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Extinction is a process that diminishes the memory of a learned behaviour. This may occur by unlearning the original memory association that produces the behaviour or by learning a new association that inhibits it.
The authors show that postsynaptic deletion of neuroligin-3 from parvalbumin interneurons causes a decrease in NMDA-receptor-mediated excitatory postsynaptic currents and an increase in presynaptic glutamate release probability linked to a deficit in presynaptic Group III metabotropic glutamate receptor function. This selective disruption of excitatory transmission on parvalbumin interneurons leads to abnormal hippocampal network activity and a decrease in contextual fear extinction.
Confronting fears is a core component of cognitive behavioural therapies for anxiety disorders, but also a major hurdle for patients. A new study introduces a method for reducing defensive responses without consciously confronting the threatening cues, paving the way for fear-reducing therapies via unconscious processing.
The ventromedial prefrontal cortex is attributed with various functions during valuation, affect regulation and social cognition. Nature Neuroscience asked a moderator to lead researchers in a dialogue on shared and distinct viewpoints of this region's roles.
Fear extinction induces a shift in the balance of activity between 'fear neurons' and 'extinction neurons' in the basal amygdala, which project to prelimbic and infralimbic portions of the medial prefrontal cortex, respectively.