironolactone, suggesting that the effects of this MR antagonist may be attributable to a redirection of endogenous corticosterone actions to GRs. Consistent with this result, the decrease in freezing that was induced by intra-PrL injections of corticosterone was attenuated by pretreatment with RU38486 but not spironolactone. These findings indicate that corticosterone release during aversive conditioning influences mPFC activity and the retrieval of conditioned fear memory indicating the importance of balance between MR:GR-mediated effects in this brain region in this process. PMID:25976757

  17. Amygdala Infusions of an NR2B-Selective or an NR2A-Preferring NMDA Receptor Antagonist Differentially Influence Fear Conditioning and Expression in the Fear-Potentiated Startle Test

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Walker, David L.; Davis, Michael

    2008-01-01

    Within the amygdala, most N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptors consist of NR1 subunits in combination with either NR2A or NR2B subunits. Because the particular subunit composition greatly influences the receptors' properties, we investigated the contribution of both subtypes to fear conditioning and expression. To do so, we infused the…

  18. The importance of the context in the hippocampus and brain related areas throughout the performance of a fear conditioning task.

    PubMed

    Arias, Natalia; Méndez, Marta; Arias, Jorge L

    2015-11-01

    The importance context has been broadly studied in the management of phobias and in the drug addiction literature. The way in which changes to a context influence behavior after the simple acquisition of a passive avoidance task remains unclear. The hippocampus has long been implicated in the contextual and spatial processing required for contextual fear, but its role in encoding the aversive component of a contextual fear memory is still inconclusive. Our work tries to elucidate whether a change in context, represented as differences in the load of the stimuli, is critical for learning about the context-shock association and whether this manipulation of the context could be linked to any change in metabolic brain activity requirements. For this purpose, we used an avoidance conditioning task. Animals were divided into three different experimental conditions. In one group, acquisition was performed in an enriched stimuli environment and retention was performed in a typically lit chamber (the PA-ACQ-CONTX group). In another group, acquisition was performed in the typically lit chamber and retention was undertaken in the highly enriched chamber (the PA-RET-CONTX group). Finally, for the control group, PA-CN-CONTX, acquisition, and retention were performed in the enriched stimuli environment. Our results showed that the PA-ACQ-CONTX group had longer escape latencies and poorer retention than the PA-RET-CONTX and PA-CN-CONTX groups after 24 h of acquisition under contextual changes. To study metabolic brain activity, histochemical labelling of cytochrome c-oxidase (CO) was performed. CO results suggested a neural circuit including the hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus, parahippocampal cortices, and mammillary nuclei that is involved in the learning and memory processes that enable context-dependent behavior. These results highlight how dysfunction in this network may be involved in the contextualization of fear associations that underlie several forms of psychopathology

  19. Limbic but not non-limbic kindling impairs conditioned fear and promotes plasticity of NPY and its Y2 receptor.

    PubMed

    Botterill, J J; Guskjolen, A J; Marks, W N; Caruncho, H J; Kalynchuk, L E

    2015-11-01

    Epileptic seizures negatively affect cognition. However, the mechanisms that contribute to cognitive impairments after seizures are largely unknown. Here, we examined the effects of long-term kindling (i.e., 99 stimulations) of limbic (basolateral amygdala, dorsal hippocampus) and non-limbic (caudate nucleus) brain sites on conditioned fear and hippocampal plasticity. We first showed that kindling had no effect on acquisition of a hippocampal-dependent trace fear-conditioning task but limbic kindling impaired the retrieval of these fear memories. To determine the relationship between memory and hippocampal neuronal activity, we examined the expression of Fos protein 90 min after memory retrieval (i.e., 4 days after the last kindling stimulation). We found that limbic kindling, but not non-limbic kindling, decreased Fos expression in the granule cell layer, hilus, CA3 pyramidal cell layer, and CA1 pyramidal cell layer. Next, to investigate a mechanism that could contribute to dampen hippocampal neuronal activity in limbic-kindled rats, we focused on the endogenous anticonvulsant neuropeptide Y (NPY), which is expressed in a subset of GABAergic interneurons and can prevent glutamate release through interactions with its Y2 receptor. We found that limbic kindling significantly decreased the number of NPY-immunoreactive cells in several hippocampal subfields despite minimal staining of the neurodegenerative marker Fluoro-Jade B. However, we also noted that limbic kindling enhanced NPY immunoreactivity throughout the mossy fiber pathway. In these same regions, we observed limbic kindling-induced de novo expression of the NPY Y2 receptor. These novel findings demonstrate the site-specific effects of kindling on cognition and NPY plasticity, and they provide evidence that altered hippocampal NPY after limbic seizures coincides with dampened neural activity and cognitive impairments. PMID:25146309

  20. Post-training re-exposure to fear conditioned stimuli enhances memory consolidation and biases rats toward the use of dorsolateral striatum-dependent response learning.

    PubMed

    Leong, Kah-Chung; Goodman, Jarid; Packard, Mark G

    2015-09-15

    In a dual-solution task that can be acquired using either hippocampus-dependent "place" or dorsolateral striatum-dependent "response" learning, emotional arousal induced by unconditioned stimuli (e.g. anxiogenic drug injections or predator odor exposure) biases rats toward response learning. In the present experiments emotionally-arousing conditioned stimuli were used to modulate the relative use of multiple memory systems. In Experiment 1, adult male Long-Evans rats initially received three standard fear-conditioning trials in which a tone (2 kHz, 75 dB) was paired with a brief electrical shock (1 mA, 2s). On day 2, the rats were trained in a dual-solution plus-maze task to swim from the same start arm (South) to a hidden escape platform always located in the same goal arm (East). Immediately following training, rats received post-training re-exposure to the fear-conditioned stimuli (i.e. tone and context) without shock. On day 3, the relative use of place or response learning was assessed on a probe trial in which rats were started from the opposite start arm (North). Post-training re-exposure to fear-conditioned stimuli produced preferential use of a response strategy. In Experiment 2, different rats received fear conditioning and were then trained in a single-solution task that required the use of response learning. Immediately following training, rats received post-training re-exposure to the fear-conditioned stimuli without shock. Re-exposure to fear-conditioned stimuli enhanced memory consolidation in the response learning task. Thus, re-exposure to fear-conditioned stimuli biases rats toward the use of dorsolateral striatum-dependent response learning and enhances memory consolidation of response learning. PMID:26005126

  1. Analysis of extinction acquisition to attenuated tones in prenatally stressed and non-stressed offspring following auditory fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Salm, A K; Lally, B E; Borysiewicz, E; Fil, D; Konat, G

    2015-02-01

    Stimulus generalization occurs when stimuli with characteristics similar to a previously conditioned stimulus (CS) become able to evoke a previously conditioned response. Experimental data (Lissek et al., 2005) indicate that patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), more often show stimulus generalization following fear conditioning when tested under laboratory conditions. Factors surrounding this observation may contribute to two common features of PTSD: 1) hyper-responsiveness to sensory stimuli reminiscent of those associated with the original trauma, and 2) resistance of PTSD to extinction-based therapies. Adverse early experience is considered a risk factor for the later development of PTSD and in the present experiments we hypothesized that stimulus generalization would occur in an animal model of adverse early experience, the prenatally stressed (PS) rat. Adult PS and control (CON) rats underwent extensive pre-habituation to a conditioning chamber followed by conventional auditory fear conditioning. The next day both groups began an extinction regimen where a series of quieter (attenuated), CSs were administered prior to the full 75 dB training CS. When tested in this manner, PS rats froze at significantly lower tone amplitudes than did CON offspring on the first day of extinction training. This suggests that the PS rats had stimulus-generalized the CS to lower decibel tones. In addition to this finding, we also observed that PS rats froze more often and longer during three ensuing days of extinction training to attenuated tones. Group differences vanished when PS and CON rats were extinguished under conventional conditions. Thus, it appears that the two extinction regimens differed in their aversive cue saliency for the PS vs. CON rats. Follow-up prefrontal cortex transcriptome probing suggests that cholinergic and dopaminergic alterations may be involved. PMID:25449394

  2. Extinction Training During the Reconsolidation Window Prevents Recovery of Fear

    PubMed Central

    Schiller, Daniela; Raio, Candace M.; Phelps, Elizabeth A.

    2012-01-01

    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 alone1,2 . 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 expressed3. This inhibitory learning creates a new, safe representation for the CS, which competes for expression with the original fear memory4. 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 resurface3,4. 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 interference5-9. This window of opportunity appears to open shortly after reactivation and close approximately 6hrs later5,11,16, although this may vary depending on the strength and age of the memory15. By allowing new information to incorporate into the original memory trace, this memory may be updated as it reconsolidates10,11. 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 studies12-14. Our

  3. Parental buffering of fear and stress neurobiology: Reviewing parallels across rodent, monkey, and human models.

    PubMed

    Gunnar, Megan R; Hostinar, Camelia E; Sanchez, Mar M; Tottenham, Nim; Sullivan, Regina M

    2015-01-01

    It has been long recognized that parents exert profound influences on child development. Dating back to at least the seventeenth-century Enlightenment, the ability for parents to shape child behavior in an enduring way has been noted. Twentieth-century scholars developed theories to explain how parenting histories influence psychological development, and since that time, the number of scientific publications on parenting influences in both human and nonhuman animal fields has grown at an exponential rate, reaching numbers in the thousands by 2015. This special issue describes a symposium delivered by Megan Gunnar, Regina Sullivan, Mar Sanchez, and Nim Tottenham in the Fall of 2014 at the Society for Social Neuroscience. The goal of the symposium was to describe the emerging knowledge on neurobiological mechanisms that mediate parent-offspring interactions across three different species: rodent, monkey, and human. The talks were aimed at designing testable models of parenting effects on the development of emotional and stress regulation. Specifically, the symposium aimed at characterizing the special modulatory (buffering) effects of parental cues on fear- and stress-relevant neurobiology and behaviors of the offspring and to discuss examples of impaired buffering when the parent-infant relationship is disrupted. PMID:26234160

  4. Switching from Contextual to Tone Fear Conditioning and Vice Versa: The Key Role of the Glutamatergic Hippocampal-Lateral Septal Neurotransmission

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Calandreau, Ludovic; Desgranges, Bertrand; Jaffard, Robert; Desmedt, Aline

    2010-01-01

    The aim of the present experiment was to directly assess the role of the glutamatergic hippocampal-lateral septal (HPC-LS) neurotransmission in tone and contextual fear conditioning. We found that pretraining infusion of glutamatergic acid into the lateral septum promotes tone conditioning and concomitantly disrupts contextual conditioning.…

  5. Involvement of dopaminergic and cholinergic systems in social isolation-induced deficits in social affiliation and conditional fear memory in mice.

    PubMed

    Okada, R; Fujiwara, H; Mizuki, D; Araki, R; Yabe, T; Matsumoto, K

    2015-07-23

    Post-weaning social isolation rearing (SI) in rodents elicits various behavioral abnormalities including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder-like behaviors. In order to obtain a better understanding of SI-induced behavioral abnormalities, we herein investigated the effects of SI on social affiliation and conditioned fear memory as well as the neuronal mechanism(s) underlying these effects. Four-week-old male mice were group-housed (GH) or socially isolated for 2-4 weeks before the experiments. The social affiliation test and fear memory conditioning were conducted at the age of 6 and 7 weeks, respectively. SI mice were systemically administered saline or test drugs 30 min before the social affiliation test and fear memory conditioning. Contextual and auditory fear memories were elucidated 1 and 4 days after fear conditioning. Social affiliation and contextual and auditory fear memories were weaker in SI mice than in GH mice. Methylphenidate (MPH), an inhibitor for dopamine transporters, ameliorated the SI-induced social affiliation deficit and the effect was attenuated by SCH23390, a D1 receptor antagonist, but not by sulpiride, a D2 receptor antagonist. On the other hand, tacrine, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, had no effect on this deficit. In contrast, tacrine improved SI-induced deficits in fear memories in a manner that was reversed by the muscarinic receptor antagonist scopolamine, while MPH had no effect on memory deficits. Neurochemical studies revealed that SI down-regulated the expression levels of the phosphorylated forms of neuro-signaling proteins, calmodulin-dependent kinase II (p-CaMKII), and cyclic AMP-responsive element binding protein (p-CREB), as well as early growth response protein-1 (Egr-1) in the hippocampus. The administration of MPH or tacrine before fear conditioning had no effect on the levels of the phosphorylated forms of the neuro-signaling proteins elucidated following completion of the auditory fear memory test; however

  6. Contingency Awareness Shapes Acquisition and Extinction of Emotional Responses in a Conditioning Model of Pain-Related Fear

    PubMed Central

    Labrenz, Franziska; Icenhour, Adriane; Benson, Sven; Elsenbruch, Sigrid

    2015-01-01

    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

  7. Intra-amygdala microinjection of TNF-α impairs the auditory fear conditioning of rats via glutamate toxicity.

    PubMed

    Jing, He; Hao, Yongxin; Bi, Qiang; Zhang, Jiaozhen; Yang, Pingting

    2015-02-01

    During an inflammatory or infectious process, innate immune cells produce large amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines that act on the brain to cause cognitive dysfunctions. Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) is one of the main pro-inflammatory cytokines. Thus, it is important to study how the excessive TNF-α affects the cognitive functions of central nervous system and possible antagonists to its effects. In the present study, we conducted behavioral experiments of rats to determine whether murine TNF-α administered directly into the brain would elicit behavioral effects related to learning and memory impairments. Rats subjected to single-dose intra-amygdala TNF-α infusion showed a significant delay in the acquisition and extinction of auditory fear conditioning. Accordingly, the glutamate level of the tissue samples from amygdala was elevated after the TNF-α treatment. Furthermore, pharmacological blockade of NMDAR before the TNF-α treatment reversed the TNF-α induced impairments in fear learning. Our findings suggest that TNF-α can impair the learning and memory functions through glutamate-NMDAR neurotoxicity, and present the possibility to develop therapeutic modalities directing at glutamate transmission for the treatment of neuro-inflammative dysfunctions. PMID:25448547

  8. Conditioned fear and startle magnitude: effects of different footshock or backshock intensities used in training.

    PubMed

    Davis, M; Astrachan, D I

    1978-04-01

    In Experiment 1 four groups of rats received 30 light-shock pairings using footshock intensities of either .2, .4, .8, or 1.6 mA. One day later all rats were tested for startle by presenting tones in the presence or absence of the light CS. Potentiated startle (the difference between startle on light-tone vs tone-alone trials) was nonmonotonically related to the shock intensity used in training, with the greatest potentiation at intermediate shock levels. Experiment 3 demonstrated a similar relationship when backshocks instead of footshocks were used. In Experiment 2 rats were trained with either a moderate or high shock and then given an extended extinction-test session 1 day later. The moderate-shock group showed a gradual decline in potentiated startle over extinction. The high-shock group showed a nonmonotonic extinction curve where potentiation progressively increased toward the middle of extinction and dissipated thereafter. The results suggest that acoustic startle bears an inverted U-shaped relationship to fear and are discussed in relation to other studies concerned with this issue. PMID:670892

  9. Discrimination of fearful and angry emotional voices in sleeping human neonates: a study of the mismatch brain responses

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Dandan; Liu, Yunzhe; Hou, Xinlin; Sun, Guoyu; Cheng, Yawei; Luo, Yuejia

    2014-01-01

    Appropriate processing of human voices with different threat-related emotions is of evolutionarily adaptive value for the survival of individuals. Nevertheless, it is still not clear whether the sensitivity to threat-related information is present at birth. Using an odd-ball paradigm, the current study investigated the neural correlates underlying automatic processing of emotional voices of fear and anger in sleeping neonates. Event-related potential data showed that the fronto-central scalp distribution of the neonatal brain could discriminate fearful voices from angry voices; the mismatch response (MMR) was larger in response to the deviant stimuli of anger, compared with the standard stimuli of fear. Furthermore, this fear–anger MMR discrimination was observed only when neonates were in active sleep state. Although the neonates' sensitivity to threat-related voices is not likely associated with a conceptual understanding of fearful and angry emotions, this special discrimination in early life may provide a foundation for later emotion and social cognition development. PMID:25538587

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

    PubMed Central

    Song, Chenghui; Ehlers, Vanessa L.

    2015-01-01

    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 <10 d). Together, these data suggest that intrinsic plasticity within mPFC–BLA projection neurons occurs in a subregion- and cell-type-specific manner during acquisition, consolidation, and 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

  11. Maternal separation enhances conditioned fear and decreases the mRNA levels of the neurotensin receptor 1 gene with hypermethylation of this gene in the rat amygdala.

    PubMed

    Toda, Hiroyuki; Boku, Shuken; Nakagawa, Shin; Inoue, Takeshi; Kato, Akiko; Takamura, Naoki; Song, Ning; Nibuya, Masashi; Koyama, Tsukasa; Kusumi, Ichiro

    2014-01-01

    Stress during postnatal development is associated with an increased risk for depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse later in life, almost as if mental illness is able to be programed by early life stressors. Recent studies suggest that such "programmed" effects can be caused by epigenetic regulation. With respect to conditioned fear, previous studies have indicated that early life stress influences its development in adulthood, whereas no potential role of epigenetic regulation has been reported. Neurotensin (NTS) is an endogenous neuropeptide that has receptors densely located in the amygdala and hippocampus. Recently, NTS systems have constituted an emerging target for the treatment of anxiety. The aim of the present work is to clarify whether the NTS system is involved in the disturbance of conditioned fear in rats stressed by maternal separation (MS). The results showed that MS enhanced freezing behaviors in fear-conditioned stress and reduced the gene expression of NTS receptor (NTSR) 1 but not of NTS or NTSR2 in the amygdalas of adult rats. The microinjection of a NTSR1 antagonist into the amygdala increased the percentage of freezing in conditioned fear, whereas the microinjection of NTSR1 agonist decreased freezing. These results suggest that NTSR1 in the amygdala may play a role in the effects of MS on conditioned fear stress in adult rats. Moreover, MS increased DNA methylation in the promoter region of NTSR1 in the amygdala. Taken together, MS may leave epigenetic marks in the NTSR1 gene in the amygdala, which may enhance conditioned fear in adulthood. The MS-induced alternations of DNA methylation in the promoter region of NTSR1 in the amygdala may be associated with vulnerability to the development of anxiety disorders and depression in adulthood. PMID:24831231

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    2009-01-01

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

  13. Tracking explicit and implicit long-lasting traces of fearful memories in humans.

    PubMed

    Packard, Pau Alexander; Rodríguez-Fornells, Antoni; Stein, Lilian Milnitsky; Nicolás, Berta; Fuentemilla, Lluís

    2014-12-01

    Recent accounts of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) suggest that the encoding of an episode within a fearful context generates different implicit and explicit memory representations. Whilst implicit memory traces include the associated emotional states, explicit traces include a recoding into an abstract or gist-based structural context of the episode. Theoretically, the long-term preservation of implicit memory traces may facilitate the often untreatable memory intrusions in PTSD. Here, we tracked in two experiments how implicit and explicit memory traces for fearful episodes dissociate and evolve over time. Subjects (N=86) were presented with semantically-related word-lists in a contextual fear paradigm and tested for explicit memories either immediately (i.e., 30 min) or after a delay (i.e., 1 or 2 weeks) with a verbal recognition task. Skin Conductance Response (SCR) was used to assess implicit memory responses. Subjects showed high memory accuracy for words when tested immediately after encoding. At test, SCR was higher during the presentation of verbatim but not gist-based words encoded in a fearful context, and remained unchanged after 2 weeks, despite subjects being unaware of words' encoding context. We found no clear evidence of accurate explicit memory traces for the fearful or neutral contexts of words presented during encoding, either 30 min or 2 weeks afterwards. These findings indicate that the implicit, but not the explicit, memory trace of a fearful context of an episode can be detected at long-term through SCR and is dissociated from the gist-based memory. They may have implicationstowards the understanding of how the processing of fearful memoriescould lead to PTSD. PMID:25256154

  14. Inhibition of the amygdala central nucleus by stimulation of cerebellar output in rats: a putative mechanism for extinction of the conditioned fear response.

    PubMed

    Magal, Ari; Mintz, Matti

    2014-11-01

    The amygdala and the cerebellum serve two distinctively different functions. The amygdala plays a role in the expression of emotional information, whereas the cerebellum is involved in the timing of discrete motor responses. Interaction between these two systems is the basis of the two-stage theory of learning, according to which an encounter with a challenging event triggers fast classical conditioning of fear-conditioned responses in the amygdala and slow conditioning of motor-conditioned responses in the cerebellum. A third stage was hypothesised when an apparent interaction between amygdala and cerebellar associative plasticity was observed: an adaptive rate of cerebellum-dependent motor-conditioned responses was associated with a decrease in amygdala-dependent fear-conditioned responses, and was interpreted as extinction of amygdala-related fear-conditioned responses by the cerebellar output. To explore this hypothesis, we mimicked some components of classical eyeblink conditioning in anesthetised rats by applying an aversive periorbital pulse as an unconditioned stimulus and a train of pulses to the cerebellar output nuclei as a cerebellar neuronal-conditioned response. The central amygdala multiple unit response to the periorbital pulse was measured with or without a preceding train to the cerebellar output nuclei. The results showed that activation of the cerebellar output nuclei prior to periorbital stimulation produced diverse patterns of inhibition of the amygdala response to the periorbital aversive stimulus, depending upon the nucleus stimulated, the laterality of the nucleus stimulated, and the stimulus interval used. These results provide a putative extinction mechanism of learned fear behavior, and could have implications for the treatment of pathologies involving abnormal fear responses by using motor training as therapy. PMID:25185877

  15. Mild Developmental Hypothyroidism and Trace Fear Conditioning: Role of Gender and Shock Duration.

    EPA Science Inventory

    Rodent models of developmental thyroid hormone (TH) deficiency aptly reflect the deleterious effects of severe TH deficiencies on brain structure and function in humans. However, the impact of moderate TH insufficiencies on neurodevelopmental outcomes has proven more difficult to...

  16. When Two Paradigms Meet: Does Evaluative Learning Extinguish in Differential Fear Conditioning?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Blechert, Jens; Michael, Tanja; Williams, S. Lloyd; Purkis, Helena M.; Wilhelm, Frank H.

    2008-01-01

    Contemporary theories of Pavlovian conditioning propose a distinction between signal learning (SL), in which a conditioned stimulus (CS) becomes a predictor for a biologically significant unconditioned stimulus (US), and evaluative learning (EL), in which the valence of the US is transferred to the CS. This distinction is based largely on the…

  17. Intraperitoneal sertraline and fluvoxamine increase contextual fear conditioning but are without effect on overshadowing between cues.

    PubMed

    Cassaday, H J; Thur, K E

    2015-02-01

    Treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can reduce contextual conditioning. Since contexts comprise a variety of potentially competing cues, impaired overshadowing may provide an account of such effects. The present study therefore compared the effects of two SSRIs on overshadowing and contextual conditioning, testing suppression of an ongoing behavioral response (licking) by cues previously paired with foot shock. Conditioning to a 5 s light stimulus was reduced when it was presented in compound with a 5 s noise, thus overshadowing was demonstrated. In two experiments, this overshadowing was unaffected by treatment with either sertraline or fluvoxamine. However, unconditioned suppression to the noise (tested in a control group previously conditioned to the light alone) was reduced after sertraline (10 mg/kg, i.p.). The successful demonstration of overshadowing required the use of a second conditioning session or an additional conditioning trial within the same conditioning session. Neither weak nor strong overshadowing (of the light by the tone) was affected by any drug treatment. Moreover, counter to prediction, conditioning to contextual cues was increased rather than impaired by treatment with sertraline (10 mg/kg, i.p.) and fluvoxamine (30 mg/kg, i.p.). PMID:25532461

  18. Dual Circuitry for Odor–Shock Conditioning during Infancy: Corticosterone Switches between Fear and Attraction via Amygdala

    PubMed Central

    Moriceau, Stephanie; Wilson, Donald A.; Levine, Seymour; Sullivan, Regina M.

    2006-01-01

    Rat pups must learn maternal odor to support attachment behaviors, including nursing and orientation toward the mother. Neonates have a sensitive period for rapid, robust odor learning characterized by increased ability to learn odor preferences and decreased ability to learn odor aversions. Specifically, odor–0.5 mA shock association paradoxically causes an odor preference and coincident failure of amygdala activation in pups until postnatal day 10 (P10). Because sensitive-period termination coincides with a declining “stress hyporesponsive period” when corticosterone release is attenuated, we explored the role of corticosterone in sensitive-period termination. Odor was paired with 0.5 mA shock in either sensitive-period (P8) or postsensitive-period (P12) pups while manipulating corticosterone. We then assessed preference/aversion learning and the olfactory neural circuitry underlying its acquisition. Although sensitive-period control paired odor–shock pups learned an odor preference without amygdala participation, systemic (3 mg/kg, i.p.; 24 h and 30 min before training) or intra-amygdala corticosterone (50 or 100 ng; during training) permitted precocious odor-aversion learning and evoked amygdala neural activity similar to that expressed by older pups. In postsensitive-period (P12) pups, control paired odor–shock pups showed an odor aversion and amygdala activation, whereas corticosterone-depleted (adrenalectomized) paired odor–shock pups showed odor-preference learning and activation of an odor learning circuit characteristic of the sensitive period. Intra-amygdala corticosterone receptor antagonist (0.3 ng; during training) infused into postsensitive-period (P12) paired odor–shock pups also showed odor-preference learning. These results suggest corticosterone is important in sensitive-period termination and developmental emergence of olfactory fear conditioning, acting via the amygdala as a switch between fear and attraction. Because maternal

  19. Distinct state anxiety after predictable and unpredictable fear training in mice.

    PubMed

    Seidenbecher, Thomas; Remmes, Jasmin; Daldrup, Thiemo; Lesting, Jörg; Pape, Hans-Christian

    2016-05-01

    Sustained fear paradigms in rodents have been developed to monitor states of anxious apprehension and to model situations in patients suffering from long-lasting anxiety disorders. A recent report describes a fear conditioning paradigm, allowing distinction between phasic and sustained states of conditioned fear in non-restrained mice. However, so far no prospective studies have yet been conducted to elucidate whether induction of phasic or sustained fear can affect states of anxiety. Here, we used CS (conditioned stimulus) and US (unconditioned stimulus) pairing with predictable and unpredictable timing to induce phasic and sustained fear in mice. State anxiety during various fear response components was assessed using the elevated plus-maze test. Training with unpredictable CS-US timing resulted in CS-evoked sustained components of fear (freezing), while predictable CS-US timing resulted in rapid decline. Data suggested the influence of training procedure on state anxiety which is dependent on progression of conditioned fear during fear memory retrieval. Animals trained with unpredictable CS-US timing showed an unchanged high anxiety state throughout behavioral observation. In contrast, mice trained with predictable CS-US timing showed anxiolytic-like behavior 3min after CS onset, which was accompanied by a fast decline of the fear conditioned response (freezing). Further systematic studies are needed to validate the phasic/sustained fear model in rodents as translational model for anxiety disorders in humans. PMID:26876138

  20. The Biology of Fear

    PubMed Central

    Adolphs, Ralph

    2013-01-01

    Each of us has felt afraid, and we can all recognize fear in many animal species. Yet there is no consensus in the scientific study of fear. Some argue that “fear” is a psychological construct rather than discoverable through scientific investigation. Others argue that the term “fear” cannot properly be applied to animals because we cannot know whether they feel afraid. Studies in rodents show that there are highly specific brain circuits for fear, whereas findings from human neuroimaging seem to make the opposite claim. Here I review the field and urge three approaches that could reconcile the debates. For one, we need a broadly comparative approach that would identify core components of fear conserved across phylogeny. This also pushes us towards the second point of emphasis: an ecological theory of fear that is essentially functional. Finally, we should aim even to incorporate the conscious experience of being afraid, reinvigorating the study of feelings across species. PMID:23347946

  1. Molecular mechanisms of D-cycloserine in facilitating fear extinction: insights from RNAseq.

    PubMed

    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

    2016-02-01

    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. PMID:26400817

  2. A Modified Counterconditioning Procedure Prevents the Renewal of Conditioned Fear in Rats

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Thomas, Brian L.; Cutler, Marlo; Novak, Cheryl

    2012-01-01

    Two studies using an ABA design examined the Extinction and renewal of conditioned barpress suppression. Following lights-off and foot shock pairings in Context A, rats were placed in Context B and were given either a standard counterconditioning procedure where the lights-off CS was paired with a novel food US delivered freely or a modified…

  3. Deletion of Glutamate Delta-1 Receptor in Mouse Leads to Enhanced Working Memory and Deficit in Fear Conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Yadav, Roopali; Hillman, Brandon G.; Gupta, Subhash C.; Suryavanshi, Pratyush; Bhatt, Jay M.; Pavuluri, Ratnamala; Stairs, Dustin J.; Dravid, Shashank M.

    2013-01-01

    Glutamate delta-1 (GluD1) receptors are expressed throughout the forebrain during development with high levels in the hippocampus during adulthood. We have recently shown that deletion of GluD1 receptor results in aberrant emotional and social behaviors such as hyperaggression and depression-like behaviors and social interaction deficits. Additionally, abnormal expression of synaptic proteins was observed in amygdala and prefrontal cortex of GluD1 knockout mice (GluD1 KO). However the role of GluD1 in learning and memory paradigms remains unknown. In the present study we evaluated GluD1 KO in learning and memory tests. In the eight-arm radial maze GluD1 KO mice committed fewer working memory errors compared to wildtype mice but had normal reference memory. Enhanced working memory in GluD1 KO was also evident by greater percent alternation in the spontaneous Y-maze test. No difference was observed in object recognition memory in the GluD1 KO mice. In the Morris water maze test GluD1 KO mice showed no difference in acquisition but had longer latency to find the platform in the reversal learning task. GluD1 KO mice showed a deficit in contextual and cue fear conditioning but had normal latent inhibition. The deficit in contextual fear conditioning was reversed by D-Cycloserine (DCS) treatment. GluD1 KO mice were also found to be more sensitive to foot-shock compared to wildtype. We further studied molecular changes in the hippocampus, where we found lower levels of GluA1, GluA2 and GluK2 subunits while a contrasting higher level of GluN2B in GluD1 KO. Additionally, we found higher postsynaptic density protein 95 (PSD95) and lower glutamate decarboxylase 67 (GAD67) expression in GluD1 KO. We propose that GluD1 is crucial for normal functioning of synapses and absence of GluD1 leads to specific abnormalities in learning and memory. These findings provide novel insights into the role of GluD1 receptors in the central nervous system. PMID:23560106

  4. No fear no risk! Human risk behavior is affected by chemosensory anxiety signals.

    PubMed

    Haegler, Katrin; Zernecke, Rebekka; Kleemann, Anna Maria; Albrecht, Jessica; Pollatos, Olga; Brückmann, Hartmut; Wiesmann, Martin

    2010-11-01

    An important aspect of cognitive functioning is decision-making, which depends on the correct interpretation of emotional processes. High trait anxiety has been associated with increased risk taking behavior in decision-making tasks. An interesting fact is that anxiety and anxiety-related chemosignals as well as decision-making share similar regions of neuronal activation. In order to ascertain if chemosensory anxiety signals have similar effects on risk taking behavior of healthy participants as high trait anxiety we used a novel computerized decision-making task, called Haegler's Risk Game (HRG). This task measures risk taking behavior based on contingencies and can be played repeatedly without a learning effect. To obtain chemosensory signals the sweat of 21 male donors was collected in a high rope course (anxiety condition). For the chemosensory control condition sweat was collected during an ergometer workout (exercise condition). In a double-blind study, 30 healthy recipients (16 females) had to play HRG while being exposed to sweat samples or empty control samples (control condition) in three sessions of randomized order. Comparison of the risk taking behavior of the three conditions showed significantly higher risk taking behavior in participants for the most risky choices during the anxiety condition compared to the control conditions. Additionally, recipients showed significantly higher latency before making their decision in the most risky choices during the anxiety condition. This experiment gives evidence that chemosensory anxiety signals are communicated between humans thereby increasing participants' risk taking behavior. PMID:20875438

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

    PubMed

    Merz, Christian Josef; Hermann, Andrea; Stark, Rudolf; Wolf, Oliver Tobias

    2014-09-01

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

  6. Fear conditioning facilitates rats gap detection measured by prepulse inhibition of the startle reflex

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zou, Dan; Wu, Xihong; Li, Liang

    2005-04-01

    A low-intensity acoustic event presented shortly before an intense startling sound can inhibit the acoustic startle reflex. This phenomenon is called prepulse inhibition (PPI), and is widely used as a model of sensorimotor gating in both humans and animals. Particularly, it has been used for evaluating the aging effect on the mouse's ability to detect a silent gap in otherwise continuous sounds. The present study extended this model to the emotional modulation of gap detection. The results show that a silent gap embedded in each of the two broadband noise sounds (55 dB SPL), which were delivered by two spatially separated loudspeakers, could inhibit the startle reflex that was induced by a loud sound presented from the third loudspeaker 50 ms after the gap. The inhibitory effect largely depended on the duration of the gap, with the mean duration threshold around 11 ms across 18 rats tested. Pairing the gap with foot shock in a temporally specific manner, but not in a temporally random manner, significantly reduced the duration threshold. Thus this study established a new animal behavioral model both for studying auditory temporal processing and for studying auditory signal-detection plasticity induced by emotional learning.

  7. 4–6 week old adult-born hippocampal neurons influence novelty-evoked exploration and contextual fear conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Denny, Christine A.; Burghardt, Nesha S.; Schachter, Daniel M.; Hen, René; Drew, Michael R.

    2011-01-01

    To explore the role of adult hippocampal neurogenesis in novelty processing, we assessed novel object recognition (NOR) in mice after neurogenesis was arrested using focal x-irradiation of the hippocampus, or a reversible, genetic method in which glial fibrillary acidic protein-positive neural progenitor cells are ablated with ganciclovir. Arresting neurogenesis did not alter general activity or object investigation during four exposures with two constant objects. However, when a novel object replaced a constant object, mice with neurogenesis arrested by either ablation method showed increased exploration of the novel object when compared with control mice. The increased novel object exploration did not manifest until 4–6 weeks after x-irradiation or 6 weeks following a genetic ablation, indicating that exploration of the novel object is increased specifically by the elimination of 4–6-week-old adult born neurons. The increased novel object exploration was also observed in older mice, which exhibited a marked reduction in neurogenesis relative to young mice. Mice with neurogenesis arrested by either ablation method were also impaired in 1-trial contextual fear conditioning (CFC) at 6 weeks but not at 4 weeks following ablation, further supporting the idea that 4–6-week old adult born neurons are necessary for specific forms of hippocampal-dependent learning, and suggesting that the NOR and CFC effects have a common underlying mechanism. These data suggest that the transient enhancement of plasticity observed in young adult-born neurons contributes to cognitive functions. PMID:21739523

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

    PubMed

    Marsh, Abigail A

    2016-06-01

    Because the face is the central focus of human social interactions, emotional facial expressions provide a unique window into the emotional lives of others. They play a particularly important role in fostering empathy, which entails understanding and responding to others' emotions, especially distress-related emotions such as fear. This Review considers how fearful facial as well as vocal and postural expressions are interpreted, with an emphasis on the role of the amygdala. The amygdala may be best known for its role in the acquisition and expression of conditioned fear, but it also supports the perception and recognition of others' fear. Various explanations have been supplied for the amygdala's role in interpreting and responding to fearful expressions. They include theories that amygdala responses to fearful expressions 1) reflect heightened vigilance in response to uncertain danger, 2) promote heightened attention to the eye region of faces, 3) represent a response to an unconditioned aversive stimulus, or 4) reflect the generation of an empathic fear response. Among these, only empathic fear explains why amygdala lesions would impair fear recognition across modalities. Supporting the possibility of a link between fundamental empathic processes and amygdala responses to fear is evidence that impaired fear recognition in psychopathic individuals results from amygdala dysfunction, whereas enhanced fear recognition in altruistic individuals results from enhanced amygdala function. Empathic concern and caring behaviors may be fostered by sensitivity to signs of acute distress in others, which relies on intact functioning of the amygdala. PMID:26366635

  9. Fear extinction causes target-specific remodeling of perisomatic inhibitory synapses.

    PubMed

    Trouche, Stéphanie; Sasaki, Jennifer M; Tu, Tiffany; Reijmers, Leon G

    2013-11-20

    A more complete understanding of how fear extinction alters neuronal activity and connectivity within fear circuits may aid in the development of strategies to treat human fear disorders. Using a c-fos-based transgenic mouse, we found that contextual fear extinction silenced basal amygdala (BA) excitatory neurons that had been previously activated during fear conditioning. We hypothesized that the silencing of BA fear neurons was caused by an action of extinction on BA inhibitory synapses. In support of this hypothesis, we found extinction-induced target-specific remodeling of BA perisomatic inhibitory synapses originating from parvalbumin and cholecystokinin-positive interneurons. Interestingly, the predicted changes in the balance of perisomatic inhibition matched the silent and active states of the target BA fear neurons. These observations suggest that target-specific changes in perisomatic inhibitory synapses represent a mechanism through which experience can sculpt the activation patterns within a neural circuit. PMID:24183705

  10. Fear extinction as a model for translational neuroscience: ten years of progress.

    PubMed

    Milad, Mohammed R; Quirk, Gregory J

    2012-01-01

    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 a high degree of coordination between rodent and human researchers examining fear extinction. Here we review the major advances and highlight new approaches to understanding and exploiting fear extinction. Research in fear extinction could serve as a model for translational research in other areas of behavioral neuroscience. PMID:22129456

  11. Association between oxidative stress and contextual fear conditioning in Carioca high- and low-conditioned freezing rats.

    PubMed

    Hassan, Waseem; Gomes, Vitor de Castro; Pinton, Simone; Batista Teixeira da Rocha, Joao; Landeira-Fernandez, J

    2013-05-28

    We recently reported two novel breeding lines of rats known as Carioca high-and low-conditioned freezing (CHF and CLF), based on defensive freezing responses to contextual cues previously associated with electric footshock. The anxiety-like profile of these animals from the 7th generation was tested in the elevated plus maze. The results indicated that CHF animals presented a significantly more "anxious" phenotype compared with CLF animals. Animals from the 12th generation were used to evaluate the oxidative stress status of the cortex, hippocampus, and cerebellum. Reactive oxidative species (ROS) were evaluated using 2,7-dichlorofluorescin diacetate (DCFH-DA; a sensor of reactive oxygen species [ROS]), and the levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), an early marker of lipid peroxidation, were assessed. The results indicated that free radical concentrations and MDA levels were significantly higher in all three brain structures in CHF rats compared with CLF rats. Our data also showed that the hippocampus had the highest reactive species and MDA concentrations compared with the cortex and cerebellum in CHF rats. Animals from the 16th generation were used to evaluate the antioxidant enzyme activity of catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) within these three brain structures. The results indicated that CAT activity was lower in the cortex and hippocampus in CHF rats compared with CLF rats. No significant difference was observed in the cerebellum. The enzymatic activity of GPx was significantly decreased in all three structures in CHF rats compared with CLF rats. The hippocampus exhibited the highest GPx activity compared with the other two brain structures. These findings suggest the involvement of a redox system in these two bidirectional lines, and the hippocampus might be one of the prime brain structures involved in this state of oxidative stress imbalance. PMID:23566816

  12. Different Mechanisms of Fear Extinction Dependent on Length of Time since Fear Acquisition

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Davis, Michael; Myers, Karyn M.; Ressler, Kerry J.

    2006-01-01

    Fear extinction is defined as a decline in conditioned fear responses (CRs) following nonreinforced exposure to a feared conditioned stimulus (CS). Behavioral evidence indicates that extinction is a form of inhibitory learning: Extinguished fear responses reappear with the passage of time (spontaneous recovery), a shift of context (renewal), and…

  13. Long-term memory of visually cued fear conditioning: roles of the neuronal nitric oxide synthase gene and cyclic AMP response element-binding protein.

    PubMed

    Kelley, J B; Anderson, K L; Altmann, S L; Itzhak, Y

    2011-02-01

    Nitric oxide (NO) produced by neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) has a role in late-phase long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term memory (LTM) formation. Our recent studies implicated NO signaling in contextual and auditory cued fear conditioning. The present study investigated the role of NO signaling in visually cued fear conditioning. First, visually cued fear conditioning was investigated in wild-type (WT) and nNOS knockout (KO) mice. Second, the effects of pharmacological modulators of NO signaling on the acquisition of visually cued fear conditioning were investigated. Third, plasma levels of corticosterone were measured to determine a relationship between physiological and behavioral responses to fear conditioning. Fourth, levels of extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK1/2) and cyclic AMP response element binding protein (CREB) phosphorylation, downstream of NO signaling, were determined in the amygdala as potential correlates of fear learning. Mice underwent single or multiple (4) spaced trainings that consisted of a visual cue (blinking light) paired with footshock. WT mice acquired cued and contextual LTM following single and multiple trainings. nNOS KO mice acquired neither cued nor contextual LTM following a single training; however, multiple trainings improved contextual but not cued LTM. The selective nNOS inhibitor S-methyl-thiocitrulline (SMTC) impaired cued and contextual LTM in WT mice. The NO donor molsidomine recovered contextual LTM but had no effect on cued LTM in nNOS KO mice. Re-exposure to the visual cue 24 h posttraining elicited freezing response and a marked increase in plasma corticosterone levels in WT but not nNOS KO mice. The expression of CREB phosphorylation (Ser-133) was significantly higher in naive nNOS KO mice than in WT counterparts, and pharmacological modulators of NO had significant effects on levels of CREB phosphorylation and expression. These findings suggest that visual cue-dependent LTM is impaired in nNOS KO

  14. Increased Cortical Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid Precedes Incomplete Extinction of Conditioned Fear and Increased Hippocampal Excitatory Tone in a Mouse Model of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.

    PubMed

    Schneider, Brandy L; Ghoddoussi, Farhad; Charlton, Jennifer L; Kohler, Robert J; Galloway, Matthew P; Perrine, Shane A; Conti, Alana C

    2016-09-01

    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. PMID:26529240

  15. Blocking of orexin receptors in the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus has no effect on the expression of conditioned fear in rats

    PubMed Central

    Dong, Xinwen; Li, Yonghui; Kirouac, Gilbert J.

    2015-01-01

    The paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus (PVT) projects to the central nucleus of the amygdala and recent experimental evidence indicates a role for the PVT in conditioned fear. Furthermore, the PVT contains a high density of orexin receptors and fibers and acute injections of orexin antagonist into the PVT produce anxiolytic effects. The present study was done to determine if administration of a dual orexin receptor antagonist (DORA) in the region of the PVT interferes with the expression of conditioned fear in rats exposed to cued and contextual conditioning paradigms. Infusion of 0.5 μl of the DORA N-biphenyl-2-yl-1-[(1-methyl-1H-benzimidazol-2yl) sulfanyl] acetyl-L-prolinamide at a concentration of 0.1, 1.0, and 10 nmol had no effect on the freezing produced by exposing rats to an auditory cue or the context associated with foot shock. In contrast, the 1.0 and 10 nmol doses were anxiolytic in the social interaction test. The results of the present study do not support a role for orexin receptors in the PVT in the expression of learned fear. The finding that the 1.0 and 10 nmol doses of DORA in the PVT region were anxiolytic in the social interaction test is consistent with other studies indicating a role for orexins in the PVT in anxiety-like behaviors. PMID:26136671

  16. Electrolytic Lesions of the Medial Prefrontal Cortex Do Not Interfere with Long-Term Memory of Extinction of Conditioned Fear

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Garcia, Rene; Chang, Chun-hui; Maren, Stephen

    2006-01-01

    Lesion studies indicate that rats without the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) have difficulty recalling fear extinction acquired the previous day. Several electrophysiological studies have also supported this observation by demonstrating that extinction-related increases in neuronal activity in the mPFC participate in expression of fear…

  17. Coming to terms with fear

    PubMed Central

    LeDoux, Joseph E.

    2014-01-01

    The brain mechanisms of fear have been studied extensively using Pavlovian fear conditioning, a procedure that allows exploration of how the brain learns about and later detects and responds to threats. However, mechanisms that detect and respond to threats are not the same as those that give rise to conscious fear. This is an important distinction because symptoms based on conscious and nonconscious processes may be vulnerable to different predisposing factors and may also be treatable with different approaches in people who suffer from uncontrolled fear or anxiety. A conception of so-called fear conditioning in terms of circuits that operate nonconsciously, but that indirectly contribute to conscious fear, is proposed as way forward. PMID:24501122

  18. Serotonin, Amygdala and Fear: Assembling the Puzzle

    PubMed Central

    Bocchio, Marco; McHugh, Stephen B.; Bannerman, David M.; Sharp, Trevor; Capogna, Marco

    2016-01-01

    The fear circuitry orchestrates defense mechanisms in response to environmental threats. This circuitry is evolutionarily crucial for survival, but its dysregulation is thought to play a major role in the pathophysiology of psychiatric conditions in humans. The amygdala is a key player in the processing of fear. This brain area is prominently modulated by the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT). The 5-HT input to the amygdala has drawn particular interest because genetic and pharmacological alterations of the 5-HT transporter (5-HTT) affect amygdala activation in response to emotional stimuli. Nonetheless, the impact of 5-HT on fear processing remains poorly understood.The aim of this review is to elucidate the physiological role of 5-HT in fear learning via its action on the neuronal circuits of the amygdala. Since 5-HT release increases in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) during both fear memory acquisition and expression, we examine whether and how 5-HT neurons encode aversive stimuli and aversive cues. Next, we describe pharmacological and genetic alterations of 5-HT neurotransmission that, in both rodents and humans, lead to altered fear learning. To explore the mechanisms through which 5-HT could modulate conditioned fear, we focus on the rodent BLA. We propose that a circuit-based approach taking into account the localization of specific 5-HT receptors on neurochemically-defined neurons in the BLA may be essential to decipher the role of 5-HT in emotional behavior. In keeping with a 5-HT control of fear learning, we review electrophysiological data suggesting that 5-HT regulates synaptic plasticity, spike synchrony and theta oscillations in the BLA via actions on different subcellular compartments of principal neurons and distinct GABAergic interneuron populations. Finally, we discuss how recently developed optogenetic tools combined with electrophysiological recordings and behavior could progress the knowledge of the mechanisms underlying 5

  19. Animal models of fear relapse.

    PubMed

    Goode, Travis D; Maren, Stephen

    2014-01-01

    Whereas fear memories are rapidly acquired and enduring over time, extinction memories are slow to form and are susceptible to disruption. Consequently, behavioral therapies that involve extinction learning (e.g., exposure therapy) often produce only temporary suppression of fear and anxiety. This review focuses on the factors that are known to influence the relapse of extinguished fear. Several phenomena associated with the return of fear after extinction are discussed, including renewal, spontaneous recovery, reacquisition, and reinstatement. Additionally, this review describes recent work, which has focused on the role of psychological stress in the relapse of extinguished fear. Recent developments in behavioral and pharmacological research are examined in light of treatment of pathological fear in humans. PMID:25225304

  20. Impact of Predatory Threat on Fear Extinction in Lewis Rats

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Goswami, Sonal; Cascardi, Michele; Rodriguez-Sierra, Olga E.; Duvarci, Sevil; Pare, Denis

    2010-01-01

    Humans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are deficient at extinguishing conditioned fear responses. A study of identical twins concluded that this extinction deficit does not predate trauma but develops as a result of trauma. The present study tested whether the Lewis rat model of PTSD reproduces these features of the human syndrome.…

  1. Noradrenergic enhancement of amygdala responses to fear

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    Multiple lines of evidence implicate the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and the noradrenergic (norepinephrine, NE) system in responding to stressful stimuli such as fear signals, suggesting hyperfunction of both in the development of stress-related pathologies including anxiety disorders. However, no causative link between elevated NE neurotransmission and BLA hyperresponsiveness to fear signals has been established to date in humans. To determine whether or not increased noradrenergic tone enhances BLA responses to fear signals, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and a strategy of pharmacologically potentiating NE neurotransmission in healthy volunteers. 18 subjects were scanned two times on a facial emotion paradigm and given either a single-dose placebo or 4 mg of the selective NE reuptake inhibitor reboxetine 2 h prior to an fMRI session. We found that reboxetine induced an amygdala response bias towards fear signals that did not exist at placebo baseline. This pharmacological effect was probabilistically mapped to the BLA. Extrapolation of our data to conditions of traumatic stress suggests that disinhibited endogenous NE signaling could serve as a crucial etiological contributor to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by eliciting exaggerated BLA responses to fear signals. PMID:19246474

  2. Fear-relevant images as conditioned stimuli for somatic complaints, respiratory behavior, and reduced end-tidal pCO2.

    PubMed

    Stegen, K; De Bruyne, K; Rasschaert, W; Van de Woestijne, K P; Van den Bergh, O

    1999-02-01

    Two fear-relevant imagery scripts were used as conditioned stimuli (CSs) in a differential learning paradigm with 5.5% CO2-enriched air as unconditioned stimulus (US). In another condition, 2 neutral scripts were used as CSs (N = 56). Within each condition, one script was imagined while breathing the CO2-enriched air (CS+/US trial), the other while breathing room air (CS- trial). Three CS+ and 3 CS- trials were run in an acquisition phase, followed by 2 CS+ and 2 CS- test trials (imagining the scripts while breathing air). Respiratory behavior, end-tidal CO2, and heart rate were measured throughout the experiment; subjective symptoms were measured after each trial. The type of imagery had strong effects on symptoms and physiological responses. A selective conditioning effect was also observed: CS+ imagery produced more symptoms and altered respiratory behavior compared with CS- imagery, but only in the fear-relevant script condition. The findings are discussed as to their relevance for panic and agoraphobic anxiety. PMID:10067000

  3. Assessing Fear Following Retrieval + Extinction Through Suppression of Baseline Reward Seeking vs. Freezing

    PubMed Central

    Shumake, Jason; Monfils, Marie H.

    2015-01-01

    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 (CS) 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. PMID:26778985

  4. Epigenetic modification of the oxytocin receptor gene influences the perception of anger and fear in the human brain.

    PubMed

    Puglia, Meghan H; Lillard, Travis S; Morris, James P; Connelly, Jessica J

    2015-03-17

    In humans, the neuropeptide oxytocin plays a critical role in social and emotional behavior. The actions of this molecule are dependent on a protein that acts as its receptor, which is encoded by the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR). DNA methylation of OXTR, an epigenetic modification, directly influences gene transcription and is variable in humans. However, the impact of this variability on specific social behaviors is unknown. We hypothesized that variability in OXTR methylation impacts social perceptual processes often linked with oxytocin, such as perception of facial emotions. Using an imaging epigenetic approach, we established a relationship between OXTR methylation and neural activity in response to emotional face processing. Specifically, high levels of OXTR methylation were associated with greater amounts of activity in regions associated with face and emotion processing including amygdala, fusiform, and insula. Importantly, we found that these higher levels of OXTR methylation were also associated with decreased functional coupling of amygdala with regions involved in affect appraisal and emotion regulation. These data indicate that the human endogenous oxytocin system is involved in attenuation of the fear response, corroborating research implicating intranasal oxytocin in the same processes. Our findings highlight the importance of including epigenetic mechanisms in the description of the endogenous oxytocin system and further support a central role for oxytocin in social cognition. This approach linking epigenetic variability with neural endophenotypes may broadly explain individual differences in phenotype including susceptibility or resilience to disease. PMID:25675509

  5. Nicotine ameliorates NMDA receptor antagonist-induced deficits in contextual fear conditioning through high-affinity nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the hippocampus.

    PubMed

    André, Jessica M; Leach, Prescott T; Gould, Thomas J

    2011-03-01

    NMDA glutamate receptors (NMDARs) and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are both involved in learning and synaptic plasticity. Increasing evidence suggests processes mediated by these receptors may interact to modulate learning; however, little is known about the neural substrates involved in these interactive processes. The present studies investigated the effects of nicotine on MK-801 hydrogen maleate (MK-801) and DL-2-Amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid (APV)-induced disruption of contextual fear conditioning in male C57BL/6J mice, using direct drug infusion and selective nAChR antagonists to define the brain regions and the nAChR subtypes involved. Mice treated with MK-801 showed a deficit in contextual fear conditioning that was ameliorated by nicotine. Direct drug infusion demonstrated that the NMDAR antagonists disrupted hippocampal function and that nicotine acted in the dorsal hippocampus to ameliorate the deficit in learning. The high-affinity nAChR antagonist Dihydro-β-erythroidine hydrobromide (DhβE) blocked the effects of nicotine on MK-801-induced deficits while the α7 nAChR antagonist methyllycaconitine citrate salt hydrate (MLA) did not. These results suggest that NMDARs and nAChRs may mediate similar hippocampal processes involved in contextual fear conditioning. Furthermore, these results may have implications for developing effective therapeutics for the cognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia because a large subset of patients with schizophrenia exhibit cognitive deficits that may be related to NMDAR dysfunction and smoke at much higher rates than the healthy population, which may be an attempt to ameliorate cognitive deficits. PMID:21167848

  6. How Administration of the Beta-Blocker Propranolol Before Extinction can Prevent the Return of Fear.

    PubMed

    Kroes, Marijn C W; Tona, Klodiana-Daphne; den Ouden, Hanneke E M; Vogel, Susanne; van Wingen, Guido A; Fernández, Guillén

    2016-05-01

    Combining beta-blockers with exposure therapy has been advocated to reduce fear, yet experimental studies combining beta-blockers with memory reactivation have had contradictory results. We explored how beta-blockade might affect the course of safety learning and the subsequent return of fear in a double-blind placebo-controlled functional magnetic resonance imaging study in humans (N=46). A single dose of propranolol before extinction learning caused a loss of conditioned fear responses, and prevented the subsequent return of fear and decreased explicit memory for the fearful events in the absence of drug. Fear-related neural responses were persistently attenuated in the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC), increased in the hippocampus 24 h later, and correlated with individual behavioral indices of fear. Prediction error-related responses in the ventral striatum persisted during beta-blockade. We suggest that this pattern of results is most consistent with a model where beta-blockade can prevent the return of fear by (i) reducing retrieval of fear memory, via the dmPFC and (ii) increasing contextual safety learning, via the hippocampus. Our findings suggest that retrieval of fear memory and contextual safety learning form potential mnemonic target mechanisms to optimize exposure-based therapy with beta-blockers. PMID:26462618

  7. Early adversity disrupts the adult use of aversive prediction errors to reduce fear in uncertainty

    PubMed Central

    Wright, Kristina M.; DiLeo, Alyssa; McDannald, Michael A.

    2015-01-01

    Early life adversity increases anxiety in adult rodents and primates, and increases the risk for developing post-traumatic disorder (PTSD) in humans. We hypothesized that early adversity impairs the use of learning signals -negative, aversive prediction errors–to reduce fear in uncertainty. To test this hypothesis, we gave adolescent rats a battery of adverse experiences then assessed adult performance in probabilistic Pavlovian fear conditioning and fear extinction. Rats were confronted with three cues associated with different probabilities of foot shock: one cue never predicted shock, another cue predicted shock with uncertainty, and a final cue always predicted shock. Control rats initially acquired fear to all cues, but rapidly reduced fear to the non-predictive and uncertain cues. Early adversity rats were slower to reduce fear to the non-predictive cue and never fully reduced fear to the uncertain cue. In extinction, all cues were presented in the absence of shock. Fear to the uncertain cue in discrimination, but not early adversity itself, predicted the reduction of fear in extinction. These results demonstrate early adversity impairs the use of negative aversive prediction errors to reduce fear, especially in situations of uncertainty. PMID:26379520

  8. Contextual-Specificity of Short-Delay Extinction in Humans: Renewal of Fear-Potentiated Startle in a Virtual Environment

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Alvarez, Ruben P.; Johnson, Linda; Grillon, Christian

    2007-01-01

    A recent fear-potentiated startle study in rodents suggested that extinction was not context dependent when extinction was conducted after a short delay following acquisition, suggesting that extinction can lead to erasure of fear learning in some circumstances. The main objective of this study was to attempt to replicate these findings in humans…

  9. Thalamic Fear

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Emanuel, Ricky

    2004-01-01

    This paper suggests that some neuroscience concepts particularly concerned with brain pathways in trauma and fear, as well as the neurobiology of emotion, provide an additional vertex to the psychoanalytic understanding of patients' material. The role of the body has been neglected in psychoanalytic thought and formulations in favour of purely…

  10. Fears and phobias (image)

    MedlinePlus

    Common simple phobias are those involving animals or insects, a fear of high places, a fear of lightning, a fear of flying, or other fears. These are very common in young children, and do not represent an abnormality.

  11. Think Big! The Human Condition Project

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Metcalfe, Gareth

    2014-01-01

    How can educators provide children with a genuine experience of carrying out an extended scientific investigation? And can teachers change the perception of what it means to be a scientist? These were key questions that lay behind "The Human Condition" project, an initiative funded by the Primary Science Teaching Trust to explore a new…

  12. Awe, Tragedy and the Human Condition

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Halstead, J. Mark; Halstead, Anne Outram

    2004-01-01

    This article, reporting on research in progress on the nature of tragedy, falls into three sections. The first explores the concept of awe and relates it to contemporary thinking about spiritual education. The second identifies tragedy as an artistic form that evokes awe in response to the vision of the human condition that it presents. The…

  13. Identification and Characterization of the V(D)J Recombination Activating Gene 1 in Long-Term Memory of Context Fear Conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Castro-Pérez, Edgardo; Soto-Soto, Emilio; Pérez-Carambot, Marizabeth; Dionisio-Santos, Dawling; Saied-Santiago, Kristian; Ortiz-Zuazaga, Humberto G.; Peña de Ortiz, Sandra

    2016-01-01

    An increasing body of evidence suggests that mechanisms related to the introduction and repair of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) may be associated with long-term memory (LTM) processes. Previous studies from our group suggested that factors known to function in DNA recombination/repair machineries, such as DNA ligases, polymerases, and DNA endonucleases, play a role in LTM. Here we report data using C57BL/6 mice showing that the V(D)J recombination-activating gene 1 (RAG1), which encodes a factor that introduces DSBs in immunoglobulin and T-cell receptor genes, is induced in the amygdala, but not in the hippocampus, after context fear conditioning. Amygdalar induction of RAG1 mRNA, measured by real-time PCR, was not observed in context-only or shock-only controls, suggesting that the context fear conditioning response is related to associative learning processes. Furthermore, double immunofluorescence studies demonstrated the neuronal localization of RAG1 protein in amygdalar sections prepared after perfusion and fixation. In functional studies, intra-amygdalar injections of RAG1 gapmer antisense oligonucleotides, given 1 h prior to conditioning, resulted in amygdalar knockdown of RAG1 mRNA and a significant impairment in LTM, tested 24 h after training. Overall, these findings suggest that the V(D)J recombination-activating gene 1, RAG1, may play a role in LTM consolidation. PMID:26843989

  14. Appetitive vs. Aversive conditioning in humans.

    PubMed

    Andreatta, Marta; Pauli, Paul

    2015-01-01

    In classical conditioning, an initially neutral stimulus (conditioned stimulus, CS) becomes associated with a biologically salient event (unconditioned stimulus, US), which might be pain (aversive conditioning) or food (appetitive conditioning). After a few associations, the CS is able to initiate either defensive or consummatory responses, respectively. Contrary to aversive conditioning, appetitive conditioning is rarely investigated in humans, although its importance for normal and pathological behaviors (e.g., obesity, addiction) is undeniable. The present study intents to translate animal findings on appetitive conditioning to humans using food as an US. Thirty-three participants were investigated between 8 and 10 am without breakfast in order to assure that they felt hungry. During two acquisition phases, one geometrical shape (avCS+) predicted an aversive US (painful electric shock), another shape (appCS+) predicted an appetitive US (chocolate or salty pretzel according to the participants' preference), and a third shape (CS-) predicted neither US. In a extinction phase, these three shapes plus a novel shape (NEW) were presented again without US delivery. Valence and arousal ratings as well as startle and skin conductance (SCR) responses were collected as learning indices. We found successful aversive and appetitive conditioning. On the one hand, the avCS+ was rated as more negative and more arousing than the CS- and induced startle potentiation and enhanced SCR. On the other hand, the appCS+ was rated more positive than the CS- and induced startle attenuation and larger SCR. In summary, we successfully confirmed animal findings in (hungry) humans by demonstrating appetitive learning and normal aversive learning. PMID:26042011

  15. Appetitive vs. Aversive conditioning in humans

    PubMed Central

    Andreatta, Marta; Pauli, Paul

    2015-01-01

    In classical conditioning, an initially neutral stimulus (conditioned stimulus, CS) becomes associated with a biologically salient event (unconditioned stimulus, US), which might be pain (aversive conditioning) or food (appetitive conditioning). After a few associations, the CS is able to initiate either defensive or consummatory responses, respectively. Contrary to aversive conditioning, appetitive conditioning is rarely investigated in humans, although its importance for normal and pathological behaviors (e.g., obesity, addiction) is undeniable. The present study intents to translate animal findings on appetitive conditioning to humans using food as an US. Thirty-three participants were investigated between 8 and 10 am without breakfast in order to assure that they felt hungry. During two acquisition phases, one geometrical shape (avCS+) predicted an aversive US (painful electric shock), another shape (appCS+) predicted an appetitive US (chocolate or salty pretzel according to the participants' preference), and a third shape (CS–) predicted neither US. In a extinction phase, these three shapes plus a novel shape (NEW) were presented again without US delivery. Valence and arousal ratings as well as startle and skin conductance (SCR) responses were collected as learning indices. We found successful aversive and appetitive conditioning. On the one hand, the avCS+ was rated as more negative and more arousing than the CS– and induced startle potentiation and enhanced SCR. On the other hand, the appCS+ was rated more positive than the CS– and induced startle attenuation and larger SCR. In summary, we successfully confirmed animal findings in (hungry) humans by demonstrating appetitive learning and normal aversive learning. PMID:26042011

  16. Immunization against social fear learning.

    PubMed

    Golkar, Armita; Olsson, Andreas

    2016-06-01

    Social fear learning offers an efficient way to transmit information about potential threats; little is known, however, about the learning processes that counteract the social transmission of fear. In three separate experiments, we found that safety information transmitted from another individual (i.e., demonstrator) during preexposure prevented subsequent observational fear learning (Experiments 1-3), and this effect was maintained in a new context involving direct threat confrontation (Experiment 3). This protection from observational fear learning was specific to conditions in which information about both safety and danger was transmitted from the same demonstrator (Experiments 2-3) and was unaffected by increasing the number of the safety demonstrators (Experiment 3). Collectively, these findings demonstrate that observational preexposure can limit social transmission of fear. Future research is needed to better understand the conditions under which such effects generalize across individual demonstrators. (PsycINFO Database Record PMID:27077756

  17. Is that fear? Domestic dogs' use of social referencing signals from an unfamiliar person.

    PubMed

    Yong, Min Hooi; Ruffman, Ted

    2015-01-01

    The aim of this study was to investigate whether dogs could successfully interpret a 'social referencing' cue (either happiness or fear) toward an object after viewing a human emotional expression. Fearful expressions are more likely to be unfamiliar to dogs, and thus they may not understand the meaning of such expressions. When confused, dogs could avoid contact with an object as in Merola et al. (2012, 2011). The present study compared an experimenter's fearful or happy response when an ambiguous object appeared with a control condition (experimenter was confusing). We examined 114 dogs in one of three conditions; happiness, fearful and the control. We found that dogs were more attentive to the experimenter when she displayed the fearful and control expressions compared to when happy, with no difference between the control and fear conditions. When left alone with the toy, they showed a similar pattern--more interest in the toy in both the fearful and control conditions. Our findings suggest that dogs may not understand the cues in the fearful and control conditions and instead respond with a possible attempt to gain more information from the experimenter. PMID:25245302

  18. Social Modulation of Associative Fear Learning by Pheromone Communication

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bredy, Timothy W.; Barad, Mark

    2009-01-01

    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…

  19. Blocking glucocorticoid receptors at adolescent age prevents enhanced freezing between repeated cue-exposures after conditioned fear in adult mice raised under chronic early life stress.

    PubMed

    Arp, J Marit; Ter Horst, Judith P; Loi, Manila; den Blaauwen, Jan; Bangert, Eline; Fernández, Guillén; Joëls, Marian; Oitzl, Melly S; Krugers, Harm J

    2016-09-01

    Early life adversity can have long-lasting impact on learning and memory processes and increase the risk to develop stress-related psychopathologies later in life. In this study we investigated (i) how chronic early life stress (ELS) - elicited by limited nesting and bedding material from postnatal day 2 to 9 - affects conditioned fear in adult mice and (ii) whether these effects can be prevented by blocking glucocorticoid receptors (GRs) at adolescent age. In adult male and female mice, ELS did not affect freezing behavior to the first tone 24h after training in an auditory fear-conditioning paradigm. Exposure to repeated tones 24h after training also resulted in comparable freezing behavior in ELS and control mice, both in males and females. However, male (but not female) ELS compared to control mice showed significantly more freezing behavior between the tone-exposures, i.e. during the cue-off periods. Intraperitoneal administration of the GR antagonist RU38486 during adolescence (on postnatal days 28-30) fully prevented enhanced freezing behavior during the cue-off period in adult ELS males. Western blot analysis revealed no effects of ELS on hippocampal expression of glucocorticoid receptors, neither at postnatal day 28 nor at adult age, when mice were behaviorally tested. We conclude that ELS enhances freezing behavior in adult mice in a potentially safe context after cue-exposure, which can be normalized by brief blockade of glucocorticoid receptors during the critical developmental window of adolescence. PMID:27246249

  20. Human selection of elk behavioural traits in a landscape of fear.

    PubMed

    Ciuti, Simone; Muhly, Tyler B; Paton, Dale G; McDevitt, Allan D; Musiani, Marco; Boyce, Mark S

    2012-11-01

    Among agents of selection that shape phenotypic traits in animals, humans can cause more rapid changes than many natural factors. Studies have focused on human selection of morphological traits, but little is known about human selection of behavioural traits. By monitoring elk (Cervus elaphus) with satellite telemetry, we tested whether individuals harvested by hunters adopted less favourable behaviours than elk that survived the hunting season. Among 45 2-year-old males, harvested elk showed bolder behaviour, including higher movement rate and increased use of open areas, compared with surviving elk that showed less conspicuous behaviour. Personality clearly drove this pattern, given that inter-individual differences in movement rate were present before the onset of the hunting season. Elk that were harvested further increased their movement rate when the probability of encountering hunters was high (close to roads, flatter terrain, during the weekend), while elk that survived decreased movements and showed avoidance of open areas. Among 77 females (2-19 y.o.), personality traits were less evident and likely confounded by learning because females decreased their movement rate with increasing age. As with males, hunters typically harvested females with bold behavioural traits. Among less-experienced elk (2-9 y.o.), females that moved faster were harvested, while elk that moved slower and avoided open areas survived. Interestingly, movement rate decreased as age increased in those females that survived, but not in those that were eventually harvested. The latter clearly showed lower plasticity and adaptability to the local environment. All females older than 9 y.o. moved more slowly, avoided open areas and survived. Selection on behavioural traits is an important but often-ignored consequence of human exploitation of wild animals. Human hunting could evoke exploitation-induced evolutionary change, which, in turn, might oppose adaptive responses to natural and sexual

  1. Human selection of elk behavioural traits in a landscape of fear

    PubMed Central

    Ciuti, Simone; Muhly, Tyler B.; Paton, Dale G.; McDevitt, Allan D.; Musiani, Marco; Boyce, Mark S.

    2012-01-01

    Among agents of selection that shape phenotypic traits in animals, humans can cause more rapid changes than many natural factors. Studies have focused on human selection of morphological traits, but little is known about human selection of behavioural traits. By monitoring elk (Cervus elaphus) with satellite telemetry, we tested whether individuals harvested by hunters adopted less favourable behaviours than elk that survived the hunting season. Among 45 2-year-old males, harvested elk showed bolder behaviour, including higher movement rate and increased use of open areas, compared with surviving elk that showed less conspicuous behaviour. Personality clearly drove this pattern, given that inter-individual differences in movement rate were present before the onset of the hunting season. Elk that were harvested further increased their movement rate when the probability of encountering hunters was high (close to roads, flatter terrain, during the weekend), while elk that survived decreased movements and showed avoidance of open areas. Among 77 females (2–19 y.o.), personality traits were less evident and likely confounded by learning because females decreased their movement rate with increasing age. As with males, hunters typically harvested females with bold behavioural traits. Among less-experienced elk (2–9 y.o.), females that moved faster were harvested, while elk that moved slower and avoided open areas survived. Interestingly, movement rate decreased as age increased in those females that survived, but not in those that were eventually harvested. The latter clearly showed lower plasticity and adaptability to the local environment. All females older than 9 y.o. moved more slowly, avoided open areas and survived. Selection on behavioural traits is an important but often-ignored consequence of human exploitation of wild animals. Human hunting could evoke exploitation-induced evolutionary change, which, in turn, might oppose adaptive responses to natural and

  2. Sex- and dose-dependent effects of calcium ion irradiation on behavioral performance of B6D2F1 mice during contextual fear conditioning training

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raber, Jacob; Weber, Sydney J.; Kronenberg, Amy; Turker, Mitchell S.

    2016-06-01

    The space radiation environment includes energetic charged particles that may impact behavioral and cognitive performance. The relationship between the dose and the ionization density of the various types of charged particles (expressed as linear energy transfer or LET), and cognitive performance is complex. In our earlier work, whole body exposure to 28Si ions (263 MeV/n, LET = 78keV / μ m ; 1.6 Gy) affected contextual fear memory in C57BL/6J × DBA2/J F1 (B6D2F1) mice three months following irradiation but this was not the case following exposure to 48Ti ions (1 GeV/n, LET = 107keV / μ m ; 0.2 or 0.4 Gy). As an increased understanding of the impact of charged particle exposures is critical for assessment of risk to the CNS of astronauts during and following missions, in this study we used 40Ca ion beams (942 MeV/n, LET = 90keV / μm) to determine the behavioral and cognitive effects for the LET region between that of Si ions and Ti ions. 40Ca ion exposure reduced baseline activity in a novel environment in a dose-dependent manner, which suggests reduced motivation to explore and/or a diminished level of curiosity in a novel environment. In addition, exposure to 40Ca ions had sex-dependent effects on response to shock. 40Ca ion irradiation reduced the response to shock in female, but not male, mice. In contrast, 40Ca ion irradiation did not affect fear learning, memory, or extinction of fear memory for either gender at the doses employed in this study. Thus 40Ca ion irradiation affected behavioral, but not cognitive, performance. The effects of 40Ca ion irradiation on behavioral performance are relevant, as a combination of novelty and aversive environmental stimuli is pertinent to conditions experienced by astronauts during and following space missions.

  3. Networks of protein kinases and phosphatases in the individual phases of contextual fear conditioning in the C57BL/6J mouse.

    PubMed

    Mucic, Goran; Sase, Sunetra; Stork, Oliver; Lubec, Gert; Li, Lin

    2015-03-01

    Although protein kinases and phosphatases have been reported to be involved in fear memory, information about these signalling molecules in the individual phases of contextual fear conditioning (cFC) is limited. C57BL/6J mice were tested in cFC, sacrificed and hippocampi were used for screening of approximately 800 protein kinases and phosphatases by protein microarrays with subsequent Western blot confirmation of threefold higher or lower hippocampal levels as compared to foot shock controls. Immunoblotting of the protein kinases and phosphatases screened out was carried out by Western blotting. A network of protein kinases and phosphatases was generated (STRING 9.1). Animals learned the task in the paradigm and protein kinase and phosphatase levels were determined in the individual phases acquisition, consolidation and retrieval and compared to foot shock controls. Protein kinases discoidin containing receptor 2 (DDR2), mitogen activated protein kinase kinase kinase 7 (TAK1), protein phosphatases dual specificity protein phosphatase (PTEN) and protein phosphatase 2a (PP2A) were modulated in the individual phases of cFC. Phosphatidyl-inositol-3,4,5-triphosphate 3-phosphatase and phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) that is interacting with PTEN were modulated as well. Freezing time was correlating with PP2A levels in the retrieval phase of cFC. The abovementioned protein kinases, phosphatases and inositol-signalling enzymes were not reported so far in cFC and the results are relevant for interpretation of previous and design of future studies in cFC or fear memory. Protein phosphatase PP2A was, however, the only signalling compound tested that was directly linked to retrieval in the cFC. PMID:25461266

  4. Sex- and dose-dependent effects of calcium ion irradiation on behavioral performance of B6D2F1 mice during contextual fear conditioning training.

    PubMed

    Raber, Jacob; Weber, Sydney J; Kronenberg, Amy; Turker, Mitchell S

    2016-06-01

    The space radiation environment includes energetic charged particles that may impact behavioral and cognitive performance. The relationship between the dose and the ionization density of the various types of charged particles (expressed as linear energy transfer or LET), and cognitive performance is complex. In our earlier work, whole body exposure to (28)Si ions (263 MeV/n, LET=78keV/μm; 1.6 Gy) affected contextual fear memory in C57BL/6J × DBA2/J F1 (B6D2F1) mice three months following irradiation but this was not the case following exposure to (48)Ti ions (1 GeV/n, LET=107keV/μm; 0.2 or 0.4 Gy). As an increased understanding of the impact of charged particle exposures is critical for assessment of risk to the CNS of astronauts during and following missions, in this study we used (40)Ca ion beams (942 MeV/n, LET=90keV/μm) to determine the behavioral and cognitive effects for the LET region between that of Si ions and Ti ions. (40)Ca ion exposure reduced baseline activity in a novel environment in a dose-dependent manner, which suggests reduced motivation to explore and/or a diminished level of curiosity in a novel environment. In addition, exposure to (40)Ca ions had sex-dependent effects on response to shock. (40)Ca ion irradiation reduced the response to shock in female, but not male, mice. In contrast, (40)Ca ion irradiation did not affect fear learning, memory, or extinction of fear memory for either gender at the doses employed in this study. Thus (40)Ca ion irradiation affected behavioral, but not cognitive, performance. The effects of (40)Ca ion irradiation on behavioral performance are relevant, as a combination of novelty and aversive environmental stimuli is pertinent to conditions experienced by astronauts during and following space missions. PMID:27345201

  5. Towards new approaches to disorders of fear and anxiety.

    PubMed

    Dias, Brian G; Banerjee, Sunayana B; Goodman, Jared V; Ressler, Kerry J

    2013-06-01

    Fear and anxiety are debilitating conditions that affect a significant number of individuals in their lifetimes. Understanding underlying mechanisms of these disorders affords us the possibility of therapeutic intervention. Such clarity in terms of mechanism and intervention can only come from an amalgamation of research from human to animal studies that attempt to mimic the human condition, both of which are discussed in this review. We begin by presenting an outline of our current understanding of the neurobiological basis of fear and anxiety. This outline spans various levels of organization that include the circuitry, molecular pathways, genetic and epigenetic components of fear and anxiety. Using these organizational levels as a scaffold, we then discuss strategies that are currently used to ameliorate these disorders, and forecast future interventions that hold therapeutic promise. Among these newer promising treatments, we include, optogenetic, pharmacological, and extinction-based approaches, as well as lifestyle modifications, with combinatorial treatment regimens of these holding the most promise. PMID:23402950

  6. Effects of environmental and physiological covariates on sex differences in unconditioned and conditioned anxiety and fear in a large sample of genetically heterogeneous (N/Nih-HS) rats.

    PubMed

    López-Aumatell, Regina; Martínez-Membrives, Esther; Vicens-Costa, Elia; Cañete, Toni; Blázquez, Gloria; Mont-Cardona, Carme; Johannesson, Martina; Flint, Jonathan; Tobeña, Adolf; Fernández-Teruel, Alberto

    2011-01-01

    Physiological and environmental variables, or covariates, can account for an important portion of the variability observed in behavioural/physiological results from different laboratories even when using the same type of animals and phenotyping procedures. We present the results of a behavioural study with a sample of 1456 genetically heterogeneous N/Nih-HS rats, including males and females, which are part of a larger genome-wide fine-mapping QTL (Quantitative Trait Loci) study. N/Nih-HS rats have been derived from 8 inbred strains and provide very small distance between genetic recombinations, which makes them a unique tool for fine-mapping QTL studies. The behavioural test battery comprised the elevated zero-maze test for anxiety, novel-cage (open-field like) activity, two-way active avoidance acquisition (related to conditioned anxiety) and context-conditioned freezing (i.e. classically conditioned fear). Using factorial analyses of variance (ANOVAs) we aimed to analyse sex differences in anxiety and fear in this N/Nih-HS rat sample, as well as to assess the effects of (and interactions with) other independent factors, such as batch, season, coat colour and experimenter. Body weight was taken as a quantitative covariate and analysed by covariance analysis (ANCOVA). Obliquely-rotated factor analyses were also performed separately for each sex, in order to evaluate associations among the most relevant variables from each behavioural test and the common dimensions (i.e. factors) underlying the different behavioural responses. ANOVA analyses showed a consistent pattern of sex effects, with females showing less signs of anxiety and fear than males across all tests. There were also significant main effects of batch, season, colour and experimenter on almost all behavioural variables, as well as "sex × batch", "sex × season" and "sex × experimenter" interactions. Body weight showed significant effects in the ANCOVAs of most behavioural measures, but sex effects were

  7. Enhanced Discriminative Fear Learning of Phobia-Irrelevant Stimuli in Spider-Fearful Individuals

    PubMed Central

    Mosig, Carina; Merz, Christian J.; Mohr, Cornelia; Adolph, Dirk; Wolf, Oliver T.; Schneider, Silvia; Margraf, Jürgen; Zlomuzica, Armin

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:25324745

  8. Compound Stimulus Extinction Reduces Spontaneous Recovery in Humans

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Coelho, Cesar A. O.; Dunsmoor, Joseph E.; Phelps, Elizabeth A.

    2015-01-01

    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…

  9. The ecology of human fear: survival optimization and the nervous system

    PubMed Central

    Mobbs, Dean; Hagan, Cindy C.; Dalgleish, Tim; Silston, Brian; Prévost, Charlotte

    2015-01-01

    We propose a Survival Optimization System (SOS) to account for the strategies that humans and other animals use to defend against recurring and novel threats. The SOS attempts to merge ecological models that define a repertoire of contextually relevant threat induced survival behaviors with contemporary approaches to human affective science. We first propose that the goal of the nervous system is to reduce surprise and optimize actions by (i) predicting the sensory landscape by simulating possible encounters with threat and selecting the appropriate pre-encounter action and (ii) prevention strategies in which the organism manufactures safe environments. When a potential threat is encountered the (iii) threat orienting system is engaged to determine whether the organism ignores the stimulus or switches into a process of (iv) threat assessment, where the organism monitors the stimulus, weighs the threat value, predicts the actions of the threat, searches for safety, and guides behavioral actions crucial to directed escape. When under imminent attack, (v) defensive systems evoke fast reflexive indirect escape behaviors (i.e., fight or flight). This cascade of responses to threat of increasing magnitude are underwritten by an interconnected neural architecture that extends from cortical and hippocampal circuits, to attention, action and threat systems including the amygdala, striatum, and hard-wired defensive systems in the midbrain. The SOS also includes a modulatory feature consisting of cognitive appraisal systems that flexibly guide perception, risk and action. Moreover, personal and vicarious threat encounters fine-tune avoidance behaviors via model-based learning, with higher organisms bridging data to reduce face-to-face encounters with predators. Our model attempts to unify the divergent field of human affective science, proposing a highly integrated nervous system that has evolved to increase the organism's chances of survival. PMID:25852451

  10. Human Injury From Atomic Particles and Photon Exposure: Fears, Myths, Risks, and Mortality

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Energy absorbtion from particles and photons moving at relativistic speeds has been a fundamental part of life on earth and wherever else life might exist. Heat and visible light have deeply influenced the course of human evolution, affecting habitat and nutrition. The photons of ionizing radiation that over time can possibly affect evolution, contribute to the more immediate problem of morbidity and mortality of cancer. This review addresses our radiative energy absorbtion, from both natural and manmade sources, and its relationship with disease and death. Educational Public Health efforts to offset the dangers of solar ultraviolet overexposure are presented, together with data on the significant mortality of metastatic melanoma. PMID:20481234

  11. Strain dependent effects of conditioned fear in adult C57Bl/6 and Balb/C mice following postnatal exposure to chlorpyrifos: relation to expression of brain acetylcholinesterase mRNA

    PubMed Central

    Oriel, Sarit; Kofman, Ora

    2015-01-01

    Following reports of emotional psychopathology in children and adults exposed to organophosphates, the effects of postnatal chlorpyrifos (CPF) on fear-conditioning and depression-like behaviors were tested in adult mice. Concomitant changes in expression of mRNA for synaptic and soluble splice variants of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) were examined in mouse pups and adults of the Balb/C and C57Bl/6 (B6) strains, which differ in their behavioral and hormonal stress response. Mice were injected subcutaneously with 1 mg/kg CPF on postnatal days 4–10 and tested as adults for conditioned fear, sucrose preference, and forced swim. Acetylcholinesterase activity was assessed in the brains of pups on the first and last day of treatment. Expression of soluble and synaptic AChE mRNA was assessed in brains of treated pups and fear-conditioned adults using real-time PCR. Adult Balb/C mice exposed postnatally to CPF showed exacerbated fear-conditioning and impaired active avoidance. Adult B6 mice exposed postnatally to CPF showed a more specific fear response to tones and less freezing in the inter-tone intervals, in contrast to the vehicle-pretreated mice. Chlorpyrifos also attenuated sweet preference and enhanced climbing in the forced swim test. Chlorpyrifos-treated mice had increased expression of both synaptic and readthrough AChE transcripts in the hippocampus of Balb/C mice and decreased expression in the amygdala following fear-conditioning. In conclusion, postnatal CPF had long-term effects on fear and depression, as well as on expression of AChE mRNA. These changes may be related to alteration in the interaction between hippocampus and amygdala in regulating negative emotions. PMID:25972795

  12. Fear Extinction as a Model for Translational Neuroscience: Ten Years of Progress

    PubMed Central

    Milad, Mohammed R.; Quirk, Gregory J.

    2016-01-01

    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

  13. Do CS-US Pairings Actually Matter? A Within-Subject Comparison of Instructed Fear Conditioning with and without Actual CS-US Pairings

    PubMed Central

    Raes, An K.; De Houwer, Jan; De Schryver, Maarten; Brass, Marcel; Kalisch, Raffael

    2014-01-01

    Previous research showed that instructions about CS-US pairings can lead to fear of the CS even when the pairings are never presented. In the present study, we examined whether the experience of CS-US pairings adds to the effect of instructions by comparing instructed conditioning with and without actual CS-US pairings in a within-subject design. Thirty-two participants saw three fractals as CSs (CS+1, CS+2, CS−) and received electric shocks as USs. Before the start of a so-called training phase, participants were instructed that both CS+1 and CS+2 would be followed by the US, but only CS+1 was actually paired with the US. The absence of the US after CS+2 was explained in such a way that participants would not doubt the instructions about the CS+2-US relation. After the training phase, a test phase was carried out. In this phase, participants expected the US after both CS+s but none of the CS+s was actually paired with the US. During test, self-reported fear was initially higher for CS+1 than for CS+2, which indicates that the experience of actual CS-US pairings adds to instructions about these pairings. On the other hand, the CS+s elicited similar skin conductance responses and US expectancies. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed. PMID:24465447

  14. Quantitative proteomics reveals protein kinases and phosphatases in the individual phases of contextual fear conditioning in the C57BL/6J mouse.

    PubMed

    Šmidák, Roman; Mayer, Rupert Laurenz; Bileck, Andrea; Gerner, Christopher; Mechtcheriakova, Diana; Stork, Oliver; Lubec, Gert; Li, Lin

    2016-04-15

    A series of protein kinases and phosphatases (PKPs) have been linked to contextual fear conditioning (cFC) but information is mainly derived from immunochemical studies. It was therefore decided to use an explorative label-free quantitative proteomics approach to concomitantly determine PKPs in hippocampi of mice in the individual phases of cFC. C57BL/6J mice were divided into four groups: three training groups representing the acquisition, consolidation and retrieval phases of cFC and a foot shock control group. Using this approach we identified 32 protein kinases or phosphatases/phosphatase subunits with significantly changed protein levels in one or more training groups as compared to foot shock control. These include members of PKP signalling modules of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAP3K10, RAF1, KSR2), Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaMKIIα, DAPK1), protein kinase C (PRKCD) and protein phosphatases 1, 2A, 2B(3) previously implicated in various learning paradigms. In addition, our analysis showed protein kinases WNK1, LYN, VRK1, ABL1, CDK4, CDKL3, SgK223 and ADCK1, and protein phosphatases PTPRF, ACP1, DNAJC6, SSH2 and UBASH3B that have not been directly linked to fear memory processes so far. Determination of PKPs in the individual cFC phases represents a valuable resource for interpretation of previous and design of future studies on PKPs in memory mechanisms. PMID:26748257

  15. Progesterone to ovariectomized mice enhances cognitive performance in the spontaneous alternation, object recognition, but not placement, water maze, and contextual and cued conditioned fear tasks

    PubMed Central

    Frye, Cheryl A.; Walf, Alicia A.

    2008-01-01

    Research on how steroid hormones mediate mnemonic processes have focused on effects of 17β-estradiol (E2); yet, progesterone (P4) co-varies with E2 across endogenous hormonal milieu, and itself may influence cognitive processes. We investigated the hypothesis that acute P4 treatment enhances cognitive performance compared to vehicle. Ovariectomized (OVX) c57/BL6J mice were randomly assigned to be subcutaneously injected with oil vehicle or P4 (10 mg/kg). Mice were trained in the spontaneous alternation, object recognition, object placement, water maze, or fear conditioning tasks, and injected with vehicle or P4 before training or immediately post-training, and then were tested 1, 4, or 24 h later. The data obtained from these experiments supported our hypothesis. P4 increased the percentage of spontaneous alterations made in a T-maze more so than did vehicle. P4, compared to vehicle, increased the percentage of time spent exploring the novel object in the object recognition task, but did not alter performance in the object placement task. P4, compared to vehicle, decreased latencies to reach the location in the water maze where the platform had been during training in a probe trial, but did not alter performance in the control, cued trial. Compared to vehicle, P4 treatment increased freezing in contextual and cued fear testing. Thus, acute P4 treatment to OVX mice can improve cognitive performance across a variety of tasks. PMID:18455450

  16. Conditional Lineage Ablation to Model Human Diseases

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Paul; Morley, Gregory; Huang, Qian; Fischer, Avi; Seiler, Stephanie; Horner, James W.; Factor, Stephen; Vaidya, Dhananjay; Jalife, Jose; Fishman, Glenn I.

    1998-09-01

    Cell loss contributes to the pathogenesis of many inherited and acquired human diseases. We have developed a system to conditionally ablate cells of any lineage and developmental stage in the mouse by regulated expression of the diphtheria toxin A (DTA) gene by using tetracycline-responsive promoters. As an example of this approach, we targeted expression of DTA to the hearts of adult mice to model structural abnormalities commonly observed in human cardiomyopathies. Induction of DTA expression resulted in cell loss, fibrosis, and chamber dilatation. As in many human cardiomyopathies, transgenic mice developed spontaneous arrhythmias in vivo, and programmed electrical stimulation of isolated-perfused transgenic hearts demonstrated a strikingly high incidence of spontaneous and inducible ventricular tachycardia. Affected mice showed marked perturbations of cardiac gap junction channel expression and localization, including a subset with disorganized epicardial activation patterns as revealed by optical action potential mapping. These studies provide important insights into mechanisms of arrhythmogenesis and suggest that conditional lineage ablation may have wide applicability for studies of disease pathogenesis.

  17. Adolescent and adult rats differ in the amnesic effects of acute ethanol in two hippocampus-dependent tasks: Trace and contextual fear conditioning.

    PubMed

    Hunt, Pamela S; Barnet, Robert C

    2016-02-01

    Experience-produced deficits in trace conditioning and context conditioning have been useful tools for examining the role of the hippocampus in learning. It has also been suggested that learning in these tasks is especially vulnerable to neurotoxic effects of alcohol during key developmental periods such as adolescence. In five experiments we systematically examined the presence and source of age-dependent vulnerability to the memory-disrupting effects of acute ethanol in trace conditioning and contextual fear conditioning. In Experiment 1a pre-training ethanol disrupted trace conditioning more strongly in adolescent (postnatal day, PD30-35) than adult rats (PD65-75). In Experiment 1b when pre-training ethanol was accompanied by pre-test ethanol no deficit in trace conditioning was observed in adolescents, suggesting that state-dependent retrieval failure mediated ethanol's disruption of trace conditioning at this age. Experiment 2a and b examined the effect of ethanol pretreatment on context conditioning. Here, adult but not adolescent rats were impaired in conditioned freezing to context cues. Experiment 2c explored state-dependency of this effect. Pre-training ethanol continued to disrupt context conditioning in adults even when ethanol was also administered prior to test. Collectively these findings reveal clear age-dependent and task-dependent vulnerabilities in ethanol's disruptive effects on hippocampus-dependent memory. Adolescents were more disrupted by ethanol in trace conditioning than adults, and adults were more disrupted by ethanol in context conditioning than adolescents. We suggest that adolescents may be more susceptible to changes in internal state (state-dependent retrieval failure) than adults and that ethanol disrupted performance in trace and context conditioning through different mechanisms. Relevance of these findings to theories of hippocampus function is discussed. PMID:26192910

  18. Retrieving fear memories, as time goes by….

    PubMed

    Do Monte, F H; Quirk, G J; Li, B; Penzo, M A

    2016-08-01

    Research in fear conditioning has provided a comprehensive picture of the neuronal circuit underlying the formation of fear memories. In contrast, our understanding of the retrieval of fear memories is much more limited. This disparity may stem from the fact that fear memories are not rigid, but reorganize over time. To bring some clarity and raise awareness about the time-dependent dynamics of retrieval circuits, we review current evidence on the neuronal circuitry participating in fear memory retrieval at both early and late time points following auditory fear conditioning. We focus on the temporal recruitment of the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus (PVT) for the retrieval and maintenance of fear memories. Finally, we speculate as to why retrieval circuits change with time, and consider the functional strategy of recruiting structures not previously considered as part of the retrieval circuit. PMID:27217148

  19. [AMYGDALA: NEUROANATOMY AND NEUROPHYSIOLOGY OF FEAR].

    PubMed

    Tsvetkov, E A; Krasnoshchekova, E I; Vesselkin, N P; Kharazova, A D

    2015-01-01

    This work describes neuroanatomical and neurophysiological mechanisms of Pavlovian fear conditioning, focusing on contributions of the amygdala, a subcortical nuclear group, to control of conditioned fear responses. The mechanisms of synaptic plasticity at projections to the amygdala and within amygdala were shown to mediate the formation and retention of fear memory. This work reviews current data on anatomical organization of the amygdala, as well as its afferent and efferent projections, in respect to the role of the amygdala in auditory fear conditioning during which acoustic signals serve as the conditioned stimulus. PMID:26983275

  20. The formation and extinction of fear memory in tree shrews

    PubMed Central

    Shang, Shujiang; Wang, Cong; Guo, Chengbing; Huang, Xu; Wang, Liecheng; Zhang, Chen

    2015-01-01

    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 min 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. PMID:26283941

  1. Preventing the Return of Fear Using Reconsolidation Update Mechanisms Depends on the Met-Allele of the Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor Val66Met Polymorphism

    PubMed Central

    Asthana, Manish Kumar; Brunhuber, Bettina; Mühlberger, Andreas; Reif, Andreas; Schneider, Simone

    2016-01-01

    Background: Memory reconsolidation is the direct effect of memory reactivation followed by stabilization of newly synthesized proteins. It has been well proven that neural encoding of both newly and reactivated memories requires synaptic plasticity. Brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been extensively investigated regarding its role in the formation of synaptic plasticity and in the alteration of fear memories. However, its role in fear reconsolidation is still unclear; hence, the current study has been designed to investigate the role of the BDNF val66met polymorphism (rs6265) in fear memory reconsolidation in humans. Methods: An auditory fear-conditioning paradigm was conducted, which comprised of three stages (acquisition, reactivation, and spontaneous recovery). One day after fear acquisition, the experimental group underwent reactivation of fear memory followed by the extinction training (reminder group), whereas the control group (non-reminder group) underwent only extinction training. On day 3, both groups were subjected to spontaneous recovery of earlier learned fearful memories. The treat-elicited defensive response due to conditioned threat was measured by assessing the skin conductance response to the conditioned stimulus. All participants were genotyped for rs6265. Results: The results indicate a diminishing effect of reminder on the persistence of fear memory only in the Met-allele carriers, suggesting a moderating effect of the BDNF polymorphism in fear memory reconsolidation. Conclusions: Our findings suggest a new role for BDNF gene variation in fear memory reconsolidation in humans. PMID:26721948

  2. Reduced fear-recognition sensitivity following acute buprenorphine administration in healthy volunteers.

    PubMed

    Ipser, Jonathan C; Terburg, David; Syal, Supriya; Phillips, Nicole; Solms, Mark; Panksepp, Jaak; Malcolm-Smith, Susan; Thomas, Kevin; Stein, Dan J; van Honk, Jack

    2013-01-01

    In rodents, the endogenous opioid system has been implicated in emotion regulation, and in the reduction of fear in particular. In humans, while there is evidence that the opioid antagonist naloxone acutely enhances the acquisition of conditioned fear, there are no corresponding data on the effect of opioid agonists in moderating responses to fear. We investigated whether a single 0.2mg administration of the mu-opioid agonist buprenorphine would decrease fear sensitivity with an emotion-recognition paradigm. Healthy human subjects participated in a randomized placebo-controlled within-subject design, in which they performed a dynamic emotion recognition task 120min after administration of buprenorphine and placebo. In the recognition task, basic emotional expressions were morphed between their full expression and neutral in 2% steps, and presented as dynamic video-clips with final frames of different emotional intensity for each trial, which allows for a fine-grained measurement of emotion sensitivity. Additionally, visual analog scales were used to investigate acute effects of buprenorphine on mood. Compared to placebo, buprenorphine resulted in a significant reduction in the sensitivity for recognizing fearful facial expressions exclusively. Our data demonstrate, for the first time in humans, that acute up-regulation of the opioid system reduces fear recognition sensitivity. Moreover, the absence of an effect of buprenorphine on mood provides evidence of a direct influence of opioids upon the core fear system in the human brain. PMID:22651957

  3. How administration of the beta-blocker propranolol prior to extinction can prevent the return of fear

    PubMed Central

    Kroes, Marijn CW; Tona, Klodiana-Daphne; den Ouden, Hanneke EM; Vogel, Susanne; van Wingen, Guido A.; Fernández, Guillén

    2015-01-01

    Combining beta-blockers with exposure-therapy has been advocated to reduce fear, yet experimental studies combining beta-blockers with memory reactivation have had contradictory results. We explored how beta-blockade might affect the course of safety learning and the subsequent return of fear in a double-blind placebo-controlled functional magnetic resonance imaging study in humans (N=46). A single dose of propranolol prior to extinction learning caused a loss of conditioned fear responses, and prevented the subsequent return of fear and decreased explicit memory for the fearful events in the absence of drug. Fear-related neural responses were persistently attenuated in the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC), increased in the hippocampus 24h later, and correlated with individual behavioral indices of fear. Prediction error-related responses in the ventral striatum persisted during beta-blockade. We suggest that this pattern of results is most consistent with a model where beta-blockade can prevent the return of fear by i) reducing retrieval of fear memory, via the dmPFC and ii) increasing contextual safety learning, via the hippocampus. Our findings suggest that retrieval of fear memory and contextual safety learning form potential mnemonic target mechanisms to optimize exposure-based the