Facilitation of Extinction Retention and Reconsolidation Blockade in PTSD

2020-2023 (PI: Rasmusson)


Allopregnanolone (Allo) and pregnanolone (PA) are hormones that regulate arousal and stress responses, as well as influence memory processing. Research suggests that the production of Allo and PA can be reduced by extreme or chronic stress, social isolation, use of certain drugs/medications, or genetic predisposition. Within a large subpopulation of individuals with PTSD, studies have found that production of these hormones is reduced. Reduced levels of Allo and PA are associated with severity and poor retention of extinction learning, which contribute to chronic PTSD.

This randomized clinical trial will monitor activation of the sympathetic nervous system during various startle tests and memory tests. Participants will be randomized to intravenously receive either Allo or a placebo. Activation of the nervous system will be measured through electrode patches placed on the skin, and Allo and PA levels will be measured through the collection of blood samples. Results from the study will inform future treatments by better understanding treatable factors that increase risk for chronic or treatment-resistant PTSD.

Grant Title: Facilitation of Extinction Retention and Reconsolidation Blockade by IV Allopregnanolone in PTSD

Funded by: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH 1R01MH122867-01)