NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1152937
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Sep
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0502
The Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex in a Model of Traumatic Stress: Fear Inhibition or Contextual Processing?
Pennington, Zachary T.; Anderson, Austin S.; Fanselow, Michael S.
Learning & Memory, v24 n9 p400-406 Sep 2017
The ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) has consistently appeared altered in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although the vmPFC is thought to support the extinction of learned fear responses, several findings support a broader role for this structure in the regulation of fear. To further characterize the relationship between vmPFC dysfunction and responses to traumatic stress, we examined the effects of pretraining vmPFC lesions on trauma reactivity and enhanced fear learning in a rodent model of PTSD. In Experiment 1, lesions did not produce differences in shock reactivity during an acute traumatic episode, nor did they alter the strength of the traumatic memory. However, when lesioned animals were subsequently given a single mild aversive stimulus in a novel context, they showed a blunting of the enhanced fear response to this context seen in traumatized animals. In order to address this counterintuitive finding, Experiment 2 assessed whether lesions also attenuated fear responses to discrete tone cues. Enhanced fear for discrete cues following trauma was preserved in lesioned animals, indicating that the deficit observed in Experiment 1 is limited to contextual stimuli. These findings further support the notion that the vmPFC contributes to the regulation of fear through its influence on context learning and contrasts the prevailing view that the vmPFC directly inhibits fear.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. 500 Sunnyside Boulevard, Woodbury, NY 11797-2924. Tel: 800-843-4388; Tel: 516-367-8800; Fax: 516-422-4097; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A