How our brain manages fear and anxiety. The amygdala is to blame for this

(ORDO NEWS) — Neuroscientists at Tufts University have shown in mouse models how a region of the brain, the amygdala, can be manipulated to induce fear or anxiety.

These experiments are extremely important because they help to understand the work of receptors and hormones in the amygdala, which in the future will allow the development of drugs for depression and post-traumatic disorder.

You can not forever deprive a person of sadness and fear. But it is necessary to help him get out of these states.

In the temporal lobe, near the base of our brain, is the amygdala (or amygdala), which processes our emotions.

Neuroscientists at Tufts University have studied the nature of the signals that occur in a small area of ​​the amygdala – the basolateral, to better understand how they affect the emergence of negative emotions, such as anxiety and fear.

“This emotional processing center plays an important role in many behaviors,” says Jamie Maguire, a professor at Tufts University School of Medicine.

“We are interested in how the neural network turns on these negative states, because this is directly related to many diseases, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

How our brain manages fear and anxiety The amygdala is to blame for this 2
1. Location of the amygdala in the left and right hemispheres. 2. Basolateral area – shaded in turquoise

Alcohol really helps with depression, but…

In an article published in the journal eNeuro, Maguire and her colleagues found that alcohol can change the activity pattern of the basolateral region of the amygdala in mice. This is the first study showing that alcohol can alter the neural patterns of fear and anxiety.

Researchers have shown that receptors in the basolateral amygdala, known as GABA-A receptors, are an important part of the signaling network that causes this switch.

Alcohol exposure differed between males and females. Females seem to require a larger dose than males to change their condition.

This may be due to the fact that female mice have fewer GABA-A receptors. Moreover, when the researchers deactivated these receptors in male mice, they began to respond to alcohol in the same way as females.

Many people know from their personal experience that alcohol helps to relax. Unfortunately, this is a rather dangerous practice.

Any stereotype backed up by a positive experience becomes fixed too quickly. So there may be addiction. But alcohol is very harmful, even in small doses .

“Terrible” state of mind

Earlier this year, the same group of researchers identified a different set of receptors in the basolateral amygdala that are relevant to the fear response in animals.

The scientists used norepinephrine, a hormone similar to adrenaline, to stimulate the basolateral amygdala in mice to put the animals into a state of fear.

Norepinephrine can interact with several nerve receptors, but when the researchers deactivated one of them, the α1A adrenoceptor, the animal stopped feeling fear.

By understanding the molecular interactions that switch the basolateral amygdala into or out of negative states, researchers can find potential drug targets that will treat neurological disorders and addictions.

For example, a person suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder may become stuck in a “fear” pattern of neural activity. Breaking this condition can help him recover.

But scientists say that managing the amygdala, that is, human emotions, is an extremely delicate process. You can’t just deprive a person of sadness, fear, anxiety.

They are necessary. Scientists are trying to help people not get stuck in such states, but come out of them normally.

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