Abnormal Fear Memory as a Model for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Aline Desmedt, Aline Marighetto, Pier-Vincenzo Piazza
Biological Psychiatry. 2015-09-01; 78(5): 290-297
DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.06.017

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1. Biol Psychiatry. 2015 Sep 1;78(5):290-7. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.06.017.
Epub 2015 Jun 26.

Abnormal Fear Memory as a Model for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Desmedt A(1), Marighetto A(2), Piazza PV(2).

Author information:
(1)Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, University of
Bordeaux, Neurocentre Magendie, Physiopathologie de la plasticité neuronale,
Bordeaux, France. Electronic address: .
(2)Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, University of
Bordeaux, Neurocentre Magendie, Physiopathologie de la plasticité neuronale,
Bordeaux, France.

For over a century, clinicians have consistently described the paradoxical
co-existence in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) of sensory intrusive
hypermnesia and declarative amnesia for the same traumatic event. Although this
amnesia is considered as a critical etiological factor of the development and/or
persistence of PTSD, most current animal models in basic neuroscience have
focused exclusively on the hypermnesia, i.e., the persistence of a strong fear
memory, neglecting the qualitative alteration of fear memory. The latest is
characterized by an underrepresentation of the trauma in the context-based
declarative memory system in favor of its overrepresentation in a cue-based
sensory/emotional memory system. Combining psychological and neurobiological data
as well as theoretical hypotheses, this review supports the idea that contextual
amnesia is at the core of PTSD and its persistence and that altered
hippocampal-amygdalar interaction may contribute to such pathologic memory. In a
first attempt to unveil the neurobiological alterations underlying PTSD-related
hypermnesia/amnesia, we describe a recent animal model mimicking in mice some
critical aspects of such abnormal fear memory. Finally, this line of argument
emphasizes the pressing need for a systematic comparison between normal/adaptive
versus abnormal/maladaptive fear memory to identify biomarkers of PTSD while
distinguishing them from general stress-related, potentially adaptive,
neurobiological alterations.

Copyright © 2015 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All
rights reserved.

DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.06.017
PMID: 26238378 [Indexed for MEDLINE]


Auteurs Bordeaux Neurocampus