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Trait anxiety mediated by amygdala serotonin transporter in the common marmoset

last modified May 13, 2020 06:33 PM
New research by the Angela Robert's lab was published in the Journal of Neuroscience

Summary: Findings here contribute to our understanding of how the serotonin system underlies an individual’s expression of threat-elicited negative emotions such as anxiety and fear within nonhuman primates. Exploration of serotonergic gene expression across brain regions implicated in emotion regulation revealed that serotonin transporter gene expression in the ventrolateral perfrontal cortex and most strongly in the amygdala, but none of the serotonin receptor genes, were predictive of inter-individual differences in anxiety-like behaviour. Targeting of amygdala serotonin reuptake with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors confirmed the causal relationship between amygdala serotonin transporter and an animal’s sensitivity to threat by reversing expression of two key features of the high trait-like anxiety phenotype: high responsivity to anxiety-provoking uncertain threat and responsivity to certain conditioned threat. Together, these findings provide evidence that high amygdala serotonin transporter expression contributes to the high trait anxious phenotype and suggest that reduction of threat reactivity by SSRIs may be mediated by their actions in the amygdala.

Reference: S.K.L QuahL. McIverA.C. Roberts and A.M. Santangelo, Trait anxiety mediated by amygdala serotonin transporter in the common marmoset,