Preventing long-lasting fear recovery using bilateral alternating sensory stimulation: A translational study.

H. Wurtz, M. El-Khoury-Malhame, F.H. Wilhelm, T. Michael, E.M. Beetz, J. Roques, E. Reynaud, J. Courtin, S. Khalfa, C. Herry
Neuroscience. 2016-05-01; 321: 222-235
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2015.06.012

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1. Neuroscience. 2016 May 3;321:222-235. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2015.06.012.
Epub 2015 Jun 16.

Preventing long-lasting fear recovery using bilateral alternating sensory
stimulation: A translational study.

Wurtz H(1), El-Khoury-Malhame M(2), Wilhelm FH(3), Michael T(4), Beetz EM(5),
Roques J(6), Reynaud E(7), Courtin J(1), Khalfa S(8), Herry C(9).

Author information:
(1)INSERM, Neurocentre Magendie, U862, 146 Rue Léo-Saignat, 33077 Bordeaux,
France; Univ. Bordeaux, Neurocentre Magendie, U862, 146 Rue Léo-Saignat, 33077
Bordeaux, France.
(2)Notre Dame University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Psychology, Zouk
Mikael BP 72, Lebanon.
(3)Division of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy and Health Psychology,
Department of Psychology, University of Salzburg, Hellbrunnerstrasse 32, A-5020
Salzburg, Austria.
(4)Division of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Department of Psychology,
Saarland University, Saarbrucken, Germany.
(5)Department of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology, Princess Grace Hospital
Center, Monaco, France.
(6)Center for Treatment of Psychological Trauma, Montpellier, France.
(7)Institut de Neurosciences de la Timone, UMR 7289, Marseille, France.
(8)Institut de Neurosciences de la Timone, UMR 7289, Marseille, France;
Aix-Marseille Université, Marseille, France. Electronic address:
.
(9)INSERM, Neurocentre Magendie, U862, 146 Rue Léo-Saignat, 33077 Bordeaux,
France; Univ. Bordeaux, Neurocentre Magendie, U862, 146 Rue Léo-Saignat, 33077
Bordeaux, France. Electronic address: .

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a highly debilitating and prevalent
psychological disorder. It is characterized by highly distressing intrusive
trauma memories that are partly explained by fear conditioning. Despite efficient
therapeutic approaches, a subset of PTSD patients displays spontaneous recurrence
of traumatic memories after successful treatment. The development of animal
behavioral models mimicking the individual variability in treatment outcome for
PTSD patients represent therefore an important challenge as it allows for the
identification of predicting factors of resilience or susceptibility to relapse.
However, to date, only few animal behavioral models of long-lasting fear recovery
have been developed and their predictive validity has not been tested directly.
The objectives of this study were twofold. First we aimed to develop a simple
animal behavioral model of long-lasting fear recovery based on auditory cued fear
conditioning and extinction learning, which recapitulates the heterogeneity of
fear responses observed in PTSD patients after successful treatment. Second we
aimed at testing the predictive validity of our behavioral model and used to this
purpose a translational approach based (i) on the demonstration of the efficiency
of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy to reduce
conditioned fear responses in PTSD patients and (ii) on the implementation in our
behavioral model of an electrical bilateral alternating stimulation of the eyelid
which mimics the core feature of EMDR. Our data indicate that electrical
bilateral alternating stimulation of the eyelid during extinction learning
alleviates long-lasting fear recovery of conditioned fear responses and
dramatically reduces inter-individual variability. These results demonstrate the
face and predictive validity of our animal behavioral model and provide an
interesting tool to understand the neurobiological underpinnings of long-lasting
fear recovery.

Copyright © 2015 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2015.06.012
PMID: 26091614 [Indexed for MEDLINE]


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