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Structure and function of the amygdaloid NPY system: NPY Y2 receptors regulate excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission in the centromedial amygdala


The amygdala is essential for generating emotional-affective behaviors. It consists of several nuclei with highly selective, elaborate functions. In particular, the central extended amygdala, consisting of the central amygdala (CEA) and the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) is an essential component actively controlling efferent connections to downstream effectors like hypothalamus and brain stem. Both, CEA and BNST contain high amounts of different neuropeptides that significantly contribute to synaptic transmission. Among these, neuropeptide Y (NPY) has emerged as an important anxiolytic and fear-reducing neuromodulator. Here, we characterized the expression, connectivity and electrophysiological function of NPY and Y2 receptors within the CEA. We identified several NPY-expressing neuronal populations, including somatostatin- and calretinin-expressing neurons. Furthermore, in the main intercalated nucleus, NPY is expressed primarily in dopamine D1 receptor-expressing neurons but also in interspersed somatostatin-expressing neurons. Interestingly, NPY neurons did not co-localize with the Y2 receptor. Retrograde tract tracing experiments revealed that NPY neurons reciprocally connect the CEA and BNST. Functionally, the Y2 receptor agonist PYY3-36, reduced both, inhibitory as well as excitatory synaptic transmission in the centromedial amygdala (CEm). However, we also provide evidence that lack of NPY or Y2 receptors results in increased GABA release specifically at inhibitory synapses in the CEm. Taken together, our findings suggest that NPY expressed by distinct populations of neurons can modulate afferent and efferent projections of the CEA via presynaptic Y2 receptors located at inhibitory and excitatory synapses.

Type Journal
ISBN 1863-2661 (Electronic) 1863-2653 (Linking)
Authors Wood, J. ; Verma, D. ; Lach, G. ; Bonaventure, P. ; Herzog, H. ; Sperk, G. ; Tasan, R. O.;
Responsible Garvan Author Prof Herbert Herzog
Publisher Name Brain Structure & Function
Published Date 2016-09-01
Published Volume 221
Published Issue 7
Published Pages 3373-91
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version
OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version