Brain Circuitry for Fear Suppression Identified!

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affirms a much more active role of the amygdala in these processes than earlier considered.

‘Apart from regulating fear responses, the neurons in a specific brain region called the amygdala are also highly essential for suppressing the fear mechanisms. This enhanced understanding of the fear circuitry may help in formulating better therapies for these pathological fears like anxiety.’


Apart from serving as a central hub for the generation of fear responses, it also contains neuronal microcircuits that help in regulating the suppression of fear responses.

Amygdala – the Central Hub

Amygdala is a small almond-shaped brain structure that is located in the center of the brain. It is involved in compiling all the information from fearful stimuli to further transmits it to other brain regions and generate fear responses.

This results in physiological responses from the body such as the release of stress hormones, change in heart rate, or trigger fight, flight, or freeze responses.

Role of Microcircuits in Amygdala

The study team demonstrated that inhibition of a group of microcircuits in animal models lead to long-lasting fear behaviour. Thus activation of these circuits restores the animal behaviour to normal, despite previous fear responses.

“We were surprised how strongly our targeted intervention in specific cell types of the central amygdala affected fear responses. The optogenetic silencing of these specific neurons completely abolished the suppression of fear and provoked a state of pathological fear,” says Ciocchi, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Physiology, University of Bern.

The study thereby proves that neurons in the central amygdala are highly essential for suppressing fear. This enhanced understanding of the fear circuitry along with further supporting evidence in the future may help in formulating better therapies for these disorders.

Source: Medindia



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