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      The Role of the Central Nucleus of the Amygdala in Mediating Fear and Anxiety in the Primate

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          Abstract

          Numerous studies demonstrate that the rhesus monkey is an excellent species with which to investigate mechanisms underlying human emotion and psychopathology. To examine the role of the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) in mediating the behavioral and physiological responses associated with fear and anxiety, we used rhesus monkeys to assess the effects of excitotoxic lesions of the CeA. Behavioral and physiological responses of nine monkeys with bilateral CeA destruction (ranging from 46 to 98%) were compared with five animals with asymmetric lesions (42-86.5% destruction on the most affected side) and with 16 unoperated controls. Results suggest that similar to rodent species, the primate CeA plays a role in mediating fear- and anxiety-related behavioral and endocrine responses. Compared with controls and the asymmetric-lesion group, bilaterally lesioned monkeys displayed significantly less fear-related behavior when exposed to a snake and less freezing behavior when confronted by a human intruder. In addition, bilaterally lesioned monkeys had decreased levels of CSF corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF), and both lesioned groups had decreased plasma ACTH concentrations. In contrast to these findings, patterns of asymmetric frontal brain electrical activity, as assessed by regional scalp EEG, did not significantly differ between control and lesioned monkeys. These findings suggest that in primates, the CeA is involved in mediating fear- and anxiety-related behavioral and pituitary-adrenal responses as well as in modulating brain CRF activity.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          J Neurosci
          J. Neurosci
          jneuro
          The Journal of Neuroscience
          Society for Neuroscience
          0270-6474
          1529-2401
          16 June 2004
          : 24
          : 24
          : 5506-5515
          Affiliations
          Departments of [1 ]Psychiatry and [2 ]Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53719
          Article
          PMC6729317 PMC6729317 6729317 0245506
          10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0292-04.2004
          6729317
          15201323
          Copyright © 2004 Society for Neuroscience 0270-6474/04/245506-10.00/0
          Categories
          Behavioral/Systems/Cognitive
          Custom metadata
          5506
          ARTICLE
          true
          behavioral-systems-cognitive

          primates, corticotropin, amygdala, central nucleus, anxiety, fear

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