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J Neurosci. 2010 May 5;30(18):6282-90. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0430-10.2010.

The central and basolateral amygdala are critical sites of neuropeptide Y/Y2 receptor-mediated regulation of anxiety and depression.

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Department of Pharmacology, Medical University Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


Anxiety is integrated in the amygdaloid nuclei and involves the interplay of the amygdala and various other areas of the brain. Neuropeptides play a critical role in regulating this process. Neuropeptide Y (NPY), a 36 aa peptide, is highly expressed in the amygdala. It exerts potent anxiolytic effects through cognate postsynaptic Y1 receptors, but augments anxiety through presynaptic Y2 receptors. To identify the precise anatomical site(s) of Y2-mediated anxiogenic action, we investigated the effect of site-specific deletion of the Y2 gene in amygdaloid nuclei on anxiety and depression-related behaviors in mice. Ablating the Y2 gene in the basolateral and central amygdala resulted in an anxiolytic phenotype, whereas deletion in the medial amygdala or in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis had no obvious effect on emotion-related behavior. Deleting the Y2 receptor gene in the central amygdala, but not in any other amygdaloid nucleus, resulted in an added antidepressant-like effect. It was associated with a reduction of presumably presynaptic Y2 receptors in the stria terminalis/bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, the nucleus accumbens, and the locus ceruleus. Our results are evidence of the highly site-specific nature of the Y2-mediated function of NPY in the modulation of anxiety- and depression-related behavior. The activity of NPY is likely mediated by the presynaptic inhibition of GABA and/or NPY release from interneurons and/or efferent projection neurons of the basolateral and central amygdala.

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