Psychological and Brain Sciences Brown Bag Seminar: Catherine Marcinkiewcz, Pharmacology
Dissecting the Role of Serotonin Circuits in the BNST in Anxiety and Fear
Catherine Marcinkiewcz, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, University of Iowa
Abstract: Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) plays an important role in the regulation of emotion, but the neural circuits underlying its contribution to aversive states is not clearly defined. Accumulating evidence suggests that 5-HT can modulate anxiety and fear via efferent projections to the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), a part of the extended amydala. I will be presenting data that suggest that these 5-HT inputs activate an inhibitory microcircuit in the BNST that gates anxiety and fear via 5-HT2C receptors. I will also present more recent findings implicating 5-HT1A receptors in fear, which may oppose the actions of the 5-HT2C receptor. The implications for the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression will also be discussed.