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The relationship between fearfulness, GABA, and fear-related BOLD responses in the insula

Lipp, Ilona, Evans, C. John, Lewis, Caroline, Murphy, Kevin ORCID:, Wise, Richard Geoffrey ORCID: and Caseras, Xavier ORCID: 2015. The relationship between fearfulness, GABA, and fear-related BOLD responses in the insula. Plos One 10 (3) , e0120101. 10.1371/journal.pone.0120101

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The inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA plays a crucial role in anxiety and fear, but its relationship to brain activation during fear reactions is not clear. Previous studies suggest that GABA agonists lead to an attenuation of emotion-processing related BOLD signals in the insula. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between GABA concentration and fear-related BOLD responses in this region. In 44 female participants with different levels of fearfulness, GABA concentration in the left insula was measured using a GABA+ MRS acquisition during rest; additionally, BOLD signals were obtained during performance of a fear provocation paradigm. Fearfulness was not associated with GABA+ in the left insula, but could predict fear-related BOLD responses in a cluster in the left anterior insula. The BOLD signal change in this cluster did not correlate with GABA+ concentration. However, we found a significant positive correlation between GABA+ concentration and fear-related BOLD responses in a different cluster that included parts of the left insula, amygdala and putamen. Our findings indicate that low insular GABA concentration is not a predisposition for fearfulness, and that several factors influence whether a correlation between GABA and BOLD can be found.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Physics and Astronomy
Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Publisher: Public Library of Science
ISSN: 1932-6203
Funders: Wellcome Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 19 January 2015
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2023 20:24

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