Neurobiology and Treatment of Anxiety: Signal Transduction and Neural Plasticity

  • C.H. Duman
  • R.S. Duman
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 169)


The stress-dependence and chronic nature of anxiety disorders along with the anxiolytic effectiveness of antidepressant drugs suggests that neuronal plasticity may play a role in the pathophysiology of anxiety. Intracellular signaling pathways are known in many systems to be critical links in the cascades from surface signals to the molecular alterations that result in functional plasticity. Chronic antidepressant treatments can regulate intracellular signaling pathways and can induce molecular, cellular, and structural changes over time. These changes may be important to the anxiolytic effectiveness of these drugs. In addition, the signaling proteins implicated in the actions of chronic antidepressant action, such as cAMP response element binding protein (CREB), have also been implicated in conditioned fear and in anxiety. The cellular mechanisms underlying conditioned fear indicate roles for additional signaling pathways; however, less is known about such mechanisms in anxiety. The challenge to identify intracellular signaling pathways and related molecular and structural changes that are critical to the etiology and treatment of anxiety will further establish the importance of mechanisms of neuronal plasticity in functional outcome and improve treatment strategies.


Antidepressant Calcium signaling cAMP cGMP-NOS signaling CREB Fear conditioning 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • C.H. Duman
    • 1
  • R.S. Duman
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Molecular Psychiatry, Departments of Psychiatry and PharmacologyYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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