Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Pharmacological Forgetting

Sci. Signal.  08 Jun 2010:
Vol. 3, Issue 125, pp. ec172
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3125ec172

Extinction of conditioned fear forms a new memory in the infralimbic medial prefrontal cortex that is critical for subsequent retrieval of the extinction memory. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie this extinction-related plasticity could help in the treatment of anxiety disorders. By infusing BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) into the infralimbic cortex, Peters et al. caused the extinction of conditioned fear, even without an extinction trial. In fact, BDNF infusion seemed to act as if an extinction training session had been given. Thus, the hippocampus is a likely source of the BDNF input to the infralimbic cortex, and individual differences in extinction memory may reflect variations in hippocampal BDNF content.

J. Peters, L. M. Dieppa-Perea, L. M. Melendez, G. J. Quirk, Induction of fear extinction with hippocampal-infralimbic BDNF. Science 328, 1288–1290 (2010). [Abstract] [Full Text]