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Publication Detail
Location-dependent threat and associated neural abnormalities in clinical anxiety
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Suarez-Jimenez B, Balderston NL, Bisby JA, Leshin J, Hsiung A, King JA, Pine DS, Burgess N, Grillon C, Ernst M
  • Publisher:
    Springer Science and Business Media LLC
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Communications Biology
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Article number:
  • Status:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Anxiety, Neural circuits, Spatial memory
  • Notes:
    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Anxiety disorders are characterized by maladaptive defensive responses to distal or uncertain threats. Elucidating neural mechanisms of anxiety is essential to understand the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders. In fMRI, patients with pathological anxiety (ANX, n = 23) and healthy controls (HC, n = 28) completed a contextual threat learning paradigm in which they picked flowers in a virtual environment comprising a danger zone in which flowers were paired with shock and a safe zone (no shock). ANX compared with HC showed 1) decreased ventromedial prefrontal cortex and anterior hippocampus activation during the task, particularly in the safe zone, 2) increased insula and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex activation during the task, particularly in the danger zone, and 3) increased amygdala and midbrain/periaqueductal gray activation in the danger zone prior to potential shock delivery. Findings suggest that ANX engage brain areas differently to modulate context-appropriate emotional responses when learning to discriminate cues within an environment.
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