Neutralizes anxiety, a role the protein is already known for and which could help in new treatments

The role of protein in the process of eliminating acquired fear opens the door to evolution New treatments for anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress or phobias.

A research team led by the University of Coimbra (UC) has discovered how Tropomyosina kinassa cknown as leaving you, is involved in “modulating fear extinction memories.” In the study, in which the University of the Basque Country also collaborated, was published in Nature journal “Molecular Psychiatry”.It shows that activation of TrkC allows this Normalization of the fear response in situations where there is an altered reaction.

For example, protein facilitates this Someone who is afraid of dogs After being bitten by a dog in the past, and after being exposed several times to other, non-attacking dogs, Create a new memory and generate a new response to the stimulus.

“Fear extinction does not mean simply forgetting fear, there must be active learning,” explained the lead author of the work. monica santos, From the Center for Innovation in Biomedicine and Biotechnology at the University of California. “Our study makes TrkC an interesting molecule worthy of further investigation in its field Develop medications to improve the effectiveness of exposure therapy“Santos says

“The new drug treatment should be combined with exposure therapies currently used to retrain the fear response, with the hope of making them more effective in a greater number of people.”

Excessive and learned fear is a common feature of anxiety disorders, a group of… The most common mental disorders in the world With more than 300 million people affected. “Importantly, most patients remain resistant or relapse to currently available pharmacological and/or cognitive behavioral treatments,” says Santos, adding that “current antidepressant and anxiolytic medications are not 100% effective.”

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Conditioned reflex

to'Anxiety, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress or phobias It is a group of disorders associated with fear. These are complex diseases that depend not only on genetics, but also on environmental factors and respond to a conditioned learning mechanism.

The amygdala – involved in fear conditioning – the hippocampus – which encodes information about context – and the medial prefrontal cortex – related to fear recovery and extinction – are an important network for fear formation. Of appropriate fear memories. The study identified the neurotrophin protein 3, NT-3, and its receptor TrkC as key in regulating this process.

Until now, it is not known what role this protein plays in neutralizing fear (iStock).

Fear conditioning is one Associative learning process. Primer S'It acquires the mechanism that comes from the stimulus associated with the feeling of aversion that generates the fear response. They then consolidate over time to form memories. This is one New gallery Shoot the log and answer the Re-exposure conditioning stabilizes memory. From there, depending on the characteristics of the re-exposures, memories can progress to extinction or can be reconsolidated.

In the reconsolidation process, exposure therapies aim to introduce new information to create new memories and thus overcome excessive fear.

The molecule that extinguishes fear

Although this protein was already known, it has now been possible to determine the role it plays in regulating extinction of the amygdala NT3-TrkC system, explained Dr. Santos, who also works at the UCLA Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology. .

The study exposed several groups of mice to frightening situations. Some were exposed to conditional learning and others were not. By analyzing conditioned and unconditioned mice, the scientists clearly noticed this Fear was suppressed by activation of this molecule Lamigsa song.

“This is evidence that not only in pathological conditions, but in physiological situations, this molecule plays a role in modulating fear and we can Use it in situations where this normalization response is altered The same fear.”

Thus, mice that did not go away or whose fear response attenuated had lower levels of this protein. Thus, it has been shown that an activated NT3-TrkC system is essential for fear extinction in mice.

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