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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2012 Aug;36(7):1773-802. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2011.12.014. Epub 2012 Jan 2.

Neural and cellular mechanisms of fear and extinction memory formation.

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1
Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, 530 Church Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1043, USA. orsini@umich.edu

Abstract

Over the course of natural history, countless animal species have evolved adaptive behavioral systems to cope with dangerous situations and promote survival. Emotional memories are central to these defense systems because they are rapidly acquired and prepare organisms for future threat. Unfortunately, the persistence and intrusion of memories of fearful experiences are quite common and can lead to pathogenic conditions, such as anxiety and phobias. Over the course of the last 30 years, neuroscientists and psychologists alike have attempted to understand the mechanisms by which the brain encodes and maintains these aversive memories. Of equal interest, though, is the neurobiology of extinction memory formation as this may shape current therapeutic techniques. Here we review the extant literature on the neurobiology of fear and extinction memory formation, with a strong focus on the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying these processes.

PMID:
22230704
PMCID:
PMC3345303
DOI:
10.1016/j.neubiorev.2011.12.014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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