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Dev Neurosci. 2011;33(5):365-78. doi: 10.1159/000329424. Epub 2011 Sep 1.

Amygdala regulation of fear and emotionality in fragile X syndrome.

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Center for Neuroscience Research, Children's Research Institute, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC 20010, USA.


Fear is a universal response to a threat to one's body or social status. Disruption in the detection and response of the brain's fear system is commonly observed in a variety of neurodevelopmental disorders, including fragile X syndrome (FXS), a brain disorder characterized by variable cognitive impairment and behavioral disturbances such as social avoidance and anxiety. The amygdala is highly involved in mediating fear processing, and increasing evidence supports the idea that inhibitory circuits play a key role in regulating the flow of information associated with fear conditioning in the amygdala. Here, we review the known and potential importance of amygdala fear circuits in FXS, and how developmental studies are critical to understand the formation and function of neuronal circuits that modulate amygdala-based behaviors.

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