Extinction of Conditioned Fear in Adolescents and Adults: A Human fMRI Study
AuthorGanella, DE; Drummond, KD; Ganella, EP; Whittle, S; Kim, JH
Source TitleFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
PublisherFRONTIERS MEDIA SA
University of Melbourne Author/sGanella, Despina; Drummond, Katherine; Whittle, Sarah; Kim, Jee Hyun; Ganella, Eleni
Florey Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsGanella, D. E., Drummond, K. D., Ganella, E. P., Whittle, S. & Kim, J. H. (2018). Extinction of Conditioned Fear in Adolescents and Adults: A Human fMRI Study. FRONTIERS IN HUMAN NEUROSCIENCE, 11, https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00647.
Access StatusOpen Access
Little is known about the neural correlates of fear learning in adolescents, a population at increased risk for anxiety disorders. Healthy adolescents (mean age 16.26) and adults (mean age 29.85) completed a fear learning paradigm across two stages during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Stage 1 involved conditioning and extinction, and stage 2 involved extinction recall, re-conditioning, followed by re-extinction. During extinction recall, we observed a higher skin conductance response to the CS+ relative to CS- in adolescents compared to adults, which was accompanied by a reduction in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) activity. Relative to adults, adolescents also had significantly reduced activation in the ventromedial PFC, dlPFC, posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), and temporoparietal junction (TPJ) during extinction recall compared to late extinction. Age differences in PCC activation between late extinction and late conditioning were also observed. These results show for the first time that healthy adolescent humans show different behavioral responses, and dampened PFC activity during short-term extinction recall compared to healthy adults. We also identify the PCC and TPJ as novel regions that may be associated with impaired extinction in adolescents. Also, while adults showed significant correlations between differential SCR and BOLD activity in some brain regions during late extinction and recall, adolescents did not show any significant correlations. This study highlights adolescent-specific neural correlates of extinction, which may explain the peak in prevalence of anxiety disorders during adolescence.
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