The hypothalamic neuropeptide orexin (ORX) has been implicated in anxiety, and anxiety-like behaviors. The purpose of these studies was to determine the role of ORX, specifically orexin-A (ORX-A) in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) on anxiety-like behaviors in rats. Rats injected with ORX-A into the BNST displayed greater anxiety-like measures in the social interaction and elevated plus maze tests compared to vehicle treated controls. Such anxiety-like behaviors were not observed when the ORX-A injections were adjacent to the BNST, in the medial septum. The anxiety-inducing effects of direct infusions of ORX-A into the BNST may be a consequence of increased activation of BNST neurons. In BNST slice preparations using patch-clamp techniques, ORX-A induced membrane depolarization and generation of action potentials in a subset of BNST neurons. The anxiety-inducing effects of ORX-A in the BNST also appear to be dependent on NMDA-type glutamate receptor activity, as pre-injecting the NMDA antagonist AP5 into the BNST blocked anxiogenic effects of local ORX-A injections. Injections of AMPA-type receptor antagonists into the BNST prior to ORX-A resulted in only a partial attenuation of anxiety-like behaviors.
- Bed nucleus of the stria terminalis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology