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Individual differences in threat sensitivity predict serotonergic modulation of amygdala response to fearful faces

Cools, Roshan, Calder, Andy J., Lawrence, Andrew David ORCID:, Clark, Luke, Bullmore, Ed and Robbins, Trevor W. 2005. Individual differences in threat sensitivity predict serotonergic modulation of amygdala response to fearful faces. Psychopharmacology 180 (4) , pp. 670-679. 10.1007/s00213-005-2215-5

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Rationale In this study we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the effects of acute tryptophan depletion (ATD), a well-recognised method for inducing transient cerebral serotonin depletion, on brain activation to fearful faces. Objectives We predicted that ATD would increase the responsiveness of the amygdala to fearful faces as a function of individual variation in threat sensitivity. Methods Twelve healthy male volunteers received a tryptophan depleting drink or a tryptophan balancing amino acid drink (placebo) in a double-blind crossover design. Five hours after drink ingestion participants were scanned whilst viewing fearful, happy and neutral faces. Results Consistent with previous findings, fearful faces induced significant signal change in the bilateral amygdala/hippocampus as well as the fusiform face area and the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Furthermore, ATD modulated amygdala/hippocampus activation in response to fearful relative to happy faces as a function of self-reported threat sensitivity (as measured with the Behavioral Inhibition Scale; Carver CS, White TL (1994) Behavioral inhibition, behavioral activation, and affective responses to impending reward and punishment: the BIS/BAS scales. J Pers Soc Psychol 67:319–333). Conclusion The data support the hypothesis that individual variation in threat sensitivity interacts with manipulation of 5-HT function to bias the processing of amygdala-dependent threat-relevant stimuli.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Serotonin depletion - Fear - Functional imaging - Amygdala - Hippocampus - Faces
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISSN: 0033-3158
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2022 09:43

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