Lost in translation: how to upgrade fear memory research

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18 Citations (Scopus)


We address some of the current limitations of translational research in fear memory and suggest alternatives that might help to overcome them. Appropriate fear responses are adaptive, but disruption of healthy fear memory circuits can lead to anxiety and fear-based disorders. Stress is one of the main environmental factors that can disrupt memory circuits and constitutes as a key factor in the etiopathology of these psychiatric conditions. Current therapies for anxiety and fear-based disorders have limited success rate, revealing a clear need for an improved understanding of their neurobiological basis. Although animal models are excellent for dissecting fear memory circuits and have driven tremendous advances in the field, translation of these findings into the clinic has been limited so far. Animal models of stress-induced pathological fear combined with powerful cutting-edge techniques would help to improve the translational value of preclinical studies. We also encourage combining animal and human research, including psychiatric patients in order to find new pharmacological targets with real therapeutic potential that will improve the extrapolation of the findings. Finally, we highlight novel neuroimaging approaches that improve our understanding of anxiety and fear-based disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2122-2132
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Psychiatry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


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