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Abstract #2129

Neural Basis of Unconditional Fear: Perfusion and Functional Imaging in Aging Rat Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis

Brevard M, King J, Chen W, Kim Y, Schmidt K, Luo F
University of Massachusetts Medical School

The novel perfusion and fMRI techniques were used to explore the neural basis of unconditional fear in aging rats. The study demonstrates Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis (BNST) is highly involved in mediating behavioral responses to unconditioned stress. The differentia of CBF in aging individuals was observed to contribute to the difference of BOLD signal between the young and old ones in the BNST. This study is very useful for understanding the neuronal, emotional and cognitive components of fear which underlies anxiety disorders. Meanwhile, the study demonstrates that it is feasible to address neural basis of unconditional fear using perfusion and fMRI techniques. In addition aging effects on neurovascular coupling is also possible with these techniques.