The lifetime impact of stress on fear regulation and cortical function

Elsevier, Neuropharmacology, Volume 224, 2023
Sydney Trask, Michael T. Kuczajda, Nicole C. Ferrara

A variety of stressful experiences can influence the ability to form and subsequently inhibit fear memory. While nonsocial stress can impact fear learning and memory throughout the lifespan, psychosocial stressors that involve negative social experiences or changes to the social environment have a disproportionately high impact during adolescence. Here, we review converging lines of evidence that suggest that development of prefrontal cortical circuitry necessary for both social experiences and fear learning is altered by stress exposure in a way that impacts both social and fear behaviors throughout the lifespan. Further, we suggest that psychosocial stress, through its impact on the prefrontal cortex, may be especially detrimental during early developmental periods characterized by higher sociability.

This article is part of the Special Issue on 'Fear, Anxiety and PTSD'.