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Gene controls whether fear is a factor

oid naturally, Shumyatsky said. Mice lacking stathmin continued to perform normally on a water maze test, an indication that spatial learning and memory--controlled outside of the amygdala--were unaltered.

"The findings provide genetic evidence that amygdala-enriched stathmin is required for the expression of innate fear and the formation of memory for learned fear," Shumyatsky said.

"This evidence suggests that stathmin knockout mice can be used as a model of anxiety states of mental disorders with innate and learned fear components," he added. "As a corollary, these animal models could be used to develop new anti-anxiety agents."

Together with the team's earlier findings that the amygdala-enriched gene gastrin-releasing peptide selectively affects learned fear, the new findings support the clinical data suggesting that anxiety is a spectrum of disorders with multiple subclasses, each of which may have a unique molecular signature requiring distinctive approaches to therapy, the researchers said.


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Source:Cell Press


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