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BDNF genotype Val66Met interacts with acute plasma BDNF levels to predict fear extinction and recall

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 01:23 authored by Ney, LJ, Allison MatthewsAllison Matthews, Nicholson, E, Zuj, D, Chia-Ming HsuChia-Ming Hsu, Steward, T, Graham, B, Harrison, B, David NicholsDavid Nichols, Felmingham, K
Brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) is a potent regulator of memory processes and is believed to influence the consolidation of fear extinction memories. No previous human study has tested the effect of unstimulated BDNF on fear extinction recall, and no study has tested the association between plasma BDNF levels and psychophysiological responding during an extinction paradigm. We tested the association between fear responses during a 2-day differential conditioning, extinction and extinction recall paradigm and Val66Met genotype in a group of healthy participants (N = 191). There were no group differences during habituation or acquisition. Met allele carriers compared to Val homozygotes displayed higher responses to the CS + compared to the CS- during extinction learning and had higher responding to both the CS+ and CS- during extinction recall. Plasma levels of BDNF protein that were collected in a sub-sample of the group (n = 56) moderated the effect of Met allele presence, such that lower BDNF level was associated with higher skin conductance response in the Met but not Val group to the CS+ during extinction learning and to both the CS+ and CS- during extinction recall. The current results extend previous observations of a Val66Met effect during fear extinction learning to extinction recall an


Publication title

Behaviour Research and Therapy








School of Psychological Sciences


Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd

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The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, England, Ox5 1Gb

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© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

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Socio-economic Objectives

Mental health

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