Avoidant symptoms in PTSD predict fear circuit activation during multimodal fear extinction

Sripada, Rebecca K, Garfinkel, Sarah N and Liberzon, Israel (2013) Avoidant symptoms in PTSD predict fear circuit activation during multimodal fear extinction. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7. ISSN 1662-5161

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Abstract

Convergent evidence suggests that individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
exhibit exaggerated avoidance behaviors as well as abnormalities in Pavlonian fear
conditioning. However, the link between the two features of this disorder is not well
understood. In order to probe the brain basis of aberrant extinction learning in PTSD, we
administered a multimodal classical fear conditioning/extinction paradigm that incorporated
affectively relevant information from two sensory channels (visual and tactile) while
participants underwent fMRI scanning. The sample consisted of fifteen OEF/OIF veterans
with PTSD. In response to conditioned cues and contextual information, greater avoidance
symptomatology was associated with greater activation in amygdala, hippocampus,
vmPFC, dmPFC, and insula, during both fear acquisition and fear extinction. Heightened
responses to previously conditioned stimuli in individuals with more severe PTSD could
indicate a deficiency in safety learning, consistent with PTSD symptomatology. The close
link between avoidance symptoms and fear circuit activation suggests that this symptom
cluster may be a key component of fear extinction deficits in PTSD and/or may be particularly
amenable to change through extinction-based therapies

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Neuroscience
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Depositing User: Jonathan Williams
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2015 14:25
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2017 18:53
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/56666

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