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Neuroscience. 2012 Mar 1;204:159-85. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.11.057. Epub 2011 Dec 3.

Fear relief-toward a new conceptual frame work and what endocannabinoids gotta do with it.

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Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Research Group Neuronal Plasticity, Kraepelinstr. 2, D-80804, Munich, Germany.

Erratum in

  • Neuroscience. 2012 Jun 14;212:225. Pamplona, F [corrected to Pamplona, F A].


The endocannabinoid system seems to play very specific roles in fear extinction, which can only be described within a well-defined model of the various fear relief processes. We, therefore, seek to clarify the current conceptual framework of fear relief within classical and operant fear conditioning paradigms as well as propose new clarifications within this framework where necessary. Based on these revisions as well as previous research involving the endocannabinoid system and fear relief, we are able to pinpoint the processes in which endocannabinoids seem to play a significant role. Following auditory-cued fear conditioning, this applies in particular to habituation and its involvement in acute and long-lasting fear relief. Following contextual conditioning, in contrast, endocannabinoids seem to affect relearning processes as well. Furthermore, we describe how the involvement of the endocannabinoid system develops over the course of the fear relief process and what this may imply for the clinical use of pharmacotherapies targeting the endocannabinoid system in treating fear and anxiety disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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