Deconstructing the Gestalt: Mechanisms of Fear, Threat, and Trauma Memory Encoding

Stephanie A. Maddox, Jakob Hartmann, Rachel A. Ross, Kerry J. Ressler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Threat processing is central to understanding debilitating fear- and trauma-related disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Progress has been made in understanding the neural circuits underlying the “engram” of threat or fear memory formation that complements a decades-old appreciation of the neurobiology of fear and threat involving hub structures such as the amygdala. In this review, we examine key recent findings, as well as integrate the importance of hormonal and physiological approaches, to provide a broader perspective of how bodily systems engaged in threat responses may interact with amygdala-based circuits in the encoding and updating of threat-related memory. Understanding how trauma-related memories are encoded and updated throughout the brain and the body will ultimately lead to novel biologically-driven approaches for treatment and prevention. Threat processing is central to understanding posttraumatic stress disorder and other fear- and stress-related disorders. Maddox et al. describe recent progress in this area, understanding the neural circuits underlying trauma-related memories encoded throughout the brain and the body.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-74
Number of pages15
JournalNeuron
Volume102
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 3 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • PTSD
  • amygdala
  • circuit
  • fear
  • memory
  • physiology
  • stress
  • threat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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