The amygdala can be considered a ‘hub’ of emotional learning and memory. The amygdala, along with hippocampus and prefrontal cortex function have been consistently shown to be dysregulated in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Furthermore, the neural plasticity that underlies associative learning, classical or Pavlovian conditioning, is relatively well understood, and the neural circuitry supporting threat or fear processing is among the most well-worked out circuits in behavioral neuroscience. This chapter highlights recent progress in the neurobiology of fear learning and memory, specifically related to neural and molecular underpinnings of fear memory consolidation with a goal of translating this information for the prevention of fear-related disorders in humans, such as PTSD. Promising advances are being translated from basic science to the clinic, including methods to interfere with fear development during memory consolidation after a trauma. It is hoped that this new knowledge will translate to more successful, scientifically informed and rationally designed neurobiologically-driven approaches to preventing disorders of fear regulation, including PTSD.
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