Role of stress, corticotrophin releasing factor (CRF) and amygdala plasticity in chronic anxiety

Anantha Shekhar, William Truitt, Donald Rainnie, Tammy Sajdyk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

161 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Stress initiates a series of neuronal responses that prepare an organism to adapt to new environmental challenges. However, chronic stress may lead to maladaptive responses that can result in psychiatric syndromes such as anxiety and depressive disorders. Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) has been identified as a key neuropeptide responsible for initiating many of the endocrine, autonomic and behavioral responses to stress. The amygdala expresses high concentrations of CRF receptors and is itself a major extrahypothalamic source of CRF containing neurons. Within the amygdala, the basolateral nucleus (BLA) has an important role in regulating anxiety and affective responses. During periods of stress, CRF is released into the amygdala and local CRF receptor activation has been postulated as a substrate for stress-induced alterations in affective behavior. Previous studies have suggested that synaptic plasticity in the BLA contributes to mechanisms underlying long-term changes in the regulation of affective behaviors. Several studies have shown that acute glutamate receptor-mediated activation, by either GABA-mediated disinhibition or CRF-mediated excitation, induces long-term synaptic plasticity and increases the excitability of BLA neurons. This review summarizes some of the data supporting the hypotheses that stress induced plasticity within the amygdala maybe a critical step in the pathophysiology of the development of chronic anxiety states. It is further proposed that such a change in the limbic neural circuitry is involved in the transition from normal vigilance responses to pathological anxiety, leading to syndromes such as panic and post-traumatic stress disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-219
Number of pages11
JournalStress
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2005

Fingerprint

Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone
Amygdala
Anxiety
Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone Receptors
Neuronal Plasticity
Neurons
Panic
Glutamate Receptors
Depressive Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
Anxiety Disorders
Neuropeptides
gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
Psychiatry

Keywords

  • Basolateral nucleus
  • Corticotropin-releasing factor
  • Psychiatric syndromes
  • Stress disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology

Cite this

Role of stress, corticotrophin releasing factor (CRF) and amygdala plasticity in chronic anxiety. / Shekhar, Anantha; Truitt, William; Rainnie, Donald; Sajdyk, Tammy.

In: Stress, Vol. 8, No. 4, 12.2005, p. 209-219.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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