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Brain Struct Funct. 2017 Apr;222(3):1267-1279. doi: 10.1007/s00429-016-1276-z. Epub 2016 Aug 26.

Functional and neurochemical interactions within the amygdala-medial prefrontal cortex circuit and their relevance to emotional processing.

Author information

1
Department of Neuroscience, Imaging and Clinical Sciences, ''G. d'Annunzio'' University of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy.
2
Institute for Advanced Biomedical Technologies (ITAB), ''G. d'Annunzio'' University of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy.
3
Aging Research Centre, ''G. d'Annunzio'' University of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy.
4
Research Centre for Motor Control and Neuroplasticity, KU Leuven, Louvain, Belgium.
5
Department of Health Sciences and Technology, Neural Control of Movement Lab, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
6
Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University, Oxford, UK.
7
Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
8
F.M. Kirby Center for Functional MRI, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, MD, USA.
9
Department of Neuroscience, Imaging and Clinical Sciences, ''G. d'Annunzio'' University of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy. l.bonanni@unich.it.
10
Aging Research Centre, ''G. d'Annunzio'' University of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy. l.bonanni@unich.it.

Abstract

The amygdala-medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) circuit plays a key role in emotional processing. GABA-ergic inhibition within the mPFC has been suggested to play a role in the shaping of amygdala activity. However, the functional and neurochemical interactions within the amygdala-mPFC circuits and their relevance to emotional processing remain unclear. To investigate this circuit, we obtained resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) and proton MR spectroscopy in 21 healthy subjects to assess the potential relationship between GABA levels within mPFC and the amygdala-mPFC functional connectivity. Trait anxiety was assessed using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-Y2). Partial correlations were used to measure the relationships among the functional connectivity outcomes, mPFC GABA levels and STAI-Y2 scores. Age, educational level and amount of the gray and white matters within 1H-MRS volume of interest were included as nuisance variables. The rs-fMRI signals of the amygdala and the vmPFC were significantly anti-correlated. This negative functional coupling between the two regions was inversely correlated with the GABA+/tCr level within the mPFC and the STAI-Y2 scores. We suggest a close relationship between mPFC GABA levels and functional interactions within the amygdala-vmPFC circuit, providing new insights in the physiology of emotion.

KEYWORDS:

Amygdala; Medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC); Trait anxiety; γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA)

PMID:
27566606
PMCID:
PMC5549263
DOI:
10.1007/s00429-016-1276-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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