Article

A current overview of cannabinoids and glucocorticoids in facilitating extinction of aversive memories: Potential extinction enhancers

Departamento de Farmacologia, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Campus Trindade, 88040-900 Florianópolis, SC, Brazil. Electronic address: .
Neuropharmacology (Impact Factor: 4.82). 06/2012; 64(1):389-95. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2012.05.039
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Emotional learning is extremely important for the survival of an individual. However, once acquired, emotional associations are not always expressed. The regulation of emotional responses under different environmental conditions is essential for mental health. Indeed, pathologic feelings of fear and anxiety are defining features of many serious psychiatric illness, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and specific phobias. The simplest form of regulation of emotional responses is extinction, in which the conditioned response to a stimulus decreases when reinforcement (stimulus) is omitted. In addition to modulating basal anxiety states, recent studies suggest an important role for the endocannabinoid (eCB) and glucocorticoid systems in the modulation of emotional states and extinction of aversive memories in animals. The purpose of this review is to briefly outline the animal models of fear extinction and to describe how these have been used to examine the potential of extinction enhancing agents which specifically alter the eCB and glucocorticoid systems. Pharmacological manipulations of these systems by agents such as cannabinoid or glucocorticoid agonists can enhance the extinction process and avoid the retention of memories which have the potential to trigger trauma. A better understanding of these findings through animal models highlights the possibilities of using combined extinction enhancing agents in exposure-based psychotherapies for anxiety disorders related to inappropriate retention of aversive memories. This article is part of a special issue entitled 'Cognitive Enhancers'.

1 Follower
 · 
83 Views
  • Neurology 12/2014; 84(3). DOI:10.1212/WNL.0000000000001171 · 8.30 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Pathological fear and anxiety are highly debilitating and, despite considerable advances in psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy they remain insufficiently treated in many patients with PTSD, phobias, panic and other anxiety disorders. Increasing preclinical and clinical evidence indicates that pharmacological treatments including cognitive enhancers, when given as adjuncts to psychotherapeutic approaches [cognitive behavioral therapy including extinction-based exposure therapy] enhance treatment efficacy, while using anxiolytics such as benzodiazepines as adjuncts can undermine long-term treatment success. The purpose of this review is to outline the literature showing how pharmacological interventions targeting neurotransmitter systems including serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline, histamine, glutamate, GABA, cannabinoids, neuropeptides (oxytocin, neuropeptides Y and S, opioids) and other targets (neurotrophins BDNF and FGF2, glucocorticoids, L-type-calcium channels, epigenetic modifications) as well as their downstream signaling pathways, can augment fear extinction and strengthen extinction memory persistently in preclinical models. Particularly promising approaches are discussed in regard to their effects on specific aspects of fear extinction namely, acquisition, consolidation and retrieval, including long-term protection from return of fear (relapse) phenomena like spontaneous recovery, reinstatement and renewal of fear. We also highlight the promising translational value of the preclinial research and the clinical potential of targeting certain neurochemical systems with, for example D-cycloserine, yohimbine, cortisol, and L-DOPA. The current body of research reveals important new insights into the neurobiology and neurochemistry of fear extinction and holds significant promise for pharmacologically-augmented psychotherapy as an improved approach to treat trauma and anxiety-related disorders in a more efficient and persistent way promoting enhanced symptom remission and recovery.
    Pharmacology [?] Therapeutics 12/2014; 122. DOI:10.1016/j.pharmthera.2014.12.004 · 7.75 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Whereas fear memories are rapidly acquired and enduring over time, extinction memories are slow to form and are susceptible to disruption. Consequently, behavioral therapies that involve extinction learning (e.g., exposure therapy) often produce only temporary suppression of fear and anxiety. This review focuses on the factors that are known to influence the relapse of extinguished fear. Several phenomena associated with the return of fear after extinction are discussed, including renewal, spontaneous recovery, reacquisition, and reinstatement. Additionally, this review describes recent work, which has focused on the role of psychological stress in the relapse of extinguished fear. Recent developments in behavioral and pharmacological research are examined in light of treatment of pathological fear in humans.
    ILAR journal / National Research Council, Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources 09/2014; 55(2):246-258. DOI:10.1093/ilar/ilu008 · 1.05 Impact Factor

Full-text

Download
24 Downloads
Available from
Aug 27, 2014