Although fear research has largely focused on the amygdala, recent findings highlight cortical control of the amygdala in the service of fear regulation. In rodent models, it is becoming well established that the infralimbic (IL) prefrontal cortex plays a key role in extinction learning, and recent findings are uncovering molecular mechanisms involved in extinction-related plasticity. Furthermore, mounting evidence implicates the prelimbic (PL) prefrontal cortex in the production of fear responses. Both IL and PL integrate inputs from the amygdala, as well as other structures to gate the expression of fear via projections to inhibitory or excitatory circuits within the amygdala. We suggest that dual control of the amygdala by separate prefrontal modules increases the flexibility of an organism's response to danger cues.
(c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.