Mouse models of fear-related disorders: Cell-type-specific manipulations in amygdala

Neuroscience. 2016 May 3;321:108-120. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2015.06.019. Epub 2015 Jun 20.


Fear conditioning is a model system used to study threat responses, fear memory and their dysregulation in a variety of organisms. Newly developed tools such as optogenetics, Cre recombinase and DREADD technologies have allowed researchers to manipulate anatomically or molecularly defined cell subtypes with a high degree of temporal control and determine the effect of this manipulation on behavior. These targeted molecular techniques have opened up a new appreciation for the critical contributions different subpopulations of cells make to fear behavior and potentially to treatment of fear and anxiety disorders. Here we review progress to date across a variety of techniques to understand fear-related behavior through the manipulation of different cell subtypes within the amygdala.

Keywords: amygdala; cell subtype manipulation; fear conditioning; fear extinction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / metabolism
  • Amygdala / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Extinction, Psychological
  • Fear*
  • Memory
  • Mental Disorders / metabolism
  • Mental Disorders / pathology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mice
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / pathology*