Neural circuits underlying a psychotherapeutic regimen for fear disorders

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A psychotherapeutic regimen that uses alternating bilateral sensory stimulation (ABS) has been used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. However, the neural basis that underlies the long-lasting effect of this treatment-described as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing-has not been identified. Here we describe a neuronal pathway driven by the superior colliculus (SC) that mediates persistent attenuation of fear. We successfully induced a lasting reduction in fear in mice by pairing visual ABS with conditioned stimuli during fear extinction. Among the types of visual stimulation tested, ABS provided the strongest fear-reducing effect and yielded sustained increases in the activities of the SC and mediodorsal thalamus (MD). Optogenetic manipulation revealed that the SC-MD circuit was necessary and sufficient to prevent the return of fear. ABS suppressed the activity of fear-encoding cells and stabilized inhibitory neurotransmission in the basolateral amygdala through a feedforward inhibitory circuit from the MD. Together, these results reveal the neural circuit that underlies an effective strategy for sustainably attenuating traumatic memories.
Publisher
NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP
Issue Date
2019-02
Language
English
Article Type
Article
Citation

NATURE, v.566, no.7744, pp.339 - +

ISSN
0028-0836
DOI
10.1038/s41586-019-0931-y
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10203/251636
Appears in Collection
BiS-Journal Papers(저널논문)
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