Histochemistry and Cell Biology

, Volume 139, Issue 6, pp 785–813 | Cite as

Serotonergic innervation of the amygdala: targets, receptors, and implications for stress and anxiety

Review

Abstract

The amygdala is a core component of neural circuits that mediate processing of emotional, particularly anxiety and fear-related stimuli across species. In addition, the nuclear complex plays a key role in the central nervous system stress response, and alterations in amygdala responsivity are found in neuropsychiatric disorders, especially those precipitated or sustained by stressors. Serotonin has been shown to shape and fine-tune neural plasticity in development and adulthood, thereby allowing for network flexibility and adaptive capacity in response to environmental challenges, and is implicated in the modulation of stimulus processing and stress sensitivity in the amygdala. The fact that altered amygdala activity patterns are observed upon pharmacological manipulations of serotonergic transmission, as well as in carriers of genetic variations in serotonin pathway-associated signaling molecules representing risk factors for neuropsychiatric disorders, underlines the importance of understanding the role and mode of action of serotonergic transmission in the amygdala for human psychopathology. Here, we present a short overview over organizational principles of the amygdala in rodents, non-human primates and humans, and review findings on the origin, morphology, and targets of serotonergic innervation, the distribution patterns and cellular expression of serotonin receptors, and the consequences of stress and pharmacological manipulations of serotonergic transmission in the amygdala, focusing particularly on the extensively studied basolateral complex and central nucleus.

Keywords

Basolateral amygdala Central amygdala nucleus Serotonin receptors Emotion Rodent Primate 

Abbreviations

5-HT

5-Hydroxytryptamin, serotonin

5-HTR

Serotonin receptor(s)

5-HTT

Serotonin transporter

AMPA

Amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazoleproprionic acid

BL

Basolateral nucleus

BLA

Basolateral amygdala

BLC

Basolateral complex

BM

Basomedial nucleus

BNST

Bed nucleus of the stria terminalis

CaMK

Calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II

CB

Calbindin

CB1

Cannabinoid-receptor 1

CCK

Cholecystokinin

Ce

Central nucleus

CeL

Lateral central nucleus

CeLc

Lateral capsular subdivision of the central nucleus

CeM

Medial central nucleus

CNS

Central nervous system

Co

Cortical nucleus

CR

Calretinin

CRF

Corticotropin releasing factor

DR

Dorsal raphe nuclei

ENK

Enkephalin

ERK

Extracellular signal-regulated kinase(s)

GABA

Gamma-amino butyric acid

GAD

Glutamic acid decarboxylase

IC

Intercalated cells

ICps

Paracapsular intercalated cell islands

IHC

Immunohistochemistry

i.p.

Intraperitoneal

ir

Immunoreactive

ISH

In situ hybridization

La

Lateral nucleus

Leu-ENK

Leu-enkephalin

Me

Medial nucleus

Met-ENK

Met-enkephalin

MR

Median raphe nuclei

NMDA

N-methyl-d-aspartate

NK-1

Neurokinin-1 receptor

NPY

Neuropeptide Y

PAC

Periamygdaloid cortex

PL

Paralaminar nucleus

PV

Parvalbumin

SOM

Somatostatin

SSRI

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor

Tph2

Tryptophan hydroxylase 2

VIP

Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Esther Asan
    • 1
  • Maria Steinke
    • 1
    • 4
  • Klaus-Peter Lesch
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Anatomy and Cell BiologyUniversity of WuerzburgWuerzburgGermany
  2. 2.Division of Molecular Psychiatry, Laboratory of Translational Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and PsychotherapyUniversity of WuerzburgWuerzburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of Neuroscience, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience (MHENS)Maastricht UniversityER MaastrichtThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative MedicineUniversity of WuerzburgWuerzburgGermany

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