, Volume 236, Issue 1, pp 313–320 | Cite as

Neural circuits for a top-down control of fear and extinction

  • Roger Marek
  • Yajie Sun
  • Pankaj SahEmail author


Fear learning and extinction are controlled by the activity of three interconnected regions: the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex. Of these, the medial prefrontal cortex modulates specific aspects in fear and extinction via a top-down regulation. In recent years, extensive progress has been made in our understanding of the neural circuits that mediate fear-related behaviors and their modulation by ascending systems. The development of new experimental techniques is now revealing the details of the intrinsic circuits within these structures as well as the connections between them. Here, we highlight recent advances in our understanding of how the prefrontal cortex may mediate such a top-down regulation.


Neural circuits Fear Learning Memory Neuromodulation 


Funding information

This work was supported by grants from the Australian Research Council (CE140100007) and National Health and Medical Research Council to P.S.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queensland Brain InstituteThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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