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The Impact of Stressor Exposure and Glucocorticoids on Anxiety and Fear

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Neuroendocrine Regulation of Behavior

Part of the book series: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences ((CTBN,volume 43))

Abstract

Anxiety disorders and trauma- and stressor-related disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are common and are associated with significant economic and social burdens. Although trauma and stressor exposure are recognized as a risk factors for development of anxiety disorders and trauma or stressor exposure is recognized as essential for diagnosis of PTSD, the mechanisms through which trauma and stressor exposure lead to these disorders are not well characterized. An improved understanding of the mechanisms through which trauma or stressor exposure leads to development and persistence of anxiety disorders or PTSD may result in novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of these disorders. Here, we review the current state-of-the-art theories, with respect to mechanisms through which stressor exposure leads to acute or chronic exaggeration of avoidance or anxiety-like defensive behavioral responses and fear, endophenotypes in both anxiety disorders and trauma- and stressor-related psychiatric disorders. In this chapter, we will explore physiological responses and neural circuits involved in the development of acute and chronic exaggeration of anxiety-like defensive behavioral responses and fear states, focusing on the role of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and glucocorticoid hormones.

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Abbreviations

5-HT:

5-Hydroxytryptamine (serotonin)

5-HT1A :

Serotonin 1A receptor

5-HTT:

Serotonin transporter

aBNST:

Anterior bed nucleus of the stria terminalis

ACTH:

Adrenocorticotropic hormone

alBNST:

Anterolateral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis

amBNST:

Anteromedial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis

AMPA receptors:

α-Amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor

BLA:

Basolateral amygdala

BMI:

Bicuculline methiodide

BNST:

Bed nucleus of the stria terminalis

CeA:

Central nucleus of the amygdala

CeAL:

Central nucleus of the amygdala, lateral division

CeAM:

Central nucleus of the amygdala, medial division

CNS:

Central nervous system

CPFE:

Context preexposure facilitation effect

CRF:

Corticotropin-releasing factor

CRH:

Corticotropin-releasing hormone

CRHR:

Corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor

CS:

Conditioned stimulus

CSC:

Chronic subordinate colony housing

ES:

Escapable shock

GABA:

Gamma-aminobutyric acid

GF:

Germ-free

HPA:

Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal

IL:

Interleukin

IS:

Inescapable shock

LA:

Lateral amygdala

L-AG:

L-allylglycine

mPFCv:

Ventral medial prefrontal cortex

NMDA:

N-methyl-d-aspartate

OCT:

Organic cation transporter

PVN:

Paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus

RVLM:

Rostral ventrolateral medulla

SEFL:

Stress-enhanced fear learning

SHC:

Single-housed control

SPF:

Specific-pathogen-free

tph2 :

Tryptophan hydroxylase 2 gene

UCN:

Urocortin

US:

Unconditioned stimulus

vlPAG:

Ventrolateral periaqueductal gray

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We gratefully acknowledge Akaysha D. Joiner for critical evaluation of the manuscript.

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Hassell, J.E., Nguyen, K.T., Gates, C.A., Lowry, C.A. (2018). The Impact of Stressor Exposure and Glucocorticoids on Anxiety and Fear. In: Coolen, L., Grattan, D. (eds) Neuroendocrine Regulation of Behavior. Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences, vol 43. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/7854_2018_63

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