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Nat Neurosci. 2017 Jun;20(6):836-844. doi: 10.1038/nn.4523. Epub 2017 Mar 13.

Manipulating fear associations via optogenetic modulation of amygdala inputs to prefrontal cortex.

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1
Department of Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.

Abstract

Fear-related disorders are thought to reflect strong and persistent fear memories. The basolateral amygdala (BLA) and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) form strong reciprocal synaptic connections that play a key role in acquisition and extinction of fear memories. While synaptic contacts of BLA cells onto mPFC neurons are likely to play a crucial role in this process, the BLA connects with several additional nuclei within the fear circuit that could relay fear-associated information to the mPFC, and the contribution of direct monosynaptic BLA-mPFC inputs is not yet clear. Here we establish an optogenetic stimulation protocol that induces synaptic depression in BLA-mPFC synapses. In behaving mice, optogenetic high-frequency stimulation of BLA inputs to mPFC interfered with retention of cued associations, attenuated previously acquired cue-associated responses in mPFC neurons and facilitated extinction. Our findings demonstrate the contribution of BLA inputs to mPFC in forming and maintaining cued fear associations.

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PMID:
28288126
DOI:
10.1038/nn.4523
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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