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J Neurosci. 2018 May 9;38(19):4505-4520. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3528-17.2018. Epub 2018 Apr 12.

NPY Induces Stress Resilience via Downregulation of Ih in Principal Neurons of Rat Basolateral Amygdala.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2H7.
Department of Physiology and Biophysics, and.
Department of Neuroscience, Chicago Medical School, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, Illinois 60064.
Department of Pharmacology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2H7,


Neuropeptide Y (NPY) expression is tightly linked with the development of stress resilience in rodents and humans. Local NPY injections targeting the basolateral amygdala (BLA) produce long-term behavioral stress resilience in male rats via an unknown mechanism. Previously, we showed that activation of NPY Y1 receptors hyperpolarizes BLA principal neurons (PNs) through inhibition of the hyperpolarization-activated, depolarizing H-current, Ih The present studies tested whether NPY treatment induces stress resilience by modulating Ih NPY (10 pmol) was delivered daily for 5 d bilaterally into the BLA to induce resilience; thereafter, the electrophysiological properties of PNs and the expression of Ih in the BLA were characterized. As reported previously, increases in social interaction (SI) times persisted weeks after completion of NPY administration. In vitro intracellular recordings showed that repeated intra-BLA NPY injections resulted in hyperpolarization of BLA PNs at 2 weeks (2W) and 4 weeks (4W) after NPY treatment. At 2W, spontaneous IPSC frequencies were increased, whereas at 4W, resting Ih was markedly reduced and accompanied by decreased levels of HCN1 mRNA and protein expression in BLA. Knock-down of HCN1 channels in the BLA with targeted delivery of lentivirus containing HCN1-shRNA increased SI beginning 2W after injection and induced stress resilience. NPY treatment induced sequential, complementary changes in the inputs to BLA PNs and their postsynaptic properties that reduce excitability, a mechanism that contributes to less anxious behavior. Furthermore, HCN1 knock-down mimicked the increases in SI and stress resilience observed with NPY, indicating the importance of Ih in stress-related behavior.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Resilience improves mental health outcomes in response to adverse situations. Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is associated with decreased stress responses and the expression of resilience in rodents and humans. Single or repeated injections of NPY into the basolateral amygdala (BLA) buffer negative behavioral effects of stress and induce resilience in rats, respectively. Here, we demonstrate that repeated administration of NPY into the BLA unfolds several cellular mechanisms that decrease the activity of pyramidal output neurons. One key mechanism is a reduction in levels of the excitatory ion channel HCN1. Moreover, shRNA knock-down of HCN1 expression in BLA recapitulates some of the actions of NPY and causes potent resilience to stress, indicating that this channel may be a possible target for therapy.


CRF; HCN1; lentivirus; neuropeptide Y; shRNA; social interaction

[Available on 2018-11-09]

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