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Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2011;13(4):463-74.

NMDA receptors and fear extinction: implications for cognitive behavioral therapy.

Author information

1
Emory University, Yerkes National Primate Center and the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. mdavis4@emory.edu

Abstract

Based primarily on studies that employ Pavlovian fear conditioning, extinction of conditioned fear has been found to be mediated by N-methyi-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex. This led to the discovery that an NMDA partial agonist, D-cycloserine, could facilitate fear extinction when given systemically or locally into the amygdala. Because many forms of cognitive behavioral therapy depend on fear extinction, this led to the successful use of D-cycloserine as an adjunct to psychotherapy in patients with so-called simple phobias (fear of heights), social phobia, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and panic disorder. Data in support of these conclusions are reviewed, along with some of the possible limitations of D-cycloserine as an adjunct to psychotherapy.

KEYWORDS:

D-cycloserine; amygdala; learning; memory; psychotherapy

PMID:
22275851
PMCID:
PMC3263393
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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