A dopaminergic switch for fear to safety transitions

LUO, Ray, UEMATSU, Akira, WEITEMIER, Adam, AQUILI, Luca, KOIVUMAA, Jenny, MCHUGH, Thomas and JOHANSEN, Joshua (2018). A dopaminergic switch for fear to safety transitions. Nature Communications.

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Abstract

Overcoming aversive emotional memories requires neural systems that detect when fear responses are no longer appropriate. The midbrain ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine system has been implicated in reward and more broadly in signalling when a better than expected outcome has occurred. This suggests that it may be important in guiding fear to safety transitions. We report that when an expected aversive outcome does not occur, activity in midbrain dopamine neurons is necessary to extinguish behavioral fear responses and engage molecular signalling events in extinction learning circuits. Furthermore, a specific dopamine projection to the nucleus accumbens medial shell is partially responsible for this effect. By contrast, a separate dopamine projection to the medial prefrontal cortex opposes extinction learning. This demonstrates a novel function for the canonical VTA-dopamine reward system and reveals opposing behavioural roles for different dopamine neuron projections in fear extinction learning.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Psychology Research Group
Departments: Development and Society > Psychology, Sociology and Politics
Depositing User: Luca Aquili
Date Deposited: 17 May 2018 13:15
Last Modified: 18 May 2018 06:15
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/21254

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