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Université de BordeauxCluster of excellence

PTSD and Anxiety-related disorders


Exposure to extreme traumatic events (e.g. genocides, terrorist attacks, military fights, rapes) can induce Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The victims display intense fearful reaction, profound helplessness or horror feeling and symptoms can last several years post-trauma. A cardinal feature of PTSD is a specific and long-lasting paradoxical memory impairment: hypermnesia for the core traumatic event and amnesia for peritraumatic “contextual” stimuli.

For 50 years neuro-psychological studies have significantly contributed to the definition of a precise clinical picture of this disorder. The neurobiological bases of PTSD are still elusive, however. Efficient innovative therapies are lacking. Animal models for PTSD are almost exclusively focused on the hypermnesia of the traumatic event and neglect amnesia of the traumatic context. The impairing ability of the subject to contextualize the traumatic event and to identify the right predictors contributes to the intrusive recollection of the trauma; re-experiencing the fear response in actually safe situations.

OptoPath answers

Development of a pertinent behavioral model of PTSD coupled with electrophysiology/optogenetics approaches

OptoPath scientists have developed a pertinent behavioral model based on the clinical dimensions of the PTSD precisely defined by the DSM-IV (the reference manual of psychiatry).

Through a specific commutator, this model is coupled with electrophysiology and optogenetics approaches in behaving animals.

These techniques are of particular interest to evaluate the impact of specific pharmacological compounds on neuronal activity.

Development of a therapeutic test in the context of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Using complementary behavioral and high tech in vivo electrophysiology procedures, with high face and construct validities, we evaluate the therapeutic potential of new compounds in the context of PTSD.

  • FEAR 1 : Evaluation of the potential of new psychoactive compounds in normalizing neurobiological markers of pathological fear memories in rodents

Development of an innovative system : Morphing Context for fear conditioning without handling the animal

Contextual fear-related studies require moving the rodent from one context to another, introducing non-specific neuronal activation.

The Morphing Context apparatus, that we developed with Imetronic, solves this issue. It is not the rodent that is moved, rather it's the context that's remotely changed.

The Morphing context allows recording neurophysiologic activity while leaving the rodent undisturbed as it discriminates between fearful and non-fearful contexts.

See the video below for more details: