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PLoS One. 2013 Nov 18;8(11):e75239. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0075239. eCollection 2013.

High trait anxiety: a challenge for disrupting fear memory reconsolidation.

Author information

1
Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Disrupting reconsolidation may be promising in the treatment of anxiety disorders but the fear-reducing effects are thus far solely demonstrated in the average organism. A relevant question is whether disrupting fear memory reconsolidation is less effective in individuals who are vulnerable to develop an anxiety disorder. By collapsing data from six previous human fear conditioning studies we tested whether trait anxiety was related to the fear-reducing effects of a pharmacological agent targeting the process of memory reconsolidation--n = 107. Testing included different phases across three consecutive days each separated by 24 h. Fear responding was measured by the eye-blink startle reflex. Disrupting the process of fear memory reconsolidation was manipulated by administering the β-adrenergic receptor antagonist propranolol HCl either before or after memory retrieval. Trait anxiety uniquely predicted the fear-reducing effects of disrupting memory reconsolidation: the higher the trait anxiety, the less fear reduction. Vulnerable individuals with the propensity to develop anxiety disorders may need higher dosages of propranolol HCl or more retrieval trials for targeting and changing fear memory. Our finding clearly demonstrates that we cannot simply translate observations from fundamental research on fear reduction in the average organism to clinical practice.

PMID:
24260096
PMCID:
PMC3832500
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0075239
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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